Sunday 31 May 2015

Challenging Canals.

 Recently I have been sticking to a handful of sections of the Grand Union / Regents canal systems with the view of catching some more species of fish, a range of predators are present and the Pike are here at good sizes too, the Bream are pushing towards the double figure mark and the Carp seem to be topping the mid-twenties to which I have already managed to successfully target one, the Bream have also been fished for with one over 7lbs caught off the surface using free-lined bread flake.

 On Saturday I was joined by Brian for a days Bream fishing and stalking Carp for which we saw no shortage of and considering the canals I've been fishing are by no-means crammed we did see fish, obviously we were both excited and couldn't wait to crack on but my excitement wasn't as full blown as I know these fish rarely get fished for but are extremely shy, this makes catching them very difficult and just highlights what a challenge they represent, five trips for me and the result has been 1 bream and 1 carp both of which were very big, we spent ages trying but to no-avail so we headed down to a deeper area to get the Bream going, it didn't take long as I banked a 5lb 8oz snotty and Brian followed up with a new PB of 4.9, then all of a sudden they switched off as quickly as they came on.

 We knew exactly what happened and a decent Pike nailed Brian's lure, a couple tail walks later and a sturdy scrap a 15lb Esox lay in the net, happy days and a couple of good Zander also showed but didn't show again, the Bream never did come back on the feed so we ended the session early for me to get back and watch my beloved Arsenal stuff Aston Villa 4-0 to win back to back FA cups.

 We played the way I hoped we would and got a deserved result, well done boys!!!. 

 This afternoon I headed back down with a load of Pike gear to tap into what I believe is quite a decent head of specimens, the application was right but the fish clearly weren't feeding very well as I had a total of 3 dropped runs on the lamprey section and not a touch of the ledgered Roach or lures, I am still learning this enormous body of water so it could take a while, but in the end I hope it's worth it all. 

 With my Farnham ticket received it won't be long before my Rudd campaign begins on Frensham where they do grow to decent sizes but a new PB is highly unlikely but it's been such a long time since I've had a 2lb specimen that I really feel the need to catch one, so a target of 2lb 8oz is set and the Tench will also keep me occupied at times when the Rudd will probably go missing. 

Sunday 24 May 2015

Return to Marsh Farm and My Latest Canal PB.

 My quest for a PB Crucian has been something I've really wanted to do over the last couple of seasons, although I haven't made a concerted effort I've put myself in the mix. With my largest from this fishery at 2lb 9oz it's not far behind my personal best but would like to better it, so I headed down to Surrey to have a go, I arrived for opening with the view of building a swim and hopefully empty the place.

 With the areas baited I sat on Harris lake and the trap was set, but in typical fashion it was very slow and only the one Tench to show for my efforts until 3pm, for the time and application I expected more but only a few bleeps were sounded throughout that time, a couple of moves proved useful as I intercepted a Crucian of 14oz, Bream to 2.12, Tench to 3.12 with a few Roach and Perch chucked in, the Crucian coincidentally was the smallest I've ever caught and was very good to see, but it wasn't the session I think I deserved but I will try again soon enough as I think the tactic is right but just the fish were either not in the area or simply had spawning on their minds.

Not for the purists but it works here, do prefer a waggler though.

Beautifully coloured male and great condition.
I don't just appreciate the big fish, small ones are important too.

Very pretty little Cru.

 It wasn't the trip I hoped for but that's fishing, another time and it could be a different story.

 Also a quick update for today's session to my local cut with the view of building on my fantastic capture of that canal 25.3 Mirror Carp, today I packed lures and a loaf of bread and hoped I would see some fish, I wasn't to be disappointed as I spotted a few good Carp to the 20's and a few shoals of Bream showing just under the surface, after a few hours on the cut I had managed to catch one of those Bream and a fine fish too complete with spawning tubicles, but this fishing is really needle-in-a-haystack sort of thing, most sections are almost devoid of fish and when you do find them they are extremely timid making catching them harder than you'd expect, but nevertheless I managed just the one.

My Canal PB at 7lb 2oz.

Thursday 21 May 2015

Canal Monster Mirror.

 Having only done a few trips to the canal I haven't gone there expectantly, but the more time I put into it hopefully the more I shall see and catch. But before we get to the canal fishing we had a wander around a couple of our relatively local docks, most of which are very deep and acres in size, stocks of most of these waters aren't known due to this, but this makes it an exciting prospect and never quite know what you may see or catch.

 My father and I headed out with Carp in mind and upon arrival to the first dock we found Carp basking in the sunshine, my tactic was free-lining bread and the ol'bean was fishing just under the surface, this tactic paid dividends first as I watched over the bay to see his rod hooped over as a Carp dived into 28ft+ of water, I ended up putting the gear down and jog round to him to slip the net under one of the prettiest Mirror Carp I've seen.

13lb on the nose, average but a stunning fish.

 I had a couple of chances in that dock but I was a little rusty, one of the chances was as clear cut as you'd like but failed to connect as the Carp bolted, so a change of venue and we headed up the cut for a trek in the hope of spotting some Carp and Bream, we walked for around 4 miles up and didn't see a single fish, big or small, that for us wasn't soul destroying but quite hard to take as we know there has to be something knocking about, a mile or two back down past a few locks and I spotted three Carp basking among some weed and as I spotted them they began to move as if they knew so I had little time to get ready and one of the Carp was a belter around the mid-twenties with the other two in the upper-doubles, I already knew which one I wanted so I got ahead of them and flicked out my slow sinking flake and hoped for the best, they all approached it and the flake vanished as the biggest one took it. Heart skipped a beat and my rod slammed over as I lent into a lump.

 This was by far one of the best fights I have had the pleasure of being embroiled in, one of those battles where you had to let the fish do what it wanted and then gain on it during the short spells that it didn't power down towards the next lock and after three attempts she headed for the net and I had my prize.....what a prize it was.

My prize catching it's breath.
My biggest canal Carp at 25lb 3oz.

After weighing, photographing and much admiration.

 I thought I have had some real crackers but this one was up there and I was very very happy indeed, a canal 25lb + Carp so soon I am clearly made up and just writing this makes me smile.

 The fun didn't end there as I found a small Pike which took a liking to my gold mepps, a short fight resulted in a 2.6 mini esox, further down we did see Bream and more Carp but unfortunately we didn't catch anymore fish but I didn't mind one bit. I will be back again for sure.

How about that for a shot!, incidentally I didn't catch that Carp but I had the Pike.

Sunday 17 May 2015

My First Cut Carp.

 For a few years now I have wanted to spend some time learning about my local canals with the hope of catching some quality fish of a range of different species, I have done very well on a number of rivers and still waters over the last decade and the "bloggers challenge" now upon us has given me extra impetus to challenge myself further.

 This morning I was on the cut with my stalking rod and after a few hours of recon a section over the last couple of weeks was identified to hold a good head of Carp and after half hour or so I had found what I was looking for, half a dozen Common's were suspended just under the surface and within 5 minutes my floating crust had been snaffled by a beautifully coloured carp, after a brief scrap I had landed my first ever canal Carp and hopefully the first of many.

7lb 1oz, happy days, the start of something good I hope.
 I hoped that once I had landed that carp the others would stick around but this didn't happen as the swim was totally devoid of fish, I spent a while after that walking the cut with my Polaroids hoping to spot any fish and I saw something I never expected as a shoal of 3 Crucian Carp sat just on the near side shelf grubbing around the weed, I stood and watched in amazement as I didn't expect that here, I was so taken aback that it took me a while to get a bait down to them, the slight disturbance of the float entering the water though made them very spooky and slowly but surely they headed into the deeper water off the shelf never to be seen again, but that served as a notice to what could be caught from here, I will be back and hope to see them again 

Sunday 10 May 2015

Tench on the Method.

 Fishing the method feeder is a tactic I've never used before and this is probably down to my inability to sit still, a morning session to Marsh Farm for Crucian and Tench was the plan and to fish two rods on the method, me using buzzers is a very rare sight indeed but I do own some, by the way they haven't been used for about 4 years I think. I started with maggots on a size 16 connected to a 5inch hook-link in conjunction with a 20gr method feeder, in both spots I groundbaited 6 balls in each and fished over the top.

1st of  the day at 5.2.
 Sport was great from the beginning as I had only just cast my first rod out and on the rest as I then setup my second rod the first tore off at the speed of light, a Tench on and I hoped it was the start of a crazy morning's fishing, after a couple of minutes my first in the net at 5lb 2oz and my first ever fish on the method, a small coup for me so I was very happy with it. Unfortunately it wasn't the hectic session that the start suggested, I spent the next 6 hours scratching my head....I tried a couple of different ideas but neither paid off until 5 minutes before I was due to pack up to catch my return to train to South London, my margin buzzer screeched off as my second Tench of the day took a liking to my two real maggot and one fake offering, this fight was much more what I expected complete with a last minute dash to the lily pads which nearly escaped and the margin of error was tiny as when the fish slipped into the net the hook transferred to one of the pad stems. Close one that.

 Slightly bigger than the first at 5lb 6oz it was a welcome fish and as I was almost packed up I had to get some bits back to photograph and weigh my prize. After that a brisk walk to the station to only just make it by a gnat's arse. A good return for a new tactic and I hope to expand on my knowledge and catch more fish on what is an increasingly difficult fishery, but when conditions improve I'm sure weights will improve too, but no Crucian's though.

Biggest of the day at 5.6.

Thursday 7 May 2015

Carp on the Brain. Part One.

 Since the challenge started I have struggled to catch anything half decent and my most recent trip to Marsh Farm, my quest to catch another Crucian ended up in a failure but managed to catch everything else in the lake, none of which were large - Bream to 1.9, Tench to 4.1, Perch to 9oz, Roach to 10oz and one extremely small Gudgeon, nothing which was setting the place alight and ended the session absolutely drenched as the heavens opened from 6pm onwards, through the ripples of the rain my float danced about as the Crucian's were playing ball but simply could not hook up, a return is already planned.

The smallest Gudgeon I've ever caught.
Not the biggest of the day but the best conditioned.
 After Marsh Farm I have been visiting a club lake of mine and Carp were the target, with not alot of time on my hands the single rod approach had been adopted, my favourite way to fish for Carp is stalking and remaining out of sight was allowing me to get into position almost undetected, perfectly placed for when the time was right and believe me it took alot of patience before the Carp became confident and now a pool of Carp were grubbing around under my feet I flicked my offering into the cloud of silt being kicked up, the float didn't even cock when a Carp tore off into open water, the fight was fairly short-lived as it wasn't one of the larger fish I had seen but it was a fish all the same.

 Around 6-7lb it was a baby but in good nick, after that fish was released the swim went dead and most of the Carp headed out beyond casting distance as they became uneasy so that was that. Fast forward a few days I ventured out with the same plan but a little more time on my hands, plus I changed time as an evening session was planned to see how the Carp played, after arriving I didn't have to wait long to find some and a few of these specimen's were large, 20lb plus and a couple near 30lb.

 The bigger specimen's were what I wanted and after just 20 minutes of stalking a nice chunky Mirror took my offering and my crystal waggler dipped slightly before I struck, a lump tore off around the bay and took a good 6-7 minutes to get towards the net which did just make it in.

A cracker of a Mirror.
 Best Carp of the season so far and it was spawned out, so at a bottom weight of 22.13 it was still a cracker and a Mirror too, happy days. The excitement didn't end there either as I had another Carp in the shape of a 12lb Common, job done and I will be back when some more time becomes available.
Beautiful colours, proper nice fish.

Sunday 3 May 2015

Buzz Off.

 With the blogger's challenge already up and running I wanted to get my Rudd campaign on the road but the condition's aren't perfect and I am just sitting on my hands a bit longer for the right weather to come along, so with a couple of hours spare a grabbed the fly rod and the "ol boy" and myself had a trot along some beautiful river in search of a Brown Trout, today I was going to try out some different flies that have just arrived, this little trip out was just to have a look and see what was moving, some Barbel were spotted along with Chub, Roach, Carp plus a bonus shoal of Dace which were all way above what I would perceive as average which was great to see and no doubt I shall be back come the start of the season.

Love spring for this reason.

 It took a while to find a Trout but when I did I couldn't have found a more obliging fish to cast a fly at, first cast and it immediately came up to the surface to investigate, I slight twitch and slowly strip the line back towards me and the water exploded as my little gold-headed buzzer was nailed, a great sight to see as always but this was pretty ferocious and the fight was mind-blowing as it traversed a weir in front of my very eyes!, never have I witnessed such power and bearing in mind I was still attached......the weir was roughly 18 inches in height and this made no issue of it but getting to it now proved quite difficult as it continued it's assault upstream, my task now was to try and climb the weir and battle the power of the water and get a strong foothold before falling into the river.

 I have to admit it was great fun and as exhilarating that it was I felt that I needed to get the Trout landed and get myself into a safer position, after assessing the situation I chose just to stand at the near side of the flush where it was the slackest and angled my catch towards me with the net waiting patiently. Arguably one of the best fight's I've had and if not for sheer brutality it was for how ingenious it was to try and escape capture.....brilliant.

 When banked it made the 2lb mark just, just love fishing for that sort of experience and here is the culprit.

 After catching this chunky spawned out hen I headed on up river to find some more and I did come across quite a few and some were over 5lb but they weren't in a feeding mood at all and flies at times were dabbed straight in front of them, but I didn't really care as the one I had caught was pretty good, job done.

 On another very short trip to one of my local cuts I did manage to finally catch a fish and it was in the shape of an immaculate little stripey of 4-5oz which was taken on the spinner within my first 3 casts but nothing to write-home about, a small monkey off my back though, however small it may be!

What A Start!

   Since the river season ended I've taken a 3 week hiatus from fishing, work as usual the excuse! Storm Kathleen however was predicted ...