Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Back in the game…

Well, it’s been over a year since I last wrote on here. I guess when your job is to write all day it takes a bit of effort to continue this is your own time. Anyhow, I’m back and looking forward to keeping you posted on my fishing exploits, especially as it seems I’m catching a few more fish nowadays (kiss of death there…)

For me pred season starts when the ‘rezzers’ open in early September and so far we’ve been out twice on Rutland. The place is full of zander so I’d strongly recommend getting a day booked and having a go. It’s a right laugh.

If you want to catch you will need a fish-finder. I was discussing with Steve Philips and Steve Collett and we think that if you drifted about without a fish-finder, with a bit of luck you might stumble upon 4/5 fish in a day. However with a fish spotter you can get silly numbers of Zeds…and I mean silly.
Typical Rutland zander. Special venue in 6/7 years.

First day out, myself and Mr Philips located an old pipe that was teeming with fish of all sizes. Either side of the pipe was desolate but if you could drop your softie in and around it it was harder not to catch. We ended up with 47 fish to the boat, a combination of mostly zander, a few pike and a perch.

Side-hooked with a big treble but she went home safe.
Mr Collett took the plunge to go out on a boat with me the second time around and we decided to go after the pike. Steve had one and I managed to catch an 8lb bream and a few zander. The bream was side hooked and felt just like a big girl for a few exciting minutes. One of the zeds was 7lb on the nose, which is the biggest I’ve had or seen by a few pounds. Has anyone had any bigger?

Thoughts now turn to the much tougher but ultimately more rewarding Grafham Water, which is being described to me as ‘proper fishing’ whatever that means…

Thursday, 3 May 2012

A fish, I can’t believe it, an actual fish

That's a tench, that is

I started fishing a new venue a month or so ago. I’ve known about it for a while but I always thought it was a club water, it wasn’t and I’m glad I’ve got myself down there. However after the first three trips I was beginning to wish I hadn’t!

I’d lost four fish and missed a number of runs. All these fish came from a spot I’d pre-baited, spending hours priming. Last night however was a complete fluke. I arrived at the lake about 7pm to find four anglers already fishing, one of them was in MY swim, how dare he.

I decided to fish the far bank next to Steve ‘blag master’ Philips, I’d had a bad day at work and it was late so I literally chucked one rod 20 yards out into ‘the trench’ and the other rod was flicked alongside the overhanging trees to my right. Both rods were fished with imitation maggots on the hook, ‘critically’ balanced apparently…

I sat in Steve’s peg talking about how lazy I was and that I didn’t have a chance of catching, whilst saying this, I could hear a strange fizzing noise coming from the direction of my rods. “Can’t be my reel.” I thought, “The alarm would be going off” We resumed our chat but after another 20 seconds or so the noise was still there so I went off to check, the bobbin’ was hugging my ‘trench’ rod and the clutch was going ‘sick’.

The line must have gone down the side of the roller. Any hows, I played this tench, which felt like a good one, for a solid five minutes, even managing to step into the water in my boat shoes (forgot my wellies). To my amazement it actually went into the landing mat, I had caught a fish! Maybe I’ll go on some sort of heroic run of catching fish now? Double after double? Maybe.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Summer fly-fishing for pike and zander

This summer I really want to stay away from the carp and have a go for the tench and bream, but something that really interests me is targeting the Anglian reservoirs for their pike and zander…on the fly.

I fished them a lot last Autumn and Winter with soft plastics catching some decent numbers of fish but I‘m thinking it might be fun on the fly this summer.

Does anyone have any tips? I know Rutland would be the best option for zander bites with Grafham producing the bigger fish. Do these reservoir zander wander into shallow water during the summer?


Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Kingsbury Water Park

With this mild weather taking a grip of the country it was a good time to get myself down to the local gravel pits at Kingsbury Water Park.
I decided to try out the ‘old’ specimen side as here was always good for a bite, even though I’ve never caught a fish over 12lbs from this side.

I took a lure rod and a float-fished deadbait rod. The idea was the chuck the deadbait out and fish lures around the area. First swim was right by the car park…I hate fishing ‘car park’ swims but this one always produces fish so I gave it a go, despite one bloke telling me, “you wont catch fish on dead fish mate, you need to use bait”.

Luckily I didn’t take his advice and soon my drifting roach was taken and a nice jack was soon in the net. More follows and lost fish came to the Eumer Pike fly (all jacks and one about 10lb). All the action came from this peg with nothing from all the other known spots.

Next day I was back but this time I made sure I fished spots that I hadn’t tried before. I decided to fish the 4-acre, horseshoe shaped lake. (furthest from the car park). A popped up herring tail was smashed out into the middle, which still had a thick carpet of weed on the bottom and the other rod was a float fished herring near some close-in snags. An hour passed and then the distance rod received a take, a spirited fight resulted in a scrapper double. Back out went the mackerel and 5 minutes later I had another take. This one felt bigger, it boiled at 40 yards and I could see it was a better fish…then it fell off…not having the best of look at the moment. I’m off to sharpen my hooks…

Monday, 13 February 2012

Two trips to the Wye

12lb 4oz

For the last few weeks the roads have been dodgy to say the least and my Fiesta’s not the best car for driving around the isolated roads near Ross-on-Wye. However, last week I decided to chance my arm and get myself out to a new stretch of the river after the pike.
The weather was cold and sunny when I arrived and the river was quite clear, there was a bit of colour to it and it had fallen about a foot from the week before.
'Hot' spot

Last week I had both my takes on a moving bait. I had an 18 take my deadbait seconds after I’d cast out then I lost a mid-double twitching a bait, so my plan was to make my baits a bit more mobile. I’d fish sink-and-draw style until I found some fish, then give it a go for a while with deads.
This stretch had plenty of overhanging trees and marginal slacks to have a go at and it wasn’t long before I had my first take. Smash. A pike came out from under my feet; nicked my dead roach as by trace came swinging back. Cheeky Bastard.
It didn’t feel the hooks so I gave the spot a good hour but she must have been happy with her breakfast and didn’t fancy seconds.
The last swim on the beat was class. It features a salmon croy and a massive area of slack water. A wobbled roach snared a jack first cast and the next cast a bigger fish of 12lb 4oz took a liking to my Rapala Shad Rap. It was then that the snow started to fall heavily and I wasn’t going to risk getting snowed in.

This Saturday I decided to get myself back down to the river and fish a different stretch – Courtfield – a stretch that has produced fish up to 38lb plus in the past.
The river was a bit coloured due to snowmelt so the conditions weren’t the best. I fished deads in various spots throughout the day to no avail. The last hour got real cold so I started chucking a Storm soft plastic about. I couldn’t believe it when everything went solid and the line arrowed out into the middle of the flow and a fair fish steamed off downstream.
17lb 4oz
Eventually I got the fish in close and, as I often do, left my net miles away up the bank. I never learn! As I leaned down to chin the sizable pike disaster struck, the lure pinged back. Now what happened next I wouldn’t recommend to anyone but I really didn’t want to see the fish swim off, I’d have been gutted. So I decided to slide down the bank into the water (waist high), grab the fish and scramble back up. Not sure how I did it to be fair, and after the buzz of weighing and taking a few pics subsided I was frozen, literally.

Monday, 30 January 2012

A trip to the Wye

With the price of bait, fishing permit and petrol, Sundays trip to the river Wye below Ross-on-Wye was an expensive affair but certainly worth it.
The stretch, set under the gaze of the historic Goodrich castle was picturesque to say the least and made all the money and effort well worthwhile.

18lb 4oz
I was after the resident pike but on arriving the river didn’t look at its best. It was coloured and running through at a fair old pace. However there were still some areas of slack water around overhanging bushes and trees – these were the areas I’d try to target.
Goodrich Castle

I thought I’d look to keep tactics as simple as possible and take as little tackle with me as I could. This meant no chair, no quiver and no brolly. I’d give each swim an hour and move on - hopefully this mobile approach would see me covering pike at some point.

I’d been reliably informed that herring was the ‘in-form’ bait so I made sure that my cooler bag was full of those, plus some mackerel tails and smelt.

I fished simple leger tactics, just flicking baits into likely looking holes and giving them an hour or so, tweaking them occasionally to provoke an attack.

I used light front bobbins to alert me of a drop-back and I opened up the bail-arm and held the line on the spool with some mud. I’m sure Blu-Tack or a piece of tape was a cleaner bet, but the soft nature of the mud meant that if I did get a take the line would fall off the spool smoothly and not cause the pike to feel any resistance.

State-of-the-art bite detection

After 4-5 hours and not a sign of a toothy pike I was beginning to lose confidence and all the usual doubts started to creep in to my mind - “Am I using the right bait?” “The river’s too coloured and high.”

However, the last peg of the beat looked like a banker. A massive area of slack water and loads of branches, bushes and trees littering the area. I cast in my herring bait close to one of these likely looking haunts, just off the main flow of the river. As I was playing about setting up the front bobbin line plucked out of my fingers - I had a bite!

I released the line from the clutches of the bobbin and opened up the bail arm, line began to peel from the spool as the fish moved away. I didn’t wait long before setting the hooks and the rod lurched over into a satisfying curve.

A short but spirited fight ensued and as I reached for my net I released it wasn’t there, looking round I saw it resting 20 yards back, next to my bag – brilliant. Anyway, I managed to cover myself in mud but eventually got the fish on the bank.

It went 18lb 4oz so it was worth the mud bath. Another fish of around 15lb was lost a little while later and then no more action. I’ve lost count of the amount of pike I’ve caught between 16lb and 19lb 15oz (I haven’t it’s 12) but hopefully a 20 will be on its way soon. The Wye is a stunning river and I’ll certainly be back.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Kick in the b*lls Kingsbury

For some reason I love to fish Kingsbury Water Park. Over the last 15 years fishing partners have lost interest, bored of countless blanks, but I’ve persisted, don’t ask me why but I keep going back for more punishment.

Still trying to master the art of self take photography, as you can see...

Last winter I fished it hard with lures, catching on most trips but luring nothing particularly of note (biggest fish was 12lb).

This season I decided to give it a go with deads. “This will single out the bigger fish,” I thought to myself. However after five trips and one pike of just under 10lbs to show for my efforts I was getting bored of fishing behind static rods. Yesterday I was again sitting there bored and miserable so I decided to break my lure curfew and flick a Eumer fly around, I wondered off to find a few likely looking spots and after a while I came across a deep bay, where I thought I saw a large fish boil on the surface. Maybe it was a grebe. Anyway the area looked promising so I gave it a bit of time. Suddenly, as I was wondering what to have for tea my rod bent around and I hit into a fish, the line immediately went slack as the fish began to swim towards me at quite a pace, I wound in quickly to try and regain some line and finally I felt some strong resistance down below. Wow, it felt like a bit of a lump. The fish was 10ft down and stayed at that depth as it powered off across the lake, slowly ticking line off of the spool - like big pike tend to do.
Eventually I clawed back a bit of ground and managed to get the, now evidently large, pike to the surface, it boiled and I managed to see a fair old portion of it’s flank. It was big. Over 20lb in my head. Then off it went again, ‘tick’ ‘tick’ went the spool, then ‘ping’ went the fly as it lost its footing in the pikes spiky jaws.

I was (still am) gutted. Hopefully the Wye can cheer me up tomorrow…