Sunday, 29 April 2012

I Love It When It Rains.

Having been low and virtually unfishable in the season, my beloved local stretch of the River Ouzel has now burst its banks. The water meadows are doing their job perfectly and naturally. I normally take a scenic walk to work this way on a Monday. Back to the roads this week, I reckon.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Close Season Treats

I've been on a bit of a self imposed close season, it won't last the distance, the new lake opens on May 1st and I'm champing at the bit.
 It has however allowed me to take stock and get organised. Organisation is not a trait usually associated with me, often I tend to be impulsive, especially where angling is involved.
 In the past I have fished through the grueller months in the hope of a bite from 'The Common'. I will have another little dabble for her this year, but only when the time is right. What an elusive fish she is, uncaught this year despite many anglers efforts. If I'm honest it's a rat race I don't miss, but, what a fish she is.
 I have had time to take stock, re-evaluate and am now hungry for new challenges. what better excuse then to splash out on a few new items of tackle.
 First there was a set of three 12' 2.5lb TC Harrison Ballista rods, old school classics. I wasn't looking for some, but when I was asked if I knew anyone who was, I couldn't let them pass. An ideal players rod, just the job for the new intimate lake and also  bought with an eye on the fabled 'pool'. I think their forgiving action is just the ticket for Redmire, where hook pulls are commonplace.
 Next was a good old car-boot purchase a nice useable pre-Garcia 50's Mitchell 300 with the V-check and perfect bail and spring for a fiver....lovely.
 Some time ago I got to thinking about a new rod for my small river chubbing. Although the Chapmans 500 is a fine wand, I did find I'd need a bit more backbone for those jungly 'chubby' swims and a little less length for those overhead branches. After some discussion with the venerable gentlemen of  The Traditional Fisherman forum (link in side panel) a worthy contender was deemed to be The Allcocks Nimrod, originally designed as a spinning rod for Salmon and Pike, it has the strength I require and is one and a half feet shorter than the 500 and sensitive enough at the tip. Here's the one I have purchased..

 It was only then that I saw this sign, it got me thinking about a reel......

 Now I have secretly been yearning for the rather quirky Felton Crosswind for some time. Some love this mad reel and have had a long standing 'affair' with it, others find it a bit of an oddball.
 Well that ticks all the boxes by my reckoning so I am now awaiting delivery of this little baby..

 I can't wait to get out out there now and  put them all to good use, roll on my friends...roll on.

All photos in this post are from previous owners and credited as such.

Friday, 13 April 2012

A Lunchtime Treat

I couldn't resist nipping out for an hour today to feed and watch my new friends.
Is there anything finer for lunch than sitting eating sandwiches amongst the branches of a beautiful willow, whilst a lovely carp cruises below and the birds sing above ?

Monday, 9 April 2012

Wood Carvings

I was walking around one of those parks at the weekend. You know the sort, a sanitised man-made version of the countryside, with lots of signs telling me where to walk, and what I should be looking at. It was nice to stroll out with Lady Sarah though and we did stumble across this beauty.
I do love to see a good wood carving, it really is a fine art. I was reminded of the wonderful carvings of Brian Mills which were regularly advertised in Carpworld in the 80's.
I bet his works  of art fetch a fortune these days. I wonder what became of him.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Watching? ..Yes. Learning?....Um!!

In a quiet corner of the lake, a fin breached the calm mirrored surface. A journey to the area meant treading the untrodden.
Every hawthorn and bramble grabbing at me from side and sky, on more than one occasion they held on tight and their stubborness was matched by mine. They won of course, cuts to my arms being painful proof.
 They knew, you know?, them fish. Safe havens can be found on every lake, they'll always be there if conditions dictate. Sometimes you really do have to go down the slippery slope to get to them.
 I finally reached the area, they were there.
  Nestling down behind a half submerged snag I soon became aware of specific patrol routes between branches, the direction sometimes changed, the route didn't. In and out they came, predictable and confident in their presumed safety.
 A shaft of sunlight pierced through the overhead canopy of ancient oak sending a shaft of light through the water, illuminating a small gravelly area behind the snag.
 Tossing out some tiger nuts and sweetcorn on to this area whilst the carp were absent was simple, the corn glowing like the stars at night, the tigers planets, a sub aquatic cosmos.
 A carp of around twelve pounds sauntered into the area, it was a common. It spotted the corn, did it spot me also? Quickly taking two grains, it was soon on its way. Then another common, and another. All did the same.
 The next fish was a mirror, possibly a stock fish around fifteen pounds, relatively new to the lake and hardly caught, he'd be a bit green, naive, wouldn't he? He stopped above the baited area, hovering, just six inches above it, he was looking, intently looking. After a period of what can only be described as pondering, he set about performing a full 360 degree turn above the bait, still looking. When he stopped, in the self same position he started in, he started to waft the bait with one of his pectoral fins. Now I'm watching all this going on and he's clearly looking for a rig, surely? I'm transfixed.
 All this cagey behaviour, from a youngish, unpressured fish now had me puzzled. I was so entranced by its cunning behaviour that I was completely surprised by what happened next. A mirror of around thirty pounds swam into the area, nudged the smaller fish, which had eaten nothing, out of the way and instantly and boldly proceeded to eat the bait, throwing up clouds of detritus in the process.
 Fortunately the gravelly lake bed meant that I was still able to view proceedings with some clarity. This fish ate and ate. It was literally searching out single grains of corn, sometimes contorting its body into gaps under branches to access ate everything.
 What then, have I learnt? My first impression was that the large fish was large because he was greedy, and that therefore he was catchable and that the stock fish had more intelligence than I'd given him credit for. However, having given it some thought, let's just hypothesise that the larger fish had followed the smaller to the area but sat back and watched proceedings from a safe vantage point before entering and eating. This now put a different perspective on the whole event. Maybe, just maybe, it was the big boy who was the clever one, I really don't know.
 The one thing I have learnt from these observations on this and other lakes is that the commons are less likely to be caught over large beds of bait. A fish that picks up a few offerings then vacates is more likely to be caught using single hookbaits only, or at most a small PVA bag or stringer set-up.
 It's all good food for thought....and these hours spent in observation are never wasted.