Author: <span>Thirdageangler</span>

Well, I made it to the bank again! I thought I was going to go fishing on Thursday as I had felt much better on Wednesday but in the way of this cough to end all coughs I felt grotty again on Thursday and so it wasn’t until Saturday that I felt well enough to go. It was a grey day with a bit of dampness in the air but no wind as I loaded up the car and wondered where to go. I don’t usually go fishing on a Saturday and as the idea is still to stay away from other people as my wife is vulnerable I didn’t want to go to any of the popular lakes so ended up back at my “go to” lake where I used to do well but hadn’t had much luck recently. I had asked on a Facebook group what people thought, whether to give up and try elsewhere or stay and learn how to fish the lake and as you would expect had a variety of conflicting replies. I also had the thought that fishing on Mondays, which I had been doing, was not such a good idea as the fish would be having a rest from assault of the weekend anglers.

I arrived about half past ten to find there was no one else there. Just out of curiosity, on the way home I nipped into the car park of a more popular club water just across the road, it was full. Perhaps they know something that I don’t! Anyway, I had a walk round but didn’t see any signs of fish and there were no carp on the surface, probably because it had been a chilly night so I decided to fish the same swim where I lost a fish last time and quickly set up my carp rod with a method feeder and just for a change a pop up boilie. Then it was time for the ledger rod with a small method feeder and sweet corn on a hair rig. I am still trying this way of fishing on this rod and have had some success but am not totally convinced.

Then it was time to sit down with a cup of tea and wait. While I was waiting I noticed that when threading up the ledger rod I had missed the ring nearest the reel but figured that I could manage without it. I re-filled the feeders every so often and enjoyed just being outside and being fit enough to fish. I also began to feed the swim closer in to the bank with some groundbait, sweetcorn and maggots with the idea of fishing with the float rod later on. After about an hour without a beep, bite or even a twitch I decided to change things round a bit and put a small boilie on the ledger rod which has worked before. Then it started to rain, very gently and not enough to make me go and get the umbrella from the car but enough to make me put my hood up and wonder if it was sensible for someone recovering from the mother of all coughs to be sitting outdoors in the rain! However it soon stopped and a chilly wind started blowing from behind so I kept my hood up and wondered about getting the umbrella out as a wind shelter but didn’t do anything about it as it was only a gentle breeze and I could put up with it.

It was about now that another angler arrived and set up on the opposite side of the water so I was no longer alone. A couple of hours had passed and it was getting near lunch time so I thought that the old standby of opening the sandwich box and pouring a cuppa from the flask would do the trick but not this time, I was left to eat my lunch in peace! I decided that it was time to get the float rod out so brought the feeder rod in, hooked on a maggot and cast out into the swim I had been baiting up and waited confidently for a bite from one of the voracious rudd or roach that live here. I waited and waited, I changed the depth I was fishing at, changed from red to white maggots and back again and then tried sweetcorn. Still no luck which was galling as the newcomer had had a fish or two.

It was about this time that I started to doubt myself. Not so long ago I had given up using maggots as I had got fed up with catching smaller fish especially on this venue and now I couldn’t even catch them. Had my beginner’s luck simply run out? Last year I caught several carp on this water alone on the method feeder and this year none, not even a bite not even a beep from a line bite to show that fish were around. I knew that carp were in here as I had seen them cruising on the surface and even caught one a few weeks back but where were they now?

I decided that I wouldn’t spend any more time fishing this water and would go down to the river where I have had good luck in the past so I brought my float in, changed it for a river one and decided to check the shot pattern and as I was putting it in the water it might as well have a maggot on the hook and cast in. The float disappeared, far too much weight on the line for a lighter float so I took some off and cast again. The float settled nicely then dipped and I was into a fish! Not a big one but a nice little roach and after my luck so far any fish would do! I popped him back in and cast again, the float bobbed then disappeared and I had hooked a slightly bigger fish, a skimmer I think or a fat bodied roach, I was not sure. Now that I had a couple of fish all thoughts of going to the river had gone and I spent the rest of the afternoon with the float rod catching roach. I would like to say that I carried on catching regularly for the rest of the afternoon but I didn’t. I only managed five roach which was an improvement on the morning session. Not a beep on the carp rod with my new alarm which was disappointing but at least I had caught some fish. Oh yes, and I saw a couple of microlights flying over and the swans landed on the lake after being absent for the summer. I heard a robin around and about too but didn’t see him in the bushes and trees.

So, my first session for a few weeks was not an overwhelming success but at least I didn’t blank like last time. When I got home I had a good talk to myself about fishing somewhere else next time and giving my “go to” lake a rest until the fishing improves.  

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I was hoping to write about going fishing this week but again I haven’t been. According to the tests I haven’t got Covid but boy, have I got a rotten stinking cough which is keeping me awake at night so that I feel even more awful during the day! Anyway, I have been on Facebook to pass the time and read this fascinating post by a guy called Harry Crosby about his fishing journey and I asked him if I could use it and he said that I could, so here it is! Thanks Harry for being my first guest blogger and if there is anyone else out there who wants to have a go then let me know.

“I’m now 61 years of age. I started fishing when I was 6, I grew up on our local brick pond chasing those striped sergeants with a tin of worms, in my teens I chased the fish I could see from a tree that overhung the corner of the pond, I wondered at their size and the dark olive green and their paddle like fins. A regular on the pond, Bob, was a master angler and I would watch him for hours catching giant roach on the slider and those big green monsters I’d seen from up high, he was always willing to give you a handful of his maggots if you asked to “borrow a few” or spare a hook if you needed one. He showed me how to hook bread flake, and the first time I used it, I caught, what I thought was a giant tench, well at 3lb it was the biggest fish I’d ever seen!

 I progressed from there to fishing the local rivers, learning to ledger, this was before feeder fishing. Moving forward I learned about ground bait and how to feed for the huge shoals of bream our local river was known for, by the time I was in my twenties I was catching regular big bags of those big black slabs, from there I moved onto the faster moving waters of the other rivers in my area. I went everywhere on my push bike, mile after mile with my rods tied to my cross bar and my basket on my back. I followed the chub through the seasons, until I caught my first barbel, then for nearly 20 years I concentrated on the barbel in some majestic places, cold nights and misty mornings, hour after hour watching the rod tip, with more failure than success if I’m honest. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had my red letter days and nights chasing those lovers of moving water, my whole world was consumed by catching the biggest fish in the river, and when I never, I was devastated. 

Until one day a few years ago, I sat with my neck aching and pins and needles in my arse after an uneventful session. I questioned why I loved fishing, and why my life had been consumed by hour after hour of sitting motionless with the off explosion of excitement. I got home put my barbel tackle in my shed, dug out my centre pin and my stick float rod, bought some waders, and went to the river and just fished for anything I could catch, I felt I had stepped back in time, and now I enjoy my fishing as much as I did on those long hot summer days at my local brick pond. Sometimes we can lose sight of why we enjoy the art of fish fooling.”

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Well, so much for hoping to feel better and going fishing! Instead I have had the most horrific cough which has kept me awake every night and stopped me sleeping. I had a lateral flow test last week followed by a PCR, both of which were negative and of course it had to be my granddaughter’s eighteenth birthday family celebration on Sunday and I couldn’t even crawl out of bed for that. So, no chance of going fishing last week or this and I have not even felt much like thinking about it or writing my blog.

So today I am going to do a bit about online tackle suppliers. Due to covid and the fact that my wife is vulnerable we have been keeping away from shops and crowded places, which includes tackle shops. I would prefer to support my local tackle shop but at the moment it is not going to happen. I also have faint memories of tackle shops when I used to use them in the past when they seemed more like a club for regulars and treated new customers like me with suspicion. A bit like walking into a country pub as a stranger a few years back!

So, online suppliers. Amazon and ebay are both sites that I use but I find myself going back to Angling Direct on a regular basis. I am on their email mailing list and get regular offers but one that caught my eye while I was lying in bed was a flash sale for Nash Siren S5 alarms at 25% off, which came to £16.49. This was just over their £16 limit for free postage so was an even better bargain. Of course, I needed a few other bits and pieces as well, namely a couple of Guru hybrid method feeders so it came to a few pounds more but then it always does whether you are in a shop or online! My justification for buying an alarm was that I had had several cheapo Amazon ones which were not proving to be much good. My NGT one gave up the ghost the first time it rained. Another one seems to turn itself off all the time and the other unbranded one I am using is loose on the screw thread despite my attempts to tighten it and 25% off, don’t we all love a bargain!

The alarm arrived a few days later and the first thing that I noticed was how heavy and solid it seemed compared to my cheap ones, a much better built piece of kit. The next thing was that batteries were not included, as the saying goes, so it was a search through my bits and pieces drawer only to find that I didn’t have one the right size so it was back to Amazon. The new battery arrived the next day and was installed and the alarm worked loudly. It took me a while to see how to turn the sound down, Youtube showed turning the on/off button but mine must have been a later model as you have to press the button to cycle through three different sound levels so I was able to turn it down. It seems to remember the volume level that you left it at which is good as I don’t like to have it set too loud.

Then there was the latching light and I had to look that up as well. Apparently it stays on for longer after the alarm sounds to show you which of your alarms has sounded, who knew?

So, it seems a nice enough piece of kit and I can’t wait to try it out. Of course, I will have to and will report back. In the meantime it has started raining again here and the rivers are filling up so it may be time to go back to my favourite spot! In the meantime I will try to take care of myself and get well, you will know if I have succeeded if next week’s blog is about fishing and not the state of my health!

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My regular readers, or should that be reader, might have noticed that I haven’t been posting lately. This is due to me getting hayfever/sinusitis for the first time this year and taking a while to sort out medication that would help. I don’t mind having the symptoms of a cold but when it got to the point of not having the energy to go fishing then it was time to take action!

I actually had a health check on Monday, for those of you not yet in your third age and who don’t know, you can have them every five years. It is just a load of questions and blood pressure and blood tests but I suppose it is a screen for problems that may occur. Anyway the girl asked me how I was and when I told her she got a specialist nurse in straight away who prescribed me a more serious nose spray which has actually started to work so I went fishing. Blanked. That’s it really!

I felt OK to go and had a bit of time one afternoon so thought that I would go and stay into the evening. Went to my “go to” water where I always catch something and walked round to see a few carp feeding on the surface so set up a rod with some bread but they weren’t having any and as the afternoon wore on they disappeared. I then switched to a method feeder and also put my feeder rod out but nothing. Still, it was a sunny afternoon and I was just enjoying being there so I wasn’t too unhappy. At about five thirty I thought that I would move swims and put the float rod out for a few rudd or roach for a bit of fun before packing up but I wasn’t even getting them!

Then I got a bite on the feeder rod, in fact it was so strong that the rod was on its way into the water so I had to grab it quick! It was a strong fish, must have been a carp and it swam to the right, left and then the line went slack so I thought I had lost it. In fact it had swum towards me and gone into some tree roots next to my swim as I found out when I reeled in. The next half an hour was spent trying to coax it out, letting the line go slack hoping that the fish would move and eventually just applying pressure until the inevitable happened and the line parted. It was very strange as once the fish had got in the roots the line was locked up and there was just no movement in it at all. Anyway, as it was nearly dark I packed up and went home having achieved my first blank on that water. Still, never mind, it happens to us all!

I suppose there is always next time but I think I will give that water a break for a while until it perks up a bit. The club has plenty more which I ought to try although some of them close soon for the winter. I hope that the medication keeps working and that the pollen count gets lower so that all this sitting out in the country while fishing is not going to affect me too much. Then I will have something to write about in my blog!

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What with life, family and a flu jab which left me feeling rough for a couple of days I didn’t manage to go fishing last week so when I found that I had no commitments this Monday morning I thought that I would grab the chance. I hadn’t prepared anything as I had still been feeling under the weather and didn’t know how I would feel when I woke up but I was fine so I just loaded all my gear in the car, made some tea and sarnies and off I went. When I don’t have anything in mind I usually revert to my “go to” lake which is near at hand and not far to walk from the car, which is what I did this time.

Parking next to the lake I decided to have a look at the nearest swims and in one of them several carp were basking at the surface under some tree branches. I quietly crept away and got my landing net, and mat ready then looked for a rod that was set up for surface fishing and found that I didn’t have one. The nearest thing was an adjustable zig rig so I put that one together and made for the swim to find that the fish had gone!

Undaunted I cast out, right into the overhanging branches! Fortunately I was able to retrieve my rig and cast out again near to where the fish had been. Then I had a sit down and recovered my breath from all the running round I had been doing. I kept my eye on the water and although I could see carp around there were none near my rig! After a while I decided to put out my feeder rod only to find that the quiver tip had split in half! As I had no others with me I put that rod away and got out the float rod thinking that I would have some fun catching rudd and roach for a while. Well that was my idea but clearly not the fishes as I didn’t get so much as a bite for an hour then the float went under and I was in. Not a big fish and as it got closer I could see that it was a skimmer bream. I was dithering over whether to use the net or just swing it in and as I was thinking it got off the hook and swam away! I should have used the net!

It was still quiet and nearly lunchtime then I had another bite, the float was going sideways like it often does with a rudd. I struck but missed it so re-baited with a maggot and tried again. Nothing doing so I was thinking about what to do next, have lunch or go for a walk round and see what was happening. I took the rods out and laid them down, I knew they would be quite safe as I was the only one on the lake and there is no public access and went for a walk. I got right round the other end of the lake where it was sheltered and warm in the sun and could see carp on the surface in several swims. That decided it, there was no point in carrying on fishing where the fish weren’t! I hurriedly packed my gear into the car for the drive to the other side of the water although this still left me with about fifty yards to walk. I was glad that I had brought my barrow and soon had my gear at one of the swims and set up a rod with a bubble float for surface fishing. I looked in the next swim which was in the corner of the lake and there were fish about three feet from the bank. I went and got my rod, landing mat and net, baited the hook with bread and cast out near the fish. Nothing happened, a couple of them looked at it and turned away then there was a sudden swirl and they were gone.

Undaunted I retrieved the line and the bread fell off, which it tends to do, so I re-baited and cast out a bit further to where some fish were showing. This time I got a bit more interest, one fish looked at the bread then backed off, another fish took the bread then spat it out then the third fish came in and took the bait and I was in! I could feel the fish pulling and I was adjusting the clutch but it didn’t seem to be doing very much and the handle of the reel was going backwards every time I took my hand off it. I was a bit confused and the fish took full advantage of this to get into some rushes. I put some side strain on, putting the rod tip into the water and eventually the fish came free and it was time to think about landing it. I reached back for the net, which had got caught in some brambles and while I was freeing it the fish was off again and the reel handle was winding backwards. When I got the net sorted I looked down at the reel and saw a complete birds nest of a tangle around it so I gave up on it and started to play the fish pulling the line with my hand. Fortunately for me he wasn’t pulling too strongly by now and I was able to get him into the net and onto the bank, which was probably more than I deserved!

I always take the hook out of the fish first, I could see the shank of this one and could reach it with my forceps and it was soon out. I weighed him in the net and he came to 11lb, then time for a few photos before retuning him to the water, it was then that I noticed the dead and decomposing seagull next to me! 

I went back to the swim with all my gear and sat down to sort out the tangle and it was then that I realised that the reel was set to backwards wind, which I never put it on and explains why I was confused. I then set to re-bait the hook but there was no hook there! I must have broken the line with the forceps and when the line came free assumed that the hook was out. I felt really bad but there was nothing I could do about it now, just remember to check more carefully in future. 

It was now gone two o’clock and I hadn’t had any lunch so I decided that I ought to eat and have a break, so I did. After lunch I put a rod with a method feeder out and cast hopefully at carp who were patrolling in the distance but caught nothing else. The fish were no longer close in and the lake seemed to have gone quiet. I did get a visit from a bailiff again, the club are really going to town on checking its waters this year and soon it was time to go home and get the dinner. Only one fish but it was a good one so I felt happy, I really like catching carp on the surface, seeing them take the bait is a really exciting moment! 

If I was only going to catch one fish today then I am happy that it was this one!

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A couple of trips this week, the first to the local canal with the Mrs, her first time out with me and she only came because I promised we wouldn’t be long and she could bring her knitting! I even gave her the comfy chair while I perched on an old stool that I had when I was a kid! How’s that for love and devotion? Anyway we didn’t take the car as it is less than ten minutes walk but my rucksack got heavier and heavier on the way, must give it a clear out again!

The fishing was poor, I put the feeder rod out but gave up after a while as every time I brought it in it was covered in weed and I suspected that the bait was hidden from the fish. I only had one bite on the float rod which was a small rudd. This time last year I was pulling roach and rudd out of that spot every cast! Anyway I got fed up when I cast into a tree and had to re-thread the rod so we came home. Funny thing is my wife said that she actually enjoyed it!

I woke up early the next morning and as there were no plans for the day I thought that I would go to one of the club waters where I had success before with carp and tench. I arrived about eight, which is early for me, and as there were only a couple of anglers there I was able to choose a swim with no trees overhead! There was a bit of a chilly breeze though so I set up my brolly to give me shelter, it is still cloudy here in the east although it did brighten up a bit during the day. I was fishing method feeders on the carp rod and feeder rod with boilie and sweet corn as baits. I cast the carp rod far out and fished the feeder rod close in near a reed bed.

Time passed and not much happened apart from me filling up the feeders regularly and a squirrel coming to visit me. It was a nice spot and very peaceful so I was trying to enjoy that and be patient and not get frustrated at not catching. I also decided not to persevere with the same methods and to change things around a bit so put a smaller hemp boilie on the carp rod and maggots on the feeder. I did get a few knocks on the feeder but didn’t manage to catch anything. 

My thoughts were miles away when I heard a voice from behind my umbrella, it was a bailiff asking to see my membership. This is the first time I have ever seen a club bailiff and I think it is because people have been leaving a mess and abusing the waters. He told me that other people hadn’t been catching much either, which made me feel slightly better, maybe it is these north and easterly winds that we have been having for a couple of weeks now. Later in the morning I changed to the float rod and immediately began catching rudd quite close into the bank. This kept me occupied for a while as it was a nice change to be catching but as I have said before I had hoped to have moved on to catching bigger fish. As it was lunchtime I took the float rod out and just left the carp rod so that I would get some peace in which to eat my sandwiches.

Some of these rudd can be very lively, I had to hold on to this one!

While I was eating I thought about why I wasn’t catching. I had seen carp jumping, bubbles in the water and rings where they were coming to the top, I had changed tactics, used groundbait and particles but still wasn’t having any luck. I decided to make another change and fish the carp rod closer in where I could catapult some pellets and boilies and go back to the feeder rod with a pellet on a hair rig but before I could I had another visit from a different bailiff, the club are certainly patrolling their waters well at the moment!

I set up the feeder rod and put it back out next to the reed bed and relocated the carp rod. Just as I had got it set up I noticed that the quiver tip was bending round and the rod was jumping. I quickly picked it up and I was into a fish, I wasn’t sure what it was as it was shaking its head just like a carp and I had to play it fairly gently as I was on quite light line but on the other hand I couldn’t let it get into the reeds. After a short fight I got it up to the surface and could see that it was a tench. I netted it with my coarse net, which was probably a mistake as it only just fitted and the handle bent alarmingly and quickly had it on the mat for a photo. I did notice that it had quite a bit of mouth damage and turned it over for the photo to get its better side.

I decided to weigh it as I am not yet experienced enough to guess accurately and it came in at exactly four pounds. On its return to the water it quickly swam away and I put the feeder rod back in hoping to catch some more. Then it was back to the carp rod and a few minutes playing with my catapult firing out boilies. I had had one or two bleeps on the buzzer but nothing that developed into a bite so decided to give it a bit longer then get my other rod out and fish an adjustable zig rig in case the fish were feeding higher in the water. It didn’t make any difference as I didn’t catch anything else and by mid afternoon I packed up and went home. Before I left I took a final look around and a couple of photos of the swim to show that I had left it in good order. It is such a shame that mindless morons can spoil things for the majority but it seems to happen in all areas of life.

So, not a great session but I did catch one decent fish, I am beginning to wonder if I had beginner’s luck last year or maybe it is the high pressure and cold winds stopping the fish eating, I will just have to wait and see!

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I have mentioned before that I go sailing and that there are similarities between that and angling and one of them is that they are both dealing with the natural world, over which we have no control. This was brought home to me this week during a couple of sessions in different locations, the first at my “go to” water and the second on a visit to a water I have only been to once before.

For the first session I wanted somewhere near to the car to fish from as my back has been playing up recently and I didn’t want to strain it so my “go to” lake seemed the ideal spot. I put out my feeder rod and carp rod, both with method feeders and waited. I had a nice size skimmer bream on my feeder rod after about half an hour and that was it. I was fishing sweet corn on the feeder and boilie on the carp rod but didn’t get a touch after the first fish. It was a grey day here in the east and the wind has been northerly for a few days so I wondered if it had got a bit cold for the fish. There was very little sign of life with just one or two carp jumping. After a few hours I had a walk round and spoke to the other angler on the water and he wasn’t having much luck either. I lost my method feeder in a tree so came home feeling a bit grumpy.

I have got used to catching some decent fish lately and wanting to prove that I still could I went to a different water where I had caught plenty of roach and rudd before and seen some carp. It was quite a walk from the car park but my back was feeling better and with the help of my secondhand barrow I made it OK. I was just unpacking everything when I realised that I had left my rucksack with lunch, sunglasses, drink etc. in the car so it was another half mile return trip to fetch them. I had to thread up my carp rod from scratch and eventually was fishing, much later than I had wanted. It was a bright but cloudy morning but looking around I could see some threatening clouds so got my brolly set up just in case. I was sitting in the corner of the swim with a steep bank behind me and to the side so was quite sheltered and comfortable. All I needed was a bite and sure enough the quiver tip pulled round and I had another skimmer bream. The morning passed with a few twitches on the quiver but no more fish and nothing but a few beeps on the carp rod. I decided to change things around and so put a small hemp boilie on the carp rod and decided it was lunch time. Of course, no sooner had I poured a drink then the alarm sounded and I was into a fish, well I thought I was but it didn’t feel like a carp as it was coming in much too easily for that and turned out to be another bream! 

A lovely example!

While I was waiting for bites I had been feeding next to the swim with chick peas and sweet corn and during lunch I noticed a carp swim right up close to the bank in front of me so moved my carp rod to the baited area. There was much more activity on the water than my last session, fish jumping, bubbles rising and swirls in the water. I also saw a heron and a kestrel and a few interesting planes heading for an airshow. I also had a few beeps on the carp rod so was encouraged that there were fish around however I was not catching anything so decided to change the feeder rod for the float rod to see if my luck changed. I also alternated between boilies and tried a pop up but no luck. It was then that it started to rain showing the wisdom of putting up my brolly as I was snug and dry underneath.

As soon as I cast the float out I started catching rudd and spent the next hour or so dodging the showers and pulling in hand sized fish. In one way I was happy to be catching something but in another I felt that I was going backwards as I had moved to the feeder rod to try and catch bigger fish and get away from endless roach and rudd. Then the carp buzzer sounded properly and the rod was dancing around. I could immediately tell that I was into a carp as it shot off for cover. I managed to pull it around and it went off across the lake when suddenly the line went slack and I lost it. When I reeled in I saw that the hooklength wasn’t there. It must have come undone at the knot as using the quick change bead there is no way that it could have slipped off. This has happened several times recently and I am wondering about the wisdom of buying ready tied rigs. That was about it for the day as I didn’t get any more beeps on the carp rod. Just as I was thinking about packing up it came on to rain again so I sat tight and waited until the shower passed.

I had plenty of these.

So, what did I get from the day? I was pleased that baiting the swim had attracted a fish but very disappointed that I didn’t get to land it. I was also disappointed not to catch more on the feeder rod but at least hadn’t blanked! I was also pleased that I had tried different baits and methods of fishing rather than just persevering with the same thing. It brought to mind the saying about doing the same thing and expecting different results being madness or something. It was nice to get to the bank after a break of a couple of weeks and it does seem from talking to other anglers that the high pressure and chilly north winds are making fishing difficult so it is not just me!

Oh yes, I also got a sore thumb, trying to hold too may things at once the baiting needle pierced the skin near the middle thumb joint and slid in towards the hand. I pulled it out quickly but of course the damage was done. It didn’t bleed much and once again the antiseptic cream and plaster came in useful! It feels a bit sore this morning and I couldn’t get the cream inside the wound so I hope it is OK, I will keep an eye on it!

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No, not those that you see in the water when fishing on a calm day but the ones you have when you haven’t been fishing for a couple of weeks and are thinking what to write for your blog which also hasn’t been updated either!

Firstly, I was away then my newly acquired hay fever got worse again so I switched medicines and it slowly improved and then I got a bad back as well. Next my dad, aged 93, decided that he wanted a new laptop so I had to take him into town and choose one. He has been on about a new one for some time so I have been doing a bit of research and decided that as he can’t manage a Windows machine a Chromebook would be straightforward for him to operate. And it is, I have set it up for him and with the help of the Internet changed the settings to make everything bigger so that he can see it but he still can’t grasp it! It has made me realise just how far he has deteriorated and how I haven’t got that long to go until I find myself in the same position!

So, what has this got to do with fishing? Nothing except that it explains why I haven’t got anything angling related to write about this week. I really must go fishing next week but I ought to go and see my mum who I haven’t seen for a few weeks, and my sister and both my daughters and their families before the kids are all back at school and we have a Tesco delivery on Wednesday and the missus has a doctor’s appointment on Thursday and I ought to at least go and check my boat and there is all the bird poo to wash off the caravan awning due to being under a tree when we were away and…………………..

You get the picture.

So, back to fishing. One of the things that I have noticed is that I am using fewer maggots recently. Bread, sweet corn and pellets have been replacing them in my attempt to catch bigger fish. And it has worked, mostly. On the venues I fish, maggots will catch you small rudd and roach but I have done that for a year and want to move on. Of course just as you think that you have got a rule in angling something comes along to break it. In my case it was the 11lb carp that took a single red maggot on my float rod that I wrote about in the blog before last!

 I have also found myself moving away from using my float rod as my preferred method of fishing and using my feeder rod. I tried lots of different ways with feeders and never really felt comfortable with any of them as the feeder would often get tangled in the line so I have been trying a small inline hybrid method feeder and getting better results. I will persevere with this for a while and see if I can get a consistent improvement.

I have mentioned buying stuff off eBay in previous blogs and have been looking for replacement arms for my carp net after one of them broke last time out. You can get them, when they are in stock, but for the same price I bought a brand new complete net. Not the best quality being NGT but it seems to be fine for what I want it for. I have also been looking for a smaller landing net and pole for silver fish as my current one is very old and the pole is telescopic but the securing wing nut doesn’t work so there is the chance of it falling apart while landing a fish! eBay has a few secondhand but when you add on the price of postage for separate net and handle it is cheaper to go to Angling Direct, so I did!

I also ordered a new pair of forceps as I couldn’t find mine. They were in a job lot of tackle from eBay and they were very good but when I came to use them last time out they weren’t in the box. I wasn’t worried too much as they would probably turn up and one thing I managed to do last week was to tidy up my tackle bags and boxes. I turned everything out but didn’t find them. It is a bit of a puzzle as the last thing I do before finally leaving a swim is to have a good look around.

I will finish by telling you about the Nash H-Gun Bivvy that I bought from Facebook Marketplace. I had learnt to respond quickly if something was advertised and so managed to get it. The door had been subject to heat and was a bit melted at the bottom hence the bargain price but it will be ideal for me as a day shelter so I am not worried. I took it over the park to set it up and have a look as there was plenty of space and it was fine. I haven’t used it yet but feel sure that it is going to come in useful during those cold windy days that are on the way!

So, I did end up talking about fishing after all or at least fishing gear. I sincerely hope that I will be able to write about actually going fishing next week!

My latest bargain, put up quickly just to see how it was!

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This week I thought I would fish a water that I have only fished once before to see if I could do any better than last time. It is one of the furthest away from home and one of the reasons I haven’t fished there much is that I have to drive by other waters to get there! Another reason is that it is at least 300 yards from the car park to the water along a rough track and a field and until I had a barrow it was just too difficult to get my gear to the bank.

So, the forecast was for a dry day with rain later and some wind. I woke up earlier than usual but despite my best efforts I didn’t get to the bank until gone nine o’clock. There was only one couple fishing and they had had some luck so after a chat I walked round to see where to fish. Although way out in the country this water was clearly an old gravel pit as it had steep sides. Due to the rain the water was high and a number of the swims had no flat area from which to fish. I ended up down the far end where I fished before and just caught small roach and rudd but it was sheltered from both the wind and sun and the bank was not too steep. I set up my carp rod with a method feeder and pineapple boilie and feeder rod with maggots and sat down for a well-earned rest and a cuppa.

For the second week running nothing much happened. I kept rebaiting the rods and casting out but nothing, there was the occasional twitch on the quiver but there looked like line bites. I had brought some chick peas which I had prepared earlier and also soaked some dog feeder as I thought that I would bait up an area to attract carp for later so spent some time doing this before bringing the feeder rod in and trying the float rod. Immediately I was into a fish, a small rudd about the size of the width of my hand! I spent a few minutes catching these before getting bored and putting the float rod away. They were so voracious that even when I let the line falling the water while sorting things out they were going for the naked hook. I figured that if the small ones were around their bigger brothers must be there somewhere so it was back to the feeder rod this time with sweet corn. 

Cloud had started to build during the morning and as it did so the fish began to bite and I started to catch on the quiver. I am still getting used to the best time to strike and was missing fish but the quiver was giving much better bite indication and I soon landed a nice rudd of about three quarters of a pound. I then lost a couple of fish before landing my only bream of the day at one and a half pounds. Catching fish had cheered me up after a slow start but I was still worried about the number of bites I was missing and wondered whether using a hair rig would help. While I was thinking I got snagged and there was no movement at all. I am used to pulling branches out of the water but this snag was solid. Suddenly the line came free and I was wondering how much terminal gear I had lost. It all looked OK but when I looked at the hook it had broken at the shank something that had never happened before. I now had the chance to try the hair rig and soon had a size 16 attached to the Guru swivel and had cast in. A few minutes later I was into another fish but then the line went slack. Reeling in I found the hooklength had gone and blamed the swivel so put on another rig and tried again.

I am happy to catch rudd like this!

Then, out of the blue the carp buzzer sounded and I was into a fish. I could tell from the shaking that it was a carp and it was giving me a good fight. Unlike last week I was more confident in my gear and was soon able to bring the fish towards the net. It, however was having none of it and made off several times before being landed. It was a nice looking leather/mirror which weighed in at 9lb. As I lifted him out I heard a crack and one of the sides of my landing net splintered but didn’t come completely apart so I was still able to land the fish. He quickly went back in the water and was off and I then discovered that the top of my bobbin had come off and gone in the water too far for me to reach without getting wet! All was quiet on the carp front so it was back to the feeder and I was finding that the hair rig was working and I was bringing more fish to the bank, that is until I lost another hooklength. Fed up I decided to change the swivel and continued catching until I lost another hooklength from that one. There was no way that the hooklength could have come off that swivel so I think it must have been the hooklengths themselves, perhaps they weren’t tied properly.

At last, a carp on my carp rod!

Anyway, it was lunchtime and I had caught some more rudd, carp and possibly ide. I have been able to eat my lunch in relative peace recently but not today. As soon as I put the feeder rod out the quiver was twitching and I didn’t have time to even open my sandwich box! In the end I took the rod out of the water and opened my sandwich box then the carp alarm sounded. I had just recast the rod and seen the groundbait drop off the feeder as I cast it but left it as I wasn’t too worried about getting a bite during lunch! This time it was a common, a bit smaller than the last one so I didn’t weigh it and after taking a photo I gently slipped it back. Now with both rods out of the water I had the chance to eat my lunch in peace. While I was sitting there I noticed a carp swim right into my swim and nearly up to the bank and wondered if he had been attracted to the mixture I had thrown in so after lunch put some more in. During the afternoon I tried fishing there but without any luck.

So pretty!

It was now well into the afternoon due to a delayed lunch and I was still catching on my feeder rod and landing more often than not. Then I cast out and something went shooting down the line. Looking at the rod I could see that it looked shorter than usual, the quiver tip had disappeared! When I reeled in I found that it was still attached to the line and being a push fit it had just come out, that had never happened before either! Replacing it I cast out and almost immediately had a big bite. It was a big fish and when it came to the surface I could see that it was a carp but it wasn’t putting up much of a fight. I was quite pleased as the feeder rod only had 6lb line on it so I had to take it easy. I soon got it into the net without much fuss although when I came to lift it the broken bit was complaining so had to be supported. I got the fish onto the mat and then the fun started, he seemed to wake up and was thrashing about all over the place. Being on a slight slope he kept sliding off the end of the mat and I had to put him back. I tried several times to photograph him and eventually managed it but not before he had splashed mud and water all over me and the camera! He went back and I wiped myself down and decided to call it a day. As I packed up I was quite pleased with myself. I had had a better day than last time I came in the autumn and had caught a variety of fish, some even on my carp rod! I was walking back to the car when the rain started, not bad timing!

There won’t be a fishing blog next weekend as I will be off sailing next week and don’t have any sea fishing gear! I might write something about all the tackle I have bought off ebay although it would be great to have a guest blog from one of my readers. If you would like to give it a go them send it to me on the contacts page. 

As you can see I had to hold him still to photograph him!

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Just for a change I didn’t go fishing on Monday but waited until later in the week when a reasonable day was forecast. As it was, the sun shone for most of the day although it was a bit windy. I decided to go to the club’s nearest water which I only fished once last year although I did catch a nice double figure carp and a smaller one. I loaded all my gear in the car and drove the five minutes to the water. It looks like an old gravel pit but the water comes to the top and trees and bushes make it a pleasant place to be. On arrival I had a walk round to where I had fished before and chatted to a guy who I passed and hadn’t had much luck. 

Not a bad place to spend the day

I found a swim which was sheltered from the wind and the sun and was just opposite an island about thirty yards out. I set up my carp rod with a method feeder and 12mm boilie and decided to have a go for silvers with my feeder rod and a small method feeder which I had been successful with last time out. Everything was in place and it was time for a sit down and contemplate the world, or at least my quiver tip! Nothing much happened apart from refilling the feeders with method mix and pellets every now and again so I decided to resort to my fail safe way of getting a bite and got the flask out for a cuppa! Even this didn’t work, I was getting nothing on either rod so decided to chuck in some groundbait and get out my float rod to see if that would do any better. While I was changing over the carp alarm buzzed a couple of times but didn’t turn into a bite. 

I spent a little while plumbing the depth of the swim and setting the depth of the float as I think a split shot had come off since the last time I used it then I was away. I was using my 10ft Maver Reality match rod with my budget Shimano reel, 4lb line with 3lb hook length and a size 16 hook with red maggot. Nothing happened. I fed the swim a bit more, maggots, sweetcorn, groundbait, whatever I had in my bag and then just as I was thinking about packing up and moving to another water the float dipped and I was into my first fish, a little perch! These always seem to turn up to save me a blank so I took a photo in case it was my only fish! Then the carp buzzer sounded and kept sounding so I picked up the rod and felt a fish, well I think it was a fish but it could have been a small bag of potatoes for all the fight it put up. I reeled in and saw that it was a bream, a big one which weighed in at 6lb and easily my PB. I would have been more excited if the fish hadn’t look so rough, it had red marks around its tail and didn’t look happy so I put it back in the water as gently as I could and it slowly swam away. I set out the rod again and hoped that the next bite would be a carp.

Perch are such beautiful fish!

Time passed pleasantly enough as I started catching small perch every so often and now and again the odd roach so I had something to keep me occupied but the carp rod stayed silent. I put the float rod down in its rest and was just enjoying the peace and quiet when suddenly the float disappeared and the rod started shaking so I grabbed it and started to reel in. Well, that’s what I intended but the fish had other ideas and was stripping line off the reel at a rate of knots! This wasn’t a small perch, it was something much bigger and stronger, was it a carp? The fish started off in another direction and I managed to gain some line but then it was off again and I could feel that shaking that is typical of a carp! If I had a carp on then I was going to have to play it gently with such light line and a small hook. I was really worried that the line was going to break or the hook let go at any time and so adjusted the clutch carefully so that the fish could take line but still feel a resistance and I could gain on it when I could. I looked at my watch, I must have been playing it five minutes already and it was showing no sign of tiring. Then I managed to gain on it and reached for my net which I put in the water ready. It was at a time like this that I wished another angler would happen round and take control of the net but I couldn’t see anyone except a guy opposite me in his bivvy. The carp was away again, this time sticking close to the bank so that I had to hold my rod out to draw him back out again. Then he crossed the line of the carp rod which started beeping and was away again. My arms were beginning to tire and we were falling into a pattern of me drawing the carp, for I had seen what it was by now, towards the net and him taking off again. Each time I had to handle him gently and not put too much pressure on and break the line. I noticed that the angler opposite had opened the door of his bivvy and was gazing across at me and wished that he would come and lend a hand with the net.

Eventually the fish tired more than I did and this time when I got him to the net he slipped in and was brought to the bank. Safe on the mat I looked for the hook only to see it caught in the tree above! It must have come out while he was in the net and funnily enough the bream which I caught earlier had also shed the hook in the net so I guess I was lucky to land them. He was a nice common and weighed in at 11lbs and I took a photo of him on the mat then the guy from the bivvy turned up. He was only a young lad and was amazed at what he had been watching as he could see that I was playing a big fish on a float rod. He was good enough to take some photos of me with the fish who was very camera shy and would not keep still. Back into the net and into the water then he was away. We kept chatting for a few minutes as I was very excited about landing the fish then he went back to his bivvy and I sat down to take it all in and have a relaxing cup of tea. I looked at my watch again and it was twenty minutes further on so I must have been playing the fish for at least fifteen to twenty minutes.

That was about it really. It was about mid-afternoon by now and getting towards home time so I decided that I wouldn’t top that and slowly packed up and went home. What a day! It had started slowly but turned out really well with a bream and carp on the wrong rods! Landing the carp was the best piece of angling that I have ever done and both the rod and reel had performed excellently. I felt mighty proud of myself and I couldn’t help telling the fisherman that I passed on the way back to the car all about it! He told me that the water was fishing very poorly this season after fishing well last year which made me feel even better about my catch! Thinking about it I think the carp may have been attracted to my swim by the mixture of groundbait which I put in for the silvers and was hoovering up the maggots until he came to the one with a hook on the end. Clearly my carp rod was in the wrong place and I should have been fishing it much closer in. I wonder if baiting the swim will attract the carp who ignored the method feeder? Perhaps that is worth a try next time.

Banked at last!

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