Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Lady Luck ?

I was joined for a night on the lake by Lady Sarah this week, she has often brought with her a little bit of angling luck and is always welcome.
I sloped off from the shop an hour early and we loaded everything in to the car with no drama. "Will we need any money ?" I enquired,"Not unless someone is coming around the lake tonight selling raffle tickets" was her witty retort...I left the cash at home.
 I'd visited the lake the night previous, there are a few anglers starting to get out on it now and I blagged a cuppa before putting two kilos of bait on an unfished (by me) spot with the throwing stick.
 I considered that a tweek of the rigs and starting to use my warm weather bait, along with the Good Lady for company might bring a change in luck.
 Lady Sarah sat in the evening sun whilst I set up the bigger of my two bivvies, furnishing the inside with our bedchairs and sleeping bags, she'd bought enough food to last us a week and a bottle of wine, we were sorted.
 Setting off around the lake with a view to parking the car in a safer place now that our home for the night was made, I was amazed to find that some idiot had taken one of the lifebuoys from its red plastic station and tied it to a nearby bush, a group of 'erberts sat upon a nearby bench, I just gave them 'the look' before returning the buoy to its home, which incidentally looks like it may also be home to a family of Blue Tits quite soon, judging by the presence of a new looking nest inside the plastic housing, a small hole on the casing looked barely big enough for a bird to pass through.
 As I returned to my swim a fellow piscator (one of three of us) approached and gobsmacked me by saying that he read and enjoyed the blog, cheers fella.
 Back at the swim it was time to get fishing....
 It was at this time that the age old problem of getting a cast from a tight swim with a bivvy behind me arose. There was nothing to it, I'd have to take my shoes and socks off, roll up the trousers and wade out. The water is still cold, very cold, but three baits went out on the baited area just fine and were followed by another kilo of bait.

 As darkness fell the clouds gathered and a few drops of rain started to fall but the faithful shelter of ours was snug and secure, we drank a couple of glasses of wine and chatted into the night before our eyes became heavy.
 The now familiar sounds of night on the lake affected Lady Sarah's sleep more than mine, at least it wasn't my snoring this time !
 Time passed,  my eyes opened, it was light, fishless again, I looked over to the good Lady, awake. We exchanged morning pleasantries when, BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP, a single toner, I bumbled to get out of the bivvy door, ignoring my strategically placed shoes, out into the cold morning air and into the muddy ground to the rod, its reel still whirring...I
 The fight was spirited, the fish had run a long way and definitely knew where the weed beds were, fortunately so did I and it was light enough to see what was on the fishes mind, I steered it away, taking line as it kited to the right. Eventually it came into sight, a common, not 'The Common' but the first common to be caught on the lake this year, and on my mainstay bait for this coming summer, a result.
 Once netted and on the bank the fish continued its fight, I've never had a fish struggle so much to escape a net, especially after such a scrap. I decided on one quick snap, you can see I am poised for it to flap, I sensed its muscles tensing as I held it but am glad to report it was returned none the worse and fighting fit.

 I was also able to sport for the first time my British Specimen Anglers hat. Check out their site for all things fishy.
 Lady Sarah had once again brought me some luck, and even her photographic skills are getting better....I just wished someone had come around selling raffle tickets, her face would've been a picture.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Caption Competition

This months photo (above) was kindly suggested by Brian of Pikeblog . Cheers Brian. Please write your captions in the comments section, they always make me and the Good Lady smile. This months prize will be a pack of Fox Leadcore. The winner will be announced on or around the 20th April. Good Luck.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Spring in the Air ?

Back in the swim again, I'd managed a couple of pre-baiting trips since the last time I'd fished. I'm not sure if these offerings are being picked up but it makes me feel like I'm doing something positive on a lake where the Carp simply don't seem to be having it at the moment.
It's just so nice to be setting up in daylight knowing that next week we'll also have that welcome extra hour, my old fishing buddy Brian would've described conditions as "an overcoat warmer".
 As darkness fell it is strange to me just how noisy tranquility can be, once more I was the only angler, a Frenchman seemed to be having a rather loud phonecall on the other side of the lake,completely oblivious to my presence, the sound of eager footballers at a nearby floodlit pitch, the cheer of a goal, a factory alarm, distant car horns, the hoot of my friend the Owl and the drone of aircraft.
 Morning came all too soon, the obligatory blank imminent.
 I watched the Coots collecting twigs for their nests, the pair of Swans claiming territory, sending another pair packing, their wings making that 'whoop whoop' noise as they flew off over my bivvy, the early morning tap of the Greater Spotted Woodpecker and the cackling call of his Green relative.
 The Ducks squabbled as they usually do, directly over my baits.
 As a solitary Magpie flew over the swim as if to mark the fact that I was to be fishless again, I wound in and went for a stroll to scatter some bait about.

Green shoots, Blue Tits feeding on the willow, Sunshine and blue skies.
It seems to me that Spring is truly, at last, in the air.
So, what of "The Common"......well, she's eluded me again,  but there will always be another day.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Caption Competition Winner

This months winner is "Patrick"...Well done mate. Send me your details and I will get the prize off to you.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Don't Mess With Berty Bailiff

Yes, it's that time of year again when seasoned anglers don protective gloves and slope off to trim a few hedges whilst the newbies do the hard work. A time when any fella with a chainsaw will cut a tree down whether it's rotten or not.
 On my syndicate water it's just us bailiffs that do the work. Fences were built, swims were manicured. I decided to jump in the boat for a bit of light pruning whilst a small amount of chainsaw carnage ensued.

Of course work does get done, but it's always a good social and the Tea and Bacon rolls taste so much better having achieved something.

On the subject of bailiffs.........
A well known angler walked into the shop the other day and recounted the following..
"I was fishing from a point and was in two minds as to which side to fish from so set up for two rods on either side, I was only allowed to fish three rods so had one alarm free in case I should change my mind.(Honest guv, I wasn't just about to set up another rod).
 At about this time Berty bailiff arrives, "You can't use four rods" he spouts."I'm not", was the reply "but you've got four alarms there pal".."Is that against the rules then?"
The bailiff pondered for a while"No, that's not against the rules, but if I come down here at 2:00 tomorrow morning, are you telling me that there will not be a rod sat on that alarm?" ..The reply came swiftly"If you come strolling around a lake at 2am you should be careful pal, cos I've heard that some night anglers carry baseball bats or knives for protection!!"....The bailiff checked his ticket and departed.
About half an hour later the rozzers turned up stating that they'd had a report of a water bailiff being threatened with a knife.
The fellow rummaged around into his tackle box and pulled out a small penknife with a 2" blade, which apparently had a snapped end where he'd used it as a screwdriver.
"You'd better take this lethal weapon from me officers, I might do some harm"...One of the policemen looked at the weapon and said, "Hmmm I feel this may have been blown out of proportion mate" and after a thorough search for other weaponry departed.
The angler told me he felt quite smug about getting one up on an overzealous bailiff.............that is, until a letter arrived on his doormat a week later stating that he'd been banned from the club for a year for "threatening a bailiff".

Thursday, 10 March 2011

A Rest Is As Good As A Change!

Many things have conspired towards my absence from fishing for a while, my ongoing aural problems after a perforated eardrum meant my balance wasn't so great, not ideal if you are fishing alone at night. Also, we are currently in the stages of opening another shop, busy times and then there is the good Lady, to be honest she'd have no problem with me angling at any time, but it is nice to spend time with her. I suppose, I'd probably be fishing for Chub or Barbel on the rivers or Roach on my syndicate water in a normal year. I've blocked those thoughts out, kept the focus, in my quest for The Common, I'm back at her home.
The Good Lady Sarah had dropped me off after the usual after-work dash and I set out once again over the muddy terrain, laden like a Himalayan Sherpa, still no barrow.
 I arrived to find that once again I was the only angler present, no-one else cares much for my solitary pursuit, no-one else cares to pursue my prize at this time of year, the peace and tranquility of early Carping never lasts, I make the most of it while I can.
 I've recently acquired quite a lot of new kit with my quest in mind, firstly a new bivvy. One that suits the trek and my usual overnighters,Trakker's Pioneer Ultralite. Its ability to be erected in quick-time a bonus.
 Darkness came faster than expected, I needed to re-rig all three rods, Two with maggots fished Mag-Aligner style and one fished Snowman style.
 The "Snowman" is my take anywhere rig and has accounted for the vast majority of my Carp captures, this is what mine looks like.
I use a Nash leader (leadcore is banned on the water) and Atomic Nobbler leads, these leads are great, they're supposed to be used for 'The Method' but I use them because they are aerodynamic, they don't look like other leads and I can tie PVA stocking full of goodies to them via the hole and nick the hook in the bottom. This is a Carp's eye view of the rig.
Setting up the rigs unnerved me slightly, it is not wise on this lake to draw attention to yourself after dark with ones headtorch, especially if you are alone.
 Fortunately all three rods were set in their spots and Steve (the kettle) was soon
singing a happy song.
 I watched over the water, just looking for a clue, nothing, after about two hours my eyes became heavy and I jumped into the sleeping bag.
 1.00 am, I wake with a start...not a run....footsteps, FOOTSTEPS, behind my bivvy.
For the first ten seconds I felt that someone was going to stick their head in to my open door, friend or foe ?, I thought, but then, when nothing happened I deduced that it must've been a badger, a noisy one at that.Shortly after this incident, as I lay in a half-sleep, I heard a noise that all Carpers love, the splash of a huge fish. I looked out over the lake, the ripples eminating from a spot no more than fifteen metres in front of my swim, I had a dilemma, reposition a bait to this area but risk spooking the fish or leave well alone and hope that this leviathan would search out my bait, I chose the latter.This proved to be the wrong choice, I drifted back to sleep until morning, runless.
I fished on until 11 am, up to this time is often good for a run, but nothing happened.
 I wound in and donned the polaroids for a mooch around the lake poking my nose through bushes and throwing a bit of bait onto spots that may come good later in the year.

I also took time to meet up with some old acquaintances, though they seemed more interested in my leftover maggots than me.

 After a while the relentless seagulls busted me and I called it a day...Homeward bound, she'd won again.