Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Bury Hill, 25.10.11

Martin had arranged a trip down to Bury Hill in Dorking to have a crack at Zander. As I'd never caught one, much to my chagrin, I accepted his offer of a lift down there. We arrived about a quarter to seven - gates open at 7 - and were first in the queue. I was looking forward to an early bacon sarnie as eating at 5 in the morning, the time Martin picked me up, is far too early for my stomach. How disappointing therefore to find that the cafe would only be open from 1 until 1:30. However, the cafe was serving some match anglers who had booked a match and I persuaded the guy that putting a few extra pieces of bacon on wouldn't cause him mega problems. Still, I suppose WE were doing HIM a favour just by being there!

Having fished there earlier this year with Jeff, Martin decided that the high 30's were the pegs; this was the area where Jeff had his double in March. He suggested peg 37 which was nicely sheltered from the wind by a semi-submerged tree and had the island in front.

Using small, 1oz, leads on large running rings I put a small piece of roach on one rod and a strip of fresh mackerel on the other. At Martin's suggestion I placed one 2 rod lengths out and the other towards the island. The morning soon lost its clouds and we were faced with bright sunshine and fairly calm conditions. Not ideal for the zeds I was hoping for. However, I persisted, changing baits and positions. The chap in the tackle shop had reminded us that they were often to be found in the margins so I cast down to my left just in front of a platform 2 or 3 away. (We had most of this bank to ourselves so it wasn't inconveniencing anyone else.) At midday, while Martin and I were chatting we noticed the bobbin on this rod was jiggling up against the blank so it was fairly obvious that something had taken a fancy to the roach head. There was no need for any subtlety like paying out line from the baitrunner so I just tightened into the fish.

Result! My first zander; and at 4lbs 4oz not a bad one to start with. With the ban on trebles or barbed hooks, the size 4 came out easily, in fact it dropped out in the net.

Soon after we had enjoyed sausage and egg sandwiches around half one, Martin had a take which resulted in a small zander of around 1 - 1 1/2lbs.  It looked likely that my fish was going to be the only one but eventually Martin managed another nice fish of around 3lbs.
The action stopped with me hooking a pike around 6 - 8lbs which threw the hook before I could even draw it to the net.

Still, I was extremely pleased to have broken my zander duck and will definitely get down again this winter to try to find Jeff's double!

As well as the usual birdlife on and around the lake, we heard a most peculiar sound and Martin soon spotted a bright green parrot (or parakeet) in a tree overhead. I was aware that they had become extremely common in the south but hadn't actually seen on until now. Wild Parrots Settle in Suburbs

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A Potpourri

Since the end of August my visits to the bank have been somewhat limited for various reasons so I decided to bring together 3 adventures, two where I got soundly kicked in the bum and one where a complete change of scenery and location brought some relief.
Firstly, as has been well documented on other Blogs, 6 of us got together to celebrate someones birthday (60th or something?) at the impressive venue, Blenheim Palace lake. Despite the fact that it's only 20 minutes down the road for me I'd never fished there before. So, along with everyone else, I was excited about this trip. So much so that aiming for a 6am meet at the gates, I found myself walking the streets of Woodstock at 5:25am! It was a magical half hour with the orange glow of the street lamps lighting up the interesting, but expensive, shops and restaurants of this VERY touristy town.
I had an interesting conversation with a Gentleman of the Road while drinking my coffee and when I returned to the gates found them open so I drove in (and around!) the Estate before meeting up with the rest of the crew.
Here's the Birthday Boy (boy?) choosing his craft.
The three boats set off at 2 or 3 minute intervals depending upon a) the dexterity of the oarsman and b) the amount of gear we loaded.
I was with Martin, who despite bringing along not only the kitchen sink but also the bathroom and downstairs loo's sinks, rowed us manfully and successfully down the lake. The mist was still hanging about and this made for some nice sights of our compatriots appearing out of the gloom.
I'll gloss over the results of the Good Ship Sod All and just confirm that the other 4 had some very fine results.
The well-known problem of getting rid of the coffee/tea/orange juice etc while in the middle of a small sea was quickly overcome by my compatriot thus:
Keith kindly presented us not only with a piece of his Birthday cake, home-made by himself he assured us, but also a lovely hand-made quill float, here beautifully demonstrated by Martin.

A couple of pints in the town at the close of play brought an end to the adventure and the only comfort I could take from the day was that I'd be back home in 20 or so minutes.

Next came my attempts at a catfish. I'd had on good authority that a small lake in Pitsford - about 40 minutes drive - held them up to 60lbs. Certainly pictures of 40lbs plus specimens confirmed their existence. Armed with some gob stopper halibut pellets and a box of California's finest calamari, I arrived to find I was the only angler. It was smaller than I imagined but a chat with a couple of guys who turned up while I was having a walk around gave me an idea of location.

Result, zilch. Move on.

Finally it was time for our week in Southwold. We returned to a flat we have rented on a number of occasions. The beauty of it is that it overlooks the beach and when I'm fishing, a quick attempt at tic tac (learned from my mis-spent youth at Birmingham Racecourse) brings my wife down with a cup of coffee. Perfect!
I fished about every other day, catching the high tide and staying for an hour or two through the ebb. I had bass, both takeable and small schoolies, as well as an eel. This was the first one I'd caught either from fresh or salt water for more than 10 years so I very carefully - no that doesn't go with the word "eel" - with GREAT difficulty unhooked and released it back into the surf. I was fishing 2 rods, 1 with lug tipped with a sliver of squid just lobbed into the third breaker, the other with a whole squid cast to the horizon (in my dreams). This second rod remained untouched as I think it was too early for the codling. All my fish came to the first rod.

So five or six weeks with only three sorties. All enjoyable even though only one saw fish on the bank. Now we're into proper Autumn weather with frosty mornings forecast maybe I'll have better luck with the predators.