Sunday, 29 May 2011

An Intimate Return

After having enjoyed our recent trip to that so very intimate of lakes,myself and Robert were desperate to get back to it again,I could not wait,especially after having sampled how delightful it is to play fish on a centrepin,as well as also finding the lake to have a population of Silver Bream,a fish which has garnered my interest even more so since reading Jeff Hatt's numerous stories of his fishing trips in search of this most dainty and enigmatic of fish.

Upon arrival at the lake,the wind was certainly blowing rather steadily and as sods law dictated,I had forgot my fleece,such is life.I decided after having a look at a few areas to setup next to an island,which had some lovely reeds alongside it as well as some nice marginal bushes,with the wind pushing bits of food into this particular corner and insects dropping off the overhanging tree at regular intervals,was enough to convince me that it looked a very good fish holding spot.

Robert had setup further down in a rather nice spot with a sunken,marginal bush adjacent to his swim and was feeding in some corn and 10mm boilies around it,he would once again be putting his feeder rod to use alongside this feature.

With it being windy and being only my second trip out with the centrepin,it was making for some fraught but amusing moments,on more than one occassion the float was close to hanging from the nearby tree like a damsel in distress.After about ten minutes,the float tilted and slid away beneath the surface and I was met by a very lively Carp of 4lb.

I had been feeding in a light amount of hemp and sweetcorn mixed with some finely blended Vitalin and strawberry groundbait from my last trip and it was proving nice and effective,it was not long before I was catching some lovely hand sized Roach as well as a few Silver Bream including one which I had wish I had weighed now,and which I estimated was between 8 to 12 ounces,I'm now really beginning to wonder what kind of potential this lake has for throwing up a large Silver Bream,as there seems to be a chance that it could.

A little later on I recived a call from Robert that he was into his first fish of the day,a frisky fish of 4lb 8oz on the 10mm boilie and like so many of the fish in this lake it was in lovely condition and still had its curtain intact.

On returning to my swim I found one of the Canadian Geese with its head inside my groundbait bucket,greedily trying to consume all the contents,it was rather shocked to see me behind it and proceeded to charge off nearly taking said bucket with it,a rather comical sight to say the least.I had been having quite a few more smaller Carp which were finding their way to my net by route of maggot.

Inbetween the Roach Bream and Carp,I had been giving a cursory glance to the odd rustle of the reeds alongside me and noticed a lovely pair or yellow lips coming up every so often and slurping down insects,I couldn't resist the temptation of some freelined bread and upon casting was hoping this fish was feeling the same way.A quick dab in the water for casting weight and a cube of bread was placed by the reeds,I noticed a vortex in the water nearby and a few minutes later a pair of lips appeared "sluuuurp",bread gone and the water erupted as the hook was set,and a lean,mean,golden torpedo tore off,the centrepin whirred into life,the fish was very lively and made numerous surging runs for the nearby island and bushes,eventually the net slipped under it and an immaculate,lean,golden bar of 4lb 8oz was sat resting in the net.

As this fish was slipped back,I decided to take a look in on Robert for a cup of tea and a chinwag about a Tench I had seen in the margins and just as we was contemplating another biscuit or two,as is so often the case,when you go to do something or eat,the fish seem to know and a bite occurs,this was such a moment as Robert's feeder rod looped round and he was into another Carp,which had an old piece of landing net still attached to its dorsal,why whoever had caught this fish could not have removed it in the first place,is beyond me and the fish could have quite easily became tethered.

With just the company of the water fowl and the odd Deer which padded its way about in the fields nearby us,an angler can't really ask for more than that.Early evening called and having seen a couple of Carp clooping about,close into the island,I felt it was time to give some more freelined bread a go.The piece of bread was met with some hesitant trepidation,as the fish circled it,mouthing it from different angles but resisting sucking it in fully.Just as one of the Moorhens were becoming a little too aware of there being some bread nearby,the line sped off across the surface and I was into a fish that decided to charge off anti clockwise around the island,crashing through the family of Moorhens as it went,their shrill cries of alarm reverberating around the lake,after an entertaining fight I slipped the net underneath another scaley torpedo of 4lb 5oz.

It had turned out a nice sunny,settled evening and the wind had also died down,it really was picture perfect and I was contentedly admiring the evening sunlight and shadows on the lake when Robert called me over as he had a fish in the net,a slim Jim also of 4lb 5oz.

I thought this may have been our final fish of the evening as the light was fading and we was pondering on getting packed up,the joy of just having the one rod to focus on meant I was sorely tempted for one last cast,you know the type "I'll just have one final cast,only one more",where you can't help yourself but really want to,with just the bread left and rest of the bait packed up,I flicked out one final crust alongside a couple of free offerings,once again near the reeds.

Daylight was fading away and a light mist was developing on the lake when I had my final full blooded take off the surface,I can't think of a more exciting way of fishing,a real adrenaline rush,the pin crackled off and this fish felt more bullish as it sped off out from the reeds and island,into the open and surged back round to come alongside some of the overhanging bushes near the island.After quite a few long runs I had a lovely looking fish of 5lb5oz as my reward.

It had been a lovely days fishing,Robert and I had thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Intimate Tranquility Video

Friday, 20 May 2011

Intimate Tranquility

I had decided it was time to get out for a trip on a stillwater,in that respect I would say we are spoilt for choice in Berkshire,but commercials do not really do anything for me or Robert,they don't really have the same allure that most overgrown pits and quiet forgotten lakes have and with that in mind we decided to head to an old lake that we had never fished before,but had taken a look at over a year ago,after finding out that it had some Crucian and old strain wild Carp,combined with Crabtree esque surroundings was enough to make us eager for a spot of fishing on it.The lake itself is surrounded by tree's,rhododendrons and reed beds dotted along the margins,it had a magical,peaceful feeling surrounding it.

Robert had setup in his own little spot with a willow tree next to him,deciding to fish a single ledger using some 10mm boilies that I had made for him a few days prior.I decided to fish further down into an area of the lake where it was silty and had some marginal reed growth,with some nice overhanging trees one side,I decided to use some more traditional baits,bread,maggot and sweetcorn being what I had brought,along with some sweet strawberry and scopex cloudbait mixed with crushed hemp,casters and maggots.

I decided to bring the Cortesi Centrepin with me so I could learn how to use it and break myself in with it,I really could not think of any better place to do so then on such a lake,the float had not been in the water long when I caught my first fish a small roach on a size 14 and double maggot,it was during having a sip of a cup of tea that I noticed one of the lake's rocket shaped carp, slurping up a surface soup of insects,I decided to suspend a small piece of bread just below the surface nearby to where he was,slurp slurp,closer and closer it came and all of a sudden the bread was gone and the line zipped across the water,I lifted in and was met by that typical cranky run such Carp do,as it decided to go from 0 to 60mph in the blink of an eye.The Cortesi sang a merry tune and to be fair,It felt superb,but alas the fight was short lived as the hook pulled out.

Little did I know that this was going to be the topic of the day,how to lose fish due to what I believed was very soft lips,but I also partly attributed it to my lack of experience with playing fish on a centrepin.

Robert's rod had been rather silent until now,unsuprising when fishing a bottom bait during such a warm day,but later in the day I noticed him with his feeder rod hooped over and saw he had a very lively fish on,which turned out to be one of the lakes old inhabitants,a slim wild Carp of 4Lb 3oz,shaped like a golden bullet.

Meanwhile I was having a few more immaculate silvers including my first few small silver Bream,a fish I didn't even know populated this lake,which was suprising and added to the mystique of this water.The Crucians however were being as fickle as only Crucians can be and were not being very willing to say the least,so I decided to try further round the lake as I had spotted some more Carp mooching about by the reeds,another small cube of bread was slid up above the hook and this time freelined just outside of the area where the fish were patrolling,ten minutes later a light yellow pair of lips appeared and sucked in the small cube of bread,the line snaked out and I set the hook,all hell broke lose.The fish charged off along the reeds,rod hooped over centrepin whirring and me trying to gain a modicum of control over said fish,I have never felt so much feeling of direct contact with a fish prior to using a centrepin and it really was something else,every run I felt more directly involved and just controlling the pin during each dashing run was so very pleasurable.It was not long before a turbo charged torpedo shaped,wild Carp of 4Lb9oz was sat in the net.

The day wore on,the sun was now easing and Robert had without telling gone on to land another two fish both on the 10mm boilie mix including one of 4Lb and a beautiful spawn laden female of 6Lb+ which he felt needed to go back straight away,not wanting to unduly stress the fish with a picture.

I had by now landed two more Carp in another spot on corn,both were very much perfection in minature.Both looking like they had never seen a hook before.

I was also rather enjoying some good sport from the lakes Roach and got them going very well on the strawberry and scopex cloudbait,every bite followed by a lovely hand sized red finned Roach what more could an angler ask for?

Then it began,I decided to change from single to double corn,rod swung across,float settling in line with the reeds,all was calm save for the odd patch of fizzing,the float then decided to shoot out and lay flat,whilst zipping across the side of the reeds,I struck,the fish responded by stripping line at a rapid pace,the Corstesi pin crackled into life,I tried to gain line on this fish,which felt more bullish than the others had,applying some side strain,I managed to get the fish to come back directly in front of me,but this was only for a fleeting moment and this fish was clearly having none of it,deciding to take off along the far bank tree line,with me fingering the centrepin drum as much as I possibly could risk doing.After around three minutes of playing,the hook slipped yet again,the fish was gone,my heart was in mouth with excitement as I mulled the loss over a flask of tea with Robert.

This then went on to happen with three more fish,hook pulls on all three and led me to believe that they seemed to be pretty soft lipped and needed playing more delicately,which wasn't easy given some of the reeds and overhanging bushes.

It was late Evening when I had my final Carp,once more on a small cube of bread next to an overhanging tree,I sat a way back from the edge of the margins,just enough to watch the bread and see the line as it vanisehd in a flash,I purposely played this fish as delicate as I could allow given any snags and the 4lb hooklink,it was another lovely looking Carp of 4Lb6oz.

I have to say I really enjoyed spending the day using the centrepin as I felt more in control of the fish,but at the same time being so used to using a fixed spool reel,it was like going from driving a car with automatic gears to one with manual,a learning curve,but really enjoyable one and ultimately very pleasurable.Whilst Robert and I slowly packed up,we both remarked that it had been a lovely peaceful way to spend a days fishing on this old looking lake,I think Bernard Venables put it most apt when he said:

"Our times are strange times, with a sort of fever on them. Men, who should have their feet on living soil, are shut up in sky-offending towers of flats; great towns sprawl and breathe foul fumes, not air. Crafts die and machines are master; cold plastic replaces the honesty and nature of wood. We, citizens of the chemists' era, must search with a kind of panic for those rooting tendrils that should unite us to our true origins"

Amen to that indeed.