|The view from the van - come on, open the gate!|
|My intended peg at Jeff's lake, first thing this morning|
Today was all about two things. Trying my new 8ft picker rod and having another go at pellet waggling!
|Red Dog and Two Dog method mixes follow the links below for my recipes|
As I was all set up I thought I might as well give it a go. I had a selection of bait with me, chopped and punched bacon grill, dyed and chilli coated red sweetcorn, and straight yellow sweetcorn. I first tried the new Red Dog method mix with Bacon grill - Nothing. I swapped to the Two Dog mix. Still nothing. Okay start again. Back to the Red dog and this time I used one red, chilli with one natural yellow kernel on the hair. That did it. No sooner the feeder has settled I was into a fish. This continued for about 20 minutes pulling a fish on virtually every cast. Some immediately others I might have to sit and wait for 20 seconds or so!
|A selection of hook-bait for the feeder|
|Deadly combination - my Red Dog method mix and red chilli/yellow corn|
After a while the bites dried up so I went back to the Bacon grill on a slightly different line, using the Two Dog method mix and the fish just kept on coming. I spent a good few hours ringing the changes between the hook bait and the method mix which gave me fish all through the day.
|Drennan Shorty PW floats|
My! The fishery new pellets did the trick. I had a pellet waggler set up using my one and only Drennan Shorty Pellet Waggler, a PW float adaptor and one of my specially tied hooklengths. The rig was set to fish at a maximum 12 inch depth. I placed a 6mm pellet on the bait band and cast the rig. The shorty float hit the water, the anti dive disc did its job and the float reappeared instantly, before disappearing almost immediately. I had hooked a fish with my first cast and first pellet - I had not even had a chance to feed any! Thinking this was a fluke, after unhooking and releasing the fish, I recast the same pellet and was about to pick up the catapult when the same thing happened!
I managed to catch 3 or four fish with the same pellet - so far I had only used one pellet and although it was still there banded to the hair, albeit looking a bit tatty, I changed it. This time I fired a few smaller 4mm pellets into the swim and then cast... Nothing... I reeled in a couple of cranks of the handle into the area I had just fed a few pellets... Nothing. Hmmm... There I am, thinking the previous run was just a fluke after all and it was was now over. I recast and all in one go the float disappeared, the real started (just) to scream and the line broke. I looked in disbelief and then mutter a few words that I am not prepared to scribe here. The line had snapped above the float and that was the last I saw if it and the rest of my end tackle. The float will just pull off the line as it is only secured with a float adaptor and not very tightly so I was hoping that it might surface during the day, but it didn't (or if it did, I didn't see it). I hope the fish will be able to release it at some point.
|The end of the line where it snapped - It looks as if it was stretched|
I wonder...Next to my peg was a bush and a few wild flowers. Sitting on a yellow flowered common ragwort (senecio jacobaea) were a couple of Cinnabar Caterpillars (Tyria jacobaeae) - Impressed? My knowledge of caterpillars is not that good - I looked them up! Apparently these brightly coloured caterpillars can completely devour their food source before they reach maturity. When this happens they can turn cannibalistic and eat each other or starve to death - Isn't nature wonderful!
|A Cinnabar caterpillar devouring its only food source|
And finally...Around 4 o'clock I was just sitting there musing the day so far when a young lady and her son started to set up on the bank along from me. After a few minutes I heard a voice asking me if I was Ralph. "Err... Yes" I said, a bit startled but as there was no uniform to be seen I could see no reason to say no. The voice turned out to be Claire, Finlay's mum, the lad setting up his gear. Andy the Bailiff had suggested that she introduce herself to me and that I would be able to help Finlay get fishing.
It wasn't so long ago that I had needed help myself. Okay, I am no expert and I explained I was fairly new to fishing myself but I would do what I could. Finlay's gear was far too heavy really but I did what I could. We cocked the float and I showed him how to plumb the depth. Andy had lent him some gear, a landing net and unhooking mat. He even found him one of those fold-up chairs!
After a few tangles Finlay was making some casts of his own and before long he had a fish on. lots of cries of excitement from both Finlay and his mum got me and Andy rushing to help. Finlay had caught his first fish.
|That smile says it all|
I have to say, for many reasons this was the best day fishing I have had, so far. Even losing the gear was not going to put a damper on the day. It was good to discovered a few things now, and not in the middle of the match (only my second) I have booked myself in for in a couple of weeks time.