Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Bait - HNV versus Particles

The Intrepid Piscator Let's imagine that an angler sponsored by a bait company catches a newsworthy Carp or Tench on a piece of sweetcorn.How many of them do you think would admit it?,and how many would say that it was caught on his sponsors latest bait? Of course it is impossible to answer but can we consider that a lot more fish are caught on high pressured waters on particles than are publicised?
I know for a fact that many fish are caught from the so-called "Circuit Waters" on nothing more than Tiger Nuts or Maize.Does this then blow Fred Wiltons HNV theory (described here by Paul Selman) out of the water?
Why do Carp and Tench keep getting caught on baits of little nutritional value?...I have a few thoughts on this..Many say that the fish just love the crunch of Tiger Nuts,Maize and Hemp,but why? The answer is obvious,because they think they're that common natural food....Snails..Snails of course have a high nutritional value.With this in mind,is it possible that the fish are being duped? If the fish are also eating HNV boilies,it is acceptable to believe that they don't actually know which bait is the one providing them with their nutritional needs so they keep eating both.This of course suggests that like humans,fish will eat whatever is easiest and most plentiful and therefore that mass pre-baiting will pay off whatever the nutritional value.
The point of all this waffle, is that this year, for my Tench and Carp fishing,I will use one rod with a HNV boilie and one with particles.
I will of course keep a tally of captures,so the proof of the pudding, will indeed, be in the eating.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Carp - Who Else Would Rather Catch A Smaller One ?

The Intrepid Piscator Does size matter? Well my friends consider this.....
I have recently been lucky enough to be offered some fishing on a lake in mid-France and will be there in a couple of weeks time.I will be fishing for Carp and this beautiful lake holds specimens to nearly 70lb in weight.Yes,of course I would love to catch one and will be trying my utmost to achieve this.However,I have never held a burning desire to catch a large French Carp.The same cannot be said for my almost obsessive ambition to extract one of the residents of the famous Redmire Pool .With this in mind let's imagine that I catch a Carp in France of 50lb+,I would of course be a very happy man..but..I can honestly say that should I manage to catch a little Redmire 'scamp' of say 5 lb,then this small fish would mean so much to me that it would surely be my fish of a lifetime.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Rudd : The Golden Surprise & The Curse of Lady Sarah

The Intrepid Piscator Picture yourself in the early Spring sunshine alongside a rarely fished,un-named pool,alone except for two Mallard Ducks and your thoughts.
Not far from the lake I've been fishing for Roach is a pool of around one and a half acres.It is relatively overgrown,receives very little angling pressure and its fish population remains a bit of a mystery.Just my kind of place,in fact.
The brutal cold of the winter months rendered the pool a virtual ice rink for over a month,I feared for its residents and made holes in the ice whenever I visited.
This week I decided to be the first angler to throw a bait into its depths this year.I must admit that I didn't really have a clue what I was fishing for,so opted for the reliability of my feeder and maggot set-up.
I soon discovered that beneath the surface lay a whole different world of fresh weed growth and fallen twigs,yes,after all the cold and lack of oxygen,there was incredibly an abundance of vegetation down there.
After some searching I finally found a clear area and bites started to come,tentative bites.Roach,I thought,the tip went around and a spirited battle for a small fish resulted in not a Roach,but a beautiful golden scaled Rudd with fins of blood red,one of my favourite freshwater fish.
From then on,the bites came steadily and all the bites resulted in a cracking Rudd,not large,but from the plucky fight I was quite sure these fish had never been caught in their lives.
This small pool was fished in the past by Kevin Maddocks and his angling colleague Bob Baldock, for Catfish..Bob once stated that he saw a massive fish in the clear margins but it was never banked.I can tell you that some of the Rudd I caught bore injuries from the grip of a small Silure,so maybe Grandma is still there.Some also bore the toothmarks of narrow escapes from Pike.
After steadily catching these Rudd for a good few hours I was joined by my girlfriend Sarah who spoiled me with the kind of picnic items that this Intrepid Piscator rarely sees.She gladly sat watching me catch bars of gold for her delight...I have to admit that far from being appreciative,I ribbed and teased her,not in a malicious way mind.This proved to be a grave error on my part as she declared,"You'll not catch another fish unless you say something nice to me"..I scoffed at such a crazy notion and cast with bravado,however,the tip stayed still.She raised her eyebrows as I reeled in,"Just hung up in the weed" I said stubbornly.She gave me 'the look'.This continued for almost an hour,my excuses for not catching becoming more and more outlandish.I looked at her lovingly,she was cold (in the way girlfriends are but anglers aren't !!).."Please wear my coat"I suggested gallantly.
Next cast?......another fine Rudd.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

My Top 10 Tips For Catching Specimen Winter Roach

 With the bivvy boys moving in fast,my winter Roach fishing is at an end.I will be looking to catch Rudd,Tench and Crucians in the next few months.
I feel I have done quite well for the Roach in the past few weeks with
this being the best result.I am definitely no expert,in fact I'm quite a novice Roach fisher.However,I believe these tips will help you to put a fine specimen on the bank.

1) Don't use Groundbait-It invariably attracts Bream which in turn bully out any Roach.

2) Use Red Maggots-Other colours will work,as will worms and bread but red maggots are best in my experience.

3) Fish Stillwaters-Rivers are very unpredictable by their very nature;in Winter you need to know the fish are there to be caught and the only thing stopping you from fishing will be ice.

4) Fish Open Water-The larger fish will feed more confidently in open water,the snags and margins will be full of small fish and predators.

5) Use a Feeder-You can bait your swim and fish at range and the quiver-tip is a sounder form of indication when the wind is blowing.

6) Cast Around-When it's cold the fish will be very sluggish.It's probably best to try to find them,rather than waiting for them to come to you.

7) Have a Lay-in-When temperatures can go sub-zero overnight,the fish will take longer to get into feeding mode during the day.In my experience the hours between Midday and 5pm are best.

8) Brave the Elements-The best fishing can come in the worst of weather.

9) Use Flavours-I rarely fish for Roach with unflavoured maggots,the best results have come from the old favourite Turmeric(1 teaspoon to 1 pint)..Other good flavours are Garam Masala,Pineapple,Vanilla and Aniseed.

10) Fish a Water Known for Predators-I believe that in waters that hold large predators,many of the silverfish are culled naturally,leaving relatively few larger fish instead of many stunted fish.

There you have it then,my top ten tips for specimen Roach in Winter.Hope it is useful.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

The Angling Close Season

The Intrepid Piscator In some peoples eyes, fishing in the old close season is a spurious pastime.Whilst I embrace the river shutting down for a few months to let nature take its course,I will be fishing on at the stillwaters that allow me to.
How then can I justify this to them that scoff? Well,I guess that the hardcore traditionalist will not be turned and I respect their principles.However,In my humble opinon there are just as many pro's as cons.
In my experience river fish actively spawn in the close season.How many times have we viewed the numbers of Barbel and Chub doing what comes naturally on the gravel areas,only for them to do the old vanishing act come the "glorious 16th".On the stillwater though it seems to me that these species spawn well into the new season when in fact the banks are at there busiest,especially if the lake has been closed.To my mind this makes a close season on stillwaters worse for the fish than if it had stayed open.
A sad fact on closed waters is the chance that valuable fish stocks will be taken,either by fish thieves to be place in other waters or to be eaten for Sunday lunch.Anglers fishing all year,and who care for the lakes stock are security for such fish.
From a more selfish point of view the tackle trade benefits enormously from all year anglers and where would you be without your local tackle shop?
There you have it then,for good or bad I will be fishing on,and while there's no law against it,I hope you do too.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Turning A Corner?

The Intrepid Piscator As I drove to the lake I glanced into a field,I noticed two deer,not native but escapees from a nearby estate,extinct in the wild,except of course,this field in Bedfordshire!! They were Pere David's Deer.A nice start to the day.
The air was warm and as I walked down to Pampas Point I was greeted by three of the Canadian "Hoodies"
Buzzing bugs flew around my head and a Cock Linnet sang loudly from atop a Siver Birch,I didn't 'Dilly Dally' and set about my days fishing.
Refreshingly a Westerly wind blew upon me and the Kite was spotted soaring on thermals.The scene seemed eons away from the snow storm of just a few weeks ago.
A look in the margins revealed new growth.....
...and old Esox..Can you see him?
After a few hours I departed through 'The Avenue' to another swim.On the way I saw a few more signs of cheer as the Woodpecker pecked away and Blackbirds scarpered noisily.The buds of Pussy Willow emerging..
....and Daffodils waking from their Winter slumber.
One thing that eludes me though is my mate the Kingfisher,I hope he and his lady are well.I sometimes think I hear him but can't be sure.
What of the fishing then?Well the lake was kind and I had a good day.I've decided not to continue playing the numbers game on this blog unless I catch a pb, so will not be giving weights,doubtless it's of no interest to the reader anyway.We will just enjoy the fish for what they are.Here's a couple of fine mint Roach to please the eye..
In conclusion,animals are pairing up,birds are staking claim to territory,the shoots of recovery push through the soil and 'the fishing is easy'...not quite 'Summertime'...but maybe Spring?
Did I also see a rather large Tench roll?

Monday, 15 March 2010

Around The World In 80 Fish:From Minnows To Marlin

The Intrepid Piscator A fellow strolled into the shop a few weeks ago,proclaimed that he was an artist and was having a major exhibition in a hotshot gallery somewhere in London,and that his paintings were based on fish and fishing around the world.Although I am actually a keen collector of art,I hadn't taken the time to look at the website on the flyer until today.
I have to say that I am trying to keep this blog as uncommercial as possible and don't know this artist (Richard J Smith), but I will give credit where it's due and these images are fantastic.My particular favourites are the Barbel and Low Water Salmon.You will need to click on "Works"....http://www.frostandreed.com/London/Exhibitions/CurrentExhibition.asp?ExhibitionID=110......Enjoy.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Feeder Rigs

The Intrepid Piscator Many of you will know that I have been doing a bit of feeder fishing lately,and of course,as an inquisitive soul ,I've been trying to extract as much rig information as possible from customers and anglers on the bank.Something that has struck me with the vast majority of the rigs I've seen is their potential to tether a fish.I've seen all singing loop rigs,fixed paternosters to name a few.
A quick image search on Google for "Roach Feeder Rigs" produced the following http://www.course-fishing.freeuk.com/heli2.jpg(link now broken)
To my mind,if the line is broken above the swivel,this rig has the potential to tether not one,but two fish!
Also,we have this a very common set-uphttp://www.gofishing.co.uk/upload/30043/OPI/Fixed-loop-rig.gif,but what if the line snaps a long way above the rig?
Now,don't get me wrong,I'm not one of these over-paranoid types that for example uses an unhooking mat on long,soft grass just because Mr BigSpuds tells me it's the thing to do(especially if Mr.BigSpuds is trying to sell me one),but it is always better to err on the side of our scaley friends safety.
Yes,I've heard the stuff about weak links and rotten bottoms(!)..I'm not convinced they are safe,not 100% anyway.
With all this in mind I currently use the good old running feeder to bead rig,another option I am experimenting with is this http://www.anglersnet.co.uk/files.php?file=helicopter_feeder_rig_326395376.jpg which seems a much safer option but ONLY if the float rubber is loose enough for the fish to pull the rig off of the line...Your thoughts and comments,as ever,my friends, are most welcome.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Exceedingly Good

The Intrepid Piscator It was New Years Day,the drifting snow meant that two lads barely in their teens,where dropped off with tackle at the end of the road that led down to the canal.My parents had said I couldn't fish but finally relented,Dad grudgingly understood the instinct to angle in the extremes."Be careful"he said,go to the lock keepers cottage and phone if there's a problem or you want to come home".
Whilst trudging along the track in our boots,pretending we were warm,we passed one of the few houses.The occupant tapped repeatedly on the side of his head at us,suggesting that we were not the "full shilling"...On we trudged.
We arrived at the old bridge to find that the canal was completely frozen.We'd half expected this to be the case,but knew we could both fit in below the lock gates where the escaping water prevented the freeze of a small area.
My co-fisher was my cousin,not as keen as I,but a fellow some might describe as "not backward in coming forward"
It was cold and, as is the way with young uns,we soon got bored,having caught just one miniscule Perch and guzzled most of the contents of the flasks we'd brought,we upped sticks and went for a wander.
On the other side of the bridge,just above the locks,there is always to be found a moored vessel of some description.
On this particular day a narrowboat had moored up,it appeared that no-one was aboard and a serious looking angler had broken the ice to fish towards it.We knew he was serious because he had an umbrella and one of them multi-bait tray things with three or four bait tubs in.
At first,he ignored us.We hung around and after a while noticed a pack of Mr.Kiplings Country Slices beneath his brolly....we realised at this moment that we were quite hungry!
"See you've got some Country Slices there"Piped up my cousin...The angler remained silent.
"They're my favourites"he persued....."Oh yeah" he said..there then followed a period of silence as we waited for him to offer us one....he didn't.
"Are you hungry?" asked my cousin"Yes I am" I replied.Amazingly the angler's steely gaze remained towards his float and,in semi-defeat we went for a stroll further up the towpath.
As we strolled back towards the angler he cast out and his end tackle got firmly stuck on the boat, near the waterline.Not wanting to pull for a break,he walked a short way to the lock and crossed the canal to the narrowboat.
We watched in wonderment as he boarded,and made his way to his float,he hooked his foot around the rope that lashed down a tarpaulin cover,placed his other foot forward on the icy sidedeck and promptly slipped and went overboard,half in and half out the water,foot still tethered.He squeeled in horror and called out to us lads for assistance "Help me up lads it's bloody freezing".He looked horrified.............."So,mate",replied my cousin,"About these Country Slices?"!!!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Cold Cut

Well my friends,this "Chooseday" I only managed a couple of snatched hours on the Grand Union Canal in Buckinghamshire.
To be honest I fancied myself as a bit of a Gudgeon-Meister,however the canal had frozen at night and although it had thawed the little fellas evaded me.I know that they become localised in these conditions and I will go back in the summer when,hopefully they will throw themselves at me with abandon.
When I arrived,I was pleased to see that some traditional hedge management had been enforced and the entire hedgerow had been "layed".The job in this area was once employ of my Great Grandfather so it was nice to see some continuation.
It was the first time this year that I used one of my trusty Speedia reels,bought in delapidated condition and lovingly brought back to life.I have decided to make use of my three centrepins more this year.
The fishing wasn't great and having had no luck on the pinkie,size 20 hook combination,I decided to use a rogue single bronze maggot that had somehow managed to find it's way into my bait tin.This resulted in a small Bream(which probably felt sorry for me);of course I had no more bronzes so couldn't capitalise.
I did manage a small Perch before I went home and as I crossed that old bridge I recalled a cold day ,some thirty years previous at this very spot and an incident that still makes me smile...........(to be continued)

Thursday, 4 March 2010

The '56'

I am blessed with the amount of quality angling nearby and am lucky enough to bailiff a couple of those "special" waters...
There's a lake nearby that I hold dear,now a public park it was once host to some of anglings finest.This lake produced a Carp of 31 lb in 1960 putting it in the same bracket as Redmire and Billing Aquadrome.I've heard tales from the captor of how he allowed a certain Jack Hilton to fish his pre-baited swim.Jack,apparently hooked and lost a massive Carp,and was unhappy that the fellow hadn't warned him of a submerged snag!!..Many other great anglers have graced the lakes banks and some years ago I was fortunate to share them with the late,great Fred J Taylor.
All these years later,there are still a few old Leney fish to be caught and there's even a Redmire-esque wooden railing above one of its banks.
Well the angler is spoilt for choice with very large fish of all species including Carp over 40 lb and it's now famed Catfish population which grow to over 60lb in weight.
It was Summer,one of those lazy,balmy evenings when one eats,drinks and fishes in that dreamy time of year when the smell of barbecues and citronella dominate the air.We had cast our lines,myself for Carp,my friend John for those hardest fighting of freshwater fish the Wels Catfish.
At about 10.30pm after chatting in the warm air and admiring the acrobatics of the local bat colony we heard a single bleep from Johns alarm.We strolled to his rods to see the bobbin twitching.."It's a Cat,he's mouthing the bait and can feel the resistance..he'll leave it a while then come back for it".Nothing happened for a few minutes then a few bleeps,"he's still interested" said John.Another Catfish angler arrived in the swim,"When I had my 40lber it did just that,then ripped off a few minutes later"he said....we waited....About 30 seconds later the bobbin rose and the alarm sounded just enough for him to strike."He's coming towards me"said John,I looked up at his rod tip waiting for the fish to turn,It didn't,it just kept coming,no titanic struggle ensued and after a couple of seconds,there,sitting in the margins in the glow of our headtorches was not a monster Cat,but a Bream...yes,a Bream of about 2 lb with two 28mm Halibut pellets hanging outside its mouth and a size 2 hook in its bottom lip.The look on John's face was classic.I wish we'd taken a photo..56mm of pellet that little fella tried to scoff and he's now the stuff of folklore and legend on this lake..the '56' Bream...how I laughed.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

KC and the Sunshine Band

I was wakened by the sound of a Wood Pigeon cooing on the roof of a nearby house,I'd had a lay-in and a text from my girlfriend read"you have a beautiful day for fishing at last" so I looked out of the window to confirm and the sky was blue.Photobucket
I arrived at the lake to find two other vehicles,this hadn't happened in a while and the law of sod dictated that the swim I had designs on was taken.I hastily set up at the shallow end of the lake figuring that the water would get warmer,quicker.The swim I sat in is very picturesque and looks out towards "Pampas Point" at the other end of the lake,with two small islands a short cast away.PhotobucketPhotobucket
I cast into the open water between the islands and stripped down to my t-shirt,donned my shades and sat back feeling the warmth on my face.All was serene,the coots argued,the birds sang louder than I'd heard this year and even insects flew above the steaming vegetation.This Utopian scene was abruptly ended when, SPLOOOSH,from the other side of the right island,like an excocet missile.A Method feeder landed no more than 20feet from my bait,so,the dilemma was,did I stay and hope the fish move in or move to the other end of the lake to Pampas Point where I'd been fishless on the last two occassions?Loud voices coming from the other side of the island made my mind up and I was off.
On my way around the lake I saw a Carp angler launch a large lead into the lake,I kept walking.
Finally at the point I had some degree of privacy,albeit colder than the shallows and shortly after casting had a twitchy bite resulting in a Roach of about 10 oz.This is the first fish I'd landed in a while and I swear it made a squeeking noise like a mouse,bizarre,I think he was probably saying"Turned out nice again".
The next hour and a half was a stream of constant bites,all Roach and all between 3 and 12 oz.I caught on maggots,dendras and lobs,one lobworm exploded in my face when I removed his tail,a little bit of payback,I guess!
From around the lake another two members of "The Sunshine Band" came by,barrows spilling luggage,loud voices and to top it off they parked up in the next swim..I suspect that a conversation ensued regarding me "in their spot"...Their spot!!!
I stuck to my guns and fished on catching more Roach of similar size until the light dropped and the lake went flat calm.
Well,the sun came out and out came the "Sunshine Band",so what about KC then?Well that stands for King Carp.As I packed away,a large Common Carp 'head and shouldered' out on the lake.."I'll catch up with you soon enough"I thought.There were three anglers on the lake fishing for carp at this time...none of them saw it.