Friday, 15 July 2016

Too much stuff going on...

Majors lake from the other side...
I have fished Major's Lake at Beaver Fishery several times and had varying success. I first fished it from the front with Tim back in the day when we had very little tackle and even less experience. That day we had very few fish and they were all in the tiddler* category. Subsequent visits had also been in the 'few things to brag about' league. That was until recently when I discovered a part of the lake I had not fished before, on the bank between Major's and Maze lakes. I had a great day there on my own and an even better day when I went with Duncan. Buoyed with enthusiasm for this lake, I decided to have a go around the other side. I selected a swim that had great potential in my eyes. A couple of patches of lilly pads  and lots of overhanging bushes crying out for offerings of tackle.

Preston over/under pole rests
There were several things I wanted to try out and I had loaded the van with all sorts of rods and poles. Sometimes I think taking the van is a bad idea. I could put every bit of fishing gear I own in the back and still have plenty of space left over. Restricted carrying space might concentrate the mind somewhat and stop me packing so much gear.  I really enjoy my pleasure fishing from a nice comfortable chair rather than perched upon my box. This is fine in a match situation and is not for such a long period. Fishing from a nice comfy chair is not so good for pole fishing, although some people don't seem to find it a problem.

Whilst discussing it on the Maggot Drowning forum, the Preston over/under gripper pole rests were mentioned and a fellow member offered to sell me a pair. These I had with me and though I would use them with the long Maver pole to fish the edges of the lilly pads. I also wanted to try feeding my swim to encourage fish in or keep any that happened to be there. This is on top of putting out a sleeper rod to fish the far margin, do a spot of feeder fishing and try out the margins with my shorter Maver Abyss X. You see what I mean about too much stuff?  Although I had a twelve hour session to fill it is amazing how quickly the time can pass.

First of all I wanted to have a go at feeding my swim. Before I did anything else I balled out a few tennis ball sized balls of goodies. This was made up of all sorts of goodies including breadcrumb, ground biscuit ground as well as boiled whole birdseed, hemp, corn, meat, dog biscuit and much more.

While that was sitting there I put out a carp rod with chod-rigged boilie, sitting close to the bank in front of some reeds. I then sent out a few small balls of the feed just to make some attractant. The rod was set up on a pair of banksticks and buzzer, just waiting for that screaming bite.

Now for the main event. I set my chair up with the over/under cups fitted and assembled my pole. What I had not realised was just how far out those lilly pads were. I had expected to get to them easily but with the pole out using all sections (14.5m) I was still just short. At that distance, my pole is a real handful on my box and almost impossible to control from my comfortable seated position. Although the cups held the pole perfectly, shipping it in and out was a real nightmare. I gave up on the 'real' poles and put them back in the van.  By now a  few hours had passed and I had nothing on the carp rod, not even a line-bite.

The one and only fish of the morning
I thought I would try fishing over the fed areas using my most successful method, the feeder. Usually I would use the feeder to build a cover of groundbait and be catching after a couple of casts. With all that groundbait already there, this should have been simple. Cast after cast produced nothing and then just as I was about to give up the tip swung around and I had caught a fish - four and a half hours into the session. It turned out to be a nice size female tench. That was to be the only fish that I caught from Major's Lake. I tried the pellet waggler and even my Hippo was drawing a blank. By lunchtime I decided this spot was not for me and retreated to the safety of Jeff's Lake.

I put the made up rods and gear in the back of the van and decamped lock stock and barrel. I thought about hitting The Pond (Eden Pond) but ran into Andy (the bailiff) on the way around and he said there were a couple or three people fishing there already. Eden is a small pond. Apart from the fact that the best swims were probably already taken, I did not want to spoil their day by me turning up and muscling in on their action. So it was off to Jeff's Lake.

A map of the complex at Beaver Fishery
1-Snipe Lake, 2-Tuscany Lake, 3-Jeff's Lake, 4 Major's Lake, 5-Maze Lake, 6-Moat Farm, Pond,
7-Daughter's, 8-Eden pond, 9-Jounior's Lake, 10-Horseshoe Pond
In the map above I was parked in the parking right at the top of the map by Daughter's Lake (9) . Major's Lake (10) is not that far from Jeff's Lake (3) but the road takes the scenic route around the fishery, as can be seen. I like the fact that it is possible to drive around the fishery on hard surfaces all year round with most lakes having parking adjacent to at least a few pegs making it ideal for anyone with a disability or mobility issues.

The back of the lake where I like to fish from had been taken by some school kids and their teachers. I assume this was an end of year treat. However, this had obviously gone pear-shaped as they were packing up to leave.  Andy had told me the teacher had paid him and said that one of the kids was misbehaving so the trip was cancelled and they were off back to school.

I parked a safe distance away, eating my pack lunch, and watched the unhelpful and rude kids do nothing but moan as the teachers who were collecting the gear together. As I got to the parking they were just leaving and one of the kids was walking around the car to get in. He looked at me and I asked if he had caught anything "Yeah." came the reply "That's good, did you have a nice time?" I asked. "Nah" came the reply and with that he got in the car and slammed the door. They drove off leaving me wondering if all mid-teens are monosyllabic?  I could now get on with the serious task in hand and attempt to catch some fish.

What a surprise, an F1 on the Two Dog...
Just to get some fish on the bank, it was out with the feeder and the Two Dog ground bait feeder mix. First cast, a fish, and another, and another. Okay that has proved I can still catch 'em but it can get very boring. I then tried a cage feeder stuffed with groundbait and maggots, dead maggot on the hook. I use a slightly different approach with this type of feeder. I use a longer hooklength of 12-15 inches and give the feeder 30 seconds or so to discharge its contents, the maggots help this on its way. I then pull the feeder back another 12 inches or so, hopefully leaving the hook bait sitting on top of the pile. Well, that's theory, but in this case the fish are intercepting it on the way down. In fact the fish were going after anything that moved. I had a few F1s using this method but it was also getting boring.

Ideal conditions for a spot of pellet waggling. Out with the pellet waggler rod. Feeding 6mm pellets, and dropping the float on top, it took a few goes to get the depth just right and then  the F1s were churning the water and I could pull them out one after the other every few seconds. I could have caught hundreds of pounds of them. The only problem with all this is that it gets mechanical. Great for match fishing but very quickly gets monotonous.

Great fun at last. try landing a feisty F1 on light gear and thin elastic with no puller
Time for something different. I had my Hippo with me so it was time for some fun. It is really suited to silvers and worked wonders rooting out the small perch on Major's a few weeks ago. Here I was going to try it using a selection of hook bait and a fine 8-10 solid elastic. I knew I was most likely to catch the F1's but they would be fun to play and eventually land. This I did for a while working off the bottom, if I could get the bait down that far. I did manage it a few times and actually caught a small bream (large skimmer?) by fishing with bread punch and no feed.

It took a while to get in, but when it gave up it just played dead, like bream do
Fishing off the bottom was a waist of time and besides every time the fish throw a hook it would retract to the pole-tip and proceed to tie itself in knots any boy scout would be proud of. How does it do that? I changed rigs to a Drennan Crystal Dibber for fishing high in the water. With this on the Hippo, I had a good few hours fun experimenting with different hook baits and depths. It did not seem to matter what I used in the way of hook size and bait combination I could catch something on almost anything.

I had a large hook on for bread and I thought as some of my maggots, that I had been keeping for the past three weeks or so, had started to turn in the warm sunshine, I would give one a go. I impaled a caster on the large hook, just to see what would happen. It did not take long for another F1 to hitch a ride to the surface and into my landing net. It caught a fish, almost straight away. I think I could have used a bent pin and cotton tied to a stick and so long as there was something on the pin as bait I would have caught a fish. I had great fun in the end and was absolutely ready to pack up when a fish threw the hook again and the little dibber, line and shot ended up wrapped around the tip.

Time to go home, methinks
Next time I am going to go completely the opposite way and go light. Just a couple of old float rods given to me by a friend and some wagglers, a few slices of bread and a pint of maggot. I am going to spend a day float fishing. Today I had a van-load of gear, a big plan and it turned out that the best fishing was done with a £10 Tele-Pole fitted with a cheap bit of elastic.

KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid.


* Did you know?
According to Wikipedia, Tiddler can refer to: 
      A small fish
      A small motorcycle, similar to a moped but with a bigger engine
      Also, Tiddly, a barbershop