Saturday, 28 November 2015

Cool fishing...

No, not cold but cool as in 'agreeable' According the the urban dictionary "...the word 'cool' is very relaxed, never goes out of style and people will never laugh at you for using it". I am not sure that I am comfortable using the word in that context but it is in very common usage and unlike a lot of 'street' talk it is probably the most universally understood.

Its a fish... Is it?
Having established the tone of this post, I expect you are wondering where on earth this is going and what all this has to do with my fishing adventures. Well, I will tell you. In the social environment we live in, here in the UK, most hobbies that kids of the 1950s and 60s (like me) were associated with are seen to be something that fathers and grandfathers do. To use the street vernacular, they are just not cool! To a lesser extent this applies to angling, although we have a good spread of ages participating, there is one area that seems to be considered to have Street-cred and that is urban fishing, more specifically jigging and dropshotting.

The Crazy Fish logo is a prime example of the style attached to this form of fishing
Take a look at the advertising and graphics associated with what some see as the latest craze. Lots of it is very reminiscent of the better graffiti and street-art, obviously aimed at a much younger target demographic. I can't see the fly-fisherman appreciating this kind of art. Crazy Fish is a global company that have dialled into the urban scene with vibrant logos and an in-your face website and on-line catalogue. See HERE. They are not alone. What ever you do don't look at the AGM catalogue. They sell a good selection of Crazy Fish products along with a lot of other brands of lures. and there are many many more! At this point I need to issue a warning...

Buying lures can be addictive...

Craze, fad or whatever you want to call it, it has found favour with the younger generation as well as a few of us 'old fuds' that includes me. Now I am not going to start wearing my baseball cap backwards, listening to rap music or wearing the crutch of my trousers down by my knees, any time soon... But, there is an appeal that is hard to resist. The small amount of gear required is a big plus, but for some reason the acquiring of little plastic fish are said to be addictive - can't understand that at all - Honest, but the bottom line is - it is cool!


Soft plastic fish lures

I may be a lot of things, but cool is not one of them. I have, however, been bitten by the light lure fishing bug and it will make a very welcome distraction over the next few months. I must admit that sitting in the freezing cold, wading through mud and getting wet have no real appeal to me. Urban fishing can eliminate or at least minimise all three of those disagreeable features of this time of year. Most of the time, sitting about is replaced with wandering or at the very least standing, the mud can all but be regarded as non existent and the wet... well it does not rain under bridges!

Blow Up Bridge on the Regent's Canal
Add this to the fact that there is no messy bait involved and a absolute minimum of gear. In my case, an added bonus is that I can do it all by hopping on a train at the bottom of the road and be beside the water in very short time. The docks are very close and the Regent's Canal is less than an hour away door to fishing. With so little gear, it is also easy to make this a bit of a social event too. No problem taking a shoulder bag, tiny rod and small collapsible net (in a mini stink-bag) into a pub or restaurant. No driving means I can enjoy a pint or two if I wish. For me it is a totally different experience. Sue can come along and enjoy the walk, take in the urban backdrop, study the wild flora and architecture, new and old. It is amazing how much there is to see if you open your eyes to the world around you. The story of our first visit to The Regent's can be found HERE.

Nice tiny Fox Ultron 1500 reel
The mass appeal of this type of fishing is, in no small part, due to the minimal set up costs. Full dropshot kits can be bought for well under a hundred pounds providing all you will need to get going including a good selection of end tackle and lures.


My Fox Dropshot rod - all 6 ft 6 inches of it

My set up is centred around my my joint Christmas (last) and birthday presents of a very nice Fox Rage 6ft 6inch Finesse dropshotting rod and Fox Ultron 1500 Pro reel. Although this is not the cheapest of set ups it is still not eye-wateringly expensive either. At the moment the reel is loaded with a brown coloured 13lb braid. Bright colours, such as yellow, are favoured for this type of fishing but for now I will make do with the brown as braid is not cheap stuff! I also have a shoulder bag that carries all the hooks, lures, a few tools and the small net, which hangs on the strap fixings ready for use or packed in its stink-bag. That's it. I can easily transverse London's transport network with all the gear I need.

This small net collapses down to under 2ft in total. Ideal for urban transporting
At the moment I am caring the tiny rod in it's sleeve. The commercial quivers are all too big for this little rod so I may have to make something myself. The advantage of this is at least while I am fishing the sleeve folds up and packs away in the shoulder bag.

Now all I have to do is find some time to go fishing!

Ralph.


Monday, 23 November 2015

I got that wrong...

Why was I parked at Jeff's Lake again - read on...
I spent last week thinking about fishing in colder weather. My first thoughts were to target silver fish but after discussing it on one of the fishing forums it seems that I really need some lighter gear, at the very least some finer line. By the time I had come to this conclusion it was too late for me to make any considered purchases, so I decided to forget that Idea for Sunday's trip.

I had already decided that I would fish a small pond on the corner of the complex I had not fished before. Said to be heavily stocked with a good variety of fish and to be carp-free I thought this would be a good place to have a go at catching myself a decent sized perch. With a purpose in mind I tackled up a couple of my rods and got everything ready to load the van for an early start.

Alarm went off at 05:00 AM. All the, now usual, routine followed including the ritual filling of the flask. A few more clothes than normal, including my new (Really cheap) Aldi Boots, were either worn or piled into the van. I am completely sold on the idea of using the van now. I can throw a lot of stuff in the back just in case. As you will read later, it paid off on Sunday.

Frost!
Loading the van at 05:30 AM on a Sunday morning is a case of trying to get it all in while making the minimum of noise. For some reason, most of the neighbours seem to be in bed and waking them is not conducive to good relations. Door slamming is kept to a minimum and I usually start the diesel engine just before I am about to leave. However this time I had a problem. The screen was covered in a hard frost. A lovely view of ice crystals against the dark outside. Scraping the windscreen of the car is a pain, but when you are only 5ft 8¼ inches tall (Yes it is worth mentioning the ¼inch!) the top of the Van's window is way out of reach. I had a scraper/pad fitted with a long handle which was fine until my mate Guy stood on it and made it half the length. I knew I should have got around to replacing it... Nothing for It I will have to run the engine for a bit to remove the last of it. I needn't have worried about the neighbours, by the time I left most of them had lights on...

I left rather later than usual but still managed to get to the the fishery just before the gate opened. There was a queue. Hmmm... looks like I was not the only one who fancied a spot of fishing on this cold November morning. I paid my day ticket and made my way to the car park nearest the lake. There were a couple of bivvies pitched, on the mound that retains Major's lake, and a few vehicles parked up that were covered in frost. Either these guys are very keen or they have had a row with the missus...

My chosen swim - I had the pond to myself
Out with the sack barrow, I was going to have to walk round to where I planned to fish today. After loading up I dragged the barrow up the slope and around the edge of Majors lake down the slope to Horseshoe Pond that is in a bit of a hollow. I set up at one end and got everything just how I wanted it. By now it was full daylight and I could see the sun was a misty glow behind the white cloud. The forecast was for a sunny day later. Right now it was -2ÂșC and there was frost on the ground.

Frost on the ground looking over the the other 'leg' of the pond
After clearing a few dead and floating weeds from my swim I set about sorting out my float and plumbing the depth. To my surprise it is very uneven with a bit of a hollow about ten foot out and then becoming shallower for about as far as I wanted to cast. Chuffed to bits with my subterranean mapping, I started to fish. Taking note of what others had said about perch, I was fishing just off the reeds, near a patch of lilly pads and close to the margins using prawn or maggot. After a couple of hours I had nothing not even a twitch. the water was mirror flat and as I cast and the float hit the water the rings went to the far side of the pool uninterrupted there was nothing moving and it was cold - very cold!

I tried changing my float and dotting it down with differing shot patterns - Nothing, not a sign of anything. At this point I gave up on Sargent P. and marched off back to the van to pick up a feeder rod. I made a couple of casts, All I had with me was some rather damp groundbait I had used in my 30mm ball maker for few balls to chuck in, to pre-bait the swim first thing this morning. This was not doing anything at all, and I decided to go back to the float. I was retrieving the feeder when all of a sudden it was taken by something a bit bigger than a gudgeon. The thing was nodding and thrashing about. after what seemed like ages (probably a few minutes) it calmed down and started to give up some line. I got it all the way down the pond to about six foot out. Although it had broke water at the other end of the lake, while fighting, I could not see what it was. Well, I am now a pike fisherman! I know everybody say "It was enormous" but to me it was! Just as I was contemplating what to do next (I do have forceps and stainless steel wire gloves). The pike broke or cut (?) the hook length and it was gone...

I decided to give float fishing another go. After a few casts the tip started to twitch I looked at the float as it was sitting on the lake with the surface tension of the water seamlessly merging the tip of the float. I realised the tip was quivering because my hands were shaking, along with the rest of me. I must have been sitting there, eyes transfixed on the float, letting the cold get to me. I wound the float in, cast again and the float disappeared. My was that an instant take?  No the tip of the float has parted from the body... Oh bother! (well something like that anyway)

By 11:30 AM the sun was shining on the other end of the pond - is was not shining on me!
It was now 11:30 AM and apart from the angry pike, nothing was biting. In fact I saw nothing else move in over four hours. I had now given up. It was so cold in that spot and it showed no sign of changing any time soon. I packed all the gear back onto the sack barrow and headed off back to the van.

My mate Ian had said he would meet me here. He is not one of life's early risers but by this time I was beginning to think he had made the wise choice and stayed in bed. Time to move elsewhere. The sun had started to shine and that meant it would be shining on my favourite peg. Guess where else the sun had been shining? On the way to the pond the grass path was a bit 'crunchy' now, the only place I could have done without warming up, was a muddy track that I had negotiated to get back to the van. My best impression of Billy Elliot still did not prevent me from getting covered in mud.

Just as I was standing at the back of my van filling it with the gear and my off-road sack barrow, Ian arrived. We decided to make our way back over to Jeff's Lake. As suspected the lake was bathed in sunshine. My usual choice of peg was taken (Cheek!) so we set up on the near side of the lake and got to it. By now it was midday and although the ambient  temperature was still low, the sun made it a whole lot better. 

As we arrived on Jeff's, there was a shout of "Ralphy!" from the other side of the lake, I hate that name but gritted may teeth I smiled and said hello. It was Dave and Alan, along with Sid (he's a Jack Russell) running up and down. I went over and had a chat while Ian was 'winterising' and getting set up. They too had caught a big pike and, unlike me, landed it. The bailiff re-homed it to Major's Lake, where it could join its mates... Que the Jaws theme.

A winterised Ian on his peg in a corner of the lake
Ian was float fishing and I wanted to have a go at feeder fishing using the riddled groundbait to see if it would do anything. I did catch a few carp but I am convinced that If I had used my No Dog mix (winter version of the Two Dog) I would have caught a few more. Ian was after the bream and did catch the odd skimmer. He also caught a lot of silvers on line and hooks I was advised would be too big and heavy. He was helped by a nice light float rod that is a lot more sensitive than my collection of 'broomsticks' as he calls them!

We fished and chatted until it was dark before heading off home. Although I was cold and covered in mud, I had a real good day. I learnt a lot and experienced my first pike. Okay the pike won but at least I now know what one on the hook feels like. Now, the question is will I get out again before the 12th December when I am fishing in a fun match with the guys from the Maggot Drowning forum. Let's hope the weather is kind to us.

Ralph.
 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

New stillwater lake...

I have a very soft spot for this place as I caught my very first fish ever at The Willows Angling Centre (Ex Bax Farm). Recently under new management it has been improved greatly with a newly refurbished, well stocked tackle shop. They have just spent the past month or so refurbishing the specimen lake. The original lake was the amalgamation of two smaller lakes linked with a channel and always had the feel of just that, two lakes. The work has just been completed and they have produced this video to show just how much work has been carried out.


Once the ground has recovered, and the water does whatever water needs to do before it can be fished, I am sure it will attract anglers from far and wide. I for one will be back to bother a few fish!

Ralph.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Upper crust fishing...

No, not all that posh stuff, no ghillie and cane baskets, no tweed jackets and funny hats. I am talking about bread. Just bread, bread for hook-bait and liquidised or crumb bread as groundbait.

We have been lucky so far this year with the temperatures holding up at night as well as during the day. This has given us a chance have a really good go at targeting F1s, on the flat-backed method feeder, for reasonable bags of fish. In a match situation, this is a great tactic when aiming at weight on rod and line. It will never out-fish the pole, but at least I can keep myself catching fish. Now I more or less have the hang of it, the tactic can get boring as a pleasure technique. Using my Two Dog groundbait mix and 9mm punched bacon grill will just produce fish after fish. I never thought I would say this, but it is just too easy on a well stocked lake, especially if it is familiar water.

Horseshoe pond is tucked away in a corner of the fishery. This is the pond in June this year The flora will have died back somewhat now. The central 'finger' has three swims - ideal for my next visit
Now the weather looks like it will at last start to produce cool nights as well as days, the fish will slow down and feed less, I need to look at honing some other techniques. I fancy having a go at targeting silvers in one of the other lakes at Beaver. There is a small pond, tucked away in a corner of the complex, that is listed as carp-free. According to the fishery's literature, it is stocked with bream to over 7lb, Tench and perch to 4lb as well as roach, rudd and gudgeon.

The 'vintage' bread punch is nicely made
This pond will give me a chance to target some other species. Initially, I am going to have a go at targeting the roach and rudd. Using small bread punch tactics. I have a rather nice vintage punch with brass inserts that looks as if it will be perfect.

This punch will cut and compress the bread if used on a hard surface such as this small cutting board
I want to try some larger punched bread and see what takes the larger bait. This will be a learning curve for me, never having fished using bread before. I acquired some time ago a neat punch with a plunger I use for punching meat, the plunger is used to eject the meat. I saw it being used to punch and compress bread, which, after giving it a quick go, I can say it seems to do this very well. A small cutting board that I bought in the local pound-shop makes an ideal surface on which to punch the bread on and is small enough to take to the bank.

Neat little Lesney Bread Press really compresses the bread
I was given a lot of 'vintage' fishing tackle during the summer that included a box full of bits and pieces. The bread punch with brass heads, mentioned above, was part of that lot. Sitting in one of the compartments of the box was a small cast metal press. Moulded into the side it proclaimed to be a "Lesney bread bait press". I know that name, they made 'Matchbox' toys (cars and other vehicles). An internet search revealed they also made this little thing and packaged it in a matchbox-style box too! I suspect a lot of you already know about this little tool but I had not seen one before. Further searching revealed the instructions...


LESNEY
BREAD BAIT PRESS 
 Peel off the crust from a sliced loaf, leaving three
eighths of an inch of bread on the crust. Place bread
in the Bait Press and screw down.
 This will give you two pellets of crust ready with a
hole for your hook.
 On entering the water this will quickly swell to the
size of a cube of sugar. If a larger piece of bait is
required fold the length of crust in two before placing
in press.

 

I have transcribed the instructors above verbatim. It is interesting to see how society has changed in fifty years. Back in the 1960s, sugar cubes were commonplace. I wonder how many kids today would know what size that is? Today, measured quantities are more commonly presented in paper or plastic sachets, contributing even further to the rubbish mountain, in the name of hygiene and/or convenience. Intrigued by this little tool, I followed the instructions and it produced two very flat, rectangular pieces of bread that when placed in water slowly expanded. It appears that if the crust is left on, the bait will be slightly buoyant. This could be interesting. I feel some experimentation coming on here while I am waiting to find a gap in my, now busy, work schedule when I can go fishing to try it out for real.

Ralph.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Fishing with Bro...

Well, I did manage to drag myself out of bed, on Sunday, load the van and get on the road before 06:00 AM. A good run out of The Smoke and even the M25 was moving. I got to Beaver just as Ben (Today's host) was driving through the gate... That's handy! I followed him in and the gate closed behind me - Result! While Ben was sorting himself out, I started to set up our gear and went back to pay our day tickets - No sign of Bro...

Just as I finished setting up the phone rang...

   "Hello?"  
   "Ello Bro" 
   "Where are you?"  
   "Here!"....

I think you can guess how the rest of that went - Plonka!

I told him to turn around and waved at him. That seemed to do the job. Tim got back in his car, drove up and parked next to my van, that was obviously hard to see initially, being light Blue against the green backdrop of trees. I was wearing my camouflage pattern hat - maybe it does work after all.

Tim had missed out on all the feeder fishing and had not encountered the Two Dog ground bait first hand until now. I gave him a quick catch-up on what I know about feeder fishing, explained clipping up and showed him how to cast. I then put a hooklength on my rig, loaded the feeder and showed him how to use the push-stop hair to carry the hook-bait. Cast out and was about to say about leaving for forty seconds, if nothing happens... when the tip bent double and it was fish on, with the first cast. Tim was impressed. He then replicated the same thing  also taking a fish on his first cast. Another F1. That did the job, the look on his face says it all.

"I got one!"
The interesting thing here is that Tim has never feeder fished before in his life and yet he pulled out over thirty fish (and that is being conservative) with very little effort. He was using my Two Dog groundbait, 9mm punched Bacon Grill hair rigged to size 12 Guru MWG hook on a 4 inch, 6lb hook length. After a while he was moaning because he was not getting a chance to drink his coffee! Although we were targeting F1's Tim managed to catch a couple of bream, just to slime up my nets. He also discovered how slippery they are.

One of Tim's bream behaves itself just before it slid back into the net and was helped back into the lake
Considering the time of year we have been privy to some high night time temperatures preventing the water from cooling down too much. The fish seem to be feeding well at the moment down here in the south. For this reason we were using the full strength Two Dog mix on the 30g flat backed method feeders. I think Tim had a good day. He caught more fish than he has ever done before and from looking around the lake, more fish than anyone else too. In fact most of the others fishing the lake gave up and went home just after lunch leaving us with the lake to our selves other than a couple of children and their dad (?) dabbling away in the far corner. As far as we were concerned it proved the Two Dog mix really does work. Tim was catching as rapidly as I was on his first time out.

We packed up as the light was fading and a good, no, a great day, was had by all. There you go Tim, I told you I would not mention the fact that you broke my feeder mould and my favourite 11ft feeder rod - you know, the one I have been using all year...

Ralph

Friday, 6 November 2015

Feeding my brother...

Tim's last catch, back in April - let's see if we can do better than that on Sunday
When I started this blog and my journey down the road to become an angler, never, in a million years, would I have thought I would be sitting here writing about fishing. Let alone passing on some of the limited skills I have managed to glean, in the past year or so. Neither did I expect I would be doing it, most of the time, solo!

The original idea was to find an interest that would give me and my brother an excuse to meet up that was not a meeting of 'this thing of ours'. As it has turned out, poor old Tim has had a busy year and the last time he went fishing with me was back in April. Since then my whole fishing world has changed and so has my level of skill. No, I do not profess to be an expert, but a good few hours on the bank and four matches under my belt this summer has improved my knowledge and experience. This Sunday, I hope to pass some of that to Tim and help him catch a good bag of fish.

I plan to introduce Tim to feeder fishing. I have a couple of identical rod and reel set-ups so we can fish in the same manner. We can even use the same bait and method mix for a while, guess what that will be... Clue HERE. But once we have been fishing for a while, it will give us the opportunity to directly compare some of the other bait options.

I am really looking forward to Sunday. Even the thought of dragging myself out of bed at five o'clock in the morning has not dampened the enthusiasm, even if the act might! I have the rods made up and ready to go. Tonight I will prepare all the bait and that will be ready. We are out all day on Saturday visiting my Godson and his wife, who has just give birth to a baby boy. Do you think, at two weeks old, he will be a bit young for a fishing rod? I suspect we will not be home until late so I need to have everything ready to go tonight.

Not happy

When will I ever learn? Tempted by the prospect of saving a few pennies and not having to make the nine-mile round trip to my local tackle shop I decided to buy some hooks from an internet supplier. Next day delivery was offered and this was Monday. It is now Friday and still no hooks. I wanted then earlier in the week so I could spend a couple of nights tying hook lengths. I know I was going to visit the tackle shop today to get some bait anyway and did not want to make a double trip. Now I have left myself tight for time, exactly what I was trying to avoid...

...Door bell ringing... Guess what? Just as I start to bemoan my predicament, the hooks have arrived. Shipping was 48 hour signed for. So that means they should have been here Wednesday or Thursday. I really wish paranoid suppliers would not send stuff signed for, there is absolutely no need for it when the item value is this small and all it seems to do is hold everything up. Unless I have a couple of weeks spare I will not be going down this route again. There are some suppliers that are brilliant and I have mentioned one by name in the past that I cannot fault, but there are a lot of small 'widget' businesses out there that seem to make it hard, both for themselves and ME!

Now I am off to tie a bundle of hook lengths, and sort out the rest of the gear before making a trip to my local tackle shop for some friendly chat and a chance increase their turnover for the day... I wonder if they have had their Preston order in yet?

Ralph. 
      

Monday, 2 November 2015

No Dogs at Beaver - Except Toby!

Autumn colour reflects in Jeff's Lake as I look out over my rod tip
Toby? He is the owners black Labrador who takes great delight in creeping up on the paying customers and surprising them - we all love Toby... Honest!

The usual early start was rewarded by an early entrance to the fishery. I was mindful that the clocks going back, the weekend before, meant the the evenings would be darker sooner but to our advantage, the mornings would be lighter too. No matter what time I have arrived at the fishery, I have never been at the front of the queue, today there was no queue. As I turned off the A22, I could see the time controlled, electricity operated gate was already open. It turned out that the gate had not been reset to take account of the time change as the guy who knows how to do it was on holiday...

06:46 and parked up
That's handy! I drove in to find the office open and the first line of defence manned by Ben, our new (additional) full-time fishery officer, greeting all comers with his usual warm welcome.  I paid the day ticket fee and headed for my favoured spot on Jeff's lake. It was just light, the mist hanging over the lake and there was not a soul about. I had made up my rods the night before and all I needed to do was set up my chair, bait waiter and landing net etc. and I was fishing by 07:00.

I was trying out my latest groundbait method mix. My trusty Two Dog mix has been an absolute winner all year enabling me to catch lots of fish at every session. Okay, I am not catching record amounts but I am catching enough to hold a reasonable position in the friendly matches held at Beaver during the warmer months. Considering I have only been fishing a little over a year I am happy with that result. I am constantly being asked how I am catching so many fish by others on the lake and all I can say is that it must be down to my bait/method mix combination.

My Two Dog mix is fortified with ground up dog biscuit (Wagg) and hot dog sausages - hence Two Dog. As the weather gets cooler, I am told I need to feed less as the fish do not feed as vigorously as they do in the warmer periods. This all sounds reasonable. I am targeting carp in Jeff's lake, mainly F1s and these do not slow down their feeding as much as other fish which is why the fisheries love them. Nevertheless, it seemed reasonable to cut down the amount of food in the mix and see what happens. I have already talked about my No Dog groundbait mix HERE. In essence, it is a stripped down version of the Two Dog mix with the meat and dog biscuit stripped out and some peeper added to increase the attractive qualities of the turmeric.

The revised recipe is shown below but the breadcrumb/biscuit mix can be anything that will not become bound together when it gets wet.
 

My No Dog Groundbait Recipe

  • 975g Breadcrumb
  • 975g Rich Tea biscuits
  • 50g Turmeric powder 
  • 2-3g Finely ground black pepper

Using my trusty 11ft feeder rod and small, 30g flat-backed method feeder I made a couple of casts without a hooklength attached to establish where I wanted to clip up to. I had picked three markers on the opposite bank. One of these was my favoured life belt I have mentioned before. I also had a couple of other trees earmarked as markers for two other lines. Now I was ready to fish.
One of a couple of mirror carp caught during the session
Sticking with my usual set up of a four inch hooklength, hair rigged to a push stop (or what ever you call them depending on the make!) on an NWM size 12 hook. I have also found some really small tube to hold the hair in position on the hook. I know I could just add more turns to the knotless-knot but I think this is a more elegant way of doing it as I am using fairly heavy line (6 or 8lb) and I do not risk catching the line on the point of the hook, creating a week point or dulling the point on the hook. I had fun working out just how to get a tiny piece of silicone tube onto the hook. Getting it on the line was much easier than I thought it would be as it just slides through with little or no resistance. I found the way to get it on the hood is not to try and thread it on as this results in the hook point piercing the tubing.

The best way I found to do it is to use the push stop needle, which has a blunt point- if you see what I mean, that will push its way through the tubing, after it has been fitted on the line. The line can be pulled away from the needle opening up a gap into which the hook can be passed through easily without causing any damage to the line, hook point or tube. The other advantage of using this method is that the hair can be set to length and the tubing will hold it in place while the knot is being tied.

Tackle aside, I rigged a 9mm thick, 9mm diameter punched piece of bacon grill on the hair and placed it in the bottom of the feeder mould, Filled the feeder with my new 'lean' groundbait and pushed the feeder into the mould. after releasing it I then placed a small anount of the mix into the mould and applied the ready loaded feeder to the mould again, pressing it in firmly, to add a second skin of groundbait to cover the hook bait.

...and here's another mirror, they really fight hard, I thought I had hooked something much bigger!
A nice controlled flick and the feeder plopped into the lake bang on target - I am getting better at this as time goes on. It is all about getting out there and trying over and over again until it becomes natural. It is not there yet, but I am getting there slowly and each outing I get a little more consistent. I was expecting to get a few feeder loads out before I got any action but to my complete surprise, I had a fish on after about 20 seconds. My two or three empty feeder casts while I was checking my ranging must have got the fish interested. Three more casts, three more bites, two of which I landed.

I was fishing the lifebelt line and it was paying off. Then, someone else arrived and took the peg opposite me right under the lifebelt. Not wanting to cast at another angler when there was plenty of space I made a few more rapid casts to lay down some groundbait and moved to another line.

My plan was to have a few chucks at the original spot when the bloke opposite went for a break during the day or at lunch. As It happened, I was fishing my other two lines perfectly happily all day pulling fish out at a fair old rate and did not get back to that line until I noticed the bloke opposite was packing up early and going home. By this time I had run out of my experimental no-meat groundbait mix and was back on the original Two Dog mix. Although the new mix was working. reverting back to the original mix really showed a marked difference, fish were on it straight away and the catch rate increased almost immediately. I think this may be because although it was the 1st November, it was still not that cold. I moved back to the original line and almost as soon as the feeder landed I was getting a bite and landing one fish after another. It will be interesting to see how it goes as the weather cools down even further. I am back at Beaver next Sunday as a planned trip to Ironbridge has been cancelled due to pressure of work, so by Sunday I will be glad of the break. You never know, I might have some company as my brother is threatening to come. Maybe I will be able to get him catching his first good bag of fish.

The clean-up crew are not far away as the sun starts to go down behind the trees
Another great day fishing for me. I left just as it was starting to get dark so I had a good few hours of fun and proved that although the lean version of my groundbait worked, the full bodied meaty version is still getting the fish excited. 

Ralph