Although the river sessions have been fun, I wanted something a little closer to home (the Avon is a good 30 minutes from school) and Windmill Fishery is pretty much on the doorstep. There's 4 lakes to go at: the match lake, the specimen lake, a silvers lake and the carp lake. They all offer something different and I've been tempted back to the carp lake by the recent images I'd been seeing on Facebook - there's been some pretty decent fish coming out!
The big problem with the carp lake however is that the fish in there have been allowed to breed... This means there are millions of small carp between a couple of ounces and the 2lb mark who are more than hungry enough to have a go at anything bait wise. It's gotten so bad that the owners are actually planning on turning the water into a match lake!
But if you're willing to persevere, there are some good fish to be had. As well as countless small fish, I did manage the two pictured here which gave me a good run around. Both were caught on Innate Baits tuna boiles over a bed of hemp and corn.
From chatting to other anglers though, there's been a lot of success with surface fishing so maybe a summer evening session is in order some time?!
It was a slow start but the action really picked up in the arvo with fishing falling to innate baits 14mm boilies and yellow foam on zigs. almost feel that i'm getting there with the zig float too ;)
Happy days - just need a sunny evening now for a couple of hours surface fishing!
Apologies for the wind noise, there was a bit of a breeze...
The session was pretty slow during the day so I took the opportunity to get my head down as I was shattered after a brilliant session at Todber Manor the night before.
So I baited up two spots, slept for most of the day and got the rods out on darkness. The action was relentless but the size of fish was pretty small... Loads of sub 10lb commons! By midnight I was dropping so I baited up once more, got the rods in, set an alarm for 7am and crashed out...
The wind had dropped early morning and I was rewarded with two bigger fish within 30 minutes of casting out! Baring in mind I only fished for probably 12 of the 24 hours, I had 12 or so fish and was fully rested for the next venue - not a bad stop gap?!
Once again, all the fish fell to my custom 'signature' boilies in either 14mm or 16mm. So as always, massive thanks to Innate Baits, the boilies really did the business.
Monday 10 April 2017
I've heard a lot about Todber Manor and it's long been on the list of spots to try. There are lots of lakes to go at but I decided to fish Little Hayes for 24 hours as the opener for this years spring fishing trip - and it did not disappoint!
An early start saw me on the road by 7am, my thinking being I could beat most of the traffic coming in/out of Bristol and be at the fishery by 8.30am. Luckily for me, the roads were pretty easy probably due to it being the 1st week of the Easter break (where do all the cars go?!) and I arrived on time and raring to go.
Once I'd got my ticket I headed down to the lake for a look around and to see what swims were free. True to form, all the 'easy' swims (i.e. the ones you can pretty much fish from your car!) were gone which is fine by me - the fish know which areas to avoid! After a bit of a wander round, I settled in a swim directly opposite an island point on the nearside bank which was empty of anglers apart from a single swim right down the other end of the lake. With no fish showing themselves, I figured the island and reed lined margins was as good a starting point as any.
With the far bank being busy and it being the Monday after a sunny weekend, I wasn't in too much of a rush to get rods in the water. I had a feeling the lake would've had a hammering over the last 48 hours and I was more than happy to slowly set up and get the rods out at a leisurely pace, the main focus being to watch the water for signs of fish to either cast or move onto. After a chilly start it was rapidly warming up and my thinking was that if the fish weren't up on the surface, they probably wouldn't be feeding on the bottom till later in the day when it cooled down.
I decided to put solid bags to the island point and a likely looking spot on the island margin. With the third rod in the nearside margins, I set about sorting the rest of the gear out. Over the next 6 or so hours not a lot happened rod wise but I did start to see fish! They were crashing to my right in a bay past the next swim and out towards the island point. As I had the time, the marker rod came out and I mapped out the swim, making notes of the spots I'd seen fish and getting the wraps counted for where I wanted to potentially fish overnight.
At around 4ish, the rod out towards the island point ripped off - 1st fish on!
After a short fight, the 1st mirror of the session slipped over the net cord. A good looking fish of around 14lb which I guessed to be the average stamp in the lake. Video done, the fish went back, the rod went out on the same spot and I went back to water watching.
More and more fish were crashing in the bay to my right, so much so that I decided that it was worth baiting up and setting up one rod to fish that area. It was late enough in the day to take the gamble that other anglers weren't going to arrive and set up to my right or in the swim on the other side of the bay... From my swim, the fish were crashing between 12 and 14 wraps out, a bit of a chuck into the oncoming wind but completely doable with a PVA stick rather than a solid bag. So I popped the marker float up in the next swim inbetween 12 and 14 wraps, baited up pretty heavily with boilies, got a rod on the spot and waited.
Frustratingly, the island point rod produced 3 runs over the next hour or so and each one ended up in a lost fish! Time for a rethink as something was going wrong... I'd been advised to use small baits so stepped down from a 16mm boilie to a 14mm, dropped my hook down to a size 8 and slackened off my bait runner. I usually fish them pretty tight but I had a feeling the fish were getting bumped before they had a chance to run.
Speaking of boilies, this is probably a good point to mention what bait I was using. I've been a field tester for Innate Baits for a year or so now and had success where ever I've taken their quality boiles. However, this trip was a little different in that I'd been luckily enough to roll my own bait using my own custom recipe! We've been calling them 'signature' for the moment as the recipe is unique to the angler. My personal recipe was a spicy fishmeal base with tuna, chilli, robin red and a few other 'secret' ingredients. I have to say, the smell and colour was spot on, exactly what I liked and having had one fish already, I was hoping they'd produce a lot more over the next couple of days.
Anyway, back to the fishing! The adjustments to the rigs, baits and set up seemed to make all the difference as the left hand rod where I'd suffered the missed runs sprang into life. A nice fight later and a beaut 17lb mirror was on the mat, happy days.
As the island point seemed to be 'the spot' I decided to get the spod rod out and get some bait going in. The light was rapidly fading and I figured getting a concentrated bed of bait in the same spot before total darkness set in was a good idea. So 10 spods of boilies and hemp went out and I started getting ready for the night.
Having seen so many fish crashing down in the bay, I was slightly surprised I'd not had a pick up... As luck would have it, just as I began toying with the idea of a recast, the right hand rod absolutely steamed off!
It was getting relentless... If I wasn't typing up rigs, I was spodding, or tying PVA sticks, or mixing more stick mix... It was near impossible to keep all three rods in the water so I dropped down to two in the end as it was more manageable!
One thing that did surprise me was the unhooking mat iced up! I didn't think it was that cold, but with a clear sky and a pretty much full moon the air was very thin... Not that it seemed to effect the fishing at all!
I had another couple of smaller commons, a nice low double mirror and then a real supprise - a 15lb catfish that took me all over the lake!
By the time the sun came up, I was exhausted. I reckon I'd had around an hours broken sleep and the bivvy was a mess of tackle, old rigs and bait - too good! The action seemed to die off slightly as the sun came up, so I decided to bait up and rest the swim for a while while I watched the sun break the horizon. It looked like it was going to be another beautiful day.
The rods went out and I climbed into my bag completely knackered but absolutely buzzing. I must've been asleep for about an hour as it was full sunlight when one of my alarms sounded. To be honest, I really thought it had to be another anglers and it took a good 10 seconds for me to realise it was actually mine! I managed to blunder out and grab the right hand rod but as I started to steer the fish back into my swim, the left hand rod started to run... Amazing!
It's easier to say than do, but the advice is always to concentrate on the fish you're playing when you get a double hook up! Somehow, I managed to get the 1st fish in (a small common) and then grabbed the left hand rod to see if the fish was still on... The line was pretty slack as after an inital run to open water, the fish had run towards me and to be honest I thought I'd lost it. But as I took up the slack, it started fighting back! This one really went for it (or maybe I was just knackered?!) but after a hard fight a 20lb mirror slipped into the landing net. What a chunk!
It was with great reluctance that I packed down... My ticket was for 24 hours but after that session, I would've quite happily stayed on for another day!
And a massive thank you to Innate Baits. The boilies really made this session and I can't wait to find out how they work on the next couple of venues planned for this trip.
Sunday 8 May 2016
The weather has been all over the place recently, sunny one minute, frosty the next, rain followed by winds and then back to sun...
But this Sunday was a scorcher and having got some new baits to try out from Innate Baits, I was super keen to get out on the bank. The only option was a sneaky overnighter as there were plans for the whole weekend and I need to be back home by 8am for work the following morning, a local venue was needed.
I've fished Windmill Fishery 3 times in the past and being around 15 minutes up the road (and most importantly, on a route that Bristol Water don't appear to be (yet) destroying with road works...) it fitted the bill. It's not the most picturesque water but it's slowly coming into it's own and with fish reported to 20lb with a couple of bonus 30lb (if you believe the website!) there's always a chance of getting a fish on the bank
So after a beaut afternoon in the park with the family, I loaded up the car and arrived at the fishery around 5.30...
...to find the lake completely empty! So many of the waters around Bristol are rammed pretty much all the time so it was a result to find I had the pick of the swims. Even with the choice of the whole lake, I decided to set up in the swim I've fished in on my previous visits. It's a cracker as it commands the canal running between the two bowls, open water in front of you and an island to the right.
The first job was to find some spots to fish. The first one was 12 wraps in front of me, right in the middle between the bank and the island. There's a slightly deeper spot there that I've had fish from before and it's a good spot to start. The second spot was in a margin bay on the island to the right, 7 and 3/4 wraps out. And the 3rd spot was to the left in the canal, again a spot I've had fish from. Although you can only use two rods, I always think it's worth having 3 spots baited so you can toggle between them depending on when you get bites.
With the weather being as it was and the fact we were at the end of a weekend (so the lake had possibly seen some bait?) I decided to go light on the spodding: 7 over the long range spot and 3 on both the short range areas.
I've really got into solid bag fishing of late so both rods went out with a bag filled with 'pimped pellets' and a Blueberry boilie on the hair. The pellets are a bit special having had a mix of various oils, powders and liquids soaking into them for a week... They smelt amazing, really carpy!
In the past, I've not had an early run on the lake and this session was no different. It wasn't until around 8.30pm once I'd set up the bivvy, got dinner on and sat back to enjoy the sunset that the bobbin on the right hand rod shot up to the blank! Initially, the fish didn't take any line and seemed to be attempting to head round the island point at the far end of the lake... However, once I'd bent into the fish it slowly began coming towards me and a short fight later there was a plump carp in the net.
Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get any footage of the fish as my video camera decided to stop recording. I've no idea why, it's the 2nd time it's done it to me and it's bloody annoying! So you'll have to take my word for the fact it was a common of around 16lb, which is the average size for the fish in the lake.
After the fish was slipped back, I had to have a bit of a rethink about the longer range spot as I had some new neighbours. They'd set up pretty much directly opposite me and were non too keen on me casting into their 'area' (I spose it was closer to them than me but then they weren't here when I arrived?!) With the light falling, I decided to bring the rod shorter into the bay but stick with the same bolie. I fancied a change on the left hand rod though and put that out with one of the new tuna washed out pink popups. They smell and look perfect: a good tuna 'hum', almost white/pink and 10mm in size. Both went out with a bag of pimped pellets and I set about getting to bed.
The next run came at pretty much 2am on the nose and I managed to get this one on film, even though in the rush to get out of the bivvy I forgot my head torch and nearly ended up in the water trying to land the fish ;) A mirror this time, again around the 16lb mark.
As I was up, I decided to redo both rods. As the right hand rod came in minus a bait, I decided to put both out on the washed out tuna popups. I don't think there are crays or nuisance fish in the lake but I have suffered from missing baits in the past... Maybe I need to look at bite indication? Very strange...
Luckily it didn't take me long to get back to sleep and I woke up at 5am to a stunning sunrise.... and a bite! This time on the right hand rod, again on the pink popups. This fish was slightly smaller than the other two, a common of around 14lb but it gave me quite a run around the lake, probably one of the best fights I've had from a Windmill carp. This one was slipped back and I crashed out yet again.
I was up at 7am to pack down (the new bivvy is brilliant!) and was on the road by twenty past, back home by 7.45am and at my desk by 9am. A pretty much a perfect quick overnight session!