No two days are the same!

On the Monday I fished Bridge again. There is no doubt this lake has some very big fish resining in it, 20lb+ at least with many back up doubles. The swim I picked was at the far end of Bridge, but parking behind the peg. It was busy as Moat and Croft had matches on them. But i did think the swim was decent one, as I found some hard gravel 6 meters out and in the margins too. I now carry a 4oz sea lead with grippers to run over the margins, taking out anything that may snag on the fish. It takes a second, does no damage, but helps keep the bottom clear and the carp safe I feel?

Margin swims are not all the same it seems.

It was about 20 degrees cooler than last week (30 deg) and you needed a jacket, just. Once set up I couldn’t help notice some 20 pegs down to my left fish rolling in the strong wind some 8 to 10 meters off the bank. In hindsight I should have moved, but in my defence I also has the wind on me so thought the swim was a goer. Sadly I was wrong, and while fish after fish leaped, I sat fish-less?

Sat at home after just 3 carp for my full days effort, I got to thinking that those carp were feeding in a tow caused by the wind hitting the bank and pushing back any food items some way into the lake. Because the wind was not as direct on my end, the tow did not occur. But as mentioned in my last post, I’m learning all the time, and Wednesday came around.

Nice coloured ghost koi type carp.

Today one of the guys in the shop told me about a match the day before, and how a lot of fish had formed at the bottom end of Moat. I did not need another lesson as the wind was in my face, I set up a bomb rod to fish short. The 11” Tri-cast was loaded with 8lb line with a 6lb hook link. I feed 10 x 8 ml pellets, followed by about 15 x 4/6 mms. I had to wait about 10 minutes before the line bites started. Then the rod almost pulled off the rest with a nice double common being landed. I continued in the vain until mid-day when the bites suddenly stopped. I’d taken eleven carp, most around 6lb 8lb but with two doubles.

Mirror image.

Now its that hindsight again, but this was the time for the pellet waggler, as the fish had clearly come up in the water, despite my irregular feeding patten. But the waggler rod was at home (@£$!&%*) So I sat fish-less until around 4pm when I took two more fish from the margins. It’s clear too, some margin swims are better than others, I’ll have to work on understanding why. Possibly I feed the margins too early, as I caught four bream out of the peg. Maybe the feed is gone before the carp come in, or maybe they spread the food too far over the area?

But thirteen fish in a day at Hallcroft, is still my best effort. It’s getting clearer what and how to do things, but the enjoyment is the drug. Just to see we can all do stupid things, on Monday I broke the tip off my new pole top kit? Another one is £40 so not worth having it repaired really?

The leaning curve.

I’ve fallen in love with margin fishing for big carp, its just gotten its hooks in me and I’m enjoying my fishing more than ever. On a good day, overcast and light rain the fish will visit the margins all day. On bright days it’s more towards the late afternoon or early evening, 3 pm and later?

Great place for margin fishing, all those lilies, and big carp.

I’ve gone through a series of lost fish recently, but have decided its not me but the way I’ve been feeding the fish in the margins. Several have been foul hooked and knocked my confidence so much I changed the elastic to another. The Guy in my local shop convinced me that the Matrix Slik I’m using, has too much stretch in it. We did a little test and he was right, spot on really. An experienced angler would probably get on better with it, but I’m a novice don’t forget? So I’ve made a change to Daiwa Hydro a well know, older brand but with a bit less stretch in it, its hollow to, we will see?

Feeding the margins

If you go back just a few years ground-bait was all the rage to use.

Margin fishing 2013.

But today many of the top anglers would just feed a heavy particle bait to stop the fish blowing the bait all over the swim. They also bait away from the margins by maybe two feet, and fish behind it. Feed now is 6mm 8mm pellet and corn, with maybe hemp to see keep the fish grubbing about. But now groundbait unless the fish don’t respond to the particle approach. Fishing a float behind the feed stops a lot of foul hooking, something none of us want.

Margin fishing is demanding and rewarding. It possible to catch a dozen fish in a sitting, if you get the feeding just right. Ideally you want just one or two carp in the swim and feeding kept to a minimum, but we all go overboard when things slow down, we put too much bait in, then the problems can start. Fish all over the swim, but you cannot catch them, or you foul hook them. You have to think one fish at a time, the old Steve Ringer video is old school. Now it’s a little and often, one fish at a time.

The learning curve of pole fishing for bug carp.

Red Letter Day on Hallcroft.

It’s worth remembering I’m a novice pole angler, and very much new to commercial fishing. I’m very well aware the likes of Hughes, Wootton, Kerry catch big weights of fish all the time, but they are professional, it’s their job. So when I have a great day its modest compared to those guys, but still?

I arrived at Hallcroft around 10am and sat fish-less (apart from a foul hooked torpedo) until 2pm. I’d been baiting the margin swims both sides of me since I arrived, so expected some interest later in the day, as is Hallcrofts form. When big carp arrive in three feet of water, its difficult not to notice the tail pattens and vortex big fish provide. In such dirty water however they really don’t see you, so the game is to be patience and get the float behind them if possible.

I watched a great You-Tube clip from a well known angler that suggested baiting about a foot fro the bank, rather than shorter. The idea being you can get the float up against the bank, and save foul hooking fish, something that happens a lot when margin fishing.

Anyway, I took a nice fish of about 8lb a common, as brown as those in my local reservoir that sunbath in the crystal clear waters. Then a stunning white ghost carp of 15lb+ then a fish around 12lb then another around 12/13lb then a stunning black common of 19lb dead, and finally a mirror or about 14lb. I weighted the Ghost and biggest Common so i had some idea of the other size. All fish gave everything on the 18-20 elastic, I’m sure the strong wind provides extra oxygen on hot days, hence the long fights. But five doubles and a single I was really made up.

I’m getting to understand a bit about the fishing when its good, and times when its not as good. On Monday the lake was not busy, with maybe just twenty anglers on. The fish need food every day to keep their size, so they find yours very quickly on non busy days. On other days when its packed out, bites can be at a premium, and while you catch the numbers are down. Those days they have a abundance of grub and can be picky. Wind also plays a part in summer, not like on some vast waters, but scum does build up on the windward side, and that mean food stuck in the surface film for the carp to eat.

There was a lot of insects on the water yesterday, from your normal buzzers, to a small numbers of lake olives. I bet when the damsels get on later in the year, the fish will be on them in numbers. Just to say not every trip is like this. I was back the next day, and the lake was full as Moat and croft had matches. I only had one nice carp, and a small tench. Looking about it seemed now one was doing that well, odd fish only. What was that I said about busy lakes and lack of fish? BACK NEXT WEEK.

Summer carp.

So today I ended up back at Hallcroft lake’s fishing Bridge pool. Matches on Moat and another made the place rather busy, but I did find a nice spot not too close to another angler. I had to put up with one guy and his pal talking bollocks about Brexit, the Conservative party, and the C/Virus. Why do people have to shout while fishing to their pal in the next swim, don’t they know sound carries?

The swim I chose was really too deep for what I had in mind, a nice bit of margin fishing. I would have liked under three feet, but this one was about four. It meant I could not see fish coming and going, so feeding was difficult, and in hindsight I possibly over-feed from the start. But I’m new to this type of fishing so I will learn. I had two poles with me, once a short 4.5 meter with 14-16 elastic, and another 8.5 meters with 16-18, I caught on both today.

I only had three carp and two silver bream, but the carp were a nice size. One just under 12lb another 10lb and a stunning almost fully scaled one about 6/7lb. All were caught very close in, on worm and pellet 8mm. I feed soaked pellet, that was 2mm left to go to mush, with some Almond Goo added to the mix.

I had the sun on me all day, and next time I will find a swim with some shade, as it makes you very tired just sitting still. Bridge has a lot of carp in it, they were swimming around all the time I was there. Dozens of big carp 5/6lb to doubles. I’m told match-man Lee Kerry has had a genuine 20lb fish from Bridge? The Yellow elastic (the lighter of the two) seemed perfect for the size of fish I was catching? I’m still unsure when to use the puller bung, but tried it a few times and nothing broke! So must have done something right on the day.

I had the car brakes done this week, discs and shoes £300, nothing cheap these days is there? Now the water pump has packed up on the window washer and that’s another £90+. The part is under £30, so it shows the cost of a man’s time in a garage now days?

I’m looking forward to a trip to my local commercial now I have the poles sorted, should be fun. I’m also learning not to start too soon in summer, as the fish feed best from 2pm onward to dusk. Then its in the margins you will find them. Passing another birthday this month, I’m finding a lay in in the morning suits me fine. Mrs B is always up by 7am, making tea and coming back to bed with the lazy old bitch Day May. She too is getting on and also enjoys her mornings lie in with Dad and Mum, after her breakfast. Once I’m back on the river I will give her some trips with me, as she loves a day out on the Trent.

Catch up soon guys.

Big carp fishing made easy!

I want to tell you about a trip I had last week to a big carp commercial lake, where the fish run to almost 20lb. I did manage a few modest fish to maybe 6lb, but opposite me were two young lads (well young to me 30s maybe) and they were hauling big carp out, like they were roach fishing. They must have had a dozen big carp (all doubles) each in maybe 4/5 hours fishing.  When I packed up I walked around (keeping my social distance) and asked them exactly how they were catching so many big fish. They so very kindly stopped fishing and explained in detail just what they were doing.

Both were using 8 meter poles, with strong elastic, fishing right in the margins with pellets, 4 mm and 8 mm on the hook. By right in the margins, I mean, I could see the fishes tales as they moved around the edge looking for food. They even offered me a try, but what with the conditions we have right now, I declined. I was so grateful for the advice. What a difference between Match carp men, and so called specimen carp men that hide in green tents and snarl at you when you pass or say hello?

Anyway, its made me look at poles in more detail, just for this specialist type of carp margin fishing on commercials. At first I thought of buying a really short pole, maybe 4.5 5 meters. But after spending full day on the net looking, I decided on a 8.5 meter, not too long (28 feet) but big enough to sneak down a margin far enough away to give the carp a feeling of security.

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Now I know nothing about poles, I’ve never been at all interested to be honest however, I see there merits after watching those match lads doing the do! I could use a long rod maybe my 15′ Daiwa barbel rod, but the pole offers more options. Plus I’ve just sold a few rods off and had the spare money, The pole I brought was under £200, so not one of those thousands of pound jobs you do see about.

Then I had to find out about the elastics you use for such fishing? There are hollows, solids, hybrids, duel core, boy the mind boggles. I watched a few You-Tube clips and choose a Matrix Hybrid slick in 16-18 and 18-20, the former suggested by a known angler on the Tube saying the later could be a bit too much for a novice, I’m grateful for that help. These match scene guys do seem more welcoming than the background I’m from, thank heavens for that?

You-Tube offers so much advice on Pole fishing, you would have to buy a hundred books to get such information. Plus watching allows you to stop and rewind when required. Right from setting up, to how to get the most from a swim. Feeding, pole cups, elastics, pellets, playing fish, floats, I could go on. You can learn so, so much in a few hours, then save them and watch again.

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Once the pole and bits arrive Ill feedback on any fishing trips with the pole. I’ve had a few trips and have taken a few nice bags 20lb of silvers from Eye Kettleby Lakes. I’m also still making the odd float in my spare time. All being well I’ll have a trip today to a little place I know, keep well all.

Is fishing a matter of life or death?

 

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In the last few weeks not being able to fish has been a torment for many.  If like me your life has revolved around fishing since childhood, it must seem extreme to “normal people” (non fishing types) so I’ll do my best to explain. Fishing has been in my life through good and bad times. Divorce, home moves, job moves, losses and love ones. Death, births and critical illness, it’s been the one constant I can always fall back on, I know it, and feel in my own way, I have it down, I’m good at it.

When I go fishing I relax, I don’t just mean physically, but mentally too. I enter a world of peace and tranquillity were the stillness of nature envelops me, stress floats away  like a feather in the wind. I take time to see things, like the Mother Moorhen with three young chicks I saw yesterday. She would leave them unattended for a little while, while making high pitched tweeting noises to keep in touch. Then she would return after a while and all four would huddle around talking, as if catching up on what Mums been doing while away from home.

Or the three Red Kites that were circling the lakes, I guessed parents and a chick, but it could easy have been two males and a female? They circled so high disappearing eventually in the clouds.  The common wildlife songs from Wren, Blackbird and Robins sound much louder with no buildings to dampen their music.

After a few hours fishing your mind returns to its normal self, its like a timer goes off in the head to re-set your brain. The closest thing I can guess fishing can be related too is religion, or being a football fan, were emotions over-take you and endorphins are released into the body making you feel a kind of high. My wife says she feels I’m happier, and more relaxed, after a days fishing, and it’s true.

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A small clear river close to home where you can almost guarantee solitude.

When I’m going fishing I’m full of hope in what’s ahead. I always look forward to being alone with nature, catching a big or big bags of fish, Roach in winter and Tench, Bream in summer. I’m sure looking forward to something is good for your sole, for one person it could be a concert of their favorite singer or group, or the big derby match in the city.  You’re uplifted and have that extra spring in your step, and those little nagging stressful worries melt away.  I’m a fisherman, and always will be, that God.

The Tench and Bream campaign starts next week, I’ll fill you in as I go. Stay safe and stay distant.

 

Back to the little lake!

Boy it’s been an awful time for everyone with this C/Virus, but now we can fish again, I’m sure many of us will regain our sanity and settle back into nature. Because its nature we all find so intoxicating I’d guess, and that is what we truly miss in our lives when we cannot fish? But we must all stay as safe as we can, so keep your distance everyone!

Reel Review.

I’ve too many reels to be honest, so buying another makes little sense. But I’ve always wanted an old school Mitchell match, I’ve two old Mitchell 300s, but the 400a with the automatic bail arm and quicker speed, is the one I wanted for trotting on the River Trent. The line lay on these reels (shallow spools) is exceptional for such an old reel, and the speed more than acceptable even in these modern times. The spool size is between the 3000 size and 3500, loaded with 3lb line you just get 100 meters to play with. I brought mine oddly not on E-Bay UK but from an American seller on E-Bay, the reel is mint. Made in 1981 you would think by its condition, it was made yesterday. There is no paint loss, and the workings are excellent. This guy does something to the auto bail arm in the restoration that makes it perform better, it’s certainly very smooth and precise. With the River season not far away, it will get some good use when I’m stick float fishing.

I’m fishing tomorrow, so will feedback on how it all goes. Keep well all of you.

 

Locked up.

Well, if you’ve been following me on Facebook you will see a few posted pictures of past fish, thanks for all the LIKES guys, please you enjoyed them. Like you I’m suffering the “non fishing blues” and finding non essential jobs around the house to do that fishing would have saved me from? The car has never been as clean, and I’ve even painted the gas and electric meters that stand outside the front door.

The fishing gear is cleaned and ready to go, and most of my floats on winders for a first time. I’ve used a spool of 4lb line for most of the lighter stuff, and 5lb for the heavy. My thinking is even if I use a 2.5lb mainline, the hook-link would go first being the weakest part of the set up. It’s been better/easier putting shot on a slightly heavier line, and moving it about makes far less damage on the 4lb than the 2.5lb. I also find most main-lines are underrated by at least 10% provided the knots are tied correctly. I must have gotten this idea of the net, as its not mine, but an excellent one. I’ve also started doing this with my feeder rigs, getting that little gem from Rob Wotton the match angler.

Rob will use a main line of say 4lb-6lb, then a short shock leader of maybe two rod lengths in 12lb. Rob and others say it’s better when you put the feeder and shot on this thick line, as it gives a better presentation with less damage. Also up close ,you have that extra bonus of strength when the fish is being landed. I’ve not tried this, but have tied a few leaders up in readiness. Apparently Joe Carass (Match fishing magazine Editor) just has a meter of this thick line, where the feeder, twizzel boom and shot go.

I’ve brought a bit of new tackle in the shut-down!!

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This is the solid bar mentioned, imagine one end fixed to your box, the other end with a large rod rest in the end hole, twist and tighten, simples!

I’ve several chairs and seat boxes for my fishing, but the boxes don’t have footplates. So when on the Trent it’s not easy having the rest up high for feeder fishing, as I have to rely on a high front rest. Anyone fishing the Trent will know how hard the ground is being all stone and gravel, getting a from rest in for those Barbel bites can be a challenge. So I brought a solid bar rest from Matrix, that sits on my box seat front rest and is a meter long. In the end is a hole and sleeve like you get with all rests, you get a 18” rest that fits this hole sitting upright. On this you can put a rod rest and fish with the rod just above the water, like on lakes. But this is the cleaver bit, take that piece out and put that high long rod rest in it, using a sleeve provided. Now you can push the long rest into the gravel as far as you can, but its stability is aided by tightening the sleeve around the rod rest. Its a meter away from you and high, so you can rest the rod on your knee or box. Its a bit like putting kids stabilisers on a bike.

I’ve invested in some split shot, two mixed tubs of Dinsmore mixed shot, along with a large tub of Italian number 8s lead shot. Boy is this “new” stuff expensive, a real money spinner for those making and selling it. However, with care it should last as it can be re-used over, its a nice round shot too. But I’m critical over the weight, as almost all the floats I’ve loaded onto winders need more of this stuff, than it would lead. I have some old lead shot and have done the tests, so know I’m not wrong. One 8x4s stick float took 8 lead number 4s and 10 number 4s of the new stuff?  I’ve put the two mixed shot boxes into a single little black box you can buy on E-Bay with lids, clearly marked with the shot size, told you I’m bored?

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These clear boxes for float winders are brought from a stationer on-line for £3.00 or £7 in a tackle shop?

Another purchase is an old Mitchell Match 440a refurbished. I’m still waiting for it to come from a guy on E-Bay, so should be all ok with a money back Pay-Pal guarantee. I fancied one of these as I do so much stick and waggler fishing these days. I’m told the line lay is impeccable and the speed at 5..1 is good too. The shallow spools take just 100 meters of 3lb line to fill, I’ll try Drennan float fish in 3.2lb and fill it to the brim, excited about this one.

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Old, but very usable 501 reel, ideal for windy days stick float fishing.

Last season I had my old Abu 501 serviced, its now loaded with just 50 meters of 3lb line ready for the dace and roach fishing I love so much. The retrieve is slow compared to modern reels, but get any wind on the Trent and it comes into its own. No line blowing off the spool, or getting lost behind the handle. They are much heavier than one would expect for such a small reel, but they do balance a long rod like the 14′ Acolyte. It’s fun to learn fishing with a reel with no clutch, if you don’t know this reel it works like this. The clutch is the backwind. You turn a knob and the handle backwinds slower/stiffer, so you have to remember to get your hand out of the way at times, like when Mr Whiskers takes the bait. You simply back-wind when a big fish takes, or take your hand way and allow the fish to run against a stiff handle going backwards downstream.

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Boy these worms love cucumber and carrot.

I started a wormery in February, by buying a kilo of worms from “Willy-Worms” and putting them in an old Daiwa Match seat box with holes in. To date they have breed and I’ve eggs in a second box after removing them from the main brood, they seem to be doing ok, eating cucumber and cooked carrot. The only thing I would have done differently is, used a smaller box than the seat box and stuck to just 4” of peat only compost, I used about 8” so the worms have too much room to move about in really.

 

 

 

A brighter day!

So today I visited another little commercial that’s been on my radar for some time. Just thirty minutes from home, and a nice quick drive, now people are self-isolating?

The little lake has an island in the middle about a 15/20 meter chuck, I started about a meter short with the idea of creeping up to the ledge as the session went on and the fish backed off. On arrival I meet one guy with two carp rods set up, 12′ jobs casting towards the island with big leads. It was freezing cold up his end, and all the fish were in the sunshine around the other side basking in the growing warmth, but people don’t like to walk do they?

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Cracking roach well over a pound, taken on maggots.

It was 9am and the  sun was coming out, getting warmer by the minute. I could see some nice fish over by the island, but couldn’t see what they were. They looked like roach, but too big for roach, not bream either, the shape was all wrong. I set up a 12 gram maggot feeder, that took maybe 10 maggots. It took a dozen casts before the tip gave any movement, then I missed it.!! But as the morning wore on, I swapped and changed with a very small 12 gram groundbait feeder and maggots on the hook, I started to catch a few fish. First, a nice little chub around a pound, then a cracking roach over a pound, then another chub of 3lb and a wonderful little red eyed tench of 2lb.   The new 11′ rod a Tri-Cast Excellence, was amazing, the little light one ounce tip showing every movement. But playing every fish with full confidence, not once did I feel the light hook-links were in any danger. The odd F1 and a few more little silvers came along, as the sun got high in the sky.

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Hard fighting tench about 2lb.

Now those feeders I used may have sounded very light, but they are supposed to be. I cannot see any reason for using big leads on little commercials like these. I learnt this fishing the A1 pits in 2018 when I was stalking the place (and catching well) with little 1/2 and 2/3 ounce inline leads. They go in softly and are enough to hook any fish if the hooks are sharp and the hook-link short. Two more carp guys arrived and both fished big leads.  The splash was like a Labrador hitting the water.

I packed up around four, as the coffee was gone, and it was getting cool, as it does at this time of year. Only one of the chaps had caught a fish, a small carp about four pounds. I noticed too, how two of the carp guys put so much bait in for early spring. You need to be fishing for one fish at a time this time of year, then once caught try for another. It’s not about numbers now, just getting a bite, one fish at a time. I may have used a quarter pint of ground-bait and the same for maggots., and I had eight fish?

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3lb Chub that gave a good fight on the light feeder rod.

I really enjoyed today, and the big roach made me think about next winter, November, December time, when those carp are all asleep?

On arrival home I’d discovered that my fishing would be curtailed for some time, due to the deadly virus. Keep safe all you followers. I won’t be fishing until its safe, having beaten cancer I’m sure we can all beat this. Best wishes, Richard.