Farm Pool 05-04-14
A days roach fishing was planned and I headed to Farm Pool which has some of the finest roach fishing available on my club card. The club record roach is currently 2lb 2oz caught by a junior during a match at Woodside Pool in 2012, not that I’m chasing club records but the stamp of fish in Farm Pool tells me it could well hold roach in excess of the magical 2lb mark.
I arrived mid-morning and set up in the usual swim. the bigger roach are to be had just off the two islands so maggot feeder and single red maggot on a size 16 hook is favourite. The float rod was also set up but not to fish two rods as roach are such finicky shy biters that you’d be constantly left dithering between both rods not knowing what or when to strike. The weather wasn’t the best for roach fishing and a ‘moderate’ breeze was crossing the pool from left to right, the temperature had dropped and I put my brolly up so it sheltered my back.
The fishing was slow until the wind dropped and by lunchtime I started to get some pristine fish to just on a pound. This continued until mid afternoon when I decided to give the float a go close in.
I’d been trickling some hemp and caster in a rod length out and using the recently acquired Bruce & Walker 14′ float rod it was more like pole fishing as I placed the bait under the rod tip. It was action all the way but only smaller roach and the odd skimmer bream so I changed to banded pellet fished slightly over depth to see if there were any other species moving in on the action.
Penno dropped in for a brew and the now customary slice of cake, we had a chat during which the float slowly and purposefully slid away and I lifted into a tench. The rod handled it well as it made a few determined runs for freedom and even as Penno slipped the net under it was still fighting as all tench tend to do.
A quick look at the scales showed it to be just on 2lb and, after the mat shot, it was released into the vacant peg to my right.
At 6pm I switch to pellet molded around a small method feeder and moved back to the area I’d had the roach from earlier, my target species was now tench and if they’d woken up recently I hoped they’d start on the pellets.
Unfortunately they didn’t and neither did anything else so I tried the float again, this time I tried various depths, up in the water, over depth but nowt was tempted apart from a very unusual capture whilst reeling in, initially I thought it was snagged up but as it came free I realised I was attached to something.
On the mat it looked every inch a new PB swan muscle and indeed it was either that or I was just lucky but doesn’t it look like it’s clamped onto the hook?
That was it for the fishing so at 7pm I packed up and filled in a catch return, funnily enough the swan muscle wasn’t listed!!
The Lake of Tranquility 13-04-14
It was dull and overcast as I headed down the track to the lake, the forecast was once again ‘moderate breeze’ which coupled with the drop in temperature meant it wasn’t going to be easy fishing as I’d hoped. Unusually for me I’d had to forego the customary Saturday fishing and, as there’s an open match every Sunday, settle for a pre-allocated peg, not one I’d have chosen but the three lads that had fished the night in my usual swims were due off at lunchtime so I thought at least if I sat it out I could drop into the bay once the lads had gone home.
The aptly named ‘Mitchell Bruvvers’ stood guard over the swim mounted on my 14′ Bruce & Walker on the float and a tip rod down to my left. The match lads arrived at 8:30am for a 9am draw and a fairly blustery wind meant they’d have their work cut out to hold their poles steady.
I set about feeding my swim with small pellet and some hemp and cast into the wind with a fairly heavy waggler allowing it to settle before sinking the line to avoid it drifting out of position. The tip rod was cast down my left hand margin about a rod length out and as usual I started on red maggot to see if I could get a few bites before moving up to pellet.
The first hour proved unproductive and at 10am the ‘all in’ shout signalled the start of the match, it was at that point I was grateful I hadn’t entered because I couldn’t buy a bite let alone get a net full of fish and I wasn’t ready for that kind of humiliation just yet.
The resident ducks came to feed on my spilled baits in the margins, always like to see them close up and confidently feeding a few feet away. They make a good subject for a quick photo especially if you hold them there briefly with a few free offerings.
After lunch I’d had no luck at all so moved into the bay. I’m confident in a swim I’ve caught in before and, as the wind momentarily dropped, I started to enjoy the afternoons fishing with a number of small roach proving my float fishing was improving.
The afternoon was fruitful and as the sun started to drop behind the horizon I decided to slowly pack away and left around 7pm. Having spent a number of sessions at this lovely venue I was happy to pick somewhere else for next week but with so many to choose from I was spoilt for choice, perhaps a trip to Farm Pool, perhaps with a new rod or two and that’s what I like about fishing…. you never really know what’s going to happen next.
Farm Pool 19-04-14
Having received, in double quick time, a couple of float rods I’d purchased from a fellow Traditional Fisherman’s Forum user I thought it very fitting to give them a waggle at Farm Pool so armed with the usual paraphernalia I headed off and arrived mid-morning. The weather wasn’t great and a biting easterly wind was occasionally blowing across the water from left to right as it had done two weeks earlier.
The first rod is 10′ 6″ long in three sections having a whole cane butt section and middle section with a cane coloured fibreglass top, the tip ring will take a screw in quiver or swing tip and it was whipped in a dark green thread, what amazed me about both rods was the varnished finish, it was deep and as smooth as glass, clearly many hours had gone into it’s restoration.
The second rod is also 10′ 6″ long in three sections having a whole cane butt section and middle section with a split cane top, it’s purely a float rod and doesn’t have a screw in tip ring, this one is finished in deep red thread and again the same deep varnished finished, the badge states it’s a ‘Dawsons Rival’ float rod.
I set up in my favourite swim and used the fibreglass topped cane rod with a screw in quiver tip as I knew that the bigger roach resided out between the two islands way out of float casting distance. Single caster and maggot feeder was my first approach although in my eagerness to get fishing I used the wrong pattern hook which was far too big to fool the shy biting roach.
After a bite-less hour and three or four recast I reeled in and decided to try the float a couple or rod lengths out, as previously I’d been putting a small amount of hemp and caster in occasionally whilst waiting for the tip rod to pull around and this time I used the smaller patterned hook that buried itself within the caster.
The rods looked magnificent paired with the ‘Mitchell Bruvvers’ and I was one very happy angler.
I’d set the float slightly over depth in order to stop it drifting out of place and within a minute of casting out it disappeared momentarily as the smaller roach plucked away at the bait and I found holding the rod with the line sunk but taught was the only way to hit the bites, first up a skimmer bream, then a few tiny roach followed by the bigger specimens who’d likely came over from the island to see what all the fuss was about.
Around tea time I moved to another swim on the left hand side of the pool, the wind was still an issue but the high banks acted as wind break giving me some calmer water to go at, it was a tight fit but I managed to get set up with everything to hand should I need it.
The next couple of hours proved difficult to say the least and I think the cold wind and the drop in temperature put an end to what is usually a very productive days fishing.
I’d planned to stay over and fish first light on Easter Sunday before heading home at lunchtime so I set up the brolly and prepared for the night ahead.
At midnight I reeled in the tip rod and settled down with the last chapter of another TFF members book, called A Year on the Moat it’s a diary of Stuarts campaign to catch big carp from a local moat, a most enjoyable read but on my Kindle it ended unexpectedly saying “I embark on a whole new journey the prospect of which excites me a lot” so I’ll need to download it again if there’s another few pages left to go!! he was of course referring to his preference now for more traditional tackle of which the Richard Walker MKIV split cane rods are synonymous with carp fishing.
A final cup of tea and a slice of cake before getting to sleep around 2am, with no rods out I drifted off within minutes.
A couple of hours later I rose to meet the dawn as planned and had a very pleasant few hours on the float, only catching small roach and skimmers but it didn’t matter as now I’d rediscovered the art of angling, simple methods, simple baits, it works for me.
A rain shower at 11am signalled time to reel in and head home but I can’t wait to do it all again, perhaps a different pool with different challenges but for now until the river season arrives I’ll be quite content with a spot of roach on the float.
I must say a big thank you to Wal for doing such a fine job of restoring the float rods, you’ve made a middle aged piscator very happy indeed!!
Lymmvale Charity Tench Fish-In 26/27-04-14
Each year we hold a charity fish-in at Lymmvale in Cheshire and raise thousands of pounds for our nominated charity. This years charity is Macmillan Cancer Support and, for the first time, we organised an on-line auction which offered 20 lots ranging from hand made fishing floats, to guided days with some of the best river fishing in the country.
As previously we had our Just Giving page with donations coming in from the start but having set a target of £2000 we really didn’t know if we would achieve it when the fish-in finished at midday on the Sunday. the auction ended at 8pm on the eve of the fish-in and raised just over £700 and with just over a £1000 in the Just Giving fund we had our work cut out for the weekend ahead.
As usual I couldn’t sleep, well I managed an hour, but when the alarm went off at 3:30am I was up, dressed and packing the car. I’d arranged to meet Bill at Lymmvale at 5am to help set up the cooking area in readiness for 20 hungry anglers turning up at 6am. That was the plan but as usual I paid too much attention to the sat nav and took a wrong turn in Runcorn adding half an hour to the journey. Not the best of starts but Bill had everything under control when I eventually arrived.
Dave and Phil had stayed over the night before and, as the wind was a bit gusty, Dave’s brolly decided on an early morning swim, it was suggested he might have launched it deliberately and had it loaded with bait which he’d tip over into his swim when no one was looking!!
The draw was a rover so we could choose our pegs and I opted for one close to the hut so I could help out with the catering. There was no immediate rush to start fishing so I spent some time positioning my brolly intending to sleep in my recliner chair rather than the bedchair, the swim was long enough but not very deep so I had to compromise. The view I had was stunning and from the head of the lake I could see nearly all of the swims as anglers started to prepare for the 30 hour session.
I’d decided to give my recently purchased cane rods an outing so set about putting them together, the float rod was paired with my Allcocks Match Aerial and the tip rod a Mitchell Match. Plumbing the depth I found a steep drop off about a rod length out, it dropped to around ten feet so a slider set-up was employed to ensure I was fishing slightly over depth, red maggot is a favourite tench bait so a size 14 hook with four or five red maggots was cast out along with a feeder full of hemp and caster.
The local wildlife came in for a mooch under the marginal cover and seemed to sense the quill float giving it a wide berth in a similar manner to the tench who weren’t going to give themselves up easily.
With little or no action being reported by lunchtime Bill started the BBQ and soon after 20+ hungry fund raisers enjoyed the feast, I helped out with the teas and coffees and missed out on a burger but knowing Bill as I do it was a wise move because once the rabble had their fill he brought out the steak and quickly cooked it over the hot coals, dripping with onions it was indeed well worth the wait!!
We fished through the night, well most had a good nights sleep but when I woke up news of a few fish coming out spread around the banks and hope was restored for a productive mornings tinca chasing. I didn’t catch and by 11 o’clock I started to pack the car and get the prizes ready for the ‘all out’ at midday.
All in all we’d hit our target of £2000 and with the gift aid totalled more like £2500 for the Macmillan Cancer Support, a job well done for a very worthy cause. The prize giving was a grand affair with the club President John Prescott presenting the lucky winners with their prizes but looking around at the smiling faces I figured everyone was a winner including me so with the car packed and goodbyes said it was off to Farm Pool for an afternoon on the waggler for me, well you wouldn’t expect anything else would you and besides I had some maggots to use up!!
Farm Pool 27-04-14
Half an hour later I was set up and back in my comfort zone, there is a stark contrast in scale between Lymmvale and Farm Pool and after a fish less 36 hours I was happy to think I’d soon be amongst the fine roach that reside in the pool.
The skimmers were first to take notice of hemp and caster which I had in abundance as most of the left over bait was given to me back at Lymmvale. I continued to alternate between the float and the tip and soon enough the fish started feeding.
I moved swims after a couple of hours, it was quickly approaching that magical evening time when the wind seems to die down and the pool takes on a new dimension. I cast the tip rod out towards the island and stepped up the bait to a nice fat pellet which I’ve found attracts the bigger specimens and almost immediately started to see the tip quiver and tremble with interested takers. Reluctant to strike I started touch ledgering to feel if the bites were just over keen youngsters or more mature elders.
After missing the most obvious of bites I concluded enough was enough and my lack of sleep was having a major impact on my ability to hit them so I gathered my tackle and loaded the car for final time of what turned out to be a most enjoyable fund raising weekend.
Till next time tight lines, Grazy.