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.

Catch up at Hallcroft.

Not a lot to report sadly, two trips and just two carp. Better than most I’ve seen fishing to be honest. I even tried for the silvers and even failed at that, but the water is still very cold to be honest.

We all seem to be having problems with suppliers at the moment. Mine was, when I ordered a new small 10′ bomb rod from Angling Direct last week. It arrived in good time, but on opening it, found it had one tip missing, and it also had a broken top joint, and the third quiver tip broken. I’m sure A.D will sort it out, but they want pictures, proof of purchase and account numbers. Trust has gone completely sadly. I actually remember the ex-owner buying Johns Tackle Den in Norwich, adding it to his growing empire. That must be over 30 years of dealing with the same company?

I wanted a little bomb rod for the winter and those days you want to use very fine tackle. The fabulous Trip-cast feeder is rated for 50 grams, I wanted something much lighter in truth. With a main line of maybe 4 or 5lb and a 2-3lb hook-link. Something that would throw a 20-25 gram feeder with the smallest amount of bait in it.

So regarding Hallcroft I’m going to give it another week, just to see if it gets any warmer, and fish other commercials nearer home. That way I’ll know when the carp start moving and feeding.

poignant little video for spring fishing on commercials, enjoy guys.

Proper fishing is back again.

This was really my start, the first day in a long line of many I hope to take this year. Off to a little commercial water half an hour from home, with pellets, corn, maggots (dead) and a lot of hope. It was cold but I set up in the full sunshine. On plumbing up, I found 4′ dropping off to around 5′–6′ foot around 6 meters out. I cupped in a small amount of 2 m soaked pellets and some corn, enough but not too much. 

The fact I bumped the first amount at my feet in shallow water showed me just how much bait it really was. So I switched to half amount (its amazing the spread of two mms and corn in even shallow water.) Set up the Acolyte Pole with a 4×12 strung out shot  (5X10) and pulled the float up the little shelf so it just cocked, showing me the tinniest amount of red tip. I fished a 4 ml expander then corn, as soon as I changed to corn, the tip buried and a nice little 6lb mirror pulled the elastic nicely out.  About and hour later I changed to a soft pellet again, and had another little mirror about 5lb, but this time in 3/4 foot of water but in the margins beside me. It was getting warm so I thought they must be on the move now? I dropped in a nice little amount of groundbait and soft pellets and sat back to enjoy the sun and a nice coffee and chocolate cake, the daughter had made for me. 

Something to try in a few weeks time maybe, Steve Ringer give us idea’s.

The water in this little commercial is coloured naturally with all the rain, but I’m convinced the water had coloured up a little more, where the groundbait had been put in. I replaced the float after pulling it down a little, and then pulled it into the bank to settle. I could see the number 10s set one by one then stop, I’d made the tip black with a maker pen now, as the sun was really warm and bright. It shot away with the confirming bow wave that often happens in shallow water. Sadly the fish bent the hook out of shape, and was gone. Operator error, in trying to fish too light, it was a B911 standard on a 6lb bottom, normally it would be a Guru QM1. 

The bailiff informed me I was the only one to catch any proper carp, even the guys with a two rod set up and singing alarms had blanked. 

Cracking day, I was happy with just two fish. My depression lifted and all was right with the world. On packing up I’m sure a little frost was starting to settle, and I had the heater on full blast all the way home. My afterthoughts at home made me think the fish might have moved back, or off the bottom. Maybe I missed a trick, and should have tried up in the water, and followed the fish out into deeper water?

First trip for a while!

Had a short 4/5 hour session at my local commercial this week. Its still really bloody cold, too cold for me, but decent clothing did help I must say.

I set up a Drennan pre-loaded 2 gram waggler float, in about 6′ of water. There was a mist over the water that lingered all day. The type of weather that makes you think it’s drizzling. The rod was a new one to me, and one I’d brought just for this type of fishing, still-water silver fishing. The Preston Corbonactive Supera 3-10 gram 13′ model. I’ve been after a fast tip silver rod for ages, but always thought the Daiwa team X was as good as they get. But after breaking it recently I felt I did need to replace it. It was not mega money, but not cheap at £150, however it turns out to be a little gem, it tippy, fast and picks up line with aplomb. When you hook a small fish, you feel it in the hand under the cork. Its light ,so sits on your knee when fishing, and has that flat part in the cork that stops it from rolling off when you’re waiting for a bite. I love it, and would recommend it for anyone after a 13′ light float rod.

Feeding caster over the top very sparingly, and fishing a slow sinking caster on a size 16s brought me the only 3 bites of the day. I did try on the bottom but had nothing, I think the roach may have been feeding off bottom, but hay some days you catch, and others?

Towards the days end I tried a pellet on the pole close in. I hooked something that may have been a carp, but my elastic was set too soft, and the hook didn’t set. My feed were frozen as I set off home for tea and something to eat. In the car the heating was on full blast, getting those feet warmed up.

It needs to warm up a little before the next trip, but was happy I went, a fishing day is never wasted is it?

I love this young lady, she’s the daughter every fishing Dad would hope for. See her fishing on You-Tube, she’s also very good! Maybe I’ll give pellets a go on my next trip?

One rod to rule them all. Part 2.

So onto the new 15′ stick float rod I brought recently. Its a Tri-cast from the Allerton premier range, and it was designed primarily for fishing the Trent with very fine hook-links and hooks. John Allerton was a top match angler in his day, and mostly fished open matches to top up his income. He was very good at it too. He believed that fishing ultra fine tackle brought you more bites, you cannot argue with his long winning record.

Gem of a rod for those that love float fishing in moving water.

The rod; Well first off its a little heavier and thicker than the Drennan Acolyte range, but it also feels to have a bit more substance to it. My gripe with the Acolyte was simply, I did not like the soft action of the Ultra, compared to the Ultra this is quick, fast even, and picks up line with great authority at range. You honestly don’t feel the extra weight after a few minutes (as one forum expect suggested) its very well balanced. This one is 15′ so you expect some wrist ache after a few hours, but not for me, and I’m getting weaker, not stronger at my age! Hook a 2 ounce dace and you fell it right through the rod, but my friends have had carp to 10lb and barbel too, and the rod can cope well, if you use its middle section to your advantage. However it’s not a big fish rod, more a wonderful silver rod that will cope with the odd specimen fish.

I’ve since changed to a magnesium framed reel. It’s a better match and a touch lighter.

Dave Roberts uses one (several in fact in all lengths) on the Wye for almost all his roach and chub fishing. He said if John Allerton could see how he treats his, he would look in horror. I guess that’s the fact Dave uses his for Bolo and heavy waggler work, as well as the fine stuff. It really is a great rod, the spliced tip is so well integrated, you simply don’t know its there until you need it adding speed to the strike or fish playing.


Paying all that money for one rod is rather a subjective thing. I made myself afford it by selling off some tackle I don’t use, so yes, very well worth it as trotting and float work is the mainstay of my fishing. I’m awaiting some winter rain to take the clarity out of the Trent, so I can really set it through its paces. Please ask me any questions if you looking to buy one, happy to help as others did for me. Its worth mentioning Tri-cast seem to make these almost to order, almost. Like 3/4 maybe at a time, so if buying, shop around. Discounts are very rare, you will pay £300+ for this gem of a rod.

Small Changes!

I mentioned in my last post how chronic arthritis is going to change how I fish, and for what. The change won’t be too dramatic, but it will be a little different. For the rest of the winter I’ll be on the two little commercials fishing for roach, with the hope for some over the pound size. Both allow me to get the car close and fish comfortably with my box with a backrest. Summer time I will be chasing those big carp on the large commercial, with the odd Trent trip where I can park behind the peg. Currently the Trent is flooded, as I expect many of the rivers in Britain are. I feel so sorry for all those poor people having to move out of their homes, it must be devastating. Fishing wise, once it drops a little the fishing could be good, and I’m owed a few good fish, as you all know I’ve paid my dues on the Trent.

So I’ve replaced my broken Daiwa rod with a Preston Supera Carbonactive 13′ light action. With me doing more commercial winter fishing, I simply had to have a replacement. Its not arrived yet, but once it has, I’ll feedback what I feel about it. I’m hoping it will be a rod I can use light tippets and fine hooks?

Des with the very same rod I’ve just brought, look at the nice fast tip action when he strikes.

I’m beginning to see more benefits in fishing the commercial waters as age and health creeps upon us. The car is safe, your tackle can be kept dry on wet days, (only take out what you need) and you can take a bit more gear than if having to walk about and carry it. But I suppose the big point is, you mostly catch something. These places are so well stocked, its nigh impossible not to get a few bites even on the most difficult of days.

Lock down has happened again guys, and we are all locked in for 7 weeks, can we survive? I’ll try and take a nostalgic look back at some more of my fishing diaries and keep you entertained/