Monday 24 August 2009

Wild Weekend in Wales

PhotobucketWith Devon feeling increasingly like Blackpool, this weekend was time to find a little space and hopefully some interesting fishing. I had been eyeing up Pant y Llyn, a stunning wild carp lake near Builth Wells, for a while. It started with a long trip in Rob Darby's "classic" feel van, an experience in itself! The windows don't work, the stereo is long dead and the heating has stuck on max- it's the closest I've come to a sauna since Finland!
The lake itself looked about a million miles away from the average carp pond; remote, high up and weedy, a beautiful, weedy mire of a place that looked full of promise:

The lake required a fair walk around, and a fair bit of work with a weed rake and a bucket of bait to get things moving- in the afternoon sun all was motionless, except the occassional bulge in the thick of about seven acres of weed! After moving swims however, we were excited to see clouded up water and a fin emerge. Rob struck first- a simple float set up with hair rigged corn tempting a lovely wildie of around four pounds.
These are amazing creatures- hardly fished for, despite having been in the lake for centuries. They differ from stockies- the profile is leaner, the colour darker, with an elongated dorsal fin that nearly reaches the tail. I managed to catch the next, a smaller sample, before we exchanged puzzled looks over a trio of unexpected chub.

After a stay at the Lion Inn in Builth it was then time to hit the River Wye near Winforton with chub and barbel in mind. It was a dour day, but what a river. We saw salmon jump, gangs of swallows dipping and several good looking areas to try. A bed of hemp and pellets got some interest from chub but we never did find the barbel- a three pound chub was the best catch, a lovely fit fish if not a monster. PhotobucketAbove all though, Wales delivers in seclusion and adventure- no littered banks, chavs or local know it alls to kill the mystery. We will be back!

Sunday 16 August 2009

Method Feeder for Sea Fishing?

PhotobucketAs someone who is always coming up with hare brained ideas, it was good to test out a novel little twist this weekend. A method feeder incorporated in a sliding float set up? Sounds odd, but I reckoned it could work pretty well- a half ounce float using a method feeder and fairly short hooklength buried inside an oily, sticky mix.
Rob Darby joined me on a trip to Torquay harbour, to dodge grockle boxes (that's my Westcountry speak for touring caravans) and fish a windswept sea wall.
The going was fairly slow, with lots of the regulars biteless. Gratifying then, that this offbeat idea worked pretty well on the day- you get no annoying tangles and a potent groundbait mix right by uour hookbait on every cast. The mackerel were oddly scarce, but we had one a piece, along with garfish- that seemed to respond especially well to the method. Using fairly light specimen rods also provided a decent scrap from the gars, one of which was kept for bait.
In a way, I'd love to have seen the damage on a really productive day- but I guess tougher conditions are perhaps a better test. The method mix seemed spot on; sticky enough to stay put on the cast and release a constant scent trail, along with some chopped foulness to keep fish interested. In fact, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense- perhaps not such a crazy idea after all and I'm sure it will also score with other species like wrasse and pollack.

Saturday 8 August 2009

Caning it!

A sunny morning on a dropping river provided the perfect oppurtunity to test out something that has intrigued me for a while- one of Luke Bannister's beautifully crafted cane fly rods. Luke lent me a sweet actioned seven foot four weight for a crack at the wild trout at Wiggaton, near Launceston.

The fish were typically cagey in the shallow water, but a march brown or gold head nymph still picked out some beautiful trout, giving me the chance to enjoy a pleasing fight on the cane- which really does have a great feel when playing fish. Above all though, I was amazed at Luke's dedication- these blanks take a painstaking process of forty hours plus! Refreshing to see real craftsmanship in this age of mass produced tackle.

Earlier in the week, a trip to Exeter Canal for carp proved fruitless again- despite a decent sized bream. Rob Darby joined me in this thankless task. After three nights for just one lost fish, albeit a big one, I kind of hoped it'd be his night. If anyone desrves a fish it's Rob. Still, the sunset over the River Exe was reason enough to stick around for the evening and empty a can of cider or two. In spite of all of our talk of baits, tactics and conditions we both agree that only one factor will win this battle- persistence. Bags of it. The Lord have mercy on our souls...

Monday 3 August 2009

Wet Weekend

Having had a real "holiday hangover" it's been a frustrating couple of weeks. No chance on the rivers with the usual downpour, but I was keen to try the canal to try to aim for an unfulfilled ambition- a big carp from Exeter Canal. I've hooked these elusive beasts before, usually with bream tackle, with obvious consequences!
I was joined by a friend who has spent about half the week by the canal, Norbert, who lost something big here previously, near SW Water.
A very wet night ensued, with only cider and conversation to keep hopes burning. Sure enough, I did get a run- but the slow series of bleeps betrayed the culprit immediately. Bream. Photobucket
Talk about a hairy spot for the night too- on that thin strip of grass seperating river and canal. Slept surprisingly well, considering the ten foot drop to one side!

The next day offered the thrills and spills of some float tubing on Roadford Reservoir. This is usually permitted for special days only- but with a feature on the cards, permission was kindly granted. In a funny way, wet and breezy weather was preferable to flat calm and the fish duly obliged. Eight trout to just over the pound mark went well, mostly to a team of three flies with a zulu or daiwl bach doing the damage.
An experiment with black lures also got lots of action- from perch! A handful of slightly better samples were nabbed for a fry up- they are here in vast numbers and should make excellent eating.