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Archive for May, 2014


Ah those tranquil early summer evenings. The sound of the swallows, the pitter patter from the occasional rain shower, the lush vegetation and the buzzing of honey bees. All these things go to make up a wonderful time of the year. Well except for the sound of carbon fibre snapping and obscenities drifting on the wind, across the choppy waters. Still more of that to follow!

I was joined by Geoff this week and we headed off to a club water in search hopefully of some big tench and crucians. This would be our first session on this particular lake this season. The crowds have disappeared, mainly due to the crucians spawning recently. This obviously drops the weights of the big crucians and many anglers loose interest. That’s fine by me, more swims to access.

As we arrived the heavens opened. It was like a cyclone had blown in; torrential rain and howling winds. The temperature dropped 4 or 5 degrees too. Luckily after 10 or 15 minutes it passed and we headed to the lake. The banks looked lush and vibrant with new growth. The lily pads were in full bloom too and looked very fishy indeed.

Sadly the wind was howling across the lake from right to left and it looked like float fishing would be made very difficult. Still I settled into a swim with the pads to my left and plumbed the swim to find around 4ft of water. The depth was slightly deeper close in and then shallowed up around 2-3 rod lengths out.

The plan was to float fish the pads and put a method feeder out around 25 yards. Baits were to be luncheon meat and sweetcorn, both with a few squirts of the sausage sizzle overspray, on the float rod and the Lone Angler sausage sizzle 10mm squabs on the feeder rod. I mixed up some groundbait consisting of a 50:50 mix of the Lone Angler mix and a green off the shelf mix. This created a nice light, fluffy groundbait and looked ideal for crucians. I also mixed in some corn, luncheon meat and some finely chopped prawns. After tackling up the two rods I was ready to fish.

Sausage Sizzle Squabs

Sausage Sizzle Squabs

I used a light 1lb test curve Avon rod for feeder fishing, incorporating a 35g method feeder, 4 inch hooklength with a size 14 Pallatrax the Hook. This is a nice and simple set-up. I banded a 10mm sausage sizzle squab and buried it into the method feeder mix and out she went. Second cast and whoops…..the top section snapped clean off around half way up. “Oh bother” I says, “what a nuisance”. Well words to that effect anyway. So the feeder plans were cancelled and I would have to concentrate on the float.

Geoff's PB: 7lb 3oz

Geoff’s PB: 7lb 3oz

So out went the float and it had barely settled when it buried beneath what looked like North Sea waves. A hard fighting tench was on and after a very dogged fight I finally netted a pristine fish of exactly 6lbs. Well not a bad start after the disaster of a few minutes before. The wind by now was blowing around hurricane strength, making float fishing interesting to say the least. I changed the set-up on the float rod to take into account the conditions when the float rod snapped around 8 inches from the tip! Yet again a few choice words wafted on the wind to all parts of the lake. This was beginning to get a bit tiresome.

6lb Tench

6lb Tench

So rod number 3 was set up. How long would this last? Fortunately no mishaps with this one, thank God. However my swim was rather quiet. The odd fish rolled and a couple of very nice rudd were tempted, otherwise pretty dead. Eventually the wind eased off and conditions improved for a while. Sadly it was short lived and the wind gained force again and blew directly into our faces. Geoff had found a quiet area protected by the pads and managed to present a float in much calmer water. The depth here was around a further 12-16inches deeper than where I was positioned. It seemed to make a difference and he had a couple of decent tench on the float including a 7lb 3oz beauty. He also had a couple of 3 pounders on the feeder. Later on a shoal of very small tench moved in and he caught around 5 tench barely topping the 1lb mark. In the meantime my float buried at last and a nice crucian resulted. She weighed 2lb 14oz. Not a monster but a lovely looking fish in fine condition. Not long after this Geoff also tempted a crucian of almost identical proportions, maybe even the same fish!

2lb 14oz

2lb 14oz

Eventually the rain and wind drove us off the water. Enough was enough. I know when I’m beaten. Hopefully conditions will improve next week and we can tempt a few more of the bigger specimens found here.

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Well after a sojourn across the waters to sunny Spain “Y Viva Espana” in search of my long lost golf swing, I returned to Blighty hoping the weather had warmed up. Whilst away we kept an eye on the forecast back home and I noted that the temperatures were up but mixed in with some pretty heavy rain. Still, those conditions are not necessarily a bad combination.

Las-Colinas-golf

Las-Colinas-golf

Work has also been getting in the way of fishing lately, still that’s the nature of the beast. Work pays the bills and allows me to fish, not the other way around unfortunately! So at last it was back bankside at Marsh Farm. Tench and Crucians were the target species and we were pinning our hopes on the improved weather conditions spurring the fish into a bit more action. And so it was to prove.

We had a two day session planned. Well when I say two day I mean 2 evenings really, fishing from around 6.30pm to 11.30-12.00. Crucians tend to become much more active as the light fades, so fishing into darkness can make a huge difference to catch results. I have caught a few clonkers during the day but in all honesty they are few and far between. There’s something quite pleasing about watching an isotope on the float at night. It’s almost calming and hypnotic. Well unless it never moves that is, then it’s blooding infuriating!

Geoff, Kevin and I have been using some of the Sonubaits green groundbait recently which is proving very effective at pulling the tench and crucians in. Geoff in particular has had a couple of pretty good sessions. So both Kevin and I opted for the same groundbait and it worked over these two sessions. I had a number of baits at my disposal; luncheon meat cut up into very small cubes and flavoured with the Lone Angler sausage sizzle (they go together so well), prawns with an added boost of Ocean Pride and a couple of types of soft hooker pellets.

Sausage Sizzle flavoured Luncheon Meat

Sausage Sizzle flavoured Luncheon Meat

I find plumbing the depth vital for crucians. You need to try and get the bait just resting on the bottom so bites can be detected easily and quickly. Crucians are very frustrating fish to catch. They toy with the bait if they are in a finicky mood, which is around 99% of the time! You get lots of false bites, bump off loads of fish and generally they do your head in. Oh what fun!

5lb 7oz

5lb 7oz

Anyway, as the light slowly began to fade so the float began to dip and weave. Soon it buried and a hard fighting tench was beaten to the net. A few others followed, each one desperately trying to reach the sanctuary of the reed beds. I was using a 4lb mainline and similar hooklength, to ensure I could keep them out of too much trouble. Bites came thick and fast and all of them turned out to be tench. There were a few decent ones in there, topped off by a 5lb 7oz fish. As the 11th hour approached a crucian finally put in an appearance. Not a huge fish by Marsh Farm standards but at 2lb 7oz a very welcome sight. I missed around 15-20 bites, lost around 6 fish and bumped a few off. By the end of the session I’d had 8 tench and a crucian.

2lb 7oz

2lb 7oz

The following evening was less eventful. A full moon seemed to affect the fishing. However as the evening wore on some action did transpire. I ended up with several tench to 5lb 1oz and a male fish of 4lb 13oz, which is certainly one of the biggest males I’ve caught from here. Luncheon meat and prawns seemed to be the preferred bait. Kevin, Geoff and Danny also managed a few with Geoff probably taking the lion’s share over the two days. All in all a pretty successful and rewarding couple of sessions.

5lb 1oz

5lb 1oz

Possibly next week we’ll be heading to Johnson’s for a session or two. It seems that the crucians have apparently spawned there, so there’ll be a dramatic drop in anglers on the water. Ostensibly it’s a method feeder water but I have taken crucians to 3lb 9oz on the float, fished in close to the lily pads. So it may be a two pronged attack; feeder and float. I would love to top my PB of 3lb 11oz. On the feeder I’ll be using the 10mm Sausage Sizzle squabs, they are a prefect size for crucians and tench, so fingers crossed.

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