Friday, 31 January 2014

By the power of thunder prawn.

I watched the weather like the proverbial hawk for days before finally deciding when to venture out. I had also been lingering around the EA web page like a bit of a stalker as well. Then right on schedule the rain began to fall and the river which I had convinced myself was receding once again began to rise steadily like gas bill on the run up to winter.
There was really nothing I could do but to continue to follow my theory that the woodland pool that once contained monster perch hopefully still should. I knew the carp were always going to be a little forthcoming considering the current mild temperatures, but after last weeks’ bagging session I suspected that I knew where to avoid fishing.
I was right for once as well. When I arrived at the deserted pool and walked down the spongy tree lined bank I spotted several boisterous carp rolling in pretty much the exact same area where they were crashing around last visit. So giving them some space I set up in a deepish area well away from the party that has a nice bit of cover, which I felt might be attractive to a perch or two. There was another reason I fancied this area. Last week as I built a respectable match weight I kept seeing a kingfisher zipping up and down the pool. From where I was fishing if I ducked down I could see through the thicket to where the little blue streak was perched. Time and time again this little bird dived bombed into the water coming back with a perfect bite sized roach every time. Of all of the swims on this ignored pool this area had to be a likely area where to find a perch.
Now I am not sure whether it's because I have been feeding so much prawn as I’ve fished over the winter, or whether they have always liked them, but the perch in this pool do seem to be rather keyed into the little pink stinkers now. Last visit I was getting two different bites using them, by different I mean the rod wasn't nearly wrenched from my hands, and I suspected the cause of those bites may have been perch. Even with a backup supply of worms, I had prior to arriving made the decision to fish only prawn on both rods and it was good job I did, because after letting a light scattering of chopped prawn stew, I got an instant reaction by way of a well formed perch of a pound and a half.

The perch was still visible sulking on the bottom when I heard some odd noises begin. Honestly I thought it was a farmer in one of the surrounding fields making the deep rumbling racket with some kind of agricultural machinery. Then my phone rang and my ever caring other half JB asked me if I was under cover. That's when I heard the rumble again and this one was followed by the unmistakable crack of lightning. Needless to say the conversation was quickly ended, my rods were removed from my general vicinity and reluctantly I put up my umbrella and secured it as best I could. Moments after I had finished a mini hurricane began as a wall of hail approached. When it reached me the pressure of the falling hailstones and howling wind bent my brolly right round. Though I really didn't want to cling onto the metal pole I had zero choice as without me as stabilising weight it would have been ripped away very soon.
Thirty minutes of repeatedly saying my 'please don't strike me' mantra over and over again and the storm passed. Even with blue sky on the horizon I felt my session may have been well and truly gazumped by the hail. Even though I had spent the entire squall looking up at the sky for lightning bolts the fact that a large amount of ice had been dumped into the pool hadn't gone by me. Knowing this was my only chance out for a few days I had to stick it out for the last few hours even if I thought I had little chance. Half-heartedly I recast both rods back over the baited area and waited. I only just spotted the first float bury in the ripples caused by water still dripping from the trees before the line pulled taught and I was chuckling away as the carp responsible tore line from the clutch when the second rod jumped nearly clear from the rest.
This took the biscuit. I was sitting on a clear pool, in January, after a thunder/lighting storm, the water temp had to have cooled noticeably after all that ice was just dumped in it and I was sitting there with a rod in each hand and two clutches that both needed attention. With one rod trapped between my knees I turned the rampaging carp which had calmed a little. Lucky for me it ran straight along the back and in a moment of pure cheek I scooped it up first time it surfaced. That one down I turned my attention to the other bent rod to find that although this fish was smaller it was ultimately a different sort of fighter and dirty one at that. Last visit I caught two of these interlopers at the end of my session so I knew what it was. Then after a big pair rubbery set of lips appeared on the surface I slid my carp filled net under a chub to finish of a bizarre post storm brace.

Turned out that the weather did little to deter the fish from feeding and for the next two hours more small carp and chub circled over my bait. Even if there was any more perch around I think they stood little chance of getting onto the prawn buffet with both carp and chub firmly in residence. I knew this pool contained a few chub that arrived as part of a rescue mission years ago, but up until know I had never really caught many of them. It would seem that my switch from worms to prawns as hook baits might be the obvious explanation for this turn in species. Two more long thin chub were unable to resist my whole prawn hook baits as night fell.

What was noticeable about this chub was their condition; they might have been long and thin but they were perfectly formed in every way and judging by the amount of prawn mush the wretches were regurgitating, it was them that were clearing out most of my freebies. Although I have caught a couple of chub whilst fishing prawns on the river it’s never really been a bait I associated with this species. However after seeing how much these fish are into them, I know that if the rains do subside soon I certainly fancy giving them a try on the Avon before the end of the season.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Fish eye #1 Roach

A short while ago I was showing my good friend Rob some pictures using a memory stick in combination with our flat screen TV in the lounge. Whilst doing so I came across a picture of a tench eye we took a few years ago. I think it would be truthful that even though it was a little out of focus seeing this close up shot three feet wide really took us both back. The subtleties I could see in that close up were stunning and really made me realise that quite often we hold these amazingly beautiful things in our hands and don't take or have time to look closely enough to appreciated them. It instantly inclined me to think about taking some more of these shots and with a little encouragement form Rob I have decided to try and capture more of these images as I fish through the year and to post them onto this blog as a as a side project under the title of Fish eye, They won't appear with any regularity knowing me, so this way should anyone want to see them they can track them down by title without having to read any other blogs separating them. I don't really want to detract from any of the pictures I post by blabbering on, so the most I will write is the sort of location or conditions the fish came from and their age or size, as I think these points are important and may go some way to helping show the differences in the same species from different environments. 

10oz roach from a clear farm pond caught in winter.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Yes I have been fishing

It's been a while since I paid much attention to my blog, ironically that's largely due to something I have been working on for this very site. Anyway, busy as I've been, I have got out and about fishing, and even  though  like everyone else I really want to be fishing flowing water, I find myself fishing frigid lakes, having a ball while perch fishing.

Now when I say perch fishing you have not take that too literally, as even though I am fishing on venues for perch using methods highly tuned toward perch, I have in all honesty only managed to catch one over a pound and about a thousand under an inch long. Why then should I have been having such fun! Well the answer to that is quite simple... carp.

This unseasonably mild weather combined with the fact that not many carp can resist what I purvey for the old Sargents, means I have been having myself a right old winter carpfest of late, to say the least. They haven't been fish that would set the carp fishing world on fire nor have I used some deadly new rig to catch them, but they have all been caught on very sporting rigs, they have a really pulled my chain and just about all of them have looked  truly amazing in their winter finery.

It all began on a bright freezing cold day when this fish totally ignored the expansive bed of chopped worm I had laid down as a trap for Mr & Mrs Perch, and instead took the double fluro pinkie I was using as bait on a size 22 hook, attached to my nine foot super light rod. At the time I was attempting to, and let me say being particularly successful at trying to catch, lots of small silvers in order to send a vibrating invite to any predatory perch in the pool. 

The next beauty I had to wait all day for... Keeping myself occupied again catching roach, I thought the bright sun and clear water were the kiss of death for perch. Even so I kept the faith and kept a prawn line constantly supplied with free offerings. Right as the last rays of light faded away my float bobbed and slid away. It was pure poetry until I struck and found a hard fighting carp on the end of the line. Although the fish was stunning I didn't look too happy. But that I think had more to do with me shaking uncontrollably and suspecting I might have had the beginnings of hypothermia.

The odd carp here or there no fest makes I hear you say! Well those January temperatures held just under double figures and with that the water temp rose too, so much so that my last perch session turned into a full-on winter carp bagging session. Fishing on the little woodland pool these amazing looking carp could not get enough of my whole prawn fished over chopped prawn.

In four hours I got through an entire kilo of chopped up prawn as time and time again they routed out my hook bait from the leaf littered bottom. The strange thing on this occasion was that even though I fished two rods on two baited spots, one baited with worm and the other with prawn, located within a meter of one another, the worm never got touched once; the prawn caught all the fish including three perch under a pound.

It was almost a little hard to get my head round, catching eleven carp, a handful of small perch and two errant chub in what is supposedly the dead of winter. It went from the inane to the sublime when I ran out of free bait and ended up just swinging alone hook bait into the void. Nothing seemed to stop the hungry rampage and I was still getting bites as my hooks baits too dwindled. Late on I landed a very strange looking fish which I suspect might have been a hybrid between a common carp and a goldfish, or a common and a crucian carp. Outwardly at first it does I think look like a common carp, but the more you look at it the more you see some different features which makes me doubt its pure blood linage.

Right now I can't say that I have been disappointed by these carp crashing my supposed perch party. I know I am supposed to, as a target minded angler, say that they were pest fish ruining my chances of my target species, but I can't as I have been having so much fun with my rods bent over likes its summer in the middle of January. Add to that sunsets like this and I could almost get used to this type of winter.

Not bolt rigs were used or harmed in the making of this blog ;)