Saturday, 21 May 2011

Saturday nights alright for fishing

It was saturday night, and marie was partying, so what else could a boy do but go out on the town, well, out on the edge of town anyway, about the place where nottingham hits the canal...

I set up the rod stands on the towpath within earshot of the Irish Club and the hubbub of the canal qurater of Nottingham, This is a fishy looking spot, to my left the surface is bedecked with a mat of flotsam gathered in the slack behind the lazy weir gates, to my right, and on the opposite side, the overflow from the lock burbled out and pushed through the turbid mass of the canal. I'd heard that barbel have been caught from here in the past so I was checking out the rumour, a May barbel would be a rare treat. Two rods, one with spicy prawn boilies, the other with halibut pellet were set into the streamy water below the outfall.

Passing the time I toyed around with floatfished bread, picking up plenty of bites, and eventually a few roach were to provide some entertainment. I later slapped a huge piece of flake on the size 16 hook and on the first cast the float sailed away and the rod bent expectantly... for two seconds... before this small bream succombed! unfortunately some random chap (he'd probably had a drink! )had seen me catch the fish and hung around for the next 30 minutes, talking crap and waiting for me to catch another... I couldn't oblige. Whether the disturbance from the bream or the noisome fellow caused the bites to dry up I'll never know. The barbel failed to show...and I packed up as any traditional landlord would be calling time at the bar... The trials and tribulations of fishing a city towpath on a saturday night...

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Friday the 13th

Marie was heading to the south coast to visit a friend, so I had a whole weekend free for fishing. I had decided to return to Melbourne pool in pursuit of the specimen tench I had failed to snare on my visit there last May. I packed the MG to the rafters with enough supplies to last all weekend and headed down the A453 towards east midlands airport. Calling in at Melbourne tackle and gun to buy my ticket and ask how it had been fishing. Neither of these enquiries had particularly favourable outcomes. The 3 day tickets needed to cover me for friday and saturday night would now be £21, prices went up to £7 a day on May 1st. The tench had aparrently also switched off for the during the last couple of weeks, thinking about spawning perhaps, though on the bright side a handful of carp had been caught to 18lb.

Arriving at he pool I bumped into Archie Braddock fishing near the road, first time i have seen him for years, We had a bit of a chinwag & he confirmed it had been hard going, with just one 4lb tench to show for 12 hours fishing. Apart from Archie there were two others fishing and one guy setting up. It also kept threatening to rain...

Three trips to and from the car ferried all my kit to a peg opposite the first island in the woods. The weather gave me just long enough to soft out the bivvie and get everything under shelter, before heavy drops of rain began to crash down... I cast out the rods as they came out of the bag, complete with week old washed out boilie... "worth a try..." i thought, whie I zipped down the bivvie, and with the rain splashing through the mosquito netting begain preparing some rigs for the session.

I wanted to fish a biggish and visually attractive bait to try and diffirentiate it from the mountains of bait whch had probably found its way into this end of the lake over the last few weeks. To achieve this I superglued about 20 maggots to the top half of a source popup in a "medusa" fashion. this was fished on a short hooklength to pop it up about 4 inches off the bottom. The other rod worked its way through spicy prawn and tutti-frutti boilies fished singly, paired and snowman style, whilst the rain stopped, started, stopped, hammered down and eventually dried up by about 8pm.

With no bites to the boilies i switched to running ledgers and size 10's. four maggots on one, fished towards a section i had earlier baited with 2 pints of deads, prior to a swan raid! The other was fished about 25 yards to my left and baited with 5 redworms Courtesy of Mentalors bait tub - which I had "borrowed" a week earlier), no groundbait or loosefeed. It was this rod that was first to go, at around 9:15 pm as line peeled off the clutch i tightened up the drag and was connected to a fish. It didnt do much at first, it just dithered around, then suddenly kited strongly to the right, running across the face of the swim with the unmistakable feeling of the line grating past a snag...

no sooner had the line popped off this weedbed, then the fish went charging through the cabbages to my right, rolling on the surface for the first time in response to the pressure i had put on to try and stop it. The dark green flank confirmed my First tinca of the season, and a few minutes later, once netted it turned out to be 4lb 12oz.

it was a couple of hours until I got my next run, this time on the maggots. I connected with a fish which meant business from the off, charging away from me with a powerful run, the first of four which would punctuate our tussle in the dark. It was a long specimen, and in the light of my headtorch I thought it would be a 6, but instead it was to weigh exactly 1lb more that the first one, at 5lb 12oz.

The night passed with only two solitary bleeps, I switched the worm rod back to medusa popup at about 2am. At first light I reeled in to check the baits to find the popup gone (very mysterious - source popups are more like corkballs than boilies!) and on the other rod, the maggots sucked, missed chances perhaps.
 After a couple of cups of tea, and just as Iwas thinking about getting some brekkie on the go I got a screaming run on maggots and connected with the fish for about 5 seconds before the hook pulled. That would be the only action for saturday morning, at at midday I switched the medusa maggots back to worm, this time accompanied with a groundbait feeder well laced with dead maggots.

The afternoon was to pass without incident, and the trangia was at work heating up my tea when the alarm on the worm baited feeder sounded the alarm, and a fish probably took 10 or more metres of line from the reel before i connected with it. After a short fight everything locked up, the fish had embedded itself deep in the cabbages, and after trying both a slack line and heavy pressure without seeing an indication there was still a fish on, concluded that the fish was gone, and I was snagged. After accepting defeat I was pulling for a break and making slow progress, as at the crucial moment ia few centimetres of line would give, and the terminal tackle edged its way back toward me. Suddenly the rod tip jabbed forward...There was still a fish on... and it kited left and defiantly stood its ground with my rod doubled over and the line singing. bit by bit I could haul the fish closer, though it felt more and more like I was trying to lift the Mary Rose.
Eventually the targe tench surfaced, Seven or eight pounds of gleaming emerald glistened in the evening sun, as it rolled on the line its red eye seemed to wink at me as it launched its escape plan. It got its head down and powered for the deeps, with my clutch still screwed tight I reacted by flicking the fighting draq fully to the left, but it was too little too late, the rod pinged straght and the line fell slack as the hook pulled.
  From the oddness of the fight and the behaviour of the fish as it surfaced, staying perpendicular to the line, I think that this was a false hooked fish, with the "fight" being mostly the effort of dragging the mass sideways through the water. I still cursed myself for not properly resetting the clutch once I had established the fish was still on.. a schoolboy error.

An hour or two of lamentation was interrupted when the maggots were taken, and few minutes later a 5lb 9oz tench flip flopped on the unhooking mat. Once this was returned I began settling down for the night, deciding to stick with the redworms on the left rod and maggots on the right. Day was dawning when nother run, this time to the feeder and worm, confirmed my tactic to be a wise choice, I played this fish carefully, mindful of my earlier errors, there would be no escape this time, and eventually my final tinca of the session was in the net. weighing in at 3lb 14oz, no monster, but it capped off a most enjoyable couple of days fishing.

I had been up since first light, the geese once more giving me little choice in the matter as the general noise and commotion from their quadrant of the pool was virtually incessant throughout the night. The cold wind kept the surface choppy throughout the day, and I remained biteless until I eventually called time. Packing up at about 2pm three trips refilled the MG, and I left the deserted pool to the swans, geese, coots and ducks. 44 hours and 4 fish - but my thoughts remain fixed upon the one that got away...

View from the peg towards Melbourne Church... It is a pretty place to fish!

Sunday, 8 May 2011


took mentalor to a venu lecal to him - did a 22 hour stint for 1 bream (18:45), 3carp and a handful of bits. Mentalor peaked with a 2lb9oz tench at 20 past eight. 5 or 6 lb carp at 20:45 and another of about 3lbs ten minutes later. Anther came at just after midnght, this one just shy of 8 lbs

Sunday, 1 May 2011

New Dam

This weekend we went camping in the peak district with a group of friends, a group which happened to include Mentalor and Wanye.  Since he last featured on the blog Wanye has kitted himself out with some second hand tackle, he simply needed a licence and he would be set to go...of course he had forgotten to do this prior to departure & paid the price as he battled through an eternally slow internet connection using his phone from a field in the depths of rural Derbyshire.
Paperwork sorted, bait was next on the agenda, a quick trip into Matlock revealed that finding maggots might be a problem, and a phone call to the Bakewell Fly Fishing shop confirmed that supermarket bait was the best we could hope for in the immediate vicinity. So armed with bread, sweetcorn and spam, and with a secret stash of a dozen precious redworms, we were all set for an afternoon and evening fishing.
Finding coarse fishing in the peak district isn't exactly easy, top quality trout fishing is everywhere, but I had struggled to find us anywhere local until I stumbled into an old forum post mentioning "New Dam" at Youlgreave. The ordnance survey map revealed a prime candidate a couple of hundred metres southwest of Youlgrave & an email to the keeper of the Peacock fishery on the Wye (thanks Warren) confirmed that this was the place. Accessed via a long drive, the pool had a board posting the tel number of the farmer, and he popped down to see us on his way to get the cows in for milking.  Mostly bream, carp and perch he told us, and despite it being a bank holiday weekend we had the pool to ourselves.

Mentalor started by seeking monster perch with a mepps while I took Wanye through knotting and shotting his terminal tackle, with breadflake as the bait. I was in no hurry to get fishing, taking an hour or two at the start of the session to make sure my apprentices were settled in before setting up in an adjacent peg which I had fed with 4 slices of bread pinched into fingertip sized flakes shortly after we arrived.

Mentalor had the first fish, a small bream, on a redworm, and reusing what remained of the redworm quickly followed it with a perch.

When I finally got around to casting it took a just a few minutes until the first bite, which I missed... A second bite, which I also missed came moments later and was followed by a third , three bites within 15 mins but no fish contacted. I was a little puzzled. This time I baited with two redworms, each hooked once through the tip of the tails so they hunk enticingly downwards with the hookpoint clear and pointily awaiting its opportunity. This bite was more decisive than the others, the float shot under and to the left, as I lifted to the right the rod flexed into an interesting curve for a second to two, before the skimmer broke the surface and surrendered its slime to my landing net. The bream was followed by a perch, then another skimmer, a carbon copy of is brother taken earlier. 

It was half past seven, and a large lump of compressed legered bread was to give me my next fish - a small but feisty carp of about three and a half pounds which got into the reeds at my feet, costing me a lead which was dropped by the clip as the carp was coaxed from its futile attempt at sanctuary. Another small bream fell for the last of my precious redworms and the bait crisis this precipitated was generously solved by the only other angler on the pool. His donation to our cause of a quarter pint of surplus maggots handed on when he packed up, helped us soldier on, attempting to add to our tally. 
  As the light faded, a bit before nine, a shout from Mentalor ejected me from my swim, he was into a better fish, his first proper fight really, and it was giving him a bit of a run around. I picked up the net, with Menatalor brandishing the bucking rod in the manner of a confident amateur. Eventually he got the fishes head out of the water, and netted it for him, forgetting that the net I was using had a habit fof collapsing if
used the "wrong" way round. Of course, predictably, it was the wrong side up, and the arms collapsed before me as the net flopped down over the handle, flaccidly enveloping the carp, but retaining it nevertheless. Happy faces all round, the carp weighed in at 3lb 9oz, a nice new PB for the old apprentice. It was also an opportunity for us to give Wanye a bit of a ribbing, as we had landed 7 fish whilst he was still yet to score.

  Returning to my swim I had another another bite on the legered bread which failed to connect. Wayne had found some fish, taking a small bream and a perch I think, and with Mentalors and my tally at 5 each darkness had deemed our fishing time to be over. We returned to the tents at Barn farm, toasting our success with some rapidly consumed bevvies, and agreeing that mentalors carp was the "best" fish, even if mine pipped it a bit on weight...