Monday, 14th August, saw me head to a different club pool (AA-GH) in an attempt, after had several sessions with only small fish of < 6oz – and 97% perch at that with the remainder being roach/rudd and a solitary 3oz crucian carp.
As I left the house at just after 0600 it was a beautiful morning, although there was also a red ‘shepherd’s warning’ sky – and as I turned out of our road to face west a glorious rainbow faced me…
… and at that time was even brighter and more vivid that the photo shows as it was taken a few minutes later … and within a few minutes as driving away the first few spots of rain fell on the windscreen… and the rain continued, as the online BBC Weather site forecast until just after 1000. Thus I arrived, unloaded car, tackled up and fished for the first few hours in various degrees of rainfall … from misty on the wind stuff to to a medium drizzle … however, I’d got the brolly up as soon as possible on arrival and I have a waterproof plastic trenchcoat with hood that I donned and so it didn’t affect me too much…
… as usual on arrival I put out a few free offerings and small balls of heavy groundbait – yep, my groundbait isn’t ‘cloud’, you could probably use it in place of mortar to build houses – I like to get my fish getting their heads down in the trough feeding rather than just draw them in with just smells and other attractors – I mean, if you walked down the road and had this whiff of an amazing curry which you followed to a restaurant and then discovered there was actually only crumbs and dirty dishes in there, would you hang about very long? Nah… but a few small plates of food on the tables there for picking from, then you’d hang about for those nibbles … and if you spread that food over several tables, etc then you’d move from place to place looking for the next dishful…. and that’s how I base my feeding/baiting … small distinct balls (golf ball -> tennis ball sized) that just sit and slowly break up on the bottom and spread them over an area of probably 20’-30’ diameter on average (depends on the actual water, sometimes wider, sometimes smaller). I find this also gives better bite indication as the fish pick up a bait and then continue moving on looking for the next morsel rather than ‘graze’ within a small area and thus take less line… and my groundbait is quite coarse in texture and has added cracked seeds, maize and other particles….
So I made my first casts of the day at around 0700 from peg 5 as I know reasonable sized bream frequent that area. Normally, I’d floatfish this peg but with the rain and accompanying and varying breeze I set up two ledger rods in a sliding paternoster style – 8lb mono main line to 8lb braid hooklengths, freerunning 1/2oz (14g) bombs on 12” 6lb mono links on large eye swivels – and a size 6 bread baited hook on one rod and a size 8 baited with punched meat on the other.
First fish of the day came at around 0845 – a 3lb 8oz common carp on the bread rod baited with a piece of crust that, as it was buoyant would have been ‘popped up’ about 12”-18” in the 9’-10’ depth of water I was fishing into….
… and next fish at 1025, just as the rain was on its very last legs, was another common carp of 2lb 7oz… and then at 1250 came a 1lb 9oz bream…
… and between 1335 and 1445 another 2 common carp of an estimated 2lb and 3lb landed having taken the bread and yet another of 3lb 8oz taken on worm after changing the bait from meat although that was actually foul hooked in the root of a pectoral fin… and also lost a good fish to a snap off although I hadn’t applied much pressure … or a bite-off from a pike? Possibly as there are plenty in this pool….
And then, at around 1520, a large carp swirled right at my feet about 1’ from the edge of the bank – I immediately threw out a handful of maggots and some loose groundbait bits to keep it around whilst I quietly wound in both rods and then removing the lead from the line of the worm rod, and flicking out a few more maggots at the edge (which pleasingly was accompanied by a tail swirl pattern in the water) I dropped down the bait … which after a few seconds saw the line tighten, a strike made and the start of a long playing session until eventually a nice common carp of 14lb 0oz was landed…
Now, time was getting on for 1545 and I’d intended – and told Liz on the phone – that I’d likely pack in at around 1600 and so had 15 or so minutes to try to grab another fish. So I rebaited the bread rod intending to cast out on the ledger again but threw a bit of old crust out in front of me – and almost immediately it was taken in a big swirl by a mirror carp at least, probably more, the size of the 14! So, quickly, I disconnected the lead from that rod, threw put some more bread and crust – and had 3-4 other commons suddenly appear to join the mirror – so the bread baited hook was cast out several times but the carp appeared cagey and nosed and bashed the bait to bits but didn’t actually take it although freebies were taken OK… Anyway, I decided the problem was due to the swivel/link on which the lead had been originally attached but which couldn’t be removed easily – and so to resolve the issue I put my rod in the rests and basically ‘dapped’ the bread by only allowing enough line out so that only the bread (and hook) was actually in contact with the water with no line there to spook the fish… and it worked!! The mirror rose, grabbed the bread and turned and bolted….. and there was a crack like a gun fired right next to ear … and fish had gone! ALL BECAUSE I’D BEEN DOWNRIGHT STUPID!!! STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!
OK, there I was with just 1’ of 8lb line dangling from my rod tip … an 11’ rod, so allowing for reel placement up the handle there was about 11’ of line in play…. AND I’D HOOKED THE LINE AROUND MY FINGER! LOCKED IT BEHIND A BENT FINGER! And 11’ of locked solid 8lb line just isn’t going to be a match for a bolting double figure carp! And it wasn’t….. Why I did that I don’t know, I wasn’t touch ledgering at a distance whereby line stretch, slack in the line, etc can dampen the shock and give that vital split second of extra time even… between me and fish was just 11’ of line… Why I locked the line like that rather than my usual way of loosely pressing my finger on the rim of the reel’s spool to hold the line but which would, in the event of a sudden snatch, allow the line to slip twixt spool and finger….. Years of experience and still stupid stuff like that happens! Oh, all done and dusted, can’t be changed but can be learnt from! But worst of all, Liz caught her PB carp – 18lb 1oz – in exactly the same 3’ from her feet situation!! Perhaps she should train me! :)
Oh well, it was ended up a day of mixed fortunes – an hour later packing up than anticipated, nice 14lb carp, several other fish that put a bend in the rod following several sessions that saw 200+ fish landed but none over 6oz – but all somewhat tempered by the needless loss at the end.
OK, then time to look forward now… Friday, I was hoping to make a trip to the Severn to hopefully connect with some barbel and chub but now, looking at GaugeMap (http://www.gaugemap.co.uk/) – you can look up the conditions of all the rivers in the UK and from that work out what the likely conditions will be a few days ahead by looking what happening at points upstream, etc. In the case of the Severn, due to high rainfall in Wales over the previous few days a big surge is working its way down from Wales and looks like the Severn may be rising quite a few feet over the next day or two – plans have changed and now I’m intending to return to the pool of the previous session and this morning have re-rigged up my ‘floater’ rod – 12lb mono main line with a 3’ 15lb braid leader (all greased) and a size 2 hook – so better equipped – and brain in gear – for possibly another encounter of the ‘mirror’ sort if the opportunity presents itself. May also get the float rod in action although it might be a bit too breezy for me according to BBC Weather but up to 1500 its dry and bright, light rain between then and 1600 and then back to a bit of rain by 1800 until 2100 but I’ll be well gone before that second patch arrives…
- Online BBC Weather.
Is really, really good IMHO. If it says the night before that there’s going to be light drizzle at 1000, dry at 1100 and heavy rain at 1400 … then that it what it is! Sometimes I’m fishing and a bit of rain falls and I think, remembering the forecast, ‘oh it must be 11 o’clock’ or whatever – and its usually right…. I even pack up at times depending what was forecast although it seems it may be wrong – but rarely is!
- Something I maybe should have made use of!!
I was reading a book I’d just bought the other night as bedtime reading – Graeme Pullen’s “Freshwater Fishing Baits” – and he was saying about fishing floater baits and the need to add extra casting weight to the line when using light baits like Sugar Puffs. Now, on my actual ‘floater’ rod I’ve got attached a small cotton reel – not a usual sized one that would have actually stored cotton but small ones that are really meant for decoration purposes (Easter Bonnets, that kind of stuff).[I do though, as an aside, also find them useful for carrying line for making up of hooklengths, etc – they hold about 15-20 yards of 8lb line – and I carry about 10 with me in a small compartmented box that would fit in a pocket (3lb, 4lb, 6lb, 8lb, 12lb all in mono and in braid). Anyway, back to subject, the cotton reel is good – fits loosely on a ledger stop to hold position for casting and controlling line but to a slightly heavier resistance (eg fish pulling against water surface) the ledger stop pulls out and the fish can take line freely through the reels hole….]
OK, back on track, as I was saying I was reading Graeme’s book and he mentioned a ‘floating putty’ that could be moulded over a ledger stop, or similar, on the line to create that casting weight and it was called “Anglers’ Flotabait’ and made by Evode. However, this seems to have been discontinued as I’ve been unable to find any (current) mention via Google … however, Google did throw up a few alternatives….
There are various ranges of floating putties meant for making strike indicators when fly fishing – expensive though – about £3 for a small piece (1/8” x 1” x 1”) – comes in various colours from green to fluorescent reds/oranges/etc easily seen …..so can be used to detect takes…
Also there are putties intended to create baits for ‘zigging’ ie buoyant baits – again expensive, about the same as the ‘fly’ ones… and also one possible drawback … as they are meant to used as ‘psuedo-baits’ they are also flavoured/scented to attract the fish … so possibly could lead to fish trying to take the putty? But then again cork balls even undipped in glug can sometimes become the subject of testing at times?https://stevetheangler.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/session-44-a-no-small-perch-session-but-a-stupid-stupid-thrice-stupid-mistake-happens/And, to me anyway, the best option … £1.90 for a reasonable ball of floating putty/wax and as a side product you get some eats for yourself or a decent ball of bait…. and its obtainable from most grocery stores, supermarkets, etc ….. BabyBel Cheeses! As I say, about £1.90 will buy you a 6 pack of BabyBel cheese – and the wax covering it floats well and can be easily moulded in the hands and hardens in the water. The cheeses also come in different flavours and different wax colourings…. The cheese itself moulds well and should make a great bait – although not tried it yet – probably tomorrow though! :) And there are other products too that can possibly provide the same qualities – the small truckles of special cheeses that you get on supermarket shelves especially around Xmas time that are wax covered. So if you have cheeseboards on your Xmas buffet then make sure to keep those waxes!
And if only I’d used that BabyBel wax that I’d got in my pocket to float the swivel link then I wouldn’t have needed to have such a short line….. STUUPPPPIIIIIIDDDDDDD!!!