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!

Monday 5 August 2013

Trip #32 – Hendre Lake Trip 2 - Bream Bash(ish)

After last Monday’s trip down to Hendre lake (and my first fishing trip in well over a year) I was very enthusiastic about getting back out there and catching some more fish! Hendre Lake provided me with a great platform to re-master the forgotten basics of waggler and feeder fishing. A quick trip to Garry Evans earlier in the week to gather some intel on the best methods, meant that I left slightly more clued up on the best baits, locations and tactics to use on the lake. Jeff and I decided to get down to the lake for early morning to see if we could target some of the bigger slabs before the sun came out and killed off our chances, and we would also be joined by my Brother (also fishing) and Father (taking the photos).

Plenty of room for the 3 of us fish next to each other on the bank at Hendre Lake.

Hendre Lake is a large natural water with plenty of features, one of which is the old “river bed” which runs parallel to the sluice bank. I was advised that the best place to fish is on the left bank and target the river bed, which is slightly deeper and held the bigger fish. On arrival, our initial choice of pegs was scuppered by a string of Bivvy’s all along the “sluice” side, so we decided to fish the open water near the car park and picnic tables, which provided ample space for 3 anglers to fish side by side with room to spare.

Hitting the mark! (and the line clip)

Today’s plan of attack would be the swim feeder and if that died off the waggler (two methods which I often overlook in favour of using the pole). Unfortunately the dexterity in my hands still isn’t good enough to handle using a pole so it is was definitely back to basics with rod and line. Setting up my swim feeder, I picked a marker, set my line clip and began depositing a bed of bait in my chosen location. Bait Tech Evny method mix was my groundbait of choice today as I has been told this bigger fish in the lake favoured fishy smelling ground bait. Starting with “old faithful” double red maggot I cast out and set my rod down. The waiting game had begun! It wasn’t long before the rod was registering the steady pluck of a bite and on striking I connected with the first fish of the day, a perfectly scaled roach of a few ounces.

 After a few silver fish I switched hook baits to single red and single caster I cast back out. The bites took a little longer to register and compared with the ferocity of the greedy roach they were quite timid but on striking the bream had arrived. The first was a large skimmer of just under a 1lb. This was a good stamp of skimmer and steadily they started coming to the net all ranging between the 1 and 2lb mark. They culminated in a bream of just over 3lb’s, all falling to single red maggot and caster.

I had been happily catching fish for the best part of 2½ hours without realising the time, but now the bites were becoming more infrequent and slowly but surely the sunshine was starting to peer through the clouds. Re-casting I set my rod down, 10 slow minutes past when my rod ripped around. This was something better! My rod was showing the steady kick of something scrapping away under the surface, and after a few tentative minutes of bringing the fish closer to the bank it gave one last kick and shed the hook! Gutted! I brought in my line and was about to recast when I noticed a Grebe surface in my swim and was busy gobbling down a Roach.

My brother who was fishing the method feeder was steadily catching bream too, all around the 1lb mark, and all falling to banded 8mm pellet (despite trying a variety of other baits). He did notice that the fish seemed to come on in spells. But with the 50+ Canadian geese flying into and out of the lake on the one side of his swim and the swimming dogs on the other it wasn’t surprising that his bites were intermittent. Jeff who was targeting carp was also into his first fish of the day. A skimmer of just under 1lb. On a 16mm Pellet! These bream will eat anything!
Rather than facilitate an all you can eat buffet for the Grebe now clearing up my swim, I decided to set up a waggler and target some of the other silver fish the lake had to offer. I plumbed my swim at just under 4 feet, with my peg having a silty bottom I decided to fish 1 ft under depth trying to target fish on the drop. Using a size 18 and single maggot or caster on the hook the fish were there in abundance. Firing out a pouch of maggots quickly brought a quiet swim back to life; it was quite simply “a fish a chuck”. If you want a day of constantly catching roach, rudd and skimmers, I cannot recommend this lake enough.
Unlike some of its commercial competitors Hendre Lake offers any angler regardless of experience the chance to catch fish. What’s more is it offers variety, and although there are good quality carp in the lake, you actually have to work to catch them unlike the suicidal F1’s which throw themselves at your landing net. The lake is also big enough to facilitate teaching events similar to those that use to take place on Roath Park Lake. Events such as these are a great way on encouraging the younger generation to get into fishing.
Fishing the waggler I lost count after 50 fish, but I could have quite easily kept catching fish on this method all day, despite the blazing sunshine. One annoyance that I have found in the last 2 instances of fishing this lake however is that some of the pedestrians coming through the park persist in screaming in a variety of colourful languages around the park. However, having such a large park next to such an inhabited area will always mean the banks are visited by the occasional character.  That said, the people I spoke to and the children who came to watch me catch fish were very polite and asked me questions which I was happy to answer, they even released one of the skimmers I caught.
Having fished Hendre Park Lake twice it is clear that the lake has a lot more to offer and I will certainly be going there again. It is a great location and size to provide sport and entertainment for all anglers. Whether you are re-learning the basics, mastering a new technique or just pleasure fishing, there is plenty of fun to be had. I would definitely recommend arriving early though, as I found out the sun comes out and the big fish go quiet. I may also be worth walking that little bit further away from the car park to remove yourself from the heavy foot fall that the nearest bank receives (unless you don’t mind a bit of company).
If you are new to fishing and want some variety on a natural water give Hendre Lake a whirl, you’ll be hooked in no time!


Unknown said...

Top tip - I've since found out a lot of the match anglers use Sensas 3000 Breme with fishmeal. That is their bait of choice for Hendre.

Unknown said...

Any tips for winter fishing down there ? Like you I have just got into fishing again after a long break of 15 years, last time I fished hendre was 1994. I took a walk around there today and was quite surprised to see a few roach topping after the frost we had today, what's best bait ? Waggled/pole or feeder ?? Cheers

Unknown said...

Hi Vincent, Hendre lake is stuffed full of fish, especially roach, perch and bream. Best bait if it's silver fish you're after is Red Maggots. Fished on the cage feeder. Pellets also do well but anything smaller than 6mm will get hammered by anything. This time of year the left bank fishes the best (as it does for the rest of the year), a quick cast with a plain lead will show you where the stream bed is. Pole and waggler do well, again on maggots, but alot better in the spring/summer.

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