Saturday, 30 June 2012

Marcliff Weir

Martin persuaded me that a late afternoon start at Marcliff would be a good idea. As he works and thus supports us poor retirees I agreed.

Arriving before him I walked down from the car park to find that nearly all pegs on the island were occupied but 2 guys said they'd be going around 6 ish. I continued down the main river and found that there were only 1 or 2 swims which didn't need the agility of a Joe Brown (showing my age).

The river was looking in great condition, about 8" up but, according to one of the fishermen, just fining down. The colour looked perfect.

By the time I got back to the car Martin was just arriving so we loaded up and walked back to the weir. Luckily a guy who had been there since 7 am was packing up and I dropped into his swim. He left with the news that out of 8 bites he only landed 3 fish, all the others making off downstream and promptly taking him into the bullrushes. At least I knew they were feeding!

Martin had brought his chest waders and wanted to roll some meat under the far treeline so went into the only remaining swim at the top of the island.  After an hour or so of a) having to add more weight to my large feeder in order to hold station in the flow, b) losing hooklinks and c) landing just 2 small chub, I walked along to see how Martin was getting on. He was certainly getting into it big time! He was halfway across nearly up to his armpits.

Shortly afterwards he landed a nice fat-looking chub. Picking it up I was surprised that its' round tummy was in fact empty and probably just scraped 3lbs.  So the intrepid explorer ventured out again into the torrent.

By this time he had managed to soak his jacket thus ruining anything in the pockets, including his carefully prepared sticks of luncheon meat.

When the 2 other anglers had packed up I moved into their swim which gave a better and wider view of the main current at the far bank.

I only managed one more chub in the high 2lbs but it was in fine condition, although, like Martins', had an empty belly. So no barbel for me, just 3 chub, but when I packed up just after 9 Martin was braving it out 'till dark. I think he finished with 3 or 4 fish including 1 barbel. He had, however, been broken by a very large fish earlier.

An unusual thing happened while we were there. The first 2 anglers, who had moved, lived in East Anglia and around 5 pm 2 others arrived from Hull. 4 from miles away!

The Hull guys were down for their annual trip of 5 or so days, fully prepared with bivvy etc. They were giving Marcliff until Sunday then heading off to Fladbury weir for a day or so. I know the fishing here can be very good but it was strange to meet 4 anglers who had made, between them, over 700 miles round trips to fish our part of the river.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Half a Pint of Reds Please

I had a similar result yesterday afternoon as a fellow blogger, Pike Blog.

When I caught my PB carp last week, another angler told me that the 2 smaller pools there had a good stock of roach going well over 1 lb. I fancied using my new "old" wagglers recently purchased from eBay. Originally I was going to stick with corn, pellets and bread flake, but as I was walking past my local tackle shop I popped in for some essentials (we all do that don't we? Not sure you could describe all such purchases as "essentials"). At the last moment I got 1/2 pint of red maggots, just in case the other baits failed to interest the roach.

As the day was blindingly fine, it was a mistake to arrive just before midday. The car park was packed and when I had a walk around the 2 smaller pools there was only 1 swim free, tucked up in a shallow corner. If I hadn't bought the maggots I might have gone back home but I couldn't see nearly £2's worth of fresh bait turn to flies - no chance of using the fridge in the kitchen! I'm not Scottish, honest.

I had a sleeper carp rod out under the far bank cover and set up my 15' float rod with a centre pin loaded with 3lbs line. The small Wotton goose quill was set just to touch bottom on the shelf out from some reeds. I baited up with hemp and corn, leaving the grains to work while I had a drink.

Starting with corn I immediately caught some nice-looking roach around 6". I switched between the corn, flake and pellet but couldn't up the size of fish.  The guy to my right had a lovely view of a far bank bay where he said he could see dark shapes cruising. Luckily for me he packed up early so I quickly moved into the spot.

My carp rod was cast to the far bank from which you couldn't fish due to the "jungle". I thought that it was a given that sooner rather than later I'd be into a carp. Bugger all! Except that I did have 2 very short bleeps on the buzzer and when I finally wound in the lead clip rubber had moved up the line by about a foot. So I guess I'd been done over by some clever carp.

You may be wondering where the maggots in the title come into it. I had been reluctant to switch from corn etc to the maggots reasoning that they wouldn't improve the stamp of fish I was getting. But I was wrong. In the 3 - 4 hours I had nearly 100 lovely roach and rudd on double maggot ending up with stinky trousers and an even worse towel.

Although there were no one pounders, almost all of the fish were between 1/2 and 3/4 lb. By the time I'd run out of maggots - and getting anxious to get back to see the England v Ukraine 7:45 kick off - I was catching them about 1 ft deep with the shoal boiling on the surface. A place to go back to in the winter months with JH's bread discs I think.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Passport To Pimlico

On my last post I mentioned that I'd been sussing out some places more local to me, i.e. within 20 minutes, so I could steal the odd evening without keeping BP, Shell et al in the lap of luxury. The photo of the "pod" of carp was taken at one which is literally 5 minutes away. The other place I had looked at is slightly further - 10 minutes - but I'd recently heard that there were some high 20s and even a couple of low 30s in there. It used to be popular with the kids when I last fished there about 10 - 15 years ago, hence my reluctance to go back. (I know, we were all one once.) Then, although you normally caught, the average size was around 6 - 8 lbs. Not to be sniffed at but not exactly awe-inspiring.

So yesterday I set off early doors (breaking my "somewhere for the evening" idea) and firstly stopped to have a look at the very local one. Only 1 car was in the car park and I had a quick walk around. However, something told be I should go on to the other one. When I pulled up I could see that there were already a few cars and vans parked, but as there are 3 lakes I assumed there would be plenty of choices.  In fact the one I wanted to fish only had a couple of anglers set up. I walked round to the windward bank. Previously, when I'd done my recce, a couple of fishermen told me that it wasn't necessary to cast far, in fact most were coming out from the margins.  With that in mind I baited 2 spots close in.

Stoneacres it's not!

My right hand rod with a balanced Source boilie was placed tight to the rushes and the left hand one was dropped as close to the tree as I dared. I had a Withy rig on this one with a pink 10mm pop up. The tree rod had only been in for about 30 minutes when the bobbin slammed into the blank and the rod tip was pulled around. I was fishing with a tight clutch and was worried that the fish would rush under the obvious escape route of the submerged branches. To my surprise it decided to head off to the the middle of the lake. Thanks. It was a powerful run, taking line steadily from my now loosened clutch. I was surprised having a fish take line as easily as this on my usual carp set-up so I thought it must be a better stamp than I was used to. I had it close in on several occasions but each time it powered off again towards the middle. Now I was sure I was looking at a good 20. After the 4th or 5th attempt at coaxing it towards the net I managed to get it over the string. All the while my bacon was burning on the stove, so while I let it rest in the margins I turned the bloody pan off.

Lifting out in the net I was now convinced it was going to be a PB. It looked a lovely smooth mirror and went 29lbs 6oz., easily beating my previous best. Apologies for the quality of the photo but my phone isn't really the dog's whatsits when it comes to taking pics in full sunlight.

My mug of coffee and re-cooked bacon sarnie tasted wonderful!

Later in the day the same rod roared off again, this time wiping out my right hand rod in the process. This fight was different in that the fish really seemed to be mad at being hooked. It went mental, running right, left and off into the middle but I managed to get it into the net sooner than the first. This one was a torpedo-shaped common, also in great condition, not having the shoulders or the belly of the mirror. It went 20lbs 4oz.

Two fish for just shy of 50lbs, I was well chuffed!

The common had a rig still in it's mouth. Boilie still on the braided hair, but a short length of snapped mono which I put at 6 or 8 lbs. Not the best balanced combination of Mono/Braid I think.

PS I'm hoping our resident technical expert (JH) can do something with the fish pics as I can't Photoshop out the contrast.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Trad Floats and Some Quarry

I've just bought some hand-made traditional floats, cane and balsa avons and wagglers as well as some goose quill "Wottons". Checking out a local stillwater (10 mins from house) I spotted over 20 potential targets for the Wottons lazing in about 3 ft of water amongst weed.
I'll be back there soon for an evening mooch.