Saturday 25 April 2015

Bait test #2.... More jacks

Back to my difficult water on Thursday, targeting the tench and hoping to tempt one on my homemade bait. I also took a lure rod as I had entered a 'jigfly' competition on a local forum and I had been in possession of the lure for a while without catching.

Tactics were similar to my previous session, but this time I was going to fish two rods on the pod for the tench and the lift method in the margins. I arrived slightly later than I wanted too, for no reason other than I was dragging my heals. I decided on a few casts with the jigfly before getting the tench gear out, third cast and the lure was nailed by a small jack.

Finally something on the jigfly, nothing of size, but it now means that the lure has been posted to the next angler 
Lure rod away, tench rods out. Although this water can be extremely weedy, a bit of time spent casting a lead around the swim revealed a few weed free patches that I would be baiting up and fishing over.

2 tench setups, 1 with homemade boilies and hemp, the other fishmeal boilies with mixed pellets in a solid bag

The morning passed quickly, nothing on either tench rod and the float fished worms also went untouched. I had the occasional cast with the lure rod, (a salmo slider this time as I didn't want to risk losing the jigfly as I needed to post it on) two more jacks were landed, again nothing of size and by the looks of one of them it had been fortunate to escape from a recent attack, most probably an otter.

As midday came I packed the float and lure rods away, as I was content relaxing in the sun watching the water instead of a float. The occasional liner on the tench rods and the sighting of a large mirror carp cruising the warmer surface water, kept interest levels up, however time was passing by and I wanted some action on the tench rods.

I noticed a patch of bubbles beyond my right hand rig, probably about 15 yards or so and over the next hour these gradually crept closer to my baited area. The bubbles just started to creep into my baited area as I needed to pack away and rush back home for the school run, typical!

I'll be returning to this water next week, possibly an evening session and I might put a rod out for the eels as well. If there is any eels left in this water, they should be on the move by now.

Friday 17 April 2015

Bait test #1

Yesterday I had a few hours on a difficult water aiming for the carp and the tench. I had a rod for each species on the pod and I was fishing worms in the margins on the lift method. On the carp rod I was using marine halibut boilies and I was testing my homemade baits on the tench rod.

I had the water to myself until mid morning when another member turned up, after an extended chat he revealed that he had fished the water for about 3 years and hadn't landed a carp yet! However he had been successful with the tench, catching them to over 7lb.

I had a couple of liners on the tench rod but nothing positive, as I was repositioning the carp rod I noticed the float in the margin 'dancing', but by the time I made it to the rod it had stopped. Shortly after there was some movement on the float, a classic lift bite. The float rose, wobbled then laid flat on the surface, I struck in to a fish......

A bloody jack! Not what I was hoping for but it saved the dreaded blank (something that will probably happen a lot on this water).

The number of carp in the water is low (probably only half a dozen), but they are of a decent size. I'm not too concerned about the carp but it would be nice to land one, the tench however are another thing and I will be targeting them again next week.

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Homemade bait

Over the coming weeks I will be targeting the tench on one of my club waters. The water isn't easy to get results from but is a nice place to spend a few hours with a slight chance of increasing my p.b. As of next month I should be working away, luckily there is a water within 10 minutes of my digs that holds tench to over 7lb and bream into double figures. Again this water isn't easy but hopefully with a bit of time and effort I can get some decent results from it.

Over the last couple of weeks I've been thinking about baits and methods, I've narrowed down a few methods to try but I was struggling to find some small(ish) boilies locally. Anyway I've had a go at making my own 12mm hemp and sweetcorn boilies.

First attempt at bait making, if they work I'll post the recipe 
After searching the Asian/health shops for a few ingredients, purchasing a small bait roller, messing up the kitchen I'm pretty pleased with the bait. I'll be out giving the boilies their first outing tomorrow, I'm half expecting to blank, but you never know...

Thursday 9 April 2015

Final fling

Yesterday was my final pike session until autumn, we decided to head west to a large glacial lake for the day. Mick picked me up at 04:00 and after nearly knocking himself out on my garage door we were on our way shortly afterwards.

We arrived just after 06:00 and I had my first cast shortly after. There had been a hard frost over night and it seemed to get worse as the morning went by. Eventually the sun came out and it turned into a nice morning, probably a bit too nice, bright sun and a flat calm aren't usually the best conditions when targeting these clear water pike.

We were using the bait boat and sounder to find the drop offs and to place the baits in these deeper areas, however we weren't having much luck. The morning past quickly and despite trying various baits and presentations we hadn't had any interest.

Early afternoon I placed a semi buoyant perch into 7ft of water, shortly after the backbiter sounded. Initially line was taken, but quickly stopped, I wound down and struck anyway, nothing. A quick check of the bait found a few marks nothing major, so the same bait was ferried out to the same point. Thirty minutes later the backbiter went again, the same thing happened. After bringing the bait in I checked the rig over and found that I'd left a braid stop on the line, a foot or so above the run ring. I think the run ring was bumping over the stop and the pike were rejecting the bait because of this.

After a quick re-rig and a change of bait (sprat with a couple of chopped sprats in the boat hopper) I found the 7ft of water again. Thirty minutes later I had another take on the same rod, far more positive this time around. I struck and was into a pike, the fight was fairly unspectacular but was lengthly due to the distance being fished.

The pike was short but plump and looked to weigh about 8lb, it felt a bit bigger when I lifted it so I quickly weighted it.

Short and fat, just shy of being a double - 9lb 13oz

We carried on until dusk, without any further takes. A difficult last outing which will probably be remembered more for the surroundings rather than the fishing itself, but still it was good to end my pike season with a fish.

A quick breakdown of my 2014/15 pike season -

Number of pike caught - 28
Number of doubles - 8   (15lb14oz, 14lb 6oz, 12lb 10oz, 12lb 4oz, 12lb 1oz, 11lb 6oz, 11lb 3oz, 10lb 6oz)
Largest pike caught - 15lb 14oz

Pike caught on baits - 26
Pike caught on lures - 2

Last season I only managed 14 pike (with 1 double) so I'm pleased with how my season has gone, especially as the rivers fished poorly for most of the winter.

That's my piking finished until autumn I'm looking forward to targeting some tench and eels before the rivers open, hopefully I can also increase a few p.b's over the warmer months.

Friday 3 April 2015

School holidays.....

The kids broke up for Easter last Friday and I've been too busy to get on the bank since. I've had one session since my last update, a failed attempt for pike on a new still water. Nothing of note to report from the session, a difficult session in horrible weather conditions. No pike were landed, 3 pike anglers, 3 blanks. The water holds a decent head of pike to upper doubles and as it is only a 45 minute drive from home it is another option for later in the year when the rivers are up.

The water also holds a good head of bream, carp and tench that are larger than my bests, as well as reportedly holding eels to a good size. I'm hoping to spend some time on this water over the coming months.

By not spending any time on the bank, it's given me the opportunity to have an overdue end of season spring clean. The braid on my pike reels has been reversed, a punctured barrow wheel has been repaired, waders repaired, winter bib and brace cleaned, new line for tench fishing bought, and a few odds and ends found that I have no use for (which will eventually up on eBay).

I've been doing some preparation for a mini tench campaign, probably no more than half a dozen sessions before the rivers open. I bagged a bargain pod from eBay because the seller listed it as a 'Solor' pod, found some cheap alarms, some decent indicators, narrowed the rigs/methods down I'll be using and have starting to think about bait.

The methods I'm planning to use are an inline maggot feeder, scaled down carp tactics with small boilies and the method feeder. I'll also do some float fishing in the margins. I have a few waters to target where I stand a good chance of catching a few fish and one water in particular where I could possibly catch a new best. The tench in that water go over 8lb, not particularly massive to the lads fishing down south but an 8lber would be a fish of a lifetime for most lads up north. The biggest tench I have seen on the bank is my best, a fish of 6 pound.

My best tench, should any like this grace my net this season I will be more than pleased.
In the next week or two I will be having a go at making some 10/12mm boilies, probably sweetcorn and crushed hemp. I've watched a couple of YouTube videos and bought a few ingredients, it seems easy enough and will be more cost effective than paying the £10 per kilo most shop bought boilies cost.

Even though I haven't wet a line for over a week, I'm not climbing the walls yet. I am looking forward to my next session on Wednesday though, which will also probably be my last pike session until autumn. Weather permitting I will be heading over to the Lake District for the day, checking the weather forecast (daily) I think should be ok, but I have a backup venue just in case as conditions over there are hard to predict.