What a lovely day Sunday was!

What a great day on the bank.

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As I mentioned in my last post, things have been a bit up in the air personally with family things so I haven’t been able to do much fishing.

I did get out Sunday though and I went to one of my favorite places locally; Leigh Sinton, located roughly 15 to 20 minutes from Worcester. It was a great day, started off right with a great bacon & black pudding sandwich made by Pam from the onsite cafe. The sun was out and there was a nice breeze taking the edge off the heat. There were plenty of carp cruising about as well as large shoals of roach and perch, all of which you could see fin perfect due to the water being gin clear; a wonderful change to most commercials.

There was nothing at all fancy about the way I fished. I used a two rod approach, targeting a reed bed to my right with a running leger rig and the margin just in front of me on the float.

The leger rig was simple, 1oz weight running above approx 20cm fluorocarbon hook link with a hair rigged size 16 with a boilie on there. The float rig was a small buoyant float straight through to a size 16 hook with a 1 inch cube of meat.

The leger rig was out for any bonus patrolling fish, my main area of concentration was the margin in front of me. I fished about a meter out, as there were lots of weeds I kept my bait to a clear patch just out in front of me. I put down a large amount of corn, hemp & chick peas along with a smaller amount of meat.

It didn’t take long for the carp to find the food, guided in by the feeding activity of the large shoal of roach. I hooked up into my first fish and it shot off, taking my by surprise a bit and in doing so it took a load of line and eventually it snapped me. Gutting, yes but still very encouraging at the same time.

This prompted me to switch to stronger line and also to get rid of the float. The reason for this was that I could see them taking the bait and the fact that I was fishing in about 2-3 foot of water the float was getting in the way and spooking the feeding fish. So again it was straight through to a size 16 but with a AAA weight about 15cm from the hook. This got the bait down quickly but still allowed a bit of a wafting action in case they wanted to take it on the drop and also allowed me to move it around a lot easier under the water.

From there it was a case of keep topping up the bait and waiting for them to come in and feed. It didn’t take long to hook into and land a nice 10lb carp, soon followed by a beauty of a 13lb and then an 8lb. After losing the first I then lost another on the leger rig on a crab boilie and finally I then lost my last fish of the day in a reed bed. I think the last one must of been at least over 13lb. All of these fish fought like crazy and kept me on my toes,  they were all beautiful with the first fish being a deep, deep bronze and gold.

Without a doubt it was my best session of the year so far, the fact that I had at one point 15-18 double figure fish in front of me, along with a huge shoal of roach; all of which you could see the scales on through the water just made it all the more special. It was literally like fishing in a huge aquarium, but it was still a challenge. In fact it was nerve shredding at points; I was there, sitting on my hands, not breathing and just waiting and hoping that my cube of meat would be taken so that I could see one of those beautiful slabs of gold in the flesh. It really was a day that will live long in the memory and after the testing month I’ve had it reminded me just how much fishing can help to reset all that is wrong or what seems to be wrong. Whether it’s the solitude, being among nature or just the slowing down of life. It really helps me in taking stock of what matters in life and what is needed to be happy in life. It also helps to land a few nice fish as well though.

So finally I’ve got over the hump of mediocre sessions and bagged some beauties.

Until next time; tight lines

Sam

So that was the weekend.

Well my plan was simple, attack the margins and try to get them on the surface out in front. Did it work, not really but I kept at it! I’m a bit baffled really, both last Sunday and the Sunday before were some of the hardest fishing I’ve done on commercials in a long time. They just didn’t want to seem to feed.

The venue I was at is lovely, very secluded with great looking lakes that have tree lined banks with a bit of a wooded area around the lakes. So the setting was great and the fishing looked like it could be awesome and I am sure that it can be. As someone on a booked lake had a 25lb, 28lb and 30lb carp; so it must be good at times.

On arrival I looked around and saw definite signs of feeding the margins, so I baited up with some groundbait and sweetcorn; looking out over the lake there was nothing showing on the surface. So I set up a small 3BB float set up with bulk shot pattern and also a controller float. I did this far away from the bank so as not to spook any fish in the margins.

Once set up I dropped my bait in the margin and waited and waited. I kept the feed going in, little bits nothing too crazy with a ball of groundbait about the size of a golf ball every 30-45 minutes. I changed depths, shot patterns, baits in short, I did everything I could think of to get them going but nothing seemed to work.

While doing this I kept sending about 4 floaters out into the middle to coax them up onto the feed, in my swim there was a nice large patch of lilies out in front to the right. So I was putting them in just off of the lilies with the wind blowing them into there. It took a long time but around 4pm they started appearing. So I took in the margin set up as it was going no where and started putting the floater set up out. It took a few casts to get the feel for the distance but once I had I was putting the bait just off the lilies.

An hour passed with no real interest in my bait, they were up but they are canny fish at this venue. They stuck hard to the middle of the lilies, so I increased the free offerings on the edge and made more casts. My logic being that the noise might draw in some inquisitive fish. It did the trick, I started getting a couple coming up around the bait, again the fish showed that they knew the game being played, eyeing up the bait and not taking it. Now we all have our opinions on the intelligence of fish,  but these carp were very clued up; it defiantly seemed to me like a pressured water for this style of fishing. What I mean is I think they have seen this tactic so many times that they weren’t going to be fooled twice.

So what to do, how to get around this was a difficult prospect. I don’t like using bread any more for floating bait; it comes off too easy at distance and can quickly cover a lake due to this; which is not fair to anyone else fishing. So hiding the hook in there was out of the question, I needed to figure out how to hide the hook in a dog biscuit. One method I’d seen was to insert a BB weight in the opposite side to the hook; this flips the hook over and lays it on the surface. Sounds good but in reality it would be very easy to snag up on the lilies and what happens to the weight? Does the fish eat it, is that good for them; I don’t think it would be. So what I did was bury the hook inside the floater so that none of the hook was showing. It was a risk because the carp might just suck the floater off the hook leaving me with no fish; the floaters I’ve got though are very soft, so I was confident that I’d be able to hook one. The added bonus of this was I could cast into the lilies and carefully pull the bait into open patches of water inside the patch of  lilies. It was a dangerous tactic, it would very easy to get snagged but that’s where technique comes in when playing a fish.

So the trap was again set, slowly the carp started approaching my hook bait; weary at first but soon they were feeding confidently and I started to get close. I missed 3 or 4 fish, being at distance and not in open water it really played havoc with the self hooking properties of the floats I was using. So it was a case of timing it just right which at about 20 meters is not as easy as 5 meters. So on it went, until finally at around 6pm after being there from 10am (couldn’t make it any earlier, disgraceful I know) I finally hooked one. My back was already aching, so too was my shoulder from the constant casting to a far distance and this fish went off like a train! I’d hooked it tight in the middle of the lilies, so I kept the rod tip angled as far down as I could and pulled with the clutch set to the tightest it could go and then wound down and repeated. What I was trying to do was to keep the fish deep, my reasoning being that the lilies would get harder and thicker near the surface and would be soft and supple in deeper water. Therefore by keeping the rod tip low, almost in the water and pulling and winding in as I brought the rod back in front of me would bring the fish through the bottom of the lilies and be less likely to snag up and not be able to be brought out. Finally after a good 5 minute tussle it came free and into open water. It was still up for a scrap and took another 10 minutes to tame.

When it finally came in the poor thing was knakard, it was hooked in the corner of the mouth so I unhooked in the water to save it the stress of coming out onto the bank. I would have got some pictures but the poor thing was so tired that it wouldn’t have been fair to it to put it through that for pure vanity. I did quickly weigh it though in the net and taking the weight of the net off it came to 19 3/4lb of lovely common carp. By far my biggest fish of 2017 so far and agonizingly close to the 20lb mark I’m aiming for!! It was a lovely looking fish, one that in Autumn would have probably packed on a few more pounds as it was really long in the body with plenty of room to grown. On releasing it I held it there for a good 3-5 minutes before it got the power to swim off. Well fought my friend well fought!

So all in all it was a very good day, very hard going but one of those where persistence, patience and experimentation won the day. We all like a day where we bag up however those days where you battle for every bite and then get rewarded like I did are what fishing is all about. Figuring out what’s going on, what’s going to work and how to get among them is why I go fishing, if it was easy all the time I’d get bored.

So that was my Sunday session. With it being a Bank Holiday this weekend I might have a weekend off as that seems to be when the one day a year fishermen come out. I don’t mind a busy fishery but I don’t think I want the hassle. I might throw some lures about in the morning on Sunday, get up for dawn and go on the attack. I have found however a secret water, I can’t say anything about where, what it looks like or anything else right now as I’m under orders from the land owners to not tell anyone about it. They have however given me limited rights to fish it, meaning I can fish it but I can’t just rock up. It has to be prebooked, fine by me! The only thing I will say about it is that Mr Crabtree would jealous of me fishing this place!!

Tight Lines

Sam

 

It’s been a hard winter but Spring is here!

First session of Spring and what a cracker!!

Not posted for a while, mainly because I’ve had such a hard winter with the rod. I’ve been out lots, got frozen fingers and feet but nothing of merit to show for it.

I had one decent perch out the canal on my jig & dropshot set up but apart from that it’s been blank after blank after blank. So in the end I took a bit of a break; I needed to refresh and recharge ready for hitting it in Spring.

Well it worked a treat; well kind of. I went out on Sunday; what a glorious day! What a rubbish days fishing, not a bite. I mean not one, not a wobble not a knock; nothing! To say I was annoyed is a understatement; for me fishing is not about catching the biggest fish going, it’s about being there to see views like this:

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However when it’s such a nice day you kind of expect to at least land one, anything would have done but alas no!

I am blessed however to have a very understanding misses, so on Monday when we couldn’t think of anything to do I cheekily proposed that fishing might be fun. To my delight (& slight surprise) she was up for it. So away I ran to pack some gear; the plan was surface fishing as I know a lovely little lake that’s in the middle of nowhere where the fish love a dog biscuit! Given the weather over the weekend I thought Id be in with a chance.

So away we went; when we got to the venue it took all of two minutes for the carp to start showing on the surface. Now I’m man enough to admit when I make a mistake but I’m not sure I should admit to this one but here goes; I FORGOT THE HOOKS!! The most rookie of rookie errors right there! Luckily my regular fishing partner Ben lives not far away from the venue and he came to the rescue (thanks again mate!!).

The scene was set, lovely bit of sun, lambs doing what lambs do; farm cats all around, the misses was loving it!!! So the set up was simple, the pool isn’t big so I didn’t need a big controller float or anything. I actually used a Drennan Zepplin float; they are great for this as you can thread the line straight through and with a couple of large floats stops fasten it in place. So that went on and then at the business end a size 18 Animal hook. Now I of course was limited to what Ben had given me but given the choice I would have picked the same size hook. The bait was just some cheap dog biscuits; I hook them direct onto the hook through the corner. You can band them if you want but I find it to be way too fiddly and it takes too long and presentation is not any better in my opinion.

You might be sat there thinking a size 18, on the surface; are you mad! I might be, people certainly have thought so in the past but I’m sure I’m not. Think about how many times you’ve seen a poor old carp with a mangled mouth; what did it? I can bet you that it was someone using an oversized hook. Think about it do you need a size 10 hook if you’re going after carp where the max size is going is the 20lb max? I don’t think you do. Now with surface fishing where there is no water to take the force out of any strike just think what a large hook can do to a carps mouth! So yeah a strong size 18 will see you fine; of course if you’re going after bigger fish; scale it up but in my opinion always, always, always use the smallest hook possible! Another thing I’ve seen people do while surface fishing is hitting the strike like they’re marlin fishing; again there is no water to take the sting out of the strike. Not only that I find with most if not all surface fishing that a hard strike is just not needed and is very dangerous to the fish (is it any surprise that a lot of places ban this style of fishing?); I find that most of my surface fishing is done within visual range. That means I can see the fish coming up and taking the bait, therefore I know which way the fish is going to turn it’s head as it goes back under. So with that all I do is lightly lift into the strike in the opposite direction the carp is going. This uses the carps momentum to hook them, in effect you tighten the slack and allow the fish to hook itself. There’s hardly any force involved at all, it is all about using the angles and the fishes movement to hook them, not power; as soon as the fish knows it’s hooked it will do the job of setting the hook as it bolts for the bottom all you need to do is hang on!

Enough of the technical stuff, lets show you the goods:

 

Well what a session it was, we were there for only about 4 hours but in that time Laura (my better half) managed to land her first ever fish and I managed to land 13 beauties. All of them put up a decent fight with the biggest being around 10lb. All taken off the surface; it’s hands down my favorite way to catch carp. There’s nothing quite like watching a carp saunter over to your floaters and slowly mouth your hook bait, hold, hold and bang fish on! The way they tear off, the fight is always more wham bam thank you Mam even if it’s a small fish. It truly is one of the most enjoyable was of fishing and all done at the start of April; can’t complain!!

This is my amazing and understanding partner Laura with her first ever fish:

d.jpgWell done baby!!!

So that’s it for me for now, it’s been a while, it’s been a horrible winter but hopefully Monday was an indication of a good Spring/Summer to come.

Tight Lines

Sam

A day of fun & carp

Great day of carp, carp and more carp!!

What a day!! What a wonderful, wonderful day of fishing!!

Me and Ben went out  to Leigh Sinton On Sunday 26th and had a cracker.

The prospects looked good, not too warm but not cold either with overcast skies.

We planned a two pronged approach of feeding a margin swim and hitting an island out to the front with feeder rigs (mainly method feeder). My swim had two large concrete aerators next to it to the left. So this is where I choose to feed the margins, about a meter out and 4-5 meters from the aerators.

We didn’t take any groundbait preferring to use pellets for this session for the majority of the lose feed. We had planned to fish elsewhere and they don’t allow groundbait, however they had lots of matches planned for that day so we decided to go elsewhere.

What’s the place like? 

Very nice, easy to find, well set out with plenty of room on the bank with the pegs being on the whole easy to get to. With most being suitable for kids, elderly or disabled anglers. The lakes are on a Christmas tree farm which is a bit of a novelty, so there are conifer trees for as far as you can see.

Tickets must be bought from the tackle shop or if that’s closed there is a machine which you can get a ticket from. If you don’t I believe there is surcharge for tickets issued on the bank. The tackle shop offers some great deals on bait and tackle including some second hand bargains;  with the exception of a varied float selection they have everything you need. Also there is a cafe on site offering some great sandwiches, full English breakfasts with the usual tea & coffee on offer as well. The people running the show are fantastic as well, very friendly with lots of helpful information on hand.

We fished Woodland pool, this is a smallish pool with a large island in the middle. This offered a variety of options for fishing. Suiting pole, waggler and feeder methods equally. The view is majestic as well, we fished facing the Malvern Hills which were silhouetted by large conifer trees. Not the most natural looking of lakes but the view made up for that.

The set up. 

I began by feeding the margin swim I had selected. I started with two large handfuls of 4mm fishmeal pellets followed by a couple of smaller handfuls of corn. I did this before setting anything else up so that the fish would be able to get their heads down undisturbed.

I set up a 4bb straight waggler, something that could stand up to being knocked about by feeding carp and not go under. I set this up on 6llb line (this is new line to me: Shimano Aero Match, I highly recommend it!) straight through to a size 16 Kasman Animal hook. With the aerators so close I needed power in the terminal tackle so I didn’t want to add a weak point in a knot joining a hook link to the main line. I fished this on the bottom, which was about 4 – 4 1/2 foot; the shotting pattern was mostly bulk at the float made up of 3bb’s and a no1 with then a no6 approx 12 inches from the hook to help get the bait down to the bottom.

I quickly set up the method feeder. Nothing fancy, 8lb main line down to a 10g flat feeder with a short 2 inch hair rig with a bait band tied to it the hook was a size 14, with the line being 8llb.

Let the fishing begin. 

I have a small confession to make; Corn, I didn’t used to be able to catch on this stuff. I don’t know why either. I always use it as lose feed but when I put it on the hook I never seemed to catch. So with this in mind I did a strange thing for me; at the start of the session I put corn on the hook. Something I never do, EVER!

I’m glad I did though! My first cast resulted in a nice 3llb carp. Following this I put more lose feed in, this time maggots, pellets and corn. I could see the water crease with activity, the float went back in and went under not long after. This time it was a lot bigger, in fact it smashed me into the aerators and that was that, time to set back up.

I was back in the water quickly, keeping faith in corn. This started a run of frustration that lasted for 30 to 45 minutes. I had no less than 8 fish on the hook, with all of them getting off before I could get them to the net. It has to be one of the worst runs I have had for a long time!! I believe it was all down to hook size. These fish were fighters and not too small either, really I should have upped the size of hook sooner but I didn’t. As soon as I went up to a 14 I landed this beauty:

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A lovely looking fish!

This beauty was landed on 3 maggots and it put up a wonderful battle!!

After this the rain rolled in but the fish kept coming; by this time I had switched to corn topped off with a couple of maggots. To keep up with the fish I was putting in lots of lose feed, every cast I put in either a handful of maggots, corn or pellets. While fighting a fish I was putting bait in. The reason for this was that they were going crackers for the lose feed. I could see tails out of the water; they really were in a feeding frenzy! I didn’t want to lose them by not feeding enough so I piled it in.

The fish kept coming thick and fast, with this mirror to 10llb being among them:

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Got to love a mirror carp!

Things died down in the margins in the early afternoon after lots of activity. This heralded a change in the wind as well; it turned from into our faces to almost sweeping down in front of us. This made it very hard to fish in the margin, well to float fish at all really. The float being blown all over the place and the conditions making it very hard to cast.

So I made the switch to the method feeder. I was using wetted down pellets to cover the feeder. On the hook I tried a few different baits including mini boilies, flouro barbell pop ups and normal fish meal pellets.

I had a number of knocks on this, hooking into a couple of fish but unfortunately they got off. The conditions made it very hard to see any bites with the wind knocking the rod about. I did manage one fish though, that being a small 4llb carp.

While on the method feeder I carried on feeding the margin in the hope the wind would die off. After a couple of hours it did, just in time as well as the fish were back and feeding.

I dropped back in and it didn’t take long till this beauty came along:

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What a fish & what a fighter!

Taken again on the combination of corn & maggot. The fish kept coming as well. The rain made it hard to be able to get photos but it really was none stop all day!!

How’d Ben do? 

He did great as well, his swim wasn’t as active as mine but he still managed to get a nice bag of carp on the bank along with some skimmers and roach.

Here’s some of his fish:

 

Was it a good day? 

Without a doubt this was one of the best days fishing I’ve had in a very long time. Every fish put up a great fight and despite the winds best efforts the fishing was fairly simple.

If I had landed every fish I hooked into and the same with Ben I think between us we would have topped 250llb as it was I think we ended up with around 180llb of carp on the bank. Not a bad day in anyone’s book on a wet and windy day!!

So if you get chance I highly recommend giving this place a try!!

Tight lines folks

Sam