Sunday 24 January 2016
I've not been to a lake for months now due to my latest obsession with pike fishing on the River Avon. But having suffered a succession of blanks, I thought it was time to put a bend in the rod at my go to winter venue - the ever dependable Lower Kilcott Farm.
There were two targets for the day: the first was to get the float rod out and get into some of the quality roach the lake has to offer and the second was to put a couple of feisty carp on the bank. Having had some monsters on the last trip, I was eager to have another go.
Kilcott is a very small venue, only an acre or so in size and with very limited swims so it's a good idea to arrive early to have the pick of the bunch. Having said that, pulling into the car park at 7am on the nose in the pitch black may have been a tad over enthusiastic... But the early bird catches the worm right?!
As it turned out, I had the place to myself for all but a couple of hours when two fellas arrived and fished the far bank over lunch time. As expected, the lake didn't fail to deliver and I had loads of carp on the bottom bait rod and some prime roach on the float.
Every so often the lake does throw up a surprise or two and this trip was no exception. The bottom bait rod had gone quiet and I'd repositioned it in a different swim with a small white popup on the hair. It'd been in the water for 15 minutes (a long time for Kilcott!) when it ripped off and a nice size scaly mirror came in. Not a monster by any means but a tip-top fish for this lake.
And the day wouldn't be complete without some surface fishing (yup, in January!) and I spent the last hours of the session plucking carp after carp out of the margins by my feet on bread and dog mixers.
It was a great session, one that restored my faith in fishing after having spent so many hours on the river.
I'll be back on the Avon next week, croc hunting again but for now, it feels great to have spent the day hauling them in!
Monday 28 September 2015
I've been itching to get back to the excellent Follyfoot Fishery since the two sessions down there during my 40th Birthday Fishing Extravaganza week. Both sessions had been excellent despite the weather and with September sunshine predicted what better venue to use up my one remaining days holiday before winter takes hold?!
If you've never been to the fishery before it's well worth a look: it's around 3 acres in size, a long lake with depths starting at 6ft and moving to around 12ft at the far end from the car park. There are regular swims but they're out numbered by excellent cabins which have decking that extends out into the lake. Put that together with a tidy shower/toilet block and you've got real luxury!
Oh, and the most amazing fish! But more about that later...
The change over time for the huts is 12pm at the weekends so I decided to arrive around 1ish, mainly to let the swim calm down a bit from it's previous occupant. Over the weekends, most huts are occupied by two anglers and as the number of rods you can use is only restricted by the number of rod licences you've got, you can guarantee that there were six lines out and that the fish had seen a lot of bait and a whole heap of pressure! I figured the fish'd appreciate a couple hours break before I got fishing?!
The drive down was clear as a bell and the weather was amazing (and set to stay great for the rest of the week!). I'd tuned into the weather report on the news and they'd mentioned that there was going to be a 'blood moon' luna eclipse at 3am on Sunday night. I wasn't sure if this was a good thing or not! Fish do certainly seem to be effected by moon cycles, so it could potentially make or break the session!
Arriving at the lake, it became apparent that it was very, very busy: every hut was taken, most with 2 anglers with 3 rods each and nearly all of them were booked into Monday so no chance of moving. But not to worry, I'd chosen hut 19 which is down in the far right hand corner of the lake.
It's a perfect spot that I'd checked out on my last visit: there's a whole margin to the right with a tree that points out into the water meaning the anglers in hut 16 can't cast round or over your lines. You've then got a big expanse of open water out in front of the deck which due to the power lines, people cant cast into. And to finish it off, there's an tight little margin with a tree snag to the left which is tucked away and quiet(ish). Worth doing the research on the last trip!
To get things going, I lightly prebaited the margin spots left and right with a mix of pellets, sweetcorn and method mix with a dash of hemp oil. Bait wise, I'd opted to use luncheon meat as on the last couple of sessions it had really done the business. So rod one went out with a solid PVA pag filled with a mix of pellets, crumbed up luncheon meat with groundbait and a big cube of meat on the bait spike mounted on the hair...
The first run can to that left hand margin rod before I'd even managed to get the other rods set up! I'd say it'd been in the water 5 minutes max ;)
And so the action continued all afternoon and into the evening. The fish were coming so thick and fast, it was well last 10pm before I managed to get a gap and cook some dinner - amazing fishing!
The moon popped up behind the hut after dinner, a huge silver disk in the sky and as the temperature dropped the runs became more sporadic. So I decided to bait all 3 rods in sequence at around 11pm and get my head down for a couple of hours kip...
I must've dozed for a couple of hours, rushing out to land a couple of fish and then fallen fast asleep as it was a bit of a shocking alarm when my left hand rod screamed off at pretty much 3am on the nose! I managed to get my head torch and glasses on before rushing outside not to a moonlit scene but a virtually pitch black lake... Glancing up skywards as I grabbed the rod I noticed that the 'Blood Moon' eclipse was well under way and the silver disk of the moon was nearly completely covered!
That 3am fish was the biggest so far, a pristine 20lb common carp that went through all my lines and took me a good 20 minutes to get in. An absolute stunner!
In the end, I reeled in around 5am. The relentless action had knackered me out and I was desperate to get some sleep! I did wake up around 8am but felt so warm and comfy on my bedchair that I decided to go back to drift off... Having already filled my boots with fish, it seemed like a good idea to catch up on some well eared sleep?!
I finally woke up around 9am and got the rods out again on the spots. Instantly, the fish were on the munch with a double take followed by fish on the next cast literally seconds after the bait landed in the water. Such greedy fish!
As with dinner (I should've learnt my lesson by now...) it wasn't until a slow patch in the action around 11am that I managed to get breakfast on the go and sit in the sun for a bit. Despite the sunny weather, the fish weren't up on the surface and I decided to chill out in my bed chair, rest the water a bit and just enjoy being outside.
The fish came back on the feed around 3ish and I spent a really enjoyable afternoon picking carp out in the margins. It was with great reluctance that I started to pack down at 6pm but I managed a fish on the last cast (always a bonus) and finally got the gear back round to the car by 7.30pm
Whatta session?! Possibly one of the best I've ever had: loads of fish, a run of biguns, fantastic weather, a blood moon... Will I ever have the like again?!
Monday 21 September 2015
The last venue of my trip and a return to the brilliant Follyfoot Fishery.
Lost count of the number of fish that graced the net! The sun even put in an appearance.
But magically there was a gap this Friday with child one out on a sleep over and no plans for the Saturday! Weather wise, it wasn't looking too clever: the rain was set to kick in around 2am, getting heavier around 4ish and then petering out in the morning... But what the hell! It's rained pretty much every session I've been out on in the last 2 months, so why should this trip be any different?!
I decided on Windmill Fishery out on Henfield Road, heading out of Bristol towards Westerleigh. I'd fished there for the 1st time back in June and had a good session. It's not an easy lake but in a way, that's what I fancied: somewhere that's a bit of a challenge where I could push my self a bit and get a decent nights sleep.
Due to work, I didn't get to the fishery until 7pm and the sky was already darkening. The lake was completely deserted... Result! I had the place to myself ;)
As it's not an easy lake I decided to hedge my bets and head to the swim I occupied on my last trip. It'd done me well on that session with three fish coming out. The spot itself is right in the middle of a junction that the canal joins the thin end of the lake into the 'bowl' with the island at the larger end. As there's not much in the way of features (the margins are impossibly shallow) it made sense to pick a swim that commanded a lot of water and therefore options. It also meant I didn't need to do any feature finding as I'd already mapped out the swim and knew the depths and spots where fish had come from before. The good news was the water level (a real problem on this lake) was up at a reasonable but still not full level and that meant the deeper holes I'd found before would be deeper still and would (hopefully) still be a holding point for the fish.
It was a bit of a rush to get the rods out and the swims baited before darkness descended - the long summer evenings are going and it was pretty much completely dark by 7.45pm... But I've set the bivvy up in the pitch dark before and the gathering rain clouds where an incentive to get the job done quickly ;)
I was pleased with the set up and everything felt good for a bite: one rod went out with a Sticky Baits 'The Krill' boile in a PVA bag of pellets to the swim directly in front of me towards the bigger bowl in the lake and the 2nd rod went out in the canal with a small white popup, again in a PVA bag of pellets and hemp oil. A few scattered freebees around the spots and that would do it.
So I got my head down!
For once the weather report was spot on and the rain started at pretty much 2am on the nose. I'd had liners all evening with nothing more than slight twitches on the bobbins but at 2.30am the bowl rod signaled a dropback bite. I blundered out of my bivvy and managed to get to the rod to see the bobbin hit the deck and then... nothing. I couldn't see anything in the water in the dark so I had no idea where the line was so I took a chance, picked up the rod and stuck into thin air! A bit of frantic winding later and I connected with the fish who must've picked up the bait, hooked itself and then instantly run towards me and then right down the canal!
To be honest, I don't think it'd realised it was hooked until I put some pressure on the rod at which point it kicked off and began to put up a fight. It's always exciting hooking into a fish in the dark as you've no real idea of what you've got until its on the mat. This one was certainly 'plodding' which is always a good sign. After a bit of a stumble down the bank and a few lunges at the net a beaut mirror carp slipped into the net! Start to finish, it could only've been 10 minutes at most but when you go from fast asleep to putting what felt like a good fish on the bank, it's pretty exciting!
The fish turned out to be an in pristine condition mirror carp that took the scales round to 17lb - not a bad start to the session ;)
One thing that struck me was how large the mouth was: you could've fitted a tangerine there!
Fortunately for me, the fish had been kind enough to come in a gap in the rain. But by the time I'd slipped the fish back, set about getting the rod back out, rebaiting and getting back to bed it was hammering it down...
After a good few hours kip I had another another drop back bite at around 5am, just as a bit of light came in to the sky and the rain stopped again. This was from the same spot out in front of me, again on the Krill boilies. As with the last fish, it zoomed off down the canal and after a short scrap a nice 15lb common was sat in the landing net.
It actually looked like it was going to be a nice morning as there was a real orange glow in the sky over the lake. But it soon turned steely grey and as before, by the time I'd sorted out the rods again it was chucking it down. But having had two fish, I wasn't too bothered! In fact, it was great to crawl back into the sleeping bag and fall asleep again...
I woke up again around 9ish after the canal rod had registered a few beeps. Shooting out of the bivy to check the rod, I noticed that the tip was springing back and forth - an aborted take? Around 10 minutes later it seems the fish came back for another go as the rod just screamed off! This time though, rather than skooting down the canal, the fish headed out into open water towards my other spot.
This fish was very angry and put up the best fight of the three that came out in this session. Another 15lb common, too good ;)
The sun came out after that and the bites dried up with it. I packed down in the sunshine and left around 11ish having had a brilliant session: a perfect mix of much needed sleep, relaxation and some cracking fish!
Saturday 25 July 2015
My 1st trip to Festival Fishery in Glastonbury and the 1st venue in my 40th Birthday Fishing Week 2015!
Absolutely terrible weather... It rained pretty much solidly on Thursday and Friday... The journey down from Bristol was a shocker seeing me arrive at 9pm rather than 7pm...
But I banked a fish! Which was a real result as the whole lake fished really hard that weekend. Thank you to Innate Baits, you saved me from a blank ;)
It's a bit of a special fishery and although the weather was more than challenging and the fish not forthcoming, I'll definitely be heading back for a return session soon.