Chew Valley Pike Trials

I bet you have your special little place where you like to sneak off too now and again, just to regain some confidence in your angling ability? Chew Valley is the place to go where fishing tackle is indeed tested and more than often dreams become reality.

Chew valley lake is a special place, both for trout anglers and now for the pike chasers alike. A combination of factors has led to Chew becoming the best Pike fishery in the UK with numerous 30 pound plus fish being caught.

The fishing is allocated by a limited numbers draw system which could see you rubbing shoulders with some piking legends such as Neville Fickling, Dave Kelbrick, Martin Bowler and the like. With 50 anglers fishing it every day of the trials it can be a bit of a lottery and getting on the earlier days of the week also helps. I was lucky enough to have a cancellation day for middle of the first week , but this only produced a double and some jack pike whilst that very same day two 40’s and 7 30’s came out! I think this was down to us moving spots too many times; the big ones were coming out purely to static dead baits left to soak for a good few hours.

My fellow Fishtec  staff member Garrett had put his name down for the draw and had been lucky enough to get a boat for Sunday, the last day of the first week. As a total pike virgin he needed an experienced guide and of course I leapt at the chance to have another crack at the chew pike. We set off at 6.30 am to get to the lodge for 8.00am, the idea being to wolf down a full English which is all part of the chew tradition. Garrett truly obliged and was the first to clear his plate, in fact it was picked clean of every scrap in a short space of time much to the amazement and amusement of our fellow diners.

The essential start to the day

We soon had our boat number and we headed out into a calm still and cold lake, which made a pleasant change from the recent wet and windy weather. I took us to a spot in open water on a drop off which had produced some great catches for me in pervious trials; it was here we sat it out for a good couple of hours and after fine tuning our position one of my floats finally bobbed under. I explained to Garrett the need to take in the slack line and then set the hooks with a firm sweep of the rod, but upon demonstrating this technique my trusted Greys prodigy boat rod fractured into four pieces with a loud bang! It was a bit of a hair raising fight bringing the fish to the side of the net on just a butt section with the danger of the jagged carbon cutting through my line at any moment, and to top it off I could see just one hook point of the two treble hook in the scissors of the pike. Thankfully my TF Gear redmist main line took the strain Garrett was a dab hand with the net and we got the fish in the boat. She was as fat as a hog and turned the scales at 22lb 4 oz.

Check the broken rod

22lb 4oz Ceri Pike

We sat it out for another few hours, with nothing but news of my pal Leighton Ryan and his boat partner landing a 25 and a 30!

TFG fan Leighton with his 25 pound lump

As it was getting on in the day I decided to take us to a shallow bay where Garrett would have a almost guaranteed catch of a jack to avoid the dreaded blank. Sure enough he soon got a run and landed his first ever pike.

Garrett’s First Jack

Not long after he had a dropped run and then connected with a confident pick up which bent the rod double, sadly it was not to be and the hooks pulled after a short fight. I had the feeling it was a real zoo animal maybe one of the 30’s! It was a hard call to make whether to stick it out in the same area, but I chanced It and took us back to our earlier spot for the last hour which is often the best time for a big one. Sure enough as the temperature and light fell Garretts float went under, and this time he stuck well and kept the pressure on. The fish wallowed on the top and was revealed as a decent fish, after a short tussle I did the honours with net and we weighed her in at 21lb 8 oz. Our time was up but I was well made up with a 20 each and helping Garrett capture a specimen pike of a size that has taken many experienced pikers years to achieve.

Garretts 20 pounder

The Carp Society Show

Inside this year’s show there were many leading brands, fishing tackle and bait companies to choose from and plenty of DVDs and books from the big names in the fishing industry.

A few of the names up there were the likes of Martin Bowler, Jerry Hammond, Terry Hearn, and Danny Fairbrass to name just a few. This year was different for me as I was going with the intention of getting a few interviews with the big names.

Martin Bowler

Q. Best days fishing and where?

A. Best days fishing is my next day’s fish, as long as I’m fishing I’m happy. Where? I don’t mind, I love everything from going Salmon fishing, to sea fishing for sharks, to carp fishing.

Q. Most memorable catch and where and why?

A. It’s hard not to say the two British Records I’ve had because they are British Records. I think the 5Ib 4oz perch from catching the Impossible which I had on a pole using a flat float and I taught myself that method and employed a match fishing method to catch a huge fish under the pressure of a camera.

Q. What do you think has been the biggest innovation in fishing since you started?

A. Hair rig, its allowed people to go to sleep, use alarms and made the sport a lot easier.

Q. What are your pet hates on the bank?

A. Noise, other than angling noise and you’d be amazed when the cameras start rolling a Helicopter fly’s over your head and god knows what else.

Q. What are your plans for the coming season?

A. Making a film at the moment called ‘Chasing Shadows’ which will due out next November, other than that just enjoying myself

Gaz Fareham

Q. Best days fishing and where?

A. That’s a tough question, a couple really. The Hampshire syndicate I’m fishing, a couple of weeks ago it was an amazing day, I had two beautiful thirty pounders but I would have to say catching Heather the Leather and then going straight to Glastonbury after.

Q. Most memorable catch and where and why?

A. Again id have to say Heather, I spend three years on the Car Park and to be honest I never thought I’d actually catch it.

Q. What do you think has been the biggest innovation in fishing since you started?

A. I don’t know really I’m not one for innovations but I would say the boilie.

Q. What are your pet hates on the bank?

A .Turning up to a lake and knowing you can’t get anywhere near the fish because there are people in the swims doing five days a week.

Q. What are your plans for the coming season?

A. Carry on at the Hampshire syndicate and fish a few lakes in the woods, fishing with my mates and just enjoying it.

Joe Morgan

Q. Best days fishing and where?

A. It’s got to be the big common I had recently from Spitfire pool to be honest with you, it’s such a special fish it’s only been caught twice! And not a mark on it so yes a real result.

Q. Most memorable catch and where and why?

A. In France a couple of years ago at Mazon, I fished four nights and had four forty’s, five fifty’s and one sixty, incredible really it was one of those sessions.

Q. What do you think has been the biggest innovation in fishing since you started?

A. Modern baits and dead sharp hooks.

Q. What are your plans for the coming season?

A. Probably have another go in spring on the Snake pit to try and even up the score.

Ian Moore of CC MOORE

Q. Best days fishing and where?

A. 1995 at Somerly in Ringwood on a Sunday at the last weekend of the season. I had my first twenty in the shape of a 26Ib 6oz mirror then braced that with another mirror of 24Ib 14oz.

Q. Most memorable catch and where and why?

A. My first carp was a 7Ib 6oz mirror which I caught at the age of fifteen at Longleat lakes on the float with lunchmeat. I started late because I was playing a lot of tennis at the time and competing.

Q. What do you think has been the biggest innovation in fishing since you started?

A. Bait in general, the quality is better and the range is greater. On its own I would have to say the spomb.

Q. What are your pet hates on the bank?

A. Etiquette, and litter, in my opinion when you go fishing you should leave no trace.

Q. What are you plans for the coming season?

A. Fishing, grabbing whatever time I can and take my son fishing for roach and perch. Also I’m going to Zwolle in Holland and Montlueon in France for the first time to continue to build our non-uk trade.

Team Korda

A1. Night fishing on a midlands syndicate, I had 2 thirty’s and 2 forty’s.

A2. The Mrs. But don’t tell her.

A3. Boilies and bait in general have come on leaps and bounds.

A4. I think everyone hates bad etiquette?

A5. Wellington in spring, filming in France in the Summer and then my own fishing in autumn.

 

A1. Catching Single Scale at 40Ib 8oz after 3 years.

A2. Gaz my first thirty at 33Ib 8oz. I love how we give regular fish names.

A3. Korda Krusha – for an easy way to mash baits! Saves plenty of time.

A4. Bad Etiquette. It doesn’t take a lot to be curtious

A5. Fishing for a linear on a water in Essex.

 

Ian Bailey

A1. Midlands clay pit I had seven fish to 35Ib, what a place.

A2. Cambridgeshire linear 40Ib 2oz. Remember it like it was yesterday.

A3. Chod rigs – Probably the biggest innovation in the last 10 years.

A4. I despise Jealousy and bad etiquette.

A5. Carrying on in Bedford.

 

 

I have to thank the boys above for giving me their time and making the effort to answer my questions. It was great speaking to you all and I hope to see you next year!

Well I must say that it has been a fantastic day and yes I even spent some money, and if you didn’t make it down this year or haven’t been then I recommend that you make an effort next year, you won’t be disappointed.

You Think You Know A Lake

You Think You Know a Lake

After a very disappointing result at a recent fishing competition, followed by a couple of weeks with a serious lack of fish banked, I have been well and truly irritated with my own fishing. So instead of doing a few hours here and a few hours there I decided to do a proper weekend session down a lake I thought I knew very well.

I knew the water down Argal Reservoir in Cornwall would be low after the summer but when I turned up there it was very obvious that the water was extremely low. I had never before seen it like this so took the opportunity to well and truly check out the areas I had previously been fishing.

I could actually walk out to the spots I had fished before and what an eye opener it was. There were snags everywhere with perfect clear areas to be targeted in the future months. What shocked me the most was a whole row of tree stumps that I had no idea where there up until that moment. I can’t imagine the amount of times I have fished over them!

I just had to then check out the rest of the lake so spent the next hour walking around it checking out the other pegs. Without seeing it you probably couldn’t even imagine the snags that were there. In front of one of the pegs there was even a full wall that really would restrict any fishing for even the most experienced angler.

I was eager to get my carp rods out but didn’t really have a clue where to place them; all my usual spots were an impossibility. The feeling of fishing a ‘new’ lake gave me a real buzz and before I knew it I’d located three perfect areas and bait was being put out.

All I could do then was wait with an unusual feeling of anticipation. The evening soon came without so much as a bleep of the alarms soon to be followed by the morning. I questioned myself as to whether I should locate some different areas but decided not to. I changed my rigs and re-baited those same three areas. Before long I was thankful I had done so as my rod screamed off resulting in a lovely looking 25.04lb common. A much needed fish for my own self confidence. This was soon to be followed by an 18lb mirror, well worth getting the fishing tackle out.

If nothing else this weekend was a real eye opener. You may think you know a lake inch by inch but in truth until you can actually see it for real how much do we really know?

http://www.swlakestrust.org.uk/leisure-activities/fishing/coarse-fishing/argal

Tight Lines Samantha

 

Bream Feast

An estate lake close to my home has long held a big head of bream but never, until recent years, did it produce fish to interest a single minded specimen hunter like me. The average fish was always around 4lb and 6lb was about the top limit. But, in recent years, that average has apparently started to climb quite significantly, so much so that I was hearing rumours of regular doubles being taken, with fish to over 12lb certainly genuine. Now, while 12lb is still nowhere near the top end of bream weights these days, it is still a very worthwhile target and definitely rates as a worthwhile specimen in my eyes.

Having taken delivery of three of the gorgeous new TFG Classic Nan Tec barbel fishing rods, I decided to put them to use as feeder rods, using the Avon top joint rather than the separate quiver top. A bream session was planned, and as the water is close to home I took advantage by driving there on the afternoon before my session to introduce bait into the selected area. In an hour, using a Spomb, I had fired out a large bucket of mixed Pigeon mix, corn, stewed wheat and TFG mixed halibut pellets. I also included a few 15mm fishmeal boilies.

The following morning, it took a fair while to set my camp and it was around midday before I was casting the first bait into position, after having introduced a further twenty Spomb loads of bait. That was baited with a boilie wrapped in paste, and accompanied by a method ball. As I set up my second rod, which was to be baited with lobworm/corn cocktail, the alarm on the first sounded and line started to disappear off the free spool reel. The bait had only been in place about two minutes! As soon as I struck, I knew I was attached to a fair fish but, typical of bream, it never gave me any anxious moments. Soon, I was weighing my first fish of the session, 8lb 6ozs, and a good start.

Before rebating, I cast the lobworm rod into position and then attached a new boilie to the first rod. With that one in place, I turned my attention to rod number three, which was to have a soft pellet hookbait. Just as I was moulding the method ball in place, the lob worm rod was off in a fast run. This was ridiculous! Soon, I was weighing a second 8lb plus fish. Fifteen minutes later, with all three rods out together at last, I was able to contemplate a cup of tea and fired up the kettle. However, before it had time to boil I had to turn it off again as bream number three came to call. 9lb 3ozs this one registered and did give me a decent scrap for a change. Just as that was being slipped back, a fourth bream had galloped off with a boilie. A few minutes later, and less than an hour after the first cast, I was weighing a fourth fish, this time 7lb 14ozs.

After that fish, I did have a couple of hours very welcome respite before another flurry of action commenced, and by dusk another four fish had been netted. These fish were significantly bigger, at 9-2, 9-9, 9-13 and the fish that turned out the biggest of the session at 10lb 7ozs. From then until about 11.00pm there were four more fish before the action stopped completely and I was able to get a little sleep. In a hectic afternoon and evening session I’d landed a surprising 12 bream with a very respectable average weight.

The action started again at first light, but during the daylight hours fish only came spasmodically. In fact, only two more bream came before dark, although I did land a solitary five pound tench and get bitten off by a big pike that had taken a liking to a boilie. After dark, though, the action turned absolutely manic. I won’t bore you with a blow by blow account but, during the night I was landing fish about every forty minutes. By daybreak, I’d had no sleep whatsoever and was absolutely knackered. In total, I’d landed 27 bream from 7lb to 10-7 plus the tench, approaching 200lbs in total.

Looking back on the session, it was great fun but obviously the chances of a really outsize bream appear to be limited by the sheer numbers of fish. But with bream you never really know. Anglers who have spent far more time than me after bream have told me that it’s very common for a huge fish to suddenly show up amongst much lesser individuals. I shall certainly go back and hopefully improve on my 10-7 result.

 

CARP, TENCH AND SPANISH CATS

Since my last feature, I’ve been back for one last session atHorseshoeLake, reverting to one of my favourite swims, Choppy’s onWinterBay. Once again, though, my timing was poor. Why is it that I’m always told that, “you should have been here last week etc?” I know I couldn’t have fished any more effectively, having carefully located a nice clear gravel bed in the middle of silkweed and baited it accurately. Although I did catch a couple of tench, they again were only average fish up to just over 6lbs. My searches for a really big tench have been constantly thwarted this season.

I’ve also been back to my local carp fishing water for a day session, taking seven more lovely carp, all good doubles and had several exploratory sessions on the upper Warks Avon, which is close to my home. The signal crayfish situation on my beloved Great Ouse has now reached plague proportions and I have to say that the fishing is no longer enjoyable at times. Summer fishing is now a real trial, the damn crays are on the baits in minutes. Even the usual tricks of encasing in mesh or trying to lure the crays away with tins of cat food or tethered fish are not working very well. There are simply too many crays. What the river needs is an injection of a few catfish in each affected section. They will soon thin down the crayfish population!

On the Avon though, I can still find peaceful fishing. I’ve been on the extreme upper reaches, which have no real form for anything other than average chub and barbel, but I do feel that there may be a big fish or two to be discovered. Apart from one very accessible section, the river receives little pressure and I’m very hopeful of uncovering something exciting. So far, barbel to only 8-12 and chub to 4-10 have rewarded my efforts, but I do know of genuine 11 and 6 pounders respectively. so, the search continues, which is great fun in itself.

Early August saw me back on the Ebro system in centralSpain, fishing the river’s tributary the Segre at Mequinenza with Catmasters Tours. The fishing was as much fun as ever, although a little slower than previous trips. Apparently, a combination of an extreme heat wave and late spawning had resulted in many of the bigger fish not being in the usual areas. Fran and I were joined by two father and son combinations, Paul and Patrick Reed and Paul and Zach Sparrow. Patrick, who is 21, had never before landed a catfish and on the first night landed one of the biggest cats ever caught by a Catmasters customer, in fact one of the biggest cats ever caught anywhere, at 224lb. For good measure, Zach, 15, also had his first ever cats, his biggest being 182lb! Both lads were teased about their golden appendages for the rest of the week!

Compared to those two monsters, my catches this year were quite modest. My best was 126lb, well short of my personal best of 186lb caught last November. I also fluked a 28lb common on a catfish rod, as well as dropping a carp in the margins that looked every ounce of 40lb plus. That was the only 100lb plus fish I had this year, although I did manage two very hard fighting fish of 83lb and 84lb.

If you get the chance you must give it a go. You do not need to be an experienced big fish angler, as the guides do all the important work of selecting the swim, rowing out the baits, baiting up and so on. They also are on hand to advise on playing these immensely powerful fish and landing them for you. As Pat and Zach proved this year, anyone can catch a monster, even the most inexperienced. So you cannot take it too seriously as it is certainly no measure of angling skill. What it is though is bloody good fun and I can thoroughly recommend it.

 

 

Samantha’s Fishing Tackle Choice

I was peacefully staring out onto my local lake waiting for a bite a couple of hours ago now, when a group of younger lads appeared in my swim. They were asking all the usual questions about the lake and what fish had been out, when one of them noticed my set-up.

I then spent the following half hour explaining my choices to them and why I had opted for these rods and reels etc. I even ended up reeling one of them in for them to have a go casting! Now I have put my rod back out and re-baited the others I thought I would put this little blog together explaining why I have opted for the setup I have. After using 3lb x-flites + for a couple of years, which I know many people have their own opinions on, I highly rated them and they served me well.

I wanted my carp rods to be just as effective for me so I opted for the TF Gear TSI 12’ 3lb rods. I have used them now for about 2 years and they’re still going strong, it would take some amazing new rod to make me change them. What impresses me most about these rods is how thin they are yet how much control I have when both casting and playing a fish. I have also noticed an increase in my casting distance since using them with ever increasing accuracy.

I have recently opted to team these rods up with the new TF Gear Delta GT 10000 reels. I love the design of them and they certainly look different on the bank. Many people have quizzed me on why I have chosen them. I was instantly impressed with how well the line lay on them and the smoothness of casting with them. Being big pits they are perfect for the big lakes I often choose to fish, I have even been influenced to take them down to my local beach to give them a good old test.

Glimmer Bite a

I decided it wouldn’t be right unless I completed the look with a set of TF Glimmer bite alarms. Now those that fish with me would back me up when I say that I am extremely fussy when it comes to alarms. The first things I take into consideration are the look of them, the ease of use and how effective the bite detection is on them. I love the way I can alter these alarms to suit different situations especially between the day and night. Having a receiver with these alarms is also a big plus for me as I like to keep my alarms down low and use the vibrating function only at night.

Well that is just some of my reasons for using the fishing gear I have with me today. I’m still waiting for a bite and hopefully now the weather is cooling down a bit the fish will be on the feed. Hopefully next time I write a blog I will be able to report news of a fish or two from Linford Lakes when I compete in the BIG FISH 2011.

Tight Lines Samantha

 

Fishing Around Weed

Fishing in and around weed is an aspect of carp fishing that some may struggle to come to terms with.

I appreciate that a lot of waters, particularly commercial waters with a fair stock of fish will not end up looking like a football pitch, as do some of the lesser stocked, big pits I have fished over the years and this in itself can present more of a problem. After all, if you are not used to dealing with any weed at all throughout most of the year then, in the middle of summer, when you suddenly start pulling it in by the bucket load it can sometimes be a bit daunting.

Personally I love weedy lakes; I think that it gives you more of an idea as to where the fish will feed, which way they will travel and what areas they will like the best.

Weed comes in many different forms and each type can tell you something about the lake bed, depths and what type of clear areas you can expect to find nearby.

If you have a lake that is not generally weedy and only small patches or areas of the lake start to ‘green up’ in the summer then these areas will be very interesting to the fish, not only will they harbour a certain amount of natural food but the fish will find shelter and cover in and around the weed and any substantial amount of weed will have it’s own little eco-system based around it.

Firstly let’s look at marginal weed, weed that attaches itself to the slope from the bank downwards which is often the shallowest and warmest part of the lake.

The most common of these is Canadian Pondweed which, in the right conditions, will spread right out and cover acres of the lake bed. It is very hardy and grows in extremely dense patches, leaving little or no clear areas between the stems, luckily though it struggles on the harder ground and this leads to the more fishable areas remaining clean. Finding them becomes easier the longer the weed grows as you can obviously see the gaps.

Canadian tends to grow quite uniformly in length so if you see a gap it’s very often going to be a gap on the bottom as well, and not just a shorter section of weed. I have never done particularly well fishing actually in amongst the stems of Canadian Pondweed and I always try to find a clear piece of bottom to present the bait.

Donking a lead (without a marker float) using a braided line is the best way of feeling for a clear area but the actual ‘drop’ of the lead is just as important as the ‘feel’ as it hits the bottom. By trapping the lead on the surface after the cast you can control the drop and you should feel for any slight knocks or pulls on the line as it sinks, if you feel any resistance on the way down then you know you are through the weed rather than next to it.

The same goes for pulling the lead back to see if it is clear, you should always stop at the end of the pull and lower the rod tip back the way it has just come. If the lead then sinks and hits bottom again it stands to reason that it must have been off the bottom at the end of the pull, this will be the line running over the weed and lifting the lead up, the length of the drop will give you the length of the weed. If it’s a true clear area than the lead should stay in contact with the bottom as you slowly pull it across the bottom and not re-sink when you slacken off.

Another common weed that likes the margins is Silkweed; this type of weed only really flourishes in shallow and well lit water and is often a lot more manageable than it first seems. The problem with Silkweed is that it looks so terrible when you reel it in, the reality though is that you are ‘gathering’ the individual stems and releasing the water that holds them apart as you lift your rig from the lake, this makes it look a lot thicker than it actually is on the bottom. I have caught hundreds of fish by fishing on silkweed, just let the rig fall into it and NEVER pull it back in the slightest. As long as the weed is not ridiculously thick your bait will be presented to a degree that the fish can still pick it up. Using longer than normal nylon or fluorocarbon hooklinks will help but the main trick is to trap and lower your bait making sure it stays where it falls.

Silkweed out in the middle of the lake is a bit like a ‘magic marker’ as it always denotes a change in depth and bottom make up, like a bar, plateau or shallow hump and, more often than not it is associated with sandier or gravelly lake beds areas, giving you an perfect feature to fish to.

The easiest way to check it is truly clear is with a rig, as the hook will gather the weed every time so, if your hook comes back clean you have found what you need.

Milfoil is another form of weed that is fairly common in our lakes, it can sometimes be mistaken for Canadian but it is actually very different indeed. Whereas Canadian has quite uniform short leaves, Milfoil has a thicker stem and supports little sprigs of three or four leaves all spaced in clumps out along the stem. It also grows easily in deep water and is, without doubt, my least favourite weed of the lot.

Milfoil can totally choke whole areas of the lake and it cuts down light dramatically, it also attracts and collects algae and particles of all sorts creating a murky environment which, I believe, the fish do not particularly like so I never fish within it. I always look for large clear areas nearby that I can be sure are well fishable. But this type of weed is only usually present on lakes that have a good head of mixed weed so, for lightly weeded lakes it is not usually a contender.

Whichever type of weed you may encounter the one thing that will dictate successes or frustrating failure is your level of accuracy when placing your bait. Try to use the reflections on the lakes surface, tree line shapes, line markers, clips and everything else at your disposal to ensure, once you have found a spot, that you can confidently keep placing the rig on the same area, close enough is not good enough when fishing in and around weed.

Simply substituting bottom baits for pop-ups is no guarantee of success and, although I have seen it written a thousand times, casting a solid PVA bag into thick weed has never, not once, done me any favours whatsoever!

I think a good way of mentally dealing with weed is this; imagine the bed of the lake totally barren, the fish can feed wherever they want and you can present a bait anywhere you wish, perfect, or is it?

Now imagine 70% of the lake bed covered with weed in which you cannot present a bait at all, to me that has just made everything so much easier as I am now only looking for the right spot in 30% of the total area, surely that’s easier than trying to find a feeding area somewhere out there with no clues whatsoever.

So, what of rigs, is it necessary to completely re-think your approach to weed, personally I don’t think it is. Unless you have massive weed beds that can really effect the strength of your fishing tackle then most standard set up’s are more than adequate and, if you have found clean spots to fish then bottom baits are also fine.

The one thing that will help is to have a decent lead release system that comes into play when you hook a fish as a lead on the line can cause no end of problems if a fish makes it to the sanctuary of a sub surface weed forest. I would strongly recommend that, whatever lead clip you choose, it is one that pins to the swivel otherwise weed will force the whole clip, complete with lead back up the line, causing the lead to stay put and travel back on the leader and cause no end of problems.

Simple is important in weed, as a complicated rig that relies on sliding rings, and balanced components, can easily become hampered by the smallest strand of weed and less effective as a result.

I have touched on the subject of accuracy with your rigs in weed but what about baiting up, is it necessary to get every single bait you put in, onto the clear area?

Personally I think it works against you and I deliberately scatter some baits into the surrounding weed, although it is hard for you to fish in the weed it is not hard for the fish to feed in it, and this helps to increase the size of the areas as they rip up the weed as the root around in the stems. By breaking up boilies you change the sink rate of the bait and its ability to work its way to the bottom where it might lay hidden from view, bits of broken bait hanging at various levels in the weed is a good attractor and will help the fish home in on your clearer baited area.

If you fish a clear spot regularly and keep the bait going in you will probably notice that the spot just keeps getting bigger, a sure sign that you are getting everything right and the fish are regularly feeding and uprooting the weed in your swim.

 

Linear on my week off

It was Friday lunchtime and I’d just finished work for the school holiday. I had planned on getting my gear ready over the weekend and heading off on Monday to the local lake I fish for a few days session. Well this didn’t quite go to plan as I had had a week from hell and needed a break! So on the drive home it didn’t take me long to decide a carp fishing sesh was all I needed. I got home loaded the truck and was out of the house all within the following hour.

I drove off towards my local lake but never quite made it there; I’d changed my mind and decided to head up country towards Oxford. To cut a long story short I ended up on Brasenose 1 at the Linear complex right at the beginning of a bank holiday weekend!

Well as you could probably imagine everyone else had had the same idea and pegs were few and far between. I managed to find myself one right in the middle of the lake and that is where I set up home for the week. Now to me this lake has always been Known as a runs water so I had high hopes for the week setting up my glimmie bite alarms and new Delta GT Reels.

Well that night I managed to lose not one but two fish in the weed and woke up the following morning a more than a little annoyed. I decided a change of rigs was probably the best option and made a fresh start recasting my rigs and baiting up some perfect little clearings in the weed. Early the following morning I was rewarded with a lovely Linear mirror. Over the following two days I had the pleasure of landing a few more stunning linear mirrors.

It all stopped then, the weather had been creeping up in temperature as the days went by and the fish were no longer interested in feeding. They were getting ready to spawn and that was that! I decided to stick it out till the end of the week just in case but ending up spending my days camping and not really carping. My TF gear bed proved too be the perfect place to spend some time relaxing and sunbathing.

Hopefully all carp have spawned by my next trip wherever that might be.

Tight Line Samantha.

Still After Tench

29th/30th June 2011

This was my second overnight carp and tench session on the Ouse and I was joined for the two days and nights by my good friend Alan Lawrence, who is one hell of an angler. On this second session, we selected a much wider section of river which we thought had possibly more potential for a big river carp. A few years previously, I had fished a few sessions there and taken lots of tench to well over 7lbs as well as three lovely mirrors, best 19-8.

We both tackled it the same way, with 14mm boilies, putting in around a Kilo of bait each. We were on different baits, which would provide an interesting comparison. We both used a method mix in conjunction with our hookbaits, to provide an extra area of attraction. Our swims were about thirty yards apart, either side of a substantial willow, and we both concentrated our efforts along the far bank cabbage fringe. The Ouse tench and carp have been found to love hugging these plants.

Our results were remarkable, in that they were identical. We both landed six tench and two average bream, but, sadly, no sign of carp. The second night was interesting. Both of us had been plagued by those damnable signal crayfish, and they became more persistent and annoying as the session progressed. Towards late afternoon on the second day, Alan was close to calling it quits, wanting to pack up his fishing tackle as he couldn’t keep a boilie on the hair for more than ten minutes. My baits, however, were harder, and although they came back in with claw marks I was still presenting a bait after two hours. At least two of my tench had come after a lot of attention from signals that I’d simply ignored.

I offered Alan some of my bait for that second night rather than him having to abandon his fishing, and not more than ten minutes after the first cast with it he landed a lovely tench of 6lb 8ozs. Sadly, it had lost part of its tail, presumably to an otter attack. That was at dusk, and as the night progressed, even I started to suffer stolen baits.

At about 2.00am, after another series of crayfish pulls and jerks, I couldn’t fish the rest of the night with any confidence, so I wound in the remains of my boilie and replaced it with two grains of popped up rubber corn. At least I could sit back and relax. Sure enough, all the annoying indications slowed right down until just after dawn, when a screaming take had me grabbing for the rod. A good scrap followed and then, in the bottom of my landing net, was a tench of 6-8 with a damaged tail, the same fish that Alan had returned several hours earlier.

So, we ended the session with twelve tench to 6-8 and four bream around 5lbs apiece. Again there had been no monsters, but loads of fun. We know there’s bigger tench and bream waiting for us and a big carp must surely put in an appearance soon. Here’s to the next time.

6th/7th July 2011

Still searching for that elusive big tench, I again drove along the road bank of Summer Bay at Horseshoe, this time intending to fish more or less opposite boat point. The swim I eventually settled in was 57, close to the farthest car park. I must admit the closeness to the van was a factor, as the rain was bucketing down. I was able to get the bivvy up first and leave the rest of the fishing gear in the van, without getting everything sodden before I started.

Talking to two others who were already fishing, it seemed that the tench were not getting any easier. Every now and again, someone would record a good catch, but it was very sporadic. It seemed either feast or famine. It was either quite a few tench or a blank, with nothing much in between.

Once again, for the two days, I was buffeted by a strong south easterly, which was a bit annoying. The forecast had been for south westerly, and I’d set the bivvy accordingly! The session followed very much my experience on the previous Horseshoe session, in that I kept faith with my presentation of two imitation red maggots fished on a short hair popped up to beat the bottom weed. Sadly, I again had very little to show for my efforts, lots of little plucks from small rudd and a solitary tench netted of just over 6lbs on dawn the second morning. I did, however, suffer the mortification of losing a giant tench at midday of the second day. After a truly screaming take, I hooked into a powerful fish that I first thought to be a carp, but soon showed itself on the surface. I hesitate to put a weight on it, but if it wasn’t a double, it wasn’t far off. I knew I had problems, though. The fish was dragging a great clump of weed in which a branch was entwined, following an excursion close to the overhanging tree to my right. With the extra pressure, I was concerned for the security of my size 14 hook and eventually my worst fears were realised. Suddenly, the fish gave a strong kick and then I found myself just playing the branch. I pull out of very few fish, less than one or two a season. What a sickener for it to happen with possibly my biggest tench for many years.

Tony Miles

Overnight on the Ouse

7th/ 8th June 2011

It was again the search for big tench that saw me back on the banks of Horseshoe Lake for a two day session. This time, I decided on my first session on Summer Bay for three seasons and elected to fish peg 66 which had, apparently, yielded a few nice fish on the recent Tenchfishers event. In fact, there is little to report. For the two days, I was buffeted by an unseasonably cold wind full in my face and the only action I had was from a very scraggy male tench of about 5lb that put in an appearance just after dawn on the second morning. That was taken on two imitation red maggots fished on a short hair pop up presentation to beat the bottom weed.

I did have a very pleasant interruption on the second day, when Neil Wayte and Dean Macey stopped by for a chat. It was the first time I’d met either and we passed a very pleasant hour talking about matters piscatorial. They then went off to fish the opposite bank of Summer Bay, with the wind at their backs, where it was probably ten degrees warmer than where I was positioned. I found out later from Dean that they had both blanked and had evidence of both the tench and carp busily spawning, so that goes some way to explaining my lack of action.

21st/ 22nd June 2011

After a frustrating carp blank at a difficult syndicate water the previous week, I was on the banks of the Ouse for my first overnight carp and tench session. I love river carping, but have done far too little of it in recent seasons. The previous year, I’d had a couple of autumn sessions, taking nice bream and barbel, but no tench or carp. In the past, however, I’ve had good tench to well over 7lbs as well as carp over 25lbs, so the big fish potential is undeniable. I know of a genuine 9lb plus tench and a good friend took a 33lb mirror last season. Unlike a lot of carp waters, river carping still retains an air of mystery.

Upon my arrival, I spent a fair bit of time finding a suitable area with a little extra depth, good cover in the form of rushes and lilies, but little bottom weed to annoy me. In the end, I settled on a lovely little swim with about seven feet of water in mid river that had a nice clean gravelly bed. Under my bank was weedy, and the far bank was also carpeted in dense lilies, so I put in half a kilo of 14mm boilies along each weed fringe. One rod would fish the far fringe straight across river, while the left hand rod was positioned further downstream adjacent to the near bank weed fringe. I also made up a method mix, mixed with natural water shrimps and lobworm juice, and moulded this round my rig on every cast. Hookbait was a 14mm boilie wrapped in matching paste.

I only fished from early evening until two hours after dawn on each night, grabbing some sleep during the second day, and when I packed up to come home I’d had seven tench to a top fish of 6lb 8ozs plus seven bream to 8lb 10ozs. No carp had put in an appearance but the session was great fun. I’m off there again tomorrow for more of the same. I’ve heard that the stretch has produced bream over 12lbs, very big indeed for flowing water, so that’s another exciting target to complement the tench and carp.

I’ll keep you posted.