Thursday, 28 April 2011

Old and New, Green and Blue

This post finds ol' Gurn having to do a bit of the old 'backstroke', yep, just a couple of months ago I posted that I wouldn't be following the masses and using a barrow for transportation of my carping kit...Oh dear, then, as this week saw me acquire a brand spanking new Nash PegOne Barrow.
 I am now officially old in my eyes having succombed to using the mind instead of the muscle, common sense has prevailed and I think this model will be ideal for the overnighters I generally do these days. I will let you know how it performs.
Also new in the Gurn armoury this week is a new set of rods, I won't say that I've upgraded, my old Greys' have done me proud and I've caught the fish of my dreams on them. I have, however, purchased a set of three Century FBS rods. I have bought them with one eye on a future venue, but also feel they will cope better with the "nuisance" Wels Catfish I will inevitably encounter this year. Once again, I'll let you know how they perform.
What then of the fishing ? Well my quest continued along with the company of Lady Sarah. We opted for my old, cold-weather swim, not the good Lady's ideal choice, being as it was, facing into the cold North Easterly that seems to have sneaked back in through the back door. I thought some fish may have followed it though and the plan was to set all three baits no more than twenty feet from the bank.
 The bivvy went up...eventually, thanks to having another pair of hands to help, bless her.
 There really hasn't been many catches on the lake to give me any guidance, I generally follow my own path anyway.
 Two on pop-ups, one on bottom bait, a small scattering of my mainstay boilies as freebies this week.
 The swim is one of the more secluded on the lake but unfortunately the fellow who had walked an entire lap of the lake, chatting on his mobile so loudly that he actually probably didn't need the phone (his mate would've still heard him) decided, as I knew he would, to come blundering straight towards us. I strolled towards him, behind the bivvy, in a way that polite anglers do, so's not to enable him to walk into the swim and make himself comfortable, even then he felt the need to yell at me for 15 minutes before continuing on his loud route around the lake.
 As the darkness fell, our only other vistors were my old mates, the bats. Lady Sarah looked on, amazed at there twilight antics..a special time.
 As we bedded down, listening to the wind outside, I wondered how many more nights lay ahead in my quest, will it end, will I catch Her ?
 2 a.m. and my right rod is away, I'm on the rod quickly and strike, a plucky fight, but this is no Carp...or indeed Cat, a fine Tench came to the net. I was joined out in the cool night air by Lady Sarah, bless her, she was still half asleep, answering "Ey ?", "What ?", "Pardon", to everything I said to her. It's a strange thing but I've never really been in a fish catching situation at night with someone who doesn't instinctively know what to do, you know, get the net, sling, mat, forceps. All these things are what fellow piscators immediately do. I apologised later to her for being abrupt when this didn't happen.
She's a fine partner, great company...alas, I fear she'll never make a good photographer !!!
 Dawn broke to two welcome sounds, the high pitched call and bright blue flash of the Kingfisher and the first audible sign of the cuckoo this year.
The wind still blew hard and cold as we packed away, The Common, is still uncaught this year.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Caption Competition Winner

The winner this time is Dave Burr .
It was a close run thing this time but I thought Dave's to be the cleverest.
Well done fella, I don't think I have your address anymore, so if you could send it to my email I will forward your prize sir.
 You can also read Dave's fine blog by clicking on the link, on his name above.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Warm Night.

Well I've got into this little routine, you see. I do a bit of pre-baiting the night before, then fish the area with just a handful of free offerings, it gives me confidence and I can stroll down the little track laden with gear in the knowledge that I've put some effort in and any capture will have been earned.
 Oh dear though, last night, having been through this routine, imagine my horror when said swim contains a rather too grinny angler.
 Yep, you know it, the sun is shining and I look around the lake that I generally have to myself to find 1,2,3,4,5,6....SIX other anglers, my solitude is over now until probably October.
 Not only do I have to make alternative, second choice swim arrangements, but now have to contend with visitors with empty mugs in their hands and listen to the always fantastic rumours and gossip that this lake generates regularly and quickly.
 Of course, all this, is part and parcel of fishing this particular lake, a lake visited by people from all over the country and it was good to catch up with some of the old-schoolers.
  With the coming of sunshine and more pressure on the lake, pre-baiting becomes, in reality, a waste of time.
 In the past I've had people move to fish over my bait within an hour of me leaving the lake. These things you have to take on the chin, just one more of the challenges my quest for 'The Common' holds.
As well as anglers, we also now have many other park users, they are generally well behaved and leave us alone, there are the odd few that don't think the park rules apply to them or their dogs though, all good fun and more stories along those lines to come as the Summer unfolds, I'm sure.
 Also, the wildlife...just where do all them frogs come from ?? I also spotted a Mink, Then there's the bugs and what can only be described as a "mahoosive" spider in my bivvy this morning.
 The ground-dwelling creatures don't bother me that much, it's the bloody mozzie's that I hate, so the twilight feeding frenzy of the local bat population was enjoyable for more than one reason.
 I saw signs of fish movement, but nobody caught.
One thing can be said though,'It's certainly warming up'.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Should've Gone To The AGM

To be honest, as a club bailiff I should've really been at the AGM. Instead, I saw the opportunity to fish the lake, I was the only one on the lake again.
I'm starting to get back in tune with the lake now and felt quite confident having caught on my previous two trips and having baited the swim the night before. I've had some of the boilies I use made in black and it has proved successful in stopping the birdlife diving down and guzzling them, they just don't seem to be able to see them.
 Unfortunately, neither did the fish on this trip. I did however spend a very relaxed evening listening to the local bell ringers practicing in the distance at dusk with this as my view.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Speaking of the Old Guard

Some of this blogs traditional angling viewers will be interested to see the above photo, reproduced here with the kind permission of the photographer and respected angler Shaun Harrison.
The cased Carp was caught on 24 July from Mapperley Reservoir by Albert Buckley at 26lb a British record at the time.
 Albert had witnessed anglers being smashed up on lighter Roach tackle by Carp and set out to catch one,
On Saturday July 19th Albert was at Mapperley to fish specifically for Carp, his first took 55 minutes to land and weighed 16lb. After weighing at the nearby keepers house Albert went back fishing and within ten minutes caught a 14lber. 

Albert returned to the lake on Thursday 24th July and this was his account....

On July 24th I got four carp and two Roach, the carp were 9lb, 11lb, 15lb and 26lb, the Roach were 2lb 12oz and 3lb 6oz. I caught them all on bread paste mixed with honey.

This fish was possibly much heavier and lost a large amount of blood before weighing, having been gaffed upon capture as was the norm in those days. It was to be the last record Carp before the Redmire era.

The case sat for many years in the fine angling shop Walkers of Trowell where I believe I actually once viewed it. Then, one day a member of the Buckley family walked in and claimed it back, never to be seen again !

Sunday, 10 April 2011

A Penny's Worth ?

A chap walks up to the counter at the shop with a headtorch, I scan the barcode and the computerised cash register shows £ 7.00.
The transaction followed thus...........
"That's £ 7.00 please sir"
"No it isn't, it's cheaper than that on the tag on the show model"
"Oh, sir, perhaps there has been a mistake"
His manner changed and he stomped the full length of the shop to collect the price tag on display.
 He strolled back with a victorious look, exclaiming "There see, I was right"
I looked at the tag .... £6.99.
"I'm so sorry sir, the computer seems to have rounded it up to £7, of course I will amend the price down, would you like a bag sir ?"
"Yes please"
"That'll be a penny sir," I said, with tongue firmly in cheek.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Old's Cool

'In Pursuit of Carp and Catfish' a book that had a profound effect on me as an angler. It made me aware of the wonders of the Wels, specimen Carp fishing and also inspired my love of Redmire Pool. Kevin Maddocks was a huge influence on my angling direction. Unlike Yates he never painted pictures with his written word but had a way of conveying big fish angling in perhaps a more workmanlike way and love him or hate him he certainly knew how to catch Carp.
 It amazes me sometimes when I speak to todays mass media flooded Carpers. Many don't know of the man who brought us the first modern Carping bible, Carp Fever. The man who along with Lennie Middleton developed the Hair Rig. The man who brought us the first adjustable level Bedchair.
The man, who along with the legend that is Alan Taylor pioneered French fishing at places like Orient, Chantecoq and others.
 What then has become of the old school, what are they up to ? Well they're still out there doing it, without the hype of the modern era. Alan was in the shop this week, he and Kevin have just returned from a successful trip to the famous Rainbow Lake. Still doing it, still catching 'Whackers' along with the likes of Rob Hales and Martin Locke.
 It seems that the old guard are still really ahead of game, still keeping it real, without the need to tell everyone about it and plug the latest product, long may it continue.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Am I Losing My Way ?

OK, hands up, I admit it, for the foreseeable future I am what them that may scoff would call a 'fish chaser'. I've been lured in, for me it has become a personal quest against a single fish. As I sat alone on the lake this week, those questions appeared in my mind.."What if She didn't survive the winter".."What if She's been stolen".."What the #### am I doing here, searching for a single fish, when it's difficult enough to extract any of the residents of this lake"..Are these the musings of an obssessive ?
 Of course, as a rule I take great joy at all of my captures from the smallest Gudgeon, I wonder at them all and feel priveledged with every capture, but something this week has troubled me....I'll set the scene..
 The night was warm, I was back on the lake, back on my own, I've continued to bait up the area of my last capture with my mainstay boilies and succeeded in placing three hookbaits within an area about the size of a football pitch with an average depth of twelve feet.
 I lay in the bivvy watching the shadows of Rabbits and Mice against my bivvy as Spurs were unceremoniously battered in the ether of my tiny (quiet) radio.
 Like countless times before I stared out to the lake wondering where at that precise moment She might be.
 The ripples on the water of the ever gathering frogs played with the light of the nearby football pitch floodlights as loud groaning goods trains trundled by in the distance. All too familiar scenes and sounds, in many ways I long to be rid of them, for my quest to end, sooner, rather than later. She keeps me going back. I drifted into slumber.
 At approximately 3am, a bleep, right hand rod, then another, the bobbin twitched and a slow ponderous take occurred. Strolling out to the rod, shoes on this time, the run had become steady and I struck. This one pulled back a bit and kept deep, it felt a good fish, you know the type ?, a plodder.
 The fish took line, a lot, and my heart started to beat faster. This is the time I think about knots, hook holds and line strength, I retrieved a little line, but it took it all back and then some. The fight went on, maybe fifteen minutes in reality, it seemed like more.
 At this time I allowed myself the luxury of considering that I might be attached to a rather large Carp, which could actually be The Common.
 The fish started to tire and slowly, carefully, I lulled it towards me until it was close enough to think about getting the net.
 I switched on the headtorch to see what delight lay before me.....My heart dropped, the only emotion I honestly felt was...disappointment. There in the clear margins lay Silurus Glanis, the Wels Catfish. It simply hadn't crossed my mind that this fish would not be a large Carp, it's take and fight, along with the time of year pointed towards Carp.

I have, in the past dedicated much time in pursuit of these strange and interesting creatures and have caught them to well over 100lb ( and not in the Ebro either .) I loved that time and built up a lot of respect for the fish that Kevin Maddocks described as "The Neglected Giant".
 I am slightly disturbed at my apparent distain for the capture, so I ask you out there..Piscatorially speaking, Am I losing my way ?