Monday 14 April 2014

Rugby 'Last Days Of Winter'

Over the past few weeks I have managed to sneak a few sessions in on Rugby. I love the water so much and every fish I am lucky enough to catch from it is a gift. I know it's never going to be easy but I've got a hunger inside that burns, I am determined to unearth the gold that is hidden below the surface. It's on this water that I've really learnt to pay attention to the slightest movement, bubble or show. This time of the year the carp are very discreet but with careful observation you can track them down. 

After all the time I've spent on the water through the winter, I've clocked up the blanks, but at the same time learnt an awful lot. For instance, I have come to the conclusion that the carp can hold in a specific section of the lake for days, maybe even weeks at a time. I started to suss this out by fishing the same spots for a number of sessions and purposely over feeding the swim. 

It came as a surprise that when visiting the water a couple of times a week, with at least two days in between each visit, the coots would still be diving and picking up my washed out boilies. This was a real eye opener and made me realise that I have to spend a sensible amount of time trying to find them before casting out.

Another World
On this session I had my rods in the water by 8:30am, all rigs were ready to go so it was just a case of casting them out and getting some bait in. Before casting out I took a walk around the lake to see if I could clock any carp activity, it all seemed pretty quiet. I decided I would fish down in the beach because there was a fairly light wind pushing down that way, a lovely scum line was developing, where there's scum there's nearly always carp close by. 

Every time I fish Rugby I use a lot of bait, the lake is deep, weedy and has lots of nooks and crannies for the fish to hide. I want to get enough bait out and spread it over a very large area in the hope I can draw them in. One advantage to it being so weedy is the fact that it's very easy to tell if there are fish feeding on your spots, they really do kick the bottom up like crazy, many times in the past, when the fizzing starts it's not long before a screaming take comes.

My chosen baits for this session were Monster Squid, Halibut And Coconut, Bloodworm And Tuna and Bio Cp2 Amino. All these boilies had been sitting in a combination of fishy glugs and oils for months, the attraction they gave off was crazy. As they entered the water a huge oil slick developed, in the past I have fished with very bright baits opting for yellows and oranges. This time I wanted to try something a little more understated to see if I could tempt a bite.

Nice Understated Colors 

The beach swim commands a lot of water and the pressure points are very much the far margins near the snags and overhanging trees. In the past I've fished these spots and however fast I am on my rods the fish always seem to snag me. Over the months I have been concentrating on the open water and near side margins, that's been producing, results have been slow but that's just the nature of the lake. Today I was going to target the open water again, funnily enough as I was setting up a few fish showed at around twenty yards out. It was clear that some were down my end, getting them to pick my bait up was a different matter.

I had a few casts around and found three comfortable areas, marked my line up, cast out and then put a decent spread of bait over and around all three of the rods. All baits were in deep water, I'd say about 10FT give or take the odd inch. There was weed out there but nothing that really concerned me. When fishing in the deeper weed I usually set up a helicopter system, replacing the back bead with some PVA tape. This outing I decided to fish a slow sinking pop up with an inline lead. The lead was 3 1/2 oz's, my hook link was really long. Once again I was using the Vardis Autumn Camo material stripped back just below the silicone tubing, to slow the decent down I used two PVA nuggets squeezed together around the hook.

View From The Swim
All three casts were nice and clean, I got my swim tidy, put a coffee on and sat back intent on watching the water like a hawk. After about an hour or two I had another show and it was just a little way off of my middle rod. My heart started pounding, I was willing it to rip off, the carp was obviously churning up the bottom, I could see it very clearly from where I was sitting.

Simple Pop Up Rig

One little thing I like to use every so often on my pop up presentation is a small slither of zig foam to top my baits off with, especially if they're dark in colour. Not only does this create a nice visual touch it also adds a little bit more buoyancy to the pop up and aids in it's slow descent. Using this in conjunction with the right amount of tungsten putty, you can really find the perfect balance to ensure that the bait sinks slowly and settles perfectly on whatever it lands on.

I happen to think 'Zig Foam' is a very under used item of tackle, it comes in so many different colours and thicknesses. I like to combine it with snowman rigs, bottom baits, pretty much everything to one degree or another. In winter I have really got into the method of stitching imitation maggots to it to create a really effective presentation, hovering baits, slow sinking baits, it has all sorts of uses, soaking them in both glugs and oils can create an interesting combination of flavours and attractions.

Zig Foam In An Array Of Colours

I think it's very important to take that little extra time on your rigs when you are tackling weedy waters, it doesn't have to be complicated it just needs to be functional and effective. Tiny details can be the difference between catching that fish of a life time. 

Time was ticking by slowly, I'd started to get a few small liners, the wind started to pick up and it really looked spot on for a bite. The breeze increased even more and I was starting to feel a stirring inside, surly one of my rods had to go. Sure enough after another hour or so, it did, it was the middle one, I pounced on it, lent back and slotted into 'The Zone' as the clutch started to tick. It felt like a good fish, I let it do it's thing, powering around from left to right, I kept a steady pressure on and started to tease her in my direction.

I got her in nice and close and through the gin clear water I could see a lovely dark shadow kiting around, it looked like a nice lump, I was careful, patient, went to net her ... result!!

It was an understatement to say I was pleased, I was over the bloody moon, another Rugby lump, the journey is slow and without pain but I am slowly picking them off, I just have to keep my focus and be confident in my approach.

21IB Of Rugby Mirror
I didn't bother casting the rod back out, the day was coming to a close and I only had an hour or so left, I made another coffee and sat back just to really soak up my surroundings. This is something that I have mastered recently, once you've banked a beauty it's much easier to just switch off, if only for a minute or two. 

Sometimes it scares me just how minuscule we actually are in this universe, and being by the water really magnifies this feeling. We are so intertwined in our own tiny lives and ruts that we can so easily forget the simple things, the warm winds, the setting of the sun, the air, love and of course our never ending quest, god knows where we are going or if we'll even get there, where ever that might be, we've just got to keep moving forward in all that we do.

Angling to me is full of polar opposites, the calm, the lunacy, the joy and of course the despair. Each of these emotions are so important for us to be human and being by the lakes really allows you to connect with everything around you and within you. You can feel so connected but at the same time feel so alone. I never let the numbers game distract me from the true meaning of our sport. Next time you are out on the bank don't just observe things around you, take time to observe yourself, you might just be surprised at what you find.

The next series of blog entries are going to be about my session using Starmers new Mexican Hemp boilie. I am going to be doing a fair amount of time down on Burrows, I know that water like the back of my hand and it's the perfect place to give a new bait a go, I am looking forward to it.


1 comment:

  1. Just come across your blog. Nice work, very interesting. Bookmarked...looking forward to reading more.