Wednesday, 28 March 2012

New Lake, New Challenges


You may recall that a few months back I received message stating that I had been given the nod to join a local syndicate. I wrote about it at the time here.
It has been a very long time, almost half of my life, that I have waited to join the night syndicate on this lake. There are only a very select few that get the chance and it is literally 'dead mans shoes'.
It was a day of epic proportions then, when the good old posty dropped a white envelope on my mat containing my membership card and rota (week on,week off for newbies) details.
 The ticket starts on May 1st and the lake is currently enjoying a short close season. What better time then to go and have a mooch about.
 The lake is an oasis, set in a depression. Many years ago it was used for washing gravel. It is now a  far cry away from those times. You feel like you are entering another world.
 At the first swim I was greeted by old Esox, as he drifted by in the clear margins. This is the home of large predators, it's Catfish population amongst the oldest and biggest in the country. That's not what I'm after though. The Carp population is an enigma, some old original fish are there and a few recent stockies.


It's a lake of character, edged with mature native trees. I really can't wait to get stuck into it, so much so that I can't summon the desire to fish anywhere else at the moment.
 Some of the swims just scream....CARP.

A bay at the far end was an obvious place to explore, quiet and snaggy, it has all the ingredients you'd look for. I was strolling through the undergrowth when something caught my eye.

Do you see an orangey/yellow shape in the centre of this photo? That is  Carp, a rather large Koi. I was intrigued and tried to manoevre myself for a better view, he soon clocked me though, and set off down the lake away from me. I continued my circumnavigation.

I soon found a couple of carp in this quiet corner.


Remarkably, tucked well in behind a large snag, I spotted another, different Koi, this one I have christened Casper. I tried to shuffle towards him without 'spooking' him.
He was soon joined by a larger Mirror.

It was soon after this, that a fish came on to a little area I'd baited with  corn and tiger nuts. He was big, and seemingly very hungry, because I watched him scoff every single bait, with no fear at all. This fish was in my estimation around 30lb and appears quite catchable. He has a blemish on his side.I will call him 'White Spot'.


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I watched many other fish come into this area, but White Spot was the biggest. He was also the fish that ate the most!!
 By the time this fella came there wasn't much left.

 I made my way back, but my eye was once again caught by the first Koi I'd seen. I'm going to call him 'Black Cheeks' for obvious reasons.

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By now the afternoon sun had reach the little bay and it contained a group of commons as well as Black Cheeks. That Koi really looked a peach though, wide across the back, waddling as she went. I was unable to guess a weight.

It was lovely, sitting in the late March sun watching Carp, acquainting myself with my new mates.Something flashed in the corner of my eye, and there in the margins was Casper flashing in the sunlight, rubbing himself on the lake bed. My guess, having seen a few of the fish doing this, is that they are removing leeches that have latched onto them in the winter, when the fish would not have moved much.
 He then proceeded to swim right in front of me, he really is a friendly fish!!

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 I could've sat there for hours, in fact, I did..I had learned much. I hadn't seen a fish to beat my PB, but I'd certainly met three fish I'd dearly love to meet again.


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Smoke On The Water


" I know we'll never forget.
Smoke on the water and fire in the sky."


It's strange really, how these little groups form. The first cup of tea I consume at Redmire each year is always made with the Kelly kettle. One forgets previous brews and what fuel may have been used and the soot that may have formed within the walls of it's funnel. There is also the damp leaves and twigs to factored in to the equation.
 At the beginning of last October's weekend, the ritual was played out. Everything was going swimmingly, that is until a mushroom cloud appeared over the sacred pool.
 I have a few photos of the event, taken by Malc, in the Evening Pitch. it has to be said that things became much worse, so much so, that much of the pool became enveloped and myself and Malc retreated to the shallows amidst much coughing, as our bivvies became engulfed in smoke. All this was a jolly wheeze to Mick, up in Stumps. Unfortunately, he was laughing so much at Malc's disappearance that he failed to take any photos of the event.
Here are Malc's photos.......





The scene almost looks calm and serene. It got much worse, In fact the smoke reached Malc's bivvy quite quickly. Oh well, no harm done and everything was soon under control.
 This incident has however gained some cultish infamy amongst the four anglers present, a group has been formed around it, "The Noble Order of the Smoking Kelly" or "The Smoking Kelly Club" for short. Who knows what the future of the group holds, but for now the name has stuck.


One thing I know for sure though is " we'll never forget, smoke on the water ".

Go on, treat your ears, you know you want to......

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Last Day - Up With The Lark

My old mucker John and I managed to slope off down to the Ouzel again for the last day of the river season. Chub would be our quarry.
As we opened the gate the shrill warbling of a skylark could be heard and we scannned the sky to see who'd be first to spot it, for a change it was John who had the best eyesight.
 We usually adopt differing tactics, myself the roaming, twenty minutes here and move on style and John more a 'bait and wait' single swim method. Both styles have their merits. We wished each other good luck and I strolled across the first field.
 It's amazing really, you don't think you're making any noise. As anglers, most of us have an inbuilt stealth. Yet here I find pheasants at least a hundred yards away legging it across the field like Roadrunner and rabbits tearing off in all directions, I might as well have been a one man band with cymbals strapped to my knees!
 I walked on through the thicket just in time to see the white flash of the rear end of a deer, they seem to even run quieter than I can walk.
 I started to bait up a few swims along the way and eventually came to the end of the beat.
 Having taken my time to set up the Chapman 500, Mitchell 300 combo, I eventually settled , sat upon my roll mat and made the first cast. Today was going to be a bread day and out when a sizeable lump.
 I was soon distracted by that azure flash and high pitched greeting of my friend the kingfisher. As he shot by he  loudly told me he was off upstream and that I wouldn't be seeing him again today. I bid him good luck as he flew out of sight.
 The rod tip stayed still and my eyes wandered again, this time along the bank. You see, I was tucked away under a tree right down near the water line. as I scanned the mud my eyes were met with this......
....Now I think I know what made this, and I am still undecided as to what my feelings are about them. Anyway, after about half an hour I moved back a bit upstream to the bend in the photo above. That photo was taken last week and in the meantime the rather large chunk of tree in the foreground has moved along to right, it screamed chub. I'd thrown some bait in on the way up , so with a quick underarm flick, I was fishing.
 I was quite surprised when nothing happened..My mate the robin, from last week, happened along, he wondered if he might be allowed to try a sample of Warburtons Medium Sliced. I obliged.
 I sat watching the squirrels run across the fallen tree bridge and up and down the surrounding trees, every now and then a twig would descend from the heights and chart a course downstream.
 Time passed, I felt sure the swim would produce so I wound in, resting it a while. I strolled way upstream to a, thus far, fishless John and I cranked up the kelly for a cuppa and chatted a while about spicy maggots and stuff.
On my return journey  I was buzzed all the way back by a rather large and over-friendly bumble bee. They are amongst my favourite creatures and he seemed to like my greeting of 'Hello big fella'. He followed me for some time, before being distracted by something in the field opposite.
 Back in the swim I re-baited, cast, waited ten seconds and around she thumped, fish on, the old 500 took on an absolutely amazing curve as I tried to stop Mr. Chevin from racing beneath that submerged tree. At one point I thought I had the better of him, but he somehow found a second wind and he shot into the snag and threw the hook, I am not one to curse and pull my hair out at such times, but I was disappointed, to say the least.
 I pondered my next move. Usually at such times I will move swim, thinking any other chub would be spooked out by the disturbance, so I moved up to the next bend,

 I sat here a while, but sometimes you just know it isn't going to produce, I returned to the previous swim, my original roaming plan now abandoned.
 Bread on the hook, I shotted the hooklink nearer the hook, an underarm flick, ten seconds, bang, around the tip went, strike, resistance, off it headed to the submerged tree, it made it, and for a while all went solid.
 I slackened off and he was fooled by the ploy, he tore straight out into the flow and after a real spirited battle he was engulfed by the waiting net.
What a fine conditioned fellow he was.
 I was just about to head off upstream when I received a call from John who said he had a fish in the net and could I come and take a photo or two.
 What a lovely fish he'd bagged, his spicy maggots doing the business.
These fish are by no means easy to catch so we'd had a result, John even went on to catch another before the sun started to dip.


The sun was setting on another river season and as we walked back to car we both said, "Roll on, the 16th of June"

Friday, 2 March 2012

Lucy's First Fish




JMW Turner would've loved this morning, real weather and watercoloured backdrops set the scene as me and Lucy(that's the name of my recently re-furbished Lucky Strike) set out to see if we could just catch that one fish. A fish that would truly mean the rod was alive and free again after decades of dark, dusty confinement in a shed....I could write paragraphs on how much pleasure reviving this beautiful rod has given me....Her first fish was small, perfectly formed and beautiful, but mostly special. The photo's I took at The Lone Tree Beat will tell the rest of the story.

Bless that little Perch. It just goes to show that any fish can give a memory that will last a lifetime.