Friday, 8 January 2016

We're going pole fishing and...

Last time out at Beaver Fishery at the end of November - Probably the only cold day of the winter so far here in the South
Yes, we are about to make our first venture into pole fishing down at our favoured venue, Beaver fishery. It is a bit of a drive out but done early in the morning it is an easy run for both of us. Besides it is getting a bit like old slippers - comfortable and familiar. Now the other bloke has got himself a fishing-friendly job, it looks like we will be on the bank together a lot more this year. My last attempt at catching a few silvers was a bit if a disaster, I picked (probably) the only day of the winter so far that was literally freezing cold with early morning temperatures well below zero. Not only that, I picked a place that was a real frost pocket and froze my bits off for four hours until at last the rod tip started to quiver. Thinking I had a bite at last I was delighted. That was until I realised I was float fishing and the tip was quivering because I was shivering from the clod. At that point I gave up, moved to a lake that was in the sun and spent the rest of the day chasing F1s about using the method feeder and, of course, the now well proven Two Dog groundbait and punched Bacon Grill on the hook.

The purpose of this trip on Monday is to have a go at catching a few silvers on the pole and, if we get the opportunity, we will do a bit of jigging/dropshotting for the odd perch or jack pike. First, the pole...

Pole? Hmmm... stretching it a bit, me thinks
When we bought our first starter set it included it included a collection of carbon tubes labelled as a fishing pole. It was not long before I realised that this was nether fish or fowl. It was put to one side and left for months. I have used it as a cupping device and even tried to fish with it at one point using the ridiculously heavy float,line and hook that it was supplied with.

That is all the experience I have had with anything that resembles a pole... Until now.

I have been thinking about poles ever since I discovered they existed. My first feeling was that they were not for me and I would stay with rod and line. That was before that fateful day in June when I entered my first match. Yes, I know, I said I was not interested in match fishing either, but that was before I had tried it. Okay, I am never going to be a hardened match fisher but I do enjoy a friendly match with a bunch of like-thinking anglers. It was the last match I fished in that got me seriously thinking about getting a pole. There I was, feeder fishing all day, alternating between two rods. One on the method for carp and the other swim-feeding maggots for silvers. I caught two fish, one on each rod, totalling 5lb 9oz and the carp weighed 5lb 8oz, need I say more.

Most of the other guys were alternating between feeder fishing and the pole. Apart from the chap who did not weigh in, I came last. There were not a lot of fish caught that day but I am now convinced that if I had been pole fishing I would have caught a few more.

The pole is supplied with one match and one carp top kit. I bought three extra universal match top 3 kits 
A look through a few catalogues and websites at the eye-watering price of poles is enough to put anyone off. Buying second-hand at this stage is not an option that I favour, having never even held a pole before. In the end, after 'talking' to several people on the Maggot Drowning Forum, I was faced with a whole lot of conflicting views regarding where to start. There was only one thing for it and that was to make a commitment and follow it through. I needed to buy something to get a foot in the door. Eventually I settled on a buying a new 9.5m Maver Aybiss X. This pole had been recommended as a good starter pole and at around £50.00 it was not going to break the bank.

I elected to forgo the new chair I had decided to buy with my Christmas fishing-fund campaign (asking for money instead of socks and aftershave) and use the money to get myself on the pole fishing ladder, albeit on the bottom rung. Along with the pole I ordered a second Maver top 2 carp kit adding £15 to the price. I also bought a further three universal top 3 kits from the discount fishing store, Dragon Carp, that were on special offer at £8.75 each. At a shade over £90 I now own a 9.5m pole and five top kits. Now all I have to do is to elasticate the top kits and acquire some rollers. I have ordered some really cheap flat rollers just to get me going but I think they may not last the test of time, but again, it's a start.  Finally, we will be using our cheap green plastic tackle boxes to sit on as the budget does not run to a seat-box at the moment.

I am off to the local tackle shop later today to get myself kitted out with some bushes and thinner elastic. I already have some bungs but I will need a couple more and I will need some new line to make up rigs and some winders... and I have probably forgotten something, but I can always go back over the weekend if necessary.

I have also ordered, on recommendation, a copy of Pole Fishing, The complete Guide by Mark Wintle & Graham Marsden. Although published in 2009, it will give me all the basic stuff I need to know. An on-line chat with the author assured me that the information is still valid and the only significant innovation of recent years not to be included is the side puller bungs. For me I am not bothered by that as I can easily research that on the internet or at the waterside, by talking to fellow anglers. What I need is all the basics of choosing floats, rig making and the actual technique of fishing the pole. Once I get out there and have a go, I will be in a much better position to evaluate exactly how this pole fishing thing works - or doesn't!  

The time for thinking is done, I have most of the kit I need and by Monday I will have the rest so Tim and I will be down at Beaver Fishery showing the fish who's boss! If the pole does not fill our day, we plan to chase a few perch about with some light lure gear. Either dropshotting or jigging for the little fellows lurking about in the shallows and around the odd spot of cover. 


This will give us a chance to try out some other new kit we have been collecting over the past few months in the way of line, jig-heads, hooks and lures. One amusing episode, was the arrival of a spare spool for my little dropshotting reel - it is so small it fitted through the letterbox! at first I was convinced they had sent me the wrong part, the box looked far too small for a spool!

My! that is a small spool!
Lately I have been dropshotting on the Regent's Canal and I am sure I will be doing a lot more urban fishing in and around London and the towns of Kent. On Monday, time permitting, we will have a chance to try out the technique on the still water of Beaver. We will have to flatten the bur on the hooks to comply with the fisheries regulations but it has to be worth a try. The short 6 or 7ft light rods will be a massive contrast to the 30 odd foot long pole!  

I have just checked the weather for Monday and it looks like it will be dryer than was forecast earlier, it seems to be getting warmer too, a predicted 6ºC - positively tropical!