Friday, 25 September 2015

Worm and dog...

Groan... What is so special about five o'clock in the morning? I don't mind so much in the summer but now the nights are getting longer it is dark and damp this time of year. Deep breath jump out of bed and tell myself I will enjoy it when I get there...

This early morning workout has now become a sort of ritual of flask-filling and van loading. An hour to get myself and gear together and three-quarters of an hour to drive to the venue. Back to Beaver for a day pleasure fishing.

If a pond could be 'cuddly' then this is it. Eden Pond's peaceful atmosphere is a unique experience
Today, I had a plan. The intention was to get some time in trying out my new-found free bait from the compost bin, worms. There are ten lakes and ponds at Beaver, and I made for one I have not fished before. Eden Pond is quiet and peaceful pond at the far westerly boundary of the fishery surrounded by trees. Stocked with green and golden tench, carp, roach and perch  It boasts two islands, reed beds and lily pads providing lots of places for the fish to hide and for me to lose some more end tackle. Thankfully, I managed to avoid the latter.

A nice little roach, My fist fish caught on a worm.
I set up a float rod with a small loaded waggler, plumbed to depth and set about baiting the hook with my first worm. At this point I discovered just how slippery and difficult to hook the wriggling little invertebrates are. After chasing them around the bait tub I eventually managed to pick one up. Now, picking them up is only part of it, there must be a knack to this but I have not got it yet. Getting it on the hook was another matter. Talk about fiddly. After chopping the poor little fellow in two it seemed to wriggle even more, understandable I suppose!

I did get it done eventually and cast to my selected spot on in the swim. This is all close in and I am getting much better at getting this on target. A few maggots were fed over the bait and within a few minutes I had a bite. That produced a nice little roach, my first ever fish caught on worm. I continued to experiment with the worms and caught a few more fish but no perch. After three hours 'playing' with the worms, I packed up, noting my short-falls, and moved over to Jeff's Lake.

Looking left from my peg, you can see how Jeff's lake is completely the opposite to the enclosed charm of Eden Pond
This was all part of the plan as my main reason for this visit was to try and improve my feeder casting technique. Having had a couple of 'lessons' on the bank from previous match winners, I had some new knowledge to develop into technique. Over-cooking it on the clip seemed to be the main problem causing the feeder to bounce back and discharging its load in a shower all over the place. Getting that balance right makes such a difference. Not only does the feeder hit the target but it enters the water with a pleasing 'plop' instead of a huge splash, discharging its load at the surface. After a while I was getting it spot on 75% of the time. Okay, not perfect but a huge improvement.

I was fishing three lines at similar distance. One straight in front of me, one at 11 o'clock, and a third at 1 o'clock. I started on the 11 o'clock and started to build some groundbait in the lake bed using my 'two for forty' routine. Using a small 30g Preston flat-back method feeder loaded with a double skin of my Two Dog groundbait, cast and left for 40 seconds. If no action the feeder is retrieved, loaded and recast to the same spot. For hook bait, I have found that  9mm diameter Plumrose Bacon Grill, punched from 9mm thick slice makes the perfect bait for the carp in Jeff's Lake.

Like all tinned meats, Bacon Grill improves with exposure to the sun. It cooks it lightly making the pieces sweat and causes tougher crust to form, making it more robust and less likely to pull off the hair. As the winter is just around the corner the chances of the sun 'cooking' it is less likely to happen on the day. With this in mind I intend to have a go at pre-cooking the bacon grill for the next outing.

Looking out over the lake. My three target areas are the centre of the red circles using the trees for direction markers while having the line clipped up to the distance
I started catching carp between 1½ - 2½lb for a while. When it dried up I switched to the 1 o'clock line. Again, I built up a pile of feed and soon I was catching again. One after the other I was pulling fish out on every other cast. As this line dried up I moved to the 12 o'clock line a did the same.

Okay, my plan was working but I wanted to try something different. I set up a second rod with an open ended feeder. Filled the feeder with maggot, plugged with groundbait at each end. Here I was using my Ginger Tom groundbait and a couple of maggot on the hook. After last weekend's experience in the match at Tricklebrook where I was fishing for carp and ignored the silvers, I thought I would try something different. Moving away from the bacon grill hookbait and looking to attract the silvers.

The feeder had only been out for about ten seconds when I got a bite... Rod bent over and I was fighting a fish. Hmmm... this does not feel much like a silver. No, It was another carp, just like the ones I had been catching on the method and bacon grill. Further casts resulted in a similar result. Disillusioned with my efforts to catch anything but carp, I went back to the method and bacon grill and revisited my original 11 o'clock line at the original distance. My plan was to try and perfect my casting, and after a few casts I was pretty much there hitting the target almost every time. I was still getting the odd 'misfire' but I reckon I am now getting it right 90% of the time. Still not perfect, but a vast improvement on previous sessions.

Just one of the many carp caught during the day. This one at a couple of pound was just one of many
The accuracy was beginning to pay off. I had a swirling, bubbling froth going on, right over my bed of groundbait. Every time I dropped a new loaded feeder on the spot I was rewarded with a bite within a few seconds. Working this spot earlier and then leaving it to rest had paid off. I was not keeping a tally of my catch as my main aim of the day was to improve my casting technique. It is still has a way to go and I have a  but it is a lot better than it was.  I must have caught 40 fish, probably a lot more. Again I was out-fishing most of the others on the lake and complete strangers were noticing and commenting on my catch rate.

The burning question is, have I got better at this fishing lark, or is it the Two Dog groundbait? The last match of the season at Beaver is a week, next Wednesday. I can't wait to see if all this hard work will pay off and work in the match situation.