Wednesday 28 May 2014

Short sessions

In the last week I've had two short sessions, the first being a frogging/surface lure session and the second was an evening tench session on the same water.

The lure session was very short as I only had around an hour or so, but that is usually enough time for a fish on this water. Unfortunately the pike weren't that interested in hitting any of the lures I was using. I did have a couple of follows, all the way to the bank but the pike seemed more interested in sun bathing than striking at a lure.

Spro 'Bronzeye' frog in action
I usually enjoy a couple of early season 'frogging' session when the rivers open, however my
catch rate is fairly poor, I get plenty of strikes but usually struggle to hit them. I have a couple of
stretches in mind that I plan to spend a couple of mornings/evenings on as soon as the rivers open, usually the pike are only a few pound or so, but it is a very enjoyable method.

Whilst on the lure session I noticed a fairly large golden orfe cruising around the surface, this is probably the only orfe in the water and it has probably outgrown someone's garden pond.

Golden orfe of around 4lb
The evening tench session was on the same water, which has a fairly low stock of tench that go to
around 6lb or so. The tench on this water are renowned for being difficult to catch and numerous
blanks are to be expected when targeting them.

I decided on a two rod approach, the first was hair rigged sweetcorn ledgered over a small bed of corn and hemp near a small lily patch in the margins. The second rod was a simple waggler set up fishing red maggot on the bottom also close to a lily patch.

Spot the float ?
I was expecting the water in this area to be around 5 or 6 feet however it was more like 11ft, which 
proved challenging when plumbing up with a 12ft rod. I fed a small amount of hemp and maggots hoping to gradually build the swim. Surprisingly the float went straight under on the first cast however this turn out to be a very small perch. The next dozen or so casts I was either catching small roach on the drop or missing the bite.

Plenty of these small greedy roach willing to take a bait on the drop
I decided to up the feed, fish corn on the hook and wait it out for a better fish. After an hour or so I 
had to change the float tip for a starlight, there were plenty of fish rising but I hadn't had a touch on sweet corn on either of the rods. At around half ten I had a bite on the float rod, immediately I knew it was a better fish but after a few seconds it was obvious that it wasn't a tench but a better roach.

Better roach 8oz+
After I returned the roach I noticed that the rig was tangled so I decided to call it a day(or night) and
head home.

I was expecting a blank so I wasn't too disappointed with what I caught, if I fish that swim area again I will probably use a pole as it will be a lot easier.

I was hoping to get out this week but haven't felt like sitting under a brolly all day, it looks like weather will improve as the week progresses so I might fit a session in tomorrow, possibly on the same water or on a club water that I am yet to fish.

Saturday 17 May 2014

Otter devastation

Yesterday afternoon whilst driving back up north I decided on a couple of stops on the way up. Firstly  a still water for a quick recce, secondly a quick fish spotting session on a river and finally a walk around a syndicate water I gave joined but am unable to fish for another couple of weeks.

I had been planning to have a look at the still water for a couple of months, but as usual other things got in the way. However it was only 5 minutes out of my way and I had plenty of time for a wander. Arriving at the water I could see plenty of fish topping, a few pike strikes and a couple of herons ambushing small fish. The initial optimism was quickly over as it became apparent that the water had fallen victim to otters. Along a short section of bank were the remains of a double figure pike and more than 10 bream.

Double figure pike

Remains of a decent bream in spawning mode

The bream were obviously in spawning mode as they were showing tubercles. I have seen the remains of otter attacks before but not as many as this in such a short section of bank. I will try a short lure session in the next week or so, hopefully  the perch and pike stocks haven't been hit as hard as the bream.

After the disappointment of the still water I had a quick visit to a near by river hoping to spot a few barbel and chub. I wasn't disappointed with the river as within 5 minutes I had spotted over 20 large chub and a couple of barbel lurking in the shadows. This section of water has changed hands a few times over the years, but is now a very limited numbers syndicate water.

I didn't manage a walk around my syndicate water, but am hopeful of a quick visit this week, I am also hoping for a quick fly session on a small river one evening this week, hopefully the trout are surface feeding.

Friday 16 May 2014

Nether Mill fishery (4 evening sessions)

I have been on a course for the last week and decided to take a couple of rods just in case I got the chance to get out for a few hours on an evening. I had a quick search online and found a fishery which was close to my accommodation. After finishing the first day of the course I was glad I bought some rods as I didn't need to do as much ' homework' as I first thought. I managed to fish Monday to Thursday evenings from roughly 5pm to around half eight.


I caught a small ide on the first cast which was tight to an island, but struggled for a further bite for the next 30 minutes. I then started fishing the margins and started catching small crucians and tench pretty much straight away. After the 2nd or 3rd crucian I had one of 1lb 4oz which I think is a new personal best, unfortunately I didn't take a very good photo and as there is a no keep net rule I couldn't get a better one later. I also lost a decent carp (unseen) from the margins.

Best crucian 1lb 4oz
I ended the evening with -

7 crucian largest 1lb 4oz
5 tench
1 carp
1 ide
1 perch


On Tuesday I fished at the opposite end of the lake as it was quieter there, the fishing was quieter as well and I struggled for the first hour or so. The first bite I connected with fought hard and went like a torpedo, it ended up being a surprise rainbow trout of 2lb 7oz. This was also a personal best as it is the only rainbow trout I have ever caught. I took a quick photo in the net as I wanted to get it back quickly as it wasn't in the best condition.

My first ever rainbow 2lb 7oz
 I finished up with -

4 crucian
3 tench
2 perch
1 roach
1 bream
1 rainbow trout


Half the lake was sectioned off for a match so I had to fish the quieter end again, however I decided to fish the opposite bank near a thick reed bed. It was hard going and I was struggling for a bite and it seemed that the other anglers fishing this side of the lake were too.

Eventually I caught a couple of perch, a roach and a small ide, nothing of size really and I was beginning to get frustrated then I had a run from a margin swim I had been baiting up. The run turned out to be a small ghost carp of around 3 or 4lbs, it fought very hard (as ghost carp usually do) and I was slightly disappointed when it came to the surface, as it fought as if it were much larger.

I hair rigged 4 pieces of corn and dropped the rig into the same spot, rebaited  and sat back for the final 45 minutes or so. Nothing happened on either rod and I decided to pack up, I left the margin rod out for as long as I could whilst packing everything else and just as I was about to pick it up the alarm went and the baitrunner started spinning. I struck into the fish and it felt a lot larger than anything I had caught during the week. The fish fought very hard and pushed the tackle I was using to the limit, it managed to get into the large reed bed twice but some how I managed to bring it out. Eventually after a good 10 minutes and a couple of attempts I netted a large common carp.

New best at 16lb 10oz
I thought the carp was going to be close to the 20lb mark, however the avons (only) went to 16lb
10oz but I was still very pleased as it was a new personal best for me, by a couple of pounds. I was surprised that I managed to land the carp on the tackle I was using, a Drennan series 7 1.25lb avon rod and 6lb line obviously not ideal for carp of that size. The rod performed well and despite being bent through to the butt on occasions I felt in control, well most of the time anyway.

Wednesdays total -

2 perch
1 roach
1 ide
2 carp


The lake was fairly quiet with only two or three others fishing, I fished a peg near where I had caught  the bigger crucian in the hope of catching a few more. I fished similar tactics as the previous days with 1 rod float fishing the margins and the second with hair rigged corn or pellets. The crucians did occasionally show the were no larger than 10 ounces or so. I managed a few bream with the largest two being 3lb 15oz and 4lb 5oz, which was pleasing as these are the largest bream I have caught for a few years.

3lb 15oz
4lb 5oz
Thursdays total -

8 bream
6 perch
3 crucian
1 golden orfe
1 ide
1 roach

Although I normally prefer to fish quieter, more natural venues I thoroughly enjoyed the 4 short evening sessions I had at Nether Mill. I managed to catch a few species that I hadn't caught in years and managed to up a few personal bests. The fishery has a club like atmosphere and the bailiff 'Alan' is very helpful, at £4 for an evening and £5 for the full day I feel it is fairly priced as well.

A nice spot to spend a few hours
If any one is looking for somewhere to wet a line in the Barnsley/Penistone area I would definitely
recommend Nether Mill Fishery

Now I just need to find somewhere closer to home with a decent head of crucian.....

Thursday 8 May 2014

The biggest fish of all..... Not quite

I had a few hours on the farm pond, again hoping for a decent perch or two. I decided to fish a running ledger with a few dendrobaenas as bait and a backbiter/rollover as indication and a short whip with chopped worm. The ledger was cast to the far bank under some willows and the whip was fished around 5 meters out along side a lily patch. It took about 15 minutes for something to show any interest, a perch of around an ounce or so. Bites came fairly regularly after the first fish mainly small perch, I upped the feed rate and the size of the worm pieces, hoping that this would attract the larger perch. The plan didn't work as the perch remained a consistent size, I also caught a couple of roach that went to about 4/5 ounces and the largest perch was about 3 ounces.

Mixed catch, unfortunately the perch were smaller than usual
I have had 4 perch sessions on the pond so far, with my largest going to 1lb (which was caught on the first session), I was hoping for a better return. The pond has produced perch pushing the 3lb mark in the past and I am hoping for a 2lber over the coming months. Although it is becoming slightly frustrating catching small bits I am going to persist with the pond for a while longer as it is a nice spot and on each visit I have had the place to myself, which I enjoy.

I am away on a course next week, but I have found a small fishery close to my accommodation and if time allows I am hopeful of fitting in an evening session or two.

Wednesday 7 May 2014

First eel session of the season

Last Thursday evening I had my first eel session of the year. I fished a water I know fairly well and although it is not a 'known' eel water I have heard of a few captures over the years. I was at the water by around seven fifteen and I had 3 rods in the water by half past, all rods were rigged with a John Sidley rig, two baited with bunches of worms and the third with a roach head.

First night session of the year
The water was alive with various small fish topping and the odd large carp crashing in the margins. I believe that the water only holds a small head of eels, so I wasn't overly confident in catching one at my first attempt, however the water holds a reasonable head of tench and I was half expecting to catch one of those.

The few hours I could fish passed fairly quickly without an indication on any of the rods. I packed up around midnight as the temperature had dropped sharply and I needed to be up early the next morning. I wasn't entirely surprised with the blank and it was enjoyable to be out on the bank after a couple of weeks struggling to find the time.

I am hoping for a short session tomorrow, back on a farm pond where I have been targeting perch, I am hoping for a decent perch but will be happy just to wet a line.