Saturday, January 11, 2014

At Last - A fish!

After not one, but two blanks on our recent trips out, Dad and I decided to hedge our bets and head to somewhere we knew had loadsa fish!

Walters lake is out at the Cotswold Water Park. It's a 4 lane commercial style mixed fishery though the focus is carp of between 2lb to 20lb (I've had one tench out in 3 sessions so there's some other fish in there). We'd fished there a couple of times over the summer and had an amazing time - nearly a fish-a-chuck! With a bit of luck, we might not blank...

There was a heavy frost on Sunday morning, so it took a little while longer to get from Bristol out to the water. The drive was pretty crazy - minus 3 on the motorway and the car was screaming at me about the 'risk of ice'. Luckily the sparse number of cars that were out were taking it very easy. Once I got out on the A roads it calmed down a bit and I had to stop and take a pic of the sunrise - the colours were stunning.

So after stopping off to pic up Dad, we finnally got to the venue around 8ish. Took a quick snap of the water as it looked stunning: flat calm water, frost on the grass, sun coming up on the horizon and...

...fizzing on the surface. They were in there! We got the day tickets, reviewed the rules (and man, is there a lot of them...) and got out to the swims.

As there was a match on later in the day, we could get to our favourite swims so chose to get in the opposite side. The water isn't wide and each swim is roped off meaning you don't get a lot of casting movement - which isn't a major problem as the swims are wide and, being winter, we could move as it was very quiet.

The major restriction with the venue is the rule of having only one rod out at a time. This is fine during the summer, in fact I can see the sense in it: the last session the bites were coming within 5 minutes of the bait being in the water! With two rods in, it'd be a nightmare managing the lines...

In the winter though, it's a different story. One you need to find the fish and two you need to attempt to figure out which bait or presentation the fish will actually take. With one rod casting every 20 minutes, fishing from 8 till 4 (at the latest...) that's 24 casts. Work on the basis that you may catch a fish, or get snagged or go for a wander, that's not a lot of fishing!

So maximising time and getting rods in the water presto was the go. I'd set up 2 rods, the idea being to bounce between them. One with a float, the other with a small cage feeder the idea being that casting around with the feeder might help me locate the fish and then sneaking a float in over the top of a bit of feed would help me pick them off. I'd opted for maggots and fake corn on the hook with liquidized bread for ground bait.

A bit of breaky a couple of hours later and still no fish. A few liners and pulls but nothing visible on the surface...

 

By this time a big bank of cloud had come in and as the sun disappeared the temperature dropped... and the wind got up... and the match started... and still no fish...

...and then Dad hooked one! At last, we'd avoided a blank ;) A good size mirror of around 10lb.

Another hour of persaverance and finally the feeder rod twitched, then the tip sprang round and the reel started to take line. I took it really, really easy with the fish - after all that work, I really didnt want to loose it due to a hook pull on a tiny hook (the size limit for the lake is a 10). A nice fight later and one mirror in the net:

 

The rest of the day was very, very slow but Dad did mange to land another lump close to closing time: 

 

So, a slow day BUT not a blank! Walters lake really is worth a trip, it's a very well put together tidy lake with a good cafe and lots of fish. I wish they'd relax the rules a bit (spesh the 1 rod limit, even if it was only over the winter) but apart from that it's a winner.

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