Saturday, 20 July 2013

Summer at Green Pool...

On the way to Green Pool I noticed a heron fly overhead, that expert fisher I have utmost respect for, for he, along with the kingfisher, are the greatest fish catchers you could ever hope to meet. Throughout the rest of the journey I hoped that I'd spot a the heron's little blue friend at the pool, now that would be nice!

The day was about crucian carp. For once I'd left the carp stuff behind, opting for finer tackle, tackle with more finesse, delicate enough to trick those timid, shy biters. The rod of choice was an Allcocks Wizard, the reel a small Aerial and the plan was to fish with tiny floats, light line and small hooks with sweetcorn as bait. An ash Crabtree style net and my basket completed the outfit.

I arrived at the pool early, it was only a little past six and there was nobody else there. This was a good thing in many ways, but mostly because there is only one fishable swim at Green pool, the overgrown, forgotten nature of the place means that it doesn't take long for the paths to become impenetrable, which suits me fine. There were carp nudging the weed in the centre of the pool, their broad shoulders pushing through as they fed. I pictured in my mind a crust flying through the air attached to my hook, Landing with the faintest plop, being teased gently back into position and then to be snaffled by something big, dark and scaly. But those thoughts were for another time.

The pitch (not much more than an open section of bank) has a overgrowing bush to the left, the Canadian pond weed starts a couple of rod lengths out in front and there is a channel to the right, so I had three different spots to bait and to fish in a rotation approach. Straight away I started catching roach, not big roach but very pretty ones, sparkling in the morning sun, which was already quite hot. Then the float was surrounded with tiny bubbles, I though that perhaps the crucians had moved in, but upon striking whatever I hooked charged off through the weed and broke me quite easily.

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Just as I was tying on a new hook I heard the sound I dearly wanted to hear, a kingfisher. That oh so familiar piercing shrill was echoing around the pool, it was delightful, then I saw her. She was perched on a branch opposite me, flew off, hovered above the water and made her dive returning back to the same branch to polish off her meal. I've seen them perform this hummingbird like action before. For the next ten minutes I watched in awe as she fished and prayed that one day I could fish with the same splendour, so precise yet so elegant. Once she was gone I resumed tying the new hook, but with a smile on my face, the lost fish really didn't matter any-more.

For the next hour I watched damselflies, and large green dragonflies as they visited the bush to my right, I don't know what particular bush it was, but it certainly attracted some very pretty flying insects. I was broken a further three times by either larger carp or tench and landed half a dozen small silvery common carp and a handful of sparkly roach. At lunch time I ate my sandwiches and contemplated a move, a change of scenery.

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The walk did me good, it was getting very hot by now and the pool next door (also reputed to hold good crucians) had a number of shady pitches, shrowded by tall ash and birch trees that looked very welcome indeed. The pitch I chose was situated beside a great lily bed. One pad was deepest red, so I chose that one to fish next to. Just as soon as the float cocked I had company. A shoal of small perch had emerged from under the pads and surrounded my float. I then remembered that the float body had a flash of red, which I guess could look like a red maggot. For the next few minutes I watched on in delight as the perch, one by one, attacked my float. All thoughts of angling were pushed to the back of my mind, I was more than happy watching the little army in front of me defending their patch. The perch did eventually get bored pecking the float, and I went on to catch another handful of roach and some skimmer bream, but Green pool was calling me back, I could hear it in the breeze, perhaps the spiny regiment was trying to tell me something.

I arrived back, slightly worried that somebody might have stolen my pitch in my absence, but they hadn't. There were, however, dozens of pond skaters swirling round and round on the surface. Just as soon as I began fishing they started using my float tip as a traffic cone, circling it time and time again. A damselfly landed on the delicate little float tip causing it to sink, he flew off and up came the tip like Excalibur. The scaled down tackle was proving to be troublesome, I knew that if I beefed things up I'd have stood no chance whatsoever of catching a crucian, but with the tackle I was using I was broken twice more before calling it a day. Before I left I did manage to land a few more roach and small common carp.

On the way back to the pool I stopped to watch a group of big carp sheltering from the sun under a big canopy of overhanging trees. I could have easily bounced a crust along the surface to their position and felt sure one of them would have taken it, but that was for another time, perhaps next time.

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Thursday, 18 July 2013

Update Time....

Just thought I’d write up a quick update of what’s been happening here at SK Towers.

A couple of weekends back I was fortunate enough to embark upon a proper journey, a journey into wales and into the past, for Fennel and I set forth to the mountains around Builth Wells in search of wild carp, proper wild carp. Camping with our friend Matt we had the perfect base camp nestled nicely between the two venues, Pant-Y-Llyn and Llyngwyn.

Both of these venues are spellbinding, remote and beautiful, and still contain the original strain of wildies that were stocked by the Cistercian monks hundreds of years ago. These streamlined torpedoes were great fun, but it was so much more than merely fun, it was like coming into contact from an ancient time, remnants of a time long forgotten.

It was 4 days in wonderland. The weather and the fishing were kind to us, and you’ll probably be wondering why I haven’t written a blog piece about the event. Well I am, almost half way through it, but there is a reason I’m not posting it for a while, and I have no doubt it’ll come out soon. Just keep an eye on Fennel’s website for more info.

Other things happening have been the successful stalking trip last Friday where two good commons were caught, and then there was the great news that my first book is now available to order, due for release in August, can’t wait to see it in the flesh. I am currently working on two further books, one fictional and the other a second series of diary events, hence the holding back of the wildie words.

This weekend I am visiting a very special local water where I have a great chance of meeting a 3lb crucian carp, and that’s a very big deal when you consider that only a couple of months ago I managed to catch my very first 2lber. So, with the reports I’ve had, that magical 3 could well be on the cards. It just remains to be seen how much of an effect these hot conditions have on the fishing.

It’s been hot; you don’t need me to state the obvious, but don’t let it put you off angling, and in particular surface fishing for carp. Early morning and late evening are the best times, but even during the hottest parts of the day, find the shady, sheltered spot, perhaps an overhanging tree, and those basking carp can be tempted into snaffling a single surface bait. Don’t attempt to get them going with freebies, just of crust or mixer can be taken even if they aren’t hungry, it’s the inquisitiveness that is the carp’s major downfall.

That’s all for now. Thanks for following and thanks to those who have ordered a copy of the book. With a limited first run it’s probably best you get in quick as rumours say they could sell out before the publication date…


Monday, 15 July 2013

from Carbon to Cane

From Carbon To Cane

From Carbon To Cane

by Stuart Harris

From Carbon to Cane

This collection of diary events piece together one man’s journey to a better place. The year detailed was a very important one for Stuart Harris, for it was the realisation that there is so much more to angling than merely capturing fish.
The journey starts with a successful trip to one of Stuart's favourite places, Redmire Pool. On this particular session he arrived with the tools of a modern day carp fisher: carbon rods, the latest technology and an attitude that meant the rods would fish constantly throughout the five days. The final diary event is a return to the same pool almost one year later, but with an entirely different outlook.
This time he was armed with rods of built cane, fifty year old reels and a Kelly Kettle.
In between these two poigniant trips, Stuart tackles the challenge of fishing the Moat, a water local to him that is reputedly the home of monsters. He also fishes the Thames, Waggoners Wells and River Farm, discovering along the way a more traditional approach to this wonderful sport. Stuart shows us how a walk along the waterside can be just as thrilling as the same walk with a rod in your hand, sometimes better.
from Carbon to Cane does not seek to educate, but rather to demonstrate the enjoyment can be achieved by simplifying things. Lose the complication so often involved with angling and open up a world of relaxation and wonderment.

This delightful book shows a further side of Stuart Harris; that of a budding wordsmith and I think you will find his infectious enthusiasm and sheer determination in pitting his wits against the wily carp is put in such a competent and readable way.
There are discourses with other species and venues but the underlying theme remains the Moat and the problems incurred trying to extract its occupants. Overall From Carbon to Cane gives an good insight into how some anglers are successful while others just dream of success.

From the Foreword by Chris Ball

From Carbon To Cane is 210 x 148mm in dimension, and is 135 pages long. The book is richly illustrated throughout with photography and artwork.

Limited Cloth Edition:
400 copies only, all signed and numbered by the illustrator, Tom O'Reilly M.A. £26.95

Leather Bound Edition:
25 copies only, all signed, numbered and hand-bound by Stuart Harris and Tom O’Reilly. This edition is fully leather bound, comprising edge-gilded pages, oasis goatskin leather, spine bands, marker ribbon and headbands. This edition is finished with gold-tooling detail, and presented in a marble paper covered slipcase. £185.00

Publication date: Aug, 2013
Pages: 135
From Carbon To Cane by Stuart Harris
cloth bound
From Carbon To Cane by Stuart Harris
Full leather

Friday, 12 July 2013

A Short Stalking Trip....

I don't call myself indecisive for nothing!! Originally I'd planned to fish the moat, but when I visited to bait up yesterday it was wall to wall and top to bottom with weed. Not only could I not find any fish, but if I had hooked one, I doubt I’d have landed it.

I woke this morning with a weird feeling in my mouth, and upon inspection I found that an old filling in my front tooth had come loose. An emergency appointment meant I couldn't fish directly after work as planned and it was almost 1pm when I finally left the dentist with my smile back again.

I headed for Baffin’s pond, reports of some good carp cruising around the margins was just the challenge I needed and fitted perfectly into the few hours I had spare. When I got there I was horrified at the amount of bird-life present. So many different species all congregating on this tiny pond of just over an acre, and a quick tour of the margins revealed that there was nothing cruising anyway.

So, Tithe Barn was the next bright idea of mine, the previous two trips had been fruitless, but with this prolonged warm spell, they had to start moving sooner or later. I was surprised to find nobody on the whole complex, so three pools all to myself. The top pond is the first you come to from the car park, and the weedy top half of the pond showed signs of having fish present, they were on the move after all.

I fished various swims, cast at various fish but it was down in the left hand corner where the first take came, a powerful surging plod that really tested the old Mark IV. The reel I was using was a Mitchell 300 loaded with 12lb line, mainly due to the weed situation. Well finally, after a lot of persuasion, the fish flopped over the net and I hoisted her ashore. A lovely long, lean common of mid to upper doubles was photographed and released back into the warm water.

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Happy with my achievement I wandered down to the other two ponds, and had half a chance with a fully scaled mirror on the middle. But I managed to spook the fish before it could snaffle the bait, so once again I was back on my travels.

Back on the top pond I found a fish I'd been looking for, a linear mirror of over twenty pounds. It was nestled among weed with its back showing and I caught a glimpse of one of its flanks revealing that row of apple slice scales. I gently flicked the crust past her, drew it back level with the fish and as the lips opened and the crust sucked in everything went into slow motion. I should have struck right away, but instead I waited for the fish to close its mouth and turn away. It didn't, just spat the crust back off and bimbled away through the weed.

Soon after Danny arrived for some stalking. We chatted a while and he told me of a lovely common he'd caught recently at 26lb 2oz. I told him I'd seen a big common which looked all of that, and maybe more. After our brief chat I left Danny and fished a gap in the trees opposite him. I spotted a few carp channelling between two weed beds, flicked out a crust and within minutes I had a powerful carp surging its way down towards the dam end.

Danny rushed around to help with the netting. As the fish drew closer and the runs became shorter he caught glimpse of it and said that it could be the big common. A few more seconds and it was revealed that it was indeed the big girl. She didn't much feel like swimming into the awaiting net but on the third attempt Danny scooped her up and she was mine. As I don't carry scales Danny fetched his, just to see if she was up or down in weight. In fact she was exactly the same weight as when he had her, 26lb 2oz. Danny took some photos for me and we released her into the deep margin.

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I fished on for another hour or so, had one more take but lost whatever I'd hooked in the thick weed. At 7pm I bid farewell and good luck to Danny and headed for the car, very happy indeed.

Monday, 1 July 2013

A Perfect Common...

Sunday, a day of rest, a day to spend with the family, that’s what Sunday means to me these days, so when Corrinna asked if I wanted to go fishing this Sunday afternoon I was shocked, but pleasantly shocked. Of course I had a good look through the TV guide first just in case I was missing anything important, but as nothing caught my eye I reached for the rod and left the house around midday.

I headed for the moat, it was a warm sunny day and throughout the journey I pictured those carp cruising amid shoals of bream looking for a crust to shlurp down. The beauty of the moat is the quietness of the place, there were only one or two anglers there going about their business, which left 99% of the place available for me to roam, wander and stalk.

The surface was black with bream in places, I swear you could walk across them, the birds were singing, jays flew from one side to another, woodpeckers hammered away at loose bark and, although I didn’t spot one, I could hear the distinct shrill of a kingfisher on more than one occasion. I was a beautiful day to be beside a beautiful place. The fishing was just something to do whilst visiting, to help while away the hours and, if I got lucky, well that would just be a bonus.

I noticed in the corner near peg 28 that there were a few carp swimming parallel with the drop off into the pads and back out again, a patrol route. The rest of the moat was fairly quiet where the carp were concerned, I half expected them to be cruising but for whatever reason they were concentrated in this corner, so I looked no further.

A few pieces of crust were thrown as near to the pads as I could get them and I tucked into my pork pie whilst waiting for them to be eaten. A few carp approached but somehow seemed reluctant to feed from the top. I did spot, however, one piece I squeezed too tightly that drifted to the bottom, and as it was fairly shallow and clear, I could see where it sat. The next carp to cruise through upended straight away and chomped the bread.

With two rods set up, a Sharpe’s split cane stalking rod and a Mark IV, I free-lined two crusts a metre apart and sat back some more to enjoy the fabulous afternoon and see if anything else fancied a stopping by. Over the course of the next hour I watched three groups of carp come through, mainly commons but with a sprinkling of stocky mirrors. It was the commons I was really after, weathered, dark warriors, not massive but very beautiful. As luck had it, it was a group of four commons and one mirror that took interest in my bait and the mirror that actually picked slipped up.

I picked up the Mark IV and set the hook, the fish charged off to my left and under a marginal tree causing a few uneasy moments, but within a few seconds it swung out into open water away from danger and did the rest of its fighting away from obstacles. Once in the net I peered in to find a plump mirror of around fifteen pounds, carried her up the bank onto the mat and took a quick self-take before returning her a little further down the bank. Not the common I was hoping for but still a nice fish to meet and share such a nice afternoon with.

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Once returned the area went quiet so I upped sticks and began wandering again. A little further down, between two large sets of pads, I spotted three commons enjoying the sunshine. They were cruising from one set of pads to the other snapping at leaves on the surface. With the dangers either side of me I opted for the stiffer Scottie rod with a Mitchell 300 spooled with 12lb line. I attached a crust, flicked it out to the edge of the pads and crouched down out of sight.

The first fish to show an interest was another chunky mirror, but I managed to pull the hook from its mouth without setting the hook. A few minutes later and what looked like a milk chocolate carp sucked in the crust, but this time I did make contact, a huge spray of foam and water erupted as the fish turned and headed for the sanctuary of the pads but with the stout tackle I was using I managed to avoid peril. Slowly, with the fish circling around in front of me I slip the net under and lifted. I peered into the net and fell in love right away.

It was the most beautiful common I’ve caught in a long while. Far from the biggest, but it had everything, the dark tones, the long lean shape, everything about it just oozed class. I laid her on the mat, told her how beautiful she was and after a self-take or two reluctantly slipped her into the crystal clear water.

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It was the fish I came for, it was the fish I always hope to cradle, I was happy and didn’t really need to fish on. It was approaching 6pm anyway and Corrinna would be made up if I returned in time to help putting Jessica to bed, so off I went with a smile from ear to ear with everyone happy.