Posts Tagged ‘fishing with maggots’

More rain has fallen since my latest trip to Bury Hill in Dorking.  In fact we’ve had 65mm in around 72 hours in Sevenoaks!  The rivers must be over the banks again in a lot of areas but the good news is things look like they are going to settle down now, well for a while at least.

Due to the dire forecast, Geoff and I opted to try for some more roach.  Old Bury Hill has a reputation for good quality fish and has produced good numbers over 2lbs.  Our drive through the Kent and Surrey countryside highlighted the effects of the recent storms.  Most of the fields were like lakes and the occasional view of a river showed them to be high, coloured and very turbulent.  It wouldn’t take much to send the river levels up and cascading over the banks and back into fields, roads and houses.

Bonds lake in warmer times

Bonds lake in warmer times

It was a rather grey day and the forecast was predicting heavy winds gusting to around 30mph and heavy rain showers.  We managed to persuade the gentleman in the shop to rustle us up some toast and marmalade and a nice cup of tea, as the cafe was closed.  That was a very nice gesture and was very much appreciated.  As we walked along the banks we realised just how bad things were.  Most of the banks were sodden and there was large amounts of standing water.  In some areas water was actually flowing across the banks.  Thank goodness we had put our boots on.  We also discovered that a small bridge across the stream which runs adjacent to the lakes had been washed away in the floods.

We were soon at our chosen lake and after some plumbing around, both selected swims.  By now the wind had already picked up but the rain seemed to be holding off for the time being at least.  My set-up was very simple.  My Maver Reactolite 13ft float rod, Drennan fixed spool, 4lb mainline and a 3.6lb hooklink and 16 hook.  I like to use a swivel to connect the mainline and hooklink and then mould some tungsten putty around this to set the float.  By doing this and using float stops, I don’t pinch any shot on the line and therefore avoid any line damage whatsoever.   There are downsides to using this method of course, for instance if you want to fish a long drop between hook and shot.  Then you may need to revert back to split shot, bulking it up at the float and fish a very small dropper shot around 1/2 way between float and hook.  This may well be a better method for roach, as they often take on the drop after a prolonged period of feeding maggots.

After around 90 minutes without a bite, I decided to have a look around the lake.  By now the wind had picked up and it was blowing directly into my face.  This was causing a  few problems with presentation and I wasn’t happy with the results.  I found an area slightly sheltered from the strong wind and with a reasonable depth of around 3ft.  Feeding small golf ball size balls of Bloodworm and Maggot Crush and loose feeding maggots flavoured with Winter Almond overspray, I then fished single maggot over the top.  I lost a couple of fish early on and then managed to tempt a couple of pristine roach of around 8oz.  Despite looking good, the swim just didn’t seem to be producing many bites.

Pallatrax Winter Almond

Pallatrax Winter Almond

By now Geoff had also moved and seemed to have found a few fish.  He had taken around 12 nice roach in the 8oz-1lb bracket.  He wandered over to see me and said that bronze maggots were producing more bites.  So I duly pinched a few of his and mixed them in with my flavoured reds and then out went the float again.  The float had barely settled when it disappeared.  After a very spirited fight a beautiful, pristine roach was netted.  I popped it on the scales and it registered 1lb 7oz and proved to be the best roach of the day.   The swim then produced a small bream and little else, so another move was in order.  By now the heavy rain showers had started and some were quite prolonged.  Due to the nature of the swims and the severity of the wind, an umbrella wasn’t really an option.  It was a case of hunkering down in our winter clothing and just trying to keep the rain out.

1lb 7oz

1lb 7oz

I moved across the lake and settled in next to Geoff.  He had found a deep swim of around 5ft of water close in and adjacent to some marginal reeds. He continued to catch steadily for the remainder of the day and ended up with around 20 nice roach to 1lb 1oz.  I seemed to elicit less bites with my set up than Geoff.  Geoff had opted to fish a long tail and an 18 hook.  This I suspect made the difference.  However I was treated to quite a mixed bag; I ended up with a tench of around 3lbs, a couple of bream, a couple of roach to around 10oz and just as the day was drawing to a close the float buried and something took off like a high speed train.  I had obviously hooked one of the resident carp.  It fought long and hard on the light tackle but with steady pressure I coaxed it into the waiting landing net.  I was fairly convinced it would go mid doubles but in fact it was smaller than I had at first thought.  It was a stunning common and weighed 9lb 13oz and was an exciting finish to a rather mucky, wet and windy day.


As Arnie would say in that heavy Austrian accent; “I’ll be back”!

Read Full Post »

We had another three days fishing planned in Wales but sadly the weather cut our trip short on the Friday.  We had heavy rain, sleet and snow overnight Thursday and even during Friday morning and so we decided to head home early, after another hearty breakfast.  We were glad we did because when we saw the river, it was very high and very coloured and would have been a waste of time.

Three wise monkeys

Still the two days prior to this provided us with some decent conditions.  Sadly it was still bitterly cold with temperatures down to -6 to -8 overnight and barley above freezing during the day.  Wednesday and Thursday saw us on the same stretch.  The water was clear and had dropped a little since Monday.

The Upper Wye

We wandered along the whole length of this section, exploring every opportunity.  We found some cracking swims and over the 2 days caught quite a few decent grayling, topped off by a 2lb grayling for Geoff.  We lost a few and I know Kevin lost several decent grayling.  Most of the fish were around a pound and in lovely condition.  Sadly the sub zero conditions made the fishing very tough.  Still despite that, we caught  about 90 grayling over these last 2 days.

Geoff's 2lber

It will give us a few more ideas when we return in November.  I must say that the Welsh people are very warm and friendly.  You always get a wave and a hello from just about everyone.  A rare thing here in the south east.  So we know that wonderful and evocative song ‘we’ll keep a welcome in the hillside’ is quite heartfelt.

Read Full Post »

My old buddy Jules was keen to try out his new float rod with some trotting tactics, something he had not done before.  So I arranged to take him to the Hampshire Avon to hopefully help him catch his first ever grayling.  Of course, as you would expect, Geoff and Kev didn’t want to miss out on a days grayling fishing on the Avon either, so they joined us for the day.

On arrival the river looked a little coloured and up since our last visit.  Overall conditions looked good. So after a full English at the local cafe, we headed to the river.  It was even colder than yesterday and again looked like it was going to be a windy day.  We grabbed the tackle from the car and headed off upstream to find a few likely looking runs.

I helped Jules set-up his tackle and guided him through the basics of using a centrepin.  He took to it reasonably well and more importantly enjoyed the experience.  After a while, I left him to it, confident that he would soon catch.  I opted to fish a run just above him.  I waded out and ran the float through a nice 4′ deep run.  The double maggot hook bait was soon snaffled up by a fish.  It turned out to be a feisty trout and a couple more followed that one.  Then the float shot under and this time a really nice grayling was the culprit.  It looked about 1lb 8oz+ but I didn’t weigh it as I was wading out in the river.  I followed that up with another nice grayling of about 1lb 2oz and then another trout.

Julian hadn’t had much luck so I stayed with him for a while.  He was doing all the right things but failed to get a bite.  I suggested a move and after a few trots through in this new swim, the float dipped and we had a fish on.  It was a beautiful grayling of about 8oz and Jules’ first ever one.  He was well chuffed.  We carried on fishing for a while.  I managed another grayling but we struggled.  We decided to move downstream.

Julian's First Grayling

Both Geoff and Kev were struggling on the grayling front too. I think Kev had managed one and nothing but a few trout for Geoff.  We left them to it and moved down.  I had a few more grayling and then lost a big fish.  It may have been a big trout, but who knows?  Julian found a couple more grayling a a few trout, so was over the moon with his first experience of trotting, centrepins, the Avon and grayling.

As the day wore on it seemed to get even colder and windier.  Kevin found a small shoal of good quality grayling, taking several over a pound.  Geoff also found a few.  Overall we struggled at what is normally a fairly easy venue.  I can only assume the conditions just weren’t quite right for the fish.  Virtually all the fish came to maggot and I couldn’t but a bite on corn, which is normally good in coloured water.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: