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?!
Monday 12 September 2016
I've only ever managed to get three carp in a session out of the carp lake at Windmill Fishery...
...but this session was to be completely different!
With a fish falling to an Innate Baits tuna popup within ten minutes of having a rod in the water it was set to kick off ;)
I lost count of the number of fish that came in overnight, it was hectic to say the least.
The session ended with me landing an 18lb mirror in a biblical storm!
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!
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!