As I am taking up match fishing this year I have decided to concentrate on commercial venues and the tactics associated with them. I have also decided to start writing a blog to keep a track of how I am doing and as a way of reviewing my fishing in an attempt to improve.
Having a couple days spare I decided I would start my 2012 fishing with a mini festival with the intention of practicing my pole fishing because, bar a bit of evening margin carp crunching, I have hardly used my pole over the last 12-18 months.
After asking around I picked Cunneries Fisheries in Chorley, Lancashire (http://www.thecunneries.co.uk/). This is a newish commercial fishery consisting of a lake, a match canal and a snake lake.
The plan was to fish as if I was fishing a match so five hours fishing and around an hours prep. As the main intention was to practice the long pole I was going to fish either the match canal or snake lake with the long pole for as much time as possible and only fish short if I was struggling or in the last hour.
After around a 35 minute drive I arrived at the venue with blue skies, light winds and an almost empty car park.
I had decided to fish the snake lake as I was aware it had fished very well in a match the previous weekend. The snake lake is the newest lake on the complex (I think it only opened last year) and although it is not the prettiest (needs some trees & vegetation etc) it is full of F1s (as I was later to find out!).
I decided to fish on the middle arm of the lake on the right hand side, with the wind blowing against my back. Unfortunately I can't say which peg I fished as not many pegs had markings. The peg I picked was about half way down.
|Not the prettiest lake but too busy catching fish to notice!|
So with the time being 09.30 I gave myself one hour to set up and plumb two lines. However as soon as I started to plumb up the wind got noticeably stronger. I began to plumb my long line to the opposite banking but the wind began to whip up a frenzy and I really struggled plumbing. Eventually I settled at 9.5 metres finding around three foot. I then plumbed a second short line at about 4 sections out in around four foot of water.
I had a different plan of attack in mind from each swim due to the information I had already gained.
On the long line feeding small nuggets of groundbait (Sonubaits F1) laced with maggots with double maggot on the hook. For the short line I intended to fish a 6mm expander (Ringers) over micro pellets.
On both lines I was using a Nick Gilbert Gimp XT 0.3g float 0.14 to 0.12 with a size 18 Kamasan B911 hook.
So 10.30 came and I began my session. Straight on on the long line and got blown all over the place, struggled badly to feed the line. After a minute or so I managed to feed it but I decided to scrap the plan and concentrate on the short line. If the wind did die down then I would try reverting back to this line.
|First fish of the day!|
Next put in, again feeding a pinch of micros, resulting in another shy bite and another F1 in the net around 7-8oz. This pattern continued for next half hour next four further F1s to 1lb and a nice fish of over 2lb. Then it died. No bites or knocks for the next half hour or so. Strange.
|F1 of over 2lb|
About 40 minutes later and still biteless, the bailiff turned up to collect his cash (£5). Chatting with him he asked if I was fishing bottom, to which I told him I was. I was then told to come off the bottom as it doesn't take much feeding to bring them off the bottom and and start feeding.
Couple of hours in and catching steadily disaster struck. Along with the high winds came a heavy shower. Time to get the brolly out. Brolly arm goes on the box followed by my brolly. I then turned round to look at the clouds in the distance to see if the shower was here for long. Next thing I hear is a big crash as my brolly takes off taking my seat box with it straight into my peg!!
I eventually managed to drag my box, minus the top half of the brolly, out of the water only to see a reel case containing a reel floating to the middle and then sinking!! Unbelievable!!!
|Trashed power kit!|
So I moved two pegs down and inspected all my kit. One top kit completely trashed and unusable, and all my pellets and maggots gone. So I pumped some more 6mm expanders and I had some 4mm feed pellets in my bag and used these instead of micros. I plummed a similar short line and began fishing a foot off the bottom. Straight away getting line bites and eventually after shallowing another foot I was again into fish. For the rest of the afternoon I managed to steadily catch F1s to just over a pound.
At the end of my five hours I had 47 F1s in the bag. I fished a little longer to get a nice round figure of 50 fish! Weight wise I gave a conservative average of half a pound per fish, so approximately 25lb of F1s. Not a bad winter net of fish at all!!
I managed to locate the bailiff fishing on another lake and fortunately he had a grapple hook and rope and we managed to retrieve the brolly and save the peg. The brolly was missing its lock and a couple of rods had ripped away from the material. I also managed to retrieve three bait boxes and a box of stoz from the far island!
Following the same format as the previous day I decided to fish a five hour session with one hour prep time.
I had to fish a bit later today as I needed to call in to the tackle shop for some pellets as I lost the majority of mine in the box incident! I decided on trying different pellets this time round. I bought a packet of Sonu Baits Fin Perfect 1mm feed pellets and 4mm Expander pellets.
The weather when I arrived was clear blue sky and a couple degrees colder than the previous day. At the time there was hardly any wind.
I fished a different peg this time, as if I had a different peg in a match. This time I picked a peg on the end of the centre arm. No particular reason for picking this peg!
Today was a simple plan, 4mm pellet over a pinch of micro pellets. I decided I would only fish five sections out trying to catch at a faster rate. I targeted 75 F1s after the previous days performance.
I plummed just one land finding around four foot of water straight in front of me. I was hoping to get the fish feeding up in the water quickly so I could try fishing a pollyball rig which my girlfriends dad had given me to try.
1050am was the all in time. Shipping out and potting a pinch of 2mm pellets I began. After a few mins I began to get line bites. Another pinch of micros and the first fish of the day was in the net. Again a F1 around 1lb.
|First F1 of the day|
The weather however turned nasty and the rest of the session was spent in either clear slightly windy spells or gale force wind and hail showers!!
Half way through the session the fishing died. No explicit reason it just died. For the next half hour I changed my depth going deeper and shallower with no joy. Then I remember I had read an article by Steve Ringer on F1 fishing in this months Match Fishing magazine. He stated when ever he fishes a pellet line it will always die and as soon as it does immediately plumb another line.
So if its good enough for Mr Ringer its defiantly good enough for me. So I immediately changed to a line at around 2 o clock, this time four sections out. I decided not to plumb it, to save time, and just fish two and half foot straight way.
This worked a treat and I immediately started catching. After a few fish I decided I would give the pollyball as bash.
The rig was set at a foot deep at the most. As soon as I put it out came a massive hail down pour. After ten minutes I got my first pollyball fish. I found the tactic of spinning the rig to make a splash sound difficult and with the hail I felt when I was getting it to splash it was only making the same sort of sound as the hail. This, coupled with the fact I was waiting longer for a bite, made me decide to switch back to the deeper rig.
Again once I started on this rig around two foot I started catching F1s every put in.
In the last half hour I decided to try the pollyball again. Again as soon as I put it out another massive hail storm followed by rain downpour arrived. I slogged on catching a couple more fish on the pollyball but not at the rate I would have liked.
Finally the five hours ended and I had caught 73 F1s, just two shy of my target. If I again applied the half pound a fish I was looking at 30 odd pound of winter F1s. I really cant complain at that.
Packing up was the hardest part of the day. I was so wet and cold as the storm continued I couldn't zip my rod bag up as I couldn't feel my fingers!!!
A quick note on the pellets. I have to say I much preferred the Ringers expanders. They stayed on the hook much longer and stayed on after missed strikes. With the Fin perfects I was very unconfident that the bait was still on and a few times I was left with no bait on the hook and no bite indication at all.
I think I may research expanders and see what others use.
Positives over the two days
1) I fished in poor conditions and I didn't give up. That is really unusual for me!
2) On the second day I changed lines instead of preserving with the dead line
3) I felt I was definitely learning as the two days went on and managed to put lessons into practice.
Negatives/Things to work on
1) Reading the swim better, I need to learn when fishing that fish wont stay on the bottom when feeding and know when to start altering depth. I could have caught a lot more fish, especially on the first day, if I had this in my head.
2) Landing fish quicker. I need to learn to land fish with my top four instead of breaking down to my top two to land. I tried practicing this but it seemed to take me longer to land.
3) Better preparation before hand. I ended up messing around trying to tie rigs and bastardise other rigs whilst I was fishing as I only had one appropriate rig when I arrived.
Finally!! Sorry for the extra long blog but it was an event packed two days. Hopefully future blogs won't be so long and so mishap laden!! Any comments feedback would be gratefully appreciated.