Thursday, 21 April 2016

No perch, no tench...

...but lots of fish, well for one of us! Us? Yes, us. Today there were four of us. At this point, if this was a television reality-soap, the scene would change and the words "One week earlier..." would scroll across the bottom on the screen and fade out. Well, its not, but I am sure you get the idea. Last week's edition of Angling Times featured an article that suggested and explained several rigs for spring fishing. Most of the fishing fraternity probably know all this already but I am really grateful when this stuff gets aired again as a lot of it is all new to me.

Mrs M and here new brood of a dozen ducklings - don't venture on to Major's lake! (it has a good head of pike) These guys were first spotted on Eden Pond at the start of the day. By the time we had been fishing on Maze lake for a few hours they arrived there the polish off the scraps...
Back to today and, as usual, the planning department of the Laughton household has been giving the local council a run for its money in the efficiency stakes. Not only had I left the best part of half a ton of hard wood 'shorts' in the back of the van, somebody had left it empty of fuel. That meant an even earlier start. The alarm on my not so smart 'smartphone' sounded at 04:45, after getting to bed three and a half hours earlier. Groan... I seem to get less and less sleep the night before going fishing these days. I jumped out of bed with great gusto and leapt straight into a cold shower while fighting off the attentions of several attractive young ladies who seem to have become overly affectionate after getting one whiff of my deodorant... The snooze alarm then sounded and I dragged myself out of bed to a cold house that was still on GMT. I must get around to resetting the central heating timer.

The van was loaded, refuelled and located in the drive to the fishery by 06:45. Result.

Having made it to the fishery in good time, I was the first in the queue at the gate. By the time the cat  had opened the gate (See HERE) I only had one other queue member for company. I had expected a larger crowd as the weather looked ideal. Apparently, yesterday was the chosen day and the place had been inundated with maggot-grabbing anglers. As a result the fishery's tackle shop had been stripped devoid of maggots. Although I had planned to buy a pint to top up my meagre supply to use as free offerings, it was not the end of the world as I had the best part of a pint with me. It must be impossible for the fishery to predict demand from one week to the next, especially at this time of year. But, as my 'queue-buddy' pointed out, with a smug chuckle, a simple phone call, made the previous day, meant he was aware of the situation and had bought some before he came. Some would say this is sensible and considered planning but I could not help thinking of the catchphrase, coined by the Sheriff in the James Bond film Live and let Die, "Smartass". No offence intended, just my sense of humour propagating mischief.

I have spent the last few visits to Beaver, on Jeff's lake, fishing the pole, but this time my intention was to do something a little more, dare I say, 'traditional'. My inspiration had been the rigs feature, I mentioned earlier, and the fact that I have caught both species, on recent visits to other waters on the fishery, in recent weeks. My rather ambitious (as it turned out) plan had been to target tench and perch on the idyllic puddle of water known as Eden Pond. Tucked away at the far corner of the fishery, this really is a wonderful place to fish. It is well stocked with both my target fish including a good head of golden tench. I have fished the pond several times in the past and always gives some kind of result.

Having splashed out on a two-rod permit, I set off to Eden Pond. One of the nice things about Beaver Fishery is the ability to be able to drive right up to some of the swims on most of the lakes. Eden Pond is no exception. Although this is a great advantage in some respects, it can also make me a bit disorganised. I have been trying to make things easier over the past few months by acquiring bags and cases to store and carry my gear in. I am still working on the place for everything and everything in its place concept...

I took the time yesterday to get the rods ready. I was not pole fishing today so it was just a case of dealing with a couple of rods and my super-comfy accessory chair. It was the first time out for my latest rod, A 9ft Shakespeare Wand, supplied with two glass and two carbon quiver tips. bought as an impulse buy when Sports Direct were selling them on special offer at the ridiculous price of £18.00. It would have been rude not to buy one!

Following the afore mentioned article in Angling Times, I had set up a float rod to tempt tench out from their hiding places using a lift rig with a long whiskered waggler float anchored by a shot sitting on the bottom and a short hook length. This has to be plumbed very carefully and it is important to cast to the same spot every time - a real challenge for me. My new rod was set up using a small running bomb and and a popped up worm. If you don't know how to make a worm pop up, look it up as it is all a bit too gruesome for the pages of this blog!

I fished the two methods for an hour or so with no luck tempting the targeted fish. However the skimmers, bream roach and rudd were more than keen to come out and play. After a while I convinced myself that the tench were all still asleep and the perch were on a diet. I opted to have a bit of fun just pulling out what I could. Bill arrived around 09:00 and we continued to spoil the day of several silver fish until Dave and Terry arrived to complete the quartet of Maggot Drowners (members of the Maggot Drowning forum) just after 10:00.

Bill talking to Terry. Bill does have a right hand, I think he just forgot to pack it
We packed up and set off in convoy for Maze Lake for the rest of the day.  After a quick reconnoitre of the near pegs and the fingers it was decided to fish the opposite side of the lake where we would have a stretch of water (and a car park) all to ourselves. The convoy pulled out and relocated, probably much to the relief of the anglers already fishing.

Terry gets his line wet
Dave is also on his way
Dave and Terry set up on the pole while I was still float fishing, now using a little puddle chucker to see what was hanging about on the opposite bank. It did not take long for the fish to take an interest and before long I was landing a good selection of skimmers and bream. Then the inevitable happened and I got the float tangled up in the vegetation. A bit of a hike around the lake and back up one of the fingers put me opposite my peg. I found the float and managed to free it. A trek back to the peg and I was ready to go again. I cast and the rig landed on target - and sunk! I recovered the rig to discover the float had parted with the stem and weight. I replaced the float with a similar one and cast it straight into the undergrowth on the opposite bank.

The were coming thick and fast - this one fell to the float rig and maggots
Even though I did manage to recover the rig and Bill even found the missing float body on the grass behind us, that was the end of the float fishing for the day. Terry had caught a few bream and Dave was king of the silver fish. Bill was not fishing and had only come along for the day out and pass on some of his experience to me. We had been using a Two Dog groundbait based loose feed to establish the fish in the swim. Now it was time to get the feeder out and catch a few carp.

The feeder was proving itself too
It could be said that the 11ft feeder is over-gunning it a bit for this lake but as it was set up it got pressed into use. Out came the Two Dog feeder mix and the line was clipped up to drop the feeder into a nice little gap between two clumps of vegetation. A couple of casts and the water was starting to look alive. Third cast and we were catching fish. Decent size bream, F1's and carp were all keen on the combination of Two Dog groundbait and 9mm punched bacon grill. By the end of the day the lake had given us a good few hours of fun fishing.

Dave, I know it is all about feeding, but you are supposed to be catching the fish - Is that net duck-friendly
Next time I will be out with the pole, I have a plan - yes another plan... As for my original intentions towards the residents of Eden Pond - I will return. Didn't somebody else say that?

Just as we were packing up I hooked this guy on my last cast of the day. Thanks are due to Dave for the picture and picking up my net that had slid off my knees just as he took the picture
And finally, the last cast of the day produced a hard fighting common of a reasonable size - a great day with plenty of fish and some good company. It is days like this that make all the effort worthwhile - Thanks Lads!