Thursday, 26 May 2016

Me and my mate go fishing...

"Go away, I'm busy..."  He didn't really say that but he might have thought it!
I like days out on the bank fishing on my own, but I do also enjoy the company of others. There is always something to learn, something to discuss and the fun of comparing fishing techniques. I had been talking about trying my hand at catching some bigger fish with some of the guys on the Maggot Drowning forum. Talk about open another can of worms. None of this sounds complicated, it is just different.

The carp rig
My mate Duncan came to the rescue and suggested we meet at Beaver. He was waiting for me at the gate when I arrived at around 06:45. Blimey, I thought I was keen! We had a discussion regarding carp rigs and Duncan showed me a selection of different types. The thing that struck me was the weight of the line and the size of the hooks, they are much thicker/heavier than I had envisaged. Duncan kindly presented me with carp rig just as the gate was opening.

We piled into the office and handed over our day ticket money for two rods each. After some debate we decided to fish in the same area of Major's lake as I had been on last time I was there. For some reason it seemed to take me ages to get my act together. I really need to sort out what I need and what I can leave behind. I seem to end up with far too much stuff to wade through. My make-shift barrow needs a bit of work on it to make it more bag-friendly, but that will be another story. Just now I need to keep on track or I will not finish this little story before you all fall asleep!

Looking down the lake from my peg. the foliage on the left is growing on the island
Today was not cold but overcast the water was alive with fry all trying to avoid being Mr Stripy and Mrs Pike's morning snack. The greenery is now coming back faster than the staff can cut it down. Just mowing the grass must be a full time job. Although you can hear the odd clatter as the mower strikes a stone, or some other non-vegtable matter, the mowing is carried out well away from anyone fishing, keeping disturbance down to a minimum.

We settled down to fish and before too long we were catching fish. Yes I know that is the point but there have been times... Duncan claimed first real fish with a splendid looking tench, it did not look as happy as he was.

That tench does not look as happy as Duncan! Sorry about the pole being in the way
I had set my sleeper rod up on a couple of shot banksticks and a bite alarm with the volume turned down so I could just about hear it. Is it me getting old, or do those buzzers constantly going off drive everyone else nuts too? There was a friendly little robin that discovered if he bounced on the rod he could get my attention too.
Excuse me! Would you mind not jumping up and down on there!
The rig Duncan had given me was attached to a quick change bead that was preventing a small free-running ledgering weight from escaping. I made up a PVA bag full of free offerings and secured it by passing the hook through the bag, twisting it and catching the bag again. this seemed to work as the bag and rig landed where they were supposed to and moreover, they were still together.  I left the rod to its own devices, catapulting a few pellets every 10 minutes or so over where the rig was sitting.  That is if I remembered.

While the sleeper was doing its job, I was engaged in fishing for roach and perch around the small patch of lily's to my left.  This is just small enough to bridge over with my 'hippo'. I fished this swim about ten days ago and was feeding liquid bread and using bread as the hook-bait to catch skimmers and small bream - that gets interesting on this lightweight kit! This time I was using maggots to feed with a single dead maggot as hook-bait to target the roach. I discovered by keeping it going the bites are plentiful - every cast at times - and the fish get bigger. Resting the swim to do a bit of feeder fishing and then attacking it again, this time feeding a few casters with the maggots and a single caster was finding the perch. Okay the fish are not huge but it is great fun once you get it right.

Getting bigger, not huge but I was happy!
The technique I used was to plum the rig to dead depth and then add an inch to the depth so the bait is just laying there. I then fed a few free offerings and raised the float, six to eight inches out of the water and let it back down again. Doing this produced fish after fish, usually on the drop. Great fun when it works and I was actually targeting and catching the fish I was aiming for.

The perch were moving in - they seem to love casters
The really interesting thing was the fact that we were not catching any carp of any kind. Duncan hooked today's one that got away, which was a huge carp but it ran him a merry dance and after tying his rig up in the tree roots then made for the lily pads and finished him off. He was very good and I heard nothing to offend the ear, either by volume or content.

I was just thinking about giving the hippo a rest when the alarm went off and this time it was not the robin. I hastily placed the hippo on the grass (hooking the nearby tree - Grrr!)  I grabbed the rod and sure enough I had hooked a fish. I managed to keep the fish out of the tree roots and it was not heading straight for the lily's. As I got it close it broke the surface - it was a tench. The rig had worked and I had caught my first fish using this technique.

First fish using carp gear - He did not look happy... I was, even though it was supposed to be a big carp
The day continued Duncan has his own laid-back style of fishing that works for him. He was really after the bigger fish but I hope he enjoyed the day. He caught his fair share of fish. Although his sleeper rod did not show any fish at all, he was hauling in lots of other fish on pole and feeder.

Look Mum, no hands!
In the quiet times, back on my peg I was amusing myself feeding a little robin that would eat a few maggots himself (her self?) and then fill its beak with as many as it could get in and fly off, I assume to feed young. No sooner had it gone than it was back. It would sit there while I was feeding my hippo swim and pick up any maggot that fell on the lily pads. If that was not happening I would put a few on the sleeper, that edged the front of the peg, and let him help himself. If all else failed he would raid the bait box itself. He was a fearless little fellow.
Is it okay if I have this one?
Blimey! I have found the mother-load
Before I knew it, the time had gone and we had half an hour before we would be locked in by the automatic gate that closes on the dot of 7 o'clock. With the best intentions blown to the wind, all the gear was hurriedly packed into the van to be sorted out when I got home.

Another fun day over, now to think about the match on Wednesday, next week...