Fishing might need to take a back seat

At the moment I have quite a lot of family issues going on. So while I might be able to get to the bank it’s going to be purely for therapeutic reasons and not for anything else.

Hopefully things will be back to as normal as they can be soon and I can do some more focused fishing but for now I won’t be.

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Far too much to do!!

It’s been a while since I’ve had the time to write anything. Any spare time I have had I’ve tried to spend on the bank. So sorry for the delay in getting anything new up.

I’ve managed a few trips out of late, I’m going to do a brief write up here and go into more detail on method etc with other posts.

So first off was a trip to Caslte Green, Leigh Sinton; this is a single medium sized pool based on a farm. It’s a nice venue, fairly secluded and nice for a bit of peace and quiet.

There are lily pads either end of the pool with reeds covering the bottom bank. To begin with I fished the bank closest to the entrance. This has a nice patch of lilies and looked promising.

I tried everything but nothing seemed interested. I didn’t have any maggots but I think if I had I might have had more luck but only in catching small fish. One thing I did note while fishing this pool is the sheer amount of small fish there are. There were an absolute abundance of small fry & small fish, most of which I think were carp. This could be a good thing but I do wonder if the competition for food will stop or slow the growth of the larger fish and also the small ones.

After a few hours of fairly fruitless actions I decided to grab a loaf of bread and head down the bottom end. A lot of carp had been cruising about so I thought why not head down and give it a go.

Damn was I pleased I did; I moved at around 3 and had a fish almost every cast till 7pm. I lost count around 35 fish!!

I’m going to go through my set up for surface fishing and how I go about doing it. So keep a look out for that. This is one of my favorite forms of fishing but is being banned at more and more venues so I want explore it in a bit more depth.

The fishing really was insane, I had mostly 4-8llb’s with the biggest coming out to 11llb.

The following week I decided to give the Christmas Tree Farm, Leigh Sinton a go. I wasn’t up for a trek and fancied a bit of peace and quiet somewhere I knew I could catch.

Well I kind of made a mistake on that front. It was so windy!! The fishery is split, with three lakes near the entrance and then another three a short walk away down a hill. Well the bottom pools are not sheltered from wind; at all. This shouldn’t be a problem and wouldn’t have been had I been prepared for it.

First of all I hadn’t got a float that could deal with the literal waves I was faced with. So I though I’d put a feeder out with a bite alarm to get around the wind, only to find that my bite alarm was broken. Not a good start. So I retreated from the pool I’d started on (Click for more info on the pool I fished first) to a more sheltered pool. To be honest I don’t know what was going on but I didn’t have the best day. I had two lovely bream and a few decent roach  but that was all I could manage. I think the one thing that I can take from this session is fishing with slow sinking bread. Something I’ve never done to a great extent but had some joy on with the roach, this has given me a lot more confidence in using it again.

The last session I managed was at Woodland View. This is such a well kept and managed fishery. It’s not the most natural looking of fisheries but what it lacks in that it makes up for in being well kept both in terms of the fish and the general tidiness of the place. Also there is a very well stocked tackle shop with very helpful advice on hand if required. There is then a canteen (this was closed on my visit) and REAL TOILETS!! This doesn’t bother me but I know some who would find this a bonus!

We went on one of the hottest days of the year, possibly not the best day some might think. Well me and my Dad don’t let rain, snow, ice or the sun get in the way of fishing!! We set up with some puddle chucker floats with about 4 inches of line to a straight through hook and loaded the hook with some meat. Fishing mainly off sight we targeted the carp on the surface, casting further than they were and teasing the float toward them. This worked really well and we bagged up all day long. If there were no fish to be seen we simply cast out and put pellets out to bring in the fish. I guess this is pellet waggler fishing but with meat instead.

It really was hard going at times though; the heat was making me think I had bites when there was nothing, other times I missed bites due to not realising there was one. I think it’s worth saying that fishing in that type of heat does have some risks; SUN TAN CREAM is a must, can’t stress it enough. If you fish a lot you need to put the highest factor possible on, the last thing you want is cancer thanks to the hobby you love!! Also water, keep lots of water to hand; you don’t want to pass out on the drive home and crash. I know that all sounds a bit much but sometimes while fishing we forget the world around us. So plan a head and you’re less likely to forget!

So that’s it for me, I own a tattoo studio so this time of year is my busiest. So I will try and get to update the blog as much as I can; if I’m slack on it, it’s because I working or fishing! Keep an eye out for the posts on the methods I used in these sessions.

Tight Lines

Sam

Fish care on the bank

This is my personal view point on caring for fish while they’re on the bank and some of the things that I do. This is by no means a set of rules to follow but what I personally keep in mind while fishing.

First of all I feel it starts with the net, unless a fish is very small I always use a net. A fish lives and dies with it’s mouth. It needs to be able to feed and this is done with it’s mouth only. So swinging in a large fish could damage them. Take perch for example, their mouths are designed to open and engulf and suck prey and food towards them. Damage their ability to do that and they may never be able to feed the same again, they may not die but they may never be the 5llb+ monster we all long for.

From there it’s a case of how to unhook a fish. I always have to hand a disgorger and forceps. These are indispensable tools and for me there is no other way to put this; if you don’t have these on you and to hand then you’re putting the fish at risk. If you can’t get the hook out you might as well not be there in my opinion and there is no excuse.

I try where possible to unhook fish in the net, supporting them with the net and my legs. I find this gives you a stable position to do this from and it is quick to get the fish back in the water.

Sometimes that’s not possible, so in those cases I carefully lift the fish while it’s still in the net to an unhooking mat.

There is a lot of discussion on social media about unhooking mats, are they a necessity or not seems to be the main line of discussion. Personally I never go fishing without mine. I do at times not use it though. Sometimes I’ve had to chase a fish around a snag or something similar. In those instances I grab my net and run. I see getting the fish out of the snag safely as the most important thing as it could hurt itself while thrashing etc in the snag.

So what do I do if I don’t have my unhooking mat? I’m careful is the simple answer. I make sure to support the fishes head and if it’s a carp I put my thumb in it’s mouth as this calms them down. Also if the bank is hard with no grass or soft areas I will take off my jumper or something and lay the fish on that. I really feel that experienced anglers know how to care for a fish, yes a mat is preferred of course. However if you take the time to be careful, don’t rush and think about what you’re doing before doing it, then you should be fine.

What to do once it’s unhooked. Again think about what you’re going to do before you do it. We all like to have our photo taken with a nice looking fish but there really are some things we should all do while having a photo taken.

  1. Do not stand up holding a fish, always kneel. If you drop it on its head it could very well kill the fish.
  2. Support the fishes head with one arm and the body with the other arm along to the tail.
  3. One or two photos is enough; fish live in water not out of it. After a long fight they need oxygen and they can’t get it out of water.
  4. I release fish if possible a little bit away from the swim. To do this I return the fish to the net and carry it that way. Don’t walk with a fish out of the net, this is for the same reasons as point 1.
  5. When you are ready to release the fish I always get down close to the water and support the fish in the water. Waiting till it kicks to let go. This helps the fish prepare itself & get some much needed oxygen before swimming off.
  6. With smaller fish I put them in the landing net and return them at my feet by rolling the net from around them basically.

So that’s my few pointers regarding fish care on the bank. We really have to look after the fish we catch. If we don’t, who will? So please think about what you’re doing and if you see someone not taking care of fish while out and about; report them to the owners of the fishery. Might not seem cool to do but sod it; if they’re not playing by the rules they get what they deserve in my opinion!

Tight lines folks

Sam

Rain, rain and a bit more rain

A lot of rain, a new rod and a good Monday

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.

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Not a huge perch but lots of fun on the new rod!

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.

Tactics

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.

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What a lovely fish (sorry for the bad photo, the rain was relentless!)

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.

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What a fighter!

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!

Tight Lines

Sam

 

What lure to use and when

So I have been thinking about lures and what I’ve been told about what to use and when. My brain working the way it does I see this as a scientific problem I must try to solve!!

We all know what colour our lures look to us but do fish see them the same as we do? Turns out they really don’t!! Not too surprising really, we live out of water and they live in water so there’s bound to be a difference.

So what have I found out? 

First of all what a fish can see is affected by the amount of light available to the fish. The amount of light is affected by a few different factors. First of all the amount of sediment and particles in the water, this is called scattering. Under water this can be described as fog for want of a better word. The second factor is light absorption; basically light is separated into individual colours. Each colour has a different wavelength, the longer the wavelength the quicker that colour is absorbed by the water.  Colours such as red & orange have long wavelengths while blues and violets have shorter wavelengths.The final factor is simply how bright it is, so on a cloudy day there is less light than on a bright sunny day.

So in terms of depth what are we looking at, if you’re fishing in 3m of water 60% of colour will be washed out, more so if the water is holding a lot of sediment and it is a cloudy day. This means that red will appear grey at this depth. At 10m 85% of colour is washed out; making red black. Basically if a certain colour of light can’t reach the depth you’re fishing at then the colour won’t show up. The cloudier the water along with the weather conditions the shallower this happens.

I conclude from this information the following:

  • If you’re fishing the top of the water or when there is clear water then all colours will be more or less visible as they are to us depending on the depth.
  • Mid water darker colours are more visible as we see them with lighter colours fading to grey depending on sediment.
  • Deep & very cloudy water means that very dark colours such as black, deep blue and violets will show as we see them.

Fluorescent colours

I have read in places that fluorescent colours don’t occur in nature; I’m not sure I agree with this but anyway that is the opinion in some quarters.

What I can say from reading through different information is that fluorescent colours are more visible at all depths. The reason for this is that they react more to UV than other colours, allowing them to hold the colour we see for longer underwater.

One thing I have also read is that UV rays are more prominent than other light rays on cloudy days, I assume this is because it is easier for them to penetrate clouds.  What this means for us is that on a cloudy day where there is less light these lures will show up more than others underwater in the manner we see them.

Colour contrast

I don’t know this for a fact but I feel that contrasting colours might work well, by that I mean a deep blue and red pattern based on what I have found out would appear as it does to us at multiple depths. Top water colours will be visible as they are to us; as it goes deeper the blue stands out more than the red.

This is something I have come to my own conclusion on to be honest; whether the theory works is another matter entirely.

So what’s next?

To test these theories out I guess. I’m trying to work out how to do this, as I write this the river season is closed and I don’t really have access to deep water and only really have the canal to fish as it’s on the door step.

What I am thinking to begin with is to go out with say only light coloured lures, see what happens. Then follow this with dark lures and then fluorescent lures while making a note of the water colour and light conditions. This will at least be a start and give some base line results to go from.

Thanks for reading folks and please let me know your thoughts on all of this. I am finding it very interesting to read into and would love to know what others know and think about all of this. Do you have a preferred lure for certain water and light conditions?

Tight Lines

Sam