Saturday, 11 July 2015

Fishing Friday...

Lots of room - I could even kip in there!
Recently I have taken to going fishing in the trusty Transit. There are many advantages to this. The main one being I can take my rods made up and there is no limit to the amount of gear I can carry, although this may turn out to be more of a problem than a benefit!

At first I was concerned about taking such a big vehicle to commercial fisheries but it does not appear to be a problem, it does not seem that big once it is there in the parking area. The daft thing is, it uses less fuel than Sue's Volvo Estate and is far more powerful. Also it is not a problem bringing back smelly nets and gear. We always have a pile of old pillows and blankets in the over-cab storage so these get used to lay the rods on. An 11ft rod fits across the floor perfectly with room to spare and I only have to remove the quiver tip to get my feeder rod in with no bending. This means I can set up and be fishing in about 10 minutes of arriving at the peg.

At the end of the day the rods and other gear is quickly stowed ready to go home
At this time of year, with a big tin box sitting in the sun all day it is a good idea to leave the doors open to let the air circulate, otherwise it can get really hot in there. One thing to remember if you decide to do this, turn the interior lights off (especially in a van as there are several of them) otherwise you can end up with a flat battery if it is not on tip-top form.  

Tip -  It is not worth asking me how I know this, you might get a rude answer...

Transport issues aside, I was determined to get a hold on this pellet waggler lark, but first I wanted to get some fish on the bank. I had modestly wet some groundbait as soon as I arrived and re-wet it ten minutes later, again being very sparing with the water. It was already slightly moist as it was the remains of of last mix I had used a couple of weeks ago. It has been sitting in the freezer until last night. Now it had a couple of trips through my riddle, following some helpful advice from a couple of the guys on the bank. With the groundbait perfectly fine and ready to use it was time to fish.

Maze Lake all to myself
I was back at my favourite venue and lake; Maze lake at Beaver Fishery. I had intended to go and fish Major Lake at the opposite end to last time but the man with the wetsuit was about to climb in and start clearing some of the lilly pads that were making it impossible to fish this section. I did look at the other side of Maze but in the end I went back to my favourite side and peg.

This for me is a learning experience and by fishing from the same place several times I keep the variables down to a minimum and start to get to know the lake. When I first fished here I was catching nothing but small silvers and the odd perch, fishing a crystal waggler, baited with maggot. I soon discovered that fishing with a method feeder and using my two-dog groundbait and bacon grill as hook bait I could catch some bigger fish, mainly F1's and bream. I had started off using reasonably large lumps of bacon grill (8mm) the guys from the match told me I was using meat that was far too big and that I should use smaller bits. last time out I did just that and caught next to nothing. so this time I went back to using the bigger bits. Having a naturally suspicious mind, I am now wondering if they were steering me off in the wrong direction...

Hello! Mr F1, sorry to disturb you...
After a slow start, an hour or so in and I was catching bream on every cast using the larger hook bait. Man, they are slimy things... Then, to my relief,  the F1s came in and I caught so many I lost count. Every chuck bore fruit within a few seconds. Okay, this was too easy. I decided this would be a good time to try the pellet waggler again. Last time I could not make a cast without the tackle getting completely tied up in knots. I could not workout what I was doing wrong. After a few hours I gave up (see HERE). After a few posts on the Maggot Drowning forum to get some advice I had discovered there were several things I could do to alleviate the tangle problem.

In the end it turned out to be a combination of things. The first thing I did was to increase the strength of the hooklength from 2lb to 6lb. this made it heavier than the main at 4lb. This seemed odd to me but that was the advice given. I also made the retrieve a bit slower and less frantic. This seemed to work as far as the tackle went. After a couple of hours of getting nowhere, I reverted back to the feeder rod and again the fish were coming thick and fast. I stopped for a bite to eat and a cuppa. While sitting there surveying the swim I thought to myself that this was turning out to be a very good day; lots of fish and no gear lost.

After my very pleasant short break I picked up the feeder rod and decided to cast towards the island, having previously been in open water just to the left of the lilly pads for a while. I was clipped up and that was well short of the island so I cast. No plop. WHAT! Where has that gone? Oh, blast! I said (well, something like that anyway!)  The feeder had snagged on a branch that was growing towards me and I had not realised it was in range. A good tug on the line made no difference. A lot of muttering and tugging ensued and eventually the line broke making yet another sacrifice to the tree Gods. I re-tackled and cast out again, fairly hard, into the gap between the island to the left of me. It went on an on and by the time I had realised that it was not clipped up any more it was too late. My brand new feeder that had never been wet was now hung up in another tree.

After a bit of a war-dance, accompanied by some Anglo-Saxon singing, while trying to resist the temptation to snap the rod over my knee and go to the pub, I managed to retrieve the line to the sound of a twang, as the line broke, and the plop of my virgin feeder hitting the water as it slid off the now parted line.

A lesser man may well have given up at this point, but not me. I was determined that this episode would not ruin my day. A cup of coffee and a caramel wafer works wonders to relieve the stress. That, along with the thought of loading the chainsaw next time! After another unsuccessful dose of pellet waggling I gave up and re-rigged for a spot of stranded float fishing. I am now getting a bit better at casting. Most of the time I can get the cast to fly in the right direction and my distance is reasonable constant. Getting the feed in the correct place was also coming on as some of the meat/corn or pellets landed in the right place! That was until the elastic in my catapult broke. Today was rapidly going down hill, but I was not going to be beat. I had a cheep feeder/mould, that came with a few swim feeders, my better half had found in Aldi  back at the end of last year. This worked really well and saved the day as more of the bream continued to slime my net.

Mrs. 'M'
Throughout the day a fearless female Mallard was helping herself to my bait at every opportunity. Even shouting "...and one number 27"  (The menu number of crispy fried duck at our local Chinese take away) didn't seem to work. After an 11hour session it was time to throw all the tackle in the van and head for the electric gate before it automatically closed and locked me in for the night.

Mr 'M' joined his mate to help with the cleaning up of my peg
As I was about to leave I noticed that the ducks were back sifting through the wood-chip covering looking for all the bits of bait I had dropped throughout the day. Even though I lost a few bits of tackle I still had a good day.