The bit you should read.

I’ve always been an angler and after around the country moving I wanted to discover and document the best places to fish (where ever I might be) in the way of rivers, lakes, canals and ponds. When previously fishing in South Wales I often fished in club and winter league matches, however living up north presented me with new challenges, venues and angling clubs that I acquainted myself with. Now down in the South West I plan to do the same.

This fishing blog details my angling adventures around the UK (although depending where I am in the country I also sea fish from both Boat and Shore, Carp, Pike and Fly fish). I will be giving a summary of 3 values considered by most anglers as well as the additional Disabled Access rating. Since being diagnosed with CIDP and regaining my motor function Disabled angling and Disabled access is now something I always consider when visiting venues. They will all be rated on a scale of 1* to 5*;

1. Fishability *****

2. Accessability *****

3. Value for Money *****

4. Disabled Access *****

I think these 4 points are the key issues which are readily identifiable with all anglers. Feel free to take a look and add your own comments along the way!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Trip #77 - Revels - Canal Lake

Today was part 2 of my fishing weekender, and to be honest I got off to a bit or a foggy start. Catching up with the rugby the previous evening while celebrating a glorious Welsh win meant that plans of a very early start were off. I had a few things I needed to get done in the evening so I opted out of fishing Avalon or Sedges and the hour+ drive that that involves, and went for something a bit closer to home. Revels is a venue 30 minutes away and with several lakes to choose from I was curious to see how this venue would fair after the cold spell. Having fishing the "Dead Tree" lake previously I also wanted to see what the other lakes had to offer.

Despite the dead tree, this lake was the Canal Lake
Arriving at the venue and dodging several kamikaze pheasants on the way, I paid my £6 and went for a quick walk around the complex. There were a lot of pegs to choose from, but after spotting some carp held up in the corner of the canal lake I choose my peg and went to collect my gear. Getting to the peg and setting up my gear my 2 lines of attack were, 2 o'clock at 7 meters to the dead tree (and Canal lake), targeting silver fish, and 13 meters between 9 and 12 o'clock on the opposite margin targeting carp. These are almost exact the same tactics I used on my last visit and I was hoping to replicate the previous results too.

It was quite cold this morning so to start I fed the tree swim with maggots and casters and fed to margin with a few grains of corn and 4mm pellets, for rigs I would and topkits I would be using;

  • Topkits 1 (Loose 8) and 2 (Loose 10) - Matrix Micron Power 3.12lb line, 0.4 Rizov float straight through to a Kamasan B911 Size 16.
  • Topkits 3 (14) and 4 (16) - Middy Lo-Viz 5.2lb line, 0.3g NG Diamond float straight through to a Preston PR 456 Size 16. 

Plumbing the far shelf I was surprised how shallow it was and after a fair bit of plumbing around I found a slightly deeper section (by 3 inches) and set the depth. The tree swim was deeper than anticipated at around 5ft, but starting on this line with double maggots, it was clear that the fish were taking the bait on the drop. The bites would be fairly instant when the bait was falling through the water but as soon as it reached the deck the fish would take longer to find the bait, with no increase in fish size. I shallowed up one of my roach rigs and altered the shots to an “on the drop” pattern. The bites were coming thick and fast, and after throwing in a small handful of maggots I had a good stream of Roach and Rudd, although none of which were netters.

Glancing over at the margin swims I could see a small “plip” of bubbles on the surface, I cubed up some meat and shipped out to 13 meters positioning my hookbait right in the middle of the 3 inch hole. After 30 seconds I had a few small indications, so I lifted the float to re-position my bait, the float began to edge off to the right (behind the tree). Striking, the fish took off, and after a huge boil in on the surface everything went slack and I was left with a scale on the hook. I must have fouled the fish moving my bait around. I re-baited with meat and shipped back out. It wasn’t long before I was getting indications again and within 2 minutes I was in to another fish. This one took off too and only after some rigorous persuasion and 2 near misses with last minute lunges at my platform did it finally give in and flop into my net. A nice fish of over 7lb - putting the fish back it swam headfirst into the platform leg, before turning and swimming off towards the broken tree. Plonker.

I fired out a few pellets and corn then shipped back out. This time with cylindered meat rather than cubed, with no indications after 3 or 4 minutes (I’m impatient) I started moving my rig down the length of the margin, roughly 2ft away from where I was initially fishing. A few minutes past before the float bobbed and went under, I was in to another Carp, although this one was a fair bit smaller. The fish didn’t look like it have ever been caught before, so no wonder it put up such a scrap! I had 4 more in quick succession all fish between 4 – 7lb, although I lost another 2, 1 of which snapped me about 6 inches above the hook!

Meat was definitely doing the business as long as the fish stayed on the bottom, but with the sun now out, I could see fish milling around the surface, occasionally taking floating particles. Not something I expected to see on a cold morning in March! My last fish made a beeline for a snag, and would have stayed stuck had it not swam straight out (dislodging itself) and into open water. The act of freeing itself spooked the rest of the fish in the swim where they all retreated to the safety of the rear side of the fallen tree. I had a quick walk around the bank and could see 4 or 5 fish basking in the sun, well out of the reach of any poles.

Hoping the carp swim would settle, I went back on the silver line and managed a good run of silver fish with the biggest roach of just qualifying as a netter! I stayed on this line for 45 minutes to an hour, when I saw the carp cruising back up and down the margins on the opposite bank. It was almost a repeat performance of earlier in the morning, only this time the fish became spooked after 3 made it to the net.

My last fish of the day was a bit of a fluke. Time was getting on and I decided to call it a day around 3, but before packing up I wanted a cup of tea. Holding the pole at 13 meters was getting tiring, so, in my laziness I balanced my pole on a tree about 10 meters away, while still managing to keep my rig in the water.

Half way through my cuppa’ the float bobbed under and I was into my last fish of the day. A carp of around 3-4lbs. It was a bit hairy really! Having to bully the fish out from behind a tree, while trying not to get my pole caught in a branch. Not for the feint hearted. All in all it was a very enjoyable day but to be quite honest the venue fished almost exactly as it did on my previous visit which only confirmed my view that the lakes are stocked pretty equally and with the same stamp of fish. Although I will return to Revels I won’t review the place again (unless I go on the Predator Lake). I was also very fortunate (this time) to have sufficient bank space behind me to ship back, which is probably one of my only gripes about this venue. Everything, including the lakes are squashed in.  The tackle store as usual was absolutely brilliant and I could have easily spent a lot of money on various fishing goodies!

As a rating I would say;

Fishability - ****

Accessability - **** (Sat Nav got a bit confused and told me it was on the right as I approached, but actually it was the left)

Value for Money - **** (£6, a great price for such a good days fishing)

Disabled Access - *** (You may be able to fish some of the nearer lakes, with larger pegs, but the lakes further away from the car park would be difficult to get to by wheel chair as the paths are very narrow.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Trip #76 - Lands End Specimen

A solid weekend of fishing was going to begin on Lands End Specimen Lake. I was up and out the door very early (I had to take my wife to the train station for 6am), and manage to arrive at the venue just after 7. Unsurprisingly I was the only person at the complex at that time, although I was aware that a match would be held on the ones of the other lakes. I had read Tony Rixon's blog back in Feb, so made a beeline for peg 34 and began unloading ... once I'd had a cup of tea. A quick note on the drive to Lands End along Jack's Drove. I have never seen so many herons, massive blue ones and smaller white ones all busy spearing fish from the road side rhynes, I really should have brought a proper camera. 
Peg 34 on Lands End Specimen

Monday, 6 April 2015

How to Guide – The “Twizzled Loop”

Looking forward to this season I need to improve several aspects of my fishing, they include;
  • The long pole – All to often I fish at 9 or 11 meters and when required to fish out at 13m+ I find all skill packs up and leaves and I repeatedly slap the water or spill my feed from my cups, disturbing the fish and missing vital bites.
  • Waggler Fishing – I aim to fish venues which are more than X number of pole sections wide, hopefully it will help improve my cast accuracy too!
  • Feeder and straight lead fishing -  I need to fish the feeder and straight lead more often and practicing it in the summer, when the fish are up and feeding is essential. It can be a deadly method in the winter, but all too often I fall back on the pole for those sure fire winter fish.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Trip #75 - End of Season Thuggery

It was the last day of the river season and I had been getting more and more excited as the week wore on, thinking about where I was going to go and what I was going to do. Unfortunately the weather had other plans. I checked the EA river levels website before I left and saw the ominous spike, but I still left with my gear and hoped to find somewhere that I could tuck myself away. 

The river was very high all day!

The constant rain from Wednesday onwards meant that when I arrived at the river at Hambridge, I saw straight away that I wasn't going to fulfil my plans of fishing the river. It was as high as I had ever seen it this year (although it has been much higher), and looking over the bridge and down at the bank, the bankings were water logged and were an inch or three under water. Getting back to the car I had a re-think of my plans and decided to give Dillington Pond a bash instead.

It was flying through

Monday, 23 March 2015

Trip #74 - A Thorney venue

I'm always weary of venues which advertise stocking levels, as follows "We have Carp up to 25lb's". What this generally means is there is 1 token big double in the lake along with a few little ones. Still I am not one to shy away from trying new venues, and with winters hold on the seasons slowly giving way to spring, I was quite hopeful that today would be a real confidence booster. I found Thorney lakes on a recent trip back from one of the local rivers, and after some internet searching I saw a lake that looked really promising.

Ignore the dates on this sign.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Trip #73 - Clear as Mud

As I only had a few hours to spare so today’s trip was going to be a short one. I'd spoken to one of my piker mates who told me the key to catching pike in (like anything really) is to put the hours in. Walk the banks, build a mental picture of their habitats and haunts, and when you've covered enough ground and cast a lure or bait enough, you should know where they are most of the time. Arriving at the river today it was clear that most of my day would be spent building that mental picture, as the water was the colour of mud! I'd kept an eye on the EA river levels website, (an invaluable tools as far as river fishing is concerned) and watched the river steadily drop.  What I didn't account for was the length of time it took for the river to lose its colour. Still, I was there on the river, so I’d give it a whirl.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Product Review - Savagegear 9' Parabellum Spinning Rod

As a blogger I get asked to review products from time to time, so when I was contacted recently by NETS, and asked to review some fishing equipment I didn't know what to expect. After a few emails, it seemed as though they wanted me to review one of a range of spinning rods. In this case the 9ft Savagegear Parabellum spinning rod. Wanting to do some predator fishing over the coming months it was fair to say that when this rod arrived in the post I was overjoyed at the prospect of getting it out on the bank and putting it through its paces.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Trip #72 - A Tale of two Halves MKII

As the end of the river season is fast approaching I've aimed my focus on many of the local rivers. To be honest I have a lot to choose from, and being a member of Ilminster Angling Association means the SLAC waters I can also visit have me spoilt for choice. This weekend I opted for the early approach and was up and out the door by 06:45. I aimed to cover a fair bit of water today and was intent on employing a lesson I had learnt from a previous session - "Be stricter with your time". With that in mind I arrived at the venue and intended on fishing a static bait, while wobbling another - moving on every half an hour. A short walk down a muddy lane and I had arrived, I had set up and was casting my first line before the sun broke the horizon, now let's see what’s about!

I held high hopes...

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Trip #71 - A Winter Wobble

The weather recently has been a constant state of freezing and for some reason whenever I’ve had chance to get out on the bank the wind has been howling too! Fishing in the winter can be a difficult business, and after reading several other blogs of anglers all persisting and fishing throughout these wintry months, the fish didn't seem to playing ball.  With the forecast set to continue, sitting perched on a box for several hours seemed like a cold waiting to happen. With that in mind, I decided on a change of tactic and opted for a roaming approach targeting some winter predators. Being a member of Ilminster Angling meant I have access to the Somerset Levels Amalgamation waters, so out came the map... and Google.

A great looking spot with lots of options

Sunday, 8 February 2015

How to guide - Using the Slider Float

After my recent trip to Shearwater I was contacted to explain how my set up. To be honest this was the first time I had fished the slider in a few years, so I was almost a case of re-teaching myself. The slider is a great method for float fishing deep venues on what could be described as almost normal waggler tactics. Unlike Polaris floats which work on a float/ledger principle, slider float fishing is essentially heavy duty waggler fishing. Once you have cracked it, it is a great method and viable alternative to fishing deep on the pole or short range bomb/feeder work. There are also a few hints and tips which make the whole process of fishing using the slider a whole lot easier.