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?

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.