Thursday, 16 August 2012

Two Days Down The Farm 'Heatwave'

In this blog post I'm covering two day sessions down on the farm, both days were so hot, I knew I was going to have to really work at it to get the takes. The first day I arrived at the water at 7am and conditions seemed perfect, it was overcast with a light breeze. It didn't take long for the sun to break through and it was really starting to get hot by 9:30am, I was already sweating buckets. 

I decided I was going to fish the same swim as last time because it ended up being pretty productive. This time around I was going to fish pop ups on all three rods, there's a lot of mess in the margins where I was choosing to fish and from past experience I know that pop ups tackle this problem. 

Before I cast out I got my weed rake out, quietly lowered it into the lake on all three spots to clear any troublesome debris, it's amazing what I ended up collecting, I removed a fair amount of crap from each swim, going through this motion instantly made me feel more confident in my rig presentation.

My Weed Rake Is A Vital Bit Of Kit

I decided I was going to keep my baiting approach to a minimum, over my previous sessions on the farm I have noticed that so much bait gets put in the water, I had a gut feeling I'd stand more of a chance if I fished single pop ups with a small bag of pellet or crushed boilie. In the picture below you'll notice the compressed PVA nuggets in the top of the funnel web bag, this helps to keep the hook bait suspended above the silt as the rig lands in the water, also it helps mask the hook. Sometimes I will double bag to help slow the process down a little.

Chosen Rig

Breakdown Demonstration

How The End Presentation Looks, Fished Over Ground Bait

Sometimes I add a few grains of corn into the PVA bag so the hook bait doesn't look so obvious. You'll notice in the picture above that the hook bait had already started to fade, this is because Starmer baits are very 'high leakage' and start to wash out very quickly, the beauty of Ian's baits is that they break down after 72 hours of being in the water. Not many other shelf life baits on the market do that. 

I find the advantage of putting compressed PVA nuggets in the funnel web bag is the fact that on the breakdown they float to the surface almost acting like beacons. They appear on the surface of the water showing exactly where your rig has landed. If you want to add some bait into the swim after the cast you aim for where the nuggets have surfaced. This is a great method when fishing at distance and keeping your bait application bang on the money.

My Swim

Third Rod Spot

The first part of the morning came and went without even a bleep, it was getting so hot, there wasn't even any fish showing in the upper layers of the water. I felt confident in all my spots so I didn't bother recasting, I thought I'd just sit on my hands and wait. Early afternoon came, then out of nowhere my left hand rod went screaming off, I lent into the fish and guided her my way, she was really giving me a good fight, as it surfaced I saw that it was a long lean common, I slipped her over my net, scales sunk to 12IB.

A Long Learn 12IB Common, Spotless

I was very pleased considering the conditions, I slipped her back and got my rod back out, the advantage with the swim I was fishing was the fact I could actually just walk around and lower my bait into the water so if carp where present they wouldn't get spooked by the cast. By this time of the day I was roasting so god knows how the fish must have been feeling.

As I have mentioned in the past, I have noticed that the fish do respond to 'a little' bit of ground bait, I never go over the top with spodding or filling a swim in. Two bits of kit that I really do like to use is my mini spomb and my pocket rocket, the thing I love about these two products is you can introduce little bits of feed with little to no real disturbance. When fishing tight against islands or marginal growth you can really benefit from putting a light bed of bait out, sometimes in spots that don't really see much loose feed.

Two Great Tools 

A few hours past before my left hand rod shot off again, I lent into the fish and it went careering around the bowl area thrusting its way into the marginal reeds, I managed to guide her out with a bit of side strain, she soon tired and I slipped another mint looking common over my net. Scales sunk to 13IB.

A 13IB Beauty

Everything went quiet after my second fish, the heat was still intense and was really contributing to slowing things down. After 5:30pm things started to cool off and a few fish started to move into my area of the lake. The hours ticked by and just as it was approaching 8:00pm my middle rod shot off, the fish tried flying down the channel that I was fishing and really started to strip line fast, I gained control and was having a wrestling match underneath my rod tip for a fair while. 

Just as I was guiding her over the net the hook pulled. It looked like another common floating around the 13IB to 16IB mark. It was very annoying but the positive side was the fact I got another take in the first place. Both fish landed fell to popped up Coconut & Halibut boilies topped of with buoyant corn. I'd made the decision that I would come back in a few days with a slightly different approach.

Session Two

On the second day I arrived at the lake with all my rigs and rods having been tied the evening before. I chose to fish a part of the water that I hadn't bothered with in my past sessions. It was a section with a couple of islands and some 'carpy' looking channels to go at. I decided I'd stick to my Coconut & Halibut pop ups topped with fake corn on two rods and try something different on my third. Before casting out I watched the water for a while and noticed signs of feeding within the narrow channels in front of me. This was a good sign because it's pretty rare to see this down on the farm.

Probes Out

My Swim

My savory rig is something that I've just come up with, the presentation is like the KD rig but with out the use of a shot. The bait is critically balanced, the hook lays totally flat on the lake bed. 

Savory Rig Setup

I also use this rig in conjunction with Starmers new 'hooker pellets', they're a similar shape to Peperami, cutting a quarter off has the same presentation effect as fishing Peperami. Before I cast out I mix original Peperami with the chilli flavor. It's a great bait that is so very often overlooked.

Starmers New Hooker Pellets

I ended up fishing my savory rig tight to a bed of reeds where a nice thick scum line was gathering, it was originally going to be my 'fourth rod spot' but I moved my third one there because I saw some carp in the area just under the scum. It really didn't take long for the rod to go off, I saw a carp top over my bait and then five minutes later the rod tore into life, I banked an amazing looking 9IB mirror.

 A Dam Fine Fish Fell To My Savory Rig

This gave me great confidence in the rig, taking in account it was the first time I had used it. I got the rod back out adding a few chops to the PVA bag mix. The sun was really beating down again, the water had a very light breeze passing over it, I knew it was going to be another hard day. 

I was in two minds if to fish a zig or not but I don't like fishing them in 5ft of water or less, I decided to make my pop ups longer. A few hours ticked by and everything had gone dead, I had the lake to myself so to cool down I decided to get in the water and have a feel around with my feet, I would never do this if anyone else was fishing.

From the short time I was in the lake I learnt a great deal. There were solid clay areas and loads of bits of debris littering the bottom. The biggest shock I had was the silt pockets I came across, it amazed me how deep they were and the way the silt gathers in certain places. On the edge of solid clay you'd suddenly sink half a foot into silt. This really got me thinking, I knew making my pop ups longer and topping them off with yellow was the right approach.

Having A Feel Around

I dried off in about five minutes after getting out the water, I was being baked, I decided to reel my rods in and go for a walk around, I couldn't see any evidence of fish feeding anywhere, I just watched the water, I wanted to get a fresh perspective on things. 

When I got back to my rods I decided I was going to put a fair amount of freebies around each spot, both my island baits were now going to be cast really tight to the overhanging grass and my scum-line rod was going to be moved really close into the marginal reeds. 

My baits had only been out about 30 minutes and my middle rod tore off, a big vortex swirled off of the shallow shelf I was fishing on. The fish was going totally crazy, weaving, darting and tearing line off my spool at an incredible rate. It took me up the channel, turned on itself and then shot towards the margin to the left of me. This frantic fight went on for about 15 minutes before banking a lovely looking common, as I lifted her out I noticed she was blind in one eye, this might of explained why the fight was so mental, she was turning all the time to see where she was heading. Scales sunk bang on 17IB.

A 17IB Nut Case Of A Common

I was over the moon with the result considering it was still so bloody hot, I slipped her back and got the bait out on the same spot. The hours started to dissolve with very little indication that I was going to get another run. Evening came, before packing up I decided I was going to move my 'savory bait' round the back of the island that was to the right of me, there was a little area that I really liked the look of. I quietly walked around and flicked my bait about 2cm off of the overhanging grass that was growing off the island, 10 minutes later the alarm was screaming, my punt paid off, I netted yet another common weighing in at 11IB.

11IB Common Scoffer Of The Savory Rig

As I packed my gear away I was feeling like I'd really earned every fish I'd hooked over the two days. Conditions were tough but it does show that with a little refinement you can get some good results, a big girl had once again eluded me but she will come.

If You Fish ....... They Will Come .....

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