Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Ruffe redux 3.0

If you said you were getting excited about going on holiday and doing some serious fishing I think most anglers would probably assume you were heading off for a week long carp session at Masion de lac bleu after humongous carp or flying of to Canada to fish the Fraser river for white sturgeon so large they give you a hernia just thinking about them. For me though that means something totally different and certainly something of smaller scale, or with smaller scales. So with the leaves on the trees about to turn and the UK enjoying the hint of an Indian summer I was excited to be off east again hoping to chase down this little Herbert for a week or so.

Day 1

My beer glass was still sitting on the table of the bench where I'd sat drinking it. Barely enough time had passed for a wasp to hover down into it to sup at the dregs before I was out having a few casts just to see how the fishing was. From the very moment the worm that hid my hook fluttered down onto the bottom amongst the patch of chopped worm, my float had been bobbing on and sinking under the surface. Quite quickly this toe dipping session had turned into an Osaka fish concern job. By that I mean the fishing was like this... Worm a'goes in, a'fish comes out, that what the Osaka fish concern is all about (
If every one of the fish caught was a target fish it would have been pure heaven, but they weren't and it seemed that there was certainly a queue of these diminutive perch waiting for the next worm to fall.

Day 2

Prior to a hotly anticipated luncheon I spent three hours getting smacked up by the perch once again. Even after changing spots and keeping away from the previous night's area I couldn't seem to get away from the incessant little predators. Already I doubted whether I had got things right by bringing the near hundred weight of worms I had, which had last time enticed some nice ruffe.

A shower, a defiantly over loaded plate of carvery and a stroll along the sea front of the nearest coastal town later and I was fishing again. This time I had a companion in tow by the way of a newly licensed JB. It was always going to be a case of sods law that me who wanted to target a specific species using a tried and tested specific approach would wash out, whilst my companion who was let me just say baiting generally and liberally with maggots and didn't care what she caught actually hooked a small ruffe in between slapping me in the head with writhing roach that were attached to her Banzai tele whip.

The cold or maybe boredom sent JB off whilst I stuck it out a little while longer as the dark drew in. That last hour as the chilly scent of autumn washed across the broad the fish responded well. I caught everything but what I wanted. Perch, roach, skimmers and all manner of mixes of the latter graced my net and the session and day was aptly ended on a right old dog of a roach which despite having obviously having had rough up bringing had survived and grown quite large.

Day 3

The next morning it seemed right to have a look on the previous nights spot. I dumped a bit of leftover bait in when I left and even though I knew it was gone, the niggling thought that maybe some little scroungers might still be around persisted. Without putting so much as a free maggot in I swung out a split red worm. The tide had pushed the surface up by another two feet. Not long after the float cocked, it drifted sideways and dipped a little. I smiled before even striking knowing full and well the culprit was a ruffe, albeit a small one.

In my excitement I didn't check the scales were set to pounds and ounces
rather than kilos and grams. Converted this one weighed six drams. 
The spot came good again a little later in the day when I nabbed a second slightly larger one on an evening session. If finally catching one ruffe myself wasn't a relief enough catching two on one day certainly was and proved to cement the area I was fishing as the new hot spot and main target area for the next few days.

Day 4

Having earlier this year concentrated much of my efforts on specific spots on the massive lake for tench and seen the rewards that could be returned from doing so I scaled down my previous experiences and applied it to what I was doing here; straight away it seemed to be a good decision. I concentrated all efforts onto a square meter that was for accuracy sake one and a half rod lengths out. Before leaving the previous night  I put out half a pint of chopped worm, maggots and soil and it seemed to pay off  by way of and early and much chunkier ruffe not long after casting out.

I returned later in the day to fish once again on the spot and happily caught another ruffe. Although I must make it clear that this one was accompanied by a large amount of perch that were in no way oblivious to all the tasty worm sludge I was concentrating on the area.

Day 5

The morning of day five was a ruffe wash out! I was now considering whether my pre baiting was becoming detrimental. I was getting tons of action but got the distinct feeling that the ruffe were possibly not getting the chance to find my bait as the gangs of small perch were definitely dominant. I made the decision to therefore not bait up at the start of any of my next sessions and instead bait up before I left, hoping the perch might have shoved off by the time I returned and the scrounging ruffe might still be around.

Validation wasn't long coming when after plumbing up and recording the depth on the rod I cast out and hooked a target fish first chuck!

Then after patiently waiting on the second cast for a while the next bite proved to be another one as well! 

I was concerned that maybe, just maybe, the first little ruffe had, after being released in the edge, gone straight back onto the spot and found my bait again, as it weighed exactly the same as the first. After I did what we obsessive's do best and stared at the photos for ages. I quickly concluded that even though certainly related they were definitely two different ruffe as their skin patterns are totally different 

Day 6

Five minutes was all the time I could spend sitting on the hot spot this morning. The sky was wall to wall azure from the moment the dark dispersed. Frankly it might have been enjoyable if it wasn't for the east facing nature of the swim. Fearing for my retinas I fished another area that has in the past proved fruitful. As per normal the bottom seemed paved in tiny perch. A moment of madness drove me to try and feed them off as I had quite bit of bait to spare on my last day of fishing. But the more food I put in the bigger the queue of perch became and in the end I reeled my neck in on that decision. It took a good two hours for the swim to calm down and it was around then that my float began to toddle off as if old Mr pope had found my section of worm. It wasn't so though! What was on the end of my line felt very strange and I had to get a closer look at it to be sure it was what it seemed to be. It was by far the smallest eel I have ever caught. I mean this thing was so small it couldn't even be called a boot lace, as you couldn't lace an espadrille with it, it was that small.

With my final session at hand I for the last time headed to the pre baited hot spot to try and add to my tally. As I watched the float in the ripple I pondered the weeks fishing. Although I hadn't landed any real monsters this time I truly could say I wasn't disappointed with my results. I had after all landed six ruffe which in most places seem to becoming rarer and one of those at least was over an ounce in weight. Most of all I really enjoyed fishing for these forgotten fish and I know I will come back again and again to try and beat my PB.

It would barely be worth saying that I again was plagued by perch if it wasn't for the fact that I finally hooked into one of the bigger fish that get caught on this Broad at this time of year. The bite was like any other and it took a 10mm section of lob worm much like every other fish I had caught before it. The only difference was this fish put up a real battle ploughing the whole place up and drawing a lot of attention as it did. 

I am quite used to seeing two plus perch but it was surprising to hear how big some of the others who were fishing thought it was. I wasn't going to bother with weighing it but to prove my point it was only a mid two I slid it into the bag and put it on the scales. I was pretty much right when the dial pulled round to 2.10 and the three chaps who were watching seemed almost disappointed it wasn't as they said well over three. Truth be told I would have loved it to be a three, but three or not it was a perfect fish to finish my latest ruffe hunt in Suffolk.

That wasn't the end of it though! Even with my wonderful beloved giving me that look and questioning whether I thought a week of fishing wasn't enough, I still slipped of to the canal Sunday morning under the guise of testing out a newly acquired and elasticised pole Id bought for commercial perch fishing. And you will never guess what the first fish I caught was...

A little Tommy ruffe!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Lake #31 Leading a double life

I've been a little preoccupied of late as this years campaign on the lake has coerced me into leading a double life as an angler. By day I am mild mannered Daniel Everitt tench angler, but by night I become an obsessive predator chaser that lingers round silently in the dark willing any of the three zander, two catfish or five eels that I know for sure are in the ninety acre lake to eat my bait.

God honest truth I am beginning to look like a carp angler I am I've spent so many fruitless nights on the bank. I've even got this short over night session down to a fine art! I finish work for the day, zip home, grab my gear and five minutes later I am on the bank. Within an hour of finding a peg I am set up, baited up and cast out...

 Within an hour and a half I am brewing tea whilst scoffing food...

The moment dark falls I am in the sleeping bag cuddling up to my sounder box...

Hell I even set my alarm for around one in the morning so I can get up have a tiddle and check I haven't missed anything, then recast to ensure fresh bait is on offer. After another five hours of kip it's up with the lark, cup of tea, pack of belvita and then break camp.

I strip away and pack everything away in a specific order leaving my rods and net till last. By half seven I am in the car on my way home, by nine I am bathed and ready for a day with the other half and the session is done.

This double life I know seems to be borderline compulsive behaviour, as frankly it is returning very little catch wise. But from what I have seen with carp anglers also partaking of this madness I haven't even scratched the surface. One chap I know has done thirty nights on Coombe and on the thirtieth night he landed three pure bred English commons with linage which likely goes back to the twelfth century. Now although I am not after these hens teeth thoroughbreds, I am angling after something just as rare. So I have asked myself, am I prepared to continue returning to the banks of the lake again and again enduring blank after blank just so as I can have the tiniest chance of a massive zander, an eel that could swallow a tennis ball or even a cat that had been filling up on bream for the last few years might eat my bait? The answer all ways comes back yes.

But! and there is always a but! I know that I have ignored the rivers for over two and a half months and it weighs heavy on my mind that I should not waste opportunity's to get on the river before the leaves fall from the trees. So I think I may have to try and restrain myself or at least change how I spend my fishing time before I begin regretting missed chances on other good weather venues and rue giving in to that one driving force that seems to power anglers...Obsession.