Sunday, 29 March 2015

Bait 'n' bowl...

Nice small bowl with 1.2kg of my sweet base-mix
Bait making is, for me, part of the fun. My ground-bait sweet base mix has worked at both visits to Beaver Fishery going after silvers. The base mix is the same as I detailed back in November but for completeness, I will list it here:

My Sweet Ground-bait base mix recipe:

  • 50% Breadcrumb
  • 25% Gingernut biscuits
  • 25% Custard Creams

Good fun if not strictly necessary...
I like to make my base mix very fine. The 'lumpy bits' can always be added at the bank. The dried bread is broken up into smaller pieces and 'whizzed' in a food processor for several minutes before being passed through a sieve. Lumps that will not pass through are then ground down using a pestle and mortar until fine enough to pass through. This may sound a bit excessive, and maybe it is, but it is very therapeutic! The biscuit tends to breakdown into small enough particles from just a good whiz in the food processor.  I have also been utilising my ground-bait base mix as part of my current boilie recipe.

'Pound-shop' bait!
Whilst out shopping this week Sue pointed out some fishing pellets in the local Poundland, we had already found some strawberry pellets in the 99p Store. Last week I was making a batch of strawberry, and a further batch of sweet and spicy garam masala flavour boilies. These have only been made in small quantities just to see what works over the coming months. As one of the packets, in our new find, were pineapple flavour, it seemed only right to make a batch of matching boilies.

Small 4mm pellets in 99p Store bag
larger 8mm pellets in the Pounland bags
You even get some fishing advice on the back of the Poundland bags!
I had a couple of rings of pineapple in my fishing draw in the freezer and this morning I opened the fridge and half a can of leftover pear halves fell out and dispensed themselves all over the floor. These along with the pineapple were processed to a fine pulp ready to be added to my latest experiment, pineapple and pear boilies!

Pineapple boilies...

The pineapple and pear boilie recipe:

  • 350g Ground-bait
  • 175g Semolina
  • 90g Rice Flour
  • 90g Dried Skimmed Milk
  • 200g Eggs in their shells 
  • 2 rings of pineapple
  • 3 tbsp of the juice from the pineapple
  • 3 pair halves
  • yellow food colour

Old onion bags are
great for drying boilies
The boilies were made in the same way as last week (See HERE). The first batch were very sticky after they were cooked so the cooking time was increased to 180 seconds. I will dry them for 48 hours and check them at that point. if they feel about right I will freeze them then, if not allow them to air-dry until they feel firm.

The other thing I bought this week was a small washing up bowl. I have been looking for a small ground-bait mixing bowl, I know there are plenty of collapsible bowls made for the job, indeed I have a large one, but I have been looking for something smaller and in a suitable colour. There is a general hardware shop in the high street, you know the sort of place that sells all sorts of kitchen and tool shed stuff. There I found a stack of 9 inch (internal diameter) plastic washing up bowls without moulded dimples and ridges. To add to the appeal they are nicely moulded, stamped 'Made in UK' and are made by Whitefurze. Priced at £1.29 and available in black, it was without further thought that one was acquired and added to the bank-side kit.

Just the right size for me, and well made - see text
We are planning to go fishing on Friday and we will try out some of new creations... I will let you know what the fish think of our new bait!
Ralph.  

Monday, 23 March 2015

Boilies - 24 hours later...

Update on yesterday's boilie making session...

I dried the boilies out for 24 hours by hanging them in their drying bags. Today I have decanted them into zip-freezer bags, labelled and dated them. There are a few mixed flavour boilies in the strawberry bag as I left the last of the spicy paste in the gun - makes it all a bit more interesting. I ended up with well over a kilo of boilies (1074g in total). It would not have taken much longer to make several kilos ounce I got going. This will do for now, I will see if the fish like this lot first, I need to make some room in the freezer!

Ready for freezing
I mentioned yesterday that I had ordered Ant Wood's book. It arrived today so I have a some studying to do before I make the next batch! at first glance there appears to be dozens of recipes to chose from and a lot of background information - looks like a good read... I will let you know!

Ant's book - The boilie bible?
 Ralph.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Boilies! ... and the same to you!

Mmmm... Spicy boilies!
Just before Christmas I won an eBay auction lot. It was one of those lots that you really wish had gone to someone else. The parcel was spilling a sand like dust that stunk! The poor private carrier was delighted to get it out of her small van. The lot was a mixed lot of fishing gear that included some boilie making equipment and some supplies. What was not stated in the listing was that all the supplies were years past there sell-by and the rancid smell was enough to make you heave. Nothing had been washed after its last use and the remains were all growing.

Most of it went straight into the wheelie bin. I did salvage the almost new looking rolling tables and the chip basket. This sat around for a while until I had a chance to do a bit of research into what I needed to get going. My! This is one weird subject. There seems to be several schools of thought out there ranging from "Don't bother, buy a bag of ready made"  to recipes that include dozens of ingredients. After a while, I came to the conclusion there is no definitive answer to what should or should not be included in the mix. I decided to settle on a mix and have a go.

The recipe

I found a basic recipe published by the guru of boilie making Ant Wood. He has probably published more recipes for home-made boilies, and all sorts of other bait, than anyone else I could find. He has written a few books and I have ordered one for further reading. My recipe, although based on others, is made using my own ground-bait mix.

The basic recipe:
  • 200g Ground-bait
  • 100g Semolina
  • 50g Rice Flour
  • 50g Dried Skimmed Milk
  • 225g Eggs in their shells

The ground bait mix is made up from 50% very dry and fine, sieved, breadcrumb. I have taken up using a pestle and mortar for this - very therapeutic! This is mixed with 25% gingernut biscuits and 25% custard cream biscuits. These can be bought very cheaply from the supermarkets, have a hunt around. I bought mine for twenty-odd pence for 300g packs. These were whizzed in a food processor until they are really fine. The sticky stuff in the custard creams (which, incidentally I can't stand the taste of) adds a bit of moisture to the mix and a very pungent smell. I have used this mix with or without 'additives' and it seems to work well. Mixed with lake water and balled up onto small golf-ball sized lumps it makes a nice cloud as it descends. Unfortunately the swans seem to like it too.

The strawberry paste is ready
The eggs came from Tesco and were their cheaper eggs at 15 for £1.20. The eggs are all different sizes! That is why I have given them as total weight instead of a number of eggs. Some recipes suggest that the shell is included as well but I have not included them in this batch. Using the basic ingredients I made two batches. To one batch I added red food colouring and strawberry flavouring. To the other, I added yellow colouring and garam masala for a spicy flavour. I have no idea if this will work but I have to start somewhere. Wrap the paste in cling film until it is ready for use will keep it moist by preventing it drying out. It is moulded into a long sausage just before it is placed in the sausage gun. There are lots of these guns on the market, the gizmo fans will bet looking at the compressed air powered sausage guns, but unless you are going into mass production, a good quality, middle of the price range, branded gun will do the job well and give your hand a good work out! My gun is branded Gardner and is actually a modified Cox caulking gun. All the parts are readily available as spares. The gun is tough enough to do the job easily and should last me a lifetime.

Off we go...

For each batch all the dry ingredients were thoroughly mixed together. The eggs were whisked in a separate bowl. Colour was added to the egg mix, dry or wet and flavours were added, dry to dry and wet to wet. The dry ingredients were gradually added to the wet while being whisked in using a fork. As the mix became stiff, the fork was abandoned and it was in with the hands to knead the mixture to a stiff paste, while adding as much of the dry ingredients as the paste will take. When it will no longer stick to the hands, it is ready. I still had a few grams of dry mixture left. This was added to my 'been to the bank' groundbait stock, so that nothing goes to waste. I have not bothered to show these mixing stages as there are plenty of step-by-step articles and videos on the internet already! Powder and liquid being combined in a mixing bowl do not make exciting still photographs!
 
Squeeze!
Roll...
Ta dah!
The paste was loaded into a boilie gun and squeezed out over the bed of a rolling table. The top was pushed up and down and hey presto - Boilies!

Show off!
As confidence grew, my loyal assistant decided to go for it and was rolling two 'sausages' of paste at a time - Show off! A large pan of water was brought to a vigorous boil. The boilies were cooked by lowering them into the water, contained in a wire basket intended for chip frying, for ninety seconds. After being fished out of the water they were transferred into the state-of-the-art drying bags (also known as onion bags!) and hung up to dry for twenty-four hours.

Water at a vigorous boil
Cooking about thirty boilies at a time keeps the water close to the boil
Tomorrow the boilies will be packed into plastic zip-bags, labelled and added to the growing stock of bait elbowing its way into one of our freezers...

Ralph.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Our best day yet!

Okay, this is not going to set the world alight but for us this is a big step forward. The venue was Beaver Fishery. This is an easy place for us to get to, being an easy three quarters of an hour drive for either of us. A few inevitable delays usually makes it a round hour.

If you are not familiar with the Beaver Fishery, then check it out. There is something there for everyone. It is clean, tidy and well maintained but, most of all, everyone is made welcome and for beginners,  like us, there is plenty of help and advice on hand.

Early evening at Maze Lake - Goodbye Mr. swan...
We fished Maze Lake. This is a 39 peg match-lake and this time of year is a bit slow. This did not bother us as we like somewhere quiet to practise a bit of casting and try something new to us without spoiling anybody else's fun. As it happened we had the whole lake to ourselves.

We arrived just after 8:00 AM and after the obligatory bacon and egg roll, got set up and started to fish. Down here in Surrey the weather was overcast and the expected solar eclipse did little more than darken the sky slightly. Fishing was slow to start with. Then, all of a sudden, Tim was getting excited "I've got one!" could be heard as he battled with his first ever course fish. I reeled my line and rushed over to his peg brandishing a landing net. He was still battling with his fish when I got there. Eventually he landed the fish and this epic moment was caught on camera.

Tim's first fish... It may not be huge but it is a fish!
Don't laugh, it's a fish, it may not be as big as some of the fish that have been caught on this lake but it is a fish and Tim caught it! At this point I had not caught a thing. A couple of casts later and Tim had caught another one. Still blank here.

frozen balls (of bait!)
Nothing happened for a while. We had put in a small amount of ground bait, remember those frozen balls of left over groundbate, corn and maggots from last time? Well, I had planned to save them for later in the year and use them as they were. They were frozen like that for convenience. Once open frozen they were placed in a carrier bag. This way they take up little room and can be used on demand. I defrosted three of them overnight and, by the time I got to the venue, they are still formed into balls and completely defrosted. Much too big to use in one go, we broke them up, reformed them into much smaller balls and pre-bated our chosen swims with a couple of small balls each, while we set up our gear.

By now we were a couple of hours into the day and we were happily float fishing on maggots. Lightly feeding over our bait produced some success. I had found some strawberry flavour pellets in the local 99p shop that seemed to do the job, along with a few maggots now and again. By lunch time we were getting the odd bite and I had caught a couple of bream as well as a few more tidily roach. Andy, one of the bailiffs, dropped by to see how we were doing, proffer words of encouragement and congratulating Tim on his first fish! He also said that he thought we might have done a bit better... Hmmm, red rag to a bull?

Largest bream of the day
We stopped for a bite to eat. After lunch the sun came out and it started to warm up. Vast improvement on this morning, at one point earlier on my hands were really cold. Now it was time to take the jacket off. I decided to have a go at spot of dropshotting with my new gear I had acquired using 'donations' given in lieu of Christmas presents - good plan, must remember to do that next year. There are just so many pairs of socks with silly phrases on and Christmas themed ties that one man should own...

No luck dropshotting so I went back to the float. No sooner had I thrown the line in than it was racing off in the other direction. A bream! For the next while we were catching something every chuck. from a fishing famine we were catching fish so fast we lost count.
Just one of many
Not the largest of fish but bigger than I had caught before. I had put out some of my base groundbait mix made from 25% custard creams, 25% gingernuts and 50% white bread crumbs. All whizzed down to a fine powder and wet with lake water. Smells great and it makes a nice light-colourd cloud as it sinks. The only trouble was the swans seem to like it two!

Me fish and swan. Off you go little fellow...
I don't Know about attracting the fish but we are now going to be eating swan sandwiches for a month... Only kidding! The swans were a pain at first as they were going after all our feed. We did stopped feeding for a while and we were still catching fish, until what we had thrown in earlier was exhausted. The swans were amazing, so tame and not at all stupid. They would glide over the line and lift their feet clear of the mono. Although they would chase loose feed, they took no notice of hook bait. After a while we just accepted them and they were really well behaved, apart from the odd spat with a Canada goose that kept trying to see them off. Like us, he did not succeed either! We came to an uneasy truce, but at the end of the day the swans were no real trouble and were quite amusing. If I wanted a clear swim, all I had to do was throw a marble-sized ball of groundbait in Tim's direction and they would go and bother him. That is, until Tim returned the compliment.

As the day went on it really did become very present. I went for a stroll with the dropshot rod again to see what I could find, again with no success. Meanwhile Tim continued to fish. By this time the water was mirror flat and there were just a few bubbles here and there, Tim was now catching fish with just about every chuck, it all seemed to be small roach with the odd bream or skimmer, but he was happy.

Tim reflecting on the day...
One of the things I like about this place is being able to have the car so close. Tim can also keep his van nearby. GGS stand for Girls Going Shopping, but you knew that anyway. The ladder? Oh that is just part of the service - so the shop assistants can never say the stock is out of their reach...

Everything to hand - Tim's Girls Go Shopping van...
All in all a very good day's fishing. we were at the lakeside for 10 hours - the time went so quickly before we knew it we were on the road heading home. I decided to avoid the M25 and drive across. The Sat-Nav suggested this might take a couple of minutes longer - BIG mistake. Two hours later I got home!

Next time, we are planning on another day here at Beaver, and we will give one of the other lakes a go to see if we can catch a few small carp. With that in mind, I plan to make a few boilies tomorrow, picked up the eggs this morning and I already have the dry ingredients, so guess what flavour I am going for... I might even make two different ones!

Ralph 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Line work...

If there is one thing that confuses me more than anything else it is the line. As I slowly get to discover what is what, more curved balls are thrown into the park. I have steadily got used to dealing with the line/breaking strain conundrum, at least as far as monofilament goes. I don't profess to be an expert, but I can at least evaluate what I have and, within a bit, what I need to use for what.

Cheap carp reel and decent dropshotting reel
This week I have been trying to sort out a couple of reels. One is my new dropshot reel and a much bigger carp real. I am now starting to understand the limitations of the cheaper gear. Apart from the obvious size disparity the is a world of difference to the 'feel' of these two reels.

The line is 0.35mm diameter so I make that about 15lbs breaking strain
The carp reel is branded Lineaeffe and I picked it up for £14.99 along with a 12ft carp rod at an equally silly price. I realise that they will not be the best quality but the combination will enable Tim and I to have a go at carping without spending a fortune. The reel came preloaded with what appears to be 0.35mm brown mono, which I believe to be around 12 -15lbs breaking strain.  It is also supplied with a spare spool! It is made in China, as the sticker states. It is not silky smooth and there is a bit of play here and there but it seems to do the job as far as I can see, without getting the line wet.  At the price I was not expecting super quality, but I reckon it is not bad for the money. I am not intending to cast out any distance, at least at first, and if it does the job I will be happy.

The smaller reel is a little Fox Ulton 1500 fixed spool, I bought for my yet to be realised urban fishing adventures, dropshotting in Regent's Canal. The reel comes with no line preloaded and no spare spool. At just shy of £50.00 it is a far more expensive reel than  the carp reel. The difference in feel is vast. Silky smooth and beautifully finished, it is obviously built to a much higher standard. It really does show what spending a little more can mean. Okay, I am not going mad and spending hundreds of pounds, but for me this is a significantly higher investment than anything that came before it.

conical line lay but was it the reels fault, if indeed it is a fault
The reason I am mentioning these reels in the same post is with regard to the line on the spools. The carp real came preloaded with the .035mm (15lbs) brown mono. it has never been off the reel and yet is does not seem to be laid in the spool very well. On showing this to other anglers on one of the fishing forums the overall consensus of opinion seems to be that it dose not look very good but it should be good enough to use. The reasoning being that the thick springy mono is likely to ride over the lip causing tangles. It was noted the the spool has loaded with a taper and this can be 'corrected' by adding or subtracting washers from the shaft the spool sits on. This is new to me and as none of my reels came with instructions, I had no clue that this was needed or even possible. I have done a bit of investigation and discovered that adding a washer to the shaft will make the lay conical (as the reel above) removing washers will encourage the line to lay parallel and then as more washers are removed the line will lay as a reverse cone with more fill at the rim than at the seat. As the reel above was pre-loaded, I assume that is done off the reel (?) If so then the line needs to be stripped and reloaded to check to see how this particular reel loads the line.

For the small reel below, I loaded this spool myself so the line lay is down to me. I think the braid was not tensioned enough and I need to check that the drag was done up tight, I suspect it was not.  There are a couple of fibre washers under this spool, but I am not going to remove any of them just yet to see how it goes after I have had a go at casting it our and reeling it in under load.  Apart from the aesthetics of the thing, I have no idea how I will prefer the line to lay. I need to get some hours in on the bank before I can make that decision.    

The braid has not gone on evenly, probably my fault. Although the photographs of
these two reels look make them look a similar size, this spool is much smaller than
the carp spool shown above - see the top picture for size comparison
Now I know this adjustment is possible, I will experiment with the use of these washers over time. I can see no point in changing anything just yet until I have used the reels in a fishing situation.

There is so much more to this angling game than I had ever imagined. This line lay subject is something I had absolutely no idea even existed, let alone how to deal with it. For me, that just makes the whole thing far more interesting both on and off the bank.

Ralph.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Fishing Friday...

Yes it's true, it looks like we are on a run, twice in two weeks! We are off to Beaver Fishery on Friday. I have been there before and it is the home of the inaugural tree-catching event - see HERE! This time Tim said he would ware a few more cloths! The wind howled across the open land and there is no protection there to hide behind. Poor old Tim, had a rotten day moaning about being cold, not catching anything and being told it was going to cost a small fortune to get his van fixed...

Wassamatta Tim? We have only just got here...
After discovering Bax farm had run out of Maggots last week, I will play safe and bring some with me on Friday. This means trip to the tackle shop will be required on Thursday. Well, somebody has to do it. While I an there I need to get a couple of bank sticks, some leads, some end tackle and...

The plan this time is to set a carp rod out on the buzzer and float fish for whatever will eat our maggot. The object of the exercise is to get Tim catching some fish. I am fairly confident we will have some success. The weather forecast is for dry, light cloud with a high of 12ºC so it should not be too unpleasant. If we get there for 8:00 AM we should get a full day in. I will let you all know how we get on in due course.

Ralph.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Dropshot gear...

Before Christmas I mentioned the fact that around where I live in South East London, there are not many places to casually fish. There are plenty of day-ticket waters within an easy drive but by the time you add the fuel, time and ticket money together it is only worth while if the trip is for the whole day. When I discovered dropshotting I was instantly drawn to the idea of light tackle, small lures and the idea of going fishing by public transport, using my Oyster card - see HERE

I think the popularity of dropshotting caught everybody out. Fox published a promotional video back in December 2013, see below. By the time I was interested in dropshotting in December 2014, it was the must see (and still is!) video for anyone interested in having a go at this most appealing branch of our hobby.


The video shows both how to rig the gear and how to use it. Before Christmas it was hard to find a supplier who had the rods and reels in stock and the Fox Jig Silk was, and still is, impossible to find - at least I have not been able to find any and at this time I understand that Fox are awaiting further supplies.

At last I have managed to find the time to acquire a rod and reel, some suitable braid and fluorocarbon leader, to compliment my already secured rig kit. The rod and reel are very small and ideal for what I have in mind - travelling on public transport to and between venues. All I need to do now is to load the spool with braid and to find something to carry it all in. A small rod sleeve would be ideal but so far the only one that looks small enough is the Fox Rage one and, to be honest I don't like the idea of a white bag with a huge logo on it advertising what is inside, drawing attention. The search is still on for that. I am also looking for a small bag to carry the other bits and pieces such as lures and spare end tackle. Looks like I might have to drag myself back to the tackle shop...    

Ralph.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Fishing for ducks...

Standing half way down Pan Lake, looking over Langley's Lake (Specimen) back towards the car park
We went fishing yesterday and pulled a complete blank. I am now convinced that it is all Tim's fault. Every time I go fishing with him, same result...

The weather was dry but an awful wind whipped across the open fields that surround Bax Farm Fishery. I am not complaining though, it gave me a chance to get some fresh air and to listen to my brother moaning on about being cold, not catching anything and that his van needs a four-figure repair...

Even the gnomes looked cheesed off...
The day started with a long drag to get out of town. I couldn't get to meet Tim until at least eight o'clock in the morning, in Sittingbourne, as he was dropping his van off for a service first. It took me an hour and a half to do a sub 40 mile journey, and that was going out of town, against the traffic - the joys of living in London! I am so pleased I do not have to do it the other way around, coming in by road must be a nightmare. I got there, three quarters of an hour later than expected and went off for the obligatory Full English in the local cafe, courtesy of Tim. Thanks Bro!

It's a short trip down the road to Tonge, along a country lane and on to the farm through a low bridge under the railway. We arrived to see the guys out in the yard fettling a big net. "That's cheating!" I pronounced. With a cheery smile they said they were preparing to net the lakes and sort the fish out to remove a lot of the small fish from the larger lakes.

As it was a cold, windy Monday morning I was not really surprised to discover that the on site shop had run out of maggots on Sunday evening as the weather had been fine and they had a lot of people fishing (Grrrr...). Mental note: Next time buy some beforehand! We paid our day ticket money and purchased a can each of Sweetcorn and luncheon meat to complement the bread and groundbait we had with us.

We drove down to the car park and trudged our way through some really soggy bits, down to Pan Lake, past a couple of guys fishing for the big fish on the now renamed Langley's Lake. One of the guys had caught a high teens carp, while I was still in bed, and that was all. It was not until we were leaving that a guy, who was fishing down on the other side of Langley's, said he had caught something, but it was too cold to start a conversation and we were hand-balling all our gear back to the car. Even with the small amount of tackle we have, a trolley would be really handy. but first on the shopping list has to be some kind of shelter - we don't need a full-blown bivvy, but something that kept the wind off would have been useful. The shopping list is growing...  

We started to fish the open area of the Pan but it was so windy there we moved around the corner to get out of the direct wind.  The end of the lake is very narrow and we decided to fish on corn to start with. I had brought some groundbait with me so I threw a couple of small golf-ball size lumps in and started to fish a waggler. Tim decided he would give the meat a go.  I opened the can and realised we had nothing with us to chop it up. Another note was written to the diary to bring a knife next time... We improvised by using the part of the tin the key had removed as a cutter. Although not perfect, it did the job and we continued to fish for a while. As nothing was biting, a change of tactics was called for.  Tim decided to go ledgering with the only lead we have between us and I decided to have another go with my tree-catching feeder rod - guess what? Yes, I caught another tree. No pictures this time as that is getting rather boring. We continued to fish for a few more hours but the day was also plagued by Bonnie and Clyde, a pair of mallards that were determined to eat our bait and frighten all the fish away. After a few hours we called it a day around four o'clock and headed back to collect Tim's van.

Bonnie and Clyde...
When I got home I still had a fair bit of bait left. Sweetcorn goes mushy after freezing and besides I still had plenty frozen in small flat packs from last time. I decided to pour the rest of the can, juice and all into the groundbait mix. I added some filtered water and mixed it together. Left it for an hour or so and added a drop more water. Mixed it up again and formed it into balls. The odd maggot is from last time we went fishing, was included, it also has some strawberry pellets added. The original base is 50/50 bread and custard creams. Mmmm... Yummy!

Groundbait balls - a bit big for this time of year but I can always reform them on the bank...
I formed the mix into half a dozen balls and froze them. I will either save these for later on in the year when I can use them whole, once the fish are feeding again, or take them as they are and mush them down into lose groundbait again. Either way it will get used - eventually! I also had an open can of meat. This I chopped up into cubes, placed in a plastic bag, added red colouring and strawberry flavouring - smells great! This too was consigned to the freezer for future use.

For our next outing we plan to visit Beaver Fishery in Surrey. I have been there before (see HERE) and had a good day. It is much more sheltered than Bax and there are plenty of lakes to choose from, most of which have hard standings making it possible to park very close to the peg all year round. There is also  a burger van, that does peg-deliveries, I am sure Tim will be keen on this idea!

All in all we had a good day chatting, even if the fishing was rubbish, Tim didn't stop moaning and the wind was howling! Hopefully we will make up for it next week at Beaver... Always assuming something doesn't get in the way! Next time Tim, put a few more clothes on!

Ralph. 

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Looks like we are going fishing!

After what seems like an eternity, it looks like we have a fishing trip arranged for Monday. Although the fishing has been non-existent over the winter I have been thinking reading and pondering the act! Living here in South East London I have not found much in the way of venues where I can just fish for a couple of hours. One that has looked interesting is the Regent's Canal in west London, which I can get to reasonably easily and relatively quickly by public transport if I am using a minimum of gear. The answer to this seems to be dropshotting.  

Dropshotting seems to be the flavour of the month (year... decade!?) at the moment and the more I read about it the better it sounds. I have started collecting some bits and pieces of tackle and after dropping a few hints, Christmas and birthday monies given in lieu of presents has rendered the funds required to buy a dropshot rod and reel. That purchase has not been made yet as there did not seem any point in buying until I was back in reasonable health and have enough free time to indulge in this black-art! besides, rather than just order it over the wire, I think I want to give the business to my local tackle shop who probably think I was a flash-in-the-pan angler as I have not been in there for months.

For now it is going to be back to a bit of float fishing down at Bax, where we have been before, this time with my newly acquired lightweight waggler rod I purchased just before I was ill, and a spot of cage feeder fishing using my feeder rod that I had so much success with catching the tree on the far bank last time I was out, see HERE. The weather looks good so I am off to sort out the tackle box and gather up the rods and reels...

Ralph.