6lb Common Carp (approximately)
12lb Mirror Carp
This is the record of a keen angler. In this blog I will share my experiences and pass on tips and information about what works for me as I continue to develop my fishing skills.
I only had two runs on the "sleeper" rod, one of which was a really blistering run which I managed to miss somehow, and at the very end of my session, a couple of clicks of my reel resulted in the fin perfect Carp below, that put up a very determined effort which belied the fact he or she was only about nine pounds. I particularly like the redness of the fins, and the perfect scale pattern, a fine example of a common.
"Fin Perfect Common Carp"
I thoroughly enjoyed my session at the lake, and was now well and truly excited about the prospect of Pike fishing on Tuesday. I always wash my rods, reels and sort all my tackle out on return from fishing, and this trip was no exception, in fact if anything I was even more thorough than usual. My wife says I spend more time washing my fishing tackle than I do the car, and I am slightly ashamed to admit this is the case. It's just another symptom of my fishing addiction. Yesterday was spent browsing blogs (fishing of course or fishing porn as my wife calls it!), washing the cars (I had been shamed into it) and I spooled my Shimano Twin Power XT-RB reel with fresh line. This reel has a fantastic line-lay and drag system, it's the best reel I have and would be more than suitable for Pike. Everything was set for my adventure!. I called Bob to see if everything was still alright his end, and double checked the directions to where we would meet up. The fall was only five hours away at this point, with the first signs of nausea coming before I even ate my evening meal. I tried to dismiss the nausea at first but it continued to build over the next few hours, and I am sure you can guess the rest. Suffice to say I didn't stray far from the bathroom. At 4am this morning I was still kidding myself that I would still make it to Exeter for 10am. At eight this morning I surrendered to the fact I had contracted Norovirus and contacted Bob to make my apologies. He was really understanding, saying he would no doubt go fishing anyway with nothing else planned. All I could think was aargh!!. I guess I tempted fate and suffered a bad case of a fall following pride, and what do they say about the best laid plans again. There is always another day I guess, but it will be some time before Bob is available again as he going to visit his daughter in sunny California next week for two months. Oh well, I will just have to give it a go myself when I am next off. Could be exciting!
The specimen lake is very popular with experienced anglers, and as a result to guarantee a peg you normally need to book in advance, even at this time of year. On phoning the fishery I was informed that there was some maintenance being completed to some of the specimen lake pegs and staging, and after discussion with the very friendly owner reserved a ticket for the 20 peg match lake which is well stocked with Rudd, Roach, Bream, Perch, Chub and Carp but the sizes of these tend to be around a maximum of 5lbs with plenty of "pasties". On arrival at the lake and with the formalities of paying out the way I was given some sound advice and purchased some red maggot which I have to say were excellent quality and at the same price as local tackle shops.
I initially found the fishing a bit on the tough side, and I am sure that this was partly due to me not knowing the venue, but also down to the strong easterly wind that blew up causing a significant and rapid drop in temperature. All this aside, I followed the advice given to me and fished one rod on a feeder set up and float fished with the other. After a slow start where for the first 2 hours I blanked rather spectacularly, I managed to get the small Roach on the feed, and following this the Perch kicked in along with a steady flow of very small Carp of less than a pound. Not spectacular fishing but it kept the chill at bay. I recast the feeder rod to the same spot around every 10 - 15 minutes and eventually after a few more small pastie carp, and one of about 6lbs that spit the hook at the net, I managed to add two new species to my coarse fishing list, these being Bream and Chub, again small, around the 1lb mark. I will definitely be going back to this fishery; really wanting to try the specimen lake, and would dearly like to add Catfish to my species list if at all possible. Full details of this fishery can be found at http://www.townparks.net/
The following day was much sunnier, though the temperature seemed a lot lower in the wind chill of a fresh north-easterly wind. Anyway, with my wife planning to go out to lunch with her sister and the kids at school, I grabbed the opportunity to fish another new venue, this being Filham Park Lake. This lake along with others is owned and managed by the Plymouth and District Coarse Angling Club, though on this particular water the non-club angler is able to purchase a day ticket for the very reasonable sum of £6.50. This lake was opened in 2005 having around 20 pegs and is stocked with Bream, Tench, Roach, Rudd, Carp, both mirror and common, a few Koi-Carp, and I am told, one Grass Carp. There was no other anglers on the lake when I arrived at about 9.30am, so I was unable to get any information on how best to fish it. I fished at peg 17 around the middle of the lake and set up the same outfits as at Town Parks. I quickly discovered that the bottom seemed to be a bit weedy, but with a bit of searching around I found a bit clearer area and managed a few very small Bream about the size of my hand. On the float rod I was kept busy with almost suicidal small Roach about the size of my palm, and the odd "pastie" Carp of around 12oz to 1lb. I briefly hooked into something considerably more powerful, which eventually snapped the very light 2lb hook-link I was using. Following this the sport returned to building a bag of Roach, Bream and small Carp, and the bonus of two small Tench of about 1/2lb which were taken on the float rod. At about 1pm a club member turned up and I got some very useful information about how well the lake fishes through the spring and summer. The gentleman, George said the lake had been stocked with varying sizes of Bream, and Tench with the biggest around the 3 - 4 lb mark, but these seemed to be off the feed in this cold snap. I was surprised to see George fishing with bread-flake especially as the small Roach seemed to descend on it almost as soon as it hit the water. I was packing up when I saw George strike into a fish and after a short fight he landed a Carp which when weighed came in at 13lb 4oz, a PB for George.
Filham Park Lake
Full details of the Plymouth and District Coarse Angling Club and information about Filham Park and the clubs other waters can be found at http://www.padcac.co.uk/.
I felt challenged by going to two different venues on consecutive days, but reassured that I still managed to catch in difficult conditions. As a result of the change I caught different species to add to my list, and this was a welcome change, and in a strange way I enjoyed scratching out small fish, and I have always said "you can only catch what is in front of you". Filham is another water I will definitely go back to along with Town Parks and I would like to catch bigger Bream, and Tench which are very beautiful fish. I intend to visit the Exeter Shipping Canal area during my next off-rota period to have a crack at another form of fishing. This will be even more daunting due to the depth of the canal, something I am not used to in coarse fishing. Exeter Canal has a good head of Pike and these will be my target species when I visit the area. I spoke to a very helpful gentleman at Exeter Angling Centre today who suggested a few popular and productive marks. I will visit the shop prior to fishing as they also sell the day permits, giving me the opportunity to get more information and ensure I have the right terminal tackle to do the job. I will keep you posted about that next adventure.