Wednesday, 31 May 2017

A return to Oakley Road

This fishing locally is a new thing for me. No getting up at silly times, no long drive and very little kit. All set for another pleasant day by the lake It was not until I got here that I remembered I said was going to have .a go at the bigger fish using feeder tactics next time I came here. Oh well, that will have to be next time now as I was standing there holding the same tackle I took last time. Never mind I have a lot of things I want to try. Not least of all, the posh branded sweetcorn. Up until now I have been using Tesco Everyday Value sweetcorn. Mainly because one of the magazines recommended it a couple of years ago. It was not until I did my own comparisons over the past few weeks that I realised the brand leader, Green Giant, is canned in salt water and most of the others are in just plain water, but my Tesco Everyday offering is actually canned in water with sugar added. I wanted to see if my mediocre success with corn has been down to the brand I was using.

I arrived at the fishery at around 10:00 and had a quick look around for a spot. I picked a place on the back of the lake that looked interesting. As I went back to the car to load myself up with gear, someone else arrived and promptly claimed my place. Hmmm... Thinking I may not make myself very popular by going over there an chucking all his gear, and possibly him, in the lake, I decided to pick another spot on one of the vacant platforms along the road side of the lake.

This picture, taken last time I was here, shows my chosen peg for the day
It was not until I was set up that I realised I was sitting right under the trees. Note for self: Pole might be a better bet from this side of the lake. To make matters worse, I had a 13ft float rod and nothing else. Oh well, it will be fun trying to work out how to get to the fish.

I was going to be restricted to an underarm lob or a sideways flick. Either way, I was going to have to do a bit of experimentation as I am far from proficient at either technique. By the time I had prepared the groundbait, set up with maggots and corn and covered my home-produced casters with water it was time to tackle up. A small reel and a spool filled with 6lb line, a 12 inch hook length of 4lb line and a No.16 hook. A  pre-loaded crystal waggler was fitted with a silicone float adaptor and held in position using float stops. The extra shot was strung out down the line, shirt-button style, to set the float tip showing a few millimetres above the surface. A quick bit of plumbing gave me the depth. Right, done, cast. No splash. TREES! Oh, how easy I find I can grow to dislike trees, there is no way this lot are getting a hug. After a bit of tugging and, shall we say, a spot of  'verbal encouragement', I manage to retrieve all my tackle. A few minutes repositioning shot and re-baiting the hook with a single piece of sweetcorn, I was ready to have another go. This time it made all the right noises - Plop!

First of many skimmers fell to my first cast on corn
As soon as the rig hit the water I followed it with three pieces of corn over the float. An easy chuck by hand. No sooner the float had settled, it shuddered and dipped under the water with that casual ease that tells me there is a skimmer on the other end. Sure enough the first skimmer of the day had fallen for sweetcorn. This was an encouraging sight. I spent the next couple of hours catching skimmer after skimmer. Nothing of any size, but plenty of them and mostly of similar size. I guess the bigger ones were off having a cigarette after spawning, at least that is what the carp down my end of the lake must have been doing. I did not catch a single carp all day. Others at the deeper end of the lake had a few as I could see them being netted, but it was not a carp-fest by any means.

A lapse of concentration resulted in me hooking the heaviest catch of the day - a 15 tonne Oak tree. To my relief it let most of my tackle go, retaining the hook as a souvenir. Time to tackle up again as by now the line was stretched and the shotting pattern had been destroyed - snip!

Lots of nice roach on maggot
This time I baited up with a heavier float, which meant I could get a little bit more distance. I re-plumbed the depth at my new target area only to discover it was not much different, if at all. I switched bait to maggot and started off with a single white and as I expected the small roach were getting in on the act. I persisted and the fish got a bit bigger but nothing great. Doubling up the hook bait to one red, one white maggot resulted in a few bigger fish, but again nothing spectacular.

I continued to fish on, enjoying the challenge, it can be very boring fishing alone if it is too easy. My only real claim to fame of the day was to catch my PB smallest skimmer. The little fellow was more slime than meat. I had another great day by restricting my tackle and having limited options as far as casting was concerned. The platform I was fishing from was structurally sound and would have been perfect for pole fishing as the trees would not have been a problem. This was only my second visit to this small friendly fishery and I am still learning the topography of the lake and its surroundings. There is a smaller lake at Oakley Road to try but first I need to get to know this one - one thing at a time.

Smallest skimmer of the day - a PB (smallest) skimmer!
I packed up, was in the car by 19:00 and home twenty minutes later. I really like the convenience of Oakley Road it is reasonably priced for a day ticket venue and with membership I would be able to fish on into the evening - an attractive possibility at this time of the year. Membership would also give me a reduced day-ticket fee making it all look very attractive.

Next time I will take a feeder rod and see how I get on. It is not a very big lake so a small picker rod should do the business, so look out Mr. double carp, I plan to meet with you next time.