Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Covert Carping Part Four.


 Another morning and another early trip out before work, maybe a week or so ago I fashioned roughly an hour before a trip into London and with the conditions behaving the fish were in an obliging mood with two twenty pound plussers nailed within 15 minutes of each other.

 Typically I had a look around before starting but very little showed to begin with, I suspect the cooler night put them down slightly but as the sun got up above the treeline the activity began, however the amount of sightings was drastically down on recent trips with only a few showing, out of those few two were intercepted and put on the bank.

 The first Carp was spotted feeding amongst some young lily pads with it's large paddle waving up in the water as it grazed at the stems of the pads, the slow sinking bread flake lasted no time at all. The scrap was pretty intense and put my tackle to the test which is always enjoyable, the second Carp however was even better, not the fact it was bigger but the fight was great fun.

 On the Rueben's this Mirror weighed in at 21.14 and had a random cluster of scales on a wholley leather body.


 The second fish was this stunning Common Carp which tipped the scales at 25.05 and is possibly one of the prettiest Carp I've ever caught, if they all looked like this then I'd fish for them more!

Covert Carping Part Three.


 I find on a lot of waters ( especially the ones I fish ) that Common Carp seem to be more prevalent, in some instances I feel the ratio could be as much as 10:1, even on the canals I find so many more Common's than Mirror's and personally I prefer to catch Mirror's as they just look more characterful and more variation, Linear's are by far my favourite and it's been a long time since I've caught one, but fully scaled Mirror's rarely feature in my catches, could I catch a Mirror on this trip?

 A typically early start for me as I usually get these sessions underway before work and then hit the road in time for my first client of the day, when the conditions are right then anything is possible and on a nice barmy sunny morning the surface was alive with hungry Carp searching out an easy meal, I could only oblige.

Hungry Carp.

 For Carp which are seldom targeted they seemed fairly sly in how they went about mopping up the bread, something I suspect they do a lot of but it took three half hearted attempts to get the first of the two Carp to commit....silly bugger, I could have told it that it was dangerous to eat, but that's all the fun!

 A sturdy battle ensued as it tore sixty yards on it's first run, I thought for a few minutes that I'd latched into a real lump and the weight behind it seemed decent enough to think along those lines, only until I got the fish closer in could I get a better idea on size and I was surprised it wasn't bigger than it's fight portrayed. At 17.06 it was a good fish and it was a fully scaled Mirror too, perfect timing to break up the Common Carp monotony.


 The fun didn't stop there either as another Carp slipped up on the surface and when the mouth opened up to slurp down the crust I thought again I was onto another big fish, the fight this time around wasn't particularly impressive and once I got the fish in the net I could see why, age probably the downfall of this Carp and again it was a Mirror, not what I expected but it was a very old fish and on it's way down in weight as the frame dictated that it should be alot bigger with a huge rudder to boot, I suppose everything has to go out at some point. Great sport though, forty minutes of fun then off to work.

Smallest of the two, 16lb

Monday, 24 April 2017

Covert Carping Part Two.


 Another morning and another short trip in search of my Spring Carp target, " a new personal best", which is 35lb 8oz, I have a couple of waters which have the potential to do this, however this particular challenge is not going to be easy, this has been made more difficult by the recent drop in temperature as the fish are moving around a little less and barely anything showing on the surface adds to the challenge.

 Sometimes just keeping very mobile can pay huge dividends and on a recent trip I spent forty minutes fishing and successfully stalked a short thick set Common at a range of twenty yards off the top, one of only four Carp I saw that day, all together but even at that distance I could clearly see that the one I banked was the largest as it's mouth looked like that of a trumpet, not to mention it's large silhouette, I believe the Carp were feeding high up in the water on water flea or Daphnia but my extremely cheap offering was too tempting.


 This Common was bit of a warrior but nice to see and certainly didn't hold back on the fight, very impressive, this Carp weighed 25.03 which is slowly creeping up towards my target weight.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Covert Carping Part One.


 Since my Crucian campaign has been put on hold and I await the warmer evening's to descend upon us for the Eels I have donned a stalking setup and take it everywhere with me, a loaf of old bread, bag of bits along with a 9ft Greys Outkast 2¼lb test curve rod ( for those snaggy areas ), most of the places I fish tend to be snag free but it helps having a rod this good in my arsenal, these never let me down and I've caught thousands of fish of them.

 Of late the weather has been a little up and down, the catches have reflected this and some mornings you think this is easy and others end up as blank sessions, so I'm glad I make the most of it when the going is good.

 Here is a Carp from my first trip:

First trip of the season 21.3

Covert Carping.

A Kestrel locking on to pray.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Enton, Candy From a Baby.....


 ........Or so you would think, constantly in the angling press, social media littered with images of the prizes that any visiting angler could catch, somehow I felt that there was a little more to it than pitch up and bag up on potential British Record Crucian Carp and Tench. Before I go any further I can certainly say it's not easy, those who have caught specimen Crucian's have been in an area that have held them and location over my three trips would prove to be paramount, being just 20 yards from the feeding grounds would be the difference between complete success and failure.

The view from my perch....just 15 yards from the next angler....

 The tactics I employed were fairly simple, with one rod loaded with a 30g method feeder and bouyant maggot with the second rod set up with a standard maggot feeder heli' rig, with Spring in full swing I felt that the maggot feeder would do quite well with the Tench and hopefully pick up the Crucian's as they passed by in their little shoals, but as the hours passed by on three different days my rods both lay dormant with very little else than single bleeps, even as minor as that seems it kept me alert just in case one of those miniature enquires led to a run.

All the gear, but have I an idea??

 Only on the third day did I get a little more than no action as I waited more than half a day to get a clear cut run, I was nagging to a friend of mine who coincidentally was amongst the very fish I wanted to catch when my left hand rod tore off, I scrambled from my neighbour's swim and lent into a heavy fish, the culprit which was almost certain to be a Carp continued to head out into open water when my line went completely slack and the rod recoiled....fish off.

A new favourite of mine, drop one in a pint of water and see the results.

 Just the sort of rotten luck you need when indications of life were so few and far between, the hook just parted from the hook link but on a 3lb bottom it's likely to happen, when it doesn't it's a bonus. It was slightly annoying but you can only tackle up and get the bait back out where the fish may at some point find the tiny single caster, or maggot, or fake corn.

It's a lovely place to waste some hours.

 The plan was to stay as late as possible, this was to give the fish every chance in slipping up, then around 7pm my left hand rod finally gave off a gentle but consistent run, the buzzer was singing away and as I took up the slack the plodding fish on the other end really got my heart racing, this was a typical Crucian fight, slow and not going particularly far, in fact I only needed to retrieve as it made no attempts to swim, so much so I was convinced I'd finally caught my target and knowing the pedigree of the Crucian's in this nearly 20 acre lake it could be the very fish of my dreams.

 I continued to play the fish very gingerly as I did not want to lose it seeing how hard I had worked to get this opportunity, then as I readied the net and the fish approached the surface a Tench broke and I deflated like a hot air balloon, I'd never been so disappointed to see a 5lb Tench in my life....I almost put it back without a photo but as tough as the day was and how hard that sighting was to take I couldn't pass up a photo opp'......candy from a baby? most certainly is not! and for those reading this who have intentions of fishing it, do not go with the preconception that it's easy, believe if you are on the fish then yes, it's fairly straight forward but if your'e not on the shoals then it's a confidence knocker for certain. But in the famous words of Arnie, "I will be back".


One of the best reels I've used.

2016/17 Season Closing Records.

My Record of my biggest specimen of each species between 1st April 2016 and 31st March 2017.

Golden Orfe
5lb 2oz (PB)
Bream
11lb 7oz (PB)
Barbel
11lb 2oz
Carp Common
25lb 6oz
Carp Mirror
27lb 12oz
Carp Koi
5lb 10oz
Chub
6lb 1oz
Crucian Carp
2lb 2oz
Gudgeon
2oz 2dr
Tench
5lb 15oz
Roach
1lb 10oz
Rudd
2lb 6oz
Roach/Bream Hybrid

Ruffe

Dace
13oz 1dr
Perch
8oz
Pike
8lb 6oz
Zander

Eel
2lb 7oz
Bleak

Silver Bream

Rainbow Trout
3lb 8oz
Brown Trout
6lb 4oz
Grayling
2lb 11oz (PB)
Sea Trout


Sunday, 16 April 2017

Large Orfe, Not All That Easy.


 For two seasons now the thought of catching a very big Golden Orfe has been on my "hitlist", at first I thought they would be easy to catch and my target of a 6lb+ specimen achieved in a fairly short time, two years on and six trips I have yet to get a successful shot at one of the known three specimen Orfe which all tip the scales past the six-pound mark. Just one of these fish and it'll be the cherry on the cake, I've had a couple of dozen to 5.02 using various tactics and although they can feed with complete abandon I find usually they're very timid feeders, only with alot of confidence do they start taking bait in such a way you can catch them.

 Like most species though when the timings are right anything is possible. A couple of weeks ago I headed back down with one of these specimen Orfe in mind, the conditions were probably as good as I've experienced on this particular lake as the wind always seems to blow a hooley, which as you could imagine makes stalking the ghosting orange shapes very difficult at ranges of 20-50 yards, with the lack of wind I felt confident that I'd get amongst them. A loaf of bread is my usual bait selection and not long after starting the tell-tale pin point bubbles of Tench started to appear close in to where the Orfe typically show.

A lovely Spring morning.

 As I hadn't seen any to begin with scooting around just under the surface I fancied setting up a waggler and plummeting the depth to 2inches off the bottom, once I had got the depth right it didn't take the fish long to start falling foul to my cheap bait, all 57 pence of it. Soon my float would remain still for no more than 20-30 seconds before the next fish decided to have a go, numerous Tench came to the net in an hours period then a sudden pull of the float resulted in a weighty fish hanging on the end but to keep in tune with their typical lacklustre demeanour an Orfe cruised to the surface and splashed about before slipping into my awaiting net.


Not a monster but on the digital's she went 4.12 and in fine condition, just the start I wanted as if one is feeding the rest will be too. A couple of photos snapped it was time to get back to it, the sun was starting to get up higher and with that the temperature also improved, usually with this the expectation of the Orfe to start patrolling higher in the water would mean I could track their movements and locate areas they will feed. The Tench however continued to feed hard.


 For the next few hours I was catching stacks of Tench from a pound up to the five pound mark and as the evening drew closer I managed a bigger Tench which gave me the run around but this wasn't before I lost a big one previously, thought to be well over six pound and possibly a seven. When the fish on the end of my 3lb bottom surfaced I could see it was half decent so I was pleased.

Long and lean early Spring Tinca, complete with leeches all over.

 6.03 and the best of my spring Tench so far, this was quickly followed by another Orfe but a bit smaller than the first. With time running out my chance of a 6lb specimen was ebbing away and destined to make me wait a little longer, won't be long before a return will be made, again they proved that they can be elusive no matter how shockingly bright they maybe !

Saturday, 8 April 2017

First Tench of Spring.


 This was my first proper session since the end of the coarse season, typically I spend my first few trips out with a fly rod, this year with the consistently milder weather I couldn't resist targeting Crucian's and Tench. At the turn of the year one of my club tickets obtained exchange ticket rights with Godalming AS, this obviously was great news as it granted me access to fish the premier Crucian water in the country, for those unsure the water is the holder of the British Record Crucian Carp and holds numerous specimen's over 4lbs, which are of course extremely rare.



 Of course I could have just bought a ticket for GAS but with a cost at £150+ to fish one water a couple of times a year seems an extreme expenditure, one of which I wasn't prepared to make. So with this additional venue at my disposal I thought I should try to open my Tench account, this of course being my first trip down and I had some learning to do. Johnson's lake is the home of this monster fish and the next cast could be a special fish, but the lake is also home to Tench in excess of ten pounds, something close to that would be great.


 Considering 95% of my fishing is done with a single rod it felt weird to be setting up two rods on bank sticks and buzzers....not what I call normal but needs must as the fish are from what I've been told patrol areas of 30-40 yards out so a float rod is certainly out of the question unfortunately, once I had arranged everything how I think it should be I got both rods out on an area baited, the ground bait I used was SonuBaits 50/50 green and also 6mm soft pellets, in the past I've found it's a good combo and depending on how heavy the fish fed determined how much I'd lump out.

 Rods were out before 9am and a hopeful day ahead began..........hopeful being the keyword here as it turned out to be a rather slow morning, anglers either side of me were struggling as was Brian, any sorts of indications including liners would have been great, but after three long hours I finally had a run after recasting only two minutes previously, only a small Tench but better than a blank and as was the lack of activity during the remaining 8 hours we packed up having learned that if your not on the fish then you might as well go home, one angler was bagging up on Tench throughout the day but Crucian's were not showing and none came out the entire day between possibly 25 anglers.

Small but welcome.

 It's fair to say though I will head back over there at some point in the Summer/Autumn but for now I'll hold off on the Crucian fishing as it seems to be a little sluggish.