Sunday, 26 February 2017

Double Trouble

Image result for delboy and rodney

Good news. It's warming up. Bad news. It's doing it slower than a muck-spreader on its way to Godney.

Isn't it strange how lots of things in life come in doubles? Salt and Pepper, Lemon and Lime, Rodney and Del Boy. The list goes on (feel free to list any famous doubles in the comments section).

I haven't quite got to the double yet. I've come pretty close with 8ibs and a bit. Maybe today could be the day?

Today I was fishing at Avalon Fisheries for the first time. I wasn't alone however. Today my special guest was Jason White aka Brother in Law.

Jase (a preferred shortening of a perfectly reasonable name, but one I shall use in order to speed things up) is something of a Carping Pro.

Like a rock star comeback. Jase hasn't fished as regularly as he used to (and is unlikely to do to much as he has 3 girls under 4...)

But now he has returned. I can hear the carp gulping from here...
We started off in anti social fashion with Jase on Heath Lake whilst a settled in on Match Lake.

Aside from a double I was keen to get a few nice Roach or maybe a Perch or two.  With this in mind I busted out my Tupperware holding a few lobworms. Except there was a problem. They looked like used Turkey basters. Swollen in some areas and stringy in others. After some mouth to mouth (I'm joking I am in know way attracted to lobworms). It was clear they were dead as rusty doornails.

On went the maggots (special shout out to my wife for getting me a pint. Must be love).
I chucked in some hemp and a few more unlucky maggots. Then I chucked out the ledger rod without much thought. Aiming it at any space where there was water.
After 10 minutes the float twitched and sank. A diddy roach to start.

Casting back out the float went almost immediately. Another little fella.

and another...

and another...

Might taste nice with olives.

How many did I catch? I lost count after 20 or so. At least 40 I reckon. Nothing big but it kept me entertained. But the little fellas were not alone. 2 or 3 pink mouths were sucking away at the surface along with the odd heavy splash. Some chunky Carp were milling about. Even feeding on my Hovis Best of Both.

I swapped to bread crust but the the rain decided to fall....

From the confines of my car I WhatsApp'd Jase. He hadn't had any luck and was contemplating coming over to my spot (especially after I told him about the carp).
In the meantime a few stupid messages were exchanged. 

Soon the rain eased and I was back at it. The carp were slurping in my lumps of floating bread quite happily.  Then the float vanished, I struck.  Smething a lot bigger than a Roach was on the end.  My 4ib line sang as the chunk swam into the tree roots.  I pulled carefully and managed to avoid disaster.

I quickly gave Jase a call.  I think I would need some help landing the beast.

After a good 15 minutes of battling he reared his head.  Jase laughed at my little landing net (everyone does).

He some how managed to get the lump in the net (well some of it anyway).

Looking fine in my bobblehat.
A new PB - 9ibs 5ozs!

After some thought Jase decided to uprooys and join me on the Match Lake (we could be a bit more sociable then).

Unfortunately the commotion caused by the carp scared away all my little silvers.

Meanwhile, after throwing lead at trees Jase finally got his aim in.  Casting just in front of the island.  

He got some serious results...

Good work (sorry its blurry, I got excited)

 Carp - 9ib/10ibs


Meanwhile I dragged in a few more silvers.  Before long the starlings were coming in to roost.  A spectacular sight indeed.  But one which signaled the end of the day.

A new personal best then but I'm still having trouble with a double..

Monday, 20 February 2017

The Boss

Image result for bruce springsteen boss

Sunday saw me head over to Landsend Fishery (which isn't in Landsend but tucked away in Wedmore - It would appear that names and geography aren't recognised in the deeper regions of Somerset).

I love the drive over to this fishery across Tealham moor. It looks barren but harbours all sorts of critters. In the winter large flocks of Fieldfares hide in the grass. Dainty Egrets stalk along the drains. Herons stand. Stiff and sentinel.

Today I was not alone in my fishing. I was meeting The Boss, Kevin Griffiths. A keen Carper and camper.

Upon arrival it was clear that the slightly milder weather had attracted a lot of anglers. The match took up 3 of the 4 lakes!

I was left with Sidney's Lake. The newest lake. But I wasn't worried. It was just nice to be out in the warmer air.

I trudged my way over. Avoiding a large number of expensive fishing poles and rollers (they are all the fashion at the moment).

At the bank The Boss was already set up and fishing. Carp rods dipping towards the water. The Boss was enthusiastically chucking stuff in the water.

I was keen to catch up and unloaded in a corner peg (84 I think).

I chucked the lead in and fished the float. Kevin The Boss was fishing heavy. Accustomed to catching big dollop fish, this small (but perfectly formed) lake wasn't an ideal place for chunky gear. Nevertheless he was full of beans as we chewed the cud.

Pulling in the lead I had a dinky Roach on the end. Followed by... a dinky Roach. Then the float slid under and... a massive Perch.

 Tiddler (nice reds though)

Diddler (Perch)

Mega Perch.  Struggling to lift it.


 Better Roach

Better upside down Perch

I fed in a small handful of maggots every 5 mins around the float. The silver's were loving it and I was kept busy catching Roach up to about 6oz. Nothing huge bit fun all the same.

Meanwhile Kevin had spied a chunky Carp cruising about and went about harassing it with a rubber dog biscuit. Sadly the Carp wasn't fooled and carried on about its business.

Suddenly my eyes noticed a black, slimline piece of fur sneaking about and then cruising across the water.

There was much talk of fishing, some about work and a bit about holidays. All the while the float bobbed and ducked. The silver's were hungry.

I even managed to blag some fat lobworms from a nearby angler. I think his name was Steve. Cheers!

The day slipped by really quickly and before long the light was fading. Just before the end I had a slimy skimmer.

 This fellow actually put up a bit of a fight. Unusual for a Skimmer!
He isnt radio active.  Its my crap camera.

Overall I had a good 30 odd bag of silver's. Plus I missed a good few as well.

I'm sure myself and The Boss will be back again shortly.  Its a lovely place and really relaxing.

But for now we had The Long Walk Home (one for Bruce fans there).

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Blankety Blank

Image result for blankety blank

It was looking good. BBC Weather said it was 10c out. Perhaps it might wake up the fishes a bit.

So Viaduct Fishery it was. Match lake (i'm obsessed with this lake, and must go elsewhere).
Today I was joined by Technical guru and all round nice chap. Steve Baumgardt (i have probably spelt it wrong... but it is better than Bumgardt. Yes that has happened).

Before he arrived I kitted up both rods. One with a chunk of lead on the end and a big dollop of cheese. The other with a chunky weighted Waggler and... a big dollop of cheese as well!
Casually I chucked in the lead and leaned back on my pollker dot stoll (my fishing chair is lost - how the hell can you loose a bloody chair!?)

Reaching for the float rod I nearly fell onto the deck. The bite alarm was bleeping loudly! I picked up and stuck. I was into a fish! The lead must have literally clonked him on the head. He certainly wasn't suffering though. Immediately he headed towards a low lying tree. My line was quickly snared in its spindly branches. I knew what was about to happen. A loud crack echoed around the lake... Line snapped . Fish lost.

I set up again and then Steve arrived. He is far to macho to fish the match lake. He has got proper carp gear. Chunky and full of testosterone (the gear that is. Steve isn't quite as pumped up as he used to be).

He looked a little forlorn gazing out at my little red float bobbing about.  He wanted yo go to Carey lake.  Its got fish the size of mopeds in there.  My match equipment wasnt really the gear to use there.  But Steve is always so enthusiastic and friendly its difficult to say no...

I upped sticks and trundled to Scary Cary...

The rain was falling.  Steve's PVA bags were melting but he set up his carp rods.

 Steve, wishing it was summer.

Greys Carp rods and Cary Lake

Fortunately he had brought along some tea and chunky kitkats which cheered everyone up.

Half an hour slid by.  I was feeling uncomfortable on this new lake.  It was big and I just didnt like it!

I had to get back to Match lake.  At least I had tried.  Steve was all setup and stayed on Cary.  Although he was going on about hot baths and warm cups of tea.  These fair weather fishermen...

Back at Match I was feeling confident.  I was going to catch loads.

4 hours passed and I had one bite which I missed.  The sun was getting heavier and soon struggled to stay above the ridge above me.

I was going to have a blank day.  The song from Blankety Blank played in my brain.

In a last desperate bid for something I cast tight to the margin about 7 feet from my peg.  I balled in a load of bread creating a small cloud of tastiness in the water.  The float bobbed slightly.  I thought it was a Roach giving it a go.  I didnt care as long as I caught something.  The float bobbed again and very slowly slid lower in the water.  I struck into it.  This wasnt a Roach.

The last light was holding on tenuously.  My reel was giving out line pretty fast.  It was certainly a carp but how big?

20 very stressful minutes later it broke the surface.  He was a big critter.  Carefully I slipped my net under him (Steve finds the net slightly amusing as it does look like one you would find in a tacky seaside shop in Torquay).  It was a rather tight fit...

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8ibs 10ozs A personal best and saved from a blankety blank...

Monday, 13 February 2017

Cold Feet

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The weather forecast said it would be 10 degrees.  Its been bloody freezing for the last few weeks, so without hesitation it was time to get down to the bank (the watery one, not Natwest).

I was aiming for a nice Chub or two.  To be honest I was feeling a bit cocky about the whole thing. Why?  Because I had mixed my own killer bait.  It even involved the microwave.  So it counts as proper cooking.  The smell of melted Stilton and Dairy Lea still hangs faintly in the kitchen even now (yes that does give me a premium pass to the dog house).

Anyway, I aimed for somewhere a bit different.  The hilariously named Tootle Bridge to be exact.  The bridge itself was never made for anything substantial to cross it (maybe the odd cow or two perhaps).  Its ridiculously narrow and wholly unsuitable for the throng of tractors and tankers blundering over it (dear lord I sound like I'm from the Council).

Image result for tootle bridge barton st david
I know this photo looks like a classic February day.  I didn't take it.  The Baltonsborough Auxiliary unit (???!!!) did.  Full copyright belongs to them.  Also I will contact them in the event of a zombie apocalypse.  With a name like that they must have weapons and supplies..

Image result for marine  squad field

The Baltonsborough Auxiliary unit.  Tooled up and ready to roll

Im going off track, so to cut a long and slightly random story short. I quickly tackled up and threw my line in.  The water was hoofing it through but it looked just right for a chunky Chub.  Except it wasn't.  I clumped about above the bridge and below it.  Not even a bite...

I was reluctant to go anywhere else simply because my rod wont fit in the car when erect (ahem).  But Lydford was calling.  It never lets me down.  I succumbed and after snapping my line on the boot lock in the car I zoomed over to Lydford...

On the way I successfully scoffed my Morrisons 3 pound meal deal, but did get Tuna mayonnaise all over the steering wheel.  Nevertheless it was still the best experience of the day up until now.

Lydford is a truly beautiful place.  It has a rather regal air about it (its posh).

I headed to the mill pond.  Before fishing here it is vital that you fall down the greasy slope, which a duly did and planted my feet straight into the icy water.  My Mountain Warehouse shoes were no match for the flowing water.  My feet protested bitterly after being housed in a pair of thermal socks for the past couple of hours.

Despite the set back I geared up, using  a very nice Drennan float I found at the Viaduct last week.  I hope the owner isnt reading...

Bites came thick and fast but I couldnt hook into anything.  The float was ducking and diving more than Del boy in his prime.

I was getting a bit annoyed, I was striking over and over (bit like French Air Traffic control).   But I just couldnt catch.  I decided to cast in closer where I had a bit more control.  Finally, my bright idea paid dividends...

 Dinky Chublet

 Dinky Chublet


 Back to the dinky Chublets again

I was getting biyes every cast and in the end I had 7 or 8 fish plus Ilost two.  The best was about 1ib.

Above the sun was thinking about retiring and my feet were frozen.  Just before hometime I thought I would give the bit above the weir a go.  I tend to struggle a bit here.  Not sure why.  But I'm convinced there are some big fish in here...

Last cast of the day and the float slid under.  I struck and bang.  I had something good on the end.  The line slowly eased from the reel.  He was making a move for the far bank.  I slowly pulled back, 3ib line singing in the breeze.  He was a strong fella...

 4ibs on the nose.  Brilliant!!!
I tried to get a selfie with it.  Not too successful...

 After my failed photo attempts I plopped him back.  He swam slowly away.  What a great end to the day.  I squelched back to the car.  Heaters on full blast.  Maybe getting cold feet isn't such a bad thing after all.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Simply the Best

Image result for tina turner

An unexpected opportunity came up today.  It had a lot of variables involved, but against the odds I had a chance to go fishing.  Obviously I'm not one to turn down such a gift.

I decided on Viaduct Fishery in Somerton.  What a beautiful place it is.  Tranquil and filled with fish!  

I headed to the trusty Match Lake.  I am a creature of habit and pulled up at my standard peg next to the tree.  To my left was the swim which my dad always went to.  It was empty and I thought that if nothing happened I would go there...

2 hours in, a lead shot wrapped up in a tree and maggots that for some reason smelled even worse than normal.  I hadnt had a knock, absolutely nothing.

I decided on plan B and shuffled everything to the corner peg.  I decided to cast tight into the corner as going at the island wasn't working.

I slipped on a hair rigged pellet.  I'm still unsure about this method.  It just doesnt seem right.  But everyone seems to do it.  A hook with no bait on it confuses me.

I was getting the sinking feeling that I wasn't actually going to catch anything...

I even got distracted by a Tawny owl hooting from the copse behind me.  My eyes really should be looking at the water rather than the woods!

Without warning my float started moving violently to the left.  I struck into it and initially thought I was snagged on the bottom.  Then the line started winding quickly off the hook.  I immediately realised this was not a 3ib Pasty.  It was bigger.

I immediately got into trouble.  My 3ib line wasnt really a match for the critter on the end.  He swiftly made his way straight into my second rods line and duly snagged the whole lot up before I could pull it out of the way.  Then he went under my platform.  I couldn't really stop him...

5 mins, 10 mins, 15 mins passed and he was still batting me all over the place.  Eventually he began to tire.  He slowly rose to the surface.  He was a big un!

My landing net didn't really fit him.  There was line everywhere, tangle and twisted.

The Carp was foul hooked in the right fin.  Once he was landed it fell out.  I was lucky that it had held!

Common Carp - Personal best

I took a few  pics, weighed him and slid him back.  I was well chuffed.  7ib 2ozs.   The heaviest fish I have ever caught :-)

All my line was smashed up and tangled.  I decided to call it a day.  1 bite, 1 fish.  But it was simply the best.

View from my peg