Wednesday, 2 November 2016

November sunshine

Flat-calm and full sun made for a pleasant day and few fish
This year the friendly matches at Beaver Fishery have extended into November and there is talk of a December match too, weather permitting. Today I was at Beaver Fishery competing in the November friendly. I have a theory that my Two Dog groundbait, I use on the feeder, may be too bright for this time of year, fish may be put off feeding over it as they will be silhouetted against it, as the water clears, making them an easy target for attack. I have been experimenting with coloured dyes in various groundbait mixes and come up with something I think might work; green Surf 'n' Turf.

The day started with a van covered in dew, thankfully not frozen, and a full tank of diesel meant there was no need to stop. The first half a mile was spent trying not to breath for fear of misting up the screen while the demisting fan was struggling to keep up. It never fails to surprise me just how many vehicles, of all types, are on the south circular at that time of the morning. The traffic is being 'channelled' along the main route by the introduction of so-called traffic calming measures. The traffic congestion on the south circular has undoubtedly become worse, over the past few years, as my local council (Lewisham) has introduced speed bumps on every road they own in the entire borough. Recently all the roads in the borough, including fairly busy main roads, have had a mandatory 20mph speed limit applied. It is ridiculous as there are short sections of road that cross the borough's borders at one end and join a Highways Department owned road at the other, that have very short sections where a 20 mph speed limit has been applied. Now, call me a cynic, but how long is it going to be until they apply speed cameras to those sections?

Local road rant over, the rest of the journey was reasonably clear. A lot of traffic on the southern section of the M25 was relieved by the mile long slip-road to the A22. I arrived at Beaver to be the first in the queue and observe the new winter gate times posted on the gate and sign; 6 PM. No sign of the cat, it must be cold. I bet he is sitting on top of the portable gas fire in the office, sensible cat.

Winter is here
Peg 14. That's good. This is the peg that has produced a few winners this year including the victor last month. Feeder fishing is the name of the game here for me. I do have my small pole/whip with me, that I call 'Hippo' see HERE for an explanation, if you are at all interested! The plan is to build up a couple of spots of my new green coloured groundbait and fish over that. Dead maggot on the hook, a 30g feeder and a short hooklink with No.16 hook.

At the all in, nobody was catching immediately. After five minutes or so, I saw a landing net being deployed on the opposite bank. Just as I was thinking "Here we go again" the rod tip slammed around and I had a fish on. Nice F1 as I had expected. For the first hour or so I caught several fish and I was starting to think that maybe this was going to be my day. That was just wishful thinking. By 11 AM the fishing had dried up completely at our end of the lake. It was not only me, one of the better anglers and lake record holder, who was in the peg I had last time, had nothing.

I was happy to come 7th, only a few ounces behind 6th! Sorry about the poor picture, the lens on my camera misted up in the cold after being in my pocket
As the day went on, it was obvious that the fish were on the other side of the lake as all we could see was landing nets making the occasional visit to the water. It was obvious that the weights were going to be low, and so they were. I ended up with 11lb 4oz that gave me 7th place. It was not a good day for photographs as the sun was right in my face all day. This was not a bad thing as for those of us on this side of the bank it was nice and warm, the guys opposite looked frozen in the shade, but that is where the fish were most of the day and all three winning pegs came from there. Proving beyond doubt that I am not really a serious match fisherman, I was happy to have drawn my peg! As I was a bit short on pictures, here is the weigh-in photograph of me and my fish. I even caught a skimmer and a tiny perch that seems to be camera-shy.

A small bag of very lively fish
With fifteen minutes to go, I caught one last decent sized F1 as I was collecting my gear together. I had cast out a feeder, hooked my rod over the small 'V' roller mounted on the front leg of my box, and was just about to dismantle a rod when the drag started giving line at a rate. I picked up the rod and landed one of the best fish of the day. without it, I could have been several places lower in the table. On a day like today, a few fish can make a huge difference.

I am sure the dark green groundbait mix gave me an edge and the choice of hook-bailt was also a good move. I will try the green Surf 'n' Turf feeder mix, over the cooler months, and see how it performs.