Tuesday, 12th April was a visit to another club pool (GH) – my main pike pool for my October-March season – that is primarily a carp water with carp to over 20lbs (and the venue where Liz has had current PB common carp of 18lb 1oz which she has named ‘Sherman’) but also holds bream to 5lb+, roach to 2lb+ and chub to over 4lb (as personally known to but reputedly go to 7lb+)…. and pike to 34lb 8oz (real, weighed, photo’d) have been landed there although not by myself … and also tench and perch are said to be in existence there although in several years at the water I’ve neither caught either or seen either caught – and match catches are generally made up of carp, bream and roach with the occasional chub.
I arrived at the water at around 0730, the first cast was made at 0815 and tackled down at around 1615.
Tactics for the day were something I’ve not done for many years – proper waggler fishing by presenting the bait for on-the-drop takes with shot staggered down the line decreasing in size from float to hooklength rather than my usual laying-on/lift-method way that utilises a bodied antenna float weighted just below the float itself to almost sink the body and then slightly over-shotted to completely sink the float if it is fished under-depth – and then the depth is set slightly (generally about 5%-10% is about right) over-deep to actually fish so that the bottom shot lies on the bottom and thus the float would sit with the full antenna showing on a slack line but when a slight tension is applied to the the float can be made to sink to a suitable position in the water with just the tip showing.
So… the float for the day was a 5AAA+ bodied antenna waggler (basically a lighter version of the float I use for laying-on which is a 3SSG+ float) weighted with the following spread out shot: 1 x SSG, 1 x AAA, 1 x BB, 2 x No1, 2 x No 4. The top SSG shot was placed just above the half depth – depth was plumbed to ascertain and the float set so that the bottom 6” of the line/hooklength just sat on the bottom – and the rest of the shot were placed equidistant from each other with the lowest shot about 12” from the hook Over the day I experimented with various depth settings and found that setting the depth at 25%-50% resulted in the most bites/fish.
So… the rod in use was my 13’ Hardy Matchmaker clone float rod (well, 12’ 9” really as 3” got snapped off the tip accidentally at some time in the past), teamed up with 6lb mainline (Diawa Hyper Sensor – the BEST line I’ve ever come across) and a 6” 6lb Dyneema braid hooklength with size 14 hook.
As usual, the chosen swim was fed lightly with a few small groundbait/maggot (pinkie/squatt)/particle balls to attract fish whilst the ‘station’ and tackle were set up for action and during the session small and frequent additions of maggots were fed by catapult and the occasional ball of groundbait added too…
Bait for the entire day was maggot and mealworm singly and as a cocktail although I did try bread for a short period without any joy.
By the end of the day I’d landed 25+ small roach to around 6oz plus a bream of 1lb 12oz.
A really enjoyable day – surprisingly, as I’ve not fished for roach for many years and have tended to ‘look down’ on them as a species (along with rudd) – but after today I think I’ll do more ‘proper waggler’ fishing and target roach more too! :)
If getting on a bit like me (LOL), and consequently not as supple as one used to be, then you can find that getting water for mixing groundbait from the pool’s edge can be ‘interesting’ especially if the banks are sharp (but short even) drops down and the water level is below the top. Kneeling, stretching down and then getting back up can be a difficult and demanding exercise. Solution: those pots that powdered washing bleaches (Vanish, Oxy-Brite, etc) come in are excellent item – empty, they hold about 500ml in capacity and they have handles to which it is easy to attach a length of cord to … so throw/lower the pot to the water (hold the end of the cord!), drag to fill… easy peasy!! And also great for keeping a supply of water in by the unhooking mat/weigh sling to wet those items if needed or to splash over the fish to keep cool and wet…. I actually carry two, one with cord for grabbing water and the other cordless into which I put my food dye, add some water from the ‘gathering’ pot and mix before wetting my groundbait ensuring the g’bait is equally coloured throughout. Very light, the pots fit one in the other for carrying, and take up little space to transport in reality as small items can be placed inside the pot(s) when in transit in the bag/box/rucksack/whatever you carry your tackle in… And these days I even use mine when the bottom is gently shelving and you can paddle out in to the water…no bending necessary! :)
Water: 9.8C – 10.7C