Its that time again.

The weather is cooling down some, but still no real amount of rainfall sadly. However I’m going to get back into the fishing starting on a little commercial I’ve not visited before. It’s about an hour from my home and has a few nice size lakes with an abundance of different species from Roach, to Carp, Bream, Chub and big Perch.

I’m hoping to use the new whips, and maybe do some close in waggler fishing for Crucian carp and Tench. I’ll use a pole float waggler and see if the fish like paste made from pellet.

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Monday, and I’m at the lakes mention above. Wow very impressed, stunning location with plenty of water available in the seven lakes. It’s fortunate as the place is very busy, with caravan holiday makers fishing their socks off and filling many of the lakes. I sign in pay for my ticket and dip my net in the medicated bin supplied by the fishery, excellent idea. It show the place is thinking about not only the fish, but their future too. I settle on one of the least busy lakes that the owners tell me have some nice Crucian carp and Roach exactly what I asked for. I notice they also do a morning breakfast, that could be something I go for on those winter days to come.

I start today with a trickle of hemp and red maggots, just six or seven grains of hemp and a dozen maggots. I’m fishing a match stick rig on the 3 meter whip, with a .10 hook link and size 18s hook. On the 4.5 meter whip I’m fishing a small Drennan glow tip waggler taking just .06 of a gram. Hook link is again .10 with a size 16s wide gap hook for corn.

I’m expecting the fish to come up in the water and that’s exactly what happened over the next few hours of me bait trickling. I start hooking some small Roach and Silver Bream to a pound, then a few decent Roach to 10oz then more silver bream, and a bonus 1lb Perch. And so it goes, more nice silver Bream to 1lb+ then a few more pound Perch, with several decent Rudd to half a pound. After a while I’m catching on the long whip just off bottom, and the short whip on the drop, no weight just a match stick used as a float with a slow sinking maggot.

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Then the Crucians move in and the bites get difficult, the fish are those wonderful chunky mini carp with golden bodies and red-yellow fins and tails. Those little Crucians almost bent the whip double as they ploughed up and down the margin, looking for a quick release. I’d guess the best little carp was a little over a pound and a quarter, and the smallest half a pound. By the time it came to pack up I’d taken a least 40 fish, all on the new Diana Speed whips, with four pound main line, and .10 hook-links. I’d also had some of the best fun fishing in years. I cannot wait for my next trip, this time to a different lake on the complex.

 

Summer Perch on the whip.

We had a cracking day on the whip yesterday, taking maybe 30 small perch on red-maggots. The fish were tucked right under a tree that overhangs the river, in 3′-4’of water. Feeding hemp and red maggots I thought some Roach would find the net, but no just little Perch to 8 oz. It was my first try with a whip (4.5 meters) using a small float and lightly shotted the Perch proved great fun, with the whip nearly bending double on the better fish. I did set up a new ultra-light feeder rod in the hope of bagging a better fish, but after losing a few leads on snags the Trent is famous for, I gave it best.

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Before visiting the river I called in on a little commercial fishery on the way, just to see what the drought had done to it. I could not believe my eyes, the place was jam packed with anglers in every swim. Fishing just a few meters apart is not my cup of tea, I’ll take a look in the winter as some good roach exist in this complex of five lakes. I felt sorry for the owner as the lakes were down a meter, he must be praying every day for some substantial rain.

High Summer Low Water.

I cannot remember a time when we have had such little rain over such a long time. The rivers are having a real struggle, and the little ponds and lakes I like to fish are almost empty. The Trent never seems to change much, but it does slow down. You can see this by   being able to hold mid-river with such light weights as 25/30 grams in parts. Once place I fish on the Trent now has a large slack on the inside of a bend that was never there before? It holds some good Bream now that clearly like the new slow flow as they can feed without their food being moved all over the place.

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The Roach are still in mid-river well away for the anglers bank. The water is very clear and you can see well down in the river depths. It’s why you have to fish very fine right now for them. The old style of fishing with hemp and tares using ultra light tackle works well if you can get the fish feeding, often its well down stream of you and after feeding for an hour or so. I tried the other day and to my regret used casters in with the hemp and tares. Big mistake as the bleak, and small dace just would not give the roach a chance. Next time I’ll just use hemp with the odd tare, that should work to keep the bleak away, but feed the roach. Hemp sinks almost on the spot, but caster stays high in the water attracting all the small stuff. We live and learn by our mistakes, I’m learning as I said before?

 

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Hot weather update.

Anyone living in the UK will know just how hot it’s been over the last few months. The rivers are exceptionally low and clear, and even evening sessions are humid and testing. So much so that I’ve had a little break for over a week, not touching the rods at all. The last trip was for Roach, trotting with hemp and tares and taking a few nice Roach to 8oz.

Instead I’ve been looking at videos online and buying a little bit of new tackle for the coming winter and next summer. I’ve brought two Daiwa whips, one 3 meters and the other 4.5 meters. Whip fishing really appeals in the simplicity of the method, I’ve always said I’d never buy a pole, but a whip is different.

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I didn’t want a pole as all that shipping back and forward would drive me mad, but a whip in a short length is all done in one hand, and as Roach are my current in-fish they will be ideal for super light presentations I have in mind. Speaking about Roach I also needed a dedicated feeder rod for my Roach fishing. Again it had to be light in the hand and capable of taking very light hook-links down to a .10 with size 20 hooks.

Cadence CR10 Wand No 1. At 10 feet this rod will be ideal for rivers, and commercials where some good Roach exist. With 4lb main line I can fish light 2lb hook-links knowing the rod will help me land fish. It’s very light pencil thin and comes with 3 tips from 1/2 ounce to 3/4. This is a link to a video on the rod; The Cadence wand. I’m told it would land some much bigger fish, but I’ll just be looking for Roach this winter. On the plus side this company give back to fishing, and I support that. I brought a Cadence reel a few weeks back and it’s proved itself wonderful for the river.

I don’t know what effect all this drought will have on the fishing this year, but I’m sure it won’t be good. With new home building and abstraction for more water, we need more storage and reservoirs though expensive seem the only way, but will the water companies invest in the future before it’s too late, I doubt it?

 

Commercial fishing lakes, the good, bad and the ugly.

If I said I’m in favour of these types of fishing waters you may be surprised. I’ve thought about them for a long time, and on the whole come down on the side they are good for our future fishing. However you may be surprised when I tell you why I think that way?

On the selfish side, it keeps the Match angler off the wild waters. I really hate the way our fish are treated by the majority of these anglers, during and after the matches. I’ve witnesses the “way-in’s” after a match, and the fish treatment is shocking. During Matches fish treatment is not much better, fish being thrown, dropped into the keep-nets because speed is of the utmost importance. On wild waters that fish damage affects me, on Commercials it doesn’t, simple. Watch the way in river match? Could we not improve this system of weighing in? I think we could.

On Commercials they have keep-net limit rules that are not in-forced, so carp (mostly carp) are damaged in the crowded net. I’ve fished a few Commercials and the fish quality is abysmal. Broken fins, damaged mouths, open sores, missing scales, if they were humans it would be called torture. I know for a fact that several Match-men really do care about the fish they catch, but they are in the minority, and when they speak out, they get lambasted. There will come a time when all anglers will be judged by their (match-man) actions by the fishing hating community, and we will all deserve it, as we do nothing to educate people to better understand fish handling.

If you click on You-Tube coarse fishing, 90% of the videos are now about dozens of blokes sat around a little pond catching carp. They teach you how to cast, set up a feeder rod, float rods, pellet wagglers, reviews on poles, reels, seats everything apart from fish care. For my self I cannot see any enjoyment in fishing a puddle stuffed full of fish, it’s just too easy. But that’s what these people want, easy fishing, so it works for me as most of them stay away from my spots, as they cannot catch wild fish.

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Good handling means this little Commercial Carp goes back with little trouble. A decent net, and weigh mat.

If you think I’m angry about this subject your right. Too many good ponds, and lakes have been stocked with Carp that could not normally support them-selves without anglers baits. The fish are hungry all the time, having to feed regardless of the cost to their well-being. This artificial stocking has ruined true fishing for many, knowing you will always catch regardless of how inept you are, sad isn’t it?

The heat is on, still!

So a nice week just gone with a few Bream to 8lb, not bad, I’ve really enjoyed it. Now that’s what its all about really, finding new places on the River and next week will be no different. I’m planning to visit Clifton Bridge, another beat on my new ticket. I’m told the water is a little shallower than East Stoke, so the float will see more outings. The Bolo float is something I’m looking to master, fishing the middle river with a top and bottom float should be interesting. But I also have a good range of Dave Harrell’s Truncheon floats that I’ve taken Barbel on before, simply I must get better at using them, answer? Dave’s Floats. Use them more often in the right conditions, with big baits. Dead maggots are deadly, as are small pellets, bread, corn, even the big Roach will take these baits in Mid-River.

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We have a had around eight weeks of rain-less weather. I bet the commercial carp waters owners are pulling their hair out right now. Any thunder storms can see many carp lost due to oxygen levels being too low, hundreds of fish can be lost in a few hours. Ive seen this before in my own Koi pond years ago, fortunately we only lost a few fish rather than the whole lot. Putting in excess ground bait, plus loose feed not being eaten only exacerbates the problem,  it decomposes on the lake bed.

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Dave Harrell’s floats cover every situation. Floats designed by river angler

The river is clear and low, any Barbel caught take a long time to recover, so much so I don’t deliberately fish for them during such conditions. Any caught are held in the net for a long time, any that look too tired are put in a Carp recovery keep net ( I keep in the boot of the car) on their own to recuperate. I don’t like keep-nets for Carp, or Barbel but these are exceptional conditions.

Once we get some rain (maybe Friday according to the forecast) the rivers will come back on my radar. I’d also like to do you a review of a new rod and reel I’ve just taken charge of for my light trotting. Were talking about light-weight and the total is under 14 ounces for both a 14′ rod and fixed spool 4000 reel, interested? Cause you are!

The Way of the Stick Float.

A lot of people fish the Stick float well, but just as many fish it poorly. I’m going to try to explain exactly what the stick float should be doing, and why, when you’re fishing it. I’ll mention again, I’m no expert, I’m still learning, trying to understand why these floats are so deadly in the right conditions and right hands.

The River Match-man of old had to build a net of fish from any peg, often during times of the day not conducive for fishing. He would know the venue often and if he had a winning peg, that held Bream or Chub say. But if he didn’t draw a top peg, then mostly it was all about scratching.  Building a bag of little fish like Roach, Chub, Bleak, Dace, trying to catch quickly on every cast. The Stick float gave them this opportunity and this is why. It allowed very delicate presentation for well-educated fish. Often lines as low as .08 ounce, with size 24s hooks were used. (Nowadays Hi-Tec lines with such low diameters, finer lines can be used with a greater breaking strain.)

“Angling Times Picture showing what and what not to do when using a Stick.”

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The Stick Float shotted correctly catches fish at all depths as it falls through the water column. When you hold it back (and you should) it rises and falls enticingly for the fish, exactly like the loose feed. You hold back, let it go, hold back, let it go, all the way down the swim, importantly you’re fishing over depth most of the time. If the swim is 6′ deep you’re fishing at 7′ with the bottom hook-length 10”/16” Un-shotted. It allows wonderful presentation and un-missable bites if you’re keeping a tight line to the float. Most bites come on or after the stop, as the float moved down the swim bit by bit. The trot could be relatively short overall, six or ten yards as the fish moved up-stream to intercept the then   revolutionary  bait the Caster! The Stick and Caster were a match made in heaven for the Trent Angler of old, as it is still today.

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On waters like the Trent you would use 2 pints of Casters typically in a match or pleasure session, loose feeding so the fish are taking them at all levels. The stop and start checking of the float would ensure the bait and float were always in contact with the angler giving good solid bites.

The downside of the Stick was it could only be fished in the best of conditions. A slight up-stream wind, smooth top water, and less than six feet of depth on average. Any rough water, or downstream wind and the Avon float would fish much better, but that’s for another time. Many anglers fish a Stick in conditions were another float would give them a much better chance (myself included) such is the lure of the Stick.

Finally the rods used for this method (Stick float fishing) were also very special to cope with the ultra fine tackle. Anglers with famous names in the day started to endorse such rods, today these antiques sell for good money on E-Bay, Tom Pickering rods are a fine example. However we have some great Stick float rods today made from much better and lighter materials. The Acolyte Ultra and Daiwa Connoisseur range for example allow very fine lines to be used. But whatever you choose it must have a soft tip, but quick action to hit sharp bites at distance.

 

Old reels (as I mentioned before) like the Abu 501-506-506 are still up to the job, and great fun to use.