A week of little males and spawny girls !!

A most enjoyable week with a great bunch of regulars who, despite the carp spawning, still managed to bank 32 fish. To be fair to the lads the hot weather and spawning activity meant that fishing was often taking second place to wandering around the lakes and generally socialising with each other. No desperation to catch, but a most relaxed approach, still saw all anglers get onto the score sheet with pride of place going to the trio of 50’s banked earlier in the week. Lee had a stunning 52lb common, Caddy a 51lb 4oz mirror and Chris another mirror, this time at 50lb exactly. The back up fish were mainly of the smaller ilk with the randy males putting on a great show whilst the big girls just lay up waiting for conditions to be perfect for another round of egg laying. In fact this week saw the lowest average weight that we have experienced for a year or so with just 15 carp of over 30lb and 13 under that weight ! It is not unexpected at this time in the carps breeding cycle however I will be happy once the big girls are back on the feed once more and we return to our 40lb+ average. Spawning took place for just a night and a day after which a drop in temperature put it on hold once more. The water temperature is just half a degree below the required 18c so with warm weather due to arrive later today I feel sure that the carp will be busily thrashing the lake margins to foam once more.

The lake is now looking at it’s best with the tree’s in fresh leaf, the reeds and shrubbery bursting forth and the lake looking bright and healthy after the freshen up that the drain down has given it. We have thought long and hard about water quality generally since last years problems and will now be partially draining the lake each winter to enable the natural springs to re-fill it with clean, fresh water. Just like the aquarium at home, a water change does no end of good to the carps habitat. All looks superb now and providing we do not experience the freak weather that hit us last spring I am confident that the carp will prosper greatly in their improved environment.

With the nightingales now with us once more it is apparent that one of the returnee’s has taken a liking to the good old Delkims ! It is sitting behind the millhouse mimicking the warble of the bite alarm with great skill and I am sure will give a heart stopping moment to an angler or two this spring. I remember that last year a few of the lads were talking about the ‘Delkim bird’ – well now it’s back !

One disappointing find at the beginning of the week is that one of the anglers fishing a particular ‘Home Bank’ swim in the last couple of weeks decided he couldn’t be bothered to walk the 50m to the toilets and instead left us with a stinking pile under a conifer bush. Thanks fellah, I know who you are and you are not welcome back.

I will be off back to the UK in the morning for a 10 day family visit so if Jimmy doesn’t have time to update the blog I will do so on my return. Happy days !

Some more pictures of the lads.

Dave and a highly coloured 41lb mirror.

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Another of Andy’s fish.

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And a disturbing picture of Mark and a nice mirror. What shade of lipstick is he wearing I wonder ?

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Our earliest ever spawning !

This morning we awoke to find that the carp were busily thrashing on both lakes heralding the earliest ever start to spawning that we have experienced. On the main lake it is still just the early stages however up at the top end shallows there were lots of carp milling around as well as the occasional flurry of spawning and from what the lads reported they were well at it during the hours of darkness. We also had some big fish performing under the tree’s near the house as well as around the island and the weeping willows on the dam. Poppy’s is also being whipped to a foam so it would seem that both lakes are now in the early stages of the spawning process and weather permitting we may be lucky enough to have it finished in a few days time.

It is strange to have the roach and the carp both spawning at the same time creating an area of constant activity along the margins of the lakes. I suppose that we really should be grateful that things are happening this early as the last couple of years have been blighted by constantly changing temperatures causing the spawning to be very stressful for the fish. The fishing is slowish with mainly the smaller males being caught but Caddy did have a nice 38lb mirror last night so it would appear that some of the better fish are still prepared to take a bait. It looks to be an interesting period for us and I will update the blog with developments.

Magic moments !

This afternoon when the sun was at it’s hottest and the lake lay still and calm I heard to distinctive sound of a bite alarm warbling away. A quick glance up the lake soon identified the culprit as Lee, who was fishing in ‘Zippy’s Pit’, and had his rod well bent into a good fish. I sat with Lee for a good 45 mins as the carp took line and kited left and then as Lee felt he was making some headway it would take more line and kite to the right ! This continued for what seemed an eternity with one minute Lee gaining line and getting the carp in close and the next minute the fish taking line and heading for the far margin. The sun beat down relentlessly (about 30c) and as I waited for the fight to reach a crescendo I was able to watch a shoal of perch tearing up the fry in the margin. Jimmy joined us and we could see the rod nodding up and down as Lee’s arm shook with a mixture of fatigue and excitement. Eventually we were able to catch a glimpse of the fish and saw that it was a good common, golden in the sunlight as it turned for yet another run. When Jimmy eventually slid the net under the fish it was clear to all that it was a hefty beast and at least a good 40 pounder. Pictures taken it was taken to the scales where it took the dial round to  a net weight of 52lb. A new pb for Lee (well earned) and a stunning fish to see on the bank. A series of pictures are below.

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The other lads have also been chipping in with a fish or two with a 51lb mirror being banked by Caddy from ‘Carp Park’ which is especially pleasing as it is the first 50 from the shallows this year. Andy also had a nice fish during the heat of the day, just an hour after Lee’s capture, and this time it was a lovely mirror of 42lb.

All in all, the week has been a strange one as the weather has turned hotter by the day and yet the boys are still managing to winkle out a fish or two. Up to Tuesday evening we have had 16 carp out including three fifty’s so the lads are confident of another lump or two in the second half of the week.

The water temperature this evening was ranging from 18c to 20c throughout the lake so it will be no surprise if we see the first indication of spawning over the next few days. This evening I was informed that a friends lake, just 10 mins away, has seen the start of spawning so we are waiting with baited breath to see how things pan out in the coming days. The weather is due to cool down a tad at the end of the week with a good chance of a thunderstorm on Friday and slightly cooler, showery weather due to set in next week. My gut feeling is that spawning will hold off for another week or two but at the end of the day mother nature will have her way and the carp will perform when they are ready !

A final plus for me is that as I sat, beer in hand, on the dam at dusk I heard the first nightingale of the year singing merrily away. Happy days indeed !

Finally a few pictures of Caddy and Andy with some of their fish.

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Getting hotter !

Jimmy has just taken the water temperature after another hot day and found that the top three feet have gone up by 2c ! We are now at 18c for much of the lake with the deeper water being a degree cooler so if this pattern continues we could be in for our earliest spawning ever. This is totally out of the ordinary for us and I would have expected the water to not have reached the magical 18c (for spawning) for at least another month. We are due a thunderstorm on Friday and if it arrives it could well cool things down a little but it is no surprise that the carp have become torpid once more with water temperatures rising at such a rate. Today saw a few fish moving but just one caught, a stunning 41lb mirror for Chris, but I feel that tonight could bring another fish or two which I will report on in the morning.

Ooooops !!!

It would seem that a post that I wrote for my grandaughters blog was mistakenly posted on here. I have deleted it but already have lots of rather ‘sarcastic’ reply’s. Damn embarrassing for and old codger like me I must say !

Early spawning a possibility !

Our water temperature is rising at an alarming rate with it going from 13c a week ago to 16c today. It is no wonder the carp are remaining fickle and if this warm weather continues then I anticipate an early spawning. A few days ago we had a male fish releasing milt on the unhooking mat which is extraordinary for this time of year. We have a big shoal of fry, mainly roach and pike, which are being harassed by both the pike and carp and it is no surprise when you consider that the carp always like a good protein boost prior to spawning. In fairness none of the big females that have been banked look to be near spawning condition however that could all change in a matter of a couple of weeks if conditions favour spawning. Interesting times.

The fishing is slowish although we once again are experiencing fish being lost when they would seem to be well hooked and most of the fish that are being landed are our smaller one’s. Aside from the 50lb mirror that Chris had the only carp banked have been 20’s and 30’s which is most unusual for our spring fishing. I am sure that once the water settles at a steady temperature the carp will begin to respond to the anglers bait but with the daytime temperatures being in the mid 20’s it would be safe to say that early morning and night time will be the most productive periods.

The bird life is very vocal these days with nesting territories being established and mates being wooed and this morning I actually heard the first notes of a nightingale. The kingfishers are already paired up and can be seen and heard over the lakes throughout the day whilst the heron are constantly squabbling over fishing rights, although they should be pairing up and leaving for their roosting sites pretty soon. Spring is now truly here and with the tree’s greening up and shrubbery putting out new shoots the place is once again fresh and vibrant – quite a change from just a couple of weeks ago when I was bemoaning the lack of warmth and the bare tree’s ! Happy days !

A great week for Mr Williams !

Well, the weather has improved greatly and the fishing likewise has showing a distinct turn for the better. The warm sunny days would be followed by nights when cold would then start to creep into the bones as the frosts arrived but the warmth would return with the rising sun in the morning when you would see the lads discarding their thermals for a return to shorts and short sleeved shirts. The carp were still a tad bunched up in the deeps but as the week progressed there were signs that they were beginning to spread out across the lake. The lads reported far more activity later in the week and I saw quite a few fish just head and tailing out in the middle of the lake. At other times the carp would barely dimple the surface as they just stuck their noses out. Keith noticed this and caught a couple of fish by dropping a bait where the carp were dimpling. In fact Keith worked his swim well and finished up with the lions share of the catch, 35 fish in all including 3 x 60’s up to 66lb 10oz plus a brace of 50’s and 6 x good 40’s whilst Stewy upped his pb with every fish he caught – mirrors of 41lb 8oz, 48lb 4oz and 50lb plus a brace of sturgeon up to 48lb and finally a stunning common of 40lb. Matt had a slowish week and actually lost a few fish before banking a trio of carp up to 40lb whilst Chris had just a 31lb common for his efforts.

A most enjoyable week that saw Mr Williams achieve his best ever LMDM catch – knows how to get the best from his swim does Keith ! He is back again for an autumn trip when he will be fishing the ‘Home Bank’ so it will be interesting to see how he will adapt to the fresh challenge.

Total catch for the week was as follows – 3 x 60’s, 3 x 50’s, 13 x 40’s, 15 x 30’s, 8 x 20’s and 3 x sturgeon.

With the weather set fair for the foreseeable future we can look forward to the carp settling down into a proper feeding pattern and moving all over the lake as they do so. The winds have eased and even the nights are starting to warm up so the scene is set for some enjoyable fishing in the coming weeks. On the wildlife front the swallows are now ever present over the lakes and the cuckoo’s seem to be around in greater numbers than ever, as do the woodpeckers and we heard our first golden oriole of the season this morning. Any time now the nightingales will start their night time serenading which is a sure sign that spring is here to stay and summer is just around the corner. Already the guys are getting amongst the fish and five of the six lads fishing this week have already caught. Pick of the bunch so far is a new pb for Chris – a cracking mirror of 50lb. Happy days indeed.

A few more pictures of last weeks catch.

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It’s that man Williams again !

The carp are now starting to move around far more and although the cold nights are holding water temperatures down the daytime sunshine would appear to have sufficient warmth for the carp to start behaving in a ‘springlike’ manner. Last night Keith had another 5 carp, bringing his total to 17 up to Tuesday morning. Pick of his catch since dinner was the banking of ‘Drop Scale’ at a reduced weight of 66lb 10oz. She gave a great account of herself and had probably been laying up since her last capture and will have just started to feed once more as conditions improve. Stewy upped his pb once more overnight with a fat mirror of 48lb 4oz and both Matt and Chris also are now off the mark. With 9 fish banked in the last 12 hours it is safe to say that they have come on the feed in earnest and with plenty of fish showing all over the lake this morning I am confident that a good few more will be banked before the week is out.

Having had the opportunity to see a good many fish in the last couple of weeks we are able to assess how they have fared after the netting. The process of draining the lake and netting out the carp will always have an impact on their overwintering and there can be little doubt that the condition of the fish this spring is probably as good as I can ever remember. Great colours, great condition generally and with barely a parasite in sight the carp are fighting hard and should be piling on the weight once the water warms up. Weights are overall probably a little down on where they would have been without the stress of netting however the coming months should see them coming on strongly and we could well be heading for our best season yet.

Keith and his big mirror from early this morning.

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The arrival of spring – official !

Well, as I write the sun is shining, the birds are singing and for a brief moment we can forget just how cold it remains and convince ourselves that spring has finally arrived. This morning dawned misty and cold with a heavy frost laying over cars and bivvies alike. The sun eventually broke through and when you were out of the cold wind it was quite pleasant with a promise of better things to come. The forecast is for a gradual warming up throughout the week before the return of rain on Friday so perhaps the tree’s will bless us with a leaf or two by then and the carp will start to move around in a more enthusiastic way. As for the fishing it has been rather mixed over the first couple of days of this week with keith Williams doing rather well and the other lads trailing behind for the moment. On arrival the two new lads, Matt and Stewy, decided to fish the ‘Home Bank’ where the best fishing had been up to now. In fact ‘Sams’ had produced twice as many fish as ‘Deliverance’ up to the start of this week so it seem on the face of it to be a sound choice. In reality it was keith, in his favourite swim once more, who has really set thing alight in the first 48 hours with a catch of 12 carp and a sturgeon. Best of the bunch is the first showing of ‘Cut Tail’ this year who gave Keith a tough tussle before she could be landed. I say ‘she’ however we believe that this particular fish is a male, slower growing but with great eventual potential. Weighing in at 62lb 8oz she was in stunning condition. Whilst Keith was playing her his second rod took off and another mirror of 37lb 12oz was duly landed. Later this afternoon Keith spent sometime with the other lads and on his suggestion Stewy moved to ‘Zippies’. He was soon into a strong fish that eventually turned out to be a cracking mirror of 41lb 8oz, improving his pb by 15lb ! With a forecast of gradually warming weather there is every chance that the carp will start to feed with more enthusiasm and hopes are high for the remainder of the week.

One interesting fact is that one of the carp landed by Keith was coughing up lots of fry indicating that perhaps feeding has been taking place far more than we were aware of. After all, there is nothing like fry to give a good protein boost to carp just coming out of winter. It is just possible that the many cascades of scattering fry that we see may have more to do with carp than pike ! Food for thought methinks.

Keith and a few of his fish.

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Stewy and his 41lb 8oz mirror.

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Another 50 for Keith Williams !

I strolled around the lake this afternoon, chatting to the lads and soaking up a little of the newly hatched sun, and was just ribbing Keith that he was due another fish when his middle rod screamed off. After a really good scrap the net was put under another cracking mirror, this one turning the scales to 50lb 2oz. Chris also had a run just moments before but unfortunately after a brief moment of contact the fish was bumped off. One of the other lads also had an aborted run at the same time so it would seem that the carp were starting on a mid afternoon feeding session.

Find below the story of Keith’s latest 50 from the moment of hooking to being returned. I have also put a picture of the rig that Keith always does well on here. Note: it is a newly tied rig and the barb is not yet crushed – but is will be before use !!

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