Friday, 17 August 2012

College Loonies

Like Roger Booth has recently blogged, the carp at College Pool, although small, do not fight the way they're supposed to. I think the biggest I've ever caught there barely reached double figures, but they obviously have watched too many action movies and aspire to join Stallone, Van Damme et al.

I parked yesterday morning at about 7:30 to find no-one else there . Having this luxury, I had a walk around the pool - didn't take long! - and decided to fish the far end near the lillies.

I know from previous experience that you can't afford to be anything but alert when fishing from this peg, but still put up a quiver rod for the thousands of perch, amongst which swam some heavyweights as I found out to my delight last year.

I came "gunned up" ( is that right? I know "under-gunned".) I had my usual carp gear, a 2.75lbs TC rod, 12lbs main line, a Korda Safe Zone leader and 15lbs braid with a size 8 strong hook. A little on the heavy side? Not when you're fishing here for these loonies. Bait was double 20mm boilie inside a solid bag. I scattered a few freebie boiles in and around the lillies and overhanging tree - no need for a catapult!

Initially, I started catching perch on the quiver, in fact they were coming one a chuck. Nothing of any size; up to 3/4 lb. I was using a maggot feeder with 2 red maggots on the hook and changed to prawn to try to tempt the bigger fish. No chance. Swinging in 4 " perch with the prawn literally filling their mouths reminded me of their voracity (greedy buggers actually).

It didn't take long for the carp to start showing an interest. No twitches, no lifting of the line, just wham-bam-thank-you-mam. The first one caught me out and by the time I'd grabbed the rod it had me in the middle of the lillies. Knowing I had some strong stuff on I tried a tug of war. No result, for me at least. Then I slackened off and watched the line for a few minutes. Nothing. I went back to strong arm tactics and only managed a lilly pad.

 That was it, war!

I concentrated on the carp and let the perch swim rest.  The next time the reel spun I was on it in a second or so. Leaning into the fish, I was amazed at the bend in the rod.  Surely a high double? No, a feisty 8lb on the nose mirror.

Not the rod I was using, just like the juxtaposition of centre pin, goose quill and fish.

A very enjoyable day finished with 5 carp hooked, 3 landed and at least 50 perch. Another result was that just as I reached the car, the heavens opened. So I remained dry, well dryish.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Car Boot Gems

Not the "got any jewellery, mobile phones?" etc chat from the dealers who descend on the poor booters even before the engines are turned off, rather 2 nice rods from days gone by.

I've only once had the chance to buy a real gem, a Hardy split cane rod which needed some attention at £80, but I turned it down, foolishly as I now know. But this weekend saw us going to a couple of our regular car boots in the area. I found a lovely cane and split cane 10' rod in fabulous condition. Not made by any well-known firm, in fact it doesn't have any markings but just the quality and feel made me buy it after a small negotiation!

The other is a 13' hollow glass rod, again in great condition made by Norco of Fordingbridge and is an "Interceptor" by Howard Humphrey. He was part of Ivan Marks's "Likely Lads" match team in the 1970s and was a brand manager for Lanes Tackle.

So I can't wait to try these 2 rods out, bought for a total of £11, maybe on my local bit of the Oxford canal.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

10th August Middle Severn

I'd promised myself a trip to one of the BAA's stretches on the middle or lower Severn and finally made the effort on Friday. I had a reasonably early start and pulled up in the car park around 7:30 to find not a soul in site. Happy days!

This stretch is fairly straight and I chose a swim which had an overhanging tree to my left, downstream, with a clear bit of water directly in front and upstream.

Knowing that this part of the river holds some good-sized bream and also the possibility of a large barbel,  I set up a large halibut pre-drilled pellet under the tree and a cage feeder with smaller soft pellets on a quiver rod. This was cast slightly upstream into the main channel.

I soon had the bream interested and started to catch them up to 6 - 7 lbs.

The best went 8lbs 3oz.

I was pleasantly surprised to pick up the odd roach, which found double 8mm soft pellets to their liking! Mostly they were in the 1/2 - 3/4lb range but the best went a very nice 1lbs 7oz.

I'm afraid despite ringing the changes of bait and hooklength the barbel didn't show. I went from 3' mono to 6" braid, hook sizes from 12 to 8, pellet to meat to boilie, all to no avail. Still I enjoyed the wildlife between bream/roach as well as 6 hang gliders doing their crazy stuff god knows how many hundreds of feet above.

There were the usual summer boaters, both holiday-makers in narrowboats as well as a few gin palaces. Most were really sensitive to the angler (me) and when they realised I was there, pulled further out into the river.

However, around lunchtime I heard the chug chug of a narrow boat coming upstream but couldn't see it through the tree to my left. I thought that it must be further away than I thought until suddenly, about 10 ft from my bank appeared the bow with 2 ladies of a certain age enjoying a cuppa. On seeing me one shrieked back to the Captain, "Look out, there's someone here!". I sunk both rod tips in speed which Usain Bolt would have been proud of, and watched in amazement as the craft continued its parallel course, not turning one iota until Captain Pugwash casually said, "We'll only be 15 minutes, we're just stopping for a bite". With that he churned the water and proceeded to moor no more than a few yards upstream from me.

A reasonable guess would have been that within several miles there were no other fishermen. So why here? Good as his word, after 20 minutes or so he cast off and, instead of continuing up the river, he swung the boat around and went back to wherever he came from. Hopefully only to fall in some mammoth-sized cowpats when disembarking!

Rosinante, I solute you (with 2 fingers!).

I ended up with 8 bream between 6 and 8lbs 3oz and some very nice roach up to 1lbs 7oz. Oh, and a bit of sunburn.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Early Doors at a Thames Jungle and Pimlico

I've had a couple of trips out in the last 2 weeks. The first, to a small stretch of the Thames west of Oxford which is on a Club card I recently bought. Although it takes only 30 minutes to drive to the track leading down to the river, it's another 15 minutes negotiating the rutted track and field to get to the water. 2 gates later, one of which is padlocked, I saw what lay ahead of me.

Driving down to the bank I was careful not to lose the exhaust system. Having parked, I decided to walk the stretch and managed to get soaking wet struggling through the knee-high grasses and weeds.

I must remember that at 5 o'clock in the morning everything is saturated despite any fine weather forecast!

Along the whole length, about 1.5 miles, there were only 3 or 4 "easy" swims. Everything else entailed major gardening and ground work to reach the river.  I settled in a swim which was just below a bend, having a quick walking pace flow.

I didn't connect with any of the barbel for which I was hoping, but did manage several smallish chub up to about 2.5 lbs.  As the holiday makers started their breakfasts and decided to move their boats I decided to head off home. Particularly as at about 9 o'clock this one got confused and thought he was at Silverstone with Lewis et al. Good job I had packed away most of my stuff otherwise sitting on the edge I would only have got soaked again.

So yesterday I had another early (for me) start - 5 am - and went down the the small lake where I caught my PB carp a few weeks ago. This entails a bit of a walk, although nothing compared with Martin's new water. I think he said it's a 35 mile walk, or was it 35 mins?

Although there were 3 anglers there before me, I had most of the main lake to choose from. and fished a swim opposite the one I fished earlier. I chose this because I'd noticed that the fish were showing on the surface there rather than on my side of the lake.

 Good job my boots are waterproof
You may see the gloopy mud which went up to my ankles.

As it was early and I couldn't see any activity up in the water, I started with 2 bottom baits, one under a tree to my left and the other a little way out. It was from the "tree" rod where the action came and 3 nicely scaled mirrors just making doubles came in fairly quick succession.

I'll have to sort out this self-take stuff!

This one had some nasty marks, spawning trophies?

Around 7 ish I started to see some dark shapes cruising just under the surface in the middle of the lake so I got out my floater gear and put away the bottom rods. I'd recently bought a brand new Sonic rod from a lad on eBay for buttons and wanted to try this out. Although it's a 2.75lb TC I'm  impressed with its action. Nice and relatively soft tip, so with a 10lb main line and a 8lb hooklink I had no problem playing fish close in.

I had a further 3 off the top and funnily enough all were commons and all torpedo-shaped. As forecast it started to rain around midday so I packed up having had a most enjoyable 6 or 7 hours fishing.