Just one fish added to the tally last night and another fish lost giving a total catch for the week of 28 fish comprised of 27 carp and 1 sturgeon. Stephen had 16 carp topped by his 69lb mirror and another four over 40lb including another cracking mirror of 48lb 4oz. Chris had 11 carp and a 48lb sturgeon. Pick of his catch were the brace of 50’s, especially the stunning common weighing in at 55lb 4oz. Unusually for us there were a good few 30’s banked, 13 in total, with ten of them being over 38lb. These carp will be over 40lb within a week or two thus ensuring that our average should be around the 40lb+ mark for season. Very nice !
All the fish were in excellent condition with hardly any parasites evident and although looking in prime health they looked like they will be filling out a good bit in the coming months. An interesting fact is that the ‘Drop Scale’ mirror was out at 66lb 8oz at much the same time last year so has added a modest 2lb 8oz over winter. Considering that she topped 71lb prior to spawning it will be interesting to see how she fares this season. All being well she could top 75lb if last years weight pattern continues into this year. Happy days !
After a week of pretty miserable weather I am pleased to say that both Chris and Stephen have shared a good few new pb’s between them. Since yesterday another half dozen fish have been banked the best being a cracking mirror of 48lb 4oz caught by Steve this afternoon. Steve also managed a couple of smaller fish including a mint conditioned common of 25lb whilst Chris has caught a brace of fish comprised of mirrors of 37lb and 39lb 8oz plus another stunning common of 33lb 8oz.
So far the lads have shared a catch of 27 fish with Steves 69lb mirror being the outstanding fish of the session but backed up by a brace of 50’s to Chris topped by that stunning 55lb 4oz common. As usual at this time of year we are seeing most of the carp being caught during the daylight hours to such a degree that Chris has reeled his rods in a couple of nights and opted for daytime fishing only. I must say that I can’t blame him as some of the nights have been pretty appalling with wind and rain lasting into the early mornings making a warm bivvy all the more appealing ! Hopefully tonight will bring another good fish or two to the bank and if so I will update you in the morning.
Surprisingly the cold weather has not stopped the fly hatches which have been a feature on the lake for a couple of weeks now. Some lake olives have been coming off but the majority of hatches have been chironomids (pupal bloodworm) which have been hatching in some numbers. The bats have become far more active during the hours of darkness obviously enjoying the hatching fly and the cuckoo’s have been a welcome addition to the dawn chorus. If only the sun would shine for a few days I am sure we could convince ourselves that spring was with us !!
Stephen and his 48lb 4oz mirror caught this afternoon.
Pictures as promised, firstly Jimmy dealing with her on the mat and then the happy captor Stephen with his fish.
I was just clearing up after dinner when the phone rang, it was Steve. ‘I’ve got a monster in the net !! ‘ said the happy chappy ! Jimmy and I quickly went up to his swim to see what all the fuss was about and met an excited Steve with the news that it was our old friend ‘Drop Scale’ in the net. Happy days indeed to see her so early in the season. She turned the scales at 69lb exactly which is a superb weight just coming out of winter. Great result for Steve and great news for us to see her in such wonderful condition. The most exciting aspect of the catch for us is that the next couple of months should see her piling on the weight meaning that a new lake record will certainly be on the cards by the time we reach late spring. I will post pictures in the morning.
The weather continues to be cold, wet and windy however the lads are still managing to winkle out a few fish and highlight today was a stunning common caught by Chris. We had a call for help as Chris had been battling a fish for some time when a second of his rods went off. I arrived in his swim (and yes, it was raining !) and picked up the second rod only to see a sturgeon leaping from the water a good hundred yards away and whilst Chris battled what was obviously a very strong fish I handed the second rod to Jimmy who had just arrived. The sturgeon eventually came adrift however the fish on the first rod was giving Chris a real tussle, taking line constantly. When the carp looked ready for the net we saw it turn in the clear water it was obviously a big common. It turned lazily in the water, just beyond the net and then just took off again for the horizon giving Chris some heart stopping moments before I eventually managed to slip the net under her. She turned out to be a stunning, scale perfect common weighing in at 55lb 4oz. Another pb for Chris who already had banked a couple of good 30’s during the afternoon. Overnight Stephen had managed to bank another 3 carp, a brace of smaller fish and then a cracking mirror of 43lb. Picture below.
Chris and his 55lb 4oz common.
The lads are seeing the very worst of ‘spring’ weather this week with one day of sunshine followed by a frosty morning and then 24 hrs of solid rain. In between it has been showery and cold so all credit to the fortitude of Steve and Chris for keeping their enthusiasm bubbling. In fact after a very wet day they decided to give the fishing a miss last night and get a good nights sleep in the warmth of their sleeping bags rather than risking another good soaking as result of keeping their rods out. Anyway, fishwise things have been steady away and although we are now seeing a few fish moving there have been no fireworks as yet but some nice fish have been banked and most importantly they are all in stunning condition. Chris has had 6 fish so far with a best of 50lb 4 oz and other mirrors of 38lb 8oz, 38lb, 35lb and 32lb as well as his 46lb sturgeon. Steve, who has dropped a couple of strong fish due to hookpulls, has still managed to catch 7 nice carp with mirrors of 44lb, 38lb 10oz, 38lb, 36lb 9oz, 27lb 6oz and a lovely common of 38lb 10oz. The big girls remain elusive but with the week only half gone there is plenty of time yet for something very special to turn up !
Cold weather that has been our fare for a week or two now and the lake and its surroundings have not changed much for several weeks. Tree’s are still bare for the main part and any blossom that has had the courage to show its face has been overshadowed by the starkness of the many tree’s that have still to sprout any leaves or new growth. It feels rather like being in a very damp and cold waiting room with the promised spring remaining behind closed doors. It will arrive sooner or later but the wait is just a tad tiresome ! Anyway, on a brighter not our first cuckoo’s have arrived and are greeting the dawn with their call and the red squirrels are to be seen once more scuttling from tree to tree so all is not so bad. We still await our first swallows and it will be a week or two before the nightingales start their night serenading so hopefully when they do put in an appearance they will bring a little warm weather with them. A cold night ahead – below freezing the forecast promised – great !
A couple of Chris’s fish.
We have just had a bitterly cold night resulting in a frost that was severe enough to freeze the line in Daves alarms whilst he fished Poppy’s Lake. Despite the cold conditions we still had the pleasure of seeing a couple of fish banked to the lads on the main lake. Best of them was a cracking mirror of 50lb 4oz to Chris (not the Chris on Poppy’s I would add), his new pb breaking his previous record that he caught here last year by just 1lb. Chris has also managed to bank three more mirrors, a brace at 38lb and one at 32lb along with a 46lb sturgeon. Great going after just one full days fishing in very cold conditions. Steve had a strange experience this morning as when I called him for breakfast he found that the first rod he picked up was attached to a carp. Unfortunately the fish dropped off just under the rod so I left him to bring in his other rods and strolled back to the house. Imagine my surprise when a few minutes later I got a call to photograph a carp that he had just landed ! The third rod was also attached to a carp when he went to reel it in and this one was duly landed and turned the scales to 44lb, a stunning mirror in tip top condition. It would seem that the carp are very sluggish at the moment and rather than running on feeling the hook they would appear to either just sit over the lead or kite gently on the line without giving any indication other than the odd bleep on the buzzers. I remember last year we have quite a few very big fish that just took the bobbin up to the rod and then neither took more line or gave any indication that they were hooked. It was only when one angler decided to tighten up that he felt the fish which he proceeded to land. I think that until conditions improve it would be sensible to consider any indication of a pick up to be worthy of close attention and I would certainly feel for the fish before giving it up as a liner or suchlike. With half a dozen fish banked already this week in pretty awful conditions I can only hope that the lads bag another big girl or two before the week is out.
Pictures will be posted in the morning when I have had a chance to take them from the lads camera’s.
After a false promise of the arrival of spring we have been left rather dispirited about the conditions, with a cold, blustery north wind accompanied by a good helping of rain, leaving us in the mind that it was February and not late March. The two anglers, Dave and Chris, have soldiered on and even managed to winkle out a couple more fish, not our biggest girls but stunning conditioned mirrors nonetheless. Chris also caught his first ever sturgeon, which gave him a real runaround before he finally netted it. It turned out to be the big girl at 48lb 12oz and it is nice to see her in such fine condition as when we netted her in December she was tangled in line which had caused several nasty cuts. The tree’s are in the most part much as they were a month or so back with buds still tightly closed and leaves only to be seen as a green sheen on the weeping willows with most other tree’s still stark and bare against the greyness of the day. The carp continue to feed in spells despite the cold water so the mobile approach still stands a chance of producing a good fish or two and that’s what our new arrivals, Steve and Chris, have in mind. The lads have also brought a good supply of maggots with them which could well be a good move. We shall see, however with the weather looking to be cold and gloomy for the most part over the coming week the conditions will remain challenging to say the least.
A couple of well conditioned mirrors for Dave and Chris as well as Chris’s first sturgeon.
After a very cold night when a strong wind from the North really chilled the bones the day dawned grey and murky with the cold wind continuing to make life a tad miserable. Dave had managed to catch a small mirror overnight but other than that all was quiet. As the day wore on the sun began to make some headway in its attempts to burn its way through the murk and as the wind eased the day suddenly began to feel more springlike. Chris had moved across from ‘Sams’ to ‘Deliverance’ after Jimmy had spotted a large number of carp in that area and within minutes of casting out the buzzer on Chris’s left hand rod burst into action, line tore off the baitrunner and Chris tightened into a good strong fish. It turned out to be a stunning conditioned mirror of 48lb which just about doubled the previous best for Chris so it was smiles all round and pressure off !
Early this evening Jimmy went out in the boat to see if he could spot any carp and sure enough, between the island and ‘Car Park’ swim the bottom was being stirred up by a myriad of feeding carp. It would seem that they are moving around in big shoals and never staying in one area for long. In fact this evening the lads went up to ‘Car Park’ for an hour and saw plenty of fish including several that were to be seen swimming past the front of the swim, no more than a few feet from the bank. Having had a good few months living a stress free life without anglers to bother them it would seem that the carp are making the best of the rich feeding on bloodworm and moving from area to area throughout the day in a search for the richest pickings. With just a couple of anglers on the lake this week the mobile approach may be advantageous so tomorrow the lads will be ‘hunting’ the fish rather than just laying traps for them ! A bit like the old days methinks !!
Chris and his 48lb mirror.
It has been a challenging few days for Dave and Chris with the weather starting bright and cold with a brisk north wind to chill things off, then turning warm and sunny for the past couple of days. In fact the days are now very springlike with lots of sunshine and although we have an occasional light frost overnight the sun soon raises its head and floods the valley with welcome warmth. The carp are still in the large winter shoals and as luck would have it whilst the lads were fishing on the ‘Home Bank’ the carp were to be found in great numbers just off the ‘Chateau Bank’ ! It was Jimmy that found them whilst out in the boat where he happened upon what must have been a couple of hundred carp happily ripping up the bottom between ‘Deliverance’ and ‘Car Park’. When Jimmy approached the surface was a mass of bow waves as the carp spooked away from the boat.
Chris actually hooked a very powerful fish on Monday that made several strong runs before kiting towards the tree line to the left of ‘Sams’. Chris applied more pressure in an attempt to stop the carp but unfortunately the hook pulled and the fish was gone. Today Dave took his rods to ‘Island’ swim and within minutes of casting out he had a run on his island rod which resulted in a mint condition common carp of a tad over 38lb. This afternoon Dave moved round to the dam and again within minutes of casting out was into another fish, this one another mint condition common of 30lb. The lads now realise that with just the two of them fishing they will need to be prepared to move around to keep on the fish so with those tactics in mind we are hopeful of a few more runs in the coming days. Several big fish have been seen close to the island and this afternoon several more were spotted head and tailing along the centre of the lake. It is comforting to see the carp beginning to respond to the springlike conditions and hopes are high for the next few days.
Jimmy and I have been busily preparing ‘sausages’ of barley straw for placing around the lake and its inlets in an attempt to avoid the level of algae that we saw last year. We have bought a christmas tree wrapping ‘thingy’ along with a couple of hundred metres of netting and it is proving to be perfect for our needs. We need a couple of tons of barley straw for first application with the same again later in the summer. One side effect of the breakdown of the straw is that it give off a small amount of hydrogen peroxide which improves the dissolved oxygen of the water which in turn has obvious benefits as far as the carp are concerned. Higher oxygen generally encourages more enthusiastic feeding which in its own way will be a plus both the fish and the anglers.
Pictures below are of Daves two commons followed by one of the ‘barley straw preparation area’ !!