Summer is on the way!

If you took the time to look at the last post and watched the Jamie Hughes video, you will know how important the preparation of your bait is. It’s something I’m missing out on, as I’m lazy at bait prep. So from now on I’m getting really serious about my bait, and preparation. I had no idea you could choose the time your micros took to break up, just by soaking more or less? Everything Jamie talked about just rang so many bells in my head, so I know I can to better and maybe increase my catch rate, let’s see shall we?

30 degrees and the carp are spawning.

I’ve been back to Hallcroft several times since I last posted, but the carp have been in the LOVE mode, and spawning. Nice to see, but a long trip for no fish, well a couple, but nothing to write home about. However they are now as I speak 16th June, getting back on the munch again.

Yesterday was very hot, but a nice wind blowing. I had the luck to spot groups of fish in both arms, and not just a few, but hundreds on top and some very big fish, not many over 20, but a few. I caught on 11 mm pellets at 40 meters, just about as far as I could get them with a catapult. Then in the evening a few more in the margins, still lost a couple but had a good day with eight nice carp to maybe 11lb.

I’ve changed a few things (the interesting bit) like having my hair much shorter, right up against the hook bend, this aided hooking yesterday I’m sure and only one foul-hooked fish. I used ground-bait again, topping up with a medium size pot with hemp and 8 ml pellet each fish. The gound-bait did attract small fish with the pellet being picked up and moved around. But with fishing a short lash 12” most carp hooked themselves against the tip.

I’ve been trying some pre-coloured, pre-soaked 2mm pellets, sadly they just did not work for me. I’m sure they have a place and were so easy to use, perfect on the feeder every time. But the carp seem to love the plain fishy pellets without any stuff added. Plus hard unprepared 2m micro’s keep for a long time if wrapped up. These have a sell by date, especially in the hot weather we have now, winter would be different. Strangely even the garden birds did not like them when I tried to feed them some?

Small fully scales mirror around 6 lb.

June/July. So now the best should be to come, with lots of opportunities and fish, maybe even that elusive 20lb job? I’ve just ordered some hard 2mm pellets from “Pure Pellets” 5kilo (so much cheaper than the 900 gram packets) that can only be the same pellets, and some more worms from Willy worm, should arrive today. I’ll be mixing 50/50 Coppens and Skretting for the method feeder. The lads at Pure Pellet are very accommodating and good at what they do, prices are very fare too. I’ve brought from then before and the 8 ml are very consistent, and all look the same. The 11m are also good, but not quite so uniform in shape. Give them a try next time you need some pellets 5 star form me.

Did I mention the rain!

It was raining when I left home around 9.30am on Wednesday. My plan was to fish a different swim on Moat Island, hoping as the weather forecast said the rain was short lived.

Did I mention the rain?

By mid-day it was still raining, all my gear was wet, and it was starting to come in on the seat of my water-proof trousers, did I mention it was raining? I have a super Preston umbrella that my dear wife brought for me 3/4 years ago. But for some reason, I rarely take or use it, relying on a waterproof suit from Daiwa. This was a summer suit, light and fine for a shower, but it got very wet last trip and had not really dried right out. At one time, I took our small umbrella from the car just to cover my shoulders and knees, but the rain was continuous, did I mention that?

Buy about 4pm I’d really had enough of being wet. My large Preston bag was full of water, and items inside, (reels, hook-box, glasses and such were sodden) Water had even gotten into my large hook ready mades and soaked the lot. The rain simply did not give up until I was on the way home. On the way back, I did run into a huge thunder storm, and was pleased I’d just put four new tyres on the car the day before.

Back home everything was hung up to dryer and sorted out next day. Fortunately the sun was out and getting stuff dry was possible, I cleaned the bag with dettol wipes and it smells like new again. I’m going to treat the suit with Fabsil waterproofing ready for the next trip, and my proper umbrella will accompany me just in case. Oh! and I only caught four carp, bummer.

The brilliantly talented Jamie Hughes.

Are you sure its May!

The last two trips to Hallcroft have found me, wet and very cold. The easterly wind continues to bring cold rain that pushes the carp into the deeper water, so you don’t know when or where they are feeding on any day. On the last two days fishing, my coat and trousers have gotten so wet, they don’t dry before the next trip, lucky I have two sets of waterproofs.

I’ve caught a few fish, but not as many as i should have. One minute you think they are in the upper layers and try sinking pellets. The next they are in the edge, or long off the bank in deeper water. It’s difficult to put a few fish together, however last night I did take a few from the margins. The foul hooking is still a problem, so I’m going to try the method feeder in the margins late on. I’ve brought a little Preston 7′ feeder for such occasions when I’m casting to the next platform, should be a lot of fun playing big carp on such a little wand.

Look at that rod bend, 8lb line.

So today Monday 24th, I tried the new outfit with my little Okuma Epic Pro reel that has a nice smooth clutch system, 8lb line 7lb N-Gage hook-link. I cannot stress how much you need a quality reel, with a good clutch for this style of fishing. I had Moat to myself amazingly, and fished the platform to my right. But losing two fish in quick succession under an unknown snag, I swapped to the left hand platform.

This is such an exciting and interesting clip, I thought you may like to see it?

I’d made up some 2mm pellets along with quality fishmeal groundbait, both from Sonubaits range and mixed a one part groundbait, two part pellets. All was soaked in a Tiger nut soak, that’s very sticky. This was for the method feeder providing a bit of cloud, and a large mouthful for any carp. Unlike in the video, the Hallcroft fish are not so ravenous as those in the lake in Italy. They come in numbers only if they feel safe. Other wise, you’re fishing for one fish at time, that’s what makes the method feeder close in, so bloody good. It also elevates any foul hooked fish, even thought you do get plenty of line bites, you simply have to sit on your hands and wait for a proper pull.

So how did I get on? Well, I did see a fish in the margins after lunch, so started early on the short feeder. I hooked and lost two fish as mentioned, then turned to the other platform. Between 2.30pm until I packed at 6.30 I had nine fish, all but one under 10lb. Maybe the big wise fish don’t fall for the feeder, but I think it was just fate/luck and the doubles will come. I’m back on Wednesday and will try the margins first, and probably stick with it, as it seems they will come in if its quiet, with not many people crashing about.

Margin fishing thoughts!

Late in the day margin fishing brings the chance of some of the biggest carp being caught on commercials. However, it brings with it, a myriad of problems, not least foul hooking of fish. It’s been a problem for me, since I started this type of fishing with the pole and float in shallow water.

Because I enjoy this method so much, I’ve spend a lot of time looking at ways to mitigate the problems around it. Sadly while messing about with hook-link lengths, and float shotting patterns, I’ve jet to find an answer that satisfies me enough to continue doing it. I just hate foul hooking fish, I fell they don’t count and you have not found the right way of catching on that session.

On the sloping banks of Hallcroft, ground-bait seems a bad idea as it gets blown all over the ledge, and does not stay around long. Were-as pellets do stick, and don’t roll down the slope as other lighter baits do. So I’ve decided to try something different in the evenings, just to see if it works, and I catch more fish by doing it. I’m going to use a small feeder, as Des Shipp does in this brilliant video below.

This is what I’m talking about!.

It looks simple enough, it should cut out the foul hooking as Des mentioned. I’m unsure about how the line will lay, as with a float its above the fish, with this it will lay near the bottom so I expect you get a lot more liners? In the old days I’d pin it down with tungsten, but Hallcroft rules say, all feeders must be free running, so any kind of stop above the feeder is out. Maybe a tiny little running back-lead would work, but I’ll try it without first. There is another good video going back a bit now by Steve Ringer, worth a watch guys.

Another excellent video on fishing short with feeder.

It seems a short rod is ideal for this method, 11′ or under. I’ll give the Try-Cast feeder a go, but that little Wandzee from Preston looks great fun? Do short rods work guys, feedback and let me know?

Fishing tackle thoughts!

Don’t you just hate busy commercials.

Most of you that follow know, I’ve gotten very into pole fishing lately, have two decent poles and all the floats a man could ask for in a lifetime. But I’ve found as much as I like the pole, I do miss using a rod, and reel? The last trip when I fished the waggler and caught those bream and carp, really got the juices flowing, I loved it, and felt I’m missing out only fishing the pole.

So what to do, well I think I’ll try fishing the margins with a power float rod for a while and see if I can get better, or as good, a presentation that the pole gives me. I’m thinking about the lift method, or flat float thats much the same. Or maybe use a pole float? Its open for testing I feel. Also I’ve not touched the feeder rod this season, no method feeder, I must be crazy. But I just had the “thing” for the pole for a while. Fact I think I fished it in circumstances when a feeder would have been better.

One of the best instructional videos I’ve seen in quite a while, enjoy.

So from my next trip I’m going to fish the best method for the prevailing conditions. If it’s very windy and wet, I’ll be on the feeder. If the wind is from behind and steady, I’ll fish the waggler. And evenings, I may even move from swim to swim stalking the margins if the place is deserted, as it can be some late weekday evenings? A power float rod, 6lb line right through (Drennan Double strength) maybe and a size 12s strong hook, like the guru Kaizen hooks I’m liking at the moment. The 14s are fantastic for single corn, and don’t bend out on big carp.

Wonderful was to fish in summer.

I did find the right rod in the end, a 11’6” Preston mini power float, that had exactly what I needed. A proper float rod, with proper rings designed for float fishing and casting, with sufficient power to land big carp. Line 4-8lb with a fast tip action, and at a discounted price. I’ve tries this rod since buying it and will give you feedback in the next blog, do I have a good day to tell you about?

A Cuckoo brings a change of luck.

Those of you kind folk following me will know, it’s not been all beer and skittles of late. Broken rods, broken top kits, and pole sections taking a deadly swim. So when you get a bit of luck, you just have to feel its because you’ve paid your dues, as the American fishing writer John Gierach says!

When Wednesday of this week came, I’d groundbait mixed from the night before and all baits and bits prepared. The idea was to fish the swim feeder until evening, then hit those margin beasts. But as is my lame luck, I discovered the 11′ Tri-Cast feeder had transformed itself into the little light float rod, my Preston Supera 3-10 grams. So I had little choice but to fish over the bait with a waggler. (so pleased I did in the end) Fortunately, I’d not put the ground bait too far out, maybe 20 meters, it was a mix of two quality Sonus ground baits with chopped worm, casters, hemp and corn. All soaked overnight in the hemp juice from cooking.

16 lb fish taken on light float tackle while silver fishing?

I set up a 2.5 gram S/C float with a strung shotting towards the bottom end, as the strong tow was right to left. This was 6 number eight shot, and 2 number elevens on the 20′ hook link 14 Kazain hook. Swim was about six foot plus and past the slope. I’d arrived at the lake in the late morning, and as we still had that bloody cold wind, choose a swim with the wind off my back. Lucky I did, as this made casting easy, and I kept warm all day.

I intended to cast every few minutes, and fire casters over the top until the fish arrived. Just maybe 20/30 every cast, in the hope for a better roach or perch off the bottom later. But it was the bream that got to the bait first, all male’s with spawning barnacles on the nose of every one of them. I took maybe a dozen such fish before it happened, this fish was different? At first I thought it was a massive bream, as it just sat there, doing nothing much, then it started to move, then run. With a 5lb main line and 3lb bottom I did not expect to land such big fish, but the Preston Supera rod had other idea’s. This little 13′ rod, as thin as a pencil, played the giant like a violin (with the help of a finely set clutch on the reel.) Twenty minutes later I landed a stunning 16lb carp, much to my surprise if I’m honest, what a wonderful little rod, truly.

I took a few more bream during the session, then at 3 pm set about preparing for the late afternoon margin session, and those big carp. I run a little 6oz sea lead with spikes on, over the swim and removed a few twigs from recent bank-side cuttings. Found a nice clear spot, and baited with two handfuls of hemp, and ten large cubes of luncheon meat. Had a drink, sat back, and rested as my lower back, as it was very sore by now. After about 30 minutes I dropped the 4×10 float in and had a fish bow wave off in panic, not a great start. But from them on I managed to get a few things right, and landed another four doubles, best 15lb and 2 fish scraping 9lb+.

Mouth of a double figure carp, big ain’t it?

Just as I was leaving, packing up, I heard a Cuckoo calling. It must the first one I’ve heard in 5/6 years. Apparently they only call ‘Cuckoo’ in the mating season, not not a lot of people know that!

I drove home elated, not just for the best session this season, but I’d been a hero and landed a big fish on such light tackle, last week that fish would have come off ha, ha? I’m thinking of trying the lift method in the margins next trip, and will take both the feeder but also my power waggler, just in case?

After thought. I made the best of a bad situation today rod wise. I chose the best swim for the conditions. I fished well, sometimes I know I don’t always do that if I’m honest. After all its never the fishes fault you don’t catch, it’s the operator thats at error.

Never too old to learn.

Yesterday I had one of those days when I did everything right, but it all turned against me over the next few hours! I started to bait one swim with casters, just a few every minute, and in a few hours in the swim was full of big roach, and some big carp.

8 Kilo carp taken in the margins on meat, see net size for next fish.

The first carp came off as it pulled the 8-10 elastic fully out and ran towards the middle of the lake. Then it came off, no scale on the hook, and the bare hook back four more times, all proper carp and the hook was fine each time. Finally I twigged exactly what was going on (as well as most readers I expect by now) I tightened the pole elastic by about a foot, bingo. The next few bigger carp, one a good double figure common, was landed without any problems.

My swim was about six feet deep, and with no wind I fished a 4×10 with a strung out shotting, number 11s to a size 16 medium wire hook Kamasan 911. I find this an ideal light carp hook, providing you take your time with every big fish. I had another roach about a pound, and saw another guy get one over a pound, roll on winter I say.

Nightmare loss.

One Tuesday I had my 4 section roll into the lake, and sank out of sight, and in trying to scoop it out, breaking a £50 top kit. Thats £110 in one go, its not my first top kit lost this season either, fact is its my third. I’m just so bloody clumsy at my age, and bad knees and hips makes it 10 times worst getting off and around the staging at Hallcroft, I just step on stuff.

Stunning roach of 1lb 6oz.

I’ve saved the casters for Monday, and a Hallcroft trip, my new four section should be with me next Wednesday/Thursday, Tim at Nottingham anglers suggests. Hallcroft has a few big perch (over a pound) that rarely get fished for sadly, the management have cut down many of the overhanging trees on the lake, and it looks rather sterile right now. Those better perch would live under those trees in quite shallow water. What are we doing to our natural looking waters, why do people insist on such clean places to fish. I bet the regular Kingfisher moves off the lake now, over to the River Idle close by.

New Lake. (Belated post)

Today at Hallcroft the world and his wife were out after Covid lockdown. Two matches were taking place on the two biggest lakes, Bridge and Moat. So there was little choice, I decided on the little river lake, maybe a quarter acre in size. This is the ideal size of lake you would want in your garden, to stock with a few Koi carp or other select species.

Its not my cup of tea to be honest, (too small) but today it happened I had the little lake to myself, and it really felt good. Surprisingly it was a bit deeper than I expected at 6 meters, around five foot, and going off a little more maybe? I baited two lines one at 5-6 meters, the other in my own margin to the right. It was still deeper than expected, four foot in the edge. A small pot with some corn, hemp, 2mm soaked pellets, and spam.

I stayed off the margin swim for maybe an hour, having nothing on the deeper rig until the float shot under the white elastic pulled tight, I lost what I assume was a decent carp. I let the swim settle down a bit, and popped another pot of bait in, while I tried the margin peg. I really don’t see people fishing this little pond for carp, its mostly for skimmer, roach and rudd in the summer. So when I came into the margins and had a stunning little fully scaled mirror on the meat almost immediately I was once again taken by surprise. I had changed the white hydro to the black by now! So the fish I estimated at 6lb was under control right from the off.

I was really pleased, as this fish had a perfect mouth, and looked exactly like a carp should. Broad, with all its fins straight and shinning in the afternoon sun. It clearly had not been caught in quite a while. I knew this was the stamp of fish I could expect, so the pressure was off, and after another spotless chunky common about the same size, I called it a day. They seem to love meat at their time of year. I have no idea of the stock of carp in this little lake, but it could be a sleeper for a winter session or two. It’s nicely out of the wind too, that would be a bonus in winter I guess?

Each time I do my blog, it reminds me of the day and trip. That is a really constructive thing to do, it makes me feel good reliving the day, and makes me think, about what I could have done better? So two fish today and one lost, well my back was really playing up about 5pm, but had it not, then another hour fishing and I might have seen a couple more fish. So I’m thinking for a time it could be best to go a little later in the day, so by ‘five’ my backs not in spasm and I can fish until the fishery closes. I fished well from 10am until 2pm, doing nothing wrong, or so I thought. But water, and air temperature are a vital factor at this time of the year, and I’ve no doubt that the fish simply switched on when the temperature was most favourable to their feeding.

I’ll get a little lay in tomorrow then? Maybe?

Cold Windy fishing.

I’ve had two days fishing this week, and it’s been unusually cold for the time of year, bitterly cold. Both days despite looking for shelter, I’ve found myself in the full face of it. On Wednesday, It was up to Hallcroft, and Moat my most favourite commercial lake at the water. Why is simple, it’s a large water and full of big carp, simple.

Always so blooming busy at this place?

I promised I’d go a little later in the day to Hallcroft this season due to the fact I feel the carp don’t get really feeding until after mid-day, and so it proved on the day. Two clonking big fish, one a common of 12lb, and then a handsome mirror of 16lb, both falling to sweetcorn. I did get a few pulls on meat, but my float was not set up well enough, and the fish were getting away with it. I was fishing a bulk close to the hook link, but a strung out rig worked much better with the float sailing away. One fault I continue to make is not being thorough enough picking a hard flat spot, to fish on. The margins are so up and down, that I give up in the end and fish were I hope to get a take, it just lazy fishing really.

Nice fish from Hallcroft of 16lb+

Due to the wind I had to fish very close in, and with just a 4 section on the pole. On packing up I managed to stand on my top kit, and it split. Its not really worth having it repaired, so I’ll put a very light number 4-6 elastic in it, and use it just for roach. I’ll need to do a home repair first, super glue, and tape, but it should be ok. I’ve ordered another tip, and I’ll put a Daiwa Black Hydro in that one, a nice medium elastic for open water.

Cracking fish for the small lake 12lb.

Today was such an interesting day, and again it was bitter with a strong wind in may face when fishing. I was at the little commercial I fancied for a big roach or two in the winter. I used my new little Acolyte 9′ with a maggot feeder, after first putting down a few groundbait feeders with micro’s in. I put a few dead maggots in the groundbait, then was straight on the maggot feeder with a short 8” tail on a 6”twisted boom. Bites were brilliant and 20+ F1s came my way over the next hour or so, the little rod working better than expected right under the tip, bending perfectly on every fish. During this time ( 2 hours) I’d been feeding the 5′ margin under my feet with corn and a few 4mm hard pellets. I was hoping for a much better carp or two to be honest. What turned up initially was so welcome, and made all the cold hands and ears worth while. See what I caught in the next blog session.

Apologises for the poor quality shots this week, it’s me not the camera.

Video of the month.

I’m starting a video of the month on this blog from today. It will be the one I feel is most current for the time of year. I will be both informative and enjoyable to watch. Here is my March/April pick, see if you agree?

So what’s to like about this video? We’ll firstly I do like Joe Carass, and his easy style of fishing. I know all these guys are Match orientated, but Joe and Rob Wotton both take the time to enjoy what they’re doing, it’s not a race like some professionals make it. Secondly and maybe the biggest plus with Joe is, he talks what his thinking, a skill few presenters have. So you not only understand what he’s doing but why!

Today he thinks he will get away with a hard pellet, why, well its a big carp dominated water, a bit like my Hallcroft water, with few F1s when a soft pellet could be better. He knows he will only need a few fish to win a match, as weights are low in summer, it all fits. He fishes with just two top kits, (Alan Scotthorne takes five Acolyte float rods on the Trent when wagger fishing.) So it’s showing the Mr Average you don’t need 20 top kits to catch fish, I like that. What it showed me is that a smaller pellet on carp dominated waters, could be a good edge, with everyone on say 8 mm ones. In the end, did you notice, he also mentioned how he would fish his next match if drawn there, maybe using big piece of meat, or corn. That gives you more options with a hook in or out of the bait? Finally, I took another point about small amounts of bait for feed, I’ve been guilty many times of just over doing the bait bit. I’ll learn a lot form that, Joe used something like a quarter pint of pellets for the day, another something the layman can understand and enjoy.

Last trip.

I know I picked a poor swim, the margins were too deep, and the fish stayed long all day. They were also waking up, leaping all over the place, mostly in the margins. Again I put in too much bait and ruined my chance, I also used groundbait to keep any fish on the deck. That too was the kiss of death. The winning week-end match weight was over one hundred pounds, well done I say. I’d love to sit behind one of these good anglers in a Match one day, until then, I’ll have to be content with brilliant videos, the likes of above. I took two small carp around 6lb during the entire day, a poor result I’m feeing now.