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First an apology, WordPress has given up on uploading photos this morning so I am in touch with my IT consultant and hope to have the problem resolved soon.

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. 

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.

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.

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I had an email reminding me that my fishing licence was due for renewal which means that it has been a year since I started fishing again although I didn’t start this blog until a few months later. Time to reflect on what has happened during that time. I suppose the main thing is that I am still fishing and although it is my second hobby after sailing I probably go fishing more often. For a start the season is longer, my boat comes out of the water for the winter months and I only like sailing on nice days whereas I go fishing in all types of weather except absolute gales or downpours!

I have gone from being very rusty and wondering if I could remember how to set up my tackle and actually catch something to having tried lots of methods and refined my gear and ways of doing things and expecting to catch each time I go. I have fished in the canal, river and a variety of club still waters. I have caught my first carp, chub and tench and personal best perch as well as gudgeon, bream, roach, rudd, dace and eels. I have enjoyed being on the bank during lockdown and later as I have still had to be careful of being with people as my wife is vulnerable and mustn’t catch Covid. That said, I have had some interesting conversations with other anglers at a social distance! 

As well as the usual birds I have seen buzzards, kingfishers, robins, peacocks, herons and the ubiquitous ducks, some who stay well away while others are brazen in their attempts to steal my bait! I have fished beside main roads, next to farmyards, and in isolated spots in the country where there is not even the sound of traffic. I have been hot, cold, wet and fairly miserable. I have trodden in poo, fallen down the bank, got my gear tangled time and time again and lost stuff, most significantly a decent unhooking mat.

I have spent some money, not a lot and some of it was made up for by selling stuff on ebay where I also bought some things. Usually job lots of gear which had a few things which I wanted and other stuff which I didn’t and which will probably go back on ebay. My best ebay purchase must have been the two Sonik Dominator X carp rods for £38, my worst probably the carp barrowfor £30, it was clearly cheaply made and needed the addition of a few nuts and bolts to make it functional but it is certainly better than making two journeys from my car to the swim! I will see how it goes before making a decision on whether to buy a better one. I have also recently bought a Nash chair on Facebook marketplace for £20 with one mud foot missing. Nowhere could I find an identical replacement so it has one odd foot now. The seat fabric itself is in good condition but like the trolley the catches which keep the frame locked are all worn an have had to be replaced with bolts. Still, it should be good to sit on now and I won’t see the odd foot when I am fishing!

I have found that my old Diawa brolly still works at keeping the rain off but wobbles a bit and the rain drips off the edge. I also can’t get all my gear underneath it so I have been looking for a day shelter which is quick to put up. I saw an ideal one on Facebook Marketplace but despite contacting the seller within an hour of the advert being live and several times after I have had no reply despite the advert still being there. I don’t know if he is getting my messages or not, if it is sold or not, so have just given up on it. A quick reply one way or another and the removal of the ad would have been nice!

Stand out moments. Catching my first carp, then the next one and the one after that! Not so good moments. Forgetting to take my brolly and getting wet, falling down the bank a couple of times, catching eels! The important thing is that I am making progress with my fishing, I know how and where to catch small fish – float and maggot fished near the bank and am slowly learning how to catch bigger ones or at least not to catch small ones! I have tried lots of different methods and learnt a lot from Youtube videos and am beginning to find what works for me. I have fished all the club waters except for two, one is a specimen lake and the other a carp lake and have had success on all but one. I have even got a hankering to go fishing further afield but it will have to wait until things are safer as the idea is not to venture far from home and mix with other people. The main thing is that I want to keep fishing and writing my blog although I am not sure how much longer readers are going to be interested in the story line of, “Went fishing, caught some fish, got in a tangle, went home.” I need to think about how to develop the blog to keep it fresh, perhaps some writing from my readers would be a way forward, email me if you are interested!

So, one year done, let’s see what the next will bring!

A fishing blog wouldn’t be right without a picture of a fish, would it? This is the first carp that I caught. You can see how unprepared I was, I have now got a proper carp sized landing net and unhooking mat!

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I don’t know why but I seem to have developed hayfever this year which has made me feel really grotty on some days when I haven’t felt like doing much, let alone go fishing! I am wondering if it is the time I have spent on the bank amongst all the plants and pollen! Anyway I did get out for a few hours on my regular river spot which I found much different than the last time that I went. The first clue was the muddy footpath leading down to the river where I had to tread carefully as I was only wearing trainers. When I got to the bank the river was brown and fast flowing and much higher than expected, clearly it had been raining more upstream than where I lived. I thought about turning round and going somewhere else but decided to unpack my chair, have a sit down and look at the river. 

My usual spot for catching was flowing very quickly with a number of swirls and eddies but nearer to the bank was a calmer back eddy which looked more promising. I chucked a few maggots in and some groundbait while I tackled up my float rod which was the only one I brought and cast out into the middle of the river which just proved what I had observed, the float shot off downstream bobbing and jerking and no use to anyone. I then proceeded to cast closer in and watched the float progress slowly upstream still bobbing and weaving a bit but much more under control. I carried on for a bit and was just beginning to think that I was wasting my time when the float disappeared and I was into a dace, not enormous but not tiny either. That gave me encouragement so I decided to carry on. The float was at the other end of the swim in the eddies and going up and down a few times when I suddenly realised that this might be a bite! I struck and immediately felt a bigger fish, not enough to give much of a fight but big enough to get the landing net out and get it in safely. I took a couple of pictures and returned it, not being exactly sure what it was.

It had been about twenty minutes since the first fish and it was the same until the next one, another dace and twenty minutes after that the last dace of the session. When I got home I checked on the internet and found that the biggest fish was a chub, the first one that I had ever caught so I was well pleased with that! Overall it had been a good session fishing in difficult circumstances and encouraging enough for me to want to return.

My first chub

I went back a few days later and the river was back to its clear, lower self. I spent a couple of hours trotting and only caught a small dace and a roach although I got a lovely view of a kingfisher. Last autumn I was pulling fish out of this swim very regularly and could see them in the shallows and was plagued by minnows. Even earlier this season I saw some beauties but this session again I saw nothing. I am going to leave this spot for a few weeks and come back to it in the autumn and see if it has picked up at all. In the meantime I can look for some different swims to fish to see if I can do any better.

A nice little dace

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I don’t know why but it seems like Monday is turning into my fishing day. This Monday I went to a club water that I had fished a couple of times before with varying success. The first time I had a couple of carp and tench and the second time I blanked!

It was a pleasant enough day in my part of the world, it had stopped raining early in the morning and the sun had come out. I arrived later than I wanted but that’s always the case! I decided to have a carp rod out and also float fish so it was my first chance to try out my cheapo barrow bought second hand off Facebook. Marketplace. It seemed to work well and was a lot easier than trying to carry all my gear. There were a couple of other anglers so there was plenty of room and I was able to find a swim that I liked. No trees, which was good for casting but also no shade from the sun, good job I remembered to put my sunscreen on! What I didn’t remember was my big landing mat and as I already had my carp rod in the water I decided that I would have to make do with my small one which lives in my rucksack and if that wasn’t good enough fold up my jacket and use that. I was fishing a method feeder with method feeder mix with some pellets added and an old pineapple boilie on the hook.

The four and a half pounder!

I set up the float rod, plumbed the depth and got fishing. Immediately I was into a fish and yes, it was a rudd! After my last couple of sessions I was hoping for something else but the rudd are really on it at the moment so I occupied myself with pulling them out a fish a chuck. I noticed that I was not losing as many fish as last time and wondered if that was because I had changed the hook after losing so many. I kept this up for a while and after a dozen or so decided to try the feeder rod again. A new hook was needed on this rod too and I was puzzling out how to tie a twizzle boom, it is so easy when you are watching Youtube, when the carp alarm started sounding. I hastily put the rod down and picked up the carp rod which was bouncing up and down, I was definitely into a fish! It fooled me into thinking that it wasn’t resisting as it swam towards me and straight into the reeds where it stuck solid. Pulling wasn’t getting me anywhere and neither was moving about the bank so I tried giving the fish some slack. It must have moved as when I pulled again it started to come and eventually came clear and into the net. I was trembling when I lifted it, a nice tench, which weighed in at three and a half pounds. After the photos I put it back into the net and lowered it into the water where it took a few moments to sort itself out before swimming away. My first decent fish for a while made me very happy!

Carp rod out again and back to the feeder rod and very shortly a bite, it was another rudd! This was quickly followed by a small perch who had swallowed the bait all the way down and no amount of prodding with the disgorger would free the hook so I cut the line and put him back. I hate it when that happens and it seems that small perch are the worst culprits, they don’t seem to take any time to savour their food jus swallow it straight down! Then the carp alarm sounded again and I was into another fish, it didn’t seem to fight as hard as the first one although that may have been me not giving it as much chance to get into the reeds as the first fish! Pretty soon I had it in the net, another nice tench, slightly bigger at four and a half pounds. This one was a bit more lively on the bank though and quickly swam away when I put him back in the water. I got to wondering about fish personalities later in the afternoon as I went back to the float rod and pulled out rudd after rudd. None of them were enormous but some were bigger than others and you couldn’t tell until you saw them as some bigger ones didn’t put up much of a fight while some smaller ones did. I also tried using different baits as I had read that this would help get better fish. I tried sweet corn and casters then a bit of bread flake, crust and bread pinched on the hook and they all caught fish but there was no increase in size. As they were biting so eagerly I even tried just an empty hook but they didn’t go for it! I even tried a small hemp boilie and could see from the way that the float was rocking that they were having a go at it but it was too big to swallow. I brought it in and cut it in half with the same result so I reduced it even further and was successful!

After playing around with baits that was it really, it all went a bit dead in the afternoon, apart from the rudd that is and towards the end of the session I caught another couple of perch, hooked in the lip this time, and a nice roach which I didn’t take a picture of as he jumped out of my hand into the dirt and spoilt his good looks! I would have liked a carp or another decent tench but there you go, always wanting more! I did catch a couple of decent ones and the rudd stopped me from being bored so all in all a good day and one to make me want to come back and catch more fish but not rudd! 

On the way back to the car the barrow folded up, that will teach me to buy cheap stuff of Facebook! I will have a look at it in the morning as it is raining again this evening!

Perch are pretty too!

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At last it had stopped raining and I had a few hours in the day to go fishing. I decided to return to a series of club lakes that I had fished a couple of times before and try again in the lake where I had previously blanked. As it contained a mixture of fish I took my feeder rod and float rod. It was mid-morning when I arrived and I got my first bite before I got to the swim! Something had bitten me on the back of my hand which quickly swelled up and became quite puffy. I tend to attract insects which bite and can get quite swollen so I always carry Anthisan bite cream and insect repellent so it was a quick application of both and on with the fishing.

I decided to fish in the swim next to the one where I blanked before, baited the swim and set the rods up. I realised that the float rod was still set up for the river instead of having a waggler for still water but decided to carry on regardless. Immediately the float dipped and I was into a small rudd, followed by another and another and another! Then I had a bite on the feeder and yes, you’ve guessed it, another rudd. After a while of pulling out rudd on the float rod I decided to put it aside and concentrate on the feeder rod as I still don’t think I have got the hang of it yet. I think what I was doing wrong was not to strike when I had the first knock or two and instead wait for it to develop, which often it didn’t. After a while I began to get the knack and began pulling in rudd. I had hoped that being on the bottom it might attract different fish like tench, which the lake is known for. When I picked up the float rod it was in a terrible tangle so I ended up cutting the line and re-rigging with a waggler float after all! It really puzzles me how fishing lines can tangle just by putting them down and lifting them up again!

Sometime during all this it began to rain so I put up the brolley and collected my gear under it. As it was not windy I was able to put it up to its full height and tied it to my camping chair for security. This gave me room to carry on fishing fairly comfortably and stay dry. I went back to the float rod and carried on catching rudd. They weren’t particularly big, say four or five inches, but it was better than catching nothing. I did think about moving swims as there was plenty of space but the rain showed no sign of stopping and as I didn’t want to get everything wet I stayed put. I was fishing above the bottom and the bites were amusing, the float would be going sideways, lift, sink, anything you could think of! It didn’t matter when I struck it seemed that half the time I wouldn’t connect with a fish and when I did some of them would drop off before I could swing them in. It maybe the hook, which has been on there quite a long time and I could feel that it was getting blunt by the way the maggots were resisting when I tried hooking them.

Then the float did something different, it shot under and I had a little perch but pretty soon it was back to the rudd. Just occasionally I caught a bigger one and needed the landing net and funnily enough this was when I was fishing nearer the bank. It was soon lunchtime and I did something that I had never done before, I took the rods out of the water so that I could eat my lunch without interruption! Usually I hope that sod’s law will apply when I have a cuppa in one hand and a sandwich in the other and I will get a bite.

I had the usual visit from a robin during the session. Although this one was very young he had his eye on my maggots and wasn’t too scared to come close and eat the ones I threw for him. I don’t know how they learn that anglers are good for food but his one must have learnt at his mother’s wing!

Baby Robin

So, back to the fishing and more rudd. By mid-afternoon the rain had eased and eventually stopped and I was thinking about going home when I hooked several bigger rudd and a run of perch. My final tally was 32 rudd and 6 perch, not a bad session!

I had hoped to catch bigger fish but at least I had an entertaining day and caught something! I want to go back to a couple of the waters which I only fished once last year and will take my carp rods as well and see if I can catch something decent sized. 

One of the best fish. The disgorger is 5 1/2 inces so it must have been 8 or 9

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For one reason or another I have not been able to get away for a decent length session this week so have been to my usual spot on the river a couple of times. The first time was an evening session as I thought this might be better and I only took my float rod and travelled light. It was a nice evening but I did begin to feel a bit chilly when the sun went behind the trees but at least I could see as before that it had been in my eyes. The session followed the same pattern as the first, I caught three dace in about two and a half hours with plenty of time between each bite.

The one bit of excitement led to disappointment when the float bobbed and I could see that I was into a decent perch. As the water was so clear I could see him under the water and he didn’t seem too bothered about being hooked until he decided to swim away and broke the line! I was gutted! I had seen big fish here and caught a nice perch before but wasn’t having too much luck since the river season began.

The next session was in the morning, at least it would have been in the morning if it hadn’t started to rain just as I arrived so I sat in the car for twenty minutes until it stopped which made it the afternoon by the time I got started. Conditions were much the same and I set up the feeder rod and carefully placed it near the bank where I had hooked the perch last time and seen bigger fish the time before. I used red maggots in a feeder and on the hook and replenished them from time to time but got absolutely no interest from the fish.

The float rod had a bit more luck, I fed the swim with maggots and groundbait and managed to hook a fish which got off and then landed another dace. Then the float dipped again and I could feel something tiny on the end, yes, it was a minnow, they were back! A few minutes later I got another one but no more after that. I pulled the float rod in for a while as it was time to have a bite to eat and on my first cast afterwards I was into another fish, which I landed. That was it and after about another thirty minutes of trotting the float I decided to pack up and go home.

So, that was it, three sessions at a spot which was productive last autumn and winter with very little to show for it. Perhaps it is too clear and shallow in the summer and the fish are elsewhere. It certainly seems that the fish are not there in any great numbers, I usually find that when I am fishing and catch one there are several more to come, but not here. I think that I will give this spot a rest until we have had some decent rain and there is depth and colour in the water. Still, I have given it a decent go over the last week and added to my angling knowledge. Next week I fancy a longer session with a carp rod out again.

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I didn’t think that I would be able to get to the river on the 16th as my wife had a hospital appointment at the other side of the county in the morning but all went well and we got home for lunch so there was time for a short afternoon session. After a quick trip to the local tackle shop to pick up some maggots I was off, although it wasn’t exactly ideal weather, hot and sunny, with thunderstorms forecast for later and rain for the rest of the week.  My favourite river spot is next to a bridge and surrounded by trees so there is some shade for me at least. I had scouted the swim a few days ago so took some garden shears and cut down the nettles to make things more comfortable! 

The water was shallow and clear and I could see the bottom with a few fish moving about. I tackled up and the first thing that I did was to stick the hook into my finger! Not a slight scratch but right in, blood and all so it was out with the antiseptic and plaster and grateful that I use barbless hooks! A little while ago I had been fishing a small pond with overhead tree cover and another guy was fishing there with a short rod so he didn’t get tangled and I thought this was a good idea so I had brought my spinning rod for float fishing and decided to give it a try. In the end I went back to my ten foot rod as it was just too stiff and having to cast out underhand I just wasn’t getting very far.

When I started to fish and could see some fairly small fish then two larger shadows about a foot long followed by a third slightly longer. They seemed to be attracted by the handful of maggots which I had thrown in and although I trotted my float down they took no notice of my bait. After a few minutes the larger one glided off and I got a better look at him, from the shape of the nose I could see he was a pike! The others could have been carp as they are in this river but it was hard to tell, it was nice to see them though but they soon drifted off as well.

Then it went quiet for a bit until the small fish returned and I hooked one which fell off just before the bank. Then I did manage to catch one, a dace I believe, which got the prize for the fish not wanting to stay still for a photograph as he wriggled about something shocking! He must have told his mates about me as they all disappeared and I was on my own again! Still, it was very pleasant sitting in the shade with a warm breeze listening to the birds singing. There was not much traffic on the bridge either so for the most part it was quiet which is how I like it. Then the fish were back and I caught another small one which was just as lively, then they disappeared again. Nothing much happened except that I saw a kingfisher flying down the river then a few minutes later fly back again. You don’t get to see much of them, just a quick flash of blue then they are gone, still, it is nice to know that they are around. The last time I was here a cormorant popped up in my swim, I don’t know who was the most surprised, me or him! Also, every time that I have fished here before I have been plagued by minnows but this time I didn’t see a single one, I wonder if the cormorant was responsible.

The smallest and last fish that I caught but the best photo as the others wouldn’t stay still!

I was getting a bit bored by now, not seeing or catching anything then one of those bigger fish glided out of the shadows but again wouldn’t be tempted by my bait. I decided to try the other side of the bridge and cast up underneath it and was soon rewarded by another small fish but as soon as I put him back they all disappeared. I decided that it was time to go, three fish in a two hour session wasn’t a lot but I had had a good time and was very excited by seeing the bigger fish. The low, clear water hadn’t helped and I will return after the rains have raised the water level and given it a bit of colour. 

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I was awake early and decided that I would go back to my “go to” lake and try and catch some of the carp off the surface. I arrived to an almost empty car park and walked up to the same swim I had the other day to find that the only fisherman on the water was there! We had a chat and then I had a walk round to the overgrown side of the lake where I could see a few carp cruising a fair way out but none close in. Conditions were the same as the other day but the fish were doing something different!

I decided to fish round there and chose a swim which had a bit of shade for me and looked good for fish and went to get my gear. Of course, I had to make two trips as I hadn’t brought my newly acquired second hand carp barrow as I thought that I would be fishing near the car! 

Before fishing I threw some bread out and immediately ducks appeared from nowhere and ate it! I should have stopped there but carried on disentangling my carp rods from each other. I have a nice ebay bargain rod case but it seems however carefully I put the rods away the lines get tangled together when I come to take them out. I thought that keeping the rods set up would be quicker than starting from scratch every time but now I’m not so sure! Anyway I persevered and fifteen minutes later cast my bread on the water and soon it had been noticed. Unfortunately it had been noticed by a duck who made a bee line for it! Not wanting to hook a duck I pulled the line in and belatedly realised that fishing on the surface was a non starter today so got out another carp rod. This one was set up with an adjustable zig rig only it wasn’t adjustable any more as it was all tangled. I made a start at untangling it, time passed, the sun got higher and eventually I got the scissors out and rigged with a method feeder which took a bit longer than it should as I put the feeder on back to front and had to undo everything and start again. 

I cast out and after being at the swim for about an hour I was eventually fishing! Time for the float rod to give me something to do while waiting for the buzzer to sound but you’ve guessed it, it was all tangled to the point that it was quicker to cut the line and re-rig the rod. I had also been feeding the swim with particles and groundbait and saw one or two carp cruising through so was feeling quite optimistic. Float cast out and time to sit down and have a cuppa but in my hurry to get out this morning had decided that I would make do with water, which wasn’t quite the same! Sitting there quietly I could hear the sound of flames crackling, someone was having a bonfire in the farmyard next door but as the smoke was blowing away from me I wasn’t unduly bothered. More of a nuisance was all of the fluff from the willow trees which was floating on the water and sticking to the line and building up to the point where I had to pick it all off so that the line could flow smoothly through the rings. Fishing once again the float suddenly shot sideways and I was into a fish and not just any old fish either as it was taking line. I was hoping that it wasn’t another eel when I got a glimpse of a golden colour and could see that I had hooked a carp! I played the fish gingerly towards the net and nearly got him in but he cracked off and was gone leaving me bitterly disappointed but not surprised as I was fishing with a light line and single maggot on a size 16 hook and expecting roach and rudd not a high single figure carp!

So, time to re-rig again but instead of doing it straight away I thought that I would have a try with the feeder rod. Not much happened for a while but when I brought the feeder in there was a roach on the hook, once again I had not noticed. A few more casts with the feeder produced nothing but then I saw that the wind had cleared the surface of the lake from all the willow fluff so it was back to the float rod and I had a couple of smallish fish as well as a couple of small branches. It seems like the less fished swims contain more branches to trap the unwary.

Then the wind changed and brought the surface debris back and even worse the smoke from the bonfire was blowing directly at me. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it was just wood smoke but there were all kinds of things burning including plastic so after a while I decided not to breathe any more toxic fumes and packed up and went home. As soon as I got indoors the Mrs said that I stank so it was into the shower for me and my clothes went into the washing machine. 

So, I didn’t have a great time and I wasn’t happy but some things are clear. I set off with a plan which is good as it is a way to progress and improve my fishing rather than just rocking up on the bank as I used to do but I wasn’t adaptable. When the swim I wanted wasn’t available and the fish I was looking for weren’t there I just carried on with the plan instead of re-thinking it which led to a frustrating day. You do live and learn with this fishing lark!

The best I could manage!

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My club has asked us to give the carp a miss while they are spawning so it was back to my “go to” lake where I could be sure of catching something. Summer has eventually started in this corner of the world so it was slap on the sun cream and take plenty to drink. It is a bit late for the cream really as I should have used it back in the day but then who did? With a little care three operations to remove basal cell carcinomas could have been avoided!

Anyway, back to fishing. I arrived and there was one guy fishing so we had a chat and he had caught a couple, carp I think! I had already decided to fish around the other side for a change and was getting the gear out when another angler arrived. We got chatting and he said that it was his first time there and started asking me for advice! Well, that made a change but I quickly slipped into the role of the knowledgeable regular and told him what I knew about the lake.

I walked up to the swim I wanted only to find that the banks were covered in geese poo so I walked to the next one which wasn’t so bad but still not perfect. I was to find out just how far from perfect it was when going down the bank my foot slipped and I fell heavily on my back. My back didn’t hurt but my knee did so I lay there for a minute or two then found that I could get up and move around so I did. I also found that while I managed to avoid landing in poo my nice new rucksack didn’t! I set up the feeder rod with maggots in and cast it out and started sorting out the float rod which was in a bit of a tangle. I had it across my lap when the quiver tip went round strongly and I was into a fish. Putting the float rod to one side I could feel that it was more than a baby roach which I usually catch and soon brought in a nice skimmer bream. Casting out I was just finishing with the float rod when the tip went round again and I was into another bream, a bit bigger so I decided to weigh it with my new scales and it came in at two and a half pounds. 

The first fish of the day, a nice looking skimmer bream

That was about it for the feeder rod as I caught no more bream on it and instead started pulling out roach and rudd on the float rod. By now the morning was ticking on and as seems usual on this water the bite ratio was declining. It was also getting hot and so I put up the trusty old Diawa umbrella to give me some shade. I also had time to look round and saw that seagulls and terns were diving into the water to scoop up fry. I also heard the cuckoo still singing clearly and a heron made a circuit of the lake but didn’t land. A robin made the obligatory raid on my bait box but as is often the case I didn’t have my phone in my hand and any movement would have frightened it away. I am beginning to realise that taking pictures when you are fishing is not so easy, the shot of my big bream wasn’t good enough to put on the blog!

I also noticed carp in the margins and after lunch, which was not interrupted by a bite, I took the rods out and went for a walk along the side of the lake. Carp were basking in several places and went for the bread that I threw in for them. Again I found out how difficult it was to get a decent picture or video of them but managed a few. I will certainly come back here with a stalker rod, alright a carp rod with bread on the hook and try going for the fish on the surface again. I suppose this is what is meant by watercraft, keeping your eyes open and having a look round.

It’s no use hanging around or you get beaten to it

Time for a cuppa and as there had not been much action for a while I decided to pack up. I had nearly put everything away and was left with the feeder rod when I noticed that the quiver tip had straightened and the line had gone slack. Now I know this is the indication of a bite so I picked up the rod and started winding in. I could feel something but couldn’t tell what it was until it got nearer when I saw the long silvery body of an eel. My heart sank, eels are my least favourite fish as they are very uncooperative when it comes to lying still so you can get the hook out so I was quite relieved when it broke the line just as I was putting the landing net out. I understand that eels can shed hooks and so this one will probably be fine. It wasn’t a bad one either, about eighteen inches long. So, that was it. I must have caught about twenty fish, some quite nice and learnt where the carp were basking on the surface. This is the water that I have fished the most and I am just beginning to realise how long it takes to get to know a venue. For example, I was quite prepared to be bothered by swans or ducks but they weren’t there today. I went to catch silverfish but saw carp on the surface and on another day would have had a try for them. I suppose that to be successful you have to be adaptable.

A view of the lake on a nice day!

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After last week’s blank at the irrigation reservoir, I decided to pay a second visit to a water nearer home where I had some success last year and wrote about it in my Blog on 6th February about fishing next to four year old Ben. The weather was still unseasonably cold with showers and wind but the morning started off sunny and still with showers forecast and when I arrived at the venue there was no-one else there and I continued to have the place to myself all day.

I decided to start by walking around the lake, taking the advice of anglers on YouTube and the book that my wife bought me for my birthday and found a few fish on the surface but when I got to the other side I came across a group of about twenty carp just lying under the surface soaking up the sun. A few yards along there was another group and then another one, I reckoned that there were over fifty fish altogether. I decided that I would try and catch a fish on the surface and so tackled up with a bubble float and a size ten hook, put some bread on and cast out. At first the fish took no notice and were not spooked by the float but then one sucked on the bread and pulled it off the hook. This happened a couple of times more before the float started to drift away and I struck and was into a fish. A few minutes fight and it was into the net and landed, my best fish so far this year and the first one ever caught from the surface! I decided to weigh it and it came to 9.68. 9.68 what, I don’t know. In the hurry to get it done I couldn’t work out how to switch from kg to lb and it didn’t seem to tell me! So much for digital scales! Next on the shopping list is a pair of simple spring scales which don’t require batteries or adjusting in any way!

It is hard to take pictures of fish underwater!

Then it started to rain, so I quickly put the brolly up and gathered all my gear under it, it just fits but there isn’t room to do anything under it if you haven’t got a rod out so I passed the time by throwing in some groundbait where I was going to put the feeder rod out and texting a picture of my carp to my wife. After about twenty minutes it stopped raining so I got my feeder rod in with maggots and got out my other carp rod with the adjustable zig rig and cast out to where the carp were showing in the middle of the lake. In the meantime I put some particles in my swim and some well soaked muesli and Tesco small dog mixer, which floated. There followed a period of quiet reflection until the carp started showing up in my swim again eating the dog mixer so I brought the rig in closer. Still no luck so I went back to the surface rig and watched the carp cruise slowly by and ignore the bread until one slowly took it and I was in again! Another nice fish landed proving that it wasn’t just a fluke!

Lunchtime passed quietly and although I was getting knocks on the feeder rod I wasn’t getting any fish. Just as I thought that I was getting the hang of it I don’t seem to be able to catch anything, well not much as I did bag a fairly small roach. After lunch I decided to have a walk along the bank and spotted a number of carp cruising in the far corner where the wind was now blowing so decided to relocate there. Over the next hour I caught four more carp off the surface to make a grand total of six for the day, my best ever! It looked like rain again and time was getting on so I decided to call it a day and gathered everything together in no kind of order which meant two trips to the car and back, will I never learn?

So, an interesting day, taking the advice to look for fish and adapt my tactics paid off with half a dozen carp caught from the surface, the first time I have ever tried this technique. I will have to look up how to get bread to stay on a hook though as it sometimes came off when casting, perhaps Tesco’s cheapest isn’t the best to use! I was a bit disappointed about the lack of silverfish on the feeder though but you can’t have it all! I am just hoping that the weather picks up and the fish get more active as I reckon I could have had a lot more if they hadn’t been so sluggish!

Just one of the fish I caught

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