April 2023 part 2

A glutton for punishment should be the title for this episode but more of that later. Buoyed by the results that Gareth had been getting at Rowde, a section I had never fished, I decided to make my way to bridge 114 which is a very nondescript name for the first lock pound that is beyond the famous Caen flight of locks described by the Canal and River Trust as thus:

“Caen Hill (pronounced ‘cane’ by the way), is one of the longest continuous flight of locks in the country – a total of 29 locks with a rise of 237 feet over 2 miles with a 1 in 44 gradient for anyone who’s counting!”

Anyway on the Wednesday I parked up and fished 10m from the far end of the pound lock moorings for 2 and a half hours using a 5m whip and a float that many would deem ridiculous for a normal shallow canal at 1.5g (a paster), but as always there is method in my madness! My thinking was that I needed to control the float as there was a heavy tow with boats coming and going through the locks, plus I don’t subscribe to the theory of fishing as light a float as possible!

Now this may be unlike normal canal fishing but Gareth and I have been finding that double maggot has been producing plenty of bites and from a better stamp of fish. Starting off with a little nugget of groundbait and a pinch of maggots I had a busy session with loose feeding keeping the bites coming, ending up with 23 skimmers/blades, 6 rudd, 7 gudgeon, 15 roach and a perch for 4-15.

The next few days were taken up with shopping, collecting Wendy and Zachary from Heathrow and getting the tackle ready for Woodlands View. Traveling up on the morning I almost had a bump when a deer ran straight across me but fortunately managed to avoid it. Once there I got into the swing of getting the monies in and sorting the pegs for the three days with Adrian who runs the fishery. With 21 taking part I had opted to have 3 sections of 5 and one of 6 so as to avoid split sections across lakes. On the first day we were on Hay and Barley and as usual I let everyone draw and had the peg that was left – Hay 12, in the middle of the lake and the start of a 5 peg section.

My preparations had not been thorough enough as when I opened my net bag I found two of my nets and provided a meal for a rodent. With 4 nets required I managed to crumple up the grey net that had huge holes near the top half and put the other net in but planned not to use it for anything other than big carp!

I had targeted 4 swims, one at 11m, a 2+2 line and the margins to left and right. I cupped in some micros and corn at 11m and started on the 2+2 line loose feeding 4mm pellets with 6mm expander on the 16 hook to 0.14mm hook-length. I began well with F1s coming immediately but they backed off and I then went on the 11m line which brought more F1s, basically I could not get the margins working properly and ended up with 4 carp (all around 2lb), 39 F1s, 3 roach, a skimmer, a perch and 2 gudgeon for 52-04 and last in section!

Day 2 sees me on peg 42 on Back Deans, again in the middle of the lake, both my margins were restricted due to the overhanging tree stumps, so at best I had a top kit and half a section to play with.

I had drawn the 6 peg section and to top it all it rained all day. Starting on the short line gave me a couple of F1s then nothing, so out to 11m for a few before trying the margins late on. I had 24F1s, 2 roach and 4 bream plus 4 carp, a 2lber on the 11m line but 3 good fish in the margin on corn. I ended up with 61-12 for 5th in section but one more carp of 6lb would have seen me up to third. I had pulled out of a couple which I don’t think were hooked but got the line caught on a fin.

Final day and we always rotate so those on Back deans would be on Front Deans and vice versa. This time it was fine with sunshine but we had a heavy frost and the temperature was 1C at the draw! I was left with peg 8, another 6 peg section.

Expecting a hard time I planned on the same approach but with chopped worm and casters at 11m, 4mm pellet fed on the 2+2 line and one margin fed with worm the other with micros and corn. Beginning on the short line it was slow as predicted and after a small skimmer and small F1 I went out to the 11m line that I had been feeding a pinch of micros over the worm every couple of minutes. Basically it was a hard and frustrating day ending with 16 F1s and two carp (2lb and 4lb) plus 6 skimmers and 2 roach that went 4lb for a 35-8 total. I was left feeling frustrated as all the fish came from the long line, not a sign of any fish in the margins but others had managed to have a good last hour or so with large carp coming from the margins, this left me last in section, 4lb adrift of the next place. That ended my festival with a rock bottom 21st place, the match finished at 3:30, I was driving off the fishery at 5:05 having done the weigh-in, worked out the results and done all the paying out.

Learning points – check your nets before leaving home!

April 2023 – here there and everywhere!

April has been a very disruptive month so far, on return from Yorkshire we have been hit by a cold bug that has been going around (not Covid) that has been very similar to the sinusitis I get when my hay fever kicks in and has proven difficult to shake off. That together with boiler servicing and radiator replacement has meant that it was not until Tuesday 11th that I was able to get out. Due to the vagaries of the UK visa system Gareth’s wife,Wendy, had to leave the country for her visa to remain valid! So she set off to the US to visit friends along with Zachary, leaving Gareth behind as he would be starting work again before her return. So it was the day after her departure that Gareth, who was on holiday for the week, and I left early and set off for Woodland View near Droitwich as I was due to run a three day festival for MFSReborn at the end of April on the venue.

Arriving shortly after 8am we bought our tickets and pellets (lots as I wanted to have them ready for the first day of the festival so I was not scrambling around) and headed for Back Deans on the advice of Adrian the manager, settling on two adjacent pegs (35 and 36). We both set up a margin rig, one for 2+2 distance and one for the 11m line. I tried different approaches and shotting patterns but ended up with 19 F1s, 7 bream and 1 small carp of 2lb for 33lb-ish. Gareth fished a similar way but managed to find more carp and got his margin working to end up with approx 65lb. We were the only ones there all day, possibly as the projected rain that did arrive put people off!

Thursday saw us set off mid morning to Viaduct in Somerset with the intention of fishing from midday to the late afternoon. Arriving at about 11:30 we were faced with an almost full car park and anglers everywhere. The quietest pool was Lodge with just 4 people on it (2 left after an hour!) so we parked ourselves on 58 and 59. We set up just two rigs – a close in/margin rig and one for 11m. It was slow by any standard and I struggled to get 19 skimmers and two roach for about 7lb whereas Gareth found some carp later on close in and ended up with about 23lb, the biggest carp going 8lb.

Friday sees us at Horton on the K&A canal for a short session using 4m whips. Unfortunately the canal has not yet recovered from the canoe races that take place during April and we struggled despite the area usually being prolific.Gareth managed only two fish, a gudgeon and a perch but missed several bites. I began on a pellet (for the hell of it and I knew there were skimmers there) and had one skimmer of about 6oz and a perch of 12oz on the maggot!

Sunday sees us back on the K&A at the Top Lock at Seend, a short pound that I had not fished before but was hoping for more action as it was not where the canoes had been.Gareth fished the 4m whip and I decided to use a 3m whip, fishing from 10 – 12:30 when the boats started to become more frequent and the canal was like a tidal river on the ebb.

Once again it was a slow start but we began to get a few bites and I ended up with 4 skimmers, 2 gudgeon, a roach and a perch of about 12oz for around 2lb. Gareth had more fish but they were smaller for a similar weight.

Next up is the three day festival at Woodland View that I am charged with running, hopefully I will be able to report some decent sport next time!