Friday, 23 August 2013

Damn Fish!!!!

Sometimes you just want to say “Bugger!!” at the top of your voice, and this afternoon I did it, twice.

I finished work early at around 11am, headed to Tithe Barn and after parking next to just the one car in the layby I made my way along the path and to the top pond. At the head of the pond is the weedy end, and in gaps in the weed I spotted a few carp moving around. The wind was heading for me quite strongly and pretty much every cast I made (free-lined crust) went wayward. The ones that did stay on course resulted in the fish moving of course before I could drag the bait back. So, with all that and the added bonus of a mother mallard and six ducklings scurrying around all over the place, the first part didn’t go too well. But there’s always the middle pond.

The middle pond had three bivvies on the left hand bank but the head of the pool was free and after standing like a heron for a few minutes I was exciting to see a couple of fish to cast at. The first three casts I made were perfect and each resulted in the carp sucking in the hook-bait, but for some unknown reason I managed to miss each strike. The last one looked a bit special, the coloured water meant I couldn’t see properly, but I was sure it was a fully scaled mirror. I made the cast and waited a little longer for the fish to take the crust in properly,  it did and when I struck I felt an immense lunge on the rod tip.

The fish felt a god one and certainly knew how to call the shots where weed was concerned, but I was starting to get the upper hand and as the fish rolled two rod lengths out I was stunned by the sheer beauty of it. A big plated mirror of around 20lbs was boring away into the weed head down and tail waving. I reached for the net just as the hook slipped and the rod flew back over my shoulder. I threw the rod into the reeds in disgust and stomped off up the bank muttering a few unpleasant words. That loss hurt, a lot.

I stood a while longer but failed to spot anything so I had a quick fruitless peek into the bottom pond and returned to the top pond for one last try. The head of the pond was now being stalked by another angler so I concentrated on the dam end near a snaggy bush. There were ripples coming from under it and after watching a while I was certain they were carp. The trouble was, the bush was just out of casting range, unless I hooked a massive crust and dipped it, but then the carp had trouble taking it, and at that range I couldn’t see properly whether it was gone or not. God I wish I’d had some babybell wax with me.

So, a larger crust was chanced which landed a few inches off the bush. I looked at my watch and realised I’d have to be getting off in ten minutes, look struck, hoping the fish had the bit with the hook in its mouth and was soon old it was when line started to pour from the 300, and pour very fast. I held on trying to apply as much pressure as possible in the hope of slowing it down, this end of the lake is clear apart from the iron bar ad snaggy bush on the dam margin, but it isn’t too far until you reach the head of the pool and lots of weed.

Moving three swims to my right, lifting the rod high over four short trees to keep the angle, I eventually found myself winding like mad to keep up with the fish, it was headed right for me. When  made contact again it was headed back to the right and as I had so much line out I just couldn’t stop it getting dangerously close to the snaggy bush, that’s when the hook slipped out and my world came crashing down. The rod was once again thrown into the reeds and with my head in my hands I stormed along the bank muttering more choice words, I actually think I may have scared the other angler a little in doing so.

Enough was enough, when I retrieved the rod I broke it down and made my way back to the car, apologising to the other guy for my language on the way. I now have some more crust, some babybell wax and a few other things I could have done with today, and at the crack of dawn I intend to get back to the pond and put right what went horribly wrong for me today.......

Monday, 19 August 2013

PDAS 24 Hour Charity Carp Match

This weekend was the PDAS (Portsmouth & District Angling Society) 24 hour charity fundraising social match at Lakeside in Portsmouth. The match/social was fished from 3pm Saturday till 3pm Sunday with the biggest weight winning a shield and other prizes for section wins and biggest fish. 22 anglers took part with raffle donations and ticket sales taking place weeks leading up to the event. This year we have decided to support Samuel who sadly suffers from Cerebral Palsy, and requires a special operation in the USA, followed by lengthy post operation treatment in the UK.

The day came. We met in the car park, had a natter and began the banter with most of the mickey taking being aimed at the one who was going to be using vintage tackle throughout the whole 24 hours. John was also using some of his cane rods so I wasn’t alone. Once we’d drawn for swims we made our way to our swims but before getting the gear ready for the off we were treated to a wonderful BBQ and lots more banter.

As the fishing started so did the rain. It continued for 12 hours, I noticed it stop and the sky clear at 3am, I was awake due to the action I was seeing to the rods. The first take came at midnight. I was ledgering close to the bank with two rods, both hooks were baited with three grains of sweetcorn and the areas were baited with more corn and some ground-bait. The first take I had resulted in a hook pull, the next take at 01:15 resulted in the fish diving into the reeds and breaking my line. With two fish lost I felt quite dejected, it was still raining, dark and I had to re-tackle my rod.

Me beavering away to increase my catch rate…
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Retackle I did and with the rods now fishing again I fell back to sleep. I woke just after 3am to another take, only I managed to land this one, and the one just before 4am. So, by morning I was tired, but had two carp with a combined weight of 6lb 11oz. Rumour was that not many fish had been caught but there was a clear leader further along the bank. I wound in and went for a walk to stretch my legs at 7am, had a natter with some friends and retuned to strike up the Kelly Kettle for a pot of tea, although finding dry kindling after 12 hours of rain didn’t help matters too much.

My camp once the rain had cleared…
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Tea Time…
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I happened to catch another carp of just over 4lbs at lunchtime and another of similar size around fifteen minutes before the final whistle. The match was split into two sections of 11. When we packed away and returned to the car park for the results and the raffle I was delighted to learn I’d won my section of 11 and finished 2nd place overall. Not expected but very welcome. I was heartened to see those who had entered the pools give their winnings to Samuels fund, and after a wonderful raffle we were told that we’d helped raise over £1,000 for the little lad, who was there at the presentation with his family congratulating the winners.

Samuel and his family congratulate the overall winner…
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It was a superb event, well organised and with loads of fun. The fishing was fairly slow with 10 of the 22 anglers not catching any carp, the weather also seemed to be against us for the first half, but spirits remained high and we carried on enjoying ourselves nonetheless. It wasn’t really a match in the true sense of the word, although it had the tag of one, it was a gathering of souls all intent on giving something back and doing our bit for a very good cause.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

A Delightful Social

A 24 hour session at Brownwich with Steve was on the agenda for this weekend. The water runs a booking system meaning we’d have to be there for a 5pm start and could fish till the same time next day. We met in the car park at around 4:30 and after the shaking of hands he told me I’d better go look at the pond, as the weed was really up after this warm spell we’d had. I did, and was horrified, it was fishable, but only just.

Steve fished a swim named Charlie’s, named after his young lad who sadly passed away, and I fished the sociable swim next door, number three. There wasn’t much in open water to go on, especially knowing that I’d have to find any spots in the dark without line clips, so two nice clean margin spots were found and two rods were cast out.

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This session I was using my newly converted Heron alarms, the inner workings are similar now to ATT alarms, and are wireless too, but have kept the croaky buzz sound. I just hoped it didn’t rain as I wasn’t sure how waterproof they’d be. Plus, I had my oval brolly with me which tends to leak if it rains too hard, although, I think all brollies do that. 

So, with the houses built and the rods doing their thing we pulled up a chair, made a pot of tea and chatted until well into darkness. It was great catching up with Steve and the stories bounced between us beautifully. It was time to retire for the night when we heard a few rumbles of thunder and the sky lit up. 

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In the sleeping bag I began to get warm, very warm, but even though I lit a mozzi coil, I could still hear them buzzing around so didn’t dare expose any flesh. Then the rain started, and the wind. The rain got heavier as the rumbles of thunder got louder and the lightening lit the sky ever brighter. It was a proper storm, my brolly started to leak as expected and the wind ripped my storm poles out a few times, but I came through the night unscathed and in one piece. Also, the alarms still worked perfectly.

I didn’t get much sleep at all and when Steve woke me to tell me he’d seen a couple of good fish roll on the opposite bank I think I may have come across a little grumpy. Soon after I emerged from my pit and apologised for still being half asleep. While we chatted and ate breakfast we saw a further two fish show on the other side, which attracts the first of the morning sun and had no anglers on this particular day. 

I think it was around 10am when I packed away, said farewell to Steve and headed round to the other side with my stalking gear in the hope of eliminating something close to the bank. It was more ‘my sort of angling’ anyway and although the social was first class, it was nice not to be sitting behind static rods. 

I got to the middle swim and spotted a few fish cruising through the weed. It looked brilliant and I started to trickle mixers in the area. The carp seemed to acknowledge them but never fed on them. I fed three separate swims and, although they all had carp present, no fish fed. It was about an hour or so after arriving that I decided to sit in Dug Out and flick a bottom bait along the margin under the oak where we’d seen the fish roll that morning. 

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With one rod fishing to my left I began firing a few mixers out into the channels in the weed. The rudd were ravenous and I even think some managed to eat the mixers whole. With this I downsized my floater gear to fish a size 8 hook and with a small piece of mixer on the hook point I attempted catching a rudd. I caught three, all were like solid silver with the deepest crimson fins. They weren’t big rudd, but they were the most beautiful fish in the any pond. 

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With the rudd fishing done and the margin rod looking increasingly redundant I looked at the time and thought it a good idea to pack away and head to Carron Row for the last couple of hours. I made my way back to the car park and started to load the car. Just as I went to grab the rod that was leant against the car I spotted the weirdest green grasshopper on the Mark IV, I took a quick snap.

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At Carron Row I did my usual tour of the ponds and found that number 2 was empty, number 1 had two anglers and number three had 1 angler. I fished 2 for a while, got to bait and fish three swims but nothing rose. After about half an hour I gave up on 2 and switched to 1. A guy was just leaving the causeway swim when I got there. He told me that they weren’t taking floaters and that he’d only had one tench all day, also that I should use luncheon meat. I thanked him and said farewell. 

As soon as he was gone I threw a handful of mixers towards the sunken tree. A couple of minutes passed and the swirls appeared. My double mixer hook-bait was snaffled shortly after this and after only 3 or 5 minutes in the swim I had a wildie shaped common on the bank. I went on to land another shortly afterwards. 

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With two fish on the bank I was happy, and felt totally fished out and in need of some butterfly therapy. If you’d read my last session report you’ll know that it is my intention to learn about butterflies and try to photograph a new one whenever I can. Well this trip I was lucky enough to snap two, a wonderful Red Admiral and a Comma, one I’d never seen before. Although the Comma was facing me so I never managed to get a wing shot. Perhaps next time...

Red Admiral
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