23 April 2014

Chasing Commons

25/04/14 -27/04/14 - After having some fun last week tempting tench from a small pond in Sussex I set about planning my attack to target the large carp that inhabit a 280 acre water that I have been itching to fish. The stock is in the thousands, if rumours are to believed but in truth it is relatively unknown. I have seen some pictures of carp that range from long to stumpy, scaly to leather, dark to light, small to large and you name it this lake will have it. All of this amounts to some interesting fishing and some uncertainty adding to the excitement of fishing at such a beautiful venue. This feature of my blog will be updated on this post with every session so my entire campaign on this particular venue running from Spring to Autumn will be accumulated below.

The lake has a three rod rule and boats are allowed which makes baiting up and finding fish holding areas easier. I decided to use a basic Eco sounder that allowed me to row out and find features on the bottom of the lake bed that would be good to place a bait on. From the Eco sounder readings the topography of the lake seem fairly uniform with no big bars or ledges and just gradual slopes to depths of 22ft. I managed to find a spot based on the depth which was 12ft and dropped a H marker to which both my rods would be cast to either side. I then unloaded my bucket of vitalin onto the areas and my preparation was complete, now all I had to do was cast the rods and wait.

All three rods were fished on similar chod rigs with Tutti Fruity pop ups. I had added approximately 3kg of Tutti Fruity bottom baits to my spod mix to encourage the fish to feed confidently on my similar hook bait. The fishing was hard and I couldn't even manage a bream from the heavily baited areas. I began to question my set up and rigs but more importantly my location on the lake. A north easterly had began to blow into


22 April 2014

Tench, Carp & Hybrids Beaver Farm Fisheries 2014

20/04/14 - After some serious fishing targeting carp in the Colne Valley I decided to have some fun at a well stocked local fishery called Beaver Farm. There is a selection of lakes at Beaver including specimen, match and general fishing waters that cater for all ages. Beaver Farm is a heavily stocked fishery and with all the lakes being easy to catch fish from it is great for beginners and children alike but with the chance of a monster surprise. It was a nice change from the large gravel pits containing only a few fish that I fish for months with only a couple of rewards to show for my efforts.

As today was a Friday bank holiday I knew it would be extremely busy so I opted to fish a small pond located at the back of the complex. I had fished this pond four years ago with my friend Kyle Say and that session is featured in my blog. Kyle passed away recently and his funeral was yesterday so It was a fitting choice of venue and for reminiscing.

The pond is tiny and at only 1/2 an acre it is not hard to locate the fish. I arrived and had a quick look around and immediately spotted some dead reeds moving violently in the middle of the pond. This was obviously being caused by fish feeding amongst them but as they were not accessible the plan was to fish tight up to the reeds and draw them out with a scattering of bait. Two rods were set up with bolt rigs, one baited with corn and the other a 10mm boilie.

I immediately began receiving bites on my quiver rod baited with corn close to the reed bed and it wasn't long before I was scrapping with an angry fish. The fight on such light tackle was great and the fish just pulled and pulled. Eventually she was in the net and I was greeted by a strange looking fish that resembled a Crucian carp, common carp but with a breams mouth!!!!!!I netted many more of these strange hybrids during the session up to around 2-3lb and then began to catch the target quarry...Tench.

I caught loads of tench throughout the day and also managed to catch a slightly bigger one pictured above weighing in at approximately 4-5lb. I continued to catch fish during the day also picking up some on my sleeper rod fished with a boilie close to the marginal reeds. I caught the larger fish on this rod, as I was expecting, including a few tench to 3lb and a scale perfect common carp of around 2-3lb pictured left that put up the most powerful fight.

I finished the day early fully satisfied with the session out on the banks of this picturesque pond. It was great to see some family's on the complex fishing with young children introducing them to the sport and that's what this venue is all about. Now its back to some serious fishing and I'm heading to a 300 acre reservoir in search of some monster tench and or carp. I will keep you posted.

7 April 2014

Thorney Weir 2014

11/04/14 - 14/04/14 The sun has finally made an appearance and so I decided to get the carp rods out and do some fishing on a gravel pit in West Drayton called Thorney Weir. Thorney Weir is a heavily stocked 20 odd acre gravel pit and I figured I would be nice to get a bend in my rod and catch some stunning looking carp. The water can be fished on a day ticket at £15 for twenty four hours so very good value for money in comparison to rival day ticket waters that regularly exceed £25 per twenty four hour session. Although its not the usual low stock water I am used to fishing its currently the closed season on my lake and I just wanted to go fishing.
On arrival my first impressions were positive and I immediately came to the conclusion I would be returning for a session later in the year. There were so many options which I love in my fishing including open water swims, narrow canal swims, open water, sunken barges, many islands, bays, snags and overhanging tree lined margins. It really is a great carp water and makes you  think thoroughly about the tactics you choose to employ.

I walked around the lake for three hours looking for fish to give me an idea of what swim to set up in but did not see one carp. I decided to fish of a spit on the opposite bank that allowed me a large amount of water to fish to that could not be touched by other swims. The swim also allowed me other options including fishing to a barge and two islands. The weather was warm and sunny so I was prepared for surface and zig fishing in case the carp decided to move into the top layers of the water.

My tactic was to create a bed of bait consisting of hemp and dead maggots. I wanted to stay clear of boilies as they are used constantly on this pressured water and I believed that I would have the upper edge with the carp feeling more confident feeding on particles. I fished three rods with two on the spot both tied up with maggot rigs. The other rod was fishing on a chod with a chopped down boilie to resemble a pellet fished over pellets and hemp.

The days passed quickly and I reached the third night without much action. I did manage a take on the right hand rod that resulted in me striking into thin air but apart from that spell of excitement it was dead. I figured that I had put all my eggs in one basket and hadn't exploited the many features that were accessible from this swim. The fact that I was doing a long session made me believe that sit and wait tactics would be the best approach and I could bring the fish to me but this was proving an error on my part. The lake had been fishing hard with only a few fish out from the island margins on a small bay to my left.

I opted to stay put in my swim until 4pm that day and then move to a swim that overlooked the bay which had deep margins and an island to fish to. This area was also where fish were being caught and the wind was pushing in nicely. Until 4pm I decided to keep one rod on the baited spot and cast the other two out with PVA bags every hour to random sections of the lake beginning with the island margins. I also tied up new rigs that morning on all rods because I was not confident in the original rigs I was experimenting with. These rigs sat perfectly and consisted of a coated braid hooklink stripped two inches from the hook. A standard hair rig was baited with a piece of red zig foam and tipped with two fake maggots. The PVA bag was packed with dead maggots and once it had broken down in the water created small pile of bait with the rig foam just popped up above. Simple but effective.

Within half an hour the right rod rattled off and a short fight commenced. I didn't give the fish much to play with and soon had a belter in the net that looked to be pushing 30lb. The fish was two tone in colour and was nearly a leather carp with only a few scales lining its tail confirming it a mirror. She weighed 25lb 12oz so not the lump I initially thought but a cracking fish none the less. I was so happy with this catch after all the effort I put into the session. The next night passed quietly and no more fish fell to my unconventional tactics.

It was slightly disappointing not to catch a handfull of these great creatures as Thorney Weir has hundreds of carp in it but I was happy to catch this one and it saved a blank. Many of the few fish that were caught that week were stockies so to catch a "proper" one was great. I love the lake and will be back when the weather warms up and the carp become more active.