Nomadic November

The start of November saw me 6000 miles away in Guangzhou, China on holiday with my wife and taking the chance to visit our youngest son who had gone out there to teach English. I was quite interested in visiting a tackle shop should the chance arise but I knew fishing was out of the question for the duration of the visit. The visit highlighted the diversity of modern China- on the one hand you had shopping malls and neon lit shopping avenues and on the other shanty style shop fronts where the whole street would sell exactly the same thing – a spice street, a pet street, a medical appliance street next to a hospital- you get the picture! The parks were interesting with the closest to our hotel being Liwan Lake Park – the water level had been dropped and there were lines of thin rope in lanes across the lakes- at first I thought cormorant prevention but the reason was much simpler- teams of men in waders were working their way along the lanes clearing weed! Most parks had lakes with koi and other species but no fishing! You could feed the fish however!

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I did get to a tackle shop eventually; on one of my son’s  days off we traveled by train to Jiangmen, about 40mins on the train- it was only a local train but very modern and we hit 198kmph on the journey! Just outside the towns I was surprised to see commercial type ponds with people fishing under blue brollies, the temperature was in the high 20s on that day but went up to 30+ during our visit. Gouangzhou is the third largest city in China after Beijing and Shanghai with a population of over 16million, Jiangmen was just a little place- population 4million!! No pictures of the shops (two to be precise) as they consisted of an open shop front with shelves upon which were numerous whips, telescopic rods, pellets, floats and other paraphernalia, including two turtles for sale! Looking at the whips I picked out a 5m one to buy for my lad (he had already bought himself a telescopic rod and reel set up previously) cost £5, then began to look for terminal tackle to go with it but to my surprise the women owner began measuring off line at the counter against a meter stick, and began setting up the whip with a float , weights and two!! hooks that looked to be size 6/8, then fastened all this to a removable winder that attached to the handle of the whip. The completed whip was then put inside a new cloth bag so as not to compromise the rig- all for £5. A pot of worms cost 30p!

The river that runs through Jiangmen was alive with catfish and what looked like carp or some variant of carp close in to the side with other fish topping further out in the flow.

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To date the fishing has been difficult as you cannot get down to the bank but bites are hard to come by and harder to hit- even with the hooks to nylon I took over for him – to date his sole catch has been this-

I await further news!

Returning to the UK, (16.5 hours) I slept in my own bed for one night before leaving on the Saturday for March, Cambridgeshire to fish an MFS match on the Old Nene on the Sunday. Leaving the hotel I had a leisurely 5min drive to the draw, although the conditions were not great with a very strong down wind accompanying a very grey looking sky! The wind was so strong that it actually blew a seatbox off a barrow, down the bank and into the water at the peg next to me, fortunately the box was retrieved with no lasting damage. I made a fundamental error that day in that I had planned to set up the pole to fish a chopped worm line, but decided against doing so as the wind was so strong as too making the pole virtually unfishable apart from close in. So it was the waggler and 5m (Chinese) whip that was set up with with liquidised bread and breadpunch being my bait for starters. To cut a long windy story short, I had a good 3 hours catching on the punch before a tangle saw me lose the fish and I scratched around for the last part of the match on the pinkie and squatt to end up with 5-8-0 and no where in the match. The guy upstream from me caught some bonus fish on the worm on the pole fished close in!!!

A couple of days later saw me at Bowood, peg 11 were after a slow start bream of 4-6, 3-15 and 3-12 graced my net along with some small roach for a 12-8 total despite losing two good fish that I still cannot decide if they were tench or pike.

The following Saturday to the March match I was hosting a silver fish only match at Lakeside near Rowde, just outside Devizes. I had never fished the venue before but had heard good things and as it was not normally open to the public, nor open to day tickets I was hoping for a good match. Come the day and we are met with an 8 degree drop in temperature and a bitter northern wind replacing the mild south westerly we had all week- typical! The match itself was a tale of two banks- the North bank (wind on their backs ) had a 51lb weight of hand sized skimmers along with 3 other weights of over 20lb, the south bank (wind in your face) was won with 15lb and I was second with 11-4. If the conditions had been kinder the results may well have been truly outstanding.

November finishes off with three visits to Bowood the first with real bitterly cold conditions a water level to the top of the platform and chocolate water and despite 2 hours without a bite a clutch of small roach and blades accompanied by a very rare Bowood gudgeon saw me hit the pound mark- no takes naturally on the pike rod in those conditions. Two days later I returned minus pike tackle and only with the 11m banana and back pack thinking it would be an opportunity to practice it as the pike rod could stay at home given the water colour and further rain. To my surprise I was met with an 18inch drop in level and clear water(someone had opened the sluice!”). Ideal for pike! I persevered with the banana but my heart wasn’t really in it and 2lb of small roach and blades later I packed up. Next day I returned with pike tackle and my usual pole setup to be greeted with the same water level but now coloured water! No takes on the pike tackle, but two tench of 3-11 and 3-7 together with roach and small skimmers saw a 11-4 return.

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Roll on December!

Oracular October

October started with a holiday down in darkest Devon (no internet or phone signal) coming to an end at Bulworthy Lodges. The lodges are set into the wooded hillside on one side of a valley with a series of small lakes created by damming a stream at various points on its way down the hillside. Fishing wise it was an opportunity to relax and try out things. I had taken my usual holiday kit – similar to what I take to Bowood but had included the 5m Chinese whip and a 8ft Beastmaster carp /stalking rod.

The plan was to put out the Beastmaster as a sleeper with boilie or pellet on the hook alongside the solitary island on the main lake, while fishing pole  or whip for the hordes of roach that live there. The week flew by and saw me get two carp of 6-6 and 8-4 in between stacks of roach and skimmers. The swims were fizzing but not with fish but crayfish (both native and signal unusually)- single bubbles erupting at the surface heralded their arrival and it can only be said that they were a pain!

So back to Bowood and it appeared it was getting moodier than ever! My first two visits saw me get a jack pike of 4-4 plus some roach for a total of 7-8 from peg 11. Another visit to peg 11 saw me get one bite-one fish, a half ounce roach. After this I decided to more further afield and try on the opposite bank- a place I had never ventured.

A long walk (but easier as it was flat) saw me arrive with a waggler and pike rod at the first peg

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behind the island (peg 18?). Plumbing up confirmed it was shallow and the water was gin clear. Pike rod was cast out 20m or so with a joey mackeral as bait beneath a pencil float, quickly followed by the waggler and some loose fed maggots. Two hours later the only thin g I had to show for my efforts was a missed run on the pike rod, nothing, nado, zilch on the waggler. I decided to move around the other side of the island in search of deeper water. As I packed up a bream of about 4lb swam serenely past the platform within touching distance- and kept on swimming!

Setting up on peg 19(?),

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I plumbed up and found a drop off about 13m out into about 6 foot of water, pike rod cast to the side of the baited area, waggler cast out and little and often catapulted helpings of 5-6 maggots every couple of minutes saw nothing change. Then the bell struck two and the float buried- a roach of an ounce, next cast the bait reached the bottom and the float buried again- it was as if a tap had been turned on or the fish were waiting for the bell to sound so they could begin feeding! Then 3 bream in three casts followed by more roach until the bell sounded 3pm and the tap was magically turned off! In that hour I had 12 roach and 3 bream plus missed a couple of bites for 8-8.

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Walking back there was a member fishing peg 8, on asking he had one bite exactly at 12:30 from a bream of 4-8. It was interesting as the bell chimes at quarter past, half past and quarter to the hour as well as marking the hour. Coincidence?

Later that week we had the opportunity to fish the public area of Bowood, so i made my usual trek down to the Lawns area, made all the easier this year as the keeper took pity on us and offered to transport our kit down. I began with 10 casts of the feeder at 50 turns to get a bed of groundbait and casters down then began on red maggot to see what response I could get. Small fish found the bait first and after an hour I rested the swim and had a look on the pole line that I had been priming- again small roach. The pike rod had been out  with no interest registering on the float. Back to the feeder and to cut a long story short I ended up with 6 bream and a tench of 3-14 for a total of 28-0, the bream came in a two hour burst over mid day then disappeared. No runs at all on the pike rod. I packed up at 4pm with a long trek back, this time with my kit!

I decided to give peg 11 another go on my next visit and managed to get one tench of 4-5 out on my 0.10mm hook length but lost a further two which took me into the still dense weed-bed to my right. A few roach saw me end the day with 5-5 and  attached to a double figure pike on the pole that enjoyed tail walking several times before finally biting through the line! No runs on the pike rod!!!

A further visit to peg 11 a few days later saw me finally get a run on the pike rod resulting in a pike of 8-8 and only one bite on the pole resulting in a bream of 2-12 for a total of 11-04. Another visit to the opposite bank was called for and this time I settled in peg 21(?) which was almost opposite 11 as I had spotted plenty of activity last time on this side.IMG_0672

Pike rod cast just to the side of my pole line, I had a slow start and then began to get bites from roach when I had a run on the pike rod- a jack of 4-8- an hour later another run saw a pike of 8-12 find the net. On release this pike just lay sulking at the rear of the platform (21 is set out 10-12ft from the bank) for a good half hour before moving off.Again the roach disappeared and 14-08 was the return for the day.IMG_0671

Spot the pike! Superb natural camouflage.

Witherington Farm near Salisbury was my next outing- not to fish, but to coach a friend’s 11 year old who had only been fishing a couple of times (sea and trout) before I met him in August at a previous visit to Withy and had started him on pole fishing with some old kit I gave him. I always set a target when I am coaching and today’s was to beat his best total number of fish which was 18. Fishing peg 84 on the inner snake we set off at 8m (the most he can handle at present) with a 10 elastic but after a few lost fish, I gambled and put the same rig on a no 4 elastic to try and offset any loose line on shipping back. I also set up a margin rig with 0.20mm Shogun to a 12 in the hope of getting him a better carp. He had never landed his own fish previously so after the first couple he was shown what to do and there on in he landed all but one fish himself. Sod’s Law, as always, applied and he latched into a good carp that he had on for 3-4 minutes before the carp managed to put it’s turbo on and the line parted. The day ended with him getting a carp from the margins on paste of 7-6 (this was the one he did not net himself!) and a new pb  not only with the carp but a total of 23 fish.

Next day I was off to Shatterford, just outside Kidderminster, for a MatchFishing Scene organised silvers match on Stella Lake.It began raining when I got there and carried on until about 3pm when the sun came out. I was on peg 6 which was one of two exposed pegs on the lake. The lake did not fish up to expectations and my 53 fish (mainly gudgeon and small roach, with one “specimen” of 5 ounces on my first put in) went 3-1. Herbie, the organise, was on peg 12 and every time I looked up he had a carp on, great for a silvers match!

Bowood beckons for a last couple of outings before a trip to China!

Sulky September

September is a funny month, it can be red hot or teeming down with rain or dead cold and this year has seen all of these! Only managed 5 visits to Bowood to date but will come to that in a minute. September has been punctuated by a visit away to a small place just outside Richmond in North Yorks with the wife and in-laws and the month finishes with my wife and I having a week down at Bulworthy near Barnstaple.

The Richmond visit was interesting as I had only put in a small haversack seat with a travel rod to fish the farm pond (lake) on the site to which I had sole use. Day 1 saw me go down in the evening for a couple of hours, waterproofs on, fleece on and shivering in the cold wind that was blowing. The water was about 100m long and 40-50m wide and was inhabited by a large flock of geese with the odd duck. The farmer’s wife had been vague when she said she was unsure what fish were in there so it was a trip into the unknown armed only with bread, corn and pellets. Two hours later having not found any area deeper than 18inches, nor seen any sight of fish I went back to the cottage to warm up with a whiskey! Next evening saw a similar story, except this time it was accompanied by torrential rain (thank goodness I took my Gore-tex!). Third evening the farmer drove down and stopped to chat- it appeared the water had been stocked with roach, perch and trout but they had been visited by cormorants! I didn’t bother again!

Bowood has been suffering from something, whether the effects of the climate or something else but it has fished poorly this year in comparison to last, either that or I have been fishing badly each time! The first visit saw me try peg 11, usually a banker for some roach and some bigger fish. Pike were again in evidence and although I persevered with corn I could not get anything apart from one large tench that took me into the weeds, so to save a blank put on maggot and put 1-02 of small roach in the net before giving the corn a final go to no avail.

The next visit saw a rare event- another angler but on peg 11 so I settled on peg 9 (the pegging is very generous so I was still 30-40+m away) and this time managed to get a tinca of 3-0 and two bream of 4-2 and 3-14 all on the corn, plus some other skimmers and roach for 16-00. From the videos of the tench and bream you can see that I have changed to a lighter hollow (an 8-10) given the change in conditions, I had also scaled down to a 0.12mm Shogun hook length.

Next two visits were unusual in that I was thwarted each time by someone fishing where I had planned resulting in me fishing peg 8 both times and somehow managing to catch exactly 10-00 each time one bream and one tench plus bits and losing two tench on each occasion!

Latest visit was today, got up with the decision to be at the lake and fishing before 9am. Well I achieved that despite a wheel coming off the trolley which resulted in me having to make some hasty repairs! The shooting season must almost be upon us as the pheasants were everywhere, one even being nosey enough to watch me through the gate on my journey down.

Peg 11 was duly primed with a couple of small balls of groundbait and some micros as the temperature when I set off was only 5C. Nothing on maggot, corn, pellet, in fact not a sign of anything so put in a bit of chopped worm-nothing, put in a second lot of worm then still fishing maggot at 10:44 it was as if a magical hand had turned a tap on -it was a bite a chuck on the maggot, albeit small fish. To cut a long story short corn produced the best tench so far this season of 4-5  and a bream of 3-2 then nothing. Ending with 9-12 a little after 2pm

When playing the tench a double figure pike followed it in and took an interest in my keepnet- so much so that I netted it while playing the tench. The pike did not take kindly to being netted and thrashed about in the net so much so I let it go and it disappeared at a rate of knots- I then proceeded to net the tench with a lovely rip in my landing net from the pike!!

Where’s the sun?

It seems if I touch my kit the heavens open; it is August isn’t it? Had a couple of hours down at Bowood on peg 9 but decided to do things a bit different.

I have been experimenting with Chinese floats and tackle and have just acquired a 5.4m Chinese  whip so decided to give it a go for an hour or so while the pole line settled (experience shows that it is usually 40mins before fish move over the feed at Bowood). Three balls of groundbait and a pot of casters and wheat was put on the 10m pole line while a marble of groundbait and a few casters went on the whip line. The whip was set up similar to the 11m one I wrote about with a dacron type end piece which I tied a knot in and then attached 0.14mm Shogun, loop style, and 0.12mm hooklength to a Sensei F103n 16, the float being the one on the left (the smallest one) which was attached bottom end only using a Chinese float attachment and took 2 x no 8 to lock it in position, 2 x no 1 3 foot from the hook, and 4 further no 8 as droppers.

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I was hoping to video the session but as I got to the peg the rain started so I left the camera safely in my pocket!

Bites came rapidly and after 40minutes I had  a few blades in the net with the whip performing admirably but very similar to it’s big brother.

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A change to the pole saw a fruitless hour in driving rain before a skimmer of about 8oz  took the corn. One further small skimmer of 3oz followed in the next 30 minutes. I suspected the worst and when a row of bubbles erupted in the swim it confirmed my suspicion of a pike being present. A change to the whip for the next 20 minutes saw a steady run of blades and small rudd grace the net before I packed the whip up in a dry period and gave the pole another 30 minutes. After 30 minutes I thought I would try the wheat (I had caught on the whip with wheat) and second put in saw the float bob before disappearing, a strike met with the solid thud of a fish as it went towards the weed bank but it soon turned and I suspected a bream until it got in close when I saw it was a crucian (one of my targets). Safely netted it weighed 2-12 a personal best!

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Buoyed by this success I gave it another twenty minutes and on my last cast put corn on- the float buried and lifting into the fish was met with a solid weight that slowly then much quicker veered off to the right before leaping clear of the water and breaking me – a double figure pike (about14lb). At this point with the weather looking ominous I called it a day.

August awkwardness

August is traditionally a month where there is good weather and plenty of fish to be caught- right? – I wish! August so far has been a real mishmash – let me run down my August to date (matches first).

Aug 1st Angling Trust Individual Championships- Gloucester Canal, red hot sunny day, gin clear canal (albeit 15 foot deep) weeded margins up to 7m out (7ft deep straight down the side), lonnnggg walk.  3 bites – 3 fish for 0.080kg (2 perch, 1 blade)

Aug 8th Angling Trust Division 1 National Championships – Gloucester Canal (as above in all aspects) 3 bites – 3 fish 1.800kg (a bream of a kilo after 1hour 45 minutes, a tiny blade 5 minutes later and a hybrid of about a pound with 15minutes to go!) Result – 19 points, but at least team stayed up in Div 1!

Aug 16th Match fishing Scene (MFS) match art Weirwood Reservoir in Sussex (2.5 – 3 hour car trip), flat calm reservoir clear sunny conditions (needed a wind!) 7-14 of skimmers on the tip at 40m. A pleasant day day out in good company.

Then there is Bowood!

Visit 1 Peg 4 – the shallow end of the lake had got very weedy and almost unfishable so I had taken a rake along and cleared an area up to 10m out in pegs 4, 5 and 6. I then set up in my usual fashion on peg 4 and caught the grand total of  1lb made up of a few roach/blades taken on maggot to avoid a blank!

Visit 2 Peg 8 – After the shallow end fiasco I moved further up the field and started with 4 balls of groundbait followed by loose fed wheat every 5-10mins. This usually takes 40min- 1hour before the fish respond but I had to work hard to end up with a Tench of 3-14 and two bream of 4-0 and 3-9 plus some smaller skimmers for a 17 08 total.IMG_0598

Visit 3 Peg 8 – Decided to stick with the peg to see if fish had moved in or not. Was a frustrating time as the large weed bed on the right of the swim saw 3 tench find the bed and throw the hook (Lost Tench), however I did manage to get bream of 4- 8 (Bream ),and tench of 3-14 and 3-12 safely into the net with smaller samples for a total of 16-08. I had been experimenting with my shotting pattern given the weed and had settled on the bulk about 18inches from the hook with a second mini-bulk of 2 no 8 shot 4 inches from the hook. I had also changed to a heavier homemade 1g pencil float rather than my lighter 0.5g models  to see if that would counter the weed better. I videoed some of this session and the yellow tip could be seen for a change on the video. This led me to experiment with a flouro green tip with a1g body down homemade float in the following trips to see if the tip was more visible.

Visit 4 Peg 8 – this was a very short evening session and was done in heavy wind and driving rain, to cut a long story short, 1 tench 3-6 and some skimmers for 7-08

Visit 5 – Peg 9 – Moved along again to try the green topped float. Began with 4 balls of groundbait and lost an early fish, possibly a large skimmer, on corn then had to work hard to get 13-0 made up of bream 2-12, tench of 4-6 and 3-10 plus 3 further tench lost in weed bed. Green float was very visible to eye but cannot be seen on camera! The 3-10 tench was caught on camera and led me a merry dance, going into the pads around the platform. Have realised that I need to angle the camera down more in future!

Will see how the remainder of the month goes- MFS match at Ardingley and last of Summer League at Horcott, plus more Bowood!

Bowood video – Tench and Bream

July has been a busy month and with holidays and various other matches I have only been able to visit 3 times. The first visit was to the same peg (peg 5) and resulted in several bream to 4-4 and a tench of 3-12 for a total of 37-14. The next visit was a week later and peg 4 where the weed had really taken hold- a frustrating short session resulted in tench 4-4, 3-4, 3-3, bream 4-2 for a 19-14 total but also saw mew lose 5 good tench in the weed.

I only had one further opportunity for a short session in July and fished peg 6 which by now was very weedy (must take a rake next time) and I decided to try filming some action!

Bream 4 13  short version

Tench 4 1 

longer clip of tench

August should give me the time to get a few visits in and have a good go at achieving some of my targets.

Bowood June 2015

Have been a bit busy lately so not been blogging. Various matches have come and gone, some with success others not! June 16th has always been a special day in the past with the end of the close season (as was), Bowood still retains the close season so it was with some excitement and trepidation that I approached my first visits to Bowood a few days after the 16th.

I was surprised to find that there were only a couple of anglers present, one on the opposite bank, well up from where I intended fishing and the other not visible, presumably in the top swims. Based on last year I decided to fish the shallows and picked the third peg into the main field.

Plumbing up I found just about 2 feet of water with some weed visible under the surface.I found a clear patch and attacked it with 6 balls of groundbait and a liberal helping of wheat. I had set up the pole with a hollow elastic rated as 10-12, a homemade float taking 3 no 6 shot and 0.16 main line straight through to a size 16 Kamasan 911 hook (I was not in the mood to take any prisoners!) Hook bait was a single kernel of sweetcorn.

A slow start with few indications suggested that there were bigger fish in the area (or pike) so it was going to be a waiting game, after about 40 minutes the float dipped and then slid away – a bream of 3-12 soon lay in my landing net. Loose feeding a few grains of wheat every couple of minutes saw me steadily catch skimmers around the pound mark until the last cast saw me land a bream of exactly 4 lbs which brought my weight up to 23-5. A pleasing few hours fishing with no disturbance apart from the fledgling crows in the trees opposite constantly cawing to be fed!

A couple of days later saw me back to fish the same swim, same tackle and same approach but this time it was a real struggle. The weather had got very warm and I could see the black shapes of the bream moving through the shallow water but after an hour and a half all I had to show was 3 small “blades” for about 5ozs. Then the float lifted and slid away, lifting into the bite I was met with a solid resistance from a large fish that powered off towards the far bank, side strain turned it and there was a huge swirl in the water where the fish turned, after a coupler of minutes I had my first glimpse of the fish as it leaped clear of the water – a pike about 9lbs. It became obvious after a while that I had foul hooked it in the tail and following two further tail walking episodes and a 10 minute fight I finally had my first pike of the season in the net. The hook was firmly hooked in the tail and the fish took the scales down to 8-4.

.IMG_0549Next put in saw me get another bite which resulted in a bream of exactly 4lb. The next couple of hours saw me get the odd skimmer up to 2lb but the stream of bubbles that kept erupting after the small fish scattered across the surface told me the swim still had several pike in it. I left them so it with a total weight of 16-10- low by normal standards but better than I thought after the slow start.

It was several days later before I could return, this time at midday and I decided to move further up the field and settled on the fifth peg.

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Plumbing up saw a more respectable 3-4feet of water and I set about my usual approach. Forty minutes in I had my first bream, 3-12 followed by some smaller samples before a more powerful fish took the corn and made a bee-line for the weeds. Steady pressure saw the first tench of the season at 3-8 grace my net,the first tench of the season is always special,

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and would be followed by two further samples of 3-4 and 2-0 plus several more bream to bring my total to 41-1 after 4 hours.

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That was my June at Bowood completed as I already had commitments for the remainder of the month but it was a satisfying start. I try to set myself targets at the start of each season and the ones I set myself for Bowood were to catch (each with a tariff according to the level of difficulty)

Crucian Carp
Bowood 50lb
Bowood 60lb
Bowood 70lb
Bowood 80lb
Bowood Tench
Bowood double pike
Bowood Carp

Boddington Take Away

With a silvers match at Boddington Reservoir in late April rapidly approaching I decided to have a day out and do a bit of practice for the match while pursuing the Chinese style of fishing at the same time! The previous occasions I have fished Boddington it has been gale force winds and usually rain at some point; what met me was  a still reservoir and hazy conditions. There were only two other cars in the car park when I arrived shortly before 9am and having made several trips up the ramp with my kit I settled on peg 36 – a shortish walk and no trees behind me.

Peg 36 Bd Peg 36 Boddington

The plan was to start off on the Chinese style “banana” and then try the waggler over the same area to compare the difference before finally having a couple of hours on a more traditional whip but with a Chinese float. I had received three sets of floats from China but had brought just one set to try today, I had also bought a Chinese rig system which was very similar to the old Daiwa plastic hook length retaining spools but were slightly wider and made from foam. The line was held in place by trapping it underneath the spool when put into the purpose made spindle in the box.

Spools IMG_0508Float and spools

The float took a SSG, a no4, no 8 and 3 x no 10 stotz and was fastened on the line bottom end only with a long piece of float rubber. Depth plumbed, approximately 10-11 feet at approximately 18m, I began with 4 soft balls of groundbait ( Red Bream, Explosive feeder and River -equal proportions) and a couple of pouch fulls of hemp and wheat. A single ball was put on the 5m line with a good handful of wheat and a few maggots. I was hoping to avoid any of the carp that Boddington is famous for and target the quality roach. The banana went into action and the haze that greeted me began to lift as the sun got hotter, thankfully occasionally a very gentle breeze blew that made it a very pleasant day.

Banana Bod

The float I was using was about 40cm long and had a multi-coloured tip for more than half that length. I had set the rig so the bulk was about 4feet above the hook with the no 8 and smaller stotzs strung out below that. As a consequence any bites on the drop were very easy to spot and by steady feeding I was soon getting bites that once again were all hit, but this time not landed!

Banana Roach 1

The average stamp of fish you can see above. I was finding that barbless hooks of a wider gape did not suit the “banana” approach as I was dropping too many off, a quick change from the Tubertini 808 (size 20) to a Kamazan B611 (size 18) seemed to work. Another piece of the puzzle to lock away in my memory and ponder on.

After about an hour and a half I packed the banana away (to be honest I didn’t want anyone seeing me fish it!) and went over the same line with a waggler. Bites were still forthcoming but it was noticeable that bites on the drop were a lot harder to spot. I made a mental note to make up some wagglers with ultra long tips to see what effect that would have. Fish came steadily on the waggler and after the bailiff had come around and reported that the carp were not showing anywhere I packed the waggler up and decided to give myself the last 3 hours on the 5m whip.

I set the whip up with 0.12mm Shogun to a 0.10mm Shogun hook-length of  about 3feet. The float was going to be the smallest of the Chinese set – still over 36cm in length with an 18cm tip, set in the same manner as previously. I had about 9-10feet in depth so set the bulk of 3x BB and a No 4 at just below mid depth, followed by four droppers of a no 8 and then 3 x No 10 stotz, hook was a size 18 B611 barbless. I had been flicking wheat and maggots out whilst fishing  but still put another soft ball of groundbait in to begin. Bait was double maggot although I tried different combinations, double red was by far the best.

The next couple of hours shot by with a bite a chuck plus some quality fish (at least 4 roach around the pound mark, plus a bonus perch of a pound and a half plus).

Perch1Roach Pound

The average stamp of roach was around the 3-4oz mark and they were in all levels of the water but sitting at mid depth. How do I know- well the float was brilliant in so much as it accentuated any bites on the drop, making them incredibly easy to read, but I had a bit of help as a guy came down two pegs away and proceeded to cast out what looked like a black mini football into the reservoir with an almighty crash approximately every 5-10minutes for a couple of hours, then ignored it and looked at a tablet and his phone. When he packed up I asked him if it was a depth/fish finder he was testing and it indeed was. He was doing a test feature for a magazine and confirmed that the fish were sitting at all levels but mostly about 4 feet of the bottom. He found the test inconclusive as the bluetooth was not very consistent and kept cutting out so he was off to test it on a river and canal.

Roach hand

All in all a really enjoyable day with lots to ponder on. Bet it is blowing a gale on the match!

Going into the unknown- Part 2

A thick fog greeted me on the day of our test fish, car packed with flask food, rucksack/seat and rest of the tackle I made my way to the meeting point. A couple were there before me and we had a quick walk down to take a look at the canal. With the fog beginning to lift we were not happy to see that the colour that had previously been in the canal had gone and you see right across the canal through the gin clear water. Things were not looking good!IMG_0505

When we all arrived I set off and walked about 600 yards up the canal around a bend and stopped in the middle of a straight with hawthorn bushes opposite.

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It did not look good when I found I only had about 2 1/2 feet of water at the deepest but I thought I had to give it a go.

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A couple of pinkies were catapulted out and a single red maggot on a 22 to 0.07mm soon joined them in the crystal clear water. To cut a long story short after two hours only two of us remained and I decided to have a walk further down the canal in case it showed any signs of life other than newts and ducks! Half a mile later I decided enough was enough- the water was devoid of anything resembling a fish with the bottom clear all across and of a similar depth, no where near the 4 1/2 feet we had been told. Apart from disturbing a couple of water voles there was no activity and the most telling thing was that there was no sign of any kingfishers. In this area, if there are fish, there are kingfishers in residence. Walking back I packed my stuff up and made my way back constantly looking for a sign of a fish – nado!

As a water it was ideal apart from the depth and no fish!

Going into the unknown – Part 1

The club I belong to has been offered a stretch of newly refurbished disused canal. No information is available other than the owner thinks there are fish in it as a heron is often seen on the water! We have been invited to do a test fish in a couple of days time and I thought this may be an opportunity to look at how a new unknown water can be approached.

We had previously walked the length with the owner and in most parts it is between 10 and 13m wide with some colour in the water. The water has been in existence for 18 years but it is only recently that work has taken place to dig out the reeds that covered it and create a depth of approximately 4 and a half feet down the channel. No sign of fish when we walked the length but it was a cold February day when we did so.

My experience of similar waters has led me to adopt a different approach to the rest of the members who will turn up for the test fish – I am guessing they will turn up with their usual match gear and fish a pole or whip. On these unfished waters the disturbance on the bank plus having a pole over their heads can send any fish away to find shelter. So my plan is to take my trusty haversack seat, a few essentials in a plastic tub, a net bag, bucket with small box of maggots and one of pinkies and a little groundbait, oh and a few slices of bread; this will be teamed up with an 11ft Silstar Ian Heaps canal rod and landing net. I will let the others go first and then decide whether to walk to the far end of the stretch or stay at the near end where there is a wider section and the canal is blocked off. The groundbait will only be used as a last resort with loose feeding pinkies being my main line of attack.

We will see in a couple of days if the plan works! (or if there are any fish in there!)