Friday, 9 October 2015

Well, it was a day fishing...

I have got this off to a fine art. Alarm set for 05:00 Packed and ready to go the night before. Rods all tackled up, bait prepared and in the fridge, rolls made (Thanks Sue!) and a full tank of diesel...Hmmm... hold on a minute... Alarm set for 04:45.

I got there in the end - get back in there!
Crisp and dry first thing and it is really dark. Summer is well and truly over but I was not complaining, at least it was dry. The weather forecast was for a dry but overcast day, not overly warm but that was fine by me, I just took a couple more layers of clothing. I arrived at the fishery in good time and the gate opened at it's allotted time - just one of the few things that went to plan today...

My two chosen lines - I think the fish see the keep nets go in and go off and hide...
I parked the van and headed for the chalet where, on the veranda, the draw is usually posted. This time there was no draw just a map of the lake with pegs marked. I shuffled off to find out what was happening. Apparently there had been some talk of pre-baiting swims, I think these allegations had been made in jest but to avoid any others being levelled at competitors the draw was arranged differently.  This time a list of names had been drawn and the top of the list had the first pick and so on down the list. Far be it for me to judge, but this seemed fair enough to me. It is now about 07:10 and the match is not meant to start until 09:00 so the best part of a couple of hours away. The only problem was that the name on the top of the list had not arrived.  Some of the guys were getting niggled as they wanted to get set up.

There was an 'exchange' between the match organiser and a few of the guys that resulted in three of them deciding not to fish. Whatever the rights or wrongs of this, it meant we were down to only nine competitors and there was an unpleasant atmosphere. It is exactly this sort of thing that spoils it for me and why I was so against getting involved with fishing matches. The really silly thing here is that it is supposed to be  a bit of fun. It is not as if there are any big money prizes at stake.

A few minutes after the trio of disgruntled competitors walked out, the guy who was top of the draw list arrived and the pick of the pegs began. He pumped for my first choice. I did consider nobbeling him but there had been enough aggravation for one morning so I decided to let him off this time, The fact that he is much bigger than me had no bearing on the situation... I managed to get my second choice of peg in my other favoured place opposite the red lifebelt I have used as a target in the past. I am getting to know this lake now and I had a plan. 

A quick riddle of the maggots woke them up a bit after their week's sabbatical in the kitchen fridge.  They were all nice and lively by the time I had prepared the Two Dog groundbait mix. I was planning fishing two lines on the feeder and then once the fish were up in the water I would switch to the feeder float and pick them off the top like sitting ducks.  Well that was the plan.  I had been on the lake last week and was pulling fish out one after the other. For this reason I had thought, if I get a run on I could over-fill the carp net. My local fishing tackle shop had sold out of keep nets - not just the type I wanted, but any keep nets! With some reluctance I abandoned that plan. However, while waiting for the draw, I was chatting to the match organiser in the fishery shop about my net-less tackle shop and he promptly produced just what I wanted. Eager to try my new net, I thought a bit of intimidation tactics might work in my favour, so I set about casting three keep nets, two carp and a silvers. That will get them worried, I thought to myself.

By the time the all-in was called I was ready and keen to go. Working to my plan I cast a couple feeders full of the Two Dog and hooked a fish. I think I was the first to land a fish. Great! that's the way to do it. Ten minutes in and I had two in the net. It all started off to plan. Then it started to dry up and nothing was biting, not a sniff. Looking at my end tackle I realised I had probably made the hair a bit too long so I topped the punched bacon grill with a single kernel of sweetcorn. That did the trick and I caught a few more. Then I started to lose them off the hook, several times I would get a bite only for the fish to throw the hook. I changed hooklengths to a different hook and shorter hair (Kamasan 911x, from a  Guru QM1. Both size 12) I was still losing fish.

The last remaining Cygnet was looking a bit lonely...
By now the rain was falling, you know the rain that was not supposed to be here. I was not worried, I had my waterproofs what difference would it make? What I had not thought about was the Two Dog and loading the feeder.  It gets everywhere and before too long the cloth and towel were wet and sticky, the rod and reel were caked in the stuff. It was 'orrible! On top of this I was not catching many fish. I was not having a good time. I looked around and others were catching on the surface, so I decided to give that a go using a feeder float set up. after half an hour or so, with no bites and getting covered in groundbait, I gave up and went back to the feeder.

The rain had turned into that misting fine rain that never stops but completely soaks everything. and the temperature had dropped like a stone. At one point I would have been warmer in my fridge than it was there! Just as quickly as the temperature dropped it rose again to a much more comfortable level.

The end result
The fish were not playing and I was still losing fish - one in the very last couple of minutes. Not the best day's fishing I have ever had, but after all the upsets I still managed to come 5th with 24½ lb of mixed carp and bream, out of nine fishing, placing me smack in the middle of the table. Overall I had a good day out and met some more like minded anglers. I discovered a few things and came away with another experience to chalk up. That was the last match of the year at Beaver Fishery. Time to look at some other forms of fishing...