A Good Day with lessons learnt.

I had last week off, it was just too hot for a near 70 year old. Strangely when we lived in France, it would be much hotter and we could cope with the heat, But not now, we both have to keep indoors and consume large amounts of liquid. Getting old is no fun, Ha! Ha!

17lb on the noise mirror Koi cross.

However, this Monday I had a really nice day at the Lake and the heat was manageable. I’d just mention (as its worthwhile I think) what I wear in summer. I have two dark blue quality linen shirts, with a collar. They are the best material in hot summer as they absorb the sweat very well, but are also cool to wear. I have the same in trousers, linen cotton, light and cool. Naturally in the car there is a jumper and rain gear. I see lots of carp anglers in shorts, but all groan after about being bitten, what the hell do they expect! Cover up, cancer can still get to the moles on your legs.

View down the lake 2021.

The day started as I spoke of in the last post, I baited an out of the way swim with about 50/60 baits. Then walked back putting a bait in the margin every meter or so, all the way up one half the lake. This swim will be my banker, and I’ll top it up next trip. I fished the margins until mid-afternoon, so 4/5 hours, but nothing came my way. I’m confident in my rig and gear, but still cannot buy a daytime bite on the bottom. The fish were sub-surface again today, just drifting about a meter down. It was not until I thought about lunch and a big cold drink, did I walk past a small island on the way back to the car, when I spotted several big fish.

Nice Koi strain double.

I dropped the gear down and lunch was all but forgotten about, my spare rod always had a floater set up on it, so out went a big chunk of bread crust, the fish turn the rolled over it. I told you they were clever didn’t I, it turned again and looked at the semi-sunk crust for what seemed like ages, then took. The fish was the smallest in the group at 11lb, but the colours were stunning, and orange hew covered the entire fish. It looked like a giant goldfish you have in your garden pond.

Most commons and mirrors have a touch of the Koi strain.

With the kettle on, a tea in the tea-pot I sat back to think about the morning, while sitting in the shade of a large oak tree. Its pretty clear, I’ll have to wait for much cooler weather for the fish to go down on bait. But the little and often baiting will aid that when the time comes, the key at the moment is opportunity, and making the most of the small chances you can and do get, during the day. Up the other end of the lake was a guy that arrived mid-morning he fished two rods all day, and blanked, both rods on bottom baits. He left the same time as I did, that could have been me I guess. You have to be thinking and busy all day on Five Lakes.

At 6pm I sat in one swim and fished until 8.30pm, convinced I’d get another chance, but nothing. Next trip I will do half a nights fishing, and I have a little baiting plan to try. The PVA bag trick did not work this evening, but it will form part of my armoury in later trips.

Carp in small pits.

I think most long term carp anglers would agree, carp in small waters can be the hardest to catch. I’ll explain why I believe this to be true. In large waters the fish can swim well out of the way of the angler, and hide up. On small waters they cannot do this, instead they swim around their home inspecting everything. On large waters its not so easy to find the fish, but carp will mostly follow a new wind, so can often be predictable. You don’t have the “finding fish” problem with small venues, they are almost always on show, in the summer anyway. But they are always on guard, always looking at what’s new, and suspicious of everything, even wildlife, like ducks and gulls can spook them. Maybe that why floater fishing catches a lot of small water fish, its often quick fishing when the fish have little time to inspect a bait?

What I find classically odd is with all this known, anglers will still not approach the water with any care, especially if they are staying for any length of time, like a weekend. I’ve watch fish at Five lake’s psychically swim from one end of the lake to the other when someone arrives, they do wander back eventually, but its time lost I think. Immediately that car door slams, they know something is not right. Its why every trip I make, I’m closing that car door quietly, and having a slow walk around the whole lake, but staying well back from the edge. Its how I caught my fish from the place, casting a piece of bread crust to a fish in the weed, that was unaware I’d arrived.

Try this for a wonderful video, full of beauty and dedication.

With having a week off the fishing due to the extreme heatwave, its given me plenty of time to think about what I’m doing and not doing at Five lake’s to catch those weary fish. I mentioned the lake is an old one, and surrounded in old, overhanging trees, so the water has leaves and branches on the lake bed in abundance. So this makes presentation difficult, not knowing if your hook bait is fishing well. I did try raking a few swims, trying to remove the chod but that was maybe not wise, as mentioned before, the fish know things are different after a good clearing. So it brought me round to thinking about solid bags?

Solid bags would allow me to fish with my favourite lead set up, inline. I can fish for one fish at a time, something else I prefer to do, rather than over bait. And finally, I can fish a small bait maybe a cut down pop-up that fishes like a wafter. In the bag can be boilie crumb, 2 mm 4 mm pellet, and a dusting of groundbait, just one good mouthful for a big hungry carp. Maybe too, it’s not been overdone in the margins, as a tactic. A 3.oz inline lead, short 4” soft braid hook-link, size 6 wide gape hook (barbless) and an equivalent 12 mm cut down pop-up. I’m also changing my reel line to fluorocarbon 20lb. This set up will allow me to cast my bag and bait, almost anywhere, and know its fishing even over chod, that’s a massive plus to the confidence.

One final thing is, when fishing a single boilie I’ll go back to old school nylon in 25 lb, fished on the basic complicated rig, invented by Steve Renyard quite some years ago.

I’ve found a place on the lake that gets a bit less pressure. I’m going to bait it up over the coming weeks with a few baits each trip, maybe 50/60 each visit. But I’ll try and get this within a few meters square. Nothing crazy, but I’ll leave the fish alone for a few weeks, and just keep something going in twice a week. I’m also trying a little trick I was shown when living in France, thats dropping one bait in the margins every meter as I walk around. This way, the fish will have to drop down to pick up the 18 mm baits, and then move on after each mouthful. It will allow me to use a nice long stiff nylon or fluorocarbon rig as above. Keep well everyone.

3 Fish from 5 lakes.

This stunning 16lb Ghost Koi was a bit down in weight as is was bit thin after spawning I suspect, but I’m not complaining readers. I took it off the top like the other two later in the day, both smaller at 6lb and 13lb commons.

That was Monday, but today Weds I arrived feeling really tired after a poor nights sleep due to the night heat. It’s crap when you don’t get a decent nights rest, and next day you’re out on your feet. So I thought about sitting in a few swims for the day, but the carp were all on top again, so the floater kit came out again and roaming was on the cards. A young chap came about soon after I arrived and did the most strange thing, he through bread in several of the swims, fished for a while then buggered off. Coming back later and doing the same again, but this time with floaters.

One of the more open swims.

Now these fish KNOW exactly what a floater is, and while they will take one, they view everyone with suspicion. From day one I’ve noticed that large numbers of floaters are ignored completely. But put just four in, and they may take one, or two, it’s not like being on a big open water down South, these fish are close and know every inch of their home. I’ve found its one of those waters that gives up its secrets if you just sit and watch. The water is beautiful, with every fisherman’s plant your could imagine, meadow sweet, rosebay-willow-herb, water mint, and many other wild flowers that attract butterflies in large numbers. There are also rabbits running about wild, I saw 5 red kites all together playing, gaining height then dropping down again, making that eerie noise all raptors make in flight.

There are no main roads for miles too, that makes it seem even more wild. The water is deep mostly 6′-7′ and is dark, so the bottom cannot be seen clearly. Maybe in the winter it will clear, I’m unsure to be honest. I’d guess the water size is quarter of an acre, with possibly 50/70 carp, most doubles. Thats a lot of carp in such a small space. However over the years, the fish have become difficult to catch, and I’m yet to take one off the bottom, on a pop-up or plain bottom bait.

It’s gone silly hot recently 28-30 deg, s I’m keeping indoors and as cool as possible, I’m too old for sunstroke.

A new era for my fishing.

I’ve been on a waiting lost for a certain syndicate for some time now, so when an offer to join came my way this weekend, I jumped at it to be honest. It’s about 40 minutes door to lake, driving through one busy town, but the lakes make it worth while.

There are five lakes, all for different levels of angler. Two large lakes with some decent carp and bream in, and two so called match lakes with some much smaller carp, up to maybe 6lb, but good sport on the right tackle. They are classed as mixed fisheries, and that’s about right. For size wise, the lakes don’t offer me any real chance of beating any of my fish PBs, but as I gave up chasing big fish some years ago, I’m happy to settle for the peace and nature these lakes offer me. They are all truly wild, and my first trip yesterday found me looking at woodpeckers and jays, two birds I rarely see these days.

The walks between the lakes will see your legs getting wet on rainy days, as the grass is allowed to grow. The car parks are off tracks, not tarmac, it’s refreshing to see a club, considering nature is such a positive way. I did fish for a few hours and caught some nice small carp, mostly Koi, Ghost, crosses around 2/3 pounds, all on pellet waggler casting at seen fish. Nothing came to the pole, so maybe they are rather cute, that would be nice if so. I feel with so much fishing to go at, it could mean this is the only place I fish from now on, I’ll have to see. I may feel different in winter, who knows, but the nature adds another plus dimension for me.

Second visit. This visit was far more serious affair, but just as much fun. I fished the carp lake, and had some little success. Arriving as I normally do around 10am, I spotted several fish milling around aimlessly, not looking for food, but open to offers I’d suggest. After trying a floating boilie for a while and having several offers, I made a switch to bread, and found myself hooked to a cracking fish of 17lb common, that did its best in the weed to snag men up. But the 9′ Century stalker and 12lb line was really no match for it. During the day I had several offers but each time on striking the carp managed to rid the hook miraculously?

In the evening I sat in a tight little swim on the far bank, that during the daytime I’d baited up. Sadly nothing came along, but on reeling in finding the rig was across a twig, and the bait in silt. Clearly I need to find some gravel area’s that are hard, or make a few swims by raking out the bottom. In the weedy parts I can feed lots of hemp, so get the carp and wildlife to help me clean it. I’m back again in a few days so I’ll keep you posted. I’d guess I spotted 30+ fish, but nothing much above the size I caught, but that will do me for now, its an ideal stalking venue with loads of tiny swims, with just enough room for a rod and noting much else.

Off the top!

I’m trying to think a little more about my fishing and bait as mentioned in the last post. This trip I was straight on the pellet waggler casting without bait at cruising fish, the sun was up and the fish in the upper layers. While I have proper pellet wagglers I brought some clear floats from Middy in 1.5 and 2 grams, Robb Wotton had suggested them in a video he made recently. They fly like darts, but land with a tiny plop like a pellet hitting the water. Rob’s video is on You-Tube under mugging carp.

The results were two carp, but I could have had a few more had my reflexes been quicker. I also tried slapping in the evening and took one nice fish of around 14lb, with very little sign of ware, very unexpected. Both techniques are new to me, I’ve done a lot of floater fishing in the past and had fish to nearly 30lb on this tactic, but this is very different. I’m sure had floating baits been allowed I’d have had a dozen fish with little problem. I’m still having problems getting the carp to settle over any bait, but speaking with others, it seems I’m not alone. Since spawning fish are being caught, but mostly off the top, or mid-water.

I also tried a day fishing hard pellets at 8 meters, flicking out bait (8 mm) almost all day, but no fish turned up until late, when I had four fish on the pole slapping, all small fish under 10lb, but a nice experience catching fish just under the surface on a tiny float.

I’m thinking of having a few days away from Hallcroft and trying the pole for some silvers, and maybe a decent perch or two, we’ll see soon enough. Just want to catch a few more fish, must get some casters form the bait farm this weekend.

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?