A day of firsts.....

Stewie74

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First look at a new venue for me, Rockells Farm Fishery, its a lake on the outskirts of Saffron Walden, Essex. It's also the venue for the next Winter League match that I'll be fishing on January 17th. Decided to go and have a look to try to come up with a plan, I'll also be getting over there at least once more before the match fixture.

It's about 3 acres, and has 24 swims, although I think for matches only 20 are fished. Well-stocked with carp, F1's. roach, skimmers.

I'd booked a day ticket in advance, the process there is that you book a specific peg by contacting the owner, I'd selected peg 9 (not for any particular reason) It's at one end of the lake and I knew the wind would blowing across from left to right.

The plan was to simulate a match, so I arrived at 815 with a view to fishing 930-230. Got myself set up including brolly as the forecast was for a bit of light rain in the afternoon, although it had changed regularly during the last couple of days. I'd decided to leave the feeder road at home and concentrate on the pole today (more on this later...)

I also set myself a nominal target of 30lb, I knew from speaking to the owner that the majority of the carp and F1's in the lake were either 8-10oz or 2-3lb, with a few bigger ones up to 8lb and a couple of big boys at 15-20lb. I'd be estimating to a certain extent, but I'd be weighing the first few fish to get my eye in with the estimates.

Plumbing indicated a gentle slope which bottomed out at 5m, with a flat bit from there to about 10.5m so I plumbed up lines straight ahead and at 10 o'clock to my left, at both 2+2 and 11m, although I fancied trying out the full 13meters for a bit later in the day. Set up the 2 topkits with two of my first self-made pole rigs which I've been trying to make this week. Preston 4x12 floats, stotz, 0.15 guru n-guage mainline to 0.13 drennan ready tied hooklength (not quite ready to tie my own hooks yet!!) with a size 18 drennan hook. I'd also made some 0.11 to 0.10 rigs but decided to go with the heavier ones to start with, aiming to target the carp and F1's

I'd mixed up some Sonubaits F1 dark groundbait and some Dynamite Swim Stim F1 micros, hookbaits on offer were 4mm expanders, red maggot, sweetcorn, the plan being to rotate all options to see what (if any) the fish were looking for. I'd also be trying out a banoffee bait booster glug on the expanders.

All ready on time. I even had time for a coffee before the off.

At 930 I fed my short lines, 1 with groundbait and 1 with micros, and spent the first hour rotating the 2, expanders on the hook over the pellet line, and red maggot over the groundbait line. Pretty much straight away I was into roach on the maggot line, couple of oz each, with a few up to maybe 6oz. On the pellet line it took a while longer, but within half an hour I had my first net fish, a small F1 of 8oz, closely followed by a 2lb common. This was shaping up to be a fun day.

Around 1030 it started to drizzle, and before long it was coming down steadily. Hmmm, glad I put the brolly up before I started.

I kept rotating the lines, and caught steadily on both throughout the first 2 hours. I weighed all the carp and F1s in the landing net, and by the halfway mark I was at 12lb (plus a load of little roach that I didn't weigh), so slightly behind my target.

Decided to feed the 11m lines to have a go a bit longer. However, whilst I had noticed the steady rain which was getting heavier if anything, I hadn't noticed the wind had got up and was now fairly stiff and quite gusty. Settling in over the 11m line, it became very clear, very quickly, that I wasn't going to be able to hold the pole still enough to feel confident of anything approaching a settled presentation of my bait. After 10 minutes of fighting the wind to try to hold the float in position, I decided that discretion would be, in this particular situation, the better part of valour, and I retreated to my 5m lines.

As a result of the wind getting up, I was faced with 2 new challenges, neither of which I had really come across before. Firstly there was a fair old ripple on the surface, which meant my float was a) wobbling around all over the place, and b) more difficult to see. I could cope with b) to a certain extent as I was only fishing at 5m, but I wondered at this stage whether the float was too light for the conditions??

Secondly, whilst the wind was blowing left to right, it appeared there was quite a tow in the opposite direction, the float was moving to the left, quite a lot in quite a short period of time. So I was having to reposition regularly to be anywhere near sure that I was over or close to my groundbait/micros. I then figured that in all likelihood the groundbait and micros was being affected by the tow as well, so in all likelihood I was probably fishing over it, but that it was probably a bit more spread out than it would have been under normal conditions.

I also noticed that the float was sitting very low in the water. I'd shotted the rig to have around 2cm of bristle showing, I know this is probably quite a lot, but I wanted to be sure of seeing it. At this stage it was down to a pimple, and would even go slightly under the surface on occasion. I wondered if it was a side-effect of the wind and/or under current?? I adjusted the rig by an inch or two, my thinking being that if I tried to fish a couple of inches over depth, it might steady the rig a little, and stop the under-current from pulling the float lower. I was clutching at straws to be honest, but I was behind my target and decided I needed to change something.

Having said all that, even though it didn't completely solve the issues, once I'd made the changes, the fish kept coming. Mostly 1/2lb stamp, with a couple of the 2-3lbers thrown in. From time to time the roach made an appearance, but certainly not enough to constitute a nuisance.

With 30 minutes to go I had 25lb on the virtual clicker. I decided to go all in and target the bigger fish, so sweetcorn it was, on the hook with 4-5 grains fed each time through a small tosspot. It looked to be working as I netted a 2lb carp and 3 more 1/2lb ers. 10 mins to go and a pound and a half needed. Another 1/2lber came with 5 mins on the clock.

Unfortunately the alarm went off and I ran out of time, with my virtual keepnet a pound short of my target. The alarm sounded and I shipped back in for the last time. I reckon I must have had over a pound of bits, (maybe 20 little roach), so I think I was there or thereabouts.

I packed up slowly, and headed for home, pretty happy with the day. In all honesty, its a well-stocked lake, the temperature has been steady round here at 6-8 degrees for a few days with no frosts, so I was confident of catching, but after last weekends less than stellar match fishing debut, it felt great to hit some bites and land some fish. It felt good to go through the process on a new venue, feeding through the small fish and finding the net fish that in a match would be good weight-builders.

Most of all, it felt bloody great to catch fish all day on rigs that I'd actually made myself (hook-lengths notwithstanding!!). A definite win in my book, and the future definitely doesn't involve any more ready-mage rigs.

I'll post separately about the issues with the tow and the float size/weight, as I think that's a key learning point for me today, that I'll need to get right for next time I'm fishing in similar conditions.

Tonight's tipple is a couple of beers so far, with my current favourite Pinot Noir currently breathing in the kitchen, ready for Strictly in a few minutes.

Thanks for reading

Stewie
 

chefster

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First look at a new venue for me, Rockells Farm Fishery, its a lake on the outskirts of Saffron Walden, Essex. It's also the venue for the next Winter League match that I'll be fishing on January 17th. Decided to go and have a look to try to come up with a plan, I'll also be getting over there at least once more before the match fixture.

It's about 3 acres, and has 24 swims, although I think for matches only 20 are fished. Well-stocked with carp, F1's. roach, skimmers.

I'd booked a day ticket in advance, the process there is that you book a specific peg by contacting the owner, I'd selected peg 9 (not for any particular reason) It's at one end of the lake and I knew the wind would blowing across from left to right.

The plan was to simulate a match, so I arrived at 815 with a view to fishing 930-230. Got myself set up including brolly as the forecast was for a bit of light rain in the afternoon, although it had changed regularly during the last couple of days. I'd decided to leave the feeder road at home and concentrate on the pole today (more on this later...)

I also set myself a nominal target of 30lb, I knew from speaking to the owner that the majority of the carp and F1's in the lake were either 8-10oz or 2-3lb, with a few bigger ones up to 8lb and a couple of big boys at 15-20lb. I'd be estimating to a certain extent, but I'd be weighing the first few fish to get my eye in with the estimates.

Plumbing indicated a gentle slope which bottomed out at 5m, with a flat bit from there to about 10.5m so I plumbed up lines straight ahead and at 10 o'clock to my left, at both 2+2 and 11m, although I fancied trying out the full 13meters for a bit later in the day. Set up the 2 topkits with two of my first self-made pole rigs which I've been trying to make this week. Preston 4x12 floats, stotz, 0.15 guru n-guage mainline to 0.13 drennan ready tied hooklength (not quite ready to tie my own hooks yet!!) with a size 18 drennan hook. I'd also made some 0.11 to 0.10 rigs but decided to go with the heavier ones to start with, aiming to target the carp and F1's

I'd mixed up some Sonubaits F1 dark groundbait and some Dynamite Swim Stim F1 micros, hookbaits on offer were 4mm expanders, red maggot, sweetcorn, the plan being to rotate all options to see what (if any) the fish were looking for. I'd also be trying out a banoffee bait booster glug on the expanders.

All ready on time. I even had time for a coffee before the off.

At 930 I fed my short lines, 1 with groundbait and 1 with micros, and spent the first hour rotating the 2, expanders on the hook over the pellet line, and red maggot over the groundbait line. Pretty much straight away I was into roach on the maggot line, couple of oz each, with a few up to maybe 6oz. On the pellet line it took a while longer, but within half an hour I had my first net fish, a small F1 of 8oz, closely followed by a 2lb common. This was shaping up to be a fun day.

Around 1030 it started to drizzle, and before long it was coming down steadily. Hmmm, glad I put the brolly up before I started.

I kept rotating the lines, and caught steadily on both throughout the first 2 hours. I weighed all the carp and F1s in the landing net, and by the halfway mark I was at 12lb (plus a load of little roach that I didn't weigh), so slightly behind my target.

Decided to feed the 11m lines to have a go a bit longer. However, whilst I had noticed the steady rain which was getting heavier if anything, I hadn't noticed the wind had got up and was now fairly stiff and quite gusty. Settling in over the 11m line, it became very clear, very quickly, that I wasn't going to be able to hold the pole still enough to feel confident of anything approaching a settled presentation of my bait. After 10 minutes of fighting the wind to try to hold the float in position, I decided that discretion would be, in this particular situation, the better part of valour, and I retreated to my 5m lines.

As a result of the wind getting up, I was faced with 2 new challenges, neither of which I had really come across before. Firstly there was a fair old ripple on the surface, which meant my float was a) wobbling around all over the place, and b) more difficult to see. I could cope with b) to a certain extent as I was only fishing at 5m, but I wondered at this stage whether the float was too light for the conditions??

Secondly, whilst the wind was blowing left to right, it appeared there was quite a tow in the opposite direction, the float was moving to the left, quite a lot in quite a short period of time. So I was having to reposition regularly to be anywhere near sure that I was over or close to my groundbait/micros. I then figured that in all likelihood the groundbait and micros was being affected by the tow as well, so in all likelihood I was probably fishing over it, but that it was probably a bit more spread out than it would have been under normal conditions.

I also noticed that the float was sitting very low in the water. I'd shotted the rig to have around 2cm of bristle showing, I know this is probably quite a lot, but I wanted to be sure of seeing it. At this stage it was down to a pimple, and would even go slightly under the surface on occasion. I wondered if it was a side-effect of the wind and/or under current?? I adjusted the rig by an inch or two, my thinking being that if I tried to fish a couple of inches over depth, it might steady the rig a little, and stop the under-current from pulling the float lower. I was clutching at straws to be honest, but I was behind my target and decided I needed to change something.

Having said all that, even though it didn't completely solve the issues, once I'd made the changes, the fish kept coming. Mostly 1/2lb stamp, with a couple of the 2-3lbers thrown in. From time to time the roach made an appearance, but certainly not enough to constitute a nuisance.

With 30 minutes to go I had 25lb on the virtual clicker. I decided to go all in and target the bigger fish, so sweetcorn it was, on the hook with 4-5 grains fed each time through a small tosspot. It looked to be working as I netted a 2lb carp and 3 more 1/2lb ers. 10 mins to go and a pound and a half needed. Another 1/2lber came with 5 mins on the clock.

Unfortunately the alarm went off and I ran out of time, with my virtual keepnet a pound short of my target. The alarm sounded and I shipped back in for the last time. I reckon I must have had over a pound of bits, (maybe 20 little roach), so I think I was there or thereabouts.

I packed up slowly, and headed for home, pretty happy with the day. In all honesty, its a well-stocked lake, the temperature has been steady round here at 6-8 degrees for a few days with no frosts, so I was confident of catching, but after last weekends less than stellar match fishing debut, it felt great to hit some bites and land some fish. It felt good to go through the process on a new venue, feeding through the small fish and finding the net fish that in a match would be good weight-builders.

Most of all, it felt bloody great to catch fish all day on rigs that I'd actually made myself (hook-lengths notwithstanding!!). A definite win in my book, and the future definitely doesn't involve any more ready-mage rigs.

I'll post separately about the issues with the tow and the float size/weight, as I think that's a key learning point for me today, that I'll need to get right for next time I'm fishing in similar conditions.

Tonight's tipple is a couple of beers so far, with my current favourite Pinot Noir currently breathing in the kitchen, ready for Strictly in a few minutes.

Thanks for reading

Stewie
Lovely write-up Stu, and a successful day , your smashing it mate ??
 

OldTaff

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A bloke turned up about 10ish on the other bank with a bright orange hi-viz coat on, I thought you'd come over for day out :giggle: :giggle: :giggle:

If only - mother in law took a tumble this morning so my fishing got cancelled and that’s it for 2020. She is fine thankfully but I needed an outing to relieve work madness
 

Stewie74

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If only - mother in law took a tumble this morning so my fishing got cancelled and that’s it for 2020. She is fine thankfully but I needed an outing to relieve work madness
Glad she’s ok Taff, hope you get out there soon ??
 

The Landlord

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Enjoyable read as always mate. Sounds like you did well with the tactics (going overdepth & coming into 5m). Did you use a backshot to combat the drift?
 

Stewie74

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Enjoyable read as always mate. Sounds like you did well with the tactics (going overdepth & coming into 5m). Did you use a backshot to combat the drift?
I didn’t, mainly because until tonight I didn’t know that backshotting was a thing??

watching a YouTube vid as we speak.....

had to come in short in order to hold the pole still, going over depth was a shot in the dark to be honest, turnabout it helped at least

how’s your thumb fella?
 

The Landlord

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I didn’t, mainly because until tonight I didn’t know that backshotting was a thing??

watching a YouTube vid as we speak.....

had to come in short in order to hold the pole still, going over depth was a shot in the dark to be honest, turnabout it helped at least

how’s your thumb fella?
Going back in hozzy for the op tomorrow, mate (it's the index finger). Left hand so at least it's not me darts hand :)
 

tipitinmick

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My pleasure Mick, I like to write this stuff down so in a few years time when I’m winning Fishomania and Match This I can look back and see just how far I’ve come ???????
I hope you do matey I really do. Getting fed up of Jamie whatshisname winning all the time. You go kick some ass pal. ???
 

robert d

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First look at a new venue for me, Rockells Farm Fishery, its a lake on the outskirts of Saffron Walden, Essex. It's also the venue for the next Winter League match that I'll be fishing on January 17th. Decided to go and have a look to try to come up with a plan, I'll also be getting over there at least once more before the match fixture.

It's about 3 acres, and has 24 swims, although I think for matches only 20 are fished. Well-stocked with carp, F1's. roach, skimmers.

I'd booked a day ticket in advance, the process there is that you book a specific peg by contacting the owner, I'd selected peg 9 (not for any particular reason) It's at one end of the lake and I knew the wind would blowing across from left to right.

The plan was to simulate a match, so I arrived at 815 with a view to fishing 930-230. Got myself set up including brolly as the forecast was for a bit of light rain in the afternoon, although it had changed regularly during the last couple of days. I'd decided to leave the feeder road at home and concentrate on the pole today (more on this later...)

I also set myself a nominal target of 30lb, I knew from speaking to the owner that the majority of the carp and F1's in the lake were either 8-10oz or 2-3lb, with a few bigger ones up to 8lb and a couple of big boys at 15-20lb. I'd be estimating to a certain extent, but I'd be weighing the first few fish to get my eye in with the estimates.

Plumbing indicated a gentle slope which bottomed out at 5m, with a flat bit from there to about 10.5m so I plumbed up lines straight ahead and at 10 o'clock to my left, at both 2+2 and 11m, although I fancied trying out the full 13meters for a bit later in the day. Set up the 2 topkits with two of my first self-made pole rigs which I've been trying to make this week. Preston 4x12 floats, stotz, 0.15 guru n-guage mainline to 0.13 drennan ready tied hooklength (not quite ready to tie my own hooks yet!!) with a size 18 drennan hook. I'd also made some 0.11 to 0.10 rigs but decided to go with the heavier ones to start with, aiming to target the carp and F1's

I'd mixed up some Sonubaits F1 dark groundbait and some Dynamite Swim Stim F1 micros, hookbaits on offer were 4mm expanders, red maggot, sweetcorn, the plan being to rotate all options to see what (if any) the fish were looking for. I'd also be trying out a banoffee bait booster glug on the expanders.

All ready on time. I even had time for a coffee before the off.

At 930 I fed my short lines, 1 with groundbait and 1 with micros, and spent the first hour rotating the 2, expanders on the hook over the pellet line, and red maggot over the groundbait line. Pretty much straight away I was into roach on the maggot line, couple of oz each, with a few up to maybe 6oz. On the pellet line it took a while longer, but within half an hour I had my first net fish, a small F1 of 8oz, closely followed by a 2lb common. This was shaping up to be a fun day.

Around 1030 it started to drizzle, and before long it was coming down steadily. Hmmm, glad I put the brolly up before I started.

I kept rotating the lines, and caught steadily on both throughout the first 2 hours. I weighed all the carp and F1s in the landing net, and by the halfway mark I was at 12lb (plus a load of little roach that I didn't weigh), so slightly behind my target.

Decided to feed the 11m lines to have a go a bit longer. However, whilst I had noticed the steady rain which was getting heavier if anything, I hadn't noticed the wind had got up and was now fairly stiff and quite gusty. Settling in over the 11m line, it became very clear, very quickly, that I wasn't going to be able to hold the pole still enough to feel confident of anything approaching a settled presentation of my bait. After 10 minutes of fighting the wind to try to hold the float in position, I decided that discretion would be, in this particular situation, the better part of valour, and I retreated to my 5m lines.

As a result of the wind getting up, I was faced with 2 new challenges, neither of which I had really come across before. Firstly there was a fair old ripple on the surface, which meant my float was a) wobbling around all over the place, and b) more difficult to see. I could cope with b) to a certain extent as I was only fishing at 5m, but I wondered at this stage whether the float was too light for the conditions??

Secondly, whilst the wind was blowing left to right, it appeared there was quite a tow in the opposite direction, the float was moving to the left, quite a lot in quite a short period of time. So I was having to reposition regularly to be anywhere near sure that I was over or close to my groundbait/micros. I then figured that in all likelihood the groundbait and micros was being affected by the tow as well, so in all likelihood I was probably fishing over it, but that it was probably a bit more spread out than it would have been under normal conditions.

I also noticed that the float was sitting very low in the water. I'd shotted the rig to have around 2cm of bristle showing, I know this is probably quite a lot, but I wanted to be sure of seeing it. At this stage it was down to a pimple, and would even go slightly under the surface on occasion. I wondered if it was a side-effect of the wind and/or under current?? I adjusted the rig by an inch or two, my thinking being that if I tried to fish a couple of inches over depth, it might steady the rig a little, and stop the under-current from pulling the float lower. I was clutching at straws to be honest, but I was behind my target and decided I needed to change something.

Having said all that, even though it didn't completely solve the issues, once I'd made the changes, the fish kept coming. Mostly 1/2lb stamp, with a couple of the 2-3lbers thrown in. From time to time the roach made an appearance, but certainly not enough to constitute a nuisance.

With 30 minutes to go I had 25lb on the virtual clicker. I decided to go all in and target the bigger fish, so sweetcorn it was, on the hook with 4-5 grains fed each time through a small tosspot. It looked to be working as I netted a 2lb carp and 3 more 1/2lb ers. 10 mins to go and a pound and a half needed. Another 1/2lber came with 5 mins on the clock.

Unfortunately the alarm went off and I ran out of time, with my virtual keepnet a pound short of my target. The alarm sounded and I shipped back in for the last time. I reckon I must have had over a pound of bits, (maybe 20 little roach), so I think I was there or thereabouts.

I packed up slowly, and headed for home, pretty happy with the day. In all honesty, its a well-stocked lake, the temperature has been steady round here at 6-8 degrees for a few days with no frosts, so I was confident of catching, but after last weekends less than stellar match fishing debut, it felt great to hit some bites and land some fish. It felt good to go through the process on a new venue, feeding through the small fish and finding the net fish that in a match would be good weight-builders.

Most of all, it felt bloody great to catch fish all day on rigs that I'd actually made myself (hook-lengths notwithstanding!!). A definite win in my book, and the future definitely doesn't involve any more ready-mage rigs.

I'll post separately about the issues with the tow and the float size/weight, as I think that's a key learning point for me today, that I'll need to get right for next time I'm fishing in similar conditions.

Tonight's tipple is a couple of beers so far, with my current favourite Pinot Noir currently breathing in the kitchen, ready for Strictly in a few minutes.

Thanks for reading

Stewie
Really well written, i enjoyed that ,what a lovely days fishing . Keep watching the videos you get some great tips on rigs and feeding .
 

Stewie74

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A good read Stewie. I can sense a plan fermenting for the match (y)
There's a plan. I'm not sure it's a good plan, but it's a plan all the same.

I reckon if I can catch 30lb in the match I might not come last, which is my second objective.

My first objective, having blanked in my first match, is to catch a fish. Any fish.

I have a brand new keepnet that hasn't seen a fish yet.....
 
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