Saturday, 7 January 2012

The first fishes of 2012

The first trip of 2012 and I was determined to catch a good fish on the cane and pin. I had promised Roy a trip to Headlands Farm, perch were the target and live-baiting was to be the tactic employed. With supplies gathered the on Friday I was ready for the off, bed early and up at 6am to leave for Roy’s. We left his place at seven and headed for the M3 and onto Wellow. Roy had never been to Headlands before but had heard me taking about it so was itching to get there ad try for the wonderful fish that swim there, perch to good weights, stunning little carp and countless other species to angle for, float fishing with maggots really can produce anything, as we were to find out.

I offered up the swim I’d had a perch of 2lb 2oz in on my previous trip to Roy, advised him where to put his bait and set up in the swim to his left. Roy opted for float fishing pellet on one rod and had a maggot feeder on the other. I started off trying to catch a few live-baits and soon had half a dozen small perch, perfect bait for the big stripeys. Without an air pump I brought along a spare landing net, submerged it in the margins and the small fish swam happily there until it was their turn. With enough perch for a few hours fishing I set up the 11ft cane float rod with a Leeds centrepin reel and attached a small 8 gram bobber float with a 6oz drilled bullet and size 4 hook. The bait was added to this and I was soon watching the float ride the waves shuddering and dipping every so often. The wind was keen, it felt chilly for most of the day but with the odd brief sunny spell we felt a little warmth every so often.

The first fish came about an hour in, Roy bent into a fish on his pellet rod, it looked like a carp by the way he was hanging on and the rod was curved. A great battled ensued and a fine looking mirror carp of around 6lbs was netted, I congratulated him and retuned to my fishing. Whilst watching my bobber float from the corner of my eye, I continued to fish for baits with the other rod and stumbled across a shoal of bream, they were all around the pound mark, very slimy and Roy found it all very amusing. The odd nice roach of around 12oz was thrown in for good measure, a hybrid and a few perch of 4 – 6oz. Then I watched the bobber slide away, it was so exciting, it always is, setting out to do a job and actually catching your target fish. I struck and connected with the first decent perch of the day, not massive at somewhere near a pound but still a special moment. I went on to catch another couple of fish around the pound but just knew that there was a bigger one on it for me if I stuck to my guns. By now Roy was also fishing the bobber float but unfortunately the better perch didn’t seem to be in his swim, although he did have a few of half a pound on the float fished maggots. But then as Roy informed me that we were actually carp fishing and that he was winning, I realised that I’d have to up my game!!
Time was getting on, with my trying to replenish the live-bait supplies and failing, but still hauling smelly bream, and Roy still ribbing me about it, I was starting to wonder if the better perch, that fish over 2lbs, would come. I was standing talking to Roy over a cup of coffee when my bobber dipped and dipped again, something had obviously spooked the bait, we watched on a while but all went quiet and we got back to our conversation. A few seconds later and the look on Roy’s face told me that the float was on the move again, I looked round to see it slide under and off towards the island. I struck and felt a good fish charge off, the cane hoped, the centrepin sang and Roy readied the net for what was clearly our two pounder. It looked so majestic, the king of winter fish lying in the mesh if my net, a brilliant way to end a splendid day. The fish weighed 2lb 4oz and Roy did the honours with the pictures.

We fished on for another twenty minutes or so but the light was fading so we started to pack away. On the way back home we reflected on a wonderful days fishing, with great fish and great company we vowed to return, and soon.

Tomorrow will be spent live-baiting for perch again, but on a much different water and closer to home, hopefully I'll have some more fish to show you, until then, tight lines....

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