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.
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!!
Well it looks nice out doesn’t it! Tomorrow can’t come quick enough!
My plan started off with the idea of going after some tench but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Mostly because I’m not going to get to where I’m going till they’ve most likely gone off the feed and I won’t be able to stay till dusk. So really trying to focus on them might be a waste of bait, which is a waste of money and time.
So what to do? Well where I’m going allows surface fishing, which I love, so why not aye! So the plan now is to make up a bit of groundbait and use that to feed the margin. Putting in a decent amount on arrival but nothing drastic in the hope of bringing in some fish and then feed over this with sweetcorn. While they are building some feeding confidence I plan to target any patrolling surface carp. Look at the weather; they’ve got to be coming up on the surface right!
My thinking in doing this is that I can keep an eye on the margin swim, looking for swirls and other signs of feeding. I’ll keep a rod set up with a small dumpy float that I can use to drop bait in with a bulk shot pattern causing minimal disturbance and hopefully land a nice fish. For hook baits I’m thinking sweetcorn, meat and paste. Nice visual and smelly baits that will carry instant attraction.
The floater approach is self explanatory really; if you can see em, then you can catch em! It’s low hanging fruit so why not capitalize on that when time is limited. That and I bagged a bargain on some secondhand controller floats, got to love a bargain! Going back to my aims for the Spring & Summer, one of which is a 20lb carp off the surface; well this place has 34lb fish so it’s possible. That and I watched the legend that is Matt Hayes land a 37lb beast off the surface and that’s all I can think of now!
As for set ups, simple really. I’ve got 3 rods in my bag and don’t think I need to take anything else. I’ve got my 1.25 test Avon and my 1.75 test barbel rod, both of which have specimen and quiver sections so they can handle both methods I’m looking to do; on top of that I have my 13ft float rod that so far can handle pretty much anything I throw at it.
So for the float rod; it’s simple really as I’m going in the margin I want the float to be small and buoyant to be able to stand up to the action below it but also so that it doesn’t dive deep and spook the fish. This I’ll set up to start off with on a bulk shot pattern to get it down fast as I think they’ll be eating heavy; if that doesn’t work then I’ll try a pattern to allow a more wafted approach to the bait settling. I’ll start with a size 18 and go up if I need to; I’m all about using the smallest hook possible. This will as with most of my fishing be a Kasman Animal hook.
For the floater set up, even simpler than above! I’ll have the main line straight through to a 16 or 18 hook, the size will depend on the size of the fish that I’m catching. There’ll then be a controller float attached with a clip swivel to allow a fast change if they go longer or come closer etc locked in place with float stops and beads. Nothing fancy here!
So it might not be that warm out but the sun is shinning and it’s got me thinking; what do I want to achieve this Spring and Summer?
Last Spring & Summer I wanted to catch some Barbel, I managed to do that; only landing two but still it was a nice start to river and Barbel fishing in general. This time around I’m going to try and be a bit more ambitious. Obviously as I write this the rivers are closed which puts any plans for Barbel or Chub on hold for now. So with that in mind what to aim for!
The way I see it I have two main avenues to go down, first of all I live very close to the canal, a canal I’ve had good success from in the past; secondly I live quite close to 3 lakes that again have all produced well in the past. So the way I see it, in the week I can focus on tracking down more 2lb plus perch and on the weekend I can focus on other species.
The chasing down of a Perch will be the easiest to get to do, I leave my lure rods set up all the time so I can grab and go. The hard part is getting them on the hook! As I see it I have two ways to go about this, pre bait a swim that I know holds fish and the other track them down by walking miles. I think that combining these two will work well. The plan is fairly simple; there is a spot just down the road that I have caught all manner of fish from including decent Perch. It has reacted well to the introduction of lose bait when float fishing; so my idea is when I go fishing on a weekend, any leftover bait goes in there. I never have much left so it won’t be loads and if I vary the times I introduce it they won’t get used to a pattern. So with this being so close to the house my plan is to get on my bike and ride out as far as it will take me to get back to the pre baited spot in time for last light, as we all know it’s the best time to catch all types of fish. This I hope will allow me to cover lots of ground but then have a spot that has been built up, the beauty of it being the canal is that to a degree the fish stay in the section they’re in and the pre baited one is in a smallish sections so not far for them to go to find the food.
So now for the lakes, I have a few things I’d like to achieve. The first and most pressing in my mind is to get among some nice Tench. It has been years since I’ve even caught one let alone seen one. This must change. I now have an ideal set up in an Avon and slightly stronger Barbel Avon rod, the only thing I need now are a couple of bait alarms. Luckily two of the local lakes hold nice Tench and both offer night fishing so I’m confident given the right approach I stand a good chance in achieving this.
The next thing I want to do is catch a 20lb carp off the surface, as I said in my last post; surface fishing is my favorite way to catch carp and a 20lb one off the surface would be amazing! This is going to be a bit harder, the lake I was on, on Monday holds very nice fish but is there a 20lb fish? That I’m not too sure of. The other issue is that the other two local lakes don’t allow surface fishing! So I may be forced to do a bit of searching to find a suitable venue but after all that’s part of the fun!
My final desire over the Spring & Summer or at the very least in the time before the river opens back up is to tie down my feeder fishing to help when I do get back on the river. Feeder fishing is not new to me but on lakes is probably my most under used method of fishing. I’ve focused a lot on it over the winter and while I’ve not had the best of winters I do certainly feel that I’m getting there with it.
It’s good to have a plan it keeps you focused and motivated, don’t get me wrong I’m not going to go fishing every session with the idea I MUST catch this fish. However I am certainly going to set aside some definite sessions to try and achieve these goals. While I do I will write up the tactics etc I use to let people know what’s working and what’s not!
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:
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:
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:
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:
Margin carp from Ben
One of Ben’s carp
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!!
It can be really expensive to buy, it can be confusing with there being so many to choose from, how do you make a choice of what is right for you without wasting money in the process?
Well for me I don’t bother with store bought groundbait; it has it’s places, if I’m in a rush or going last minute having a bag of ready made is great but if I have the time I make it myself. It’s simple and I find it very rewarding to catch on something I’ve made myself.
I make groundbait up with what I’m using it for in mind. Do I want a groundbait that is going to cloud through the water and help me catch up in the water and on the drop or do I want something that is going to sink and break down slower forcing the fish down to the bottom? It totally depends on the situation I find myself faced with on the day.
The groundbait I made up for my last session needed to fill a duel role. I wanted it to work on the method feeder but also work as normal groundbait.
So what to put in it? I needed it to be able to stick to the method feeder in flight and while falling through the water but I also wanted it to be able to break apart once the fish found it and started feeding.
To solve this problem I raided my partners parents house of their leftover bits of cereals. I collected together some bran flakes, shredded wheat and rice crispies. The reason being is that they should to my mind all give off malty sweet smells, they should be sticky when dampened down and finally when bits do break off some might float up etc. Especially with the rice crispies, they floated about and could be seen rising through the water on introducing the bait.
The full list of what went in:
1 loaf of white bread
750g bran flakes
300g shredded wheat
400g rice crispies
3 to 4 large handfuls of fish meal pellets
2 large tins of sweetcorn
1 sachet of custard powder
To make this up you’ll need to the following things:
Somewhere cool and dark to store over night
This could not be simpler:
Add the bread to the processor, I blitz up 4 -5 pieces at a time. I made this into a fairly fine crumb. Empty this into the bucket as you go.
Add the bran flakes to the processor. Again I blitzed this to a fine powder. Empty this into the bucket as you go.
Add the shredded wheat to the processor. This I did in varying consistences, some fine some more course. Add this to the bucket as you go.
Add half the rice crispies to the processor and blitz to a powder and add to the bucket; the other half add straight to the bucket.
Add the fishmeal pellets to the processor. I made these into varying sizes, some powdered up totally with other bits around 2mm to 4mm.
Once these had all been blitzed etc and added to the bucket I added the custard powder and mixed thoroughly.
Then I blitzed the corn, I left it fairly chunky. This was then mixed into the bucket.
This was then covered over with cling film and left to stand over night.
Mixing it up on the day, for the method I made a fairly damp mix to get it to stick to the feeder. For close in work I left it a little bit drier to help it break down quicker.
The mix ready for water
Ready for a close up?
The final mix will have a very malty sweet smell to. I’m not going to lie it smelt almost good enough to eat!!!
The groundbait was easy to use close in and with the water only being 3-3 1/2 feet deep I could see a nice cloud form as the bait went in. It wasn’t a thick cloud so most of the bait went down to the bottom but there certainly was a trail left in the water. The rice crispies worked great with some staying on the surface when the bait went in and other rising to the surface after a while.
I’m sure this helped in catching me some of the lovely rudd I had out on this session. As I’m sure you know they tend to eat up in the water, so I think that the rice crispies breaking off on the way down and coming to the surface may of helped bring them onto the feed.
As for the method feeder I’m not too sure what conclusions to draw. It stuck to the feeder well, I was able to cast easily and at distance as well, so no issues there. As for fish; I caught four in total with a number of bites missed. However it really wasn’t brilliant to be totally honest. Not sure why, it may have been the groundbait, however the fish had only just spawned last week (the carp at least) so it may of been that, I really don’t have an answer.
What I may do is add more fishmeal to the mix; this may help pull the fish to the feeder I think.
So overall brilliant in close, I caught rudd, roach, perch, bream and carp over this groundbait. On the method feeder it kind of didn’t work as well as I hoped it would.
Spicy sweetcorn & curried luncheon meat
Another thing I tried out on my last session was adding some spice to the fishes diet.
Nothing difficult to this at all. For the sweetcorn I got some dried chili flakes and added them to a food bag and then dumped the sweetcorn juice and all in there as well. A good shake up and it went into the fridge. For the meat I cut it up into hook size cubes, again I grabbed a food bag, to that I added some medium curry powder and then added the meat. I gave the bag a good shake and made sure there was a fairly thick crust of spice on the meat and the put it in the fridge.
Did it work?
Well the sweetcorn seemed to work wonders as free offerings, the fish seemed to go crazy for it. Strangely though I didn’t get much on the hook with it though. That really made no difference though as they came onto the feed with force when I added it to the swim.
The meat, what can I say about the meat!? Did it work? You bet it did! At one point I’d used 10 pieces of meat for 10 fish inc some lovely rudd and bream. The bites came almost instantly and I caught on it throughout the day. With it producing some nice carp later in the day as they finally came into the margins.
So folks that’s how I did it and on the whole it worked well. I love making my own bait. It’s cheap which is great but also making it yourself and knowing it works is a great felling of accomplishment.
I feel more connected to what I’m doing knowing I made the bait that caught that fish. It doesn’t take a lot of knowledge to do and it saves you money, which in the long run might mean more fishing which can only be a good thing.
Hey folks, what a horrid week on the weather front that was!!
I got out Wednesday and Friday this week. When I did manage to get set up I had all of 15 minutes before the heavens opened on both occasions!
So not much to report from those adventures I’m afraid. Well apart from the arrival of my new split cane rod!! What a beauty she is, I went out with it to do a quick jigging session for perch; only to be bitten off by a pike. The section of the canal isn’t noted for its pike. Next day I took it back down the canal, this time armed with some red maggots and an insert waggler. No thanks to the rain I had a good little session; culminating with a lovely little eel that put the rod through it’s paces.
The rod itself is brilliant, light as a feather, wonderfully balanced with a great overall action to it. Smooth but with backbone. I can’t wait to take it down the river hunting for giant perch!!
So that was really all I managed in the week; the rain really kicked me about to be honest. I have waterproofs but when it’s sunny you don’t think you’ll need them!!
Fast forward to Monday, Monday was a good day!!
I went to the absolutely fantastic Evesbatch Fishery; what a place it is. Set in the grounds of land that used to be owned by the Cadbury family I think; the two lakes are really beautiful. It really is in the middle of no where; a couple of cars were the extent of the noise I heard apart from birds. There are two lakes, Bottom and Top. We fished the bottom lake, this was me, my Dad and my regular partner in crime Ben.
This lake is amazing, lily pads in most swims. With the swims themselves being fairly easy to get to. They are easier on the left as you look at the lake from the car park but nothing too difficult at all. It offers something for everyone. With the lily pads and other margin features offering great opportunities close in. It’s also easy to cast a feeder or other another type of rig out to the middle in most of the swims also meaning that if you wanted to fish the pellet waggler or any number of other methods you can.
Where to fish?
I found a nice spot with lily pads covering the left of the swim and an old tree to the right; the tree was half in the water. The spot also allowed me to cast out the the middle. I had already decided before arriving that I was going to fish close in on the waggler and also set up a method feeder.
I decided to make up my own groundbait as I find it cheaper and more satisfying to do this. I’m in the process of putting together something about this mix as it’s a bit different to my normal mixes.
I decided waggler and method feeder as I feel it gives me versatility. I can fish either close in or mid distance on either and then the method if I need to go distance. So it really does give me the chance to target fish in a variety of locations and depths.
For the float set up I went with a 13ft waggler rod, normal match size reel with 6llb main line going to a 6llb thin diameter fluorocarbon hook link. I normally use 4llb for waggler fishing with smaller hook link. However I knew that there are some large carp in the lake and with fishing so close to the lily pads I wanted something I could bully the fish with if I really needed to.
On the business end I tied a size 16 Kasman Animal hook onto 6llb fluorocarbon hook link of about 12-14 inches. I tied this without any hair rig. With not knowing what was going to be in the swim I wanted to kick off with maggots and go through the baits to be able to test for different fish. So a hair rig was not going to be needed. The float was a straight waggler of 3 1/2bb weight. Small but great at showing tentative bites and also bites that just shoot under. The depth was only 3 to 3 1/2 foot at the most so I really didn’t need anything bigger. I fished this on the bottom with a small weight about 12 inches from the hook to help get the bait down to the fish.
The method feeder set up was simple. Medium to heavy feeder rod with a bait runner reel with 8llb main line with an 8llb hook link. The method feeder was a 10g flat model (I got it free with Angling Time; thanks for that!). The hook link was 3 inches at the most with a size 16 hook tied on with a short hair rig with a pellet band attached.
Rain on arrival
Not that you’d expect anything else really with last weeks weather! When we got there it was hammering it down; still this was expected before we got the and hopes were high.
When I got there I put in 3 fairly large balls of groundbait into the lily pad swim to the left and catapulted a mix of sweetcorn and fishmeal pellets out to the middle where I planned to put the method feeder.
The first rod I set up was the method. There’s three reasons for this really a) I find it a lot easier to set up b) once it’s out it’s a lot easier to keep an eye on than a float c) I find it easy to cast this out while setting another rod up than anything else so this allows me to feed both lines easier from the beginning.
So while casting the method feeder out every 5 minutes I set the float rod up. I cast every 5 minutes for about an hour to build up the swim reducing it down to every 10-15 after this unless the fish are feeding heavily. I made sure to keep the feed going into the lily pad swim as well, I did this every other cast of the feeder. This was little and often with maggots, every third offering of bait was a small walnut sized ball of groundbait.
After approx an hour on the method I’d had no fish; a couple of bites and knocks but nothing to show for it. There were signs of fish in the lily pads so I decided to go onto the float.
To test the swim I put some maggots on and it didn’t take long before I had a bite. The first few out were tiny roach and a couple of perch.
Let the games begin!
I kept catching roach and perch for another 20 minutes. I decided to put some chili sweetcorn I’d made up in as free offerings. I kept maggot as hook bait, the next fish out was a beautiful rudd of about a pound and a half. This was followed by two more of these stunning fish.
The sweetcorn really seemed to kick the fish into feeding mode. I decided as there seemed to be bigger fish about I’d switch hook bait. I moved onto curried luncheon meat . This really worked wonders, I had a run of another 3 large rudd, 6 bream with a couple to at least 5llb, some large roach to 1llb maybe bigger and some nice perch. I would have loved to get some photos of these but it was just way too wet and the wind was into my face making it really hard to do much other than fish.
Is that the sun? I think it’s the sun!!!
Finally after about 4 hours the sun came out! It went from wind and rain to bright blue sky and sunshine in about 10 minutes.
After the curried meat run the fishing slacked off on the float swim. So I went back to the method feeder. I pulled the casting range back in a bit, I had been on about 25 to 30 meters out but now I was about 15 to 20. I’d seen a few fish crease the surface and some carp cruising about so I was hopeful of catching. I put some groundbait out to the spot I was hitting and cast out; for half an hour I cast every 2-5 minutes to help build the swim. I used an 8mm fish meal pellet throughout the day on the method. I had 4 fish on this in about 2 hours. While doing this I kept the feed going into the lily pad swim. The fish were a nice roach and 3 small bream. I had hoped this might have got me one or two carp but still I can’t complain.
In search of bronze & gold
So it was back to the lily pads.
I moved back to the float swim as there were now some bigger swirls where I’d been putting bait in. It was around 4-5pm. So normal backing up time for a lot anglers and as with most carp they knew this. I went straight back with the curried meat; I had another few bream and another couple of nice rudd.
I wanted a carp though and they were there I could tell. Patience was needed. I kept a steady stream of bait going in to make sure I didn’t lose their interest. My patience was finally rewarded with this beautiful fish.
It fought like a fish twice it’s size. I only managed to get its head up once before it went into the net.
Things went a bit quiet after this, the fish did make a fair bit of disturbance so I wasn’t surprised. I thought about switching to the feeder and letting the fish come back on the feed. I didn’t though and chose to just change back to maggots on the hook. This worked in keeping me catching while doing this I started to put largish handfuls of bait in quite tight to the margin at around 6pm. I wanted the fish to get the feel of someone leaving and throwing their leftover bait in.
This worked well. Within a couple of handfuls; so about half an hour the carp had moved in. I put some lose meat offerings in and dropped in my curried meat. BANG I was in. A nice mirror of about 5llb came into the net. This scared the fish off a bit as it really was crash bang wallop. So a few more large handfuls went in; one thing to note is I like to throw it in with a bit of force. The carp are used to this type of noise on lakes this time of day, so I see this as a way to tell them grubs up. Almost like ringing the dinner bell.
I did the same thing; let the carp feed while I fished a bit further out on maggots. After 15 – 20 minutes I dropped some meat in on the float. In fact it was my last piece of hook bait left; I watched, the float dance and then it went under. I hooked into it but it had other ideas and made a dash for the lily pads. I managed to keep it on for a minute maybe two before a combination of its dogged determination and the lily pads snapped my line!
What a way to end a brilliant days fishing. My Dad had lots of fish as well including three carp over 5llb. Ben had a good mixed bag including roach, rudd, perch, crucian carp and some nice sized bream.
Evesbatch really is a wonderful place to fish, I highly recommend it! I’ll be writing up some details on the groundbait I made and also the sweetcorn and meat I made up so stay tuned!