Sunday, 30 June 2013

Winge of the Week - Mainline

It seems that companies producing mainline for angling have been so transfixed on reducing diameters that they have forgotten the importance of both abrasion resistance and line twist. I’m not sure what the problem is, whether its because so many are pre-stretched or if it’s the way line is placed on spools, yet one thing is for sure is that 90% of lines nowadays have the tendency to twist and coil. I have tried loads, always soaking them for hours in water yet come the day when I go fishing I still find it coiling and twisting. I’m not going to mention any specific makes of crap line but I’m at my wits end with mainline. I’ve even looked into investing into the new NanoFil but have received mixed reports on this, especially when it comes to knotting up and having tried some Fluorocarbons in the past and suffering similar problems have for the time being kept away from converting. Shimano Technium, again not cheap, is a mainline I used many years ago and remember being well happy with it when carp fishing and this may soon become what’s loaded on my reels or I may just go back to good old Maxima yet this certainly isn’t immune to the problem. For the time being I think I am just going to have to put up with the problem but if anyone can recommend a line that knots up well, isn’t wiry and brittle and doesn’t twist and coil then please let me know.

Product of the Week - Thermos Vintage Flask RRP £20

I find taking cooking equipment a real pain, especially on short overnight session, yet the need for a warm meal is so rewarding and welcoming, especially when just a few hours sleep is seen due to the constant catching of fish throughout the night. For years I have taken along meals that should be hot, but are cold, meals like salmon, chilli noodles and asparagus, yet this compact Thermos flask has solved a problem. It was a Christmas present and I have just started to get the benefits of it as food can be prepared at home, placed hot into the flask which then keeps this warm for up to seven hours. The flask has a wide top which means food can be eaten straight from it or placed into the lid that doubles up as a small bowl and if this wasn’t all, it comes with a fold down spoon that fits neatly into its lid.

Fishing is full of surprises - Weekly report starting Saturday 22nd June 2013.

After fishing Friday night I was hoping to grab a few hours sleep on Saturday but having a couple of recent birthdays found myself heading out for a meal so had to keep going till the evening.
Sunday was all about catching up on the weekly paperwork which seems to take forever along with cleaning the kit down and reorganising it for a week of guiding.
I was looking forward to Monday as I had promised to take young Jake to Frensham the previous year and with the weather being kind to us and exams out of the way we were both able to relax and focus on catching a few tench. Meeting at 4pm we headed to what’s called ‘The Oaks’ a popular swim but one I had never fished before. The wind was from the North West which was great as it was pushing gently into our faces. Tactics were to fish two Helicopter rigs in the hope of tench and rudd plus a rod with an inline maggot feeder, short braided hooklink along with a size 12 hook carrying a hair on which three plastic maggots were fixed. This was really to try and overcome a phobia I have on just using plastic. After spoding out plenty of groundbait, maggots and hemp we sat back to await the response and as so often with Frensham it didn’t take long as a tench ripped of with one of the Heli-rigs. This happened so many times that it was obvious real are better than fake, yet the rod was still cast as often as the other rods to try and gain a response. Eventually it happened yet I was so shocked that I dropped the fish, obviously another tench. Chris my tench companion joined us come the evening and also tried the more traditional inline maggot feeder set up yet with Jake regularly catching on the helicopters soon swapped come dusk, just as Jake found himself slipping the net under a big tench that weighed 7lb 1oz, a new personal best by some margin. Action slowed come darkness and come 11pm we had all settled down, yet the rods were left out and it was the plastic maggots that started to receive the bites and amazingly these were coming from rudd, five in fact, the biggest going 2lb 6oz. By 1am I was feeling the pace and decided that as the rods went of they would be left in so that I could grab some sleep. Two tench fell in the night which left one rod that hadn’t received a bite. Casting all three out at 5am saw them all rip off in the first half an hour, proving the importance of casting regularly. Jake finally awoke an hour or so later, just as Chris was packing away and went on to land a few more tench including another weighing 7lb 1oz. Our final tally was 18 fish, not a bad result.
Back at home the standard two hours kip was followed by sorting the kit out as well as sorting out the barbel tackle for a guided trip with another customer on a difficult stretch of the river Loddon the following day but not before having to attend the end of term Proms and taking some pictures for my girlfriend’s sister.
After dropping the girlfriend of at 7am I headed to the Loddon. The weather was bright, not ideal conditions yet after meeting my customer at 8am and heading to a favourite swim he soon found himself attached to a big barbel which weighed 10lb 11oz. In fact it took just twenty minutes to get the bite and once again the ‘pellet-lead’ proved its worth. We roved the river for the around another seven hours for just one more bite, a chub of 4lb 12oz which might not sound good, but on this stretch one bite a day is classified as a result. It was whilst fishing the swim where the chub was taken that a number of good fish rolled, so many in fact that I stood and watched the river, eager to see what they were. My suspicion was that they were bream, maybe barbel but they were neither, not even chub, in fact they were tench probably in spawning mode.
Thursday I was up early, 5.45am and once again headed to Frensham to meet Jake in the hope of catching a few tench on the float. With the weather bright these were always going to prove hard, yet we did manage one early on. Once the sun was up it was all about casting the feeder rods out and come 4pm a few tench to 6lb 8oz had come his way. With Jake leaving at 4pm I had another customer joining me and having never fished the venue before and being an avid barbel angler I hoped that Frensham would deliver. Unfortunately the weather turned for the worst and what was supposed to be light drizzle turned into heavy and persistent rain. We did try fishing the float but gave up at around 8pm with just a few missed bites to show for our efforts. I had cast a feeder rod out and this had ripped of four times during the evening and thoughts were of a big hit but the swim died come dusk. At around 9.30pm the rain stopped and we tried the float once more. I received two bites, one was a rudd around a pound the other a tench weighing exactly 8lb! With very few bites coming we decided to grab four hours kip before commencing our efforts come 4am. The weather was slightly better and a few tench finally started to show. We both had a feeder rod out as well and come 8am Alan had landed six tench including a personal best of 6lb 5oz. I had a few also and although the big rudd that we dearly wanted failed to show we left well happy as how often does a tench of 8lb fall to the float as well as your customer walking away with a p.b! I was in need to sleep later that day but amazingly also needed to get on top of a weeks worth of paperwork and housework and finally hit my bed at around midnight after picking the girlfriend up after the evening shift.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Winge of the Week

Something that I have noticed recently is the lack of anglers visiting day ticket waters. Times are hard and taking into consideration cost of a day ticket, fuel and bait the cost of a days fishing can become too expensive for many. Clubs offering reasonably priced membership seem to be the ones that are benefiting from this as anglers not only have the choice of venue to visit and species to target but aren’t faced with often ridiculous rules that seem only to benefit one party, the day ticket venue and when worked out on visits throughout the year these club tickets offer exceptional value for money.
Talking to many a day ticket owner, numbers are down and times are hard, yet for many I have absolutely no sympathy especially when they are charging up to £15 per day to fish and then do not offer concessions for OAP, juniors or disabled anglers. Yes, there is the argument that these venues offer a very good chance of getting a bend in your rod, yet this is normally from carp and due to the nature of the stocking density, which is often well over what it should be and these have to feed to survive, however they not always the healthiest of fish and the signs of repeat capture can often be extremely evident.
My fishing partner is my father who is 82 and often my girlfriend’s father joins us who is also classified as an OAP. I can assure you that money isn’t easy coming for these and can honestly say that unless the venue has something seriously good to offer, such as Mill Farm Fisheries Specimen Lake that offers a very good chance of catching a British Record silver bream, I will never visit a day ticket water again that fails to offer some sort of reduction for them.
What annoys me even more is when you are then told that you have to use fishery only pellets. I can assure you that although the owner will argue the fact and say that these have to be used to protect their stocks, the real reason is that they are just lining their pockets further and once again I will not fish such a venue that ties me down to such a rip-off deal.  

Product of the Week

Summer is now upon us with the carp sunning themselves in the upper layers its time to give the zig-rigs ago. I’m always up for trying something new and recently tried out Nash’s new Gyro Bug Mix. This comes with instructions but basically you just add water, mix it similar to groundbait them spomb, spod or simply ball out. The particles constantly rise and fall and when I tried it the swim became alive with carp. Teaming this mix up with the Bug’s and Critters as well as the Bug Juice you have a sure recipe for success.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Back to Frensham - Weekly report starting Sat June 15th 2013

Unfortunately angling on the first night of the season, midnight on the 15th probably will rarely happen as it’s the girlfriend’s birthday on the 16th. Fortunately I talked her into taking her parents dog for a walk and where better than Frensham Great Pond. Amazingly it wasn’t rammed, with most anglers that had fished the first night leaving in the morning and reports were that it wasn’t fishing that good.
I was thinking of fishing the Thames for carp on Monday night yet with plenty of swims free and a good south west wind blowing plans changed and come 4pm I found myself looking across the lake from the main car park. I had thoughts of heading for the road bank yet the wind had swung and was now blowing from the north east, great. Knowing that Frensham hates a changing wind I headed for a swim where their was a good ripple, however I wasn’t that confident, yet as its done before on many occasions it decided to defy predictability and come 4.40pm I found myself landing a tench, one that weighed 7lb 9oz! From that moment the action was steady, yet the wind and undertow was just too strong to float fish for rudd from dusk and into darkness. An angler to the side of me was also catching and asked if I could take a picture of a personal best tench which weighed 8lb 14oz! Come 11pm, a further ten tench had come to the feeder tactics, many big sixes and one that resembled a football, yet knowing the morning is usually better, wound in and set the alarm for 4am. Fortunately the wind had eased making float fishing possible, yet things weren’t as easy as expected with just three tench and three perch falling but the feeder rod continued to produce fish, all tench and come 9pm my tally had risen to twenty-two, the best 8lb 1oz.
Back at home I needed some sleep so after sorting and cleaning the kit grabbed four hours before sorting the kit for a day out with my brother and his friends at Watmore Farm to celebrate his 50th on Wednesday. Oh how I would have loved to have been back at Frensham Tuesday evening, float fishing for rudd, as the wind had died, yet a wedding appointment in Newbury prevented this.
Wednesday dawned warm and meeting at Watmore Farm Fishery at 7am thoughts were on a day of arm aching action, yet it wasn’t to be as the fishing was somewhat disappointing, probably due to the variable wind. It was good to catch up with some good friends that I hadn’t seen for a while and the match was finally won by birthday boy and his angling partner Roger who’s two best carp weighed a total of around 14lb. I tried something different for a change, zig rigs, yet it was a frustrating day due to having around 18ft of water in front of me, yet a dozen or so small carp came to the tactic. I have to say I was well impressed with Nashbait’s Gyro Bug Mix that I spodded out and drove the carp crazy.
Come Thursday I was back at Frensham and fishing by 4pm, however once again the wind had swung and was now coming from the south west. As I was meeting my tenching partner Chris later that evening and with swims in close proximity in the North east corner decided to fish the same area as Monday with the view of moving for the following night if the fishing proved difficult. Difficult it was as I started float fishing at 8pm and my first bite came at 10.20pm. A flurry of bites produced five two pound rudd to 2lb 9oz plus a good perch and a tench before things died. The feeder rods went out yet stayed quiet and at 5.30am I was once again float fishing, however just two tench came my way. Chris had received a short feeding period from 11pm to 1am landing seven tench so he was happy as it was his first ever session on Frensham.
Friday morning I decided to head home, grab some food and return, yet this time I headed to the opposite bank, finally setting up in a swim I had never fished before. With the rods out by 1am I only had to wait around forty minutes before the first tench arrived. From then on it was steady until around 6pm when things quietened down. My dad popped down and even had an hour with my rods taking four good tench including a personal best weighing 7lb 5oz. Chris once again joined me, however the tench had slowed up by now and as dusk fell the rudd moved in with a number falling to both our rods, the best a personal best of 2lb 1oz to Chris. The dark hours were quiet but at 5am one of my rods ripped of and once again the action started with tench, rudd and perch picking up the maggot. Come 9am I had managed eighteen tench, the best 7lb 1oz, seven rudd to 2lb plus two perch to 2lb 4oz with Chris taking three tench to 7lb plus some good rudd.
Next week is going to be busy with four guiding days, three at Frensham and one roving the river Loddon in the hope of a big barbel.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Anticipation Rises - Weekly report starting Saturday 8th June.

Having the tench lake closed I feel a bit at a loose end, roll on the opening of the rivers, for me it will be the Thames and I cant wait to get on my favourite Stillwater, Frensham.

The weekend jobs were completed which included cleaning out the bait freezer which was really forced on me as I always mix groundbait before a session and having to turn around on Friday evening needed the space to store a couple of bucketfuls that I put to good use next week.
Monday dawned and I tried to get out overnight yet it wasn’t to be as the morning was taken up with a dental appointment as well as covering the vegetable patch that I have been slowly digging with weed control sheeting. Come the afternoon I completed an Action Replay for Anglers Mail on the session that saw a few grass carp caught last week and whilst doing so felt the urge to visit my local animal feed supplier where I stocked up with a sack of maize, crushed maize and hemp. I even started soaking some for a session on Thursday. I also visited Yateley Angling Centre to buy a couple of birthday presents for my brothers 50th next week and whilst doing so had a good catch up with Ruth who I hadn’t seen for what seems ages. I also read Steve Collett’s views on the close season in last weeks Anglers Mail and I have to say everything he said is exactly how I feel on the situation. Unfortunately the youngsters of today don’t share the same views as us! So as you can see it was well into the afternoon before I managed to turn the computer off and put the camera down, to late to head of for a night under the stars for eels, however I did manage to grab the tench rods that were made up and head of to Johnsons feeling good that I was well ahaead of myself with work. I was glad to see that all the stars had long one, probably chasing a different species at their top weights as the crucians have now spawned. This is good as the lake has returned to being peaceful and un-crowded. I headed to the dam, peg 16 as this corner had the wind into it and once again it was raining. Casting out a pellet lead with a small tutti boilie on one rod and a piece of corn next to a groundbait feeder I was expecting this to score better but I was wrong it was the tutti as seven tench, the best 6lb 9oz, two crucians and surprisingly two double figured commons came in the next five hours.
Wednesday I started the boiling process of all the particles that I have been soaking for the grass carp session on Thursday along with sorting this kit and the tackle needed for an afternoon guiding session on Friday.
Thursday dawned and all looked well. The tackle was in the car and after dropping the girlfriend of I was to meet my dad for a spot of grass carp fishing. Unfortunately this didn’t happen as three miles from home the alternator packed up. Finally with dad and the AA help I managed to get the lady to work and get my car back home. Luckily dad lent me his car and after getting a few niggling things done arrived at the lake around 3pm. After spombing loads of particles out I sat back full of expectations, yet it wasn’t to be and at dusk I returned home without even a single bleep. I am now ninety percent sure what the problem is as last week I watched an angler take the lake apart using almost identical bait and rigs, however he was using a bait boat. It hurts me to say this but in this instance having one would have given me a massive advantage, yet am I going to get one, don’t be silly.
On Friday I spent an enjoyable few hours with one of my favourite customers Ron and we headed to Lodge Pond to try a few tactics including the helicopter rig and pellet lead that he had wanted to see. The maggot heli-rig soon proved to be useless due to the small roach so both rods were soon on the pellet lead with either pellet, squidgee or corn on the hook. The session proved far tougher than I had expected yet Ron still managed a best bream weighing exactly six pounds plus a couple of slightly smaller ones and a modest carp just as we called it a day. The weather was great, as was the conversation and as we left we joked as the lake had become busy with carp campers making the idyllic venue sounding more like a building site with the constant banging of mallets and bait boats being launched in all directions, don’t go there on a weekend!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Carp Spawning, Lake Closed, you must be Joking! - Weekly report starting Sat 1st June.

Once at home after my catfish session overnight on Friday I decided to spend the weekend pottering around the house tidying up, which included trying to organise my fishing tackle that had become somewhat messy.
Monday was all about getting the text completed for an Anglers Mail ‘Quick Comparison’ on 3lb T/C carp rods for under £100, which I managed to do before sorting out the tench kit and heading south once more. I wanting to fish a long day session on Tuesday but with the temperatures forecasted to reach twenty-four degrees and Atmospherics sky high on 1030mb I decided that the fish wouldn’t probably feed in this so decided on the overnighter which gave me the two best feeding times, dusk and dawn. Taking a risk I dropped into a swim favoured by carp anglers with the wind of my back and after introducing some ground bait thought I was on a winner as patches of bubbles soon appeared, yet it wasn’t to be a red-letter day as apart from one modest tench I endured a nightmare session, mainly due to roach picking up double 10mm boilies as well as three further tench evading capture, two to hook pulls the other from a line breakage.
Tuesday was spent in the studio taking photos of rod blanks for the Anglers Mail ‘Quick Comparison’. I have to admit that I have always struggled taking sharp close up images of small items, surprising being a photographer, but its probably why I never enjoyed portrait photography, as for me , I like taking pictures as they happen. Fortunately my good friend Mark at Farnham Photography was on the end of the line to give me some sound advice and come the end of the day I was happy with my results and had learnt loads, now where do you get such a service on the internet? With a few hours in the afternoon to play with I grabbed the winning rod and headed for a private estate lake I have access to. Finding a few carp tight against a snag I fished locked up with a breakaway lead, PVA bag of crushed Nash Monster Squid boiles along with one on the hair tipped of with a small buoyant piece of corn. Sitting on the rod it wasn’t long for the tip to pull round, lead eject and carp surface swinging away from the snag. At 17lb it was a great feature fish, yet four more double followed, not bad for two hours in bright sunshine. So what’s the winning rod? Well I think you will be surprised. Keep an eye out for the feature coming soon in Anglers Mail. Back at home I found a delivery on my doorstep and at last I have a new bedchair and sleeping bag, thank you Nash, comfort at last! In the evening I relaxed to a big glass of French red before sorting out my limited kit for a day’s trout fishing at Avington tomorrow (see separate blog).
After my fantastic day at Avington Trout Fishery on Wednesday it was back into work mode come Thursday morning and I found myself on the banks of Badshot Lea Big Pond with society’s treasurer Peter Hooper. The session was all about catching grass carp and although the weather was scorching he didn’t disappoint. Without giving too much away, we had the Anglers Mail ‘Action Replay’ completed in just three hours. If you want to know how to target these then keep an eye out over the coming weeks as it’s an eye opener. Back at home I was hoping to get plenty of things done, yet a quick check of my dad’s fish pond resulted in me having to turn the filters off and getting a hose pipe to it quickly as the water level had dropped dangerously low. If I had left my visit till the following morning he would have lost the lot!
Friday morning was once again taking close up product photos before my web designer Andy arrived to update my website. I managed to tie up a few new rigs for the tench lake, however it seems that we are now almost carp fishing for tench, however this feels better than tench fishing for roach which what we have been doing. Hopefully the new approach will work tonight?
Unfortunately its 8pm and I have just returned home after a trip to the tench lake only to find its closed for two weeks due to fish spawning, or should that read, carp spawning. The journey took me 2hrs 20mins and to say I’m not a bit hot under the collar is an understatement. Why close a lake for angling when carp are spawning, has the club forgotten about all the non carp anglers and do carp feed when they are shagging, no! Taking into consideration the lake isn’t an easy one, in fact the bailiff mentioned that he had only had one carp in over twenty nights, so if anglers cant catch them when they are on the munch, what chance have they of interfering with them when they are spawning, absolutely none! When fish spawn their minds are on other things, however they certainly needed anglers bait in the lead up to this rigorous period to build up reserves and energy to see them through this, just like tench do, however the decision made by carp anglers to protect carp has probably had a detrimental effect on the tench which are now leading up to spawning and in need of an easy meal. How narrow minded and selfish is the person that took this decision, especially when most carp anglers know it’s a waste of time fishing for carp whilst spawning is taking place. Will the lake be closed when the tench start to spawn in a couple of weeks, no, and was the lake closed when the bream were spawning, no, why because this would cause outrage from the carp anglers! What’s really pissed me off is we were just getting to know the venue and both me and Chris felt confident that sooner or later a big female would appear, something that’s not going to happen now. This is the best period for catching a big tench, just look in this weeks Anglers Mail, yet we have been stolen that chance. Would I have joined this club if I knew this would happen, no? Will we be joining next year, no!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Casting a fly - Avington Trout Fishery

Casting a fly - Avington Trout Fishery.
An invitation to fish Avington Trout Fishery in Hampshire by one of my customers, Adrian Francis just couldn’t be ignored. I’m not sure what I had done to deserve such a generous offer but to be honest, the word customer won’t ever be used again, and instead it will be my ‘good friend’. To be honest I have only ever cast a fly on one occasion, many years ago on a small trout fishery just outside Horsham, so a return was well overdue.
The day dawned warm and still and as we made our way down to the fishery through the gorgeous Hampshire countryside the air was filled with plenty of fishy tales. Arriving at the fishery just after opening time we were warmly welcomed by the fishery staff that just couldn’t have been more helpful. With tickets in hand and a few new flies in the box we leisurely walked around the first lake watching as big trout drifted in and out of the weed. The odd swirl wetted my appetite, yet today was so different to the rush for swims on club coarse waters, it was as if time stood still as we had all day and rushing and stressing just wasn’t part of the agenda. Crossing the Itchen carrier that runs through the fishery dark shapes could be spotted drifting in and out of the shadows, some were trout but others ‘The lady of the stream’ grayling. The second lake just shouted fish, rich in weed and crystal clear. Bow waves rippled across the surface, time to get the Polaroid’s on. It took a while for my eyes to adapt but there they were, huge trout that id only seen on videos before, yet now they were just yards before me. Adrian had been talking tactics during our stroll around the lakes and I apologise now if I was somehow distracted, I was listening. Settling between the two bottom lakes we made our rods up whilst Adrian gave me a short but educational delve into the world of Diptera (the study of flies). Words like Nymph, Buzzers and Shrimps were familiar yet Bobbies, Zonkers and Buggers bought on a whole new meaning to types of flies. Using a number six fly line, 9ft tapered leader I tied on an orange golden bullet as recommended by the guys in the shop and after a quick demonstration of casting proceeded to try and get a fly in the water. Slowly things came together and Adrian felt confident that I could be left alone to perfect my cast yet the trout weren’t playing ball as it wasn’t long before the line tightened and reel screamed as an angry rainbow made a bid for freedom. Thinking that I had just been lucky I continued to practice my cast yet a repeat performance happened and another six pound rainbow graced the net. Adrian was also soon into a fish of similar size before spotting one well into double figures, yet as is so often the case just as he felt the perfect cast would outwit such a monster and juvenile spoilt the party. With two fish each in such a short space of time we headed back to the clubhouse for a coffee.

The staff were grading fish in the stock pens and amazingly allowed us in to watch and take pictures. In some of the holding pools were some real monsters, rainbows and blue around twenty pounds and thoughts of hooking such a fish rekindled our imagination for the afternoon session. Back on lake two Adrian decided to try and single one big fish out and soon found himself in battle with a big rainbow yet it wasn’t to be as at the last minute it threw the hook. By now I was trying to cast to the big fish that had eluded Adrian in the morning but just as it had happened to him a smaller, fitter and faster rainbow screamed in from another direction. Adrian had also netted his three fish limit so once again we headed to the club house where the staff once again couldn’t have been more helpful, gutting and filleting our catch whilst we headed to the carrier stream for a bit of stealthy catch and release.
These fish are quite cute with numerous rises being missed and passed, yet as we looked back over ground covered they were once again taking the odd hatch of the surface. My attempts at side casting under trees came with the occasional branch hooked yet finally when I had let the fly drift pass me whilst looking at a good wild brownie l felt a tug on the line and finally lifted into a fish which turned out to be my first grayling on a fly. Adrian also gave me what looked to me like a master class in upstream, under cover side casting and soon had a small brownie in the net yet the big rainbow he tried to tempt had obviously seen it all before. With me putting yet another fly in a tree we decided to call it a day and what a day it was.
Without a doubt I will be back, however this time I will have perfected my casting in the garden as next time I want to stalk one of the big ones.
A massive thank you to Avington Trout Fishery for such a warm, friendly and helpful welcome, but even a bigger thank you to my good friend Adrian.

Avington Trout Fishery –     

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Back to reality, good - Weekly report starting Sat 25th May 2013.

Another annoying bank holiday means I have to wait to Tuesday night to get the rods out, yet after being away all last week at least it gave me time to get up to date with article writing and answer questioning.
I have to admit I have really missed the solitude of fishing alone and was glad to get back to the tench lake, yet my fishing was rusty to say the least and I was amazed just how, out of routine I had got. Casting, baiting, rig making, even playing fish at night all seemed somewhat alien, or maybe I was just having a bad night. Luckily though the tench were feeding and five graced my net throughout the overnight session, all males around six pound. It was a testing night as the rudd, roach, even a small bream were constantly plucking at the baits and occasionally falling foul to a hook in the bottom lip. My mate Chris has also been getting some action at last having taken a few tench, again not of the size we were hoping for, mostly males around six pound, plus an 11lb 8oz bream and a couple of carp, the biggest 26lb. Obviously the groundbait inclusion into our baiting routine has made a major difference. I would have stayed later than 8am, yet by then the sun was up, the temperature rising and the wind struggling to make its mind up which way it wanted to blow from and with small fish constantly attacking the bait it was time to leave.
Back at home I had to grab a few hours’ kip and to be honest apart from a few bits of paperwork wasted the whole day, more reason to leave the frustrating nights alone.
Thursday dawned wet and windy which was a blessing actually as instead of the early morning round of golf with my mother found myself tucking into a few things that I have been putting of. Come 3pm I felt rather refreshed and decided to head back to Johnson’s in the hope of a crucian or two. On arrival at 5pm I had a brief chat with Phil Smith who reinforced what Mike Townsend had told me the previous week – the lake was fishing tough and the crucians had spawned. Undeterred I headed to an area less popular with the crucian anglers and within half an hour had a 3lb 5oz crucian in front of the camera, yet come 8pm all that had shown was one tench. I continued to 10.30pm for one more crucian again 3lb 5oz plus two small tench, yet with a horrid north wind and loads of water flushing through the lake it was obvious things weren’t going to happen and happy with my result headed home. On route I stopped of at Farnham Golf Course where I crept around on my knees for an hour collecting lobworms and with 100 in the bucket for a catfish attempt on Friday night finally fell through the door around midnight in need of a big glass of red.
Friday dawned clear and hot and with temperatures rising to mid twenties myself and Steve felt it was just reward for spending wet and windy night at Badshot Lea Big Pond in search of catfish a few weeks earlier. Arriving at 4pm I instantly realised that it was half term, joy, and with most swims occupied finally settled, once again in a corner of the lake, yet this time the north wind was pushing right into it and with a carp crashing on arrival felt confident of a few fish. Steve fished the helicopter rig in the hope of a few tench yet his swim was full of bream and perch. I decided to drop a boilie up against a snag tree as well as fishing a rod on a helicopter rig with maggot on the hook. It didn’t take long for a 17lb common to pick up the boilie and a 6lb 2oz tench to find the maggot. Two more doubles came as well as two more tench plus a few bream before the worm rods were flicked at dusk. Loads of bleeps proceeded as well as two screamers that were missed and come the morning Steve had landed two kittens with myself taking one. The morning proceeded in similar fashion with two more double figured carp coming to the boilie before the session came to a close at 8am. The only downside to the session was once again the north wind that seem to increase as the night went on. I started the session in shorts yet come the morning wish I was wearing thermals! Badshot Lea Big Pond is a great place for a mixed catch, yet it is very temperamental and it’s worth following the wind if you want to catch. Unfortunately I think it’s my last session on the lake this year as it’s now two busy with bait boats everywhere and tent pegs constantly being banged in with mallets. How my feelings have changed over the last couple of months, as in March and April it sees very little pressure and I love the venue, yet as soon as the sun comes out along come the fair weather anglers more interested in getting away for the weekend than catching fish, time to leave it alone.