Sunday, 30 November 2014

I went fishin' today!

A first visit to Beaver Farm Fishery


My peg this morning - 'ello duckie!
Got up this morning, commandeered Sue's car and went fishing! I had arranged to meet one of the guys (Ian) I had been 'talking' to on one of the internet forums. Forty-five minutes later I was standing outside the fishery office and Ian arrived. A brief exchange of words through the window of his car and we agreed to meet at Maze Lake.

I had called the mobile number as instructed by the notice on the door and was politely told to wait there and someone would come and meet me. A few minutes later and one of the bailiffs arrived. I can't emphasis enough how welcome the staff, including the cat, made me feel. I paid my £10.00 day ticket, collected a pint of maggots and drove to the lake. It is possible to park just a few feet from the lake and if the pegs at that end are free, as they were today, you can fish with the convenience of having the car just about as close as it can be without being parked on the peg with you!

I had gone with the idea of trying out my new feeder rod. While Ian got fishing on the waggler, I set about rigging my cage feeder. I had already loaded the spool of my reel with plenty of 8lb line and I was fiddling about tying on the swivel and mixing my groundbait. I had a packet of Strawberry flavoured pellets that I had bought in the the local 99p shop. I had not mixed them into my 'sweet' groundbait mix at home as the ingredients list said that it contained peanut. The fishery has a total ban on nuts of any kind, but when I asked about my pellets I was told there was no problem with them as they were part of the pellet and I assume processed properly.

The pellets were soaked in some lake water and left to soak while I was still fiddling about with my rig. after about half an hour the pellets were added to the ground bait and mixed in - I must get myself a riddle! I rolled a couple of golf-ball sized lumps and started to lightly feed my chosen swim. Eventually, I managed to get all the knots tied up and the tangles straightened out of my line and I was ready to fish.

The first tree of the day was mine...
While I was doing all this the bailiff arrived to collect Ian's ticket money, and they were chatting when I made my initial cast. I made what I considered a light cast.THUMP! Hmmm... shouldn't that have been plop? My cast had shot right over the water and had landed on the other side. Thinking I could quietly retrieve the feeder and rig I started to reel it in only for it to get tangled in a bush... Just as I was pondering this situation I heard Ian saying to the bailiff  "Oh look, Ralph's just caught a tree!"  Great!

Ian at his peg pulling out fish on maggots with a waggler...
The bailiff then offered to go and untangle me from the tree and set off for the other side of the lake. After threatening to ban me if he fell in, he managed to snap off the branch and the first catch of the day was made. I reeled in my branch and set about freeing my tackle. After replacing the hook bait and refilling the cage, I had another go. This time I hooked the bush next to my peg... After freeing the cage feeder again I eventually got to make another cast. This time it dropped at my feet. Plop!  Well, that's an improvement, the maggots got wet. Filled with confidence I refilled the cage (again!) and made a cast. It was while walking back from the other side of the lake that I decided that fishing this rig out of the tree on the other side of the lake was getting rather tedious...

Time for a waggler. I packed away my feeder rod and tackle for another day. I wanted to have a go, and I had done so. I also discovered I still have a lot to learn and if I had any hope of catching any fish at all today it would be on the waggler. I sat there and set up my match rod for a spot of waggler fishing, plumbed the depth and weighted my float. attempted a few casts and was getting nowhere - I then spotted that the line had been passed through the last eye after a short diversion round the end of the rod. Oh, bother! At least I think that was the word I used. Deep breath, 1, 2, 3,......10!

Got it all sorted out and had a cast. Three foot. Tried again, three foot one inch... More counting.

By this time Ian was starting to feel sorry for me and came over to give me a hand. He had a go at casting and said I should go and lift his rod to see how light It was compared with mine. I did and it had a baby perch munching the maggot and hook... IAAAN!

The perch we caught - It took two of us to land this one!
We took a look at the little fellow and sent him on his way claiming half a fish each...

Ta dah! My first fish of the day
Ian decided that the best thing to do would be to start again and use one of his pre-weighted floats that he very kindly gave me. I had been pre-baiting my swim about once an hour and I could see the evidence of fish I made a cast and the float disappeared to my amazement I had hooked a fish! My first silver fish and it was a skimmer - that is what Ian had been after all morning and I caught one on my first cast. I am not sure if Ian was pleased or not... He said he was!

It may be small but I caught it all on my own...
The day progressed and I caught all sorts of silvers including some really smart looking baby perch which I think are my favourite little fellows, that obviously think big, trying to gulp down several maggots at a time. As the sun went down, the fish started to bite on nearly every cast and we were going strong until it got too dark to see. Right on the last knockings, with the aid of Ian's new head-torch, he managed his target fish; a nice looking bream.

Last knockings - Well done Ian - you found it!
A great day out that was made all the more enjoyable with Ian's help and guidance. A very good venue - I will certainly be back very soon... waggler fishing!