So as a backup plan we decided to head out for a piking session at Watermark Fisheries The Pike Lake - Lake No.6. The last time I'd caught a pike was back in 2004 up at Pixies Mere so I was really looking forward to the session.
Got off to a bad start... The weather report threatened a similar downpour to the one on Monday and then on boxing day, the car decided to blow both the front headlights and the clutch that'd been playing up since we bought the bloody thing finally gave up!
Perhaps we should've taken it as a bad omen... The fishing gods were trying to tell us something?
All was not lost though: Dad very kindly offered to come and pick me up and we decided to risk the weather so we we're back on.
In the end, the weather wasn't too bad - we were treated to a full rainbow. Which was rapidly followed by a massive rain shower, then sun, then a hail storm!
All of which you would've thought would bring the pike on? But no dice...
We tried every bait imaginable but they just weren't up for it. I managed to loose two of the floats I'd brought spesh for the trip on an invisible snag just off to the right of the swim (and they aint cheap!).
It was great to be out - but I would've loved to have seen a fish on the bank!
So the 2nd blank after the last one at Plantation Lakes - really hoping this isn't setting the scene for 2014?!
According to this map on the Bristol City Council fishing page the corner of Baldwin Street and the High Street below the Bristol Bridge is OK for fishing.
As I could cast from the office window into the river (or is it a floating harbour?), I figured it'd be worth a look?
From looking at it, there's some steps down to the water level that'd be a good spot to start. Thinking a bit of pre-baiting campaign, gotta be worth a loaf of bread and a can of corn a week for a month?
Sunday 1 December 2013
Took a trip to Plantation Lakes this Sunday for a much needed fish. We knew this was gonna be a tough one, a last gasp at the lakes before winter really takes hold (there was a plan to go river fishing but 'the one that got away' convinced us to have another go).
So we arrived with high hopes! Nice and early, managed to get into the car park at 7am on the nose, it was still dark but light was coming into the sky. There were a couple of other cars, good to know we weren't the only fishermen to brave the cold ;)
We headed for the same swims again as they produced results on the previous trip and they look so good: marginal cover either side, a good open water stretch and two islands with a channel. I went with a couple of hair rigged pieces of plastic corn on a bolt rig fished over groundbait with chill hemp and corn mixed in front of the island and a feeder with maggots and liquidized bread on the right of the swim in the margins. Dad, in the swim to my left, went with float fishing bread and maggots and a light ledger in the margins.
Five hours of fishing and nothing... Not a bobbin raised, a float dipped or a rod tip twitched. The whole lake was dead! No one was getting anything. To make matters worse, at around 12pm three blokes moved in the swims to my right. What commenced could only be classed as a casting competition! They all had two rods each, one on float and the other on bolt rigs. Each rod was cast on average every 5 minutes?! If there were ANY fish in the vicinity, they we're swiftly making their way to the other side of the lake...
I put up with it for around an hour and something had to give - either they got a shouting or I was moving. Working on the basis that there were no fish in my swim and if there were, they would've swam off after the constant rain of weights splashing down on their heads, a move was the go so I relocated to a nice calm bay on the far side of the lake.
It looked perfect: a bay on my left and right, good margins and open water in front of me. However...
There were two pole anglers on the far right of the swim who JUST WOULDN'T SHUT UP! Unsurprisingly, the main topic of conversation was the lack of fish they were catching... Noise travels very well over water, I can only imagine the fish got as bored of the sound of their voices as I did.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: if you want a chat, go to the pub. I don't come fishing to listen to what was on TV last night, or what the misses is bitching about, or how 'there are no bloody fish in here' - I come to catch fish and have a peaceful time on the bank side. And your constant shouting between swims is really bloody annoying!
We started to pack up around 4ish as the light was fading fast with out so much as a bite. And then one the three casting champs hooked a fish! There just ain't no justice in the world...
One reason for the dry day could've been that the match that was sposed to take place on the horse shoe lake the previous day was held on the coarse lake. Apparently it fished very well, which would explain the lack of fish gracing our nets!
A beautiful day out though and we'll be heading back. I've a feeling that the lake will really come into it's own in the summer and'll provide a good days sport.
We've a spot of river piking planned for just after Christmas, fingers crossed we'll hook into some fish then.
We took advantage of the clocks going back and got on the road just after 6 and arriving at the fishery around 7...
...only to be really disappointed. The 'lakes' were more, well... small thin canals?! We were going to fish on the North Pool but after a quick scout round, we decided it wouldn't be up to much especially if any other anglers turned up. It's very small, very weedy and the bank sides were a bit of a quagmire. The other alternative was Rushcombe Lake but again, you could virtually reach the other side with an under arm cast. It just didn't look good...
Luckily for us, there are 2 other lakes very close by - the Acorn Fishery and Plantations Lakes. Seeing Plantation was closest, we thought we'd keep as much of the early start as possible and head on there.
We didn't realise when we arrived that there are 3 lakes (course, carp and match). As the course lake was the first we found, we had a good look round and set up in pegs 27 and 28. With two islands, a channel, good bank marginal cover and plenty of water in front of us, we thought the action would be thick and fast.
But no dice. We tried baits close to the islands, in the margins, in open water. We tried method feeders, open ended feeders, floats, ledgers. We tried luncheon meat, sweetcorn, chickpeas, maggots, pellets.... nothing.
The bailiff came round at 10ish to collect tickets and his advice was maggots or corn close to but not bang on the island or in the channel!
We stuck at it though and I finally got my first run around 11ish - which is true style I promptly lost! Story of my weekend I'm afraid.
The good news was it really picked up from then on. Dad stuck with the float fishing and picked up a good size tench and loads of bream. His ledger rod also started to pick up with some nice carp. I stuck with the feeder with liquidized bread and started to build up a swim of bream and got some more runs on the method feeder close to the island using plastic sweetcorn.
Having discovered dad had a couple of pints of maggots, some of which had changed into casters, I decided to really feed up the margin to my right and see if I could get a bit of a feeding frenzy going. Five feeder loads and lots of catapults of maggots in, I started to get run after run of small bream and carp but then it went dead...
I kept the feed going in and then got a massive knock on the rod... Then quiet again. After a minute or so I turned round to grab something from my bag when the rod literally exploded from the rests and shot towards the water! Luckily for me, the reel caught on the railway sleeper at the front of the swim causing the rod to jump in the air giving me a split seconds to reach out and grab it. The whole thing took about 5 seconds - a close run thing.
Needless to say, the fish had gone... The light tackle and 5lb line was no match for it and I guess the hand break effect of the rod hitting the swim must've caused a crack off. I can only imagine it was a really angry carp?!
So, a slow start leading to a busy afternoon, a nearly lost rod and a good days fishing. Think we'll be heading back at some point, maybe once the weather warms up.
Next stop? River fishing. Itching to get a winter chub or a barbel. And then it's piking time. Can't wait.
Bit of a late start, didn't arrive till 9.30 but knew I'd be fishing till last knockings so wasn't too fussed. When the weather gets colder, I've a feeling the end of the day produces more fish? Quiet day, not many people there and the wind was blowing straight along the lake. Took the gamble that the fish would be pushed in the direction of the wind so I set up on the far bank to the car park, almost fishing into the wind.
I decided to fish a light ledger in front on the reeds with luncheon meat on the hair and freebies on a stringer. A light scattering of ground bait and that rod was set. The other rod was set up with a Korum feeder and pellets, the aim being to build up a bit of bait in the swim and then float fish over the top once the fish started feeding.
After 20 mins, the ledger rod tore off, connected with the fish and then... nothing... Got the rig in to find the fluorocarbon hook link was snapped. Chewed through? Snagged? Not sure...
Five minutes after that, the feeder tore off. This time I managed to get the fish almost to the net before the hook slipped. I *think* it was a chub (managed to catch one last time) as it was a sizeable silver.
Unfortunately, my luck didn't improve... The morning wore on, the fish weren't taking the bait, the wind got stronger and stronger and I missed the only run I got before lunch time.
So, a bit of a rethink. I decided the reason I was missing fish was the hook size: I'd dropped from a size 8 to a 12 as the fish in the lake are very fussy about presentation. But the hook holds were obviously slipping, possibly due to the being unbalanced with the bait so I upped to a size 8 again. My hook lengths were short too so these were lengthened and swapped from fluorocarbon to a really supple braid.
The trick to not getting any runs is it gives you plenty of time to watch the water. Everyone was fishing down the wind end of the lake and no one was catching. In the top end however was a big patch of calm water that somehow was just out of the wind...
So in came the rods and I had a bit of a wander round the other side only to find 2 carp playing in the reeds. One was actually tail slapping in the margins...
I shot round the other side, baited the feeder rod with some ground bait and a couple of small cubes of luncheon meat and crept back to the swim. The fish were still there so I gently lowered the bait in, literally 10cm from the bank side...
...and off it tore! Real hook and hold fishing. But, as with my luck earlier in the day, it wasn't to be. Deep into the reeds and the line snapped.
But the good news was I'd located the fish. The gear was moved as quietly as possible, I got into a good swim with plenty of cover from the wind and cast out.
The left rod was still on the ledger with luncheon meat stringers but I changed the right rod to a open ended feeder which was filled with liquidized bread mixed with ground bait. Fill the base of the feeder with the bread and compact it down, tip in some pellets and luncheon meat and plug the top with more bread, chuck it in, leave for 5 mins and give the reel a couple of turns to drag the hook bait back into the pile of food. I hadn't tried this method before but it sounded good.
Within 10 minutes the ledger rod tore off 3 times and each time the fish pulled the hook! Incredibly frustrating.
On the next cast, I fished a slacker line and didn't put the bait runner on. My thinking was as I was sitting on the rod, there was no danger of it disappearing off and the bolt action would be more pronounced meaning a better hook hold.
And it worked! The rod tore off, a nice fight and a 10lb common carp came in. I've a feeling it was the same fish that'd done me 3 times previously...
Then things really picked up. The feeder rod came to life, the fish came up to the surface despite the cold conditions and I spend a good hour stalking carp with bread crust. Only one small fish came out, but on light tackle and so close in it's loads of fun.
The pace kept up and by last knockings, I'd got a good 15 or so fish ranging from 3 to 10lb.
The moral of the story? If you're not catching and you should be, change your tactics, change your tackle, watch the water and move - the fish are in there, you've just got to find them!