Saturday, 7 July 2018

Two blokes go fishing...

Tim was catching lots of these nice little perch and a few roach of similar size
The other bloke had just finished his last night-shift after a run of three weeks of them. He didn't get home until 06:30 this morning. I had a few things I needed to sort out after a trip to Welwyn Garden City yesterday, to collect some second hand fishing gear, but that is another story! I arrived at Tim's place just about mid-day after sitting in the traffic in the Maidstone one way system for what seemed like an eternity. Coming from London, it is necessary to turn left, just before I really want to turn right into Tim's road and do the obligatory tour of Maidstone before landing up where I started, just to be able to now turn left. Don't you just love the town planners?

Tim let me through the gates to our private stretch of the river (Sorry, can't help rubbing it in!) and I parked up in front of his garage. The drive is only just big enough to get the Transit round the corner at the bottom of the ramp - I told him to get a bigger place. No point in having private access to the river if I have to work hard to get the van in there... I dunno, can't get the brother's these days!

First job was to walk down the road and buy some maggots. Yes 'walk' down the road, the tackle shop is a few hundred yards away. If I had written a brief for a place to live, this would have been it. We strolled back to the river and put the maggots to one side to warm up while we got the dropshot gear out and had another go at fooling the perch. Again, just like the last time, straight dropshotting off the jetties was not working. We were getting knocks but I think we need to try some smaller hooks. I had lots of ideas I wanted to try out but, I think I had confused myself and decided to keep it simple. After all, we have plenty of time to experiment. 

We spent a good few hours fishing the river, while listening to the Footie. There was hardly any flow on the water and at times it was like a mill pond. Lots of fish were showing and several jumped clear of the water. After the dropshotting I decided to have a go at slider float Fishing. I was playing with that while the other bloke opted to try the waggler in a spot he found that was only six feet deep. The slider float was a bit strange and did not sink as I thought it should. Thinking about it, maybe I should have used a heavier ledger weight. Some more research prior to the next session is required here, me thinks.
 
Cheesed off with the slider float fishing, I tried catching up-in the-water using a float and a slow sinking bait - single maggot. I could see the fish but they were just looking at the hook bait. I then thought I might as well have a go at feeder fishing using a swim-feeder stuffed with maggots. I have never tried this before. I persevered with this for most of the afternoon, changing my hook length from time to time. I discovered that if I dunked the feeder in a tub of water before casting, the maggots quieten down a bit and fewer were skydiving in a bid for freedom on the way to their destination.

Tim was catching fish, I was not. It was so hot, even in the shade, that the magic was wearing a bit thin as Tim was continually announcing "Got another one!" It is hard to smile and congratulate while grinding one's teeth.

Around 19:00 we wandered in doors where Tim's better half had cooked us some dinner. Fish and chips! I am wondering if she thought this was funny. After dinner we wondered back out into the garden (as you can when you have a river at the bottom of it - jammy beggar!) and decided we would  try a spot of dropshotting again.  Again, neither of us caught anything except a really nice snag that broke my hook and kept my wriggly plastic worm.

It was so hot out there that we did not get around to fishing off the concrete jetty and to be honest, the footie was distracting us somewhat. At the end of the day, I tried several different techniques and while Tim was catching fish, I was not...

Plenty of time to get this sorted. In the meantime, Tim will be feeding the swim regularly to encourage the fish to come and play. Next time, I hope it is a bit cooler as it was very warm there yesterday. So much so I was not feeling 100% at one point and went back to the garage for a cool off! Roll on next time.


Ralph.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Road trip - what a disaster!

Sue looks into the distance awaiting the arrival of the man from the RAC.
Have you discovered Facebook's Market Place yet? It is a sort of cross between eBay and Gumtree. It is the free selling section of Facebook. People list all sorts of things and usually price them. There is no sophisticated checkout, and most items are intended to be bought locally and collected. I searched the site for fishing gear and found all sorts of things, but the prices are insane. A couple of weeks ago there was an old X3 Preston seat box for £30.00. It sold within minutes of it being listed. I discovered a notifications sign-up, so I signed up for fishing alerts.

While I was sitting at the dinner table the other night the phone bleeped, and it was a notification of a listing for an X5 box that was of similar design to my X3. This time it was the princely sum of £20.00. I indicated I was interested. I got a message back to say somebody had got there first and was coming to see it the next day. Thinking that was the end of that I dismissed it and got on with life for the following twenty-four hours.

Ding! The phone went again, this time it was the seller saying the person who had said they were coming to have a look had not turned up and was I still interested? Yes! It turned out there were several other bits for sale, and I asked for a price for the lot. A price was given, and a haggle was done. I ended up buying the box, an 11.5m margin pole, a Carp-Porter box trolley, a rod pod, a huge umbrella with side skirts that zip on and a lot of other smaller stuff. I will show some of the bits as I/we get around to using them. I say "we" because the box now an X3, as I have upgraded my box by swapping over the drawer sections and will been given to the other bloke, along with the 11.5m pole and various bits of tackle.

That aside, the drawback of buying this way is the fact that it has to be collected. A small price to pay if, as this lot was, the lot is a bargain. Listed as 'local' it was actually in Welwyn Garden City. That is fifty miles from us, but it is all easy road and should be no trouble, mid-morning.

How wrong can I be!

The traffic getting there was just one hold up after another, and our sat-nav sent us off down a blind alley where we had to turn around in a space barely wider then the van is long. During this operation, I heard a hissing noise but took no notice as everything felt okay and the noise had stopped. Assuming the noise wad emanating from a remote source, we carried on to our destination using Sue's phone's built-in directions app. We arrived at the destination at 15:00, we had left London at 11:30. After collecting the fishing gear, and loading it into the back of the van, we noticed the rear, near-side, the tyre was looking a bit soft. No worries, I'll change it. Not that simple on a big van, sitting on a gentle slope. The picture at the head of this blog is of the spare, after being fitted... Before you say I should have checked it, I did, and I made sure it had plenty of air in it by pumping it up to 60psi.

The spare was softer than the tyre I had taken off. Nothing for it, with five wheels of which only three were serviceable, I had to call the RAC. Well, the bloke was great, helpful and willing try a few things to see what he could do. The problem turned out to be perished valves on both wheels. The Guy from the RAC took the original wheel and tyre away to have a new valve fitted at a local tyre specialist, and within half an hour we were on our way home.

Back home, it was time to have a cool off and inspect what we had collected. The box was in a far better condition than it looked in the photograph (Makes a change!) and although the seat is a bit tired, it is perfectly serviceable. I will write another blog about the box upgrade and the making of another box for the other bloke.

Just pleased to be home and a shout out for the RAC, without whom we would still be in Welwyn Garden City.

Ralph.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

A good day on Eden Pond

My chosen swim for the day
Unusually for me, I was sound asleep when the alarm woke me at 05:00 this morning. Normally, I am awake, waiting for it to go off. For a split second, I considered rolling over and going back to sleep. This was not an option as nature was reminding me that I needed to get rid of some of that water I had been drinking yesterday in all that heat. To say I am relieved I did, has far more meaning than the quick visit to the little boys room!

For the past few weeks, the M25 has been slow going, clockwise, all along the stretch leading up to the A22 junction. There seems to be no reason for it, but it can add ten to fifteen minutes to the journey. Not that much of a problem usually but today I was aiming to get on Eden Pond. The trouble with being a little late is that all the early-birds get the pick of the swims. As Eden Pond is a small water you really want to be first there. Talking to Andy (head honcho) he said that there was only one guy showing any interest in fishing it today and he was not sure.

Alone again, naturally... Sounds like a song title. I had Eden Pond to myself, all day
I paid my dues, just the one rod today, and bought a tub of maggots with the intention of targeting a few perch at some point in the day. A short drive around the other lakes and off to the far-reaches of the fishery got me to Eden Pond to find no one there. Great. I parked the van behind the hedge that separates Eden pond from Daughter's Lake. Daughter's Lake is closed at the moment as the fish are spawning. That means it is very quiet down there today, making it ideal. As the day went on, nobody else arrived, so I had the place to myself.

The day started off on the cool side, and I was sitting there with a jumper on. As the sun rose above the trees the temperature in my little corner of the lake began to rise but being in the dappled shade, it did not become uncomfortable, once the afore mentioned garment was discarded.

I started fishing with my favourite float rod, an old, thirteen foot, Silstar that was given to me by a fellow member of the Maggot Drowners Forum. This is an early carbon fibre rod that has had a reel-seat whipped onto it. Fitted with a modern Greys FD reel, it makes a very comfortable pairing. I was using four-pound line, as there are some bigger fish in here. I was after the tench, and I would like a bigger roach.

The maggots are getting on a bit now and were looking somewhat sleepy. They were in the pre-caster stage where they become smaller, and their food sack had all but disappeared. I plumbed up (realising I had stolen the other bloke's plummet as we packed up on Sunday) and discovered the water was no more than two feet deep for as long as I wanted to cast. Entirely different to the Medway on Sunday, where three foot from the bank the depth of the water was twelve feet plus! My own plummet - the last one I had left - was looking a bit sad, wrapped in electrical tape, but it lasted the day out.

Maggots seemed to favour the smaller roach, and I caught lots of those with a few around eight inches long. I changed to sweetcorn, and the bites slowed up considerably, but the fish were bigger.

I caught my PB (so far) roach today. Very Happy!
I caught the largest roach I have ever caught, not huge but far bigger than the usual stamp of fish I catch.  At this point, I decided to give the bread a go. I had some bread slop I had mixed, using rainwater, the day before. This I balled into the swim, and while waiting for the initial commotion to die down and the bigger fish to move in, I dug out some bread, my bread box and some punches. I started off with a small 6mm diameter punch which made a nice firm disc. I hooked it directly on to a size 14 hook and cast.

I had to use the bigger net for this one - good fun on the float rod it weighed about 2½lb
The bait had hardly hit the water when the tip of the rod whipped around, and I was playing, what for me was, a big fish. This thing was giving it some and heading for the reeds. I managed to keep it out in the open water, and when it showed itself, my suspicions were confirmed. It was a decent sized tench. In fact, it too turned out to be the biggest tench I have caught so far. At around two and a half pounds, it was not a monster, but I was happy. I continued to fish using bread and tried all the punch sizes I had to hand and settled on the 8mm one as being the most effective for most fish. I caught lots of bream, several more tench plus the odd greedy roach.

One of the smaller bream, but a nice clean-looking fish
I did have a bit of a go with the tele-pole, but the thing was not long enough to get to the places where pole fishing would have paid off so I went back to the float rod and continued to catch the bigger fish. I also tried some stuff my local tackle shop recommended. It calls itself Yum-Yum, but Yuck-Yuck would be a better name, it stinks! I tried it by dropping a few drops onto bread and punching it out. This gave a soggy bit on one side and a nice compressed white on the other. It hooked well, and I caught a good few fish with it, all seemed to be bream. It is too early to decide if it works or not but it did seem to.

Bread punched to 10mm with Yum-Yum soaked into one side

As much as I like Drennan products, I have decided I don't like their antenna-type floats. They fish nicely, but they break far too easily. I was only casting a few yards in an underarm sort of a lob and when I came to unhook my best tench of the day I noticed, yet again, the antenna was missing. I had a rummage around in the float tube and found a short crystal waggler that did the job for the rest of the session.

I have neglected my stock control over the past few months and find myself low on things like small weighted crystal wagglers, in fact, I could not find any with inserted tips of my preferred choice. I found myself so low on plummets that I was taping an old one up that had split. I also discovered I was running low on bait. A trip to our local B&M store is to stock up with a case of Plumrose Bacon Grill. I also need to buy some more Sweetcorn as I eventually used up my stock of tinned 'hookers' after last year's great sweetcorn survey!

Last fish of the day was a nice little tench

What next?

Now there is a question, where to fish next week. I may go back to Beaver, if Daughters lake is open and spend the day with a couple of carp rods out, trying to catch a big fish. On the other hand, I might be brave and try somewhere else for a change... I might even try a new venue.

Ralph.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Maggots, corn, little plastic fishes...

... Oh, and Tim!

A long lens Paparazzi picture taken from the other bloke's balcony    
Have you ever dreamed of having private fishing on tap at the bottom of your garden? I know some of you may have this luxury, but for me, a life-long Londoner it would be marvellous. To discover that my brother (Tim) has just moved into a posh block of four flats (I know, they call them apartments these days!) that has fishing rights at the bottom of the garden is like a dream come true. Now, you know how I have always admired my good looking little brother...

Not only that, the jammy little beggar has a gated entrance and the biggest single garage I have ever seen. This means I can drive around the back and park out of the way in total security. Now here is the unbelievable bit, none of the other residents fish! This means we get the two wooden jetties and the concrete mooring to ourselves. How is that for a result? Today was the first chance we have had to get out there as Tim is doing night shifts at the moment and is asleep during the day - Whimp!

One each? - You can have the one with the trees
It is a thirty-mile drive from here but it an easy one, straight out of town on the South Circular and head for the M20 via the Sidcup bypass. If the South Circular is clear it is well under an hour's drive. If it weren't for all the speed limits, that have been continuously lowered over the years, it would be even quicker. It was suggested we arrived at 10:00, halfway through the day at this time of year but the poor old bloke has to get his beauty sleep, even though, as I have already said, he doesn't need it.

Okay, I'll stop grovelling...

There is one drawback to this venue. As can be seen from the header picture, 'er-in-doors has eyes on us if we are fishing from the jetties. However, there is also a concrete mooring just behind the trees to the left of where we were caught in that long-lens photograph taken from the balcony. Did I not mention, this flat has a balcony looking out over the river too.

Sue and I arrived just about 10:00. Sue and Tim's wife, Kay, both went off to collect their Mother-in-law. Meanwhile, I had realised that my latest family of maggots had been left behind 'chilling' in the fridge. No problem, on top of everything else, this place has a really friendly tackle shop a few hundred yards away! Without further ado, we marched off to the shop and purchased a pint of maggot that he was happy to double bag for us to take away. At £3.25 that is a good buy down here. My 'local' tackle shop in London will only sell them to you in a bait-box, and they are £3.40 a pint.

I must give the shop a mention, Phil, who owns and runs Nick's Tackle (you will have to pay him a visit if you want to know why it is called Nick's tackle and not Phil's Tackle) is a really friendly and helpful bloke. His opening times and other details can be found on his Facebook page, HERE. If you are in Maidstone, make sure you pay him a visit. I am sure Tim and I will be in there a lot. He had a good knowledge of the local fishing and gave us a good idea of what we might expect to catch and a few tips on how to encourage the fish into our small piece of the river.

Neither Tim nor I, have any experience of fishing a river of this size. So far my only experience has been in the Great Stour as it winds its way through Canterbury and our small local river, The Pool. This is an entirely different river. For a start, there are boats and canoes to contend with, and it is deep; surprisingly deep. A few feet off the jetty it must be twelve foot deep. For simplicity, we had a little poke around the jetty and the mooring with our dropshot rods. Nothing much happening there although we did get a few tugs on the line. Eager to get a fish on the bank we rigged a couple of tele-poles with rigs deep enough to find the distant bottom. Due to the trees, it is hard to cast a rod and line at the moment so a spot or gardening will be required. They also become a problem with a tele-pole as the rig is so long and telescoping them in half (as we usually do) does not leave enough length to swing or net the fish very easily. We will have to invent a new technique to use here.

It is early days at the moment, but we are having fun investigating the potential of this great opportunity. We managed to get Tim set up with a line in the water, fishing sweetcorn. While he was doing that I rigged a second tele-pole and started fishing using a single white maggot. Almost immediately I had a bite. Tim was not amused. It was at this point I realised my camera had no film (card) in it. The fish went back in without getting its moment of fame and I re-baited my size 18 hook. As soon as the rig settled I had another, and another and... Tim was now really not amused. I offered to swap poles so he could have a go. We did. I then caught another fish in his swim. I did promise I would not rub it in.

After a good bit of fun with the poles and Tim catching a few fish, the 'girls' were back along with Mum. Time for a break and a spot of lunch 'in the grounds'.

This day was only getting better. The fishing had not been great by some's standards, but we were just happy to catch a few small fish. Phil (from Nick's Tackle) had told of some big fish in the river, colossal river carp and bream to ten-pound plus. I really did not want to catch any of those today on light tackle and small nets. I needn't have worried, we were not going to be breaking any records today.

Tim, got one yet? - Shut up!
After lunch, it was back to the task at hand as we set ourselves up on the concrete jetty. Here we had fewer restrictions from the trees. The water was almost as deep, and we were catching fish easily on maggot. The corn was not doing it today.

This bit goes through there, and this bit will pull through here...
Even on the concrete, trying to avoid the trees was a bit of a pain until we got used to where they were. The odd tangle was quietly unravelled by me, much to the bewilderment of the other bloke who kept saying that he liked the new calm, Ralph. I have felt a lot better over the past few weeks, and I have taken on a calmer approach to life - much to my little brother's delight. He keeps telling how much he is enjoying the new me. I wonder if he will change his mind if I throw him in? The weather was glorious, and we got to have a real old chin-wag about all sorts of things that have no relevance here. Suffice to say, it was a very pleasant afternoon.

Now the good bit 

Unlike a commercial venue, there is no closing time, so after dinner, it was back to the mooring for a good session of dropshotting out into the river now the boat traffic had subsided. We both caught a few perch but nothing to write home about. But it was great fun casting huge distances with these short rods. Long retrieves, with a bit of movement, imparted into the lure and the odd stop, seemed to work the best. Tim managed to find the odd snag, and without exception, we were able to 'ping' the line loose, one of the advantages of using braid. This was Tims first go at dropshotting, and I think he is fairly keen on it.

There is a lot to discover about this stretch of The Medway, but we know there are some very big carp in there - we have seen them. I think this summer will be a learning curve on this water, but I am looking forward to winter this year, there is some very big pike mooching about. Someone caught a decent size one in the Town Centre last week. This is only the start of this journey...

On Wednesday I will be off to Beaver again. I did contemplate fishing for some of the bigger fish, but I have had a change of heart,  and I intend to spend the day float fishing with rod and line on Eden Pond. Just me, my chair and a minimum of tackle and bait. A box of maggots, some corn, meat and maybe a few worms. You never know, I might catch a decent sized perch or roach.

Ralph.   

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Well, I am glad that is over!

Yes, my fishing famine April and May have finally come to an end and I an making up for it now with at least one trip a week. I have spent too much time worrying about life and not really being very productive. In fact, I am sure it was that making me feel ill. It is a vicious circle that can spiral out of control if you let it. A visit to the doctor a couple of months ago opened a can of worms and gave me the kick up the backside I needed. Instead of festering worrying about every last ache and pain, I now know what is wrong, and I can put it right, well at least keep it under control.

An almost total lack of exercise was my main downfall, sitting here for hours on end, in front of this screen tapping away at the keys was keeping my brain alive but doing nothing for my physical health. Now, all that has changed, I back fishing, and it is great!

This little 'mouse' turned out to be a bank vole
It is not just about fishing, either. It is about being able to relax and take in nature around the peg. The little fellow was almost tame, coming to within a few feet of me sitting there watching him (or her?) It was not until I got home that the missus got the books out and we discovered that the little creature was, in fact, a bank vole and not a mouse as I had first thought. I think this is the first bank vole I have ever seen, you don't get many treading the streets of south-east London.

Today is Saturday, and after lunch, I have been getting some dropshotting gear ready for tomorrow when we are off to spend the day with my brother, his wife and my 91-year-old mum. The 'girls' can do their own thing, or they can come and spend the day at the bottom of the garden with us fishing. Yes, the other bloke in this blog has only moved into a flat that has private fishing rights at the bottom of the garden. It should be exciting, and if it is any good I think my brother might be seeing a bit more of me!

Where next?

After tomorrow, it will be back to choosing a venue for next week. I am happy fishing at Beaver. I know I have not tried that many other places but with eight lakes and ponds to choose from, there is just about every environment covered. In recent weeks I have float-fished in Maze lake, feeder fished on Jeff's Lake and this week I was two-rodding it on the shallow side of The Majors Lake with a sleeper out on the island margin and fishing the short pole/tele-pole close in. I could spend the day with a couple of carp rods out on Daughter's Lake. I have never fished it before, and it was netted and restocked this past winter with some very nice looking fish. I now have all the gear I need to fish for the bigger fish so it would be an experience. I will have to take something to read, as I understand it there is a lot of waiting around involved. Having never done it before, it has to be a consideration.

Then again, I could spend the day on Eden Pond. This picturesque small water at the far end of the fishery is home to some bigger roach and tench as well as a few carp to make it exciting. I have fished it before, but somewhat half-heartedly. Set in very natural surrounding, it could be a good way to get some variety on the float rod.

After that, there will still be three lakes I have never fished. I think I still have a lot to explore at Beaver. Since my local lake (that I have only fished a few times) has put the day ticket price up to the same as Beaver, and considering there is only one lake and a small pond, the lack of facilities, bait restrictions and the no swinging of fish rule, no matter how small, I am not sure I will be going back there in a hurry.

I will try some other venues, and now the rivers are open I will be exploring some more parts of the rivers in Kent. For now, though, it is going to be a case of better the devil I know. A Fishing trip a week keeps the doctor away, at least I hope so!

Ralph.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Unlike fish, terrapins have legs!

First fish of the day fell to maggot on the tele-pole
I am slowly working my way around the lakes at Beaver Fishery. Today, I spent the day in one of my favourite spots on The Major's Lake; the grassy bank that separates it from Maze lake.  I had planned to try out my modified feeders but instead I thought it was about time I got the longer pole out. If I had taken the feeder rods, I think it would have been a repeat of last week. One of the things I like about Beaver is the diversity of water. Even within the same lake, there are totally different spots to fish. If I am honest, this place, although picturesque, is probably not the hottest peg on the lake.

 A bank vole doing the cleaning up!

For me, it is not entirely about catching fish all day. If I want to do that I can by fishing Jeff's Lake as I did last week. Today I just fancied a quiet day and if I caught a few fish that would be a bonus. I had a visit from a very tame bank vole who kept coming back all day. He was happy to eat most things that landed in his path. First, he cleaned up all the sweetcorn only to go on to some Two Dog boilies - everybody likes Two Dog bait!  Later I had another visitor who was not so happy to be there.

The lake here is very shallow; only a couple of foot deep. This time of year the water is warm and absolutely full of fry. I had made up a mush from some stale bread and a liberal dose of ground up Vitalin. This I was using as a groundbait to feed the swim when I first got there and to top up during the day. The fry went bonkers for it - there must have been thousands (maybe millions) swimming about. The water was thick with them. Fishing through them was interesting, but I still managed to catch a good few fish. Nothing exceptional but a good variety of roach, rudd, perch and even a decent sized tench. That was an experience on the tele-pole, but I managed to land it. That one fish covered everything in slime - bream have nothing on tench in the slime stakes.


It gets more interesting when something like this tench goes for a single grain of corn hanging on the end of a cheap tele-pole
All the action was coming from close in, within five to six meters. I was fishing using one of the tele-poles and another I had modified to be a cupping kit. At this point, I decided to get the longer pole out, again my inexpensive Maver 9.5m pole. Cheap and cheerful is the only way to describe this thing. It is cumbersome at full length and the only way to fish with it for any time is to use a support roller atop a bank stick. Not the most solid of setups, but it works for me. I fished it at the full 9.5m and caught absolutely nothing. It was not the pole's fault there were just no fish in the middle of the lake.

The longer pole reached out into the middle of this part of the lake but found no fish
I stripped the pole down to top-kit and one section and continued to fish. This produced instant success on corn and maggots. Lots of small (as opposed to tiny) perch, roach and rudd. Surprisingly no skimmers or bream and I did not catch a carp all day, not even on the sleeper rod that was fishing the far margin all day.

Nice perch. one of many caught around this size. One day I will catch a bigger one but this will do for today
It was all going nicely. I had packed up most of the gear and was just fishing the last hour with the top-kit + one when the tip bent around, and the elastic took a dive into the water. What! I was confused. Whatever this was it was heavy, but it was moving slowly. No thrashing about and it felt like a dead weight. I slowly encouraged it to the surface only to discover it was a terrapin, a huge thing the size of a dinner plate! I thought I had seen a couple of terrapins basking on a rock a couple of years ago, but could not be sure as they disappeared before I could get a good look. Today there was no doubt there it was sitting in my landing net. Pondering how I was going to unhook it as its mouth was firmly closed, I put it down on my unhooking mat and like a flash it got up and ran straight back into the lake, cutting the line as it went. The trouble was, I did not think about the fact that unlike fish, terrapins have legs, and this one used them to leg-it before I had a chance to take a photograph.

After that excitement, I decided to pack up and make my way home. Another successful day at Beaver. For me, it is not about how many or how big the fish is, it is about having a nice relaxing day and exercising the muscles I don't usually use.

Dropshotting in The Medway on Sunday with the other bloke. We might even try a spot of tele-pole fishing as well. Neither of us has ever fished this river before, so it could be interesting.

Ralph.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

They've done it again...

I gave up buying fishing magazines regularly some time ago. A few weeks ago, while out with the missus shopping in the supermarket,  I picked up a copy of Angling Times that appeared to have a reel of line attached to it. I did not want the line and did not buy it just because it had it attached. I assumed it was one of their periodical give-aways. Wrong. The cover price had been inflated by 50% to £2.99 instead of £1.99 to cover the cost of the line. This I had not realised until I got home and looked at the receipt. To say I was annoyed was an understatement.

I vowed then not to buy another copy of Angling Times. As it is the first week of the river season, when the Missus asked me if there was anything I wanted while she was out today, I asked here to get a copy of Angler's Mail. I did say if they did not have one, a copy of Angling Times would do, not thinking that would pull the same stunt again. Wrong, for the second time. Today's issue has a cheap method feeder and mould packed with it, and the cover price has been inflated to cover it.

Not so free freebie
The clear plastic bag the magazine is wrapped in, to retain the feeder and mould, is printed along the top which conveniently hides the inflated cover price. Surely this practice can only alienate the readership further. If it said in nice clear print that the magazine is dearer this week because it has more pages and contains a feeder, I would have probably still bought it, but at least It would have been open and honest.

The feeder and mould
After I accepted I had been 'had' again, I took a closer look at the feeder. It is marked as 10g. For me, that is utterly useless. I find the 15g ones are two light for my style of feeder fishing. I decided to make it work, after all, I had paid for it! I needed to make it heavier. My preferred weight is 30g, so it was out with the tools, lead sheet and Araldite.

10 gr(rrr!)
 The bottom of the weight has a raised "10GR" moulded into the weight. I decided to flatten it off to make the contact area greater. This is a simple case of rubbing it on a file. An abrasive paper would do, if you don't have a suitable file to hand.

The bottom is flattened
A piece of lead sheet (an off-cut of roofing lead flashing) was cut roughly to shape, and with careful trimming, I got it to my target weight of 30g when weighed with the feeder. Okay, I am sure a few grams either way would not make that much difference, but I can be a bit anal about such things.

Spot on 30g
 The additional weight was burnished using a burnisher intended to put an edge on a cabinet scrapper - it is hard. But a good quality screwdriver or spanner will work just as well with the soft lead. Make sure all the sharp edges are rounded off, we don't want it to damage the fish or the line, should it come into contact with either.

Burnish the edges to remove any sharp areas
The additional weight was stuck to the feeder using a two-part epoxy resin. The resin is mixed up on a small piece of glass using a chisel-bladed craft knife. Both the glass and the blade are easy to clean by first removing as much as possible while it is still wet, and then scraping the rest off using a utility knife blade.

The additional weight is glued onto the lightweight feeder using an epoxy resin
While I was at it, I added extra weight to a 15g Preston feeder to make it up to 30g. Once the glue was set, I left them to cure and checked for any sharp edges. The feeders will be left overnight to cure fully.

The finished feeder and the Preston one made up to 30g
I am off to the lake again on Thursday and will give them a try. I don't envisage any problems, but I will let you know how I get on. These doctors orders are great, fishing at least once a week is something I could get used to. I am also out on Sunday with the other bloke, dropshotting for perch and maybe some short pole fishing... 

Ralph.