Anglers Paradise; a beginning (Entry 207)

Six days of fishing. Not exactly wall to wall angling, but pretty close. The long drive, marred by a colossal tailback on the M5, seemed now so distant as I sat and watched the finely dotted float tip. I had only an hour of daylight left before it would be too dark to see, but I knew the before then, I would have captured my first colourful fish. Indeed, it took around ten minutes for the orange tip to vanish, replaced by a tench of similar tone, a golden tench of around two pound. It fought spiritedly, it looked splendid, and welcomed me to Anglers Paradise in style.

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After an evening of eating and drinking, and a later than intended nightcap (or three), I thought it best to make a leisurely start to the next day. A stroll to the local shop first to pick up some breakfast items, then at a sedate pace, I prepared for a day on the Float Lake. The Devonshire weather was certainly shining. A clear blue sky, deep and saturated, stretching as far as I could see, lifted my soul. The sun warmed my back as I made up two rigs ready for the day ahead. My cup of tea didn’t touch the sides. Neither did my bacon and egg muffin. I was going to enjoy this.

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With such warm conditions the resident koi were easy to spot. Plenty cruised in the upper layers. Their pearly colours dulled only by a few inches of water between back and surface. Tail fins occasionally created vortexes. Floating morsels were suck down with a sharp slurp. A fine float rig was set a foot deep and baited with slow sinking bread. Within minutes the koi began to fall. In the first two hours I caught twenty. From a pound to around five, they obliged, taking the bread without any hesitancy, and fighting like fish twice their size once hooked.

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By mid afternoon the fishing became a little tricky, but a steady rain of 4mm pellets catapulted regularly brought a succession of golden tench to the net, as they took the bait in the upper layers of a five feet deep swim. That’s if they beat the hordes of tiny rudd to the bait. I had over forty of these beautiful, hard fighting fish, each one unique, some with red fins, some with white. Some with black spots whilst others had none. They all shared a black button eye and the same dogged attitude of their green cousins. Along with a smattering of blue and golden orfe, some sizeable golden rudd to just under a pound and a few rogue F1 type hybrids, I caught on virtually every put in over the next three hours, amassing more than a hundred fish and savouring every second.

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By late afternoon I’d had my fill, my arm ached, and my second flask had long since run out. Time to wander back to the villa for some food and a hoppy beverage. As I packed away, at my feet, the koi began to forage in the margins of the lake. For a moment I was almost tempted to have an extra hour fishing for them. But I resisted. I had plenty of angling ahead of me. Tomorrow, I had a day on the Specimen Orfe & Tench Lake booked, and preparing for that now would ultimately serve me better than a few more koi on the bank. Or so I hoped. In less than 12 hours I would find out.

Thanks for reading and until next time,

NorthwestFisherman

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Angler’s Paradise, Part 1 (Entry 86)

The five and a half hour drive flew by. Mostly because my mind was constantly pondering over what to expect in the coming week. It was my first visit to Angler’s Paradise. Indeed, it was to be the first fishing holiday I had been on, and I was absolutely loving the idea of staying at one of the most famous fisheries in the UK. It’s waters full of colourful species, some of which I had never caught before. Koi carp, golden tench and orfe as well as golden rudd and the hard fighting catfish. The only downside to the trip was the weather. The forecast for the first few days was quite cool with a lot of heavy rain and a strong westerly wind. But enough of that, these roads were getting narrower and steeper; my old car sounds like its on it’s last legs at the best of times.

Thankfully I arrived safely twenty minutes or so later and was greeted by Zyg in the African bar. A glass (or two) of his rocket fuel and the long journey was already fading. I couldn’t wait to get fishing but first I was shown to the chalet to unpack. By unpack, I mean drop the small clothes bag in the bedroom and unpack the mountain of angling gear. Obviously the most important thing from my point of view. The chalet, it is worth mentioning, was really lovely and had everything I needed for the entirety of my stay. For now though it was time to fish! With only two hours before darkness I didn’t have a great amount of time. I opted to take a light float set up down to the tench lake to see if I could start off with a few golden tench and orfe. The wind howled as I walked down the waterlogged hill. The light rain fell without any sign of letting up. I had donned the waterproofs and left the umbrella back at the chalet. Thankfully, the fish were obliging. Only small fish came my way, nothing bigger than eight or ten ounces, but in around an hour of fishing, I caught thirty or so blue orfe and six beautiful golden tench. Light waggler fished sweetcorn accounting for all the fish. With the light fading fast, I made my way back for a warm meal and a good nights sleep.

Small but beautiful fish

With the weather still wet and windy, the first full days fishing would take place on the floatfish lake, a lake that really could produce anything. For now though, I was more concerned with finding the most sheltered part of the lake and setting up the brolly securely. The wind was that strong I really could foresee it taking flight if a gust got hold of it. With everything in my peg eventually bolted down, I tackled up the rod, still set up with the waggler I used yesterday. For the first hour I fished a banded pellet shallow, feeding the same bait and the fishing was hectic to say the least. Nothing big at all, six ounces being the average stamp with the odd fish a little fatter. All the fish were golden rudd and very welcomed fish given the conditions. I stopped counting after fifty fish and with just over an hour gone it was time to change tactics. A small lift method set up was my choice. I fed an area close in, halfway down the nearside shelf, with some small pellets, sweetcorn and hemp. It was high time for a cup of tea and a biscuit too. This gave a little time for the bait to settle.

Straight from a garden pond...

The first put in resulted in a beautiful, chunky goldfish. It really was strange seeing these colourful fish rise from the deep water. But one I could certainly get used to. The next put in produced a brown fantail type fish, then a small golden tench. I fed fairly often and before long the fish became a much better stamp. Some of the golden tench were pushing a pound, as were the goldfish. I hooked a two, pound plus ghost commons which gave a tremendous scrap on light float tackle. The lift approach was helping get the hookbait past the bait snatching rudd and once settled I was getting bites relatively quickly. Once I got used to the way the fish were feeding and taking, the fishing was really frantic at times. Dinner time came around all too quickly and I made my way back to the chalet for a bacon and egg sandwich. I wonder if my umbrella would be there when I got back?

Another attractive, small golden tench

With my belly full and flask refilled, it was back down to the swim. Still the rain fell and if anything it was becoming heavier. My umbrella had survived and the fishing carried on with much the same regularity. Goldfish and golden tench were the mainstay of the catch and were keen on the double sweetcorn I was offering. Soft pellet and meat brought a slightly bigger fish but a much longer waiting time and as this was a holiday, I didn’t care about the size. Sweetcorn all the way then and a net full of fish. Over a hundred fish easily. The icing on the cake came in the form of a lovely little Koi carp caught just as the light was starting to dip. It fought hard like the ghost carp earlier and on light tackle was brilliant fun.

My first koi carp

With the weather forecast reporting a break in the weather the next day I booked on to the specimen orfe and tench lake for the day after. That way I had a day to prepare and some time to visit the picturesque north Devon coast. I really wanted to catch a reasonable size orfe, anything over two pound would do me really, given the conditions. But for now, I headed up the hill for some tea. Part two will feature that session and some margin fishing for some bigger koi. One last picture of a colourful floatfish lake resident below.

Vivid colours on another perfect goldfish

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Until Next time tight lines

NorthwestFisherman