|....and they said it would not rain!|
Since I have been using a pole, my attention has been refocused onto the hook bait. Bread has worked for me, as have worms. I am far more knowledgeable about the type of hook-bait to use when targeting a particular species of fish. This is, of course, a relative term and more knowledgeable in my case means a bit above zero knowledge!
Liquidised fresh bread and compressed bread-punch was attracting some nice skimmers and bream. Chopped worm, maggots and casters fed over either maggot or worm was catching perch after perch. Always up for trying something new, at least to me, it suddenly occurred to me, and I assume it has been tried before, that if I made a sandwich of say bread/bacon-grill/bread, I could punch and compress that to make a white disc with added attractants. Why stop at bacon grill? It was mentioned on one of the forums that peanut butter might make a good paste to wrap around hook bait. How about wrapping the hook-bait around the peanut butter? Punched peanut butter sandwiches sound as if that may work.
Yesterday I spent a day at Beaver Fishery experimenting with new and old (for me!) methods.
One thing I have learnt is to go with your gut. Not to be put off going fishing just because the forecast is for inclement weather. Also don't let a spot of unexpected rain put a dampener on proceedings. As you can see from the header picture, It was fine and sunny at 05:30 AM, yesterday - not! Thanks to a nice hold up on the M25, by the time I arrived at the lake it was turning dry and brightening up.
|Hello Mr M., How's the missus?|
|Busy - VERY busy!|
|This damselfly stopped by to say hello and rest on my finger long enough to have its photograph taken|
I was the only one on the lake, first thing. I was only joined by one other all day so I pretty much had the lake to myself. I balled in a good bit of groundbait made from lots of leftovers, laced with hemp, dead maggots, casters and corn as well as the odd lump of punched meat. I left that alone while I got myself set up. There were several things I wanted to try and I had brought several made up rods, my Hippo (What? - See HERE) and my cupping kit to go with it.
First off I wanted to try a larger method feeder. Up until now I have been using the small Preston feeder and release mould with no problem whatsoever. The fact that these moulds don't work very well has been aired on several forums but I thought it must be just down to the constancy of the mix. I tried a banjo feeder a few weeks ago and could not get that to release nicely. At the time I put it down to the mix.
|First cast and it didn't stop|
Time to do a spot of experimenting. As touched on above, I had been thinking about making some punched bread 'sandwiches'. Someone had mentioned peanut butter as a paste to wrap around pellets. Beaver does not allow the use of nuts, so I contacted the bailiff and asked if I could use smooth peanut butter and was told that it would be fine. I think they are all interested in my bait concoctions as they like my Two Dog and have just topped them up with a few kilos for their own use.
"What are you up to now, a new groundbait?"
The plan was to make some sandwiches and punch out a lot of small rounds, compressing them as I went. I used the Warburtons 'Toastie' loaf and punched dozens of hook-baits from a couple of sandwiches. These were compressed as they were formed within the tube of the punch. Once punched they were put in a small plastic box and frozen.
|You know that feeling just before a balloon bursts...|
|How's that for a first fish off Peanut butter|
|Small tench - a peanut butter fan, my PB smallest tench so far!|
Having proved the peanut butter thing worked I got bored with that and went on to my next experiment. Peas. Yes straight forward garden peas. I was watching one of Graeme Pullen's videos I had to give it a try.
If you have not seen these videos before, they are full of off-beat and wacky ideas as well as lots of sound fishing advice. They may get a bit carried away sometimes but their enthusiasm really gets you hooked - at least it does me.
|Anyone need a pea?|
By now it is coming up to lunch time so the pea saga was put to one side and I went over to the pellet waggler, again the rod was all set up in my rod-ready bag so it was just a case of plugging it together and adding a hooklength and pellet. I have been trying this technique for ages with very little success. A quick rummage through my tackle bag (I do enjoy a quick rummage!) revealed that Sue had not reminded me to pack any catapults...
Restricted for range, I opted to fish just a few yards beyond the rod tip. I had been using mixed size pellets and one of the things Graeme Pullen pointed out in a video was that pellets of differing sizes travel differing distances making a much larger spread. Taking this on board, I decided to feed 6mm pellets and use 8mm on the band. I threw a few pellets in, at my desired spot, left it a minute or so and did the same again. this time there was a flurry of surface activity. I made a cast and nothing. I kept feeding only three or four pellets at a time and cast into the same place, fed a few more about a foot short and twitched the float towards me. Still no bites. The float was dipping around so I knew the fish were there. I lengthened the distance between the hook and the float from about 12 inches to 18 inches. I think the fish were missing my hook pellet. That did it, fish after fish. I was a very happy bunny! Then the band hair broke, while gathering another from the box I noticed I had some tied up with meat stops on them... I wonder...
|Hair rigged peanut butter sandwich anyone?|
I still had one more rod unused. My little nine foot Shakespeare Wand was rigged with a small Preston flat-backed feeder. I just had to see if this would work after the trouble I had with the large one earlier in the day. Safe to say it worked fine and I could have pulled out fish after fish with it.
Finally I had been feeding the margin, on and off, all day. I set up a short float to dead depth on the Hippo and plopped it in the right-hand margin. I fed a few walnut sized balls of groundbait and as I did the float disappeared and the elastic was in the water. First out was yet another decent sized tench. Then, with a massive take the elastic was off again and I was hanging on. That is all I could do. I did not want to put too much strain on the rig or the cheap as chips Hippo. I hung on in there and what seemed like an hour but was probably only five minutes of repeating to myself "don't come off, don't come off" like a stuck record, I landed my favourite fish of the day a nice mirror.
|What a fight, these things are really powerful for their size. I thought I would lose it but I got it in the end.|