Sunday, 26 September 2010

Total blank

the cold northerly wind was still blowing, and I was back, fishing a pair of rods over my prebaited spot beneath the willows. One rod fished a bolt rigger boilie, the other running ledger with a pair of pellets. both baits were topped off with a piece of sweetcorn. I had another bucket of prebait with me , a third of which was used to carpet the swim.
 I started at about 5:30pm and took the shelter this time, to provide some solace from the bracing wind. The rods were cast out, placed on the alarms and left. I needed a few hours to work on a paper for a conference which is due shortly, so i was combining tasks, working on my netbook whilst keeping an ear out for the alarms. At the start of the session I felt fairly confident, after all his swim has been pre - baited daily for a week and i would be fishing for many hours into darkness. The gusting wind raised two solitary bleeps from my sullen bite alarms, at least confirming i had actually switched them on. but I would see no fish tonight. I reeled in the rods at a couple of minutes past midnight. The boilie untouched and the pellets gone - softened to the point that they fell off on the retrieve or snaffled by a stealthy pescardo... its probably more likley to be the former, but less discouraging to think that it was the latter.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

still a headbanger

I had a band to go and see this evening, but still squeezed in a sub-optimal daytime session, starting at about lunchtime. Each evening for the last two days I have stepped up the prebait to 5kg of mixed corn, 1.5kg of hemp and a kilo of sweetcorn (aka a bucketfull), I had another identical bucketfull with me, this time topped off with some pellets and boilies.  A couple of kilos of this went in to commence the session.
  I had meant to bring float and light quivertip rods with me to at least pick up some bits and "break the blank" but realised upon my arrival that they were still in the garage. Condidtions were awful, temperatures had plummeted overnight and there was a cold and gusty northerly wind blowing upstream. It would have made floatfishing a pain anyway so I settled down with maggot feeder on the heavy feeder rod and a couple of pieces of sweeetcorn on a running ledger and a six lb hooklength fished over the area I had been baiting.
  After two hours neither rod had had a bite, and wind chill meant that I really needed to be keeping hands in pockets, rather than keep chilling them with the regular feeder fills. I was pretty resigned to blanking again, and swirched the feeder rod over to a couple of 10mm  pellets on a bolt rig.
  At 5pm i had still not had a single bite but at least the wind has dropped and the chop on the water  had subsided. I was just thinking that tackling up with a float for the last half hour probably wouldn't be worth the effort when the surface dimpled as a small fish topped and and the late evening sun suddenly peeped out from behing the clouds... It was a sign!
a small handful of maggots was propelled towards the topping fish, the ledger rod was equipped with a small waggler and size 22hook to a 1lb bottom and a single maggot nicked on before swinging it out just beyond the marginal weed. Of course as I did this the wind got back up and the sun went in... typical...
 I started off with the bait just touching bottom, moving slowly upstream as the water here is static and the wind was moving the float. at the end of each "trot" I shallowed up by a foot, and on the third cast was startled as the float dipped away. I missed the strike but smiled to myself as i chucked out another handful of maggots... I won't be blanking today!
 two "trots" later the float dipped once more and a silvery dace was swung in. This was followed by a baby chublet, then a roach, then a bleak... four species in four casts. I then picked up another couple of baby chub and another bleak before I hooked into a better fish, landing a small perch. That made it five different species in about 15 minutes. The swim went quiet for a few minutes until my last cast at 17:30 which resulted in another obliging baby chub.
The last few minutes had really cheered me up, but as I slung in the rest of my bucket of prebait I was reflecting on the fact that I'm still no closer to that river carp...

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Just a little dabble

It seems a shame to kepp turning up at the river, chucking in some bait, then not wetting a line.
The pagan in me though i should do something to note the vernal equinox, so i did a short session from 6-10 o see how the prebait is developing.
 I put one rod on a spicy shirmp popup over a kilo of hemp, directly on the spot ive been baiting beneath the overhanging willow. the other rod was baited with a spicy shrimp and halibut pellet cocktail, and supported with an 8inch pva stocking filled with 4mm pellets.
Summer turned to autumn as I fished, and at 20:17 the rain started, rather then dig out the brolly i just retreated further up the bank, sheltering beneath an ancient sycamore tree. At about 9pm I was joined by the shadowy silhouette of tawny owl, who settled on a dead branch of the willow, watched me for a couple of minutes, bofore continuing on his hunt. As the bats flittered overhead the tip of the pellet rod nodded 2 inches forward,before dropping back, a line bite, or dropped take, who knows. I checked the bait 30 mins later ands recast, but all was in vain. I would see no fish tonight. I put another kilo of hemp and a kilo of sweetcorn in as I left. Tomorrow I'll be ramping up the feed...

Sunday, 19 September 2010

reload for a fresh start

went back to the pads at 5pm armed with a spade, weed rake and waders to do some "swim improvement" and kick off the reload of the carp campaign. I've moved a few yards downstream and found a peg with about 3ft of soft mud in the margin, and about 6-8 ft over a rocky river bed at 1 rod length. Suprisingly little weed , though the rocks tried to swallow the rake on a couple of occasions so i guess it may get a bit hungy on tackle. Dug out a safer access to the water as dark rainy autumn nights and sloping banks are a recipe for disaster & started the prebait with 1kg of sweetcorn. Spent a couple of hours fishing out the evening, using a source pop up over the corn, and a couple of 10mm pellets over a couple of handfuls of 4mm pellets on the other, delivered via pva tube.
 I wasnt particularly suprised to get no bites after all the commotion - lobbed in another 2kg of old groundbait out of the freezer before leaving the river at 8pm.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

At last a river carp... shame I didnt catch it!!

Took my brother out for an evening on the the Trent, I'd decided to fish opposite the peg I had been overnighting in on the pads,  There was plenty of space for two people and it could be fished on a day ticket (if anyone claimed the ticket money... it was raining... they didnt!!)

We arrived at about 6pm, to a bit of light rain and both put spicy prawn and shrimp boilies out on one rod, then fished maggot feeder on another. Bites were slow in coming, though eventually I picked up my first gudgeon of the season.

As the light faded the feeder rods were switched to lower maintenance approaches, Matt went on to a pair of 10mm halibut pellets on a hair rig and I decided to try a big bunch of redworms, legered on a size 12. The boilies hadn't had a touch.
 At around 20:45 the starlit on Matts halibut rod began to dance signalling a take and he struck into a fish. It headed downstream towards him before rolling on the surface, turning and beginning to strip some line off the clutch. Once it had tired I stood prepared to do the netting duties, and as the beam of my headtorch illuminated the fish I told Matt in no uncertain terms that it was a mirror carp ( I also gave him a string of verbal abuse inappropriate to repeat here, as he had managed to pick up a carp on my bait, in a swim i'd chosen after less than three hours, when I was approaching 80 hours of trying for the same result). I also made a right hash of netting the fish, mainly because the margin was too shallow to properly sink the net, though perhaps my subconcious was trying to knock the carp off...
 It looked like it might be a double, and the scales went past 10, but once the weight of the net was subtracted it fell just short at 9lb14oz.

Once i'd taken some snapshots it was my turn for some action as a take on the worms was struck, and after a few seconds the hook came adrift from what felt like a decent fish. I was therefore suprised to find a bleak on the hook at the end of the retrieve. Mortally wounded it had clearly been grabbed by a predator just as it was hooked. As it was clear the fish was a gonner, I dispatched it quickly with a bash to the head and switched the terminal takle to something more appropriate, terminating in a single size 2.
I told Matt that I was about to catch a zander, he was dubious...
I mutilated the fishy corpse, chopping off the tail to shorten the bait,  removing a few strips of skin and ripping some holes to maximise flavour leak off. Then the unfortunate bleak was then given a burial at sea in the dark and dangerous depths and the baitrunner brake turned to its lowest setting for near zero resistance approach... would the unseen assassin succumb to the trap?. It was only a few minutes before I got a very hesitant take which i tried my hardest to cock up. By failing to properly disengage the freespool my strike resulted in a spinning spool which overran and left me in a tangled mess. Fortunately, with some illumination and assistance from my bro I was able to get things straightened out, and I guess the zander didnt know it had been hooked until I tightened down on the fish, at which point it peeled a few feet of line off the tight clutch, a bloody good job it hadn't done that a minute earlier!

I feared that the botched strike might have resulted in a deep hooked fish, however the hook was only an inch or two back and easily removed with just my fingers. After some photos the 3lb 14 oz zander returned to the river to kill another day.
We packed up at 22:30, both happy enough, neither boilie rod had a tap... though I cant help but feel a bit cheated that a carp surrendered itself so quickly to Matt, almost just to goad me! Being stuck on "c" is just getting silly now!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Gimme a break

popped back tot he river this afternoon armed with a special groundbait mix inc hemp and dead maggots, a box of worms and a pouch full of feeders. Before getting going with the fishing I walked a mile or so of the river... my bro is coming next weekend so I was on the lookout for a double peg we could use.
 Once that was done and the rain had stopped I settled into a peg where I could put a boilie out into the middle of the flow and fish the margin with the feeder. I was hoping that I might bag up on roach, but it was the ever dependable perch which were to show. The best one turned up first, a nice fish of about a pound, it was followed by another half dozen or so smaller stripey fellows. I was watched by the fattest rat I have ever seen, so fearless he came within a few feet of me as he went about his business.
I moved swims as afternoon passed into evening, aiming to get onto the chub or barbel. It was here that I ran into my first tribulation of the day as a rocking stepping stone plunged my right foot into the murky water of the Trent. I fished on with a cold soggy trainer, cursing my poor decision not to wear boots today. Then my luck really bottomed out as one of my porky pig heavy feeder rods broke at the joint as I attempted to pull free of a snag, it may be salvageable - I hope so as I love this pair of rods. I had a couple of raps on worm after sundown, possibly chub, possibly just debris hitting the line, either way there was nothing to console me for the wet foot and broken rod.
 The to add insult to injury I missed  the last stepping stone on the way back, soaking my foot again. bloody typical - still at least the perch broke the run of blanks which was the real aim of the afternoon...

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Another total blank

I've been a bit bogged down with DIY for a few weeks, fishing has been on the back burner. I'd been reflecting upon my (and everyone elses) lack of success on the pads and concluded that the weed was a major factor, presenting a bait was near enough impossible.  So, today I got to the pads at about 15:30, armed with 15pints of hemp and the weed rake.
90mins of determined raking moved a couple of bins worth of weed, along with a stone loach, two water scorpions, some dragonfly larvae and dozens of snails and swan mussles. I threw out the hemp before spending half an hour sorting through the weed in the margins to return the swan mussles.
I had hoped that all the disturbed mini beasties, together with the hemp and the coloured water would be enough attraction to kick of some fairly instant action. I set one rod up with bolt rigged spicey shrimp boilies and the other with redworm on a size 14 and 3lb bottom running ledger to act as an indicator for any fish which might arrive. None did, not even a solitary perch. the mystery of the pads deepens... headed home at 21:30 without even a tap. two consecutive total blanks. Not good!