Posts Tagged ‘Lone Angler Ocean Pride’

March 15th…..A sad day for any river angler, as the 15th signals the end of the river season and the start of the closed season on flowing water.  I enjoy the break and I’m sure it does the rivers and foliage good.  That’s not to say I entirely agree with it but that’s another story.

So with the 3 month break now firmly in place, the weather has turned into glorious sunshine with warm days and nights.  With thermometers peaking at around 17 or 18c, it really is a sign that winter is over and that summer is just around the corner.  Let’s hope that’s not too premature and winter doesn’t make an untimely comeback!

As the weather was so delightful and work had stopped me from getting back onto a river in the last couple of weeks, I wanted to get bankside somewhere.  I decided to head to Bury Hill and my thinking was that with such mild conditions of late, both during the day and at night, the crucians might be active.  I enjoy a few sessions at Milton Lake, although I prefer it when the bankside vegetation has emerged a bit more and the reeds and lily pads are mature.  I would think another month of this weather and most lakes will look completely different.  The trees, hedgerows and water plants will be in full bloom and growing like mad.  It transforms that rather grey, drab look of winter into a spectacular mix of colours that makes spring and summer in England so special.

I was armed with several baits at my disposal.  Maggots, casters, luncheon meat (small cubes) and hooker pellets would be my choice of hook baits and I had some of my trusty Lone Angler Ocean Pride groundbait to get the fish rooting about in the silt.  I tend to add in a good mix of my hookbaits to the groundbait and keep a steady trickle going in all day, particularly in these warmer conditions.  Tackle was pretty standard stuff; 14ft float rod, fixed spool reel loaded with 4lb line, a small insert waggler and a 16 hook to 3.6lb hooklink.  I could use all of my baits on that one size of hook and the tackle was sturdy enough to deal with just about any size fish that came along, even the odd rogue carp, if one materialised.   As always, it is essential to plumb the depth and make sure, as near as possible, that the bait is just resting on the bottom.  Crucian’s are the trickiest of biters, at times frustrating and infuriating and can lead to serious bouts of tourettes!!

Today was no exception!  Some bites were barely discernible. The merest twitch or dip.  They were so cautious and so tentative you could easily pass it off as a fish brushing against the line.  However a few strikes met with resistance, as a crucian put up a very spirited fight.  Often though they signaled either a missed bite or a bumped off fish.  I lost around 10 crucians and missed probably 30 bites.  I started off with maggots and they produced an almost instant bite.  The result was a beautiful golden crucian of around 1.25lbs.  After that I couldn’t buy a bite on maggots.  I switched to caster; nothing.  I switched to small cubes of luncheon meat…nothing.  Small green hooker pellets….nothing.  Small 6mm white hooker pellets…..bite!  It was these small white hookers that they seemed to want and I managed to tempt 11 more crucians before it went dead, around 3pm.

It’s strange how they just seem to want one bait and will ignore all else that’s presented to them.  I decided to try the 6mm green ones after a long hiatus and this produced the odd fish, a few bumped off and a number of missed bites.  I had hoped that as the day wore on and the light faded, the roach or even crucians, might switch on.  Sadly they didn’t.  I ended up with 15 crucians or brown goldfish.  Yes all that glitters is not gold.  A number of my crucians appeared to be hybrids or brown goldfish.  There were no big fish, so it really didn’t matter what they were and it was fun to catch them.  Had they have been 3lb or even 4lb+ then that would have been a different matter all together.  There are many a big ‘crucian’ that turn out to be something very different.

Still, I had a pretty good day in glorious sunshine and even got a touch of sunburn!  Not bad for March.  I’m sure I’ll be back again soon and hopefully I’ll track down some of those elusive big roach that reside in Milton.

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It’s not often we are forced onto a stillwater during the traditional coarse fishing season as you know but sometimes needs must.  Despite that, I do quite enjoy a change now and again and it can make for a pleasant distraction from the rivers if conditions aren’t good.

Geoff and I decided to give Hartley Lands a go.  Their website and reviews about the fishery indicated that it can produce good bags of roach, which would be our target species.  We opted to fish the reservoir, as it appeared it contained the better specimens.  The reservoir was a decent size.  It’s a farm reservoir and so only a few acres or so, not the Bewl type of inland sea proportions.  We spotted a couple of good looking swims not far from the car park, which makes a pleasant change for me, I’m normally yomping off to the furthest point on a river somewhere.

I opted for a 15ft float rod, 3lb mainline and a 2.4lb hooklink with a 16 barbless hook.  Baits were red maggots with a squirt of Ocean Pride, casters and sweetcorn if needed and I fed hemp, maggots and casters.  Plumbing  found 2 shelves and I decided to fish off the first one at around 4′-4’6″ deep.  Setup was a simple waggler bulked at the top with one very small dropper shot about halfway down.  I had found myself in the near corner, sheltered from the ever growing wind.  On the way here it had been teaming down with rain and the roads were littered with debris from the heavy storm overnight.  Throughout the day we had a mixture of sunshine and heavy, squally showers but all in all not too bad to be fair.  Luckily the worst of the wind was deflected by the amount of tree cover here, which is nice.  Some of these commercials look a bit barren but not so with Hartley Lands.

A nice double

A nice double

A constant trickle of hemp and maggots soon had the roach queuing up and I lost something much bigger early on.  The roach were only between 2-6oz and probably averaged 3oz.  I did get the odd bigger one up to maybe 8oz but none of the 1lb+ specimens put in an appearance.  Interspersed amongst the roach were a few perch and 4 carp.  The carp certainly put a bend in the rod and with a 2lb 4oz hook link made playing them very rewarding.  The good thing about winter carp is that they don’t go mad.  They do the odd longish run but generally plod around the margins for a while, so it’s rare to loose them.  The carp were 6lb 2 x 8lb and the biggest a smidge under 11lbs.  It was a great, fun day and I ended up with around 115-120 fish chalked up on the fish counter.  I’m guessing at somewhere between 55lb-60lb of fish.  Not bad for around 5 hours or so of fishing.

Geoff also had a pretty good day, catching a carp or around 6-7lbs and loads of roach.  At last knockings he found some better fish close in but even then they were only around 8oz.  All in all we had a pretty good day in fairly difficult conditions.  Luckily we packed up in the dry but oh boy was it muddy.  Hartley Lands is certainly worth another visit at some point.


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