Noise on the bank!

‘I’ve just fished a section with a dozen other anglers smashing the hell out of the frozen surface’

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You may know I’ve been fishing the Coventry canal league this winter in some not so great weather conditions.

After a week of snow and freezing temperatures the final round would be held on a frozen canal.

After a hard day I actually won the match over all with not a massive weight but not shy of 3lb.

Putting that to one side the conditions and how myself and other anglers actually caught from the seemingly impossible got me thinking and asking myself questions. How were we able to catch?

After all we hear people saying be quiet on the bank don’t splash feeders etc or you’ll spook fish off.

But hang on surely that has just been proved wrong. I’ve just fished a section with a dozen other anglers smashing the hell out of the frozen surface before fishing!.

Now the ice was a good 3 inch thick and it took most of us a good 45 minutes to break through enough to be able to fish.

The noise under the surface must of been deafening with repeated hammer blows all along the bank.

Swinging an icebreaker about means you can’t really go to far out roughly a top 5 or 6. Don’t forget this is a canal with not much more than 3ft of depth to it.

So hopefully I’m building a mental picture up for you.

So answer me this.

All in is called and after around 20 minutes I’m in to my first fish and I can see the angler to my right starting to catch to. But hadn’t we just spooked every fish off with in a mile of us?.

So are fish more inquisitive than we think, does the noise spook them off for only a short period of time only for them to return to find out what all the noise was?.

I like to think so, and by placing a small plate of food down there for them to find hopefully they’ll hang around.

Noise must play apart in fishing as in keeping it to a minimum. But I do think fish will come and investigate.

Maybe a new noise all day long will push fish away until it stops.

I seem to recall someone saying that they dropped a brick in to margins that spooked the fish but only for the them to return quite quickly to investigate.

Lots to think about and may a few experiments are needed.

Scott

A few hours at Springwood Fisheries

A few hours fishing at Springwood Fisheries in Derbyshire

Some time back I took a wander up to Springwood Fisheries just outside Melbourne, Derbyshire.

Now I had been to Springwood before all be it quite sometime ago and wow had it changed, what a cracking place it is now.  After a good chat with owners Jeff and Linda, I had to come back to wet a line.

So it wasn’t long before I managed to get a few hours one afternoon on the bank of Springwoods bottom lake.

With easy access straight from the car park it was nice to find quality pegs that are not too close together, and with features! So many fisheries these days just seem to be barren holes in the ground.

Other pluses for me were toilets and a cafe, toilets being spotless, I’d be more than happy to bring the wife along in the future.

Jeff, the man behind Springwood, came over for a chat and after talking to him it was more than clear he was a mad keen angler. I like this as I come across too many fishery owners that actually haven’t got a clue about fishing.  Jeff informed me there was a good head of mixed fish Ide, Carp and Tench, plus a few others just to mix it up a bit.  He also told me that the peg I had picked was a match winner the other day with 70 plus on the scales! Cool I’m really looking forward to this.

It was actually pretty hot that afternoon and with the sun beating down I had to use my brolley for a bit to keep the sun off.

Now I’m no commercial angler but I’m enjoying learning these style waters at the minute.  Not that you can really call Springwood a commercial as it’s a laid back, well presented place.

Anyway, I soon found out I was not quite set up for what was to come!  First off my rigs were too long, float size and line length.  A slight degree of improvisation was in order after plumbing up at around 8 mtr, I found 3ft with about a ft in the margins.  This rendered margin fishing out of the question as I’d just not got the right floats / rigs for this.

So two line’s of approach at 8mtrs out.  Baits armed with a bag of fishery own mircos a few red maggots and Marukyu JPZ toughs,  I’d also knocked up a very small amount of Marukyu EFG 131 (love this stuff,) and my little secret weapon home spiced meat (proper hot chilli).

First off I potted a hand full of micros out along with a golf ball size ball of EFG 131 with double maggot on a size 16 T83-13.  I’d planned to use a toss pot to keep adding a pinch of micros and maggots every put in.

To say it wasn’t long before to swim was bubbling away like a ‘good un’ is a bit of an understatement.  With my float being knocked about all over the place I was hoping I wasn’t going to foul hook anything!  Soon the float buried and I was soon slipping the net under a cracking Ide.  A few more Ide fell to double maggot when I thought I’d give the JPzs a go.  For this I changed over to my second rig, which had a Middy meat screw hook link.  Meat screw for pellets? Yes they’re great for all manner of soft baits like JPzs, meat, cheese and even soft hook pellets.  Well, the resident Tench seemed to love these black JPzs with a few gracing the landing net, plus a couple of small carp.

This is great fun, let’s have a go with meat.  This was sort of a good idea, but I didn’t expect what was going to come. It would seem the lakes bigger residents loved the taste of hot spicy meat and would punish me for hooking in to them!

The battle was on, so much so that Jeff and my fishing friend Dave came over to A) see what the hell was towing me all over the lake, and B) to completely have a laugh at my expense.  After a battle on far too light an elastic, yet it proved that Middy’s Hi-Viz hollow ain’t half got some stretch!  Landing net out I was struggling with out a puller, there was just so much stretch.  A lunge at it with the landing net saw the hook link finally go! And a roar of banter came from Jeff and Dave!

A quick change of hook length to a Middy meat screw on my first rig saw me back out with a cube of meat in ever-increasing bubbles.  Seemed like seconds after the float settled that it was under and my elastic was out looking like a laser pen pointing at the Carp I’d just hooked.  A good battle later finally saw a cracking Carp grace the rim of the net. Got ya!

Well worth a visit to Springwood fisheries go and give it a go

Pole Float Confusion?

Confused? It’s not surprising with the vast array of pole floats out there to temped you, and if your like me you just can’t help yourself. ‘you can never have enough floats’.

There are loads of ready-made rigs out there these day’s many of which are really good the Middy X5 range are some of the best I’ve used. But there’s nothing like making your own rigs up, tailoring a rig for a venue yourself then catching on it always add’s to my enjoyment.

So where to start, is there a float that covers all bases, what size of float, what do I need? these are some of the many questions you might ask yourself.

To start with I would ignore all these floats that say this is for corn this is for pellet and this is for meat. Yes some shapes are better for certain baits but it can get to confusing to start with. The only venue that shape is more important is rivers, but we’ll touch on this later.

So how do you select one float from another?

You can make things easier by looking at a floats make up and design so lets start there.

Pick up any pole float and they’ll all be a variation of a shape. round, pear, straight, and diamond. They will all tend to be made of balsa, nylon, plastic, cane and wire. All these variations make a float act and work in different ways. We could go well in to depth with this but lets start with some easy to use basics.

A round shape will give better stability than a straight stick shape. But a straight stick will give better bite detection than a round shape as there is less resistance. So you wouldn’t want to use a straight float on a flowing venue like a river or even a lake in the wind. I would stir clear of straight pole floats until your knowledge and confidence builds.

Float make up is important and also makes a difference in how the float works. I will go in to this in another chapter, but to start with stick to carbon stems balsa bodies and plastic or nylon tips.

So is there such a thing as an all-rounder that suits just about all venues like lakes ponds and slow to medium flow rivers?.

In sort yes there is, what you’re looking for is a round-bodied float or sort of rugby ball shape. The best stem to look for is a nice long carbon or nylon stem, the tip of the float wants to be either nylon or plastic.

The long carbon stem and plastic/nylon tip with give good stability in all sorts of conditions with all sorts of baits. Making it ideal for fishing up to 10ft deep, fish this float at full depth shirt button style as you’ll get a nice even fall on the hook bait.In bigger sizes from 1 gram up wards you can bulk shot to get your hook bait down, bulk shotting by grouping the shot together will work better in deep lakes or moving water.image

A 4×14 / 0.4 gram sized float will cover many still water venues from around 4ft to 5ft deep, any deeper than this I would go for a minimum of 4×16 / 1/ 2 gram float. Pushing 10ft I would be reaching for a 4×20 / 1 gram float. Rivers slow moving I wouldn’t go any smaller than 1.5 gram and I would bulk shot the float at around 3/4 depth.

For fishing up in the water or really shallow margin areas. Look for a round bodied float with a short nylon stem and nylon tip. Shot shirt button style the float will normally lay flat on the surface before slowly sitting up right as each shot sinks.image

Shotting pole floats can be difficult, the use of small shot far from helping. One of the best things you can get for setting up pole floats is a Dosapiombo. This simple little device has neutral buoyancy in water, all you to do is clip your chosen pole float in to the top and place in a jar of water that is deep enough to allow the float to sink to the correct depth. I use a glass vase as shown in the picture below.

Slowly add shot or styles to the Dosapiombo until the float sits in the water at the correct height. The table below will help give you a rough guide on which size shot to use. One thing to bearing mind it that tap water in denser than river or lake water so you may need to remove a weight once at your chosen venue.

Why not down load and print off my easy to use guide to pole float shotting. It gives you a guide into float capacity in shot and Styls as well as an two options on shotting patterns. A prefect reference when your setting up your pole floats.

Down load my pole float shotting guide

Pole float size         Weight                    Equivalent in shot

3 x 10                         0.10g                          2 x No’10

4 x 10                          0.15g                          3 x No’9

4 x 12                          0.2g                            5 x No’10

4 x 14                          0.4g                            6 x No’8

4 x 16                          0.5g                            8 x No’8

4 x 18                          0.75g                          3 x No’3

4 x 20                          1g                                4 x No’3

5 x 20                          1.25g                           5 x No’3

6 x 20                          1.5g                             6 x No’3

All calculations are approximate

Want to know more, keep an eye out for the next chapter on Pole float confusion an in depth look.

A few Basic FAQ’s

Quick Fire FAQ’s and Tips

Do I need a rod licence?

If you are aged 12 and above you will need a rod licence, available to purchase from the Post Office or online.

Don’t forget a rod licence does not entitle you to fish anywhere. Many waters are club / society controlled. Good Tackle shops generally have these types of tickets and books for local clubs for you to purchase.

There are also lots of commercial day tickets waters that you can pay a fee to fish for the day, you can find adverts for many of these in the angling press like Angler’s Mail. You may also come across private syndicate waters that you pay a yearly fee for.

Can I fish all year round?

There is a closed season on all moving waters e.g. rivers, drains, streams and some canals. This operates from March 15th – June 16th .

Many canals can be fished all year round, check with the controlling club / society. You can also find information from the canals and rivers way trust.

Just about all commercial waters are open year round, but some do close for a period of time set by themselves.

A few additional pointers:

  • Always tell a family member where you are going.

  • Where practical take a spare set of clothes that can easily be left in a car.

  • It’s a good idea to carry an emergency foil body cover, especially if taking spare clothes is not practical.

  • Keep a bottle of alcohol hand gel in your kit.

  • Sun cream.

  • Plenty of drinks.

Top 10 tips

  1. Be safe

  2. Biggest key to fishing is bait.

  3. Learn your surroundings.

  4. Observe and learn, from nature and other anglers.

  5. Be quiet – fish can hear you.

  6. Keep it simple.

  7. Learn one method at a time.

  8. Don’t be taken in by media hype.

  9. It’s the angler that catches the fish not that £1000 pole.

  10. Enjoy and respect the great outdoors.

You can find more tips and fun things to read on my blog. stickfloat.wordpress.com

or pop along to the Angling trust website www.anglingtrust.net

Basic Items of Tackle

Other than rod and reel, or pole below is some basic items to make up your fishing kit:

Landing net and handle.

Some commercial fisheries will stipulate a unhooking mat (check first)

Disgorger

Plummet

A bait tub

Line clippers

A selection of mixed shot from 10 to SSG.

Spare pole rigs, pre tied is best to start with.

Spare floats, feeders or bomb leads if fishing rod and line.

Spare hook links, pre tied is best. Unless specimen carp fishing stick to sizes 18,16 and 14 barbless.

Something to sit on.

Small tackle box to keep everything safe.

First river match 2016

Was really looking forward to wetting a line on the river this session. Seemed like ages ago since river season came to a close back in March.  Typical that the weather took a turn for the worst just in time for opening day June 16th, with extreme down pours our three local rivers Trent, Derwent and Soar were raging. The actual water level didn’t rise as much as you would have thought with the amount of rain we had, but still the Soar was up from its normal level of 0.41 Mtr to 0.76 Mtr.

Myself and staff kept a close eye on the EA Kegworth metering station readings, fingers crossed that the river would stay steady and not rise any more by Sunday’s match on 19th June.

I have to admit that my fishing kit is not very organised these days and it is setting me back somewhat. If am going to get myself back properly into the match scene I’ve got to get my house in order.image

I fancied fishing the pole and the feeder. I’ve not fished the pole on a river for sometime now, but I knew the only other way I could fish the float was with my  16 ft float rod.  However, with the trees and bushes that lined the bank it wouldn’t be practical in some of the swims.image

Thankfully, I’d got a few river pole float rigs that Ihad tied a little while ago, only downside  was they were tied for a different venue and were too short! And as I soon found out not heavy enough even though they were 2 1/2gram!

So a quick bodge job adding some line to the rig, fingers crossed my knots hold.

Size 20 B511 to 0.08 (1.6 lb) bottoms to 0.10 (2 lb) main in Middy lov-viz, a nice soft 4 – 8 Hi viz hollow elastic.

Baits, the river is carrying some colour and is pushing through (more than I thought) Van Den Eyde River Ace Hemp Caster Red and white maggots were my choices. Hemp and Caster were mixed with the River Ace, small golf ball sized balls would build a steady carpet of bait for fish to home in on, though the coloured water plus the extra weight of the River Ace would help get the loose feed down though 12 ft of flowing water. Alternating from red, white and caster on the hook hopefully I’d be able to keep fish coming and pick the odd better fish up on caster. I also used a medium-sized bait dropper to top up loose hemp and caster.

I think my plan was not far wrong, but as mentioned earlier I was too light on float weight 2.5 gram just wouldn’t hold low in the water when inched through at half pace. I picked up lots of small skimmers plus the odd roach and perch, but could not get down to those bonus fish. I did pick one good skimmer up only to be hit by Mr Pike! The only plus side to this was it showed my set up was well balanced. The pike was not for letting go and all I could do is put for a break, would my hook length break? – would it heck as like! Anyone watching could have thought I was on 10 lb line, the more I or the pike pulled the more the elastic soaked up the strain. Thankfully the hook length finally gave in, but that much-needed skimmer ended up as dinner for Mr Pike.image

With the match won on 6 lb 14 oz ,and me coming in at 1 lb 12 oz. I wasn’t las,t but I had learnt a lot and enjoyed a great few hours out on the bank.

Micros 

Micro pellets an anglers best friend. Whether your a match angler, specimen hunter or just a causal pleasure angler today’s modern fisheries are hooked on pellets.

Whether your using them as hook baits or lose feed, pellets should be apart of your bait armory.

I myself use 2mm aka micros a lot on commercial type fisheries. They make up a good part of my little and often feed pattern. Every put in with the pole I will kinder or toss pot a small mix of 2mm pellets along with either maggots or casters.

I often hear people saying they’ve used 2mm pellets but they float, The main reason being is people just used them straight from the bag, well why wouldn’t you!

In essence yes you can but many commercial fishery pellets have like biscuit crumb make up that traps air thus can make them float. The trick to making them sink easily is to dampen them ‘just slightly though’.

I use one of those garden plant spray thingy’s this gives me ultimate control and stops me completely soaking them. I can also flavour the water to give me an added edge, especially if I have to use fishery own pellets.image

There are micros that as a rule sink with out any prep, Pellets like Marukyu’s Skrill or Jpelletz seem to sink perfectly every time straight from the bag.

So next time your fishing micros as lose feeding them over a pole line and they float, have ago at lightly damping them.

A frantic few hours for the cameras

A hot and bright Wednesday afternoon in April saw a frantic rush about to collect littleman from playgroup, grab some kit and off down to Kegworth club water to meet Steve Collett and Ian the photographer for a feature shoot for Anglers Mail.

It was a great few hours with Steve and Ian the photographer. Littleman didn’t really want to have his picture taken and was very shy in front of two people he’d not met before. But Steve got him involved asking him to take control of the camera.

  

In the end against the odds we pulled it off. Fish in the bag under pressure in near melting heat.

  

You can find our feature with Steve in May 10th edition of Anglers Mail.