Saturday, 21 March 2015

Our best day yet!

Okay, this is not going to set the world alight but for us this is a big step forward. The venue was Beaver Fishery. This is an easy place for us to get to, being an easy three quarters of an hour drive for either of us. A few inevitable delays usually makes it a round hour.

If you are not familiar with the Beaver Fishery, then check it out. There is something there for everyone. It is clean, tidy and well maintained but, most of all, everyone is made welcome and for beginners,  like us, there is plenty of help and advice on hand.

Early evening at Maze Lake - Goodbye Mr. swan...
We fished Maze Lake. This is a 39 peg match-lake and this time of year is a bit slow. This did not bother us as we like somewhere quiet to practise a bit of casting and try something new to us without spoiling anybody else's fun. As it happened we had the whole lake to ourselves.

We arrived just after 8:00 AM and after the obligatory bacon and egg roll, got set up and started to fish. Down here in Surrey the weather was overcast and the expected solar eclipse did little more than darken the sky slightly. Fishing was slow to start with. Then, all of a sudden, Tim was getting excited "I've got one!" could be heard as he battled with his first ever course fish. I reeled my line and rushed over to his peg brandishing a landing net. He was still battling with his fish when I got there. Eventually he landed the fish and this epic moment was caught on camera.

Tim's first fish... It may not be huge but it is a fish!
Don't laugh, it's a fish, it may not be as big as some of the fish that have been caught on this lake but it is a fish and Tim caught it! At this point I had not caught a thing. A couple of casts later and Tim had caught another one. Still blank here.

frozen balls (of bait!)
Nothing happened for a while. We had put in a small amount of ground bait, remember those frozen balls of left over groundbate, corn and maggots from last time? Well, I had planned to save them for later in the year and use them as they were. They were frozen like that for convenience. Once open frozen they were placed in a carrier bag. This way they take up little room and can be used on demand. I defrosted three of them overnight and, by the time I got to the venue, they are still formed into balls and completely defrosted. Much too big to use in one go, we broke them up, reformed them into much smaller balls and pre-bated our chosen swims with a couple of small balls each, while we set up our gear.

By now we were a couple of hours into the day and we were happily float fishing on maggots. Lightly feeding over our bait produced some success. I had found some strawberry flavour pellets in the local 99p shop that seemed to do the job, along with a few maggots now and again. By lunch time we were getting the odd bite and I had caught a couple of bream as well as a few more tidily roach. Andy, one of the bailiffs, dropped by to see how we were doing, proffer words of encouragement and congratulating Tim on his first fish! He also said that he thought we might have done a bit better... Hmmm, red rag to a bull?

Largest bream of the day
We stopped for a bite to eat. After lunch the sun came out and it started to warm up. Vast improvement on this morning, at one point earlier on my hands were really cold. Now it was time to take the jacket off. I decided to have a go at spot of dropshotting with my new gear I had acquired using 'donations' given in lieu of Christmas presents - good plan, must remember to do that next year. There are just so many pairs of socks with silly phrases on and Christmas themed ties that one man should own...

No luck dropshotting so I went back to the float. No sooner had I thrown the line in than it was racing off in the other direction. A bream! For the next while we were catching something every chuck. from a fishing famine we were catching fish so fast we lost count.
Just one of many
Not the largest of fish but bigger than I had caught before. I had put out some of my base groundbait mix made from 25% custard creams, 25% gingernuts and 50% white bread crumbs. All whizzed down to a fine powder and wet with lake water. Smells great and it makes a nice light-colourd cloud as it sinks. The only trouble was the swans seem to like it two!

Me fish and swan. Off you go little fellow...
I don't Know about attracting the fish but we are now going to be eating swan sandwiches for a month... Only kidding! The swans were a pain at first as they were going after all our feed. We did stopped feeding for a while and we were still catching fish, until what we had thrown in earlier was exhausted. The swans were amazing, so tame and not at all stupid. They would glide over the line and lift their feet clear of the mono. Although they would chase loose feed, they took no notice of hook bait. After a while we just accepted them and they were really well behaved, apart from the odd spat with a Canada goose that kept trying to see them off. Like us, he did not succeed either! We came to an uneasy truce, but at the end of the day the swans were no real trouble and were quite amusing. If I wanted a clear swim, all I had to do was throw a marble-sized ball of groundbait in Tim's direction and they would go and bother him. That is, until Tim returned the compliment.

As the day went on it really did become very present. I went for a stroll with the dropshot rod again to see what I could find, again with no success. Meanwhile Tim continued to fish. By this time the water was mirror flat and there were just a few bubbles here and there, Tim was now catching fish with just about every chuck, it all seemed to be small roach with the odd bream or skimmer, but he was happy.

Tim reflecting on the day...
One of the things I like about this place is being able to have the car so close. Tim can also keep his van nearby. GGS stand for Girls Going Shopping, but you knew that anyway. The ladder? Oh that is just part of the service - so the shop assistants can never say the stock is out of their reach...

Everything to hand - Tim's Girls Go Shopping van...
All in all a very good day's fishing. we were at the lakeside for 10 hours - the time went so quickly before we knew it we were on the road heading home. I decided to avoid the M25 and drive across. The Sat-Nav suggested this might take a couple of minutes longer - BIG mistake. Two hours later I got home!

Next time, we are planning on another day here at Beaver, and we will give one of the other lakes a go to see if we can catch a few small carp. With that in mind, I plan to make a few boilies tomorrow, picked up the eggs this morning and I already have the dry ingredients, so guess what flavour I am going for... I might even make two different ones!