Saturday, 30 December 2017

Ice, Ice Baby


In a surprising turn f events I had the chance to head out for a few hours.  I fancied another lure fishing session and packed the dropshot rod along with an ancient green spinning rod purchased by my Dad back in 88'.

For some unknown reason I decided to got to Shearwater.  I could have gone to Todber for free.  Shearwater is an eye watering £12.00 for the day.  Why did a choose this? Dont know.


My little tin can was frozen solid - must be mad


It was bloody cold with the wind blowing into the dam end.  I chucked in my rubber lure and worked my way towards the boat house area.  I got snagged half a dozen times and caught nothing.



Looked great - but that wind...


On my travels I bumped into some chaps spinning away.  They hadnt had anything either...

After a fruitless hour or so I decided to pop down to Little Shearwater.  I have seen small Pike in here and it just looks Pikey.



Beautiful if somewhat icy spot

However the lake held a considerable amount of ice which wasnt going anywhere quickly.  Probably a bad thing.  Anyway I made my way round the entire lake.  I tried different lures along with live lobs but nothing.  Not a knock all afternoon...

Not a great way to complete the fishing of 2017.  Unfortunately it got worse.

A crazy kid came down to the bank, picked up a discarded and broken fishing pole and proceeded to hurl it onto the ice along with stones, wood and anything else he could get his hands on.  The mum was busy shouting at him and asked if the pole belonged to someone... If it did then they wouldnt be getting it back!

Stopped for a cuppa


I decided to switch it some spinning with a Savage Gear Trout in gaudy orange.  It looks amazing in the water but was getting hooked up on weed - there is loads in here.  To finish off I got it tangled in a tree.  I did get it out but it fell in the water.  I thought they floated...

So a terrible session all in all.  It was cold, I had lost my fancy lure and had blanked.

The best bits were a beautiful Kingfisher perched up near me as the dappled sunlight lit up his electric blue feathers.  Wish I had brought my camera.  Also a couple of Roe deer, disturbed by me crashing around on the bank.  Oh, and warming up in the car.





Wednesday, 27 December 2017

The Shallows



So this may well be my last fishing trip of 2017. With the weather being quite mild I fancied my chances at Ship late Fishery. In the summer I caught close to 100ibs of Carp and silvers. So I was certainly in with a chance of catching a few.

I chose Peg 1 on Hawthorns lake. The same spot as in the summer. I only fed sparingly with maggots and a bit of groundbait.

An aerator was nearby so I chucked out my waggler next to it. 5 mins and it sunk and into a nice 4ib Common. A great start.


Decent enough - all counts in winter



The feeder rod was out on the far bank with a lobworm stuck on the end but stayed quite.

Meanwhile the float was getting very tentative bites here and there. But no strike managed to connect.



 Aerator dead ahead

The Shallows



My initial success completely died. Looking about I noticed the reeds slowly moving about at the top of the lake. Normally inaccessible due to bushes and trees but in winter these had died back.

I carefully plucked my way to the corner area. Carp! Loads of em milling about in shallow water. Probably 1 or 2 feet at most.

I plopped in nearby. Moments later the float went and a second carp was bagged. Not huge but very welcome all the same.

Small -  but nicely coloured.

I tried again and got a few strong bites which I missed. Finally I hooked into a third but sadly the hook pinged out.


He just didnt give up - maggots, worms, groundbait, pellets - anything that would fit!


At the close of play I had a rather un-impressive 2 Carp. The second being about 2ibs.

Still, in winter every fish counts. Make sure you watch the shallows!

Merry Christmas and New Year to all.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Batteries not included.


Blimey, its been a bit chilly over the last few days.  Now, when it gets like this I try and improve my odds by going to spots where I know I might get a bite or two.  Emerald Pool Fishery has to be near the top of the list.  In the warmer months the action is often non stop so I figured that in winter I would still get a few.

Upon arrival a chap told me that Ruby was the only lake not booked!  Not really a problem.

I kitted up with a float and maggots and a method and maggots.  Rather annoyingly the batteries on my alarm had given out meaning I would have to hope that any fish might just hook itself.

I cast in and fed a small amount of maggots around the place.  All was still...

20 minutes later I was scratching my head.  By now I would normally have caught 3 Carp!!!

Alan, the owner wandered round.  I immediately began moaning.  After he had a good laugh at me he very kindly offered me a spot in the "Private" bit.  What a gent.  I pushed it a bit far by asking if he had any aa batteries... As this is a family show I wont repeat the response :-)

Now, fishing outside the private cottages I started to get a few taps on the float.  I missed a few but at least it was something.  

Finally a little Roach was caught, saving me from a blank - something that is surely not possible here.  I took comfort from the fact that the match guys seemed to be struggling a bit also.

More Roach were forth coming and I lost many more.  Given the weather I was pleased with just this small catch.

Cheers to Alan.  Even if batteries were not included...

These are real fish.  It was dark and I was a bit cold.  But it wasnt a blank...

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Predators






At last. The rivers and drains near me are fully fishable. During the warmer months they get infested with weed making life very difficult. However a bit of cold weather has sorted it out!

Now, I haven't had masses of success with drop shotting so far. But I was keen to make amends.

Heading out quite late I trundled down to North drain on the Somerset levels. It was bloody cold but the surroundings were beautiful. A Spotted Woodpecker was a companion for a time as I wondered along the slow flowing water.  I put in a few chucks with a little rubber minnow type thing, nothing happened.

Eventually I reached a little bridge.  It looked like Perch heaven.  But it wasnt.  Not a thing.  My heart was sinking a bit.  Luckily the surroundings and the quiet kept be bouyant.  I turned round and headed back to where I had started.  A Bittern flew right over my head.  I wondered if he had more success than me this morning.

Back at my original spot.  I noticed a bit of metal sticking out of the water.  It was awkward to get to but the best places often are.


Metal thing is bottom left.  

I dropped the lure in right by the metal thing and within half a second I was onto a perch!  They must move quick!!

Not huge but what a smart fella

I decided to try my luck and do it again...

Second time lucky.

I was pleased with myself if im honest.  This drop shotting stuff does work after all!

Then things went quiet.  I swapped banks and chucked in right under the bridge to my right.  I winded in slowly and then it felt like I had hit a snag.  Then the snag started moving.  The rod arched over and started bouncing, line went out...

I was terrified I would lose it.  My first Pike for sure.  After a scrap I finally brought him in.

I was so excited...




Brilliant!

So it was all about the Predators today.  The Pike has now officially moved to 2nd place on my favourite fish list.  Perch remains number 1 and Tench is pushed into 3rd.  Lets hope I can get some more toothy or spiny critters over the winter.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

60 Minute Makeover


I haven't been doing too well of late.  The last two sessions were blanks.  BUT I did encounter a large Pike which shot out of know where and so nearly connected with my lure.  I jumped a bloody mile!  It was a massive adrenaline rush and I really want to go at it again.

However I decided that I would make a flying trip to Lydford Millstream for some small Chub and maybe a Roach or two.  I literally ran out of work fully aware that

a) There wasnt much light left.  By the time I got there it would be around 60 minutes (Just like Claire Sweeney)

b) The wife would put me in the dog house if I was gone too long

Now, all was going well until I got out the car and pulled my rod out (oh er!) only to find the very top section to be snapped - bloody hell.

I decided to fish anyway.  The Mill Pond was really raging and very full.  Nevertheless I thought I would give it a bash.  I had some dead maggots (really dead this time).  I chucked a few in along with a bit of leftover groundbait.

10 mins in the float buried

 Quite a nice looking chap.




I then got the odd little knock but detecting bites in the flow was quite hard and the light was failing.  Nevertheless I got one more cheeky chappy.

A tiddler but still a welcome fish



Then the phone went. The Boss.

She wasnt aware I was out fishing and she wanted me to pick up my daughter from swimming (a change to the original bill).  I calmly informed her of my location and that I would be at the pool in 20 odd minutes.

I did arrive a bit late and she was already there.  I knew the Doghouse was calling.  I'm still in it at the moment (24 hours later) as I write this.  Who knows if I will ever get out?

I blame Claire Sweeney for encouraging me to complete my fishing session in 60 minutes...

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Waiting for The Drop


The post round my way is bloody awful.  Sometimes the Postman doesn't get round till 3.00pm!

It is always made doubly worse when you are waiting for something cool.  The cool thing was a dropshot rod.  It was an NGT Dynamic (I think thats what its called).  I really like NGT products.  They are very well priced and offer good quality as well.

Anyway the post did eventually arrive and the rod was duly handed over.  I had paired this with a cheap spinner reel from Ebay.  The reel looks great, much more expensive looking than the £8.50 I paid for it.  It looked even better with a nice green braid wrapped round it.  I was well pleased.

Oh, i forgot I attached a dropshot weight to the bottom and a rubber lure on the hook.  Job done.

Now I needed to go somewhere.  For some unknown reason I headed to Edney Farm tucked away in the little village of Mells. Now this place is really hard to find.  Once I actually got there I almost ended up fishing in  a pond on someones front lawn.  True story.  The fellow was very gracious but said I couldnt fish in his pond and the lakes were back up the drive. Oh dear.

It was a pretty cold day and soggy as well.  Nobody was about except a battered white caravan.  It was all a bit still and ... creepy.  I was quite concerned that Leatherface might come charging out of the caravan wielding his chainsaw.


I kept an eye out - just in case.

There were 2 lakes.  One was very clear and the water was also very shallow.  It wasnt really very fishable if Im honest.  Then the was the other lake which looked more promising.  The water was a bit less clear and the odd little fish was coming to the surface.

Looks great here but the water was about 10 inches deep 

More promising

I was aiming for Perch from the off.  My favourite fish.  I chucked in a method feeder with a fat worm on the end and starting drop shotting.  The lure looked so good in the water.

2 hours went by and I had one bite and 1 Perch follow the lure but he didnt clamp his gob round it.

The owner came along and said that it wasnt fishing well anymore.  Not good.  In its heyday 100ibs would be fairly common.  Indeed Jase "The Carp" said he had spent many a happy hour down here in his youth.  Unfortunately I got the impression that it was a shadow of its former self.

I kept going.  I was a bit more aggressive with the feeding.  Chopping up some worms and plopping them in.  It worked.  Only little Perch but I was still happy.  Most importantly I had one on the lure.  My first ever!

He might be little but I was thrilled!

All his mates fell for the chopped lobworm



Its not exactly impressive but I still enjoyed it and have got the bug for drop shotting. 

I really hope the fishery will regain its former glory one day.

P.S :

I couldnt wait for the drop and tried South drain a few days later.  I caught exactly nothing. But I did lose 2 Perch (one fell off in mid air) and I watched one following my lure.  I also got chatting to a lure angler doing stuff similar to me (except he knew what he was doing).  He very kindly gave me a lure to try, although I still didnt catch anything. BUT I really enjoyed the mobility.  No box, no groundbait. I could go all over the place!

Now Im waiting for the drop once more...


Monday, 13 November 2017

To The Manor Born

I have heard a lot about Todber Manor so on a very wet and windy Saturday I thought I would pay a visit.  The journey took far longer than it should have done, due to the sat nav taking me through a variety of small housing estates and minor B roads.

Eventually I made it.  From the off it was clear this was a very slick operation with a nice shop and helpful owners.  I was advised to try Hill View lake, so I did.

Luckily you can drive pretty much up to your peg.  Unfortunately the wind was gathering more strength and was carrying a fair bit of rain.  2 chaps had set up with their backs to the wind, but I couldnt do this.  Sideways on was the best I could manage.  I tried for about 45 mins bit life in the rain and wind was difficult so I packed up and headed backwards to Firs lake.  Much more sheltered, Firs is only little but I was happy enough.

I flung in a few zombie maggots (back from the dead once more) along with a small ball of ground bait into the margin to my right and I cast my float rod over the top with a bunch of red maggots.  I then flung the method feeder over to the far bank, close to the reeds.


I was aiming at the far bank with the method


There was a wait of about 20 minutes, then the float vanished.

Saved from the blank

Then the method rod started bouncing about madly

The start of many...

I got quite a nice rhythm going catching on the float and feeder.  The smallest Carp I have ever caught - a PB (kind of)

One for Anglers Mail Carp section :-)


Meanwhile the sounds of barking dogs and blaring horns filled the air.  Hundreds of ducks flew over panicked by the din.  On the horizon posh people rode on galloping horses.  I hoped that there wasn't a little ginger dog being chased down and pulled apart.

Back to the fishing and many, many baby carp were caught.  Here are a few of them.








I like this one the best


So, I will definitely come back to Todber Manor, perhaps when the weather is a bit better.  There are loads of lakes and plenty to get your teeth into.

Hopefully Tarquin and the other 'To the manor born' lot won't be thundering around next time round.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Big Daddy




Saturday saw Jase "The Carp" and Brother-In-Law head over to a Somerset lake he has been visiting for a few weeks.  A little while back he netted a 24ib Carp.  But this time he was going bigger - much bigger!

31ibs and a bit! Second biggest fish in the place!

Here is Jases account:

Bait (Boilie) was left out nearly all day.  I decided not to reel it in. I noticed the line slowly kiting across the lake and decided to strike into it.  Fight lasted 15 ish mins - slow and plodding but when it broke the surface near in, I saw its shoulders and started bricking it!  Luckily it was netted and nailed with a barbless hook - Well chuffed!

Be Careful Not To Choke On Your Aspirations...



Winter time appears to be slowly gaining a grip.  This is good and bad in my humble opinion.  The water gets colder and many fish switch off and go into Stand By mode.  But not all of them do. In my humble experience Chub, Perch, Roach and Bream will still feed.  Along with the big bad boy Mr Pike.

Today I tried Pike fishing for the first time and failed.  I went to the North Drain on the lovely Somerset Levels.  Just last week I was catching some top quality Rudd.  This week...

The rain had fallen heavily overnight - something I should have thought bout.  The drain was the colour of dairy milk chocolate and was actually flowing (it doesnt normally).

I pitched in a ledger with some maggots on the end and my carp rod had a dead roach slapped on the end (frozen and bought from the shop - club rules and all).

Then, nothing happened not even on the ledger - last week it was non stop.  I waited...

BLEEEEPP the alarm went off.  I nearly fell off my box and struck immediately into nothing.  Bugger.

Still I was still excited and plugged away a bit longer.  My Pike aspirations on high alert.

More time passed and I decided to move down the drain a bit.  ANother fisherman got chatting with me and he hadnt had anything.  Not good.

To be honest I had far too much stuff to lug about, tripods, rods, cameras.  I was bloody exhausted.  To cut a long story short I caught absolutely nothing.

I didn't give up though.  Next spot was Wallyers Bridge at Baltonsborough.  The last time I fished here must have been about 1997!  It to was the colour of chocolate and the water was pushing through at quite a rate.  

Using the quiver was difficult because of the heavy flow.  But it stopped a blank...


Its a Pike!!! (Smaller than the dead bait I was using)


I noticed opposite quite a bit of disturbance with little fish flying everywhere and large plops in the water.  I put my dead bait out towards it but again was unrewarded.

Still I was intrigued and crossed the bridge, broke out my new drop shot rod.  I didnt use a lure but a little float with red maggots.  Bites came thick and fast.  I missed most of them.  But the ones I did get led to a Dace the size of my middle finger and 3 Minnows.  Yes Minnows.  I didn't get any photographic evidence of these as my camera was on the bank opposite and I cant use the Force to move objects.  But I guess most readers would probably except my less than amazing haul.  Whatever was there had either gone or was full up on little fish already.



Wallyers on a much calmer day
 (Copyright Rivers.org)

Time was getting on and I thought I might quickly try the River Sheppey on the way back.  This was running really fast and unusually was very brown.  Normally the water is very clear.  My float was shooting along like a little Usain Bolt.  I tried a few spots without any success.

Lessons learned - if its rained a lot it might be better to go to a stillwater.  Travel light on the river. It saves so much effort!

My aspirational target of a Pike was well and truly missed.  But I'm not going to choke on my aspirations.  I will give it another go soon.




Meanwhile in other news...

He has only gone and landed a 31ib Carp...
Well done once again to Jase "The Carp" White




Thursday, 2 November 2017

Down the Drain


Well, Winter is starting to grip its icy tendrils across the land.  The fishing will get harder.  But I dont hang up my rods over the cold months - I just end up blanking more...

This is the time that the rivers around my way are coming into their own.  During the summer months most stretches are clogged with weed and run pretty shallow making the fishing very difficult.  However all of that weed is dying back now making life an awful lot easier.

With this in mind I headed to Somerset's North Drain.  I even had a new rod and new style of fishing I have never tried - The quivertip.

I wasnt really sure what the best rig would be for a quiver so I went really simple and fitted on a small line through bomb and fixed it in place with a couple of small shots.  I then left about 8cms to the hook on which I impaled some hapless red maggots.  I catupulted a small handful in for good measure.  Then I cast over the top.  The drain is narrow at this point so casting isnt a massive deal.

Not a lot happened for a while.  Luckily it was sunny and its very picturesque so I wasnt too worried.

Then the tip yanked to the right and I struck in.  There was some resistance at the end.  Initially I thought it might be a Perch but...




A beautiful Rudd.  The photo doesnt do him justice.  
He was hovering around the 1ib mark.



But it wasnt quite the end.  A further few Rudd chomped down the maggots plus a few bonus Roach.  

 Another beaut, bit smaller but still great.

 Its not an atom bomb - its just the sun

A few bonus Roach always welcomed




I really enjoyed the quiver and will certainly be doing it again.  Its worth going down the drain for.