Tag Archives: fishing

A Day I Had Looked Forward To

It has been quite some time since I have been at this lovely little pool, certainly more than one year and I had been looking forward to fishing here.

The pool looked in great condition thanks too all the work parties that had carried out works throughout the seasons.

I had brought with me my trustee Floatcaster “De-Luxe”, not my favourite Floatcaster in my collection, but it has the added backbone to tame a Tench, which is what I was looking for today.

I had setup in a swim that I do not normally fish on the opposite bank. Really nice and level with a little cover, although slightly hazardous casting. It did not take long before the float moved and Roach after Roach crossed the net. This only changed when the Perch began to prowl and I landed perhaps five; but no Tench.

As the afternoon moved onto evening I was sure that weed had begun to drift into my swim, bites became thin on the ground until finally the float dipped under and I landed a whopped of a Tench, totally out-gunned by a large Hardy Altex reel and the Floatcaster. This was quickly followed by a whopping Crucian too.

Apart from last year, I always seem to be fishing on midsummers day and now I try to always make an effort to be out fishing. This evening however was not midsummer-ish at all. The temperature dropped so much that I could see my breath in the air, and it became so cold my head hurt. Never mind, tomorrow would be the Strawberry Supermoon to look forward to.

A Reel Surprise

I saw a good friend of mine fishing with a lovely reel recently it turned out be a reel called a “Speedia”. I like these reels and have fancied buying one for myself for ages.

Watching a few of these reels on a popular auction website, I made a bid for two of them. I only imagined that I would perhaps win one of the bids.

I could not believe it when I checked my account. It seemed that I had actually won both of these reels.

Both of these reels had very poor descriptions in their adverts, but I liked the pictures.

I could not believe it when they came through the post. One was a wide drum, 3.5 inch, silver back plate with black front and was really nice. The second however was a narrow drum, all black, with the best sounding check that I have ever heard.

Who knows what triumphs and disasters these reels have seen in their lifetime? The only problem now is finding the time to christen both of these lovely reels for myself.

 

An August Wessex Trip

A friend had contacted me to say that he would be fishing on the 16th, the day of my travel. I made my long journey to Wessex via the local tackle shop to purchase some bait, and then to a local inn to gain some sustenance, checked in to my accommodation and then made my way to the ponds.

I found my friend in good spirits and had not intended to fish that night at all. I did give in. Gathering my tackle from the van I set up a couple of swims down from my friend. It was good just to be here again. We fished until the approaching darkness. Tomorrow I would be here in earnest.

I had intended to skip my breakfast and be at the ponds very early on the Thursday morning. However, the journey the day before had taken it out of me, and besides, it was set for rain. A fair weather fisherman now I tucked in to a very good fry up and lots of tea before thinking about my departure.

For the traditionalists, I have not moved over to the dark side; (Carbon fibre) but managed to christen not only a new float, but this rather wonderful R.Sealey twelve foot ‘Match Winner’. This was sold to me as a black cane rod. It is nothing of the sort and is infact very, very dark green. It is made with a Spanish Reed butt section, a cane mid section, and a split cane top section.

I arrived at the ponds around ten thirty-ish and was greeted by warm sunshine. I setup in the swim that my friend had been in the day before, as I knew it had been raked. There were no signs of feeding fish. My float never dithered enticingly, nor were there any bubbles on the surface of the pond. Around twelve my float slowly submerged,  I grabbed the rod which hooped over. The fight lasted all of five seconds; the hook gave way. Damn! Well, at least I know they are feeding. I re-cast and settled down to more tea drinking. I noticed that I began bringing in weed when I reeled in, so around one thirty I raked the swim three or four times, baited it again, and went off to a local hostelry for some lunch.

Returning sometime after two o’clock, I recast. Again there were no bubbles, nor signs of feeding fish in the swim at all. Non-the-less I was very content. Not long after the bells had rang seven times, my float again slowly slid below the surface. Once again lifting the rod sent it into a hoop and a dramatic battle commenced. At this point I had no idea what it was, but it was desperate to get into the bed of lily pads. I gave as much strain as I dared on five pound line. It then changed direction into more open water, saw a wall of weed and then shot back towards the lilies. I thought that I had it under control until it managed to wrap itself around the one lilly stem that was jutting out of the bunch. I didn’t know what to do. I gave as much strain as I dare again and then fish raised near the surface, it was a Tench! Blimey I can’t loose this one. Keeping tension on the line, I tried to reach the stem with my landing net to break it free, but it was just slightly too far away to reach. Total stalemate occurred. I had to give in. Releasing tension from the reel was the last thing I wanted to do as I knew the fish would easily drop the hook. However, this was my only option. Releasing line from the reel sent the fish berserk and it freed itself shooting out of the beds and into open water once more. Keeping it as near the surface as I could, I managed to bring it over the waiting net. This pond is very well known for it’s Crucians, but I fish for Tench here, and was over-the-moon with this specimen. I haven’t caught a Tench in this pond for ages.

I had received a mail to say that two other members were to be fishing on the 18th , so I made my mind to fish another local pond to give them some peace. Again, following a leisurely breakfast, I decided that I would make my way back here to say hello before making my way to my fishing destination. However, when I arrived around eleven there was nobody there. Again I gave in, changed my mind about fishing the other location and went back to the same swim I fished the day previous. Around lunchtime I had the same sort of bite. No bubbles or knocking of the float, it simply slowly slid under the surface. Lifting the rod I knew straight away I was into a good fish and thought it was another Tench. I could not believe it when I drew it over the net, it was a huge Crucian. I did not weigh it, but was easily over one pound. The reel I was using on the day was a three inch Allcocks Aerial Popular ,and can be seen in the picture that the fish must be at least nine inches in length.

I know there to be a military firing range in the county and the ‘booms’ can be heard for some distance. However, today the sounds were quiet and loud, somewhat different to the norm. I was treated to a short shower, then the air turned really cold from what was a nice sunny day. This could only mean one thing – thunder. I was not wrong and did not have to wait long before the next storm rolled in. This time it was much closer. I reeled in and sat in the car as the rain began to fall in rods. I noticed two cars coming down the track, this must be the chaps who were going to fish today. Some time passed before I vacated my vehicle and went back to my swim. I really didn’t fancy my chances after the storm and cold rain. This often stops fish feeding. The two chaps also came round to say hello. One setup on the top pond the other went onto the bottom pond.

I was amazed to see my float slide under around five thirty, and was overjoyed to land a final Crucian before packing up and making the long journey back home.

It was great to be at the ponds again, and it was lovely to witness the Kingfishers fish, whilst I was waiting for a bite.

I can’t wait for my next trip.

My Favorite Wessex Pond

My new season fishing trip was going well, and very hot. I had been looking forward to a trip to my favorite pond for some time. I knew that one of the ponds is surrounded on all side by trees, so I would be able to shelter from the blistering heat.

I found a lovely swim, with a nice breeze blowing on my back which was fantastically cooling, taking the temperature down a couple degrees was very welcome.

There were initially no signs at all of feeding fish, and I really did not expect to see anything, nor catch anything in these hot temperatures.

I had brought along with me my very first split cane fishing rod that I had squired, an un-restored Mark IV, and a little Aerial Popular that I had recently christened with a Roach on this trip.

The moment my first cast hit the water I was getting little bites. Piranha-like, the hook bait was gone very quickly and reeling in to a fish-less, empty hook.

Perseverance prevailed, and soon after the float shot up and laid flat on the surface. I struck lightly and was in contact with a Roach. A good Roach too.  Again I cast into the baited swim. Things were quieter now with no bites. I wasn’t paying attention to the float and was looking at the various plants that adorn this lovely lake when I heard the little Aerial Popular ‘sing’. By the time my hand was on the rod the fish had made the middle of the pond. I was convinced this was a Tench. A little disappointed that there was no resistance when I picked up the rod. However, as I reeled in it seemed that there was actually still contact. It turned out to be a big Roach that thought it was a Tench, or even a Carp. I don’t think Roach are meant to run like that? but it seems at this pond they do. This is not the first time I have experienced this phenomenon.

I cast again into the same swim and all was quiet. I sat and enjoyed the bird song which seems especially loud at this little pond. Soon after my float dithered, not a positive bite as such, but I struck anyway and made contact. It was one of the fine Crucian Carp that reside in this lovely pond, what a corker!

As the afternoon drew on, the pond took on a rather sinister feel. There were no signs of feeding fish anywhere and I had stopped getting bites. Out of the gloom, from time to time, the Grass Carp surveyed its kingdom. Nice to see, but un-catchable today.

 

One day like this a year will see me right

The new course fishing season seemed to have taken ages to come around this year. I have not been able to cast a line for a trout in the interim., I have either been too busy with work, or too busy at the allotment.

The weeks forecast ahead for the opening day was enjoyment; with high readings on the thermometer to boot. I would have to pack sunscreen along with all the fishing paraphernalia.

I arrived on the 15th at a favorite lake in Wessex, to be greeted by blistering heat. Fishing would be hard-going in these hot conditions.

I met another member who was there in advance of the glorious 16th who would be camping out in order to get the first cast at midnight.

Following a leisurely morning for me, and devouring a cooked breakfast with a large mug of tea, I arrived at the lake around 09:30. There were only two members there, which was amazing.

Temperatures rose during the day, and the fishing was tough. I had been advised to rake my swim as the lake had a fair bit of weed growth due to the recent warm weather and the low water levels. I did not like the thought of crashing a rake through the swim making so much noise and disturbance in the process. In the afternoon I gave in. I fetched the rake and began wielding it through the swim for about ten minutes dragging lots of weed out of the way. I did however pick out any oxygenating plants that I had dragged up and returned them too the water.

I could not believe it, the fish were far from scared off by all the commotion and were back feeding in the swim within half an hour.

All day I had watched what I though to be a pale mirror carp go back and forth between patches of lillies. Another member came round for a chat in the evening and we both stood and watched this fish approach my float, then stop. He said “grab your rod, hes going for it”. We could see the fish nose down and a patch of bubbles arose. Straight from the pages of Mr Crabtree  “strike!” and the lake erupted. It was immediately apparent as soon as I saw the fish briefly out of the water, that this was not a Carp, but a Golden Tench. The angling gods were indeed looking down as I had dream’t of a Tench from the very last day 14th March of the last fishing season, I could not believe it.

End of Course Fishing Season 2017

I have been really fortunate this course fishing season being able to get out fishing as much as I have. The lakes have been good to me, so too has the river.

I had taken a few days off work prior to the 14th in order I could get some fishing in, just in case the river flooded and became un-fishable, which is common-place at this time of year.

Working in Wessex again, I only had a two and a half hour drive too the river. Packing my car to the gunnel’s on Saturday morning, I set off in good weather looking forward to catching a Roach on the river Stour, with four days to achieve this I was hopeful of landing at least one.

I was on the river by late afternoon, via a detour to a local tackle shop to purchase a pint of their finest ‘mixed’. The river was in good shape, but there was rain forecast for the Saturday evening, with no real indication of how much precipitation was to fall. This could easily scupper the fishing for the next few days, including the final day if a real heavy downpour was to occur.

I was joined by my friend who is the river bailiff for this stretch of the Stour. I setup at my favourite swim that I like to call ‘the beach’. I first mixed up some groundbait and fired it across the river towards a deepening channel on the far bank.

I set my vintage Aerial reel onto my Fred J. Taylor rod with a small cage feeder and cast out. It did not seem like one minute had passed when the top of the rod began bouncing around; I had my first fish! I could not believe it? A Roach on my very first cast. Very small, but a Roach non-the-less.

I caught Roach after Roach, and was having an absolute field-day. The wind made it impossible for float fishing and very difficult getting the feeder into the same position each time, but I was not bothered, I seemed to still be able to catch. My friend had moved swims and was now in a corner just downstream of me. He came running up to show me a huge Roach he had just landed, what a corker! Strangely we did not weigh it. This was gently returned, serenely swimming off as if nothing had happened. The day ended with thickening cloud and a threat of rain. During that night the rain fell. It fell so hard that it woke me up. That’s it, I thought, the river will be knackered now.

Arriving at the river on the Sunday, I was met with a total surprise, the river had actually fallen in height. Yes, it was very coloured, not ideal, but still totally fish-able. Once again I fished late afternoon and into evening and was treated to some nice Roach, and also a good soaking due to a cloud-burst or two. As darkness fell I latched into what I first thought was a huge Roach, but it did not have that noticeable ‘jagged’ fight. I then thought it may be a small Chub, as it seemed to be making its way towards every snag in the water that it knew. It was not until I managed to get it near the surface when it rolled to reveal I had hooked a huge Perch.  A Perch so big I have never seen before. I did not weigh it, but did take a couple of photos before I gently returned the splendid Sargent. I was kept company by a nearby Woodpecker hammering away randomly. I can only imagine that it had quite a headache by the end of the day. Great to hear a Woodpecker again, and I was also pleased to be accompanied by the Kingfishers which are always a delight to see.

Monday began with a call from the river bailiff to say that river fishing was over due to the river now had actually risen quite dramatically and was very coloured. Disappointed, but not put off, I went to the river in the afternoon. There were still lots of slow glides available to fish. Another friend joined us that afternoon and we all caught some lovely Roach, Dace and Gudgeon, even though the river was now far from perfect.

The 14th arrived, as did perfect weather. Cloudy and rather mild for this time of year. The river was still very coloured. I fished the same spot as yesterday, and watched the bailiffs’ brother land an absolutely huge Roach, without weighing it and nonchalantly returning it as if it was common-place to land such a big fish. I, on the other hand, was catching minnow after minnow after minnow. The odd Roach did grace the river bank, as did a small Chub and a couple of Dace along with the odd Gudgeon. A good friend brought along a superb fruit cake that was made for Christmas. It had obviously matured beyond Christmas and was very, very tasty indeed and was a welcome accompaniment with a mug of tea brewed from a Kelly kettle.

A number of other fishing friends joined us in the evening for a pint to celebrate the end of this cracking season.

The traditional course fishing season is over, I can look forward to planning my allotment, sowing vegetables for the coming year, and looking forward to June 16th with a dream of a Tench.

A Winter Roach

Working again in Wessex, I planned another fishing trip this Sunday to the River Stour.

The weather forecast for this weekend was certainly more favourable than the last; with better temperatures and no easterly wind. Although there were high winds and rain forecast, I did not let this put me off.

Sunday morning arrived.  as I peered out of my window and it was clear that the weathermen had done their job this week. It was grey, cold and raining, I’d better wrap up warm.

A friend of mine, (who is actually the bailiff for the stretch of the River Stour I intended to fish), telephoned in the morning to say that there was a competition match on the river . Ah no! I could not believe it. Unperturbed, he advised that there was a stretch further up river where the match-men would not be, and that we could go, and more importantly, the fishing there was really good. I advised that I would be parking up in the usual spot, assess the situation and would plan an attack from there. Travelling via the tackle shop again, I arrived and parked up. I was very pleased to note that there were actually only eight people fishing the match, so was confident that I still could fish the area I wanted, undisturbed.

Creel, slung on the shoulder, grabbed a flask of tea, along with the rods and began my trek across the fields. The first spot I wanted to fish was taken by a match angler. A little disappointed I continued on, I stumbled upon an area that I had actually forgot about. Almost like a beach, sloping slowly down to the waters edge, hard under foot, and gravelly. The only downside being that I was not out of the wind, which was actually blowing rather fiercely. I know that Roach love gravel areas, and at the other side of the river I knew there to be a deep channel where the river slows up, a classic Roach swim.

I had intended for fish with two rods today, one trotting a float down the swim, and the other on the river bed with a swimfeeder full of groundbait. At first I prepared some groundbait, mixing it with water from the river. I made quite a solid mix and threw three or four golf ball sized handful’s into the desired spot. Letting the swim develop and leaving the fish to hopefully enter the area, I began setting up my ledger rod. I put together a rod that I named the ‘little tinca‘. I had it made purely for Tench fishing but thought that it would have the power to hold a swimfeeder full of wet groundbait. Thankfully it did, and before too long I had cast into the swim. Using my new Aerial I had to be very careful as even with my cack-handed Wallis casts, I knew that I would hit the opposite bank. Instead opted for the ‘Nottingham Style‘ cast which employs paying off line from the reel and cast from there. Much easier to determine distance.

After some time I reeled in to re-bait and re-cast to find that I had indeed hooked a small Roach. It was so small that the rod tip did not indicate any bite. I re-cast, and this time saw the very slightest of bites, and again had hooked a very small Roach. With the swim like this I did not bother to set-up a second rod to float fish and stuck to ledger tactics. I did miss the sight of my quill float sailing nonchalantly through the swim. I can’t remember the last time I ever used ledger tactics? but it seemed to be working today. I did however change my rod to my Fred J Taylor, which, although is still strong, has a nice action tip so I could see more clearly bites when and if they arrived. I also realised that I had christened my new Aerial reel, and it had been done in style, with a winter Stour Roach.

My friend joined me some time later and he set-up round a bend in the river just downstream of myself. He had some huge Roach and said he hadn’t had a day like it in ages.

As dusk began to fall I lost two big Roach, one after the other. Half way across the river flow they simple fell off the hook. Of course I was disappointed. All I had caught all day were small Roach, but I really had no terms for complaint as I had lost count of the Roach I had caught and had a fantastic day. After reeling in a nice Dace it was evident I had a Pike, or a number of ‘Pike’s’ in my swim. That was one of the luckiest Dace around, as not fifteen feet from the bank, the river ‘erupted’ as a Pike made tracks for this Dace, narrowly missing it and spooking on the sight of me. I began to get hefty knocks on the rod tip and reeled in to find no fish. Sometimes, as I was reeling in a Pike was actually attacking my empty cage feeder.

Pike stopped play, and my friend also had Pike trouble. We called it a day, but what a day.

I look forward to getting to the river again for the last few days of this fishing season, and who knows what awaits? I only hope the river is in the same mood as she was today.

I must Be Mad!

I had promised myself another trip to the river this weekend.           Watching the weather a week before the trip, it did not appear encouraging. Easterly winds all week, and possible snow by the weekend. Thursday came and went, Friday came and went, and the forecast did not change, Sunday was going to be very cold and windy.

I awoke on Sunday morning to a leaden sky and the sound of the wind howling down the chimney. What am I doing, I thought? Only an idiot would go out fishing in this weather. The thing was that I had psyched myself up all week to go fishing on Sunday, no matter what, I was determined to go fishing, even if it was two degrees with a wind-chill factor of minus four!

Car packed, and with extra layers of clothing, extra jumpers and jackets. The moment I turned the key to start my car the snow began. Fortunately, it was very fine snow and did not trouble me.

I was looking forward to my two and a half hours Sunday drive to the river. On my journey, I could see the tops of the hills were pure white. Should I turn around, go back home, light the log burner and put the kettle on? Drinking tea all afternoon in front of the fire would be very appealing, but I had some fishing to do!

After a detour to a tackle shop to purchase some bait, I arrived near the river. Parked up, unloaded the rods, put on another jumper,  a jacket and made my way across the fields to my destination. I know of a stretch of river that is accessible down a small bank. Here I had hoped to be out of the wind. When I arrived I was very pleased to see that my intentions were correct, and indeed the wind was blowing over the top of the bank above my head. Down at river level I was actually quite comfortable.

I had brought along with me a new trotting reel, an ‘Adcock Stanton’ that I was keen to try out. Not a true ‘pin’, as it is assembled with ball bearings, but I was amazed at how well I could Wallis Cast with it, getting a little too close to branches on the opposite side of the river on more than one occasion.

I tried trotting a worm down the swim. I tried trotting a bunch of maggots down the swim. I even tried the deadliest of Roach baits ‘bread’, none were successful. It did enable me to try out this reel though, which I was very pleased about. I also enjoyed being by the river, despite the cold and the high winds.

I had brought along with me my new Aerial reel that I was also very keen to try out. My lake is about a half hour drive from the river, so after about two hours on the river, I packed up and made my way up to the lake where I would try for a winter lake roach, or even a winter Crucian.

Again, when I got too the lake there were plenty of swims where I could get out of the wind. The lake looked very different now that all the lily pads had died back.

The new Aerial looks very good on my Fred J Taylor Roach rod, even though it did not spin once today and my landing net remained bone dry.

On my way from the lake, I stopped by a local Inn and treat myself to a Sunday carvery. This warmed me up nicely. I drove home elated that I had made the effort , and was surprised that I had enjoyed the cold day so much.

A new Lease Of Life

It is always a risky business buying an item without seeing it “in-the-flesh”, first hand.

Fishing recently with a good friend, he showed me a new reel he had acquired, an Aerial 4.5 inch, and used it on the day to catch some cracking Roach on the River Stour.

I have always fancied one of these reels myself. Seeing one for sale online, I bid for it and made a purchase. Upon receipt, I was a little disappointed to be honest, as it wobbled like a granddad at a Christmas party. Non-the-less, I did get it for a good price. After cleaning the reel further, i found it spun well, and now gleams!. It still requires a bit of work to get rid of the wobble, and I can’t wait to try it out next time I get down to the river.

The previous owner very kindly sent me a series of historic pictures to show its development. The final picture shows what it is like now. Apparently, it is quite literally a barn find, and was found in Ireland. Skeletal-like, cobweb bound, It can be seen from the first photographs that it was found loaded with Salmon or Trout line. The previous owner has had it for a number of years and done a great job bringing it back from the dead. Now I own it, and a new chapter will begin, hopefully being used to catch a 3lb Crucian, or a 20lb Carp, or even a 4lb Tench; who knows? watch this space….

Winter Sunshine

Managed to get a break last weekend, and drove over to Wessex with a new rod and reel. The aim, to christen them with a winter Roach. The rod, A Fred J Taylor Roach Rod, has actually been christened already, but with a double figure mirror carp, so was keen to do it ‘properly’ with a Roach.

This winter was cool, a beautiful clear sky and full sun. Not perhaps, the best Roach fishing weather, but there were no complaints at all, it was great just to be fishing again, especially at a flowing river.

An old Rapidex was given to me by the bailiff of my local pond and deemed fit for the bin. After a little tlc, I managed to free the totally jammed reel, and following a good clean, got it to a state where it could actually be used again.

Sport was slow. A couple of friends joined me, the river bailiff being one, and we fished in the same spot; fruitless. Wandering across the river, and across a couple of fields, we found far better looking swims and settled down in earnest.

Trotting a large float down the river. No real bites or indicators were seen at all. Only my float would stop occasionally in mid flow. I would tighten the line as if it were caught on the river bed so that it would be on its way again. One time when I tightened I felt resistance, A fish! At last! I thought it was a big Roach lolling around in mid current, and then it made a few short runs which I knew to be a Chub. The river was so cold that the Chub did not really put up much of a fight and did not get near any snags, of which there were many. I had to be cautions,  I was using a very light hook link. A quick photograph and back to it’s cold home it went.

I moved swims, much further down the river, the sun warming hands and face. A couple of Roach and a Gudgeon were to be had. Nothing of any size, but at last I could say that the Fred J Taylor Roach Rod has now caught a Roach.

With the sun setting rapidly, I found my friends up stream, we marked the day with a delicious slice of blueberry cake. In quickly diminishing light we all packed up. Walking back across the fields sounded like a favorable breakfast cereal, as the grass was beginning to freeze under our footsteps, and we crunched our way back.

Lightening Doesn’t Strike Twice, Does It?

Fishing again at my favourite location. Glorious sunshine with a cooling breeze.

I had taken my new Edgar Sealey ‘De-Luxe’ rod and new landing net to see if I could christen them both.

After fishing for about two hours I heard a distant rumble. Now I know there is a military firing range not far away, but as I listened again and again it was getting closer. Exactly like June 16th, a storm was approaching; fast!. Boom, boom went the storm, not just one but numerous came and went by without dropping a single droplet of water.

At the place I was staying for a few days, the story was somewhat different, in that they had experienced tropical-like flash floods with flooded roads and streams; I had been lucky again not to get wet.

To cap this all, I finally managed to christen ‘in style’, my new rod and net, with numerous Roach, Rudd and a Crucian of over 2lb’s; what a day to remember!

High Hopes

Taking a new landing net on a fishing trip is always a bit of a risk. It is often the case the one is guaranteed not to catch a thing with a brand new net.

This effect is doubled when also trying to christen a brand new rod.

Needless to say; my brand new Edgar Sealy Floatcaster ‘De-Luxe’, nor my brand new hoop landing net were troubled at all today.

Summer Idyll

Today, the good lady ‘allowed’ me to take an afternoon out of our holiday. and I got the chance to fish my secret lake in Wessex again; this time with a ‘secret’ bait.

This particular lake proved troublesome all 2015 season; as I did not catch a single fish all year. This summer day was a real treat, catching numerous Crucian Carp; great fun!

To top it all, I was able to christen yet another ‘Edgar Sealey’ rod.

Christening

Christening, more like a baptism of fire.

Today I fished my local pond for the first time this season. I took along with me a new rod that I have just had made up from a blank. A rather superb Fred J. Taylor Roach Rod. My aim was to catch a Tench.

However, my lake is full of Carp, they were certainly in evidence today, cruising about in the hot sunshine just below the surface.

I set out a single grain of corn with one swan shot just about one rod length out into the margins.

Some time passed and bubbles around the float showed that fish were definitely feeding today. The float swayed side-to-side but never went under.

I reeled in and reset the hook length making it a little shorter. After around ten minutes away shot the float and the reel sang its rasping tune. I was hoping for a Tench but instead I had hooked one of the lakes ‘zoo creatures’. It put up one heck of a fight and it took all my courage with my new rod to stop it reaching snags in the middle of the lake.

Eventually I won the day but I hope I do not hook too many of these Carp on this rod.

Midsummer Madness

I have been very fortunate to get to fish another secret lake in deepest Wessex.

This midsummer day brought warm overcast conditions. Perfect fishing weather.

I lost count of the Rudd I caught, nice ones too. I was very fortunate to land these two Crucians while being kept company by all the dragon flies around the lake.

River Interlude

It is not often that I get to do a spot of river fishing so I was very pleased to get the opportunity.

Trotting a quill float down a river must be one of the most pleasurable techniques in fishing. Armed with a couple of slices of bread I fished bread flake for the Roach and Dace.

Great to see the Damsel flies. Something I have not seen for some years. Close up they are almost alien.

The Glorious 16th

This year I have been very fortunate to have been offered the opportunity to become a member of another very secret lake in darkest Wessex.

Driving overnight, I arrived at the lake around 11:30. Walking round the lake I looked for signs of feeding fish; there were many. I introduced myself to a couple of members who were fishing the bottom lake. Nice bunch of chaps.

I set up on the top lake, and settled down after a very long drive. It was not long before I had landed a couple of cracking Roach. Although I was very pleased with my catch of Roach, I knew that the bottom lake was famous for its Crucian Carp. I was eager to see if I could catch one on the opening day of the course fishing season.

Setting up in a corner away from everyone else, I made myself comfortable, opened my flask of tea which was luke warm, but perfectly drinkable.

From the colour of the clouds above, it was evident that a storm was brewing and I could hear the distant rumbles of thunder.

I could not believe it when as soon as my float entered the water, I would mend the line then I would be into a fish immediately. Catching well over ten lovely Rudd, I suddenly hooked something far more substantial and put up a good fight,  rolled on its side as a bream does and gave up. As I drew it up through he surface and towards the net it turned out to be my very first giant Crucian Carp, just like a huge bar of gold. Stupidly I did not weigh it, but it was well over 2lbs. I fished on for a few more hours watching storm after storm pass by without getting a single drop of rain and suddenly I hooked a train! It made for every lily pad in the vicinity until I finally had it under control. I was absolutely over-the-moon to land a Tench of around two and a half ponds on the very first day of the course fishing season. My favourite species, and a classic summer fish. Not only had I not caught a Tench all last season, but this cracker was caught on a brand new, and in mint condition Edgar Sealey Floatcaster that I was using for the first time.

Was this all a dream?

Last Day Of The Course Fishing Season

I had been looking forward to the last day of the course fishing season from September 2015, when I made my annual batch of tomato chutney. A jar of which I always put aside as a gift to celebrate the last course fishing day of the season.

Having managed a few days off work, I arrived at my location a couple of days prior to the 14th only to find the river had burst its banks, and was actually part of the surrounding fields – what a disaster!

Changing tack slightly, I met up with friends and fished a local lake. I had set myself a goal of netting a Carp from the surface. Quite a mean feat in a cold biting wind in mid March. I did take some time to get any fish on the surface, and non of them where really competing for any of the freebies, but I persevered and managed to land a good double. It came too the net quite easily and fought just as well on the bank as it did in the water. She was full of spawn as well, a really good sign of things to come when the weather warms up. Back she went very gently.

As the final day approached, the 14th, my prayers were answered by the angling gods and the river had fallen quite some height. Enough to drop a line in. I had a fantastic day on the 13th, catching upwards of 40 Gudgeon, and upwards of 20 Roach and a Dace. All very small, so the landing net hardly got a wash, but great fishing non-the-less.

On the final day I met up with friends. We all fished from before lunch, and all had a great day. We were treated to a beautiful sunny day, and, as per usual, much tea drinking and cake eating took place along with our angling exploits.

Precious Dreams

Forget the money, what you need to save for the future are dreams, dreams that will earn plenty of interest for the leaner times ahead. Who knows what will happen; maybe we’ll get a much longer even colder winter than this last one, maybe the price of maggots will go up to a tenner a pint – but if, then, we have to cut back on our fishing a bit, we’ll know it’ll be fine. All we’ll have to do is sit back by the fire with a fat mug of tea, take out one of the treasured memories from a previous season and marvel at how much brighter it’s grown. Every summer dawn dreams itself into perfection by the time winter comes along; and almost every fish seems more magical in retrospect

Chris Yates, (31st March 2009) Caught by the river, Some more precious dreams to bank.

The One That Got Away

Fishing at my favourite local lake today for my first Tench of the season.

Arriving late, I found not a sole there, and so I had a choice of my favourite swims.

The day started very sunny, however in the shade it was quite cold. The tips of the reeds and grasses are just turning brown. It is clear autumn is close.

Fishing a rod length out, in the margins, very close to a small patch of lilies that I remember decimating last season when I got a carp lodged in them. It looks like they have recovered well.

Bite after bite I missed until I saw the float quiver, then dip, raising the rod and I was ‘into’ a fish. It moved nonchalantly too the left, not sure what was happening, I raised it too the surface to reveal a HUGE mirror carp, well over 15lb. I am sure it did not know at this stage that it was hooked. I put on a little pressure, turning the fish towards me. It was then when it realised what was happening. It turned again to the left and bolted off like an exorcet missile. The fish continued on its path to the left while the float sprang past me to the right. The line had not broken, but on inspection, my hook had bent, totally.

I am very pleased, in a way, that I did not have to do battle with this leviathan. My vintage Edgar Sealey has done battle with too many large Carp in its time, and is designed for a far gentler lifestyle.

 

First one this season

Due to work commitments I really haven’t had any opportunity to get too my local lake this season.

I have only managed two trips, blanking on the first attempt, and loosing a fish right at the net last time I was here.

Arriving around 06:00 I found the lake deserted. A perfect Carp Fishers dawn (Although I was really fishing for a good Tench). Fishing a single grain of corn, around one rod length from the bank. I’m not sure if my line was sitting properly, because after a short period it seemed to spook two fish that were in the swim. This is easily identifiable by a sudden underwater earthquake, followed by huge concentric ripples on the surface and more often than not, your float sitting motionless.

Non-the-less I persevered, and after about an hour the lake seemed to lift once more, but this time the Aerial reel ‘sang’. I teased the fish down the lake a little into open water as there were many snags near to where I was, steering it away from a huge reed bed where I was fishing. The fish made open water and battled well. run after run it made and when it rolled on the surface, turned out to be a good mirror carp. This was to be the only view I would get.  As it powered down again it snapped the line. Darn it!

I re-tackled with a grain of corn. re-cast, poured some tea and settled back down.

After some time the reel once again sprang into life, and the vintage rod bent over. Again after an arm-wrenching , rod creaking scrap, I eventually won the day.

What a cracking morning. The only thing to better it would have been if the Carp had been a Tench. Never mind, there is always next time.

The last day

Well, after weeks and weeks of anticipation it is finally here, the last day of the course fishing season.

Meeting up with friends for a river session targeting its beautiful Roach. A great variety of fish were caught and everyone had a good time. The weather was quite cold though and the wind was pushing through somewhat which made the old ‘Wallis’ cast somewhat hazardous ending in numerous tangles.

Stile to Paradise

A quick hop over the well worn wooden stile, and I arrive at my favourite lake which is very pleasingly deserted, I have the whole place to myself.

Fishing two rod lengths out, between large patches of water lillies, sitting watching my float for some time until they arrive!……. bubbles everywhere! indicating feeding fish all over my swim.

I am now focused on my float like never before, in glorious anticipation of it darting under the surface and making contact with one of the monsters of the deep.

My float starts to sway and quiver now and then, this signifies there are now fish feeding very close to my hook bait. But it never goes under? Just then, a car rolls nonchalantly down the farm track and a good friend hails a wave. He comes round for a chat along with a guest he has brought for the day. Both grand chaps, they deliver some jovial banter as to why I am not catching then depart to the lower lake that they will have all to themselves.

I sit back down on my creel and recast. It really is only a matter of time I tell myself, surely I will get one today.

I did not have to wait much longer as the float rocketed under the surface.  A  great cloud of mud rose up from the lake bed like an underwater nuclear explosion.  My Edgar Sealey ‘Octofloat‘ rod bending violently, I clearly was into a Tench.  With only a 5lb b.s hook length, I would have to be ultra careful guiding this fish to the waiting net. With all the water lillies around I anticipated being cut the moment the fish reached any cover. I need not have worried, the fish was easily guided and what a cracking Tinca, no record fish, but an absolute joy to catch.

I went on that day to land six Tench in total, what a lovely day. I packed up towards 6pm, made my way to the bottom lake to bid farewell to my friends who were having great sport with Crucian’s, and ended the day at a  local pub with a well deserved beer.

Bringing in the ‘Dough’

Just when I got back to my car after another great fishing trip to my lake I was fortunate to be able to get a snap of the farmer bringing in his crops for the year.

It is very evident just how short this crop of wheat is. I presume this has been modified in order to stop so much wind damage and the fact that hay is not made anymore, produces less ‘stalk’. Not a poppy to be seen, producing the highest ‘yield’ possible.

One of my favourite things watching a combine at work. Many years ago they also used to burn the stubble following the crop but that now never happens and it is simply ploughed in.