Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Exploring New Waters 3

Saturday 24th April. Sean & Brian. 11am to 5-45pm

It was a later than usual start for various reasons and we decided to stay fairly local. Of the 4 free to fish local pools I've been looking at, I was yet to give one of them a proper go.

Pegs are limited and on arrival a group of kids were occupying one of the 4 fishable areas. We decided to walk down to the far end of the pool and then opted to fish the pool next door as it was totally free of all things youth like.

We settled on a couple of pegs in one of the few clear areas. It was a new spot to me and I set about testing it out. I was a bit put off by the lack of depth though - maybe just 3 foot, but it was worth a shot. It didn't really happen though and I just managed a couple of Perch before a swan moved in on some floating groundbait Brian had introduced. I don't think it was meant to float!

The swan proceeded to eat all before it and with only a shallow depth to the swim it set about devouring everything I'd introduced. The kids from the other pool had now joined us and so it seemed like a good time to make the move on to the other pool.

I must give a mention to another lad who briefly joined us in between those events though. He spent about 10 minutes fishing quietly in the far corner before popping over for a chat. Now I've nothing against kids - we were all young and keen once. I'll always give them a chance and although I'm no Matt Hayes, I'll lend a bit of advice if the occasion warrants it. Of course the advice depends on their attitude and can be anything from sound angling advice to sling your hook mate!

I needn't have worried about giving advice to this fellow though as he knew it all and was intent on teaching me a lesson or two! I was keen to see what I could glean out of him though because he had fished the pools a lot more than I had. Boy could he talk though and every silence was greeted with him asking me another question. It was like fishing with Anne Robinson!

Anyway, as a result of the discussion, I now know for a fact that the pools contain Carp into the upper 30s, Bream to 9lb, Perch to almost 4lb and Roach of 2.5-3lb. This lad has seen them all! I'd love to believe it and I really hope someone can prove me wrong, but there's a strong whiff of the brown stuff still lingering in the air I think!

On to the other pool which is the biggest on the site and by far the most appealing. I was pleased to plumb up and find about 6ft of depth on a fairly short cast. I was far more confident of catching something decent and I set up a sleeper rod on the alarm with some corn for bait. Rather appropriately it slept....

The float rod was proving frustrating and the bites were very finicky. I did manage to hit the odd bite though and ended up with a few fish for my efforts including Roach, Rudd, Roach/Bream Hybrid and a Skimmer Bream. Brian had an equally frustrating result on the next peg.

Towards the end of the session both of us noticed loads of bubbles in both our swims. However, nothing significant emerged and I'd have lost money if I was a betting man (which I am!). It looked nailed on for a Tench. I'll give this pool another go fairly soon, as I'm sure there's potential in it.

We have our eyes on other pools in the area though and a short sneak preview the previous day saw a 1lb+ Perch coming out of one of them while we visited a couple of our other fishing friends. Although it's interesting to try new waters, we're both counting down to June 16th for the rivers. We've managed to secure membership with a small club which has a section of the Avon above Stratford. I doubt it will prove to be anything special (ever the optimist!), but having seen a lot of the upper Avon over the past 20 odd years, it'll be nice to try a brand new stretch.

STOP PRESS - I received a text from my brother last night and it said that my parents had been out walking the dog at lunchtime and had seen a massive fish in the local brook. Now I know quality fish from tiny brooks is nothing new following Jeff's (Idler's Quest) superb winter Roach catch. However, the brook in question is one where I've rarely seen a fish of any size in the past 30 odd years and I saw a lot of it while playing close to it as a kid.

I've just questioned my mum and she tells me it was "a yard long" and "the biggest fish she's ever seen". She couldn't believe what she was seeing. Believing it to be a bit of an illusion - maybe a fish shaped log perhaps, I questioned if she saw it move. "Yes, it jumped out of the water". It got spooked and headed off downstream apparently. It sounded like it had to be a Pike.

The location was the brook that runs under the A444 between the Ricoh Arena and M6 junction 3. The fish was last seen heading under the A444 heading towards Longford. Maybe it got fat on 1lb+ Roach and is on it's way back downstream for seconds!

I realise I've talked about tall stories of big fish earlier on in this post, but my mum is fairly reliable and she had 2 other equally surprised witnesses with her. I have no reason to doubt her - I just wish I'd been there to see it. With Jeff's successes in mind it definitely makes you wonder what these small untested waters could throw up with a bit of pioneering. Food for thought...

Sunday, 18 April 2010

A Day of Two Halves

1st Half - Ryton Pool (Opening Time)

With Brian out of action this week I hatched a plan for the Sunday. With the weather forecast looking good I thought I'd set about putting matters right at Ryton. Looking at some of the blog reports which have seen a fair few Tench coming out, I was optimistic.

I was first into the car park and was just getting my gear out when Danny "The Lure of Angling" arrived. Not knowing who I was he whipped the gear out of the car and was ready for a swift march up the bank to his chosen swim. It was an overtaking manoeuvre that Lewis Hamilton would have been proud of.

To be fair, it doesn't take a lot to overtake me these days. The new seat box has its benefits and with my newly added DIY wheel kit made from a sawn up trolley, it's now more mobile. It just takes a bit of prep work before I can move it anywhere! I had a brief chat with Danny to introduce myself and we moved off to our swims.

This was only going to be a shortish session so I opted for a peg on the roadside bank that I did OK from at this time last year. I stuck with one rod and just went for a simple float rig, over the usual 4-5 balls of groundbait.

An hour in and I finally broke my Ryton duck for this year with a Perch of about 12oz. I thought that things would kick off from there, but Ryton reared its ugly side again and had other ideas. It turned out to be the only fish of the 4 hour session. Still, the early sun was very pleasant and I had part two to come later.

I spoke to Danny a couple of times during the session and he hadn't had anything prior to me leaving. Saying that, he had circumnavigated the place by that time and was now over on the other bank, so he could have been amongst the action for all I know. I'm sure he'll report back in due course. From what he said it sounded like the Saturday wasn't the best of days on the Pool, despite plenty of anglers on site. As ever, it remains a frustrating place.

The next session of the day after lunch was much closer to home and was Exploring New Waters Part 2. I had previously identifed 4 pools on a local disused site and I wanted to take a look at the 2 that were closest to my home. Similar to the previous week I would split a short session between the 2 pools.

The first pool was shallow, gin clear, but I could see a few small fish moving about, so I was optimistic of not blanking. It was full of interesting features:

Reed beds, lily pads, islands with trees and shallows - oh and if you look carefully you'll make out a carrier bag on the far bank, while the near bank margins contain a Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council red recycling crate. Motorbikes whizzing around a few feet behind my peg just added to the experience! I doubted my sanity, but figured on nothing ventured, nothing gained.

It didn't take long to start catching, but they were only small 1oz Rudd. In the gin clear shallow water they kept backing off though, but to be honest I wasn't too fussed. Eventually I did find one better Rudd - a monster of about 6oz!

I had been monitoring events at the other pool which was about a 150 yard walk and wasn't being fished. The motorbikes had gone, but a noisy family gathering (almost as bad as the motorbikes!) then descended on the pool. Once they started to move after half an hour, it signalled my chance to home in on the pool.

This pool was a little smaller in area and a totally different shape. It was almost like a bowl and at first glance it looks a bit bland. However, there was a lot of cover in the margins and there was a bit of colour in the water too. It was equally shallow, but again I was confident having seen a fish or two rising.

Note the delightful backdrop of a local factory!

10 minutes in and things weren't really happening. A very small Perch broke the deadlock and I figured that I was in for a load more 1oz fish. Then the Rudd moved in and I had a hectic 90 minutes or so. It was a fish a chuck from there, with Rudd in the 4-6oz range.

There were a few different, but pretty looking fish, amongst the Rudd though and I'd welcome any views on what they are.

It has the classic Rudd shape and an upturned lip, but not a red fin in sight. I'm assuming if it had any Roach in it, then there would definitely be red fins. Does it have Bream in it perhaps? I've caught plenty of Roach/Bream hybrids before and none have looked like this, so I'm ruling that out. I'm plumping for Rudd/Bream.
I now know broadly what to expect from these pools, so I'll return at some point to see if I can get amongst something a little better. Timing is the key though if you want a half peaceful day at this venue. Sunny Sunday afternoons in April are not perhaps the best choice!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Exploring New Waters Part 1

As I hinted at in my last post, I managed to fit in a short exploratory session today. It was a bit of a bonus session due to various things I had on and I wasn't expecting to wet a line this weekend. I was secretly a bit miffed about the prospect of no fishing, given the favourable weather.

I'd done a bit of further work the previous evening when I got on my bike and went for a bit of fish spotting on local ponds. The missus knows me too well now though. Whenever I get the bike out, it invariably results in me heading off for some kind of water and with ulterior motives. Still, it all helps with the fitness - that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Anyway, things fell into place and at 3-45pm on Sunday I finally got the all clear to head off fishing. The waters I wanted to fish are two ponds that Jeff (Idler's Quest) had fished last year. I didn't realise that they had been plundered by a fellow blogger in the past until Jeff mentioned them in his most recent post.

The plan was to split up the short session into two parts, trying both ponds. I took the hike down to the furthest pond and found it was empty and looking rather pleasant. It’s more secluded than the larger pond and it looked very fishy. Due to this being a very unplanned session, I didn’t have a lot of bait with me, so this was going to be a simple approach – either they eat maggot or sweetcorn, or they go hungry.

The plan was to kick off with a simple maggot approach over a few small balls of corn laced groundbait. I figured I’d catch Roach or Rudd fairly easy, as there were plenty of small fish topping. From there, it would be a case of switching to corn to see if any bonus fish were around.

30 fishless minutes later and things were not going to plan, but I persevered and eventually a small Perch obliged.

Another 5 followed over the next 30 minutes, all of which were very dark in colour - presumably something to do with the gin clear water. I was then nearing the point when I was going to make my move. The next fish was a small Common Carp of about 8oz, which was a welcome change and prompted a change to corn. Next cast saw me bank another similar sized fish – this time a small Mirror Carp. Maybe I should have been bolder and gone with corn from the off I thought?

Those sentiments were still ringing in my head when another fish took the bait about 5 minutes later. This was another Common Carp and a bit better at 2lb 13oz. I know it’s not a monster, but on light tackle in weedy water, it was good fun. At this point I decided that I would stay put and see the session out on this pond.

A further Common probably just over the pound mark came out fairly soon after wards. I thought I was in for a hectic session, but the next hour proved to be frustrating. The bites went very finicky. It was a combination of bites starting, but not developing enough to warrant a strike. Those that did develop resulted in missed strikes. I started to question my approach, but it was certainly delicate enough. I was set to pack in at 7-15, but I wanted to winkle out one more fish and there were several last casts. About 20 minutes later I finally hooked a fish and it turned out to be a small Roach.

I shall definitely be back for another go – possibly a different pond next time. Having spoken to an interested passer by as I packed up, it seems that there are (or maybe were) some decent fish across 4 ponds in the area. I do find myself doubting people who talk of Roach between 2lb to 3lb though! However, if we apply a bullshit factor of a massive 50%, I’d still be overjoyed at the prospect of a free water within walking distance, holding Roach in the 1lb - 1.5lb class. I can live in hope for now, or is it ignorance?! Time will tell.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Ryton Part 2 - Brian Drops Off

Tuesday 6th April. Ryton Pool. Sean & Brian. 9am to 5-10pm.

I get the horrible feeling that my reports from Ryton Pool will start to resemble something like the Police Academy series of films. This is only the second episode and I'm already getting bored of the "action"!

We had no real plans for the day and we didn't make the decision to go to Ryton until we arrived at the tackle shop. We figured it should be warm enough to get amongst some fish there and Ryton has a few of the bonus fish we both crave for.

With no-one else in sight we wandered round to the back of the island where it was a little more sheltered from a brisk wind, albeit not a terribly cold wind. Brian settled down in the peg Roger built and I was on the left hand of the three sand bank pegs.

I won't attempt to describe the inactivity of the next 8 or so hours other than to say the scores were:
Sean - Blank
Brian - Royal Blank

At 4-55pm I was on a Royal Blank too. I had just got up to check out the car park situation by wandering to the higher ground nearer to Brian's peg. I had forgotten that the car park gets closed off just past the visitor centre at a given time and I hadn't bothered to check it on the way in. When I saw the car numbers dwindling to just two other cars, I started to wonder if I was on a lock in. I convinced myelf that all was well though (turned out to be right - gates close at 7pm currently).

Just as I sat down on my peg, I saw the float dip a little. I almost convinced myself I was seeing things, but then it moved again, before slowly dipping under the surface. I struck, but there was nothing there. In my past experiences at Ryton that's quite odd. My bites to fish ratio here has always been very high. I guess it was in keeping with the day though.

I did spend quite a bit of time fishing for Carp for once. I was that fed up waiting for the Tench or Perch (or some of those new Rudd!) to play ball on the maggot/float rig, that I used the sleeper rod to present a pellet for the Carp. Unlike those in the know who might cast into a known clear area, I simply cast into a known wet area and hoped for the best. I was actually quite surprised at how weed free quite a large area appeared to be. If nothing else, I've learned a bit more about the pool.

The highlight of the day was sadly missed by me. I had heard a bit of a crash from the next peg at one point, but I didn't think anything of it. We all have accidents during the day after all. However, it turned out that Brian had fallen asleep on his box and was woken up by unceremoniously falling off it and crashing into his rods!

I'm not sure when Ryton part 3 will happen. It will have to be timed right because Brian is losing faith with the place after 4 consecutive blanks - I think all of them being Royal blanks too. It's times like this when I wish I had recorded things last year.

I recall it starting slowly last year, but I caught Tench from the off (in April) - just the odd one each visit for a few visits (but with Perch showing too), until it picked up to several fish a session. I had a couple of short 4 hours sessions where I banked 30lb-35lb of mainly Tench and Perch with the odd small Carp thrown in. 50lb+ was easily on the cards if I had done a full day session.

Maybe the cold Winter has set everything back a few weeks and I'm just expecting too much too soon. Looking at other blogs, the odd fish are showing, but not in any numbers yet. I guess we'll have to be patient.

Looking at other things, I'm hatching some plans for a couple of free waters close to home during the closed season. It involves going back to my younger days and getting the bike out of the garage, while travelling light. I know they contain fish, but I have no idea what's in there. I'm hoping to be able to have a few short trial sessions later in the month.