In this update i will be covering the changes away from angling that have been going on, a little on what i have been writing while the Internet has been down and will finish the introduction off with a new purchase for the next pike season. The fishing sees me fishing a little pond you could literally jump across and a session on the Bridgewater Canal on the pole.
With that its on to this weeks update..
New House and No Time....
For some time now we have been living in a two bedroom apartment but it was never ever going to be a permanent residence due to us having a boy and girl that would eventually need a room each. We decided to make the change early on in their lives so they where not being disrupted when they need stability most around the ages of 10 and 8 where we have had to move by law. A property came up and with a garden front and back and 3 bedrooms it on paper was ideal. Inside was a different story as the previous residents had left the house in a right mess with money owing on the bills and the house in a general state of disrepair it has meant long hard hours in an evening and weekend just to get it to the stage where it needs decorating.
The garden was like a jungle and every bit of painting needed doing so as you can imagine fishing time has been of a minimum but to be honest fishing has been the last thing on my mind as with so many jobs to do i could not justify going out fishing. As i said the previous residents where not the best and predictably there was money outstanding on the Telephone line which has meant a long 3 week battle for BT to take control of the line and allow us to get an Internet line up and running. This inconvenience was probably a good thing as it has taken away the distraction of writing a blog of an evening.
It is not all doom and gloom as the house is starting to get there and when we gave the garden an much needed hair cut we uncovered a wildlife oasis in our own back yard. There are so many birds attracted to our garden by the trees and cover offered by an i have on the far boundary wall we just had to get a bird feeder out there. Sat of an evening with a cuppa in hand it has been fantastic to see such an array of wildlife in my garden, i have never had a garden as grew up in a mid terrace so for me i have been like a kid in a sweet shop. So far we have a pair of resident robins, a pair of wood pigeons, loads of small birds like blue tits and sparrow, a mob of black birds who really boss things until the real bullies move in and take over in the magpies!
The garden is a working progress at the moment as the house take priority but it is my hope in the years to come to turn this quite wild and messy back garden into a haven for wildlife. We are boxed in by 3 other gardens so getting animals like hedgehogs and foxes etc around is impossible but it would be nice to provide a habitat for maybe a pond and flowers to attract butterfly's and bees in. With two big gardens its also my hope to get a wormery or a compost heap up and running which is a bait i don't really use much but could be interesting on some of the places i know contain perch.
I try to include as much about myself in this blog as i do my fishing so it is going to be great to include updates on this from time to time and also who knows what we might see visiting the bird table :-)
Pike Season Roundup
The Internet being off in the house has meant i have been unable to get on line whilst at home to write my blogs on here but what i have been doing is chipping away at some content for a new page on the blog on here. It will cover from start to finish my first season dead baiting for pike. It does go into some detail and i must admit some heavy editing is needed as at the end of November i was up around 2500 words!!
I covers the piking from the first sessions before the start of the season and then the entire pike season its self. The milestone captures and also some of the lessons i have learnt along the way. I have included some some of my thoughts during the season and what i was trying to achieve. It will sit as a complete page on its own on the tool bar at the to of the page and the page is already in place to select waiting for the content to go live.
This new way of writing about the sessions might be the way forward for things like carp quests etc as in the past i have wrote them live as i am on the quest and although this helps capture how i feel each session it does add pressure to them. Any how look out for that round up going live in the next few days.
Savage Gear Purchase...
Wobbling for pike has been a huge part of my pike season this year and for it i have been using a very old spinning rod fro my childhood. It cost me £6 and it has done me proud this year but its lack of back bone has been questioned on a number of occasions when i have hooked into any better fish into double figures. With that i thought it was time to give this old warrior a rest before she literally gets snapped and i recently picked up a new lure rod in this Savage gear rod below.
This rod breaks down into 4 pieces so it will easily fit into my car and will mean i will be able to sneak it into my car boot for those opportunistic times where you have a few hours to spare. I don't know if it will get any use for lure fishing as its not something that i am looking to delve into at the moment but who knows. I cant wait to get out and catch a pike on it.
With that its on to this weeks fishing...
Morning on a Pond....
There is nothing that gets me more excited when the river season is closed than the thought of a fishing session on a pond of canal. These completely wild places are where it is at for me and although i do fish on a commercial from time to time these wild waters hold the magic of all that is angling for me.
Some ponds i fish you could literally walk across and maybe even jump across but taking time to actually wet a line in these waters can unearth some really exceptional fishing especially for harden species like roach and perch who can survive in any conditions really. These places are not always desirably places to fish and are rarely places you are going to find neatly pruned banks and flat pegs but more than often they are worth the effort. The fact these places are also places where people dump fish that have got to big for their home pond so they can also hold some surprises.
The morning of this session i set up on the Bridgewater canal initially with a view of a canal session and all was going fine from 6am till around 8.30am where i had put together the odd fish including a very surprising DACE! At 8.30am the predictable boat came and i thought nothing of it but when it was followed by 10 more boats i knew something was up and changes needed to be made, especially when i over heard the word regatta. I thought more a minute and made the decision to drop on a pond.
Arriving at the pond i quickly set up and i knew from experience the rig i was using on the canal would be fine on here. The bait was 1/2 pint of pinkies and a pint of maggot which would be fished on the pole with a size 20 hook and 1.7lb line straight through. The bites where instant as i went in with small roach and the odd perch showing early one to white maggot fished over the bed of pinkie.
The swim would die from time to time and eventually a better fish would be the result and this, early on it was a better roach.
The margins where alive with frogs dancing and merry dance with each other and occasionally hitching a ride if you get my drift, a sure sign of the benefits to wildlife a little pond can bring. The bites where coming steady now and i was getting a bite most times my bait missed the weed on the way down and got through to the bottom but i was waiting a little bit for the bites to develop and i was missing quite a few sharp dinks on the float.
I made a few changes by adding a small number 12 shot to the line which took the float down to a mere pimple on the surface and i also started to fish double pinkie on the hook. These two changes saw the missed bites turned into fish and i also found out the swim was fully of skimmers.
These skimmer bream would come into the swim and i would catch a number of them before the swim would again die and a better fish would either get into the weed or i would get it in. These better fish ranged from perch, incidental these killed the swim stone dead, and also crucian carp or the fan tail gold fish shown below.
During the session i hit a number of fish that there was no stopping at all and the odd visitor t the place i spoke to did talk of some big carp and tench so it might well be worth a trip on bigger baits one morning to try and tame one of these fish. I ended the session with 11lb mixed net of fish that included skimmers, roach, rudd, crucian carp, perch and fantail goldfish. A very enjoyable session.
Pole Fishing on The Bridgewater Canal..
After a week in work and every evening spent decorating or painting i was more than ready for a days fishing in fact i would go as far as saying it was a necessity for my sanity i got out to wet a line. I put my faith in Accuweather that Sunday would be a dry day and that it would be over cast and not too sunny. I Spent the evening before preparing my rigs for the canal and i arrived on the bank with two rigs ready to go. My first rig was 1.7oz line down to a pound bottom hooklength with a size 20 hook and this was to be fished down the middle on my pinkie line with a light size 6 elastic. I also made up a similar rig line with but with a size 18 hook for my far bank line and this was to be fished with a blue hydroelastic.
I knew the area of canal i was going to target on this session so a recce early on in the week identified the swim i was going to fish. The swim above was my swim for the day and my plan of attack was simple, like all my fishing normally is. I was going to fish pinkie and ground bait just off the inside shelf for anything that swims whilst occasionally firing white maggot over the far side up the side of the reeds out of the boat line hoping that while i was fishing down the middle this line would build up some fish who would be ready once the boats got to much. This is a tactic i have used for years on the canal and it has never let me down and again it worked on the day. Just for information i find the longer you leave going over the far line the better the fishing is in general but leaving it till the sun is right up and on the water you can miss out on the better fish that feed in the early morning like tench and big perch.
Canal fishing is really like no other in you never really can have any expectations when fishing them as there are so many factors that can effect your success on the day. Canals can range in size but the one if fish is very long running from runcorn old town to Manchester with a split where it is also connected the the large Trent and Mersey Canal. success on the day can be simply down to a shoal of roach being in that area on that day and being on the feed, the next week they may well be moved on.
All canals hold big fish like bream, tench, perch and better stamps of roach but you very rarely catch these fish from the off on a session on the canal i fish. Your swim for the day is like a baby, it needs to be nurtured and built slowly during the session, done right the swim will normally start with small fish like this small roach below and the better fish should slowly move in. The swim fed with a ball of ground bait and pinkie and first put in the float sailed away and out came the light size 6 elastic, yes even a fish this small needs the light elastic.
My thoughts on fishing canal is i want to make sure i turn as many bites into fish as i can so in my opinion a light elastic is a must for not bumping those smaller fish, some fish might only be the 1--3oz in size but on sessions where the better fish don't show this might be all you catch all day and its better than nothing. I continued to catch small roach and skimmers on my middle line and every so ofter would ping over a few maggots over the far bank reed line. As the swim built during those early hours the steady stream of maggots on the bottom eventually attracted the attention of the local bully's, the perch.
I had started fishing around 6.30am and it was 9.30am before i noticed the line down the middle start to die off. I had been waiting anything from 30 seconds to 5 minutes for a bite but now the bites where seriously dying off and with all the tricks in the book utilised like moving slightly past my feed and lifting and dropping the bait slightly it was time to think about the far bank line. As soon as the line had shown signs of dying i had upped the feeding of the far bank line to every 5 minutes, not loads of bait just 5-6 maggots. Enough to attract but not to over feed.
Over the far side i was expecting better fish but i knew i would also be still running into a smaller stamp as well so i used my blue hydro elastic for the far bank line. I hoped this would be soft enough hit the small fish but also give me some back bone if i connected with a better fish like a bream, perch or tench. First put in over the far side and the float had not even settled before it was away and like i predicted it was a better stamp of fish over that far side as shown by this perch.
Isn't it amazing how a swim probably 4-5 metres away from the middle line where i could no longer buy a bite was a bite a chuck. The swim had been fed for a good few hours and the fish where literally lining up as each put in the float would slide away with either a skimmer of a roach coming to the net and i was beginning to think that i had a few fish in the net.
When pole fishing in general its important to get into a rhythm, don't rush but get into a set rhythm of how you are fishing. On the day for me it was unhook a fish then feed the swim with a catapult then ship out over the bait, float under strike and ship back in. Working like this you are quickly putting together a weight of fish without realising it. The hard part in any fishing session is feeding and even more so on a canal as although bites are coming thick and fast you can easily over feed the swim at this point so its a time not to be carried away.
Boats play a huge part in canals and i hear a lot of anglers complain about boat traffic on them. Don't get me wrong 5-6 boats on the bounce going fast through the swim is not going to help it at all but a steady stream of boats through the day actually helps the fishing especially on hot days where clear water would certainly spook the fish. A boat coming through on this session saw the quality of the fish improve as the quality of the skimmers improve it was certainly evident on the far bank line and slowly but surely most fish where of the stamp above.
Earlier on in the blog i mentioned about feeding a swim and it building during the session as at 6am i started fishing i was getting tiny small roach and skimmers and through feeding that far bank line correctly and slowly the swim had built and like predicted the better roach moved in on the action. On the session i caught some nice skimmers but this roach below for me was the fish of the session.
I only had a set time to fish till and it was quickly approaching 2pm and the end of the session and it was going to kill me to leave especially when some nice bream started showing like the one below. A proper fish full of skimmer.
Bringing in the fish i noticed a dark shape under neath the fish as it came in, a pike. I had seen activity in the area all session and during the session i had thought a pike was about as all the signs where there with fish up in the neck of my net and the swim going though very patchy periods. After putting the skimmer in the keep net i continued to fish on but noticed the fish going made in my keep net and then a flash of olive green up the side of it was a sure sight the pike that followed the skimmer in was after the fish in my net and slowly my keep net moved out into the canal signalling the pike was tugging at the mesh. Lifting my keep net up there was a pike attached to the side of the net, some nerve i thought!! and with that if fell back in a swam off.
It was time to end the session so i quickly hook a few pics of the 10.5lb net/
It was going to take a bit for the net to dry and pack away so i thought i would chance my arm and have a serious word with mr pike so out went a small roach live bait. It did not take long for the free meal to attract his attention. In the warm weather he put up a great fight compared to the ones i had caught in winter.
Eventually he saw sense and a quick picture and a telling off before he was returned to hunt the roach shoals.
We that's it for another update i hope the gap between the next ones isn't as great as this.
So its tight lines form me,