Wednesday 29 May 2019

Carp Glut.

 With this sunny weather we are experiencing my mind is firmly set on carp, ignoring the three trips after Tench over the last four weeks I have only targeted carp, plenty opportunities presenting themselves with most being taken. Stalking the downfall to most.

 Armed with the very basic of gear which is left in the van I am ready to go whenever a gap crops in my schedule or on the way to work or home. A 9ft 2.75TC Nash Dwarfs (Gen2), Shimano XD5500 loaded with 12lb Diawa "Hypersensor" line and a 6ft leader of 10lb Fox "Illusion" tied to a size "6" wide gape hook which is hand sharpened to make sure there is no room for error in terms of poor hook-ups. Oh and a loaf of bread! What else.

 These catches were taken over the space of four days, a couple off stillwaters and one other off the canal. Plus a big canal Bream which was taken on a quick hour last week too.

9lb 7oz, my largest canal Bream this season so far.

19lb 14oz

22lb 1oz

My third canal carp of the spring, 17lb 14oz

A lovely mid 16 off the top.

Sunday 26 May 2019

Tangling With Tench, The Final Return.

 My previous two trips have been an eye-opener it terms of showing me what I have missed all this time. The battles are something I have now really looked forward to. It took over two weeks to get back down but between trips I couldn't think of much else. I had to go back.

A taster of what was to come.

 A quick drive down last Saturday and I was ready. Knowing by now that mornings are a little slow I knocked up some hemp and bread crumb so that when the Tench passed through I'd have something to keep them around long enough to get a bite.

 Like the previous mornings low cloud gave way to bright sunny days and light to medium breeze, in this case the conditions were spot on for fishing on the float. Midday came and went with very little to show for my efforts in terms of numbers, just two tench ( 5lb 8oz & 5lb 12oz). The next two tench showed me why my decision to keep on this venue was justified, the first when I hooked into it felt really heavy and used the depth in front of me to do everything it could to escape, with a good hookhold however it was just a case of staying in touching distance and it would be mine.

7lb 9oz, getting bigger!

 The second of the two big fish fought completely different, a gentle scrap was over in a matter of a minute or so. On the mat for the photographs it wouldn't stay still and made life difficult. So much so I snapped three shots on the camera and watched her slink back into the depths. One thing I noticed is that when you catch one fish typically within 10 minutes or so I get another shot, usually landing them.

The very next cast it got a little better! 7lb 12oz.
Real chuffed with that.

 The theory above played out time and time again throughout the day as the lull that is the first 2/3 of the day gave way to a manic final five hours where I landed 12 tench, all of which were over 5lb 15oz.

Another high quality Tinca at 7lb on the nose.

 It is an incredible place to go fishing and if you saw the lake, you would be surprised I would guarantee you that. For me its a brilliant place to have in the armoury for a time when I feel like getting a few fish and quality fish at that.

 As the last three trips went so well I have been plotting another visit, but I think this maybe my last trip this season, unless by some miracle a day goes begging.

Tench session 3 18/5/19

5.8 0822
5.12 0831
7.9 1252
7.12 1319
5.10 1459
6.11 1513
7.00 1531
6.15 1802
6.6 1845
6.14 1851
6.8 1910
6.7 1924
6.5 1927
6.6 1941
6.0 1944
5.15 2001


Tuesday 21 May 2019

An Ancient Towpath Gem.

 My last three visits to the canal have proven to be extremely tough affairs, testing conditions, lack of carpy activity and lastly the inevitable increase in boat traffic. All of the previous often casts seeds of doubt in the mind as to why its something I continually inflict on myself, the simple fact that these canal carp are in my humble opinion "thee" hardest of targets; reservoirs, lakes, ponds etc have nothing on these carp in terms of ability to simply vanish is why I keep going back.

 Once found the outcome is never a case of when, but if. Confidence is something I thrive on and it drives me on to my various seasonal targets, taming towpath giants is a different ball game and with countless miles already under the belt a single carp has made it to the net, albeit an absolute stunner!

 By the end of this particular jaunt I'd have completed 60.4 miles! In just what is my fifth outing on the straight and narrows. For me the thrill of the chase is very exciting, putting a fish on the bank makes the hard work all the more worth while and keeps that fire burning strong as that elusive canal thirty pounder swims somewhere with my name on it.

 Now to Thursday' trip. I woke up for work as usual and it was a lovely warm sunny start, as I got through my schedule I only had one thing on my mind with the current high pressure system overhead, this gave way for perfect stalking conditions and I knew this would be a good chance to find a fish, somewhere. I finished with my last client around 1430 and hopped in the motor to my base where I'd walk from until my time was up.

 If my last three trips were anything to go by then I'd be walking for miles without as much as a show. Bream are everywhere, unfortunately for me there aren't as many carp, so you could imagine what I was thinking when I came across a pair of carp ( one mirror and one common ) just under the surface half way across the canal in the track, I thought the jackpot had been hit, these were a sight for sore eyes. As I know all too well is the fact location is just part of the jigsaw. Filled with excitement I got myself ready and a big lump of flake was moulded on to the hook waiting for the right moment to cast.

 Bird life however did its best to scupper the opportunity as a pair of Canadian geese with goslings went mental and persistently reached below the water to peck at the carp to ward them off, not what I needed at all, thankfully after a minute or so I was able to usher the geese away. By this time the carp had moved from sight and found myself back to square one. A major blow delivered and felt quite annoyed by what had happened although I could have done nothing about it. I spent the next fifteen minutes scanning the surface to find any nugget of movement but the wind had crept up and put a chop on the top which was very hard to see through. Then, a ghostly apparition appeared roughly 50 yards to my right and the surface of the water was being broken ever so slightly.

 As I got closer the wind eased off and it didn't take long to see the shape of the smaller of the two carp. Any chances of success were firmly placed on when and where I put that bread flake. Having watched the carp for a minute or two I had enough to go on to get it right, as the carp veered into the middle of the canal I under-arm flicked my moistened flake and it gently dropped through the water column to roughly a foot when the mirror turned slightly and inhaled my flake! it was game on and what a fight it was. my 2.75TC  rod bent over and 12lb line peeled off the spool at an alarming rate, knowing very little by way of snags are present gave me a sense of security and didn't pressure the fish too much, by doing this it allowed me to plan ahead, all I had to rely on was a good hook hold.

 A few decent runs finally came to an end and that hook hold of mine was just fine, corner of the mouth and fell out when the tension eased. Perfect!. And What A Carp too!

 This is one of the very best carp I have ever caught! Simply put but very profound - Carp fishing at its pinnacle.

An ancient 19lb 9oz canal Linear.
 The tactic coupled with the effort required to catch such fish is high I rate this type carp fishing more so than any other, but that of course is my opinion and I am sure many will disagree!

 After weighing him and getting a few pics to savour the moment I watched him waddle off back to the anonymity that these carp enjoy. I was over the moon and a second carp in five trips. Not spectacular reading in terms of effort but the two carp I have caught are nothing short of perfection.

 From that point on I sought after the companion to my mirror, knowing she was bigger I wanted to locate her and just half an hour later I did, scanning the entire of the canal surface that I could she was under my feet and hoovering up bugs out of the canal wall weed. Just goes to show that you should always look "everywhere" when searching.

 After she left the area I slipped a piece of flake down where she was feeding as I didn't want to alert the fish to my motives for being there, so having waited a couple of minutes I was now ready for action. Ten minutes later a black shape appeared from under a canal boat to my left and it was the common I saw earlier, confident she suspected nothing untoward I readied myself for the take, clutch set, made sure the net was close by!. The only part of that plan that didn't work was that the carp was too happy munching on the bugs in the weed, my bread was totally ignored as if she didn't know it was there. I stuck it out for another hour in and around the vicinity but there was no more shows and i decided to call it a day and head for home.

 I'll remember that for quite sometime.

Sunday 19 May 2019

A Brief Visit.

 Just a really quick post. This was supposed to be an early morning trip in search of carp, however with a very cold night the surface action was lacking and I quickly found myself wondering why I bothered. As always, as an opportunistic angler I stumbled over a tench feeding in the margins, sifting through the weed.

 With no carp in sight or offering up their locations I at least wanted something to wet the net. With a quick bit of thinking a slopping great big piece of flake was lowered onto the shelf amongst the weed a few feet away from the tench, perfectly in its path. Within seconds he was over the top of it and watched the flake vanish, a swift strike of the rod had the water erupting everywhere, this very angry tench was up for a scrap and boy did it go. On carp gear most would think he'd succumb in seconds! 3 minutes later after a fight to erect the net with a demon tench pulling on the rod wedged between my legs I finally got in a position to scoop up the tench. This one didn't want in.

 Pound for pound their power is unrivalled, I do not care what anyone says!

 This old tinca the fruits of a very brief visit, 6lb 3oz.

Friday 17 May 2019

Tangling with Tench, Part Two.

 Having been successful on the tench front just last week I was super excited to head back out in search of more, in search of something larger and continue my quest for a new personal best.

 I don't have access to the tench waters such as Bawburgh, Larkfield etc where the real big girls exist but I do have access to some lovely day ticket waters just an hour from me. Local waters simply don't hold much by way of specimens and if I am serious about targeting a double figure specimen then I feel that I need to put some serious time and effort into my tench fishing. At the moment I simply don't have that luxury, so when a half day or day crops up I make the most of it.

 Having enjoyed a thoroughly good days tench fishing I was champing at the bit to get back on it.

 The time had come, roughly two weeks ago now and I had the day spare so I set my stall out to target them all day and fished hard from 0715 to 2005 when I had to be packed and ready to leave the estate. It was fair to say I had a great day, tough at times mind you but the fish were perfect specimens of what you think tench should look like. Immaculate, plump and in real fighting fit condition.

 I spent the morning and evening enjoying steady action where during the middle section of the day I spent my time scratching my head as to why I couldn't tempt any fish. By the end of the day I had accumulated a bag of 12 tench with the smallest weighing 4lb 13oz and the largest at 7lb 2oz.

 Below are shots of a 6lb 1oz and my best at 7lb 2oz.

Best from this lake so far.

 I am convinced larger reside in this lake, hence my continued visits. I will hopefully crack it soon.

 22 tench in two trips. Six 6lb+ and One 7lb+.

 Tench weights and times below:

 6lb 9oz - 0829
 5lb 3oz - 1010
 5lb 2oz - 1047
 4lb 13oz-1312
 5lb 0oz - 1411
 5lb 1oz - 1632
 6lb 1oz - 1638
 4lb 15oz-1727
 7lb 2oz - 1840
 6lb 1oz - 1900
 6lb 1oz - 1911
 5lb 7oz - 1928

Saturday 4 May 2019

Tangling with Tench.

 Tench are a species I really do wish to target more, their appearance coupled with the fact, pound for pound they fight harder than carp and dare I say it, barbel, as a target they are very attractive, for me the tench are a great adversary. Having recently headed out on an overnighter for tench and returning unsuccessful another trip in search of the "red eyed monsters" was on the cards, the sooner the better. The other day the opportunity came about for such a trip.


 A small estate lake was the venue and weights of tench again are unknown to me. Having probed the internet for any snippets of info a friend of mine slipped me a little nugget, just enough to go on, but not too much to give away the lakes real potential, tactics for tench can vary enormously, for me, keeping it simple and preferably on the float was my desired approach. Little did I know I would experience a fantastic day.

 Having set up my 15ft Greys Toreon float rod in conjunction with a fixed spool reel loaded with 5lb mainline. On the business end I fished a fine 4.8lb hook-length, dotted down to a pin pick, a size 16 hook and baits ranging from corn, meat, bread and broken bits of prawn. Having walked the lake I decided on a pinch point where deep water surrounded me, the plan was to intercept fish making their ways between the two distinct deeper areas. A quick plumbing of the depth and I was fishing.

 With the sun struggling to burn off the morning fog the surface of the lake was still shrouded in mist, but through the mist I could see patches of bubbles everywhere! the tench were feeding their heads off, all I had to do was be patient. That patience told a little before 8am as my float lifted gently and slipped away, a strong pull on the rod suggested there was no need to strike as the tench had already done the hard work! This however wasn't before I somehow managed to miss three fantastic bites. I put it down to rustiness.

 Putting paid to that early lapse of concentration I was in full swing, the tench were too. A good strong fight which was going to be a theme for the day ensued and I've said it before, tench do not get a fair crack of the whip from me and I really should do more to address that!. The first tench to slip in the net was a good fish, 6lb 8oz, a great way to start.

What A Start!

 But that start was the sign of things to come, within half an hour I would land another two, these weighing 5lb 15oz and a 6lb 15oz chunk, the big six I thought was an easy "seven pounder", alas the scales don't lie.

5lb 15oz

Best of the day, 6lb 15oz
 That initial glut was followed by a quiet spell where I only caught one between 0830 and midday when I called it quits on the tench front as the feeding had clearly ceased and felt my time be spent better elsewhere, the fourth tench weighed 5lb 4oz.

 After vacating the lake for five hours I came back for another go for them on their evening feeding spell, glad I did! It would turn out to be a great decision, within 57 minutes I would land another six tench to bring my days total to 10 fish, the smallest weighing 5lb 1oz. For me that's the best haul of tench I have ever managed in my slap dash efforts at the species. I can not wait to get back for another go to see what else is present.

 Here is the timings and weights:

 6lb 8oz - 0752
 5lb 15oz-0808
 6lb 15oz-0826
 5lb 4oz - 0952
 5lb 9oz - 1754
 5lb 12oz-1758
 5lb 11oz-1805
 5lb 1oz - 1822
 5lb 14oz-1838
 5lb 13oz-1851


Friday 3 May 2019

Spring Carping: Part Seven, Secretly Tenching.

 Now this particular outing was supposed to be my first overnighter of the season in search of Tench. On a water not known for the species beyond more than the occasional by-catch on carp tactics. Numbers and sizes aren't well known and although last summer I saw half a dozen patrolling the margins I didn't see anything over the "five pound mark". Although respectable the effort I think required to catch these awesome fish would be vast, so for that return I am trying to convince myself there are larger specimens mixed in with the carp in what isn't a big expanse of water.

 Knowing the target audience is one thing but selecting them successfully is going to be the greatest challenge of all. The carp in this lake are present into the 'thirties" and numerous "twenty pounders" are also resident here. I would be lying if I said that didn't want any carp on the Tench gear as I am fond of a good scrap.

 I was joined the other evening by my brother Richard as we set out our stall for a good nights fishing.

 Having pulled a 12 hour day at work on the tools I aimed to grab a couple of hours kip later on in the night. Knowing I had a packed day at work the next morning I needed to be fresh and after putting a decent bed of bait out over a clear gravel spot I put two rods spaced approximately 15ft apart, either side of the patch. Once the rods were out our little social began and caught up on the last couple of weeks gossip and polished off a few burgers, good times. Just needed some fish to roll in now...

 Rods out at 830pm and we were still up and nagging at 0320 when finally one of the rods went off. Of course it wasn't one of mine and Rich was latched into an angry carp which decided to kite out of the bay he was fishing and straight through his other rod...carnage! Utter carnage.

 When we finally got the configuration right in untangling the other rod we slipped the net under a pristine common (later weighed at 18lb 8oz) and got a few photos with a happy captor. By no means a big fish by this lakes standards, however the lack of action suggested we should be thankful for whatever came along, my wish was simply any run on my rod would be a Tench. Twenty odd minutes later the left hand Delkim went into meltdown and I quickly jumped on it as the line peeled off the spool at a 100mph! I knew immediately that it was a carp on the end and it felt quite heavy at distance, could it be one of the big girls? or was the distance + the 9/10ft depth enabling the fish to fight harder than I am used to?.

 A good few minutes passed and slowly the carp was being drawn closer to the waiting net, in the torch light a shape appeared just under the surface and gradually shrunk as it slipped over the cord, not to be disheartened it was a fish, even if not my target species.

19lb 2oz common the reward of a hard fought battle.

 A couple of photos and she was ready to go back to her watery home, neither us blanked and by this point the dawn chorus was in full chance of sleep by this point. Around 0530 my left hand rod came to life again and thinking I was in again I wound down to the fish and felt a quick bump and a few thuds through the rod only for the tension to completely ease. Now I almost convinced myself it was a Tench and was a little annoyed at myself for not gaining better control at the beginning, two or three seconds before I disengaged the baitrunner I think cost me the fish by poor hook-up. Lesson learned! I hope.

 As the dawn chorus started to ease the carp decided that they would all start to head on to the top but with just 45 minutes available before we had to go I decided to bring the rods in and go it alone on the top, frustratingly the carp were only Daphnia sifting and my crust would remain untouched.

 leaving on time meant I could shower and change at home then jump into the van and off to work so we had to be gone by 620am. Reluctantly as that time came and went we pulled ourselves off and off home, a carp each and a case of what could have been with the dropped run. We learn all the time eh!

Six Foot.

   Well, winter still hasn't arrived and the rivers are in a constant state of flood, now for Barbel that isn't the end of the world...