Very frustrating day.....but loved it..

Stewie74

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I posted earlier in the week about joining an angling club. Got lots of advice and opinions, and decided to take the plunge. Saffron Walden Angling Club, £35 for 3 lakes and 2 stretches of river. Bought the membership book yesterday and headed out this morning to play. The day was frustrating, however I thoroughly enjoyed it. It also threw up quite a few questions, which I will post separately.

I chose the Bordeaux Pit, not for any other reason than it's the one closest to home (two lakes here, and one elsewhere). From the club website:

This is a truly mixed fishery and contains Carp, Crucian, F1's, Chub, Bream, Ide, Roach, Rudd, Perch, Tench and Barbel. Carp are typically from 10 - 20lb with a few bigger fish to just over 30lb, F1's run to 5 lb, Crucian's to 3lb, Ide to 2lb+, Chub to 4lb, Bream to 5lb and the Tench have been caught to 8lb with an odd Perch to nearly 3lb. Roach and Rudd are numerous.

The water is though not aimed to mirror local commercial fisheries, it has a sensible stock level but is not overstocked to provide huge catches.


Arrived at 0715, just after sunrise, there were 2 other cars already in the car park. As I've never seen the place before, I decided to do a lap of the lake before getting any gear out, to try to find somewhere that suited my eye. My first observation was that the lake was made up of 2 circular bays, with a thinner end section at the far end which had an island in it, so effectively a horseshoe at one end.

I also noticed that the water level seemed quite low, maybe a couple of feet below the level of the peg, and that there seemed to be a shallow slope from the bank, with a rocky bottom. I could see quite a few shadows moving around in the margins, and around the horseshoe at the end there must have 20 carp just milling around in pairs. I wondered if the horseshoe was a sort of circuit with the carp sheltering around the island.

I picked out a peg towards the far end, with the island about 15m away at 10 o'clock as you look out over the lake, a reed bed with tree cover straight ahead, and a lily bed at 2 o'clock. At the lake I used to fish at, features like this were where the fish (particularly the bigger ones) would hide out, so I felt confident that if I could cast accurately I would find the fish. Hmmmmmm.

As usual I would be fishing the method/banjo feeder, with 2mm micros (Dynamite Carp), with hookbaits of 6mm expanders, 6mm hard halibut pellets, and some sweetcorn as another option (I could always rely on sweetcorn back in the day of nothing else worked!!)

Soaked the micros, set up the chair, landing net, rod rests etc, poured a coffee and sat looking out across the lake for 10 minutes, listening to the birds and looking forward to the day. Clipped up (casting was more accurate than the other day, big thanks to everyone who gave me tips in the casting thread) to the reed bed straight ahead, and got ready for the off.

Attached an expander pellet as my first hookbait, filled the feeder and cast over to the reeds, landed pretty close to where I was aiming, so far so good. I'd watched a youtube video that recommended 'building the swim' with regular recasts for about the first 30 minutes), so thought I'd give it a go. Most of the casts were within an acceptable area (I'd set myself a target of getting it within 6 feet either side of the line I was aiming at). Distance wise I was successfully hitting the clip every time.

So 10 casts in the first 30 minutes, and not so much as a wobble on the tip. Started to leave it in for 10 minutes per cast. had a couple of wobbles, but I think they were fish swimming into the line.

After an hour, I decided to switch and try just off the island to my left. Clipped up quickly and started again on the different line. Similar story, no takes, although there was a lot more tip movement, so decided to stick with it for a while. In all honesty, I'd resigned myself to not catching today, but decided to persevere and practice all the things I'd read and seen since last weekend. Started to loose feed either side of lily pads to my right, as an option if things stayed quiet around the island.

Typical, catapult and pellets went everywhere when the tip shot round to the left. My faith in there being any fish in the lake was restored as I started to play what felt (to me) like a decent fish. A couple of minutes later, landing net at the ready, a common carp surfaced in front of me, then proceeded to slip the hook just as I reached out to net it. I was gutted, it took every ounce of restraint in my being to refrain from shouting the kind of curse words that would make your granny blush. Still, after 3 hours with not so much as a sniff it was a welcome indication that I had at least a chance of breaking my duck at the new lake.

30 mins later I shifted my focus to the lily pads, and spent an hour or so watching a static tip. A rethink was needed, so I reeled in, had a coffee and a sandwich, and just sat and watched the water for a while.

I'd seen a few shadows moving around on open water, a couple of red lengths out on the same line as the island, so slightly to my left. I figured I had nothing to lose, so baited up and underarmed it out. Easier to cast accurately when not shooting for the far bank, I managed to hit a smaller target area than earlier. 2 or 3 casts later, we were in, and something was taking reel off the line at a rate of knots. Managed to get it under some sort of control, saw it surface in front of me (a common carp, bigger than anything I've caught since I restarted last week, a big chunky body and about 15 inches long), then it bolted for the margin, and I lost my second fish of the day when the entire thing came off, feeder, hook-length, the lot. This was starting to frustrate me a touch, if truth be told.

After having a serious word with myself, I got the other rod out, which was already set up ready to go. Attached a hook-length, baited it up and underarmed it back to the same spot. Literally within 30 seconds, off we went again, felt like a similar type of fish, similar struggle, and an identical result. Yes, another fish, feeder and hooklength lost right in front of me. Once I'd regained my composure, it became abundantly clear that my ability to tie a feeder to my mainline was somewhat lacking.

A quick google on the phone to check the recommended type of knot, I attached a new feeder (I'd clearly not got the knot right previously, although I'm not 100% sure where I went wrong) and swung back to the same spot. Fourth time lucky was my game-plan, however I didn't get the chance to test whether I'd done it right this time, as the last hour was as quiet as the first. Not another take, despite a fair amount of tip movement. I have learned to 'sit on my hands' as opposed to picking the rod up at the first sign of movement.

Called it a day at 5, when I ran out of micros. Packed my gear up, loaded the car and headed for home.

As per the title, a very frustrating day. Frustrating in so much as I didn't land a fish, and spent hours with little action. I guess this is the difference between fishing a very well stocked fishery and fishing a more natural type of venue.

However, sitting at home now with a glass of a cheeky little South African Pinot Noir and looking for positives from the day, I did manage to find the fish (eventually), I managed to get 3 decent fish to take my bait, and (i think) if I had tied the f******g things on correctly I would have had 3 very nice fish (by my standards). All from a lake that I've never fished before, on only my second session since returning to fishing after a 7 year absence.

Arrived home to a box of goodies from Bobco, mainly Ringers Micro's (much prefer these to the Dynamite pellets I used today, and thankfully a couple of method feeders to restock the tackle box.

Will come in very handy tomorrow morning when I head back out to give it another go.

Thanks for reading.

Stewie
 
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Stewie74

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What, and how, are you tying your mainline to? Some form of quick change bead?
6lb mainline, inline feeder with a Preston quick change bead. Not sure what the knot is called, but I put the line through the bead eye, over itself 6 times, back through the loop at the bottom through the loop at the top, wet and pull.

I'm googling it now as I'm sure it's the right style of knot, just not sure I tied it right.
 

Stewie74

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PS. The UNI-knot works in all settings and situations.
Thanks, looks like that's what I need.


It’s all a learning curve Stewie don’t be so hard on yourself. 👍. Nice write up matey.
I'm all good, there were far more positives than negatives. I always look at days like today in these terms: I don't lose, I either win or I learn.

Today I learned.

I'll get them tomorrow 👍
 

Stufish

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6lb mainline, inline feeder with a Preston quick change bead. Not sure what the knot is called, but I put the line through the bead eye, over itself 6 times, back through the loop at the bottom through the loop at the top, wet and pull.

I'm googling it now as I'm sure it's the right style of knot, just not sure I tied it right.
I use the same beads and I attach them with a figure of eight knot with the bead in the loop.
 

Stewie74

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Might be a daft question but are you sure it's the knots failing and not an issue with the line?
The line is 1 week old Drennan XT Camo, 6lb mainline. I'm pretty sure it's my ineptitude as opposed to a fault with the line.
 

The Landlord

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Great write up Stewie. That's the difference between a natural club water & the commercials. You won't bag up but you'll hit some decent fish. Like you said...you're at least doing something right by getting the bites. You'll sort the knots out in no time.
Getting to that time of year though when you can cut down on the feed a bit.
 

Stewie74

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Great write up Stewie. That's the difference between a natural club water & the commercials. You won't bag up but you'll hit some decent fish. Like you said...you're at least doing something right by getting the bites. You'll sort the knots out in no time.
Getting to that time of year though when you can cut down on the feed a bit.
Cheers Landlord.

I'm looking forward to the challenge to be honest, the commercials I've used were great, but it was a case of when not if, if you didn't get a bite in 10 minutes it meant that your hookbait had come off.

I'd rather have a few chances of a decent fish than loads of littl'uns 👍
 

bettsfan

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Eagerly awaited the write up of your day and gutted you didn't land them. Next time they wont stand a chance! You did well to hook into 3 though so use the positive to your advantage. We all have days that don't work out so well and it's all part of the learning curve. To confuse you a bit more, don't be afraid to try open water if it's on their patrol routes, even if other features are screaming out fish. Glad to hear you enjoyed the day regardless.
 

Deejay8

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It sounds like a bit of knot practice is in order, but you will get there, and it sounds like you have got a good bit of watercraft, and can get bites.
 

Fugley-fisher

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New water, not a commercial and it's getting colder, three fish in a day might be a very good result, the thing is you found some fish and hooked them, so your doing 99% right, i favour the Palomar knot, uni knot is very good also. Keep em reports coming and the golden reel final is just next year !
 

Ken the Pacman

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If I ever use that type of bead I will tie the bead into a loop same as you would to tie a loop for a hooklength but with the bead captive inside the loop.
It does not need to be a tiny loop as the feeder and tail rubber is going to cover it anyway and you will find that is a stronger connection than a straight knot.
You would tie a loop to use the Drennan method feeders anyway as they have a hooked connector with the feeder.
 

Stewie74

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Update!!!!

Went back this morning to exorcise some demons, well that was the plan anyway. Would be a shorter session as I’d need to pack up at 2pm to pick up the child at 3.

Waking up 5 minutes after the time I’d planned to leave wasn’t exactly the best start to the day, nor was not taking 5 minutes for my daily constitutional, which would come back to haunt me this afternoon.....

Anyway, by 8 I was set up, enjoying a coffee whilst my micros soaked. I’d picked a peg on the other side of the lake today, a bit nearer the car park.

Yesterday there were two chaps in this peg and the next one, they were first in the car park yesterday so I figured this must a decent peg if they took it when they had their pick of the entire lake. There was a bay to my right with some overhanging trees, a margin short to my left, and a square platform at about 10 o’clock as I looked out. I’m definitely no expert, but it just looked..........fishy?

I chose to target the right side first, clipped up just short of the trees. A few casts (surprisingly close to each other), and a couple of little trembles on the tip woke me up a bit after about 15 minutes.

Ringers micro pellets, and a variation from the norm with a bright pink 8mm wafter on a band.

Re- casting every 10 minutes after the first 1/2 hour, there was lots of tip movement going on, but determined to sit on my hands until all doubt was removed, at just before 9 I got my first take.

My first thought was something along the lines of ‘I’d better have got that f*****g knot right this time!!!!’. I had, and about 3 minutes later I was acquainting myself with this little fella......

CA02F1F9-F06F-4834-9F0F-8110B31F802F.jpeg

As I’ve said before, I don’t have scales, but based on my best guess I’d say around 6lb??

I sat down with a big grin on my face, got a thumbs-up from the bloke in the peg opposite, had a coffee and started to consider if I need a bigger landing net. If this is the size of fish I’m likely to be landing at this lake I definitely need a stronger handle, mine is an old telescopic thing that’s rather like cooked spaghetti.

Anyway , once I’d basked in my self-endowed glory for long enough, I baited up and cast back out to the same spot.

4 casts and about 45 minutes later, I met his big brother..... A9E26A4D-FFF8-4441-9A6F-BDD6F66EBF16.jpeg

A couple of pounds heavier in my estimation, slightly longer and again bigger than anything I’ve ever caught before.

2 hours in and I’d had 2 decent fish. Memories of yesterday’s shortcomings were quickly fading, and I decided that if that was it for the day I’d go home extremely content.

Safely returned to his watery home, I switched lines and cast out into more open water, towards the floating platform to my left.

A few casts, probably an hour or so later, the rod nearly ended up in the lake (I found it difficult to get a bank stick in the ground, will be investing in a Korum feeder arm for the chair imminently), and a rather angry encounter ensued, which culminated with this chap smiling (or not) for the camera..... C790D48F-F45E-48BA-B27A-8058CA5FA7E9.jpeg

About the same length but thicker around the middle, I’m saying 9lb, although I may be being a tad conservative, but I’m certainly not claiming my first double until I can weigh it and be sure. As I prepared to photograph it the bailiff wandered up behind me, and when I was done he said it was a good 8-10lber, and that that was about the average for the carp in this lake.

Now, with 3 stonkers in the book, I had a little break for a coffee and some leftover pizza from last night.

It was now around 1230, and I started to underarm to the margins left and right for the last 90 mins or so until I had to pack up.

Try as I might, I had no further interest, and before I knew it my phone vibrated to indicate it was time to head off.

I can’t explain how chuffed I feel after yesterday’s session, I will be celebrating this evening with a bottle of Spanish Red, probably a Rioja, and possibly a nice Single Malt from the special cabinet.

I think I’ve earned it.

No fishing over the weekend, I’m playing golf tomorrow and have some jobs to do on Sunday, but will be heading back out on Monday, bright and early.

Thanks for the knot tips yesterday, and thanks for reading👍👍🎣🎣🐳🐳

Stewie
 
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