On to the update:
Canal Groundbait Preparation
This is a subject i covered on the blog last year and i included a video in the update so if you are looking for a bit of a video of what i am about to write then its on the following link.
So you get on the bank and you are ready to attack the canal in front of you, before you do anything else groundbait should be running through your mind, it is the first thing i do when i arrive on the bank is knock up the ground bait. The mix needs time to soak up the water and settle before you can make a decision if it needs more water or not. Ideally you mix it up and by the time you have set up all your gear and rigs you should be there or there about sto go back to it.
Canal fishing it is important to remember we are dealing here with a branch of angling that is so delicate and all parts of our approach need to be really refined, lines, baits and of course our ground bait needs that extra bit of care and attention when fishing a canal.
Opening the bag of ground bait you could be forgiven for thinking its all just a bag of finely breadcrumbs and additives but you would be wrong. A quick run through the riddle of the dry mix reveals there is more in the bag than meets the eye. The one i use has quite a bit of dry hemp in it but i have in the passed riddled other roach and bream mixes that have contained a huge amount ogf particles like hemp and maize flakes, for canal fishing i remove these as its just extra feed that will soon fill up the fish. Remember we are here to catch fish not feed them.
All the below came out of half a bag of groundbait riddled straight form the bag
This extra feed removed you are left with just the crumb mix. I add water slowly in a round bucket and spend a good few minutes really working the mix to get it as mixed in as possible and when i can form a ball in my hand with just a soft squeeze and then it breaks up completely to nothing when i rub it between my hands i know i am there. This mix is then left till after i set up all my gear and i have plumber my lines.
Going back to the mix you will normally find it has soaked in most of the water and is drier than when you left it. Add more water here will you get it to how it was before you left it. Maximizing how much water your ground bait can take will see you left with a neater mix. Once you are happy with it, unfortunately this stage does only come with time and practice as you can feel the mix is right, if you get me.
I then pass the whole mix through my riddle shaking at first to get the small bits through you are left with just the wet balls of ground bait. These left in the mix will fill the fish up and we need to break theses down. Gently rub these lumps though the riddle. What you are left with now is a fine fully mixed in base mix ground bait and you can now control what you do with it and more importantly how much feed you want to include in the mix. The most important part is you are now in control and have a mix with high attraction but little feed content to work with, an excellent starting point to build a swim with.
The "Glorious" 16th Arrived...
The actual fishing part of the blog is still a few trips behind but i feel its important to keep the main body of the blog up to date with current events. Sat here now the night before the river season is due to open and all i can hear is the patter of rain against the window and the angry rumble of thunder i the distance. All in all a very drab way to start the season and three months ago little did i imagine i would have to be checking the same flood tables come june 16th.
To put this in perspective in terms of my fishing being a angler who float fishes the river, a river only has to be slightly in flood for the river to be unfishable for me. There are of course hundred of barbel and chub anglers out there jumping with joy at the sight of this extra rain, rightly so too, i would if it where me.
The fishing this year ironically enough should see me targeting barbel but there is no way i'm going straight onto the banks of a flooded river i have only ever been once to try for a barbel. This season is going to see us taking strides into the unknown with two rivers that could not be further apart in appearance and size in the Dane and Weaver.
Not to spoil an future blog too much but the opening day actually saw me carp fishing and although not where i wanted to be ideally i caught a few carp with one being a pristine 14lb common below. This eased the pain of not making it onto the banks of the river i can tell you that.
on to this weeks fishing:
Smashing Those Carp PB's
So with overtime schedule well and truly in place it was again short evening sessions from around 5pm till dusk that where proving to be the norm for me and my fishing. Leaving work at 4pm it was a nice relaxed gathering of the gear and drive to the lake knowing the better fishing didn't really come on till the surrounding trees hid the sun from sight. Again travelling as light as possible it was a rod rest, rod, net and some tackle placed in a bucket that i would be taking.
Bait wise it was again the trust wet micro pellets round a method feeder and sweetcorn on the hood. Each cast the method was sprayed with some Stinky Stuff Crayfish spray.
Most people i saw in the evening fishing the lake popped into the first swims by the car and why not it was close to the car and quick to get off the lake but i found this swim to be better early in the morning as the sun was first to hit here. Based on that thinking but flipping it i guessed the fishing would be better in the evening right down the other side of the lake as this would be the last place the sun would hit. The down side to this was the fact the pegs where really overgrown and muddy under your feet and the added cover and foliage certainly meant added attention from the mozzy's.
In all angling we have to have a theory to work toward, a way of thinking the scenario through, before we hit the bank. I guess the more you think over your fishing and the more time and effort you put into you session before you hit the bank then the more successful you will be. In all fishing you can just turn up and cast any bait anywhere in the lake and catch the biggest fish in the lake but to be successful over time i feel you need to work a little more at it. Luck is always needed but you can do your best to increase your odds by formulating a plan.
On this session i had one rod, fishing towards a snag its all i dared, it was placed just down in the margin to my left besides a overhanging bush. Dark and mysterious water beneath and being un-fishable beyond its leaves it look the perfect place to find carp. Having seen some nice carp caught by my mate Ste i knew there where better fish to be had in the pool and my mentality was now in trying to find a method that would see me picking up these better carp.
The rod placed on the bite alarm it did not take long for the tell tale taps on the tip to start, over time i have learnt to read the taps and work out if bream where at the feeder or carp, but at the time of this session i was dipping and diving for the rod with every line bite and aggressive move of the feeder by feeding fish. The rod of course then wrapped round and it was hands on the reel to stop the fish in its tracks before it reached the safety of the roots. Out in open water the fish was a different prospect and was soon in the net waiting to be unhooked, a nice single figure mirror.
The fish returned and the hot sun beating down i could see the odd car moving around in the upper layers and i knew it would be a waiting game for them to settle down and go on the feed. I also knew there was the odd fish holding in the back of the snag i was fishing as tell tale swirls of them moving gave away their presence. They where deep in though and i knew would need tempting with regular casting to build up a bed of smelly bait in the area.
A few casts and signs of a fish on the bait started and this one must have been on the feed hard as it did not take long for the the violent taps to result in a run. A hard fighting common was my reward.
The swim after this went through a big lull and with the sun beating down hard and the mozzys biting even harder i did consider calling it a day. Its a tough one as you know if you wait it out the fish will come but it comes down to the decision if you can be bothered waiting for it.
The lull in activity was passed a by a bit easier by some nice sized bream moving into the swim. They where great to see and i guess any fish is better than no fish on the bank. They showed me the need to keep casting regular as there was plenty of mouths to feed.
Although the bream where a good addition to the action i also knew they where a sure sign that the carp where not on the feed or in the area. These bream would soon be pushed out by a group of carp coming in. A hour or so passed and the started to finally sulk behind the tree line. As the last of its light lit my nearside margin i saw a large group of carp sulk into the baited area, where my theories correct? where these fish moving to the now warmer end of the lake?.
The excitement levels grew and having just recast i knew this shoal would be met with a nice bed of pellet. Signs of feeding fish where soon showing as big bubbles rose from the swim and then there was two beeps on the bite alarm and a slow bend in the rod. Grabbing the rod there was solid weight at the other end and thankfully the fish moved slowly out into the lake by itself. The fights itself was more of a battle of attrition than any long runs for freedom as the carp shook its head from side to side. It woke up under the rod tip briefly but as fights went it was quite poor and it was only as i slid the carp over the net i saw it was a decent fish. Ont the scales i was rewarded with a new PB of 13lb 2oz,
By the time i had taken the pics and slid here back it felt right to call it a day on the session, i left buzzing and the woes of work where left by the waterside, i love fishing. Video is of the carp going back in the warm evening glow.
Second Special Session in a week....
So with the last PB still seeing me floating on air i returned to the lake later that week to find the banks a bit busier and the swim i was sat in the previous week fully occupied. I decided to set up on the other bank and there was only one spot to put the bait and that was right on the edge of the sunken tree. This side of the bank allowed you to fish close to the snag as you have the angle to apply pressure on the fish to get it away from the snag.
To do this type of fishing you do need to have the backbone in the rod and the right strength line. I had loaded these reels with 15lb maxima from my previous car fishing and knowing how snaggy this swim is i upped the hook line from a 7lb to a 10lb hook link, boy was a glad i made that decision!
Some would say this i far too heavy for just carp fishing and they might be right but its what i had to work with and in my opinion its better to know you have the strength to get fish out rather than be losing fish and leaving them with tackle in their mouths. In passed sessions i had become accustomed to the set up and i could tell from how long the feeder took to hit bottom just how deep it was. Dropping the bait about 2 foot from the snag i was pleased to find it quite shallow, great news i thought.
The rod in place the drag set quite tight and i positioned myself just next to the rod so i was straight on it. The action was really really really slow and it seemed to take an age before i got a bite but eventually three taps on the rod and again two beeps on the tip saw me lifting into a fish.
This fight was epic it was hit and hold at the start which saw me dunking the rod below the water and holding the clutch to not give the fish an inch of line. The rod bent round and a huge boil coming up just of the tree i knew i had stopped the fish but i just needed it to turn. Thankfully she did and she zoomed out into the lake making one heart stopping long run to the middle she was one powerful fish!
The run stopped i noticed a little lad who was fishing with his day on the next peg appear to my left. I had my heart in my mouth every time the fish came up to the top as i knew it was a nice fish but every time it came up and shot off on another run this little lad would jump in the air living every second of the fight! It was funny to watch and added to the fight. It was some fight as even when i got her up in the water she had some power and time and time again made hard lunges for the snags.
Eventually and with my arm feeling like it was about to fall off the fish showed signs of giving in and thankfully went into the net first time, she was a huge common and i knew it was a pb for sure, easily the biggest carp i had seen on the bank. The fish rested in the landing net i sat back and got my own breath back!
I knew my mate was on his way down for a natter so i left her to sulk in the carp net for a few minutes while i recovered! Time to weigh the fish and i nipped along the bank to see if the little lad wanted to come and have a look at the fish. I knew struggling lift the net form water it was heave and onto the scales i was over the moon to see them settle on 18lb10oz, now that is a carp PB i thought!!
Speaking to the young lad while waiting for ste it was great to hear he had just started fishing with his dad and his biggest fish to date was a roach. It was great listening to his stories about fishing and to see his reaction to the carp which just added to the experience but i think most of all about this evening i will remember him jumping up and down out of the corner of my eye.
A quick chat with ste and he took some great pictures for me of this special fish, cheers mate.
A good chew of the fat with Ste about our plans for the upcoming river season and he was off on his way. After he left i fished on for a hour or two and picked up two more fish.
The night for me will be remembered for that special fish. A upper double i knew just had to come sooner or later but as in most fishing it comes when you least expect it. Two new personal bests in a week and i was absolutely buzzing!
Till next time