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!
Saturday 27 July 2013
We'd chosen the lake for a Saturday fishing trip with the big appeal being the limited pegs and the fact you have to prebook tickets. The idea being it wouldn't be crazy busy (which seems to be a big problem on lakes close to the city?) and the anglers would be a bit more serious as you've gotta work a bit harder to fish there.
Looking on the satellite view of Google Maps is misleading as the lake is more than a featureless muddy puddle! The red water (related to the soil) means the fish have a beautiful colour, really golden with bright red tails. The swims are well made and there's cover either side of most meaning the margins are very carpy. The water level was very low, I'd estimate a good 70cm lower than usual (a lot for a smallish lake).
Fish wise, they're a crafty lot... Most fish fell to luncheon meat or chickpeas but presentation (especially the size of the bait) seemed to be critical. I found that fishing two small cubes of luncheon meat on a hair rig over handfuls of hemp mixed with sweetcorn and small trout pellets lured in the bigger fish. The smallest hook and the lightest tackle you can get away with is the way to go.
The fish really started showing on the surface around 2ish so we tried our luck with soaked dog biscuits. Again, the fish really showed their skills at spitting out bait: at one point, I had 5 or so decent size carp feeding freely on biscuits n the reeds literally 1/2 a meter from my feet. Every time they sucked in a baited biscuits it'd be causally spat out and the 5 would spook off only to return a couple of minutes later and the process would start again. All in all, I'd say we got around 30 or so fish (common and mirror carp) between us, most being 5lb and under and a couple up to 10lb.
Verdict? Well worth a visit, although I'd wait till be get some heavy rain so the water level is higher. The fish are in really good condition but I suspect it gets heavily fished - not a problem if you enjoy a challenge and don't want to catch monsters!