Finally after some time away from the river I’ve managed to get a day on the banks, normally I’m on the banks at midnight on June 16th but due to a heavy work load it’s not been possible to visit any of my favourite rivers to wet a line up until now. The River Stour starts in my home town of Ashford, Kent and runs through the city of Canterbury which is where I intended to fish for Dace, Perch and Chub. With the lack of rain in the past few months the water level on most rivers are at their lowest for some time so it wasnt going to be easy.
My fishing tackle setup was simple; being a small river I needed a fishing rod that could cope with the trees and cabbage on the ground. I opted for the 10 to 8 foot TFG Nan-Tec All-rounder matched with the TFG match/feeder reel with 4Ib line. A size 16 hook was tied straight through to the line with two SSG’s as weight attached via a float stop to the main line. Bait was just as simple, good old fashion maggots and bread.
The fish on the Stour don’t seem to shoal up and hold in packs but tend to be more spread out, probably due to the abundance of ‘fishy’ looking water. Starting off at the Westgate section I came a crossed a shoal of Dace. Positioning myself just above them and trickling in a few maggots I cast just behind my feed and left the bait roll through them. Right away was in contact with a silver dart, a beautiful PB 1Ooz Dace was in the net. Unfortunately the shoal had spooked by the commotion so it was time to move to the first weir pool. Perch after Perch continued to take the maggots along with the odd Eel which was nice to see. The Chub seemed to be elusive and on a bright day I wasn’t surprised, a thought came to mind that they may have moved to the bridge by Sainsbury’s to seek cover so again I made another move in search of fish. Just as I thought there they were and also what looked like some good roach and bream, to keep the small fish at bay I switched to bread flake, watching through the clear chalk stream water I could see the roach moving towards the bait and with my heart in my mouth the biggest one in the shoal was going for the bait. Typically a bream came torpedoing in and snatch the bait from right under the roachs nose, still it wasn’t a bad bream so no complaints but a nice Roach would have been great. The Chub were still there but didn’t look like they were in the mood to feed but persistence pays off as a small chevin scooped up the bread flake and went on a bit of a mad spat.
It was nice to be back on the river even if only for a few hours but it’s coming up to autumn so big Perch are on my brain. You can also see what happen by watch my latest video By The Waterside 9. Keep your eyes and ears peeled as on September 15th there a fantastic new YouTube fishing channel coming which you guys can get involved in too.
Since the creation of the internet the carp fishing world has all but lost its mystery, go back 25 years and there were rumors everywhere of big uncaught carp and undisclosed lakes only a few would speak of in code. Thankfully there are still some lakes that have that element of surprise and mystery to them and I been privileged enough to put a line in one. As most of you know I still don’t drive so when I was offered to fish a lake in the Cotswold that only a few have fished I had to find some way of getting there and as usually the train was the best bet.
A 48hr session needs a fishing bivvy and bedchair so it was no easy task getting the gear there especially on the underground at rush hour, believe me you get some funny looks and to be honest I was a little nervures. The journey itself wasn’t that bad until I got to the change over at Swindon and was delayed for an hour due to some (you fill in the gape) lying down in the middle of the track, still the police had done their job and I was on my way. Finally arriving at the lake before dusk the F8 day shelter was up and all the equipment set up, scanning the lake there was a lovely clear patch between the weed right in front of me so it was an easy choice where to put the bait. Luckily I had my trusty Delta XS 3Ib tc Carp rods with me as the weed beside the clear patch was very thick and I had no doubt that any fish hooked would be straight in the, 15Ib main line on both reels should be enough with a blow back rig on one rod and a PVA bag rig on the other.
Bait for the blow back rig was the GLM, black One boilie from Cotswold Bait Creations tipped with one of their new soon to be released Coconut Cream Technipops, a few scattered boilie completed the setup. The PVA rigs again had one of the new Coconut Cream Technipops on it with a Bloodworm mix for the feed (look out in Total Carp this month for an in depth look at the PVA rig).
The night went by with not much happening and thankfully it didn’t, due to the heavy rain I didn’t really want to get out of the sleeping bag. The morning came with the songs of birds and the sound of a screaming Glimmer alarm, keeping a tight line and good pressure the fish only buried itself once but soon was in the net and what a fish to have, a perfectly conditioned Mirror at 20Ib 4oz would be the first of many good looking fish.
The rest of the day was filled with sun, rain, cloud and wind a real mixture of weather that was extremely confusing to not only me but the fish to, still the action was steady with a good number of Mirror and Common Carp to doubles hitting the net and most of them still had their original curtain in the mouth.
Again the evening came in and it was time for bed once more with not a bleep to be heard but like the dawn before I was woken up to another screaming take and before I knew it the fish was in the weed. Having a pair of waders on really help so into the lake I went to get a better angle, enough pressure moved the fish only for it to find another weed bed, several time’s this fish bedded itself and 20 minutes later the fish finally gave up the fight and succumb to the net. One the mat I knew it was another 20 but didn’t know until after being told that it was a new lake record, I couldn’t believe it I’ve never had a lake record before so to have caught what I have and then to land a lake record fish I was in my element, 23Ib 12oz mint condition Common Carp and I’m sure you will agree it’s a beautiful looking fish.
The 316 mile round trip was worth all the time and I left with a smile on my face but on the underground and after 48hrs of fish slime the looks of “what are you doing” turned to looks of “you need a bath mate” – till the next time tight lines and best fishes.
It was my intention to just fish the day for Tench and Bream but after checking the weather report it was all too tempting not to go for the night and catch my first Eel of the year. I know most don’t like Eels but for me they seem to be the only species with a bit of mystery to them and when you think about the levels they go to just to breed that alone deserves respect.
Reed Lake at about 1am the heavens opened and the rain was relentless but that’s what the weather report said would happen but with high humidity and the temperature in the 12 to 14 degree category I plodded on knowing it was perfect for Eels. On arriving at the lake I set up my TF Gear Day Shelter which thankfully because of the rain only takes seconds to erect. Organizing and setting up your coarse fishing tackle in the dark can be a right pain in the backside but after a few mishaps i was all ready to go.
It was a three rod set up; the two main rods were my new TFGear Banshee Commercial Specialists with the Avon top, fantastic rods, slim, great casting and they really do look the part, with this I had my new TFGear Power GT reel loaded with 8lb line. The rigs were fairly simple, a flat in-line 1oz pear lead with a 4inch 8Ib hooklenght with a hair holding to yellow pop-up sweetcorn the other was a free running cage feeder with a 4inch 8Ib hooklenght with two fake casters glued to the hair. The third rod was my TFGear 10ft Commercial Carp Rod and my small TFGear free spool reel loaded with 15Ib main line, this rod was intended for the eels and it may sound a bit over the top but if you are lucky enough to hook a big Eel and your fishing next to snags then you’ll thank yourself you had the tackle, an Eel is a tremendous fighter and will give it’s all before you have a chance to land it. The rig for the Eels was a 2oz square lead on a free running rig to allow minimal resistance, the hooklenght was 15IB korda N-trap braid with the coating on, I’ve found this to be great for Eels if you’re using worms, the hook a size 6 Drennan super specialist. Bait for the Bream and Tench apart from the fake baits already on the hair was a mix of live and dead maggots, hemp, casters and 4mm Halibut pellets, this was then added to the groundbait which was Cotswold Bait Creations Bloodworm stick mix, brown crumb and Cotswold’s liquid bloodworm with real bloodworm added to it, hook bait for the Eels was a nice juice Lobworm with the same feed as I was using for the Tench and Bream.
With everything set up and the rods out I settled down for the night with my rather wet clothes on not doing me any favors, still at least the temperature was high. All night my two rods intended for Bream and Tench remain motionless but the Eel rod was going all night with runs, unfortunately only one connected with a fish, a little bootlace Eel, still my first this year but nothing much happened at night apart from the rain hammering down.
As you can see by the photo the line marks on the Eel are another reason many people don’t fish for them as the small one’s are notorious for tangling the lineup. The morning came with a bit of a chilly wind so after rebaiting I got back into my sleeping bag for a lay in as I had only managed about an hours sleep, typically just as I got comfortable the Banshee rod sprung into life and I immediately knew it was a Bream as there not the best of fighters and a small skimmer hit the net. I replaced the Eel rod during the day for my TFGear 10ft float rod to see if the Tench would feed in the margins but the margins were over 10ft in depth, not good for Tench but good for Eels still I set up with an insert waggler on 6Ib line and a size 8 hook with a Lobworm. Throughout the day I was hit by wave after wave of skimmer Bream between 1Ib to 2Ib but no sign of anything bigger but I then the left hand Banshee rod was away which I had cast to a showing carp near some reeds. I connected with the fish but as it run the line went slack, Bugger! I lost it was pretty much the words in my head but reeling in revealed that I had in fact been bitten off by I would have guessed a Pike, never mind new rig made and out we go again. It was about two in the afternoon now and not much had happened apart from an untold amount of small Bream but the float in the margin was covered in bubbles so something had to happen and it did, as quick as lighting the float shot away and before I had a chance the fish run straight in to the snags. I could feel the line grating against the branches of the snag tree and the fish doing its best to escape but after a tense 5 minutes I managed to get the fish to open water and with a bit more pull a beautiful 3Ib 11oz Tench succumb to the net, Lovely.
With the Tench back in its home the skimmer Bream action continued keeping me busy which is always nice.
The float rod was away again but this was no Tench as the fish was doing its best to snag me by swimming backwards, so it could only be one thing an Eel. Again the 10ft float rod handled the fish very well and by keeping a tight line I scooped the Eel into the not with no tangles, a bit bigger than they have been at a pound exactly I was happy and considering it takes an Eel almost ten years to gain a pound again more reason to give them respect.
I was due to leave the lake soon and the swim had gone quite so I decided to take a walk over to Blue Lagoon Lake to see what was happening on there as this is another lake I intended to fish soon. Arriving at the first swim I was greatted by a wonderful side, Half a dozen of the lakes elusive carp were feeding in the margins, the Gods had thrown me a bone and I wasn’t going to give up the chance so I ran back to my swim and grabbed the maggot box’s, float rod, landing net and scales and unhooking mat. I set the depth on the float which looked about 2 feet and throw some maggots out to watch their reaction. Almost immediately they started to feed so I hooked a few maggots and cast out, feeding so fast they clouded up the bottom making it hard to see the bait and as a Carps tail broke the surface the float sailed away and with a firm strike the drag went into overdrive. At first I was adamant I was into one of the Carp but after a long hard fight which seemed to last forever I slipped the net under a fish I never expected to catch and have only ever caught one about 11 years ago at 1Ib, a Barbel. I was over the moon a 3Ib 11oz unexpected Barbel and a new PB what more could I ask for, Fantastic.
The day had come to an end but before I jumped on the train home I stopped by the match lake to see if I could winkle out a Carp to round the day off. Again float in the margins did the trick with a worm and a 4Ib 6oz Common Carp was banked within 5 minutes, what a great day.
If you would like to watch a video version see below.
Targeting your intended quarry can sometimes be mind numbing as fish often become unresponsive. Many reasons cause fish to not feed throughout the day, fishing pressure or plenty of active food source available underwater can sometimes deter fish from feeding on your ‘patch’ its then your fishing tackle needs to be modified or another species could be on the cards.
It’s all about knowing when to move and where. Scott Cordingley explains his preferred method of targeting Carp, Perch and Roach! Check out his most recent coarse fishing outing.
For me the end of the river season marks the beginning of my fishing, it’s a time for me to look at different venues and new targets. At this time of year two species are very heavy on my mind and that’s Tench and Bream, for the fighting qualities spring Tench are a fantastic quarry at this time of year, hungry, eager and ready to test your fishing tackle. Bream on the other hand are not really noted for the fighting ability’s but the willingness to feed and the impressive sight of a big bream is enough to get any coarse anglers hot under the umbrella. This year I have opted for a change of tactics to hopefully increase my chances of reaching my targets and that is to target two species of fish using the same fishing tackle and bait, hopefully this will put some more fish on the bank, the logic behind the idea being that if ones not willing to feed then maybe there other is and if they are both feeding then some PBs and red letter days should be coming my way, well that’s the theory anyway.
Venue and Aims
The lake I’m fishing today is Reed Lake on the Mid-Kent Fisheries ticket, plenty of Tench and Bream to be caught and with it’s deep margins should provide some great sport for both species. Tench are noted for being great margin feeders but bream are not, I hope that the deep margins 5-6ft straight down will give the bream some more confidence to feed close in. The aim today is to catch my first Bream and Tench of the season, now you can never guaranty that you’re going to catch a monster so I’ve decided to set realistic targets that can be achieved. For the Tench its 3Ib and for the Bream its 5Ib, this may not sound big but being my first time fishing this lake its best to keep the targets low until you get to know the venue, if you do catch a monster it make the victory even more sweeter.
Again it seem as though the weather man has got it wrong “warm and sunny”… far from it. The average air temperature was around 8-10 degrees C and the water temp around 9 degrees C, wind direction was southwesterly and blowing around 15-17mph, pressure was still high at 1020mb going down to 1016mb by the evening. Really it was quite chilly with cloud cover all day.
Fishing Tackle, Rigs and Bait
I’m using my 10ft nan-Tec float fishing rod, what can I say apart from amazing and it’s the only rod I’ll use for float work in the margins. Seeing as Im targeting two species I needed to average and balance my tackle out to accommodate both fish so with this in mind I set up an insert waggler on 6Ib main line with a bulk shotting pattern to get the bait hard on the deck before the small Roach and Rudd had their way with it. The hook needed to be a bit of an all-rounder so I picked a size 16 Drennan wide gape hook which I can use for all the different hook baits. Bait wise maggot, caster, red worm and sweetcorn either on their own or cocktailed depending on what is working at the time. Loose feed was a mixes of all the hook baits along with hemp and 8mm Halibut pellet, this I hoped would attract both species into the swim.
Getting down to the lake just before dawn ( no trouble with the public transport this time round )I set up the fishing rod and plumbed the depth to around 5ft but I allowed about an inch over depth. After mixing my bait, I balled up and threw out 10 handfuls of the loose feed and left it to stew for about an hour. My first three casts produced thee small Rudd, these can be a nuisance when fishing small baits such as maggots so I moved the bulk shot closer to the hook to get the bait through the skimmers on the surface. Eventually the float settled and the bait reached the bottom, after a while I got the first signs of activity in the swim with small pockets of bubbles hitting the surface. It was around 3 hour into the session before I got my first proper bite, the dull shake of a bream as I struck really put a smile on my face as it’s the first of the season.
The action continued with more small Rudd, Roach and Skimmers up until about noon then the swim went dead. I feed some more loose feed and grabbed the opportunity to have some lunch while taking in the surroundings. It was some time before the fish started to feed again so I opted for red worm with a red maggot on the hook to see if it would induce more takes. Sure enough the float slide away and another bream around the 2Ib mark was placed into the keepnet. The action really started to hot up with more 2Ib bream gracing the bank, until the float rose up and the slowly sunk below the surface; classic Tench bite. As I struck the fish sort refuge in the reed close to me but with applied pressure it was back out into open water, spinning around in circles like it was confused it hit the surface and the red eye and olive green body of a Tench meet my gaze. Carefully I slipped the net under and banked it, weighing the fish at 2Ib 15oz meant that I was just one ounce shy of my target but who cares my first Tench of the season is always a special fish to me, regardless of its size.
I was happy enough to pack up then but my targets were still there to be met so with more loose feed and more persistence, small Bream were quing for the bait but as I stuck into a really positive bite I knew straight away that it was a bream but was unsure as to how big, it just hugged the bottom for a while before coming to the surface, and I then knew I had hit my target. On the scales it went 5Ib 7oz and I was very happy to have hit at least one of my criterias for the day. The next cast hit the water and before it had time to settle, the float lifted again and I connected with what felt another 5lber. It slipped into the net and weighted just over 5. Could it get better than this?
With the day at an end it was time to weigh the fish in the keepnet and get a quick snap before heading of home. Now I know that I had a good day but when the scales went around to 25Ib 8oz I left the lake with a beaming smile that I’m still wearing as I write this.
Follow Scott on his fishy travels throughout the UK. Fishing for anything that swims using the latest fishing tackle from TF Gear.
Finally, after frozen lakes and river, a cold that I couldn’t shift and the prospect of finding a new job I managed to get a few hours on the bank. Unfortunately its not everyday that things go your way and this surly wasn’t mine.
For me, getting to and from the places I fish can be a pain as I have to rely on public transportation, mainly trains and buses, but I’ve never really had a problem with them. Arriving at the train station at 7.30am I found that the lift I have to use to get to the platform was again ‘out of order’ so I had to lug the gear up a flight of stairs only to be told that the train to Chilham was to be replaced by a bus service. So back down the steps to wait for the bus, Great! It arrived at around 8.35am and speedily went on its way. Now normally when a bus replaces a train it stops outside the station, right? Wrong, this guy shot past my stop and carried on drive and when I asked him if I could get off he said “no, not until the next stop” which unfortunately for me was almost a two mile walk back on myself with fishing gear. After an hour I made it to the lake of which was the match lake owned by Mid-Kent Fisheries just as the rain started to come down.
My Set up
My set up for the day was easy, a straight waggler rig with a size six super specialist with six pound line straight through, naturally I was using my trusted 10ft nan-Tec float rod, and for bait, spam. The other rod was my 10ft 2.5Ib tc nan-Tec carp rod with 10Ib line on a pva bag set up, a 2oz in-line square lead with a 2inch 15Ib N-trap hair rig, bait was a CC Moore NS yellow dumbbell with the new Cold Water Hot Spot mix mixed with Feedstim XP and Live System liquid.
By the time it had taken me to get from my house to the lake (which is only 8 miles away) then set everything up I only had about three hours left to fish, so out went the rods and down came the rain even harder as the wind forced it sideways. The first fish came around half an hour after first cast on the carp rod. As i struck, the fish ran for cover, giving a good account of itself trying to snag itself up, but in the net it went and a 5Ib 3oz common was the first. Soon after that I had another run on the carp rod which produced another common of 5Ib 13oz.
Time really flies by when you only have a few hours to spare and with only half an hour left the carp rod was off again with a bit more aggression this time. It’s something about these small end of winter carp, they seem to have so much energy and dart to every snag around before succumbing to the landing net. This mirror was defiantly a fish with big boots and at only 5Ib 7oz it really fought hard.
By now the rain really was coming down hard so I packed up and headed of home only to have to wait for five different buses to stop and say that I couldn’t get on because there was not enough room. I did get home eventually be it I was an hour and a half late, oh well it can’t always go write can it, but I got my rod bent and now I’m geared up for some big fish hunting the two species in mind at the moment being a double figure Tench and Bream.
Follow Scott on his fishy travels throughout the UK. Fishing for anything that swims using the latest fishing tackle from TF Gear.
It amazes me how many people go fishing only to give up right at the last hurdle. I know how frustrating it can be not to catch all day, everyday, but if there’s no effort behind your fishing, how can you expect to catch?? There are three ways I like to think which you can improve your chances.
Change swims – if the swim you’re in is not producing the goods then try another, it might just be you’re not on the fish and at this time of year, it’s location, location, location.
Change and/or adjust the rig – Changing the length of your hook length can make all the difference
Change bait – With all the bait available on the market these days the choices are endless. Taking a resent fishing trip for example, I had to implement all of these changes to catch just one fish. A fish which saved the dreaded blank.
Longshaws fishery in Sturry, Kent was the lake I intended to fish, noted for its superb roach fishing with fish in the 2Ib range a realistic chance. On arriving at the lake I was surprised to find half of it under sheet ice and the water with a clarity more common on a gravel pit. Clear skies and bright sunshine, weather gods where against us, Fishing wasn’t going to be easy this was not going to be easy. My first thought was that a certain change of bait was needed. I was going with the intention of using chickpeas as this has gained me a lot of roach from here in the past and naturally thought it would still work.
Getting to my chosen swim (one that was clear of ice) I set up my rod of which was a 10ft Compact nantec Float rod from TFGear and a reel loaded with 3Ib line. The Compact Float rod is ideal to use on a commercial fishery, with its responsive through action it allows you to fish light line for Roach, Rudd and small silver fish, but yet has the back bone to tame those hard fighting carp. The rig was a three times number four shots, crystal clear insert waggler with a strung out shotting pattern. My hooklenght was the new Drennan Supplex line in 3Ib breaking strain with a size 14 Drennan wide gape hook.
With everything ready I plumed the depth and got on with the fishing. Three hours had gone by and not a touch on the chickpea, so time for a move and bait change I think. Moving onto the other side of the lake I changed the hook for a size 18 Drennan Super Specialist and changed the bait to the humble red maggot.
Casting to an overhanging tree in the margins I trickled in a few maggots every minute or so to try and get them to feed, within minutes the float started to dip and move. Slowly the float slipped away and I was connected to a very heavy and angry fish. A ten minute battle was over, and eventually a lovely winter common of 8Ib 7oz slipped over the net. Not my intended roach but a beautiful fish all the same and it was nice to get a bit of action at last knowing that the changes I had made were working.
The light was starting to fade now and I had my doubts about catching a good roach. Optimism sometimes can be a killer! But being an optimist, I stayed and eventually the roach appeared. Mind you they were on about 2oz to 6oz. A few more casts, and a bit more feed, the swim really came to life with bubbles all around my float.
The float started to dance and enticingly slipped away, with a light strike I felt the distinct jag of a roach and when it broke the surface a sliver bar with red flecks was what I saw. With the fish safely landed, a good Roach finally graced my unhooking mat and it was a fantastic feeling to be rewarded for the hard work. A 1Ib 4oz Roach was my prize, not massive but considering the conditions and situation I was more than happy.
So no matter how bad it looks or how much the conditions are against you keep ringing in the changes and you could get the fish you are after. Remember, there always a chance!
I’ve been fishing now for longer than I can remember and still get excited when fishing on new waters.. The water im fishing this weekend is the Mid Kent Fisheries Lake the Conningbrook, noted mainly for its rock hard Carp fishing. Anglers who have wet a line there believe the late holds the British record carp, Two Tone. As well as some superb carp there are also some impressive pike in there too, that’s what’s on my agenda.
The weather that day was a cool 6 degrees c with a westerly wind and a pressure of 1004 mb so I decided to fish with the wind on my back. I set up my 3Ib Tc Delta XS rod (which by the way is great for general pike fishing) and coupled it with my V8 reels with 15Ib main line.
The rigs I kept fairly simple, a running ledger with a 2oz lead on one rod and a standard float setup on the other both with 7 Strand Drennan size 6 snap tackle. For bait I decided to give them two options, either a mackerel tale on the ledger or a small roach on the float which I think is a good starting point if you’re on a new lake. Fishing tackle set up and ready to go I cast my rigs out around 60yrds and waited, and waited, before I knew it 2 hours had already gone so I decided a move was needed and settled on a swim on the opposite side of the lake. With the baits in I again waited and thought to myself, this isn’t any good and thought about my options.
What interests me is how the fry try to leap free of the water – as I looked up a spray of fry hit the surface about 30yrds in front of me. I took off the lead and fished the sink and draw method with the roach. Three casts later and nothing and to be honest I was getting pretty tired but on the fourth cast just as the bait was nearing the bank I felt a slight pull on the line and without hesitation I struck. CRASH out jumps this scatty little pike and tears away thinking he was bigger than he was and soon gave up and was in the net. At 5Ib 7oz it’s not the biggest pike I’ve had but boy was it welcome all the same and with only minutes to spare.
So looking back on the day I’ve concluded on three matters
1 – No matter how bad it looks keep trying and keep changing, it can and will pay off in the end
2 – With the bite mark on the fish it would appear there are bigger fish in the lake
3 – I’ll try popped up bait next time as the weed can be a real problem
I’ll keep going for that bigger one throughout winter!