On the Bank
Well what a spring it’s been for me this year, I’ve had three years worth of fish in just three months!
The fishing over at Monks pit since February has been hectic but thoroughly enjoyable, and so varied as well. I started off in the colder Months of February and March by catching plenty of fish on the zig rigs, a method I really rate highly when the water temperatures are low and the deeper the water, the better the method seems to work. At first I thought this might be more of a small fish method, singling out the wrong end of the scale but, as a new personal best common of forty six pounds rolled into the net I had to revise this opinion somewhat!!
About the end of March the fish changed tack and really started ‘having it’ on the bottom, there is only so long they can go on eating silly little bits of foam suspended in mid water and, once on the bait, there was no stopping them.
By singling out feeding spots within the swims and keeping a constant supply of good quality boilies going in I managed to catch a whole string of big fish up to forty six pounds before the hotter weather arrived and with it a noticeable drop in the feeding activity.
Once the fish start to get spawning in the back of their minds the fishing always gets a bit tricky but, by concentrating on the shallowest part of the lake and only offering a handful of bait at a time I finished off my spring campaign in style, taking my fifth forty of the year.
Looking back over the last three months it all seems to good to be true really, forty three fish in about twenty four nights fishing is certainly more than I would have imagined possible but, it hasn’t exactly been easy, all though at a glance it may seem that way. Constantly staying mobile and always being prepared to move onto fish, even if it means moving off from others has kept me one step ahead of the game. It’s a style of angling I love and always have, leaving everything packed away on the barrow throughout the day and only setting up house as darkness falls, it opens up so many more opportunities, and catches you a lot more fish.
Now though, the spring has come to a close and I will be off to pastures new, having re-joined a big ninety acre gravel pit in the Reading area. This one is a totally different kettle of fish (if you’ll excuse the pathetic pun) but a lake I came to fall in love with last season.
The stock is pretty much unknown and that’s what makes it so exciting, never knowing quite what might be on the other end if you are lucky enough to get a take in the first place. Last year I had some fantastic sport on there, catching fish up to thirty seven pounds with a fair percentage of them looking as if they had never seen the bank before, I can’t wait to get back again!
Below the surface
With Spring now turning into summer there are signs of change everywhere, the trees are all in full bloom, young birds are fluttering around everywhere learning to fly and scavenge and the night are getting longer and warmer and, below the surface of every lake and pond, the changes are just as evident.
By now the early weed growth that occurred with the unbelievably hot conditions in spring should be taking a real hold. I know that Monks pit has weed to the surface already and a lot of other lakes are in the same condition. With a few good hours of sunlight per day, weeds like Canadian pondweed and milfoil will grow at an alarming rate but don’t let this put you off as it can be a blessing in disguise.
I have caught a lot of fish over the last few weeks by mapping out the shape and position of weed beds and picking obvious ambush routes between them. I find that sunny days with broken cloud offer you the best chance of actually seeing what’s going on below the surface, especially if there is moisture in the clouds and it looks a little showery. The suns rays bouncing off the lake reflected in the water vapour often makes the weed sort of ‘glow’ and, by using a decent pair of polaroids you can see at a glance the different colours of the water, denoting weed, clear areas and even shallower spots.
It’s a good time to take a mental picture of what’s out there and, by using a line clip on your spool, and a far bank tree or other marker, pace out the distance along the bank to mark out the areas that look best for a bait.
Weed comes in all shapes and types and they all grow in a different manner and, often, on different types of bottom. Whereas Canadian pondweed and other types of long stranded weed will grow out of nice firm parts of the lake, weeds like milfoil often sprout from dark silty areas. Silkweed on the other hand usually clings to formerly clean areas and loves sand or exposed lake bed and therefore it can highlight natural feeding areas and its easily overcome with a bit of tweaking to your rigs. So, rather than be put off by weed, try and learn more about it and use it to your advantage instead.
One of the most important bits of fishing tackle you use is your line, it is after all the one thing that keeps you connected to that fish of a lifetime and I am happy to say I’ve just improved mine no end!
I have been testing lines for a while now, working towards achieving an extremely limp co-polymer line that will cast without the added friction associated with stiffer nylon lines but, retaining a high level of abrasion resistance to deal with snags and weed etc.
Finally, after months of trials, all the right boxes have been ticked and the TFG ‘Nan-Tec’ line has been launched.
It is available in three different colours and a full range of breaking strains; I myself prefer the grey finish in 12lb and 15lb as these suit most of my normal angling needs.
Another nice thing about the Nan-Tec is the way it sinks down and hugs the bottom contours of the lake, keeping it out of the way of carp moving through the swim and avoiding spooking any feeding fish before they reach the rig.