Saturday, 17 September 2016

Time for touchy knots and sinking tools

Saturday morning and it has been over a week since I bothered any fish, live ones that is. I did get to flake the cod for our fisherman's pie last night.

A typical radio controlled wall clock
As I sit here watching the world slowly emerge from the dark, the only sound is that of the clock ticking away the seconds as all modern digital clocks do. Taking it's time signal from the atomic clock at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Teddington the time signal is transmitted to the whole of the UK from Cumbria. The atomic clock is so accurate that it is claimed it would lose or gain less than a second in some 138 million years. Fascinating modern technology being of use to everybody and available for very little money. A wall clock capable of receiving the signal can be bought for as little as ten or eleven pounds.

What a contrast to our simple hobby. It is so easy to spend lots of money on all sorts of tackle and to dial into the latest 'must-have' piece of kit. I am no different to a lot of anglers, keen to own and try the latest gizmo, well some of them. But, to quote a football phrase "at the end of the day" it all boils down to getting a fish to take a bait, be hooked and landed. We all have hundreds (if not thousands, but don't tell the wife) of pounds worth of gear. Some of it is essential, like hooks, line and a camouflage hat, but most of it is obviously there just for show. It is used to intimidate a fellow match angler or to make it look as if you really do know what you are doing.

Why am I sounding so scathing of our beloved tackle? Well, This week I was watching a video about fishing with one of those novelty pen rods that are sold in vast numbers on eBay. I have always thought of these things as gimmicks designed for wives and children to buy dad on Fathers Day. That may be the case and I am sure that most of them never see the bank-side. On the video, this myth was dispelled by the presenters landing several good sized fish. Fascinating as that was it was the tackle that intrigued me, or should I say the lack of it. They were touch ledgering.

If like me you are relatively new to fishing, you may not have understood this term either. I have heard the term being used before but I had not understood exactly what it meant. It is not talked about too much in the angling press and the cynic in me might think that is because it is not something that will sell tackle. It is so simple and apparently effective that I have to give it a go.

The video mentioned it in passing, assuming everybody would know what 'touch ledgering' was. Maybe most people watching it did, but I was confused. All that appeared to be happening was that the main line was tied to a hook. The hook was baited and dropped (not cast) into the margin to be taken by a big fish. I though I had missed something but after posting the question on the Maggot Drowning forum  I discovered that it was really that simple. The bait is cast and the line is held between the finger and thumb of the right hand, or what ever is comfortable, and the slightest movement can be detected. It is said to be much more sensitive than quiver tipping. The other advice is always hold on to the rod as bites can be sudden and  furious.

I have yet to try this but judging by the feedback on the forum it is most rewarding and very easy. I am now wondering if all that tackle is the result of very successful marketing and appealing to the desire to own nice things. This is an extreme case of keeping it simple and I can't wait to give it a go, but first I have to master the art of tying a hook to the main line. Although I could use a hooklength that is sort of stepping up a gear and I want to keep this simple and that means tying the hook directly to the main line or 'freelining' as it is apparently called.

Hook tying

I have now been fishing for a couple of years, and although I tie all my own hooklengths, I have not used many knots and never tied a hook directly to the line. It is all these basic skills that I have missed out on by not fishing as a kid. I suspect that most seasoned anglers reading this may find it strange that something so basic has passed me by. I have managed to get by with a handful of simple knots. My spade hooks are tied  using a hook tyer and my eyed hooks have all been tied using the knotless knot. I now needed a knot to tie the hook directly to the line and the most obvious choice is the Grinner or Uni-knot.

My little yellow knot book
Referring to my little yellow book of knots, I set about practising the knot with some 0.22 (5lb) monofilament line and a Guru MWG size 12 hook. It looks so simple in the book, and I am sure it is, but the first few attempts just look a mess. After several attempts without a neat result I refereed to the internet and found several videos showing how simple it really is. This is where the power of video really pays off, compared to pictures and drawings in a book. It shows the whole process and even if the narrator does not explain everything the moving pictures tell the whole story, provided the tyer keeps his (or her) hands out of the way. I found looking at several videos of people tying the same knot showed that there are more than one ways to do it and it is a case of finding the method that suits.

A much enlarged picture of my best attempt at a four-turn uni-knot. I suspect they will get better in time.
click on image to enlarge even further!

Splash!

How many times have you dropped something and it has bounced straight into the water? I know I have a few times and it is such a relief to discover the said item floats. Disgorgers are a prime candidate for being dropped in the drink. This week I was disappointed to discover that my new, expensive, Guru disgorgers sink. I, like most of us, have amassed a huge supply of disgorgers from give-aways, and in my case, a couple of bulk lots of used tackle. Throwing them all in a bowl of water revealed that about half of them sunk. Even more surprising was that it was the cheaper unbranded ones that tend to float. 

The two Guru 'slammo' style disgorgers
 I bought the Guru disgorgers because they are of the 'slammo' design that I like. the Guru versions are round in cross section and collect the hook very well, masking the point and enabling it to be withdrawn easily without catching the inside of the fish's mouth or lips on the way out. I am still happy with them but it is a mistake not to make them buoyant. They do have a hole in the handle to attach a piece of line or a lanyard, although I am not keen on this option. I am surprised as I do like a lot of the stuff made by Guru. I know I could add something to them to make them float but that would detract from the ergonomics of the design which is nice to use.   

Ralph. 

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Fishing with Neil...

After Wednesday's debacle, A trip to Monk Lakes to meet with fellow member of the Maggot Drowning Forum, Neil, turned out to be a the perfect answer to a lack of bank time. Neil is due to fish a couple of matches at Monk Lakes tomorrow and Saturday and offered to drive down on today and meet me at the venue.
I was there in plenty of time to wait for the gate to open at 07:00. No oversleeping today. I have only fished at Monk Lakes once before at that was on the huge Bridges lake. Like last time I was a few cars back from the gate and as I waited the queue grew and grew. This place is very popular, and like last time I was here, two of the four match lakes were booked out. Neil had said he would like to fish a match lake so I planned to meet him on whichever one I could get on.

The view from my chosen peg, No.155
Of the four match lakes, two of the newer ones were being used. This suited me as I did not fancy the rather functional rectangular lakes. I know this is what the match fisherman crave, but I prefer something that has at least a nod to a natural lake. Lake number 4 is a little less formal and has 29 pegs. For those of you who know the venue, I picked peg 155 after a stroll around the lake. I was looking for somewhere for the two of us to fish within striking distance of each other. Peg 154 was just the other side of a bush. The lake has a gravel road that circumnavigates the perimeter of the fenced area allowing easy access to the pegs. Don't be put off by the literature and website that says that cars can only be used on the fishery for loading and unloading of tackle. Both times I have been there, I was told that I could park at the pegs the only stipulation was to keep all four wheels on the road. Today this rule must have been 'bent' somewhat as there were dozens of match anglers vans parked on the grass behind me.

The calm flat water started to ripple by mid morning. As you can see, this place is very popular.
The peg, like most of them here, is a strong wooden platform built on a sturdy steel frame. This is the first time I have fished from a platform and was a bit of an eye opener for me. Really nice to set my box up on something flat and rigid, however, I must remember that it is not a great idea to step off the platform to the side as what appeared solid ground was actually some flattened reeds covering the edge of the water. It is also not advisable to drop anything as it either slides off the deck into the water or gets stuck between the cracks in the boards. I discovered a new use for my disgorgers.

Feeder fishing using a different technique for me with the rod pointing at the feeder - worked fine
I set up my box and decided to try a spot of feeder fishing. The lake is fairly small and it is an easy chuck to the island. My 9ft 'Picker' rod seemed to be the perfect choice for this. Casting short distances accurately is much easier with a shorter rod, my success rate of hitting the spot once I had established the distance and clipped up, was better then 90%. for me that is good and as time goes on it does seem to be getting better.

Lots of small Mirrors in this lake
A few casts of the feeder loaded with the infamous Two Dog got the carp interested and I was landing several small mirror carp. Those little fellows really fight hard for the size of them. I continued to fish at distance, on what was a very calm flat water, until the bites dried up. I had been watching the fish just under the surface for a while and feeding a few pellets every now and again. Time to try the pellet waggler. The feed pellets were not creating much, if any, interest and no amount of changing depth seemed to encourage any interest whatsoever. Just as I was about to give up, something showed an interest. Hello little skimmer!

You're not a carp!
I tired of trying to catch carp on the pellet waggler and decided to see if there were any silvers to be had. The cheap and cheerful 'Hippo' got is regular outing and as usual did not fail to perform. fishing just over depth using maggot as feed and on the hook, I was swinging to hand little roach one after the other. none of them very big but good fun all the same.

By now it was getting on for 10 o'clock and just as I was thinking that the match must be starting soon on the other lakes, the Klaxon (or more likely an air horn) sounded and there was a flurry of simultaneous activity on the lake next door. There had been a pump running all morning that was gushing water into the corner of the lake. It was an ambient noise that I had not really noticed until it suddenly stopped. This combined with the lack of chatter as the match started, plunged the lake into a sudden silence that was very strange for a few minutes. Time for a munch while I packed away the Hippo and moved up a gear to my 9.5m Maver pole. There is nothing nicer than sitting on my box, surveying my surroundings eating a nice fresh sandwich. The small cheap Maver pole is very portable and using only the top kit and a couple of sections is great for close in fishing. No need to mess about with rollers and lots of gear, just a ripple bar to rest the unused sections and spare top kit on. I just had time to land a few more skimmers when the phone rang and it was Neil. He had arrived and was on his way to the lake.

Say hello to Neil...
I do like to meet fellow anglers I have conversed with over the internet. Our internet persona can give a very different impression of ourselves compared with the person. It is like listening to the radio and constructing an image of the person talking, here the voice gives a few more clues to the person but how many times do you get to see someone that you have heard and get a surprise when you get to see the person.

Getting an impression of a person from text only can be even more difficult. In this case, Neil has posted a picture of himself on his blog and, like me, is a fairly prolific poster. This helps a lot and when he arrived he turned out to be exactly what I had imagined, a very warm and friendly fellow angler. We were chatting straight away and it was obvious that we were going to get along. I helped Neil get his gear to the peg and he gave me a brolly that a fellow Maggot Drowner had given him to pass on to me after her very generous offer.

Neil has been fishing a bit longer than me, thirty eight years longer in fact. The one thing you can't accuse Neil of is being a 'tackle tart'. He proves the fact that you can catch fish with a minimum of kit and bait if you know what you are doing. He sat down and started catching fish at a much faster rate than I had been achieving. With this, I decided that I had to see where his fishing differed from my own. I shipped my pole in, removed the bait and wondered around the bush to Neil's peg. The first thing you notice about Neil's technique is the speed at which he does everything. Confidence in what he is doing, combined with a well tested routine, leads to an efficient method that catches fish.

We discussed lots of things and I went back to my peg to try out some of the tips I had just picked up. These included fixing back-leads to the line above the float. This will sink the line and means the float is less vulnerable to being victim to a breeze. A small No.11 shot is fitted to the line, just about level with the top of the whisker.  This single shot on its own is not heavy enough to break the surface tension as well as overcome the stiffness of the monofilament line. A heavier No.8 shot is fitted close to the pole tip. The heavier shot will sink the line and the smaller shot. Once the line has sunk the pole is raised to lift the heavier shot out of the water leaving the lighter shot and line sunk. A simple thing that maybe everybody else knows but I had missed. The other thing I was obviously doing wrong was to have too much line above the float.

I went back to my peg and modified my rig. I added a small clip on feeder cup to the end of the pole and started fishing. A few grains of corn in the cup plus a few pellets and the odd maggot topped off with a small amount of Two Dog ground bait, accompanied a single sweetcorn kernel on the hook. Feed, reposition the float into the feed area and let the bait sink. Lift a few inches and bang! The elastic was in the water and it was fish on. I repeated this several times and and my catch rate was improved no end. Nowhere near as efficient as Neil, but a lot better than it had been.

After a short break for lunch and another natter, Neil went back to his peg and I ended up spending the afternoon picking his brains and watching him fish, which he was more than happy for me to do. I learnt a lot today, and met yet another fellow angler. There is nothing like spending a day with someone who can already do what I am trying to do. The hands-on help and advice I received today has helped a lot, just like all the other days I have been out with other more experienced anglers.

If you are reading this as a beginner, try and find someone with experience to show you how to fish. For me it is much easier to have someone there telling you what you are doing wrong than just reading books and watching videos. My thanks go to Neil for a most enjoyable day and putting up with my endless questions.

Ralph. 
 

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

How did that happen?

Normally I am up and about before most. A lay in for me is 07:00, I just don't need that much sleep, five or six hours a night is usually enough for me. On match days a few hours less is not a problem, so today  when I was meant to be up by 05:00, imagine my surprise when I looked at the clock and it said 06:55... Grown... yawn... WHAT!

No way would I even get to Beaver before the match started at this time of day, let alone get set up. I sent an e-mail with my apologies and kicked myself for missing what was going to be the match I was going to win, you know, the one that got away. Never mind, my absence gave the others a chance.

There is always October.

Ralph.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

How to make bait spikes

Tools required to make boilie spikes - finished spike in red circle
Fishing tackle and especially end tackle can be as cheap as chips or ludicrously expensive. I usually buy reasonable tackle but when it comes to specialist carp tackle the cost seems to be off the scale. I can see how super sharp/strong Japanese hooks can command a decent price but when it comes to boilie spikes how can they cost so much money for a piece of bent wire?  Not wishing to be a cheap-scape I bought a packet recently to make an order value up to the 'free' delivery threshold. When I received them they turned out to be tiny, miserable looking things, and at £2.25 for 20 that is over 11p each. Okay, I know 11p is not a fortune but that is more than a lot of hooks, for a short (very short) length of bent wire.

Florist 'Roae wire'
28 or 30 gauge florist 'Rose Wire' in a reel cost as little as £2 a reel and will make more spikes than anyone could use in a lifetime. I had a fiddle around and using a small jewellers screwdriver as a former for the loop and holding the wire in a pair of pliers I managed to make some really quiet acceptable spikes. I tested these on the rigs Tim and I used, a week or so ago, and caught that 11lb+ carp on - Yes, I know Andy (the bailiff) landed it but the fish still took my bait sitting there held by one of my own spikes.

My home-made twisting tool
Now I know they work it was time to simplify the production of the spikes. I made a simple twisting tool from a piece of stiff steel wire. My piece  of wire was salvaged from an old magazine binder but I am a bit of a hoarder and have a workshop full of 'might come in useful one day bits'. If you do not have something 'in-stock' a trip to a DIY store will furnish you with a piece of piano wire of suitable gauge. My twisting tool is made from a piece of wire that is 1.9mm diameter. I may well make another finer one of say 1mm diameter to make finer loops for smaller baits, but for now, this one will do. The twisting tool is easy to make, just bend the wire to the shape shown in the photograph using a pair of pliers, file the ends square and remove any burr with abrasive paper. That is it unless you want to add a gripper sleeve (a couple of layers of shrink tube) to the handle, as I have, or add a bead on the end that makes it easier to pick up from a hard flat surface. 

Here is a step-by-step guide showing how I make my spikes...

To start I loop a length of florist wire over the tool and pull tight...
...I then move pliers close to the tool and twist once or twice to form a tight loop... 
...the pliers are moved away from the first twists and I then continue to twist while applying tension to the wire...
I continue to wire until it has taken on the desired form. This can be fairly tight for harder baits and a little looser for the slightly softer baits...
 When the desired form is achieved, the wire  is released from the pliers and trimmed to the required length
Making my own spikes is not only a lot cheaper but it enables me to make them to suit the bait I am using on the day. They are so simple to make and will save a bit of money along the way. I am not being penny-pinching but I can't deny that is a bonus. Now all I have to do is go and catch some fish using my home-made spikes that I can land myself!

Ralph.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Two years - already!

It was two years ago today, that I decided to take up fishing and start this blog. In a similar post, a year ago, I outlined how things had not worked out how I had thought they would. I was then, and even more so now, amazed at how much fishing has become part of my life. In the past year I have increased my armoury of tackle and involvement in the hobby considerably. I have also made lots of new friends and spent many a day fishing with them. Beaver Fishery has become my second home and I just love my days there both match fishing and spending a day fishing purely for pleasure.

Bewildered by the sheer enormity of the subject I have spent the past year thrashing around trying all sorts of things and rapidly moving on to something else in a madcap desire to experience new forms of fishing. I eventually calmed down and realised that it is impossible to do everything especially when I am sixty years into this lifetime. As far as fishing commercials are concerned I have had a taste of most types of fishing possible other than predator (pike) fishing over the winter. I have come to the conclusion that I really like the simple things in life. I like just sitting there with a single rod and a waggler seeing what I can encourage to come and visit me on the bank. One of the most enjoyable days I had this year was returning to the first lake I fished at Beaver Fishery with a float rod and a box of maggots as my main bait.

Maze lake, rod and line... and me!
Over the past year I have continued my match fishing at Beaver and joined in with a couple of friendly matches with some of the guys from the Maggot Drowning forum. To be honest, match fishing is not really my thing. I join in and have a go but if it is not going too well I don't mind and settle down to a spot of pleasure fishing with keep nets. Maybe this is not the right attitude but just because I have not caught huge numbers of fish I do not get upset.

In January a new chapter in my fishing journey began; pole fishing had arrived. I had bought a very cheap pole and a second-hand Preston seat box. My mate Bill had offered to show me the ropes and we spent a day discovering that pole fishing is not as simple as it looks. The weeks that followed gave me a chance to get some practise in and after a few sessions things began to fall into place. I was also given a second-hand 14.5m pole by a very kind member of the Maggot Drowning forum. who had acquired a new pole and this one was going spare. The generosity of fellow anglers has been great and I have been able to follow a similar path by passing on some of my unwanted gear. Some of this gear has been from buying a few lots of second hand tackle from eBay. Inevitably, I ended up with lots stuff I did not really need and it was good to be able to return some of the favours done for me.

I was sixty in February and you may remember my tale of converting well meaning Christmas and birthday presents into into cash as I had done when I was a kid. Well, I repeated the request, to my close family. This time pointing out that I was still looking at the after shave that I was bought back in 1997 every time I opened the bathroom cabinet. The request was honoured and several donations of money was forthcoming enabling me to buy a few luxuries such as my very comfy Korum accessory chair.

Trying my new chair out on my birthday back in February
Travelling light - going dropshotting
The chair might be a little too comfy as I have missed the odd hour of fishing by nodding off. I tend to take it most of the time except when I am pole fishing, when the box comes into its own. In the autumn last year I did a bit of dropshotting on the Regent's Canal. I really enjoyed that and I will doing some more in the coming months as the weather cools. The light gear is a massive contrast to the van-full of gear I tend to carry about these days. It is so easy to overcomplicate this fishing thing and the dropshotting puts that into prospective. All the gear I need can be carried easily and I can leave the van at home and resort to travelling on the trains.
Two years on and I still look forward to my fishing trips with the same combination of excitement and trepidation as I had on that first trip out and caught my first fish. Is my latest bait creation or rig going to work or am I going to be left wondering if I could have done something better.

The next few months are going to be interesting with a house move becoming the number one priority, thirty-seven years of living in the same house and sixty years of living in London only, a few miles from where I was born, will soon come to an end as we pack our trunk and head for the North Kent coast. Plenty of new waters to fish there...

Ralph.   

Friday, 26 August 2016

The brothers go fishing

Opo-blooming-ration!
If this fishing lark was supposed to give us a chance to chat and see more of each other then it may not have worked.  The subtitle of this blog refers to couple of blokes. All year it has been just me. Tim, the other bloke has not been fishing since November, last year. This has been mainly down to his new job. A more perfect job could never been invented for Tim. Do you remember a kids game called Operation? It involved removing organs from a cardboard figure printed on a flat surface, using a pair of tweezers. If you touched the sides a buzzer sounded. Tim would play with this blooming thing until the rest of us were climbing the walls in expectation of another buzz. Much the same as fishing next to someone with a bite alarm set at full volume. Tim's job involves the tracking and cleaning of medical instruments, all the sort of things you see laid out on the tray next to the operating tables on those medical dramas. He now has pictures of them on his phone with all the technical names so he can learn them, so he says. This is a bloke who's bedtime reading was Grey's Anatomy.

The upshot of all this is that the job is worked on shift as the facility is staffed twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Until recently it did not work out that we could get to the bank at the same time. Now he has changed shifts all that has been made easier as he gets a few days off in a row and this week we managed to make a day at Beaver.

Even though Tim had been working until  10 o'clock the night before, he still managed to do the hour-plus drive and make it to Beaver before the gate opened at 07:00. I was impressed.

"TIM, smile" - "I am smiling" - "Oh sorry"... Click!
We paid our day ticket money for two rods each and after being told that our chosen spot was not going to be available as the lake needed topping up and guess where the pump was standing? Yep, right where we had planned to fish. Never mind there are plenty of other good spots. We decided to fish on the far side of Major's Lake, where I had fished before and had no luck. This time we had a more sedate plan, a plan that produced a drama of its own involving an 11lb+ carp, a bailiff and a boat. See HERE. After that early drama we knew there were fish about and our bait worked.

I cast the bait out, Tim fed the line and Andy landed the fish - joint effort?
Tim had decided he wanted to just sit there and catch silvers on the waggler and preceded to tackle up for the same. My carp rod was tackled the same as Tim's with a chod rig and Ringers Wafter on a boilie spike.  To be honest, this was more of a get together with a bit of fishing thrown in. I decided to have a go at fishing around the lilly pads in the margin with my 5m 'Hippo' (a cross between a short pole and a whip - See HERE). looking for silvers and perch.

It must have been like silver fish soup down there as every chuck was producing a bite almost instantly. After an hour or so I gave up trying to get past the small fish and decided to give it a rest in favour of the feeder rod. This produces a few bream but nothing exciting. Tim was happily catching silvers of all kinds just fishing maggot on the hook and feeding a few at a time over his float. The tactic seemed to work and he was as happy as Larry - whoever Larry was.

As we (Well, Tim) were doing more talking than fishing it was time to give in and get the float rod out. I had tackled up my very nice old float rod that my mate Dave 'The Fish' had kindly given me. It was his dad's rod and he thought I would make good use of it, as he had plenty of rods of his own. I love it. Last time I had this rod out for the day I caught a lot of fish including a very nice 6lb+ ghost carp from Maze lake. It's striking colour scheme and its forgiving action is like nothing else I own. It may not be state of the art but it catches fish.

My very nice 'vintage' float rod

The peg we have settled on is another one that has a tree problem, or rather I have a problem with the trees. First cast and my tackle is talking to the acorns - or what will be acorns very soon. A long landing net pole is useful here. Next time I will be tempted to pack the long arm loppers and a three-leg orchard ladder  - The chain saw may be a step too far!

Time to practise my underarm/flick technique. I threw a handful of maggots out, lobed the float into the swim and caught a little roach instantly. I re-baited the hook and caught another, and another and... Well, this was getting silly. I changed the shotting pattern to a lower bulk of shot much closer to the hook and added a shot on the hooklength in an attempt to get the hook bait past the small fish as quickly as possible. This worked, to a point, as I didn't catch any little fish. In fact I did not catch any fish at all. I think the shot by the hook was sinking the hook and the bait in the silt.

I removed the shot on the hooklength. Inspecting the line it seemed to be fine so I did not replace the hook length. The next cast produced a small perch. Progress, I was not catching the small roach/rudd. A couple of casts and it was perch all the way. no big ones but changing the tactic had made a difference. I continued in this vain for a while but the stamp of fish remained the same. I was just about to think about changing hook bait and feed when the float took a spirited dive and I automatically struck (I am getting the idea of this nowadays). The rod tip bent over and I was onto a 'real' fish. I played the fish for about a minute or so. I was getting quiet excited, this fish was obviously a monster, as all the ones that get away are by defult. Just as I was starting to think I had at last caught something worth photographing the line went slack and the rod straightened. The fish had gone.

I reeled in expecting to find my bare hook dangling from the end of the line. Instead I was greeted with most of a hook length and a very neat, clean cut line. There were no curly bits, as the line formes when it has reached its breaking point. I am fairly sure it broke where the shot had been earlier. There is a lesson to be learned here and I learnt it the hard way. Even though the line felt as if it was not damaged, after removing the shot, it obviously was and became the weakest point by a county-mile. Bye bye fish.

Fed up with messing about with the float rod I set about showing Tim how to fish with my 'Hippo' He is not comfortable without a reel. There he was, bemoaning the attributes of pole fishing, when all of a sudden the elastic berried itself in the lake and the tip swung around as if to follow it. "My!" Tim said and promptly passed me the Hippo. Thanks! There was or had  been a fairly big fish on the hook that had taken it straight into the lilly pads. Try as I might, Hippo bent almost double that fish was not coming out. The rig became stationary and by now I was starting to realise that all I was holding was a lot of vegetation. I let it go slack and reapplied the pressure only to end up in exactly the same place. Time to pull for a break. The light rig parted at the loop and was lost. The elastic returned to the Hippo in one lighting fast flash. I am fairly sure the fish had long gone leaving the rig tied up in the lilly pads. Even if the fish had taken the rig with it, it was only light tackle and it would easily self destruct.

Here fishy, fishy...
Tim went back to the float fishing and his silvers and I persevered with the Hippo but nothing was pulling the elastic. Tim had to leave a couple of hours early as he had to get back for a family bash. When he had gone, I recast the two carp rods on fresh bait and while I waited I started packing up all the gear, by the time it was all away I had not another sniff of a fish and packed them away too.

All in all it was an eventful day that produced more natter than fish, but we had a good day and the fish will still be there next time.

Ralph.  

First double is a joint effort

Andy and Tim with the 11lb 2oz common carp
For the first time since November, Tim managed to find time to come fishing due to a new shift pattern. We arranged to meet at Beaver as he wanted to have a dabble in Major's Lake and I was happy to go along.  There are a lot of bigger fish in the lake so we took carp rods to set as sleepers and the idea was to sit float fishing and chatting; that is how all this fishing lark came about. See HERE.

My mate Duncan had showed me, and kindly given me, a carp 'chod' rig that I had used successfully when we spent a day on Major's a few months ago. This week I have got around to making some of my own so we put out a couple of rods baited up using my newly made rigs and Ringer's Wafters.

Andy searches for the rod
Tim had never used a carp rod before so I showed him how to progressively get closer to the target area by casting clipped up and then letting out a few feet of line until the range was spot on. I then added the hook bait and cast it out to where we had intended to fish. Great. We then set about sorting out Tims float rod. I turned my back to get on with sorting my own gear only to hear Tim shout out to draw my attention to the rod being dragged into the lake. Oh dear, that is inconvenient (cleaned up version) I said. We saw the tip of the rod appear in front of the lilly pads and then it slid back into the lake like the bow of a sinking ship.

A call to the bailiff, Andy, resulted in his appearance along with the fishery's camouflaged  Kubota pick-up truck complete with boat and paddle. After a bit of the usual banter the boat was launched. Andy made his way to where we had last seen the rod and managed to find it. Brilliant! But that was not the end of the story. now it was time to find the other end of the rig. At first we thought it was just caught up in the vegetation and Andy started to feel his way down the line. It was at this point that we discovered why the rod had been pulled in. I was concentrating on showing Tim how the bait-runner style system works and had forgotten to release the clipped up line. Tim was now relieved and exonerated from blame.

"The fish is still on lads!"
It was then realised, as the boat was being pulled into the pads, there must still be a fish on the hook. Andy battled his way through several patches of lilly pads before eventually getting the landing net under the fish. It was a nice sized common.

Andy nets the fish
As to who claims the catch, I think it was a joint effort. I cast the bait out, Tim had been feeding it and Andy Landed it. Whatever way it happened it was our first double figure carp and it made our day. Thanks Andy!

Ralph.