Friday, 26 August 2016

The brothers go fishing

If this fishing lark was supposed to give us a chance to chat and see more of each other then it may not have worked.  The subtitle of this blog refers to couple of blokes. All year it has been just me. Tim, the other bloke has not been fishing since November, last year. This has been mainly down to his new job. A more perfect job could never been invented for Tim. Do you remember a kids game called Operation? It involved removing organs from a cardboard figure printed on a flat surface, using a pair of tweezers. If you touched the sides a buzzer sounded. Tim would play with this blooming thing until the rest of us were climbing the walls in expectation of another buzz. Much the same as fishing next to someone with a bite alarm set at full volume. Tim's job involves the tracking and cleaning of medical instruments, all the sort of things you see laid out on the tray next to the operating tables on those medical dramas. He now has pictures of them on his phone with all the technical names so he can learn them, so he says. This is a bloke who's bedtime reading was Grey's Anatomy.

The upshot of all this is that the job is worked on shift as the facility is staffed twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Until recently it did not work out that we could get to the bank at the same time. Now he has changed shifts all that has been made easier as he gets a few days off in a row and this week we managed to make a day at Beaver.

Even though Tim had been working until  10 o'clock the night before, he still managed to do the hour-plus drive and make it to Beaver before the gate opened at 07:00. I was impressed.

"TIM, smile" - "I am smiling" - "Oh sorry"... Click!
We paid our day ticket money for two rods each and after being told that our chosen spot was not going to be available as the lake needed topping up and guess where the pump was standing? Yep, right where we had planned to fish. Never mind there are plenty of other good spots. We decided to fish on the far side of Major's Lake, where I had fished before and had no luck. This time we had a more sedate plan, a plan that produced a drama of its own involving an 11lb+ carp, a bailiff and a boat. See HERE. After that early drama we knew there were fish about and our bait worked.

I cast the bait out, Tim fed the line and Andy landed the fish - joint effort?
Tim had decided he wanted to just sit there and catch silvers on the waggler and preceded to tackle up for the same. My carp rod was tackled the same as Tim's with a chod rig and Ringers Wafter on a boilie spike.  To be honest, this was more of a get together with a bit of fishing thrown in. I decided to have a go at fishing around the lilly pads in the margin with my 5m 'Hippo' (a cross between a short pole and a whip - See HERE). looking for silvers and perch.

It must have been like silver fish soup down there as every chuck was producing a bite almost instantly. After an hour or so I gave up trying to get past the small fish and decided to give it a rest in favour of the feeder rod. This produces a few bream but nothing exciting. Tim was happily catching silvers of all kinds just fishing maggot on the hook and feeding a few at a time over his float. The tactic seemed to work and he was as happy as Larry - whoever Larry was.

As we (Well, Tim) were doing more talking than fishing it was time to give in and get the float rod out. I had tackled up my very nice old float rod that my mate Dave 'The Fish' had kindly given me. It was his dad's rod and he thought I would make good use of it, as he had plenty of rods of his own. I love it. Last time I had this rod out for the day I caught a lot of fish including a very nice 6lb+ ghost carp from Maze lake. It's striking colour scheme and its forgiving action is like nothing else I own. It may not be state of the art but it catches fish.

My very nice 'vintage' float rod

The peg we have settled on is another one that has a tree problem, or rather I have a problem with the trees. First cast and my tackle is talking to the acorns - or what will be acorns very soon. A long landing net pole is useful here. Next time I will be tempted to pack the long arm loppers and a three-leg orchard ladder  - The chain saw may be a step too far!

Time to practise my underarm/flick technique. I threw a handful of maggots out, lobed the float into the swim and caught a little roach instantly. I re-baited the hook and caught another, and another and... Well, this was getting silly. I changed the shotting pattern to a lower bulk of shot much closer to the hook and added a shot on the hooklength in an attempt to get the hook bait past the small fish as quickly as possible. This worked, to a point, as I didn't catch any little fish. In fact I did not catch any fish at all. I think the shot by the hook was sinking the hook and the bait in the silt.

I removed the shot on the hooklength. Inspecting the line it seemed to be fine so I did not replace the hook length. The next cast produced a small perch. Progress, I was not catching the small roach/rudd. A couple of casts and it was perch all the way. no big ones but changing the tactic had made a difference. I continued in this vain for a while but the stamp of fish remained the same. I was just about to think about changing hook bait and feed when the float took a spirited dive and I automatically struck (I am getting the idea of this nowadays). The rod tip bent over and I was onto a 'real' fish. I played the fish for about a minute or so. I was getting quiet excited, this fish was obviously a monster, as all the ones that get away are by defult. Just as I was starting to think I had at last caught something worth photographing the line went slack and the rod straightened. The fish had gone.

I reeled in expecting to find my bare hook dangling from the end of the line. Instead I was greeted with most of a hook length and a very neat, clean cut line. There were no curly bits, as the line formes when it has reached its breaking point. I am fairly sure it broke where the shot had been earlier. There is a lesson to be learned here and I learnt it the hard way. Even though the line felt as if it was not damaged, after removing the shot, it obviously was and became the weakest point by a county-mile. Bye bye fish.

Fed up with messing about with the float rod I set about showing Tim how to fish with my 'Hippo' He is not comfortable without a reel. There he was, bemoaning the attributes of pole fishing, when all of a sudden the elastic berried itself in the lake and the tip swung around as if to follow it. "My!" Tim said and promptly passed me the Hippo. Thanks! There was or had  been a fairly big fish on the hook that had taken it straight into the lilly pads. Try as I might, Hippo bent almost double that fish was not coming out. The rig became stationary and by now I was starting to realise that all I was holding was a lot of vegetation. I let it go slack and reapplied the pressure only to end up in exactly the same place. Time to pull for a break. The light rig parted at the loop and was lost. The elastic returned to the Hippo in one lighting fast flash. I am fairly sure the fish had long gone leaving the rig tied up in the lilly pads. Even if the fish had taken the rig with it, it was only light tackle and it would easily self destruct.

Here fishy, fishy...
Tim went back to the float fishing and his silvers and I persevered with the Hippo but nothing was pulling the elastic. Tim had to leave a couple of hours early as he had to get back for a family bash. When he had gone, I recast the two carp rods on fresh bait and while I waited I started packing up all the gear, by the time it was all away I had not another sniff of a fish and packed them away too.

All in all it was an eventful day that produced more natter than fish, but we had a good day and the fish will still be there next time.