Saturday, 31 December 2011

Winter carp on the pin...

Managed to squeeze one more trip into 2011. I recieved a call from Tony asking if I wanted to join him and Dave on a day session at Stroud fishery near Petersfield, I hadn’t fished with Tony since Redmire back in August so jumped at the chance of a catch up and hopefully a winter carp or two. We met at the nearby MacDonald’s and I followed the guys the rest of the way. First impressions were good, a small lake of less than an acre with one very good looking spot where a great tree had fallen in the water, if the carp were anywhere, it was there!!

Tony jumped into the swim opposite the tree and fished two rods with his usual method of Sausage Oil criticals attached to a size 4 wide gape and small 1oz lead. He fished both rods tight to the snag tree locked up and we just knew that he’d have a good day. Dave set up to his right and I was in the next swim. With just open water in front of me I fished my home made popups with small bags of pellets and threw a few balls of groundbait in the area in the hope of interesting anything that might cruise by, this consisted of white crumb and crushed hemp.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Midwinter 2011

Midwinter, at least that’s what the calendar said, but the conditions outside and the forecast for the few days ahead were that of an unsettled mixture of clear and cloudy, calm and windy, dry and wet. However, I was going fishing with great friend and all round legendary angler Martin James. The Kennet was the venue and chub and barbel were the target with the option of some pike fishing on the last day.

I arrived at the river around 11am on Tuesday, met Martin and after hand shakes and Christmas niceties it was down to business. He told me of his captures the days leading up to my arrival and also of his losses. The plan was to try for chub and barbell on Tuesday evening, Wednesday afternoon and evening and hit the Lodden Thursday for some piking. Our first job was to walk the river; both banks looking for spots to fish and introducing bait to the areas we’d be laying our traps. It was quite a walk and I must admit it was heavy going in my full winter attire. Martin however, led the way and showed no signs of fatigue even being well into his seventies!! We completed our tour, found a couple of swims we were happy with and retired for a lunch of Hot Pot made by Martin’s wife. During lunch we spoke of many things, the old days, new days, things Martin got up to, things I got up to, there was certainly no lack of conversation.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Boys Stripes

I decided last evening that I’d try my hand at perch fishing today. I was fishing with Dad and we’d originally planned to fish the lower lake at Broadlands but I didn’t fancy sitting watching the tip all day long. Besides, I fancied something a little different from the norm. So, Headlands Farm it was, Dad could still fish the feeder for carp and bream and I could try for the perch, and the picture of a 4lb 2oz specimen in the fishery office was the fish on my mind.

I figured that the best plan of action would be to fish red maggot down the edge under a small bobber float, there are lots of smaller perch and silvers in the lake but I though that eventually the better fish may make an appearance. I fished with a light float rod; 2.5lb mainline straight through to a size 18 hook and two red maggots. As expected I started off catching small roach, rudd and perch with the odd skimmer bream that always leapt clear of the water like sailfish when they were hooked. Then the first of the monster perch came, all 8oz of him, he looked splendid in the autumn sunlight, and even though it was small in comparison to the others that live in the lake, I was chuffed to bits, I don’t fish for or catch perch very often and that’s sad as they are beautiful fish and the epitome of this season.

Boys Stripes…………

Sunday, 18 September 2011

A delightful common

Today’s trip to Waggoners was one of slight disappointment. Yes, I did catch one and, yes, it was an extremely pleasant day, but it was the losses that spoilt things. It is no secret that I prefer Mirrors to Commons, that’s not to say I don’t appreciate a nice dark Common, just given the choice, I’d have scaley Mirror every time.
The day started off in the usual manner, a quick stop for supplies on the way and I arrived at the Wells at around 9am, not a particularly early start. When I arrived I had the place to myself. I passed the first and second ponds looking into them as I went and came to the third pond where the instincts heighten and the fun begins. For the first hour or so I was stood at the top of the bank watching carp cruise through ignoring any bait I threw at them, be it bottom baits or floating baits, they just weren’t interested. For much of that first period I used the heavy natural cover as a shelter from the rain showers.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

A carp from a tree

Yesterday I made the trek to Waggoners Wells, after the week at Redmire I felt I still had the urge to catch some Leney’s and Waggoners is the most accessible lake I have. I woke at 4am, loaded the car, had a light breakfast and headed for the motorway. I’d say it’s around 40 minutes for me so ideal for a nice long day session in the summer. I arrived shortly after 5am and found only one other angler there but he was on a different pond. I had a few walks around first to try to locate the fish but, as it was early, they weren’t showing, but they were bubbling in a few places.
I decided to start at the deeper end off the causeway and flicked two rigs in the edge with a handful of baits over each one. While I waited I saw a few fish start to cruise so I started to fire out a few mixers four at a time with my little match catty, I love the match catty, less noise and less disturbance, although she’s getting a little tired now so will soon need a newer model moved in. After a few minutes, one carp started to take a few of the mixers, not really having it, but certainly starting to show an interest. I wound in one of the margin rods and quickly set up the floater rod. I cast out a freelined mixer and sat to watch events unfold.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Quest for a Mirror

The alarm sounded very unpleasant, 3:30am is no time to be getting up….but I was going fishing, round two at the legendary Waggoners Wells. Through weary eyes I managed to make a flask of coffee without spilling any or scalding myself so I knew, there and then, that I was in good form…..On the way the wiper blades reminded me that they needed replacing, a horrible sound almost like that of nails being scraped along a blackboard, but I had no choice, the rain was persistent, I needed to get to where I was going and there was no chance Halfords would be open at that hour. Any other day the dim light and wet conditions would have made for a very drab journey but spirits were high. I arrived at the car park at 4:45am. Although I had only the bare essentials and carefully thought out what to take my equipment was still fairly heavy and the ten minute walk to the pond was one of aching shoulders and tree roots trying their best to trip me up. At the pond I was delighted to find nobody there, I fancied the swim next to the pads due to its deep nature, first impressions were that there were no fish cruising around just yet so they were more than likely in the deeper spots enjoying breakfast. With a rod just off the pads and one near the overhang I sat back, poured from my flask and settled back against a tree stump to daydream of big, heavily scaled, old Carp.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

A New Dawn

There is an air of childlike innocence surrounding the use of old tackle for fishing. It’s hard to explain what I mean but I will try anyway. Recently I have taken to using traditional tackle, and by that I mean a split cane rod, old Mitchell reel and very basic end tackle. I would like to take this further by obtaining a vintage (but safe) net and a creel to sit on and stow tackle sometime in the near future. There is a largish pond of around 15 acres very close to my home that contains carp, not massive carp, the average is probably no more than 6 or 8lbs but bigger ones do exist there with reports of fish breaking the twenty pound barrier. But, being so close to home (3 minutes drive) and having mainly small carp in, I find it ideal to try out my new found passion.

A year ago I would have thought you mad if you told me I’d be more than happy catching single figure carp on a wooden rod but it’s true, it pleases me no end. The childlike innocence I mentioned comes from watching the bright float riding the ripples and holding onto a cane rod which I must say is much heavier than my carbon ones and using a reel that is very noisy and the clutch is terrible, but although I didn’t use such items of tackle in my youth I ca imagine that many did long before I was around. The water I have chosen also suits me due to the fact that there is little or no chance of bumping into anyone I know, it isn’t fished very much and there is always a nice spot to hide away, eliminating the possibility if someone recognising me and laughing at my equipment. The carp, although very small compared to the carp I usually fish for, fight like tigers, testing the vintage tackle to the limit, but if the old boys did it, I’m damn sure I’ll have a good go. Using such gear also allows me to tune into my surrounding better which I’m sure helps me blend in and go unnoticed, I like to think of it that way anyway, and why not.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Success on fine tackle

I made the eagerly awaited visit to Waggoners Wells, history water stocked from the nearby Surrey Trout Farm 50 years ago by Mr Donald Leney. Waggoners is a wonderful place, steeped in tales of old, visited regularly and written about by Chris Yates. These days the old strain still live there, deep in the woods surrounded on all sides by tall trees, but the fishing is very difficult, wily old Carp who have seen it all before and the copious amount of dog walkers throwing balls and sticks into the water for their dogs to fetch don’t help in the slightest. I have a love affair with Waggoners as I do all the historic Carp waters and my goal is to fish as many as I can and catch from them, although I knew Waggoners would be a tall order after my last visit, one half chance and they stuck two great big fingers up at me as they tormented me for the rest of that day, impossible Carp but Carp I dearly wanted to catch.

I woke early, 3:30am, made a small breakfast and a flask of coffee and drove through empty roads to my destination full of enthusiasm and optimism. I arrived at around 4:45am and a quick tour of the lake confirmed that all was quiet. Nothing moved so I sat and waited for the Carp to begin stir, and at around 6am they started to move around clearly visible in the gin clear water. I chose a spot on the left hand bank opposite the pads, my idea was to fish two rods in close toward my own bank using the overgrown banks as shelter from spooking the fish, then, if I managed to get them going on the surface I planned to fish with 4lb line which is why I chose the swim as far away from the pads as possible. For the first few hours the Carp did their usual, looking good in the sunlight and teasing me by swimming under my rods giving me full views if their pristine Leney characteristics. Commons, Mirrors, they were swimming past without a care in the world and I felt the frustration start as my stomach started to get tied in knots.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

A Session to Remember

With heavy rain and thunder storms forecast all weekend, Tony and I questioned whether or not to fish this weekend, but our passion for the sport we love was far too strong to let a little bad weather stand in our way. I picked Tony up at around 4pm on the Friday and with the car loaded we set off for our chosen venue. I suggested Carron Row, a venue very close by and one I’d spent a lot of time on in the past, Tony, on the other hand, had only spent three previous nights at the complex ad each one ended fruitless so he wasn’t overly optimistic, but, we could think of nowhere else to try that late in the afternoons the decision was made to fish pond 3, that was if there were any swims available. 

We drove up to the causeway between ponds 2 and 3 and were delighted to see pond three devoid of anglers, we quickly secured our swims with buckets and proceeded to unload the car. Tony opted for the swim opposite the sunken tree and I set up in the Pipe Swim. With the rods we sat back with a cuppa and before long the first of the raindrops fell. Just then my right hand rod, fished close to a tree on the nearside right hand margin let out a few bleeps, I watched as the bobbin slowly crept to the top and as I struck I felt that typical Tench like resistance, something I’ve grown quite familiar with over the past few weeks. We unhooked the fish in the margin and I cast the rod back to the spot followed by a few free offerings. We sat outside the bivvies for a while chatting but the rain got steadily harder and harder along with hearing deafening claps of thunder drawing ever closer. At 10pm we retired to our bivvies and listened to the awesome conditions so close but unable to get to us. 

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Easter Work Party @ Redmire

The drive from the south coast to the Welsh border was surprisingly smooth with only two tractors through Newent slowing me down a little. I arrived at the pool at a little after 9am and immediately made my way to what is the most photographed spot in Carp fishing, The Redmire Dam.

First impressions were the same as always, awesome. It’s funny but no matter how many times you look out over the pool, no matter what time of year, it still looks amazing and you cannot help but to feel a little emotional. Then my attention was fixed on the shallows, at first I though the Carp could be frolicking in the morning sunshine, but it was more than that…..they were spawning. The first time I was to witness the spawning of the Redmire Carp, I felt highly privileged that’s for sure.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Winter Carping....Highs and Lows

My head was telling me to stay home, heavy frosts all week meant another drop in water temperature therefore making the Carp even more reluctant to play. My heart, however, was urging me to get to the lake as soon as possible. Needless to say my heart won the argument and Friday afternoon I found myself back at the pit. First impressions were that of wintry bleakness, a bitter north westerly blowing into the swim I’d chosen. I stood a while to contemplate the situation but soon found myself unloading the car and pitching up for the weekend. With the areas I thought the fish would be hiding found and the rods in position the light began to fade, I made myself comfortable and settled in for the night.