Friday, 26 April 2013

Early Mornings Are good For The Soul

A warm welcome to this week’s blog update and I would like to open this week’s blog update by talking about the emulsifying branch of our sport that is carp fishing and my quest for one over 10lb.  I am now around a month into this quest and I am beginning to think that I have bit off more than I can chew by choosing such a natural venue to target for my very first taste of carp fishing and maybe I should have cut my teeth on waters with a higher stocking density.

I knew that carp fishing would mess around with my head a bit but I dint think the demons would set in so fast, is nyt rig tangled?? Have they eaten any of the bait?? If they haven’t am I fishing over a 100 boilies?? Are there any carp in this pool?? All these questions go round and around in your head both when you are on the bank and while you are away from it and thinking about this place, it does really get into your mind carp fishing.

The time had come to stop sticking and start twisting and questions needed to be answered, fortunately for me the most important one was answered late on Friday evening when a local lad dropped into my swim for a chat and confirmed, to my relief, that there are a good number of carp in the pool peaking at 24lb with a good number of doubles and plenty of smaller carp so really good news on that front.  I was at the time of his arrival around 5 hours into another blank on the boilies and starting to think they were not going to be the way to go on here and this hunch was confirmed by my visitor who informed me that boilies are not the way to go and more natural baits perform better and as you will read in the update later on this was confirmed the next day when I returned to fish maggot and hit a carp.

This only leave two questions unanswered in is my presentation ok and has the bait I have already put in been eaten, well, the second of these I will just have to cross my fingers and set my mind set to the fact the bait has been eaten and is all gone but still be a bit conservative with my new baiting approach for the first few weeks on the new bait and the first question will be worked on this weekend when we fish flushing meadows, I will be solely fishing a one rod approach on the bite alarm for the carp given the stocking density of this water it will let me know if my rigs are working or not.

My hope is by the end of this week to be in a situation where I have complete confidence in my rigs I am using in that they work and catch fish to out my mind at ease when fishing Curlston Mere in the future.  It does leave me with a surplus of boilies and I intend to spend some time on the local Warrington Anglers waters like Moore Quarry and Grey mist mere when I have some free time of a weekend. 

This blog has always been a true and honest representation of my angling life and will always be that way, the lows are just as important as the highs in my opinion and to give a true idea of my thoughts and actions then honesty is always the avenue I will go down.

The world of social media this week landed an amazing video into my news feed and I have to say it took my breath away at what this group of people fishing in America have managed to capture it surely puts the pike on the Dee taking your dace as you bring them in into perspective that’s for sure, people who follow the blog on Facebook will have already seen this and for those not following the blog on Facebook take a look for yourselves below:-

Away from angling but still keeping “jaws” in mind we visited the theatre this week to see the Lion King Musical at the Palace Theatre and I have to say I was amazed by the production quality and atmosphere created by this most magnificent of productions from start to finish you are left gobsmacked by what is being created in front of you and their representation of this classic film from our childhood.  The end of the show and n ot a single bad word could be heard from anyone with everyone you spoke to saying just how good of a show it was, I think it is coming to the Liverpool Empire Theatre next year and I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t seen it to go, you will not regret it!! Unfortunately cameras were not allowed inside the theatre so I couldn’t get any pictures for the blog.

On to this week’s fishing….

“The Early Bird Catches The Roach”

Saturday morning and hunched in my armchair I tentatively sipped a strong cup of coffee as tried to jump start my body into action a job I had hoped would have been accomplished by the shock of a 4am alarm clock going off in my ear but a few late lie ins since the river closed had left my body well out of routine and like I craved the caffeine kick of the dark cup of coffee my body craved the warmth of my bed.

The coffee finished I set about loading my car for the fishing trip ahead, in the pitch dark I clumsily shuffled the gear into the back of the car my body working on auto pilot.  The past two weeks I had not left the house till around 7am and arriving a few hours after sunrise I felt I was not only missing out on the best time of day for fishing but the best time of day for the soul.

The car loaded and I had no destination dilemma’s this week as my mind was set on a session on Curlston mere for its silver fish but unlike most weeks on the bank I was limited to just a morning session.  I set off on my way just as the sun was beginning to illuminate the horizon with its ochre glow and I decided to stop off on the way to capture the sun coming up over the River Mersey Eastury.

As you can see from the picture the overnight skies had been clear and it meant we had been exposed to an overnight frost, not good for fishing but created a beautiful moment as the sun caused the grass to look like it had been bejewelled as the early morning rays gave the grass an almost glistening effect.  A quick few snaps and I was back on my way to my chosen destination as I already felt late but I had no one to blame but myself.

Arriving on the banks of the pool the sun was already in full view and the water was reminiscent of a witches cauldron as the steam rose from the water’s surface creating the an almost haunting atmosphere and cutting through that mist was a badelynge of ducks and in true spring fashion their numbers where heavy on the side of the drakes.  Excited for the session ahead I hastily unloaded the car and set up in a swim that allowed me to fish close in whilst presenting a boilie bait for the carp on spot number one.

The overnight bone chilling frost was cutting through my thick jumper and I was left regretting my decision to cut down a layer of clothing for the spring months although I did still remain thankful I had decided not to part with my Skee Tex thermal willies as they kept my feet warm at least.  The frost did come as a real surprise to myself as I had been on this same place the previous evening for the carp quest and had basked in glorious sunshine so I was left I no doubt that this shock drop in temperature would affect the fishing quality.  

The swim I chose, in Hein site, was a huge mistake as it was situated in the last place to receive the warmth from the sun’s rays due to the thick tree line to its rear but it is the only place I can fish spot one from as all the other swims don’t give you the angle to stop the fish from reaching the safety of the snags should I hook one that is.   I went about my setting up routine which I have to admit is so set in stone I am sure there is an air of OCD about regimental agenda but eventually I was in a situation to make a start a deep breath and I began to build the swim with 2 or 3 maggots every few minutes always remembering the golden rule “you can never take out what you have put in but you can put in more if their having it”.

My setup rig wise was simplicity itself utilising some home-made polystyrene floats that take only two number eight weights to make them cock perfectly this allows the bait to fall naturally and also the fish feel no resistance when it picks up the bait, deadly for both small and larger species of fish.  The rig already made before I set out I was fishing in no time and I expected to wait a bit for my first bite due to the cold but before I could think twice the poly ball shot under and my first fish of the day was ion the bank a small but very welcome roach.

I waited what seemed an eternity for the next bite to the point I felt it wasn’t going to happen and this was in my mind purely down to the being in the cold shade as all along the far bank fish where topping.  In true fashion I missed the next bite, was it the shock of the flat going under or was it that I am getting older I pray it’s the penultimate one.  As I waited for the fish to move in I was treated to the unmistakable calls and flight patterns of a pair of lapwings in the field in front of me, their unusual call and their unmistakable plunging dives making them easy to identify.

The sun eventually penetrated through the tree branches and almost instantaneously the bites came and I managed to string together a few more roach and again missed as many as I connected with.  I was beginning to think the swim could really come alive when I struck into something solid that certainly wasn’t a fish and was a pretty decent sized snag and on 2lb line I wasn’t holding out much hope but thankfully it came to the top and I managed to snag the branch in the mesh in my net and get it in, least I now know there is a clean bottom in this swim.

The session moved into late morning and again the lack of activity in the swim was made up for by the local wildlife when I was treated to the local pair of crows seeing off a low flying buzzard and for a good 5 or 10 minutes they battle to see off this predator from their territory.  I kept drip feeding the swim and eventually the float bobbed into life and gently moved away and I struck into a fish that held deep and was certainly better than any fish I had caught that morning a real arm wrestle ensued and eventually the metallic flanks of a superb 14oz roach graced the net and I was more than made up, it was in mint condition and a joy to have caught and in that one fish the session was made.

The fish returned safely I settled back into that last hour of the session and managed to catch a few more roach but one thing did happen just before I packed in that made my mind up about my approach to carp fishing this pool and that was the fact I hit a carp on my pole rod on a single maggot, now it wasn’t a massive carp and certainly wasn’t over 10lb but it was big enough to eat a boilie I would have said.   The fact I hit this carp on maggot from a single morning session whilst I have done numerous hours on there on boilies not to mention I had a carp rod out on boilie the whole of that morning as well without a touch has made my mind up that boilies are not the way to go on here.

I leave you all with a sunrise picture I took on my way to work this week…

Till next week I wish you all

Tight lines


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Pristine Roach and SAS Carpin' on flushing Meadows

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update and thank you too all the people who got involved in the thread I posted on the maggot drowning forum about the River Mania idea.  The general consensus was that it was a great idea with many people embracing the idea and saying it is an event they would look to enter if it came into fruition which was great to read.  As of writing this introduction to the blog there has been no more information released on this event but as soon as any news is broadcasted I will include it in the following weeks update.

Over the past two weeks I have purchased the licences I will need for the foreseeable future in my Environment Agency licence and the Warrington Anglers Card.  I must say I was really impressed with the new way you pay online for your EA licence and was even more impressed with the rapid delivery as I paid online for the licence on the Thursday evening and the licence landed on my doorstep in Mondays post, cant argue with that.  The Warrington Anglers Licence I have a bit more trepidation about as I wonder just how much use I am going to get out of it as up to date I am yet to fish a water on this card with my recent trips being to Flushing Meadows for my main blog and Curlston Mere for my mini carp blog which both are venues not on the Warrington Anglers Card, ultimately the longevity of this licence will come down to how good the other waters are on the River Dee and I think even more importantly how much the other new licence we are looking to purchase takes over our fishing time.

The carp mini blog is taking up a lot of my free time at the moment and I am not complaining at all in fact to quote a well known phrase “IM LOVING IT”.  The challenge of getting the rigs, baiting levels and timing of the trips right is all fuelling my enthusiasm for this quest and I have a feeling it may start to overspill into the main blog from time to time, for example, I am thinking I need to test these rigs out on a venue I know holds a lot of carp to make sure what I am doing actually works so I am thinking of getting my carp anglers head on next time I go flushing meadows and have a relaxing session sat behind that buzzer.  All carp anglers will tell you confidence is a massive thing and I have found the demons in your head do show up really quickly! Knowing my rig actually works will be a worthwhile exercise.

For anyone interested in keeping up with my mini blog chasing a 10lb plus carp the blog is on a page link on the top tool bar or you can find it on the link below, please remember this is my first time dipping my toes into the world of bite alarms, hair rigs and boilies and mistakes will and have been made lol….

Between fishing of a weekend and the trips to bait up and fish curlston mere I have been in contact with Calor Gas about a future product review that should feature on the blog in the coming weeks and is something I am really looking forward to getting stuck into as the item looks top quality and testing it out and reviewing it I know is going to be loads of fun.

                                    “Gusts bring out the roach”

For a few weeks now I have been the only angler on my trips to the bank and this continued into this week’s trip as well I had my Warrington Anglers Licence in my pocket but upon flicking through it I found myself struggling to find a venue to fish that pricked my inner angler.  I sat a while in my car a pondered my options and decided that I would travel and do another session on Flushing Meadows fishery so it was back in the house for a warming cup of coffee before I set off for the fishery around 6.45 in time for it opening at 7am.

As many of the regular readers of the blog will know we are really early birds on the bank often arriving at our chosen pegs well before the first sign of daylight and I have to admit these past few weeks I have missed that part of my angling day in my opinion there is no better feeling than being at the waterside as the world around you wakes up.

I arrived at the fishery as the farmer was heading back up the track from opening up and there were already one or two cars parked up.  I decided to fish the island pool again but this time I fished the back of the island hoping to encounter some of the carp I had seen the man last week get into.  I set up two rigs both on polystyrene pop up balls with a number 8 shot below the float and another an inch or so from the hook, one rig was for under my feet to my right amongst some overhanging brambles and the other was for tight up close to the island, my bait for the day was maggot and I also decided to bring a long a tin of chopped luncheon meat.

The pool was flat calm as I set up with the only disturbance coming from the pair of Canadian geese that had decided to call this pool home searching for an early breakfast.  This place being in the middle of the countryside you are always guaranteed to see your fair share of wildlife and it was whilst plumbing up I spotted a owl gliding low over the field to my right, obviously returning home with a last meal of the day, its sights like this that make if for me, whether it be the buzzards around midday or the fox grabbing a drink in the late evening before its nocturnal hunt for food I just love being in and around the daily lives of these most beautiful of British wildlife.

The session began with me feeding maggot on my inside line and as is always the case with this heavily stocked place the first bite of the day wasn’t long in coming with a small rudd at the front of the dinner queue.  I early bite is always a promising sign no matter what the size of fish and I was straight back in followed by a generous sprinkling of maggots.  The swim was coming along nicely with the rudd being edged out with some nice roach.

The swim had carp written all over it what with its overhanging prickly brambles and deep margin but my chosen quarry failed to show themselves in this swim, most people would have been disappointed by this lack of carp action but not me I was in my element catching some clonking roach the two other guys fishing the pool must have thought I was mad taking pictures of the roach I was catching.

The quality of the roach fishing was really surprising as roach over 10oz kept coming one after another and it again left me thinking what the net would have looked like if keep nets were allowed on this fishery. 

Whilst catching these roach close in I was periodically feeding the island margin with small pieces of meat this act alone was becoming difficult though due to the increasing wind that was blowing from left to right.  I continued to catch roach on the inside line till the better fish dried up and the smaller fry moved back in when this happens its always time to change swim as feeding these fish off on maggot is nigh on impossible.

The wind by now was blowing in intermittent gusts so I knew fishing the far shelf was going to be hard but I knew the rewards would be there.  My first put in close to the margin saw the float zoom off straight away and I was into my first carp of the day and boy it went well on the blue hydro elastic.

The second put in again saw another small carp take the bait and this continued for a good hour where I would quickly fish in between the hard gusts of wind and each time I was rewarded with a small carp or nice roach.  It was just after returning a carp the farmer called round for the money and the lads to my right must have asked if they would be allowed to move as no sooner had he left they moved to the pond further up which was protected from the wind by a high hedgerow.

I continued to fight against mother matures and caught a few more small carp but I eventually had to give in when my pole was blown so hard it caused the whole rig out of the water.  It was clear the fish where there but common sense had to prevail and I quickly packed in my gear and moved over to the pool the other two lads had moved two.

I settled into a peg that I had a deep margin to my left and a shallow margin to my right it’s a peg I have never fished before but after pluming up I was confident of a few fish.  The swim a mirror of the previous close in swim in that it was full of roach with only one difference the roach where really small roach and almost certainly last years fry.  I decided to make the most of it and just go all out to see how many fish I could catch and it was great fun.

It was while putting another maggot on the hook I noticed some dark shadows in the margins of the swim down form me and upon closer inspection where found to be quite large carp sucking at the margins.  The inner child in me was released and armed with my white hydo elastic and a top section of pole I proceeded to sneak into position to try and catch one of these carp.  My first chance came as one moved right into the margin below me, I gently lowered a piece of meat into the swim but straight away the fish turned and boiled away from the margin DAM!!  The margin was thick with carp and it wasn’t long before another fish moved in, in fact two of them moved into the margin this allowed the inner specimen hunter in me to come out as I gently lowered a piece of meat into the swim but this time I held the bait in the surface film of the water.

The carp was straight on to the smell as it began searching for this new smell in its area and it wasn’t long before I made its search really easy and down the trap the meat went and the fish turned and literally hooked itself.  The elastic oozed from the tip of the pole and from experience I knew I was into one of the better carp in the pool and boy did it fight with me resorting to sinking the tip under the water at times to increase the drag on the fish.  The fish was having none of it and every time I got it close in the edge I could not for the life of me get it off the bottom, time and time again the fish came close in and effortlessly glided back out into the middle of the pool. 

After what seemed like a lifetime the fish came to the surface and I took my chance to net the fish, result!! My first proper carp of the year and I was made up with this fish as it was in mint condition and a really nice fish to look at on the bank and it was straight over to the unhooking mat for a quick picture and to be weighed.

The fish went 6lb 6oz on the scales and wrapped up a really enjoyable day on the bank and I would say it’s the first session I have been out on my own of late when I have thoroughly enjoyed it.  I had a few more trys for another carp off the top but ultimately the rain moved in and I called it a day.

Till next week I wish you tight lines and leave you with this picture posted on facebook this week.


Friday, 12 April 2013

River Mania to Become A Reality??

A warm welcome to this week’s blog update and I start this week’s update by talking about a new river competition that is set to take place later this year with a working name of River Mania.   The idea of his competition is for River anglers to have a big money competition on a similar scale as the still water competition Fisho-Mania and is the brain child of the famous river match angler Dave Harrell.

The idea that is being suggested is to have 20 matches all around the country with 60 pegs in each match the 60 pegs will be split into 3 sections with the winner of each of those three sections going through to the final 60 peg match for the prize money.  The prize money being mentioned is up around £10,000 for the winner with good back up prizes if the participation levels throughout the whole country are high enough.  Obviously for a competition on this scale to work it is going to take some massive organisation by both angling clubs and match organisers and I am pleased to say it seems that enough angling clubs have contacted Dave allowing their waters to be used for the idea to be passed over to the Angling Trust for serious consideration.

Fishing the banks of my local river every week it is easy to see how low in popularity river angling has become compared to the busy still waters and commercials and it is not too hard to notice when you are one of the youngest faces on the bank.  The arm of river angling has declined from what it was many years ago and there are sections of rivers that once where lined week in week out with anglers that now have one or two pegs on them with the rest completely reclaimed by nature. I know of two places this is the case on the River Dee and I also know from fishing the river that apart from the busy winter venue I fish that me and my uncle only saw a handful of other anglers on the bank during the whole of our summer campaign. 

I myself have never fished a river match before but I would certainly be looking to take part in this competition as I feel it will be not only a really exciting experience but I would love to be part of something that I believe will really help the promote river angling in this country and in time I really think we will look back at this competitions introduction as a moment that possibly changed river angling in this country.  I know there are a few river anglers who read this blog so let’s try and spread the word about this fantastic competition and get this idea as much support as possible as at the end of the day it is only us anglers that can make it a success.

More information on venues and prize money is expected to be released shortly so check out the link below for more information as it breaks.

For more information check out Dave Harrell’s Facebook page here:

Dave also talks about this idea in this interview released a week or so back:

This past two weeks the blogs mini carp blog has taken a front seat and I have been putting my exploits up on there, baiting up and my first session are on there so far along with some information on my plan for the rest of this year’s quest so feel free to check it out on the page bar at the top of the blog or on the following link.

As part of this mini blog I have found myself returning home just as the sun is setting and it has presented me with a perfect opportunity to capture a few pictures of the local nature reserve and the Mersey estuary.

On to this weeks fishing:

Friday afternoon was spent enduring a cold blank in pursuit of the carp for the blogs mini blog so come Saturday I was determined to get a few bites and that float going under so I decided to put my faith in my local commercial Flushing Meadows.   I actually called in this place last weekend and the pool I fished in this update was frozen solid with no chance of fishing it as you can see below.

With this in mind I arrived on the banks of flushing a few hours later than normal and it was gone 9am by the time I settled in my peg.  There were a few other anglers on the pool when I arrived and the peg I had wanted to fish was taken so I settled on a peg on the far margin on the above photo, I picked this peg as it gave me plenty of margin to go at and the option to fish deeper water straight out in front of me.

My plan for the day was to fish solely maggot and fish it high up the shelf to see if any carp where willing to feed the weather was surely warm enough for carp with clear blue skies and the warm sun on my back I was confident of picking up at least one.

The action was really slow and it seemed an age to even get the roach going let alone any carp but eventually I managed to get the roach feeding and was rewarded more with numbers of fish than quality but at least the float was going under.

The roach continued to come in fits and starts and it was noticeable the angler on the back of the island was having a really good day and catching a lot of carp, this can be the case on flushing meadows at times and myself and my uncle have had many a session on there where one of us has been bagging up on nice carp while the other is scratching around with bits.

The sun on my back and the float going under steadily I was a happy man but I just felt I should have been picking up a carp if they were feeding so ferociously for the other angler so with around a hour and a half of the session left I began to up the feed rate and really pile in some maggots hoping to prey on the greedy nature of the carp.  A few small roach and eventually I got what I was hoping for as the elastic melted from the end of the pole tip what I hadn’t remembered to change my top kit to a thicker elastic and it became really obvious early on in the fight that I was connected to a decent carp and that I was in for a long battle on only blue hydro elastic.

The fish was in no doubt as to who was in charge in this exchange as it powered from left to right and back again, I did all I could to gain control of the fish by submerging the tip of my pole in the water to increase the strain on the fish and I managed to turn the fish a few times from reaching the other anglers, I was in a right mess!!  Eventually I got the carp under my feet and I saw how big it was and I estimated it to be around 5-7lb and I must say around 5 minutes into this fish my arm was beginning to ache and as one of the other anglers commented “its having none of it”. 

The fish was getting to the stage when it was beat and I had the fish under some type of control and all of a sudden the line flew back at me, it baffles me at times how a fish can impart so much pressure on the hook at still not come off yet the stage in the battle where the fish is under control but still on a tense elastic the hook pops out.  I must say I was gutted as it would have been the first carp of the year and I knew in the conditions it could have been my only chance of a carp in that session.

The session continued to count down to its end and as time was just about to be called I struck into another strangely delicate bite and was connected to another carp but it was not in the same league as the previous one and armed with white hydro elastic it was soon in the landing net and on the bank.  It was a strange looking carp as it didn’t look like a common carp or a mirror but more like a really big crucian mixed with a common.

It was only when turning the fish over for a picture of its other side I noticed the fish only had one eye.

This was the last action from the trip and I must admit after the hard session the night before I was happy to get a few bites and left the fishery with my fishing itch well and truly scratched for another week.

This weekend I am hoping to get out on the bank both days, Sunday I will be on the carp quest as it is forecast to be the warmer day and I am undecided at the moment as to whether to go to flushing meadows or visit a water on the WAA card.

Till next week I wish you all

Tight lines