As I write it’s the eve of the Spring bank holiday weekend and almost the end of May. The rain has arrived and is set for the next 36 hours at least, almost an inch of rain will fall in 6 hours tomorrow afternoon which is a considerable amount and yet I’m just waiting for a suitable gap to get the car loaded for an early start and go fishing in the rain, so I ask myself the question “Why?”
Well the answer to that is contained herein. You see I’m an angler and when the forecast is rain I don’t think first and foremost about getting wet I think about how that’ll affect the fishing, will it ‘switch’ them onto feeding, will they think the dinner bell has just been rung or will they simply sit there staring back at us drowned rats huddled under our brollies? That’s the difference between an angler and someone who occasionally goes fishing at the weekend, if the weather is OK, if the missus doesn’t have anything lined up, if the dog has been walked and the kids haven’t got a game of football, if I’m not working, if……if I can be bothered. I’m bothered if I don’t go fishing at the weekend, if I don’t start planning the next trip whilst driving home from the next, if I….. well you get the idea.
May is Springtime, the weather warms up and generally it rains so my first few sessions were of mixed conditions, one minute high winds and rain the next I’m digging out the sun cream and so we start at Woodside Pool another lovely little still water on my club card, plenty of fish and some surprises too!!
Woodside Pool 03-05-14
I settled on a corner swim on the far bank from the car park, there were two anglers already fishing at 7am when I arrived so I wanted to ensure I wasn’t fishing a swim that was too close to them and I also wanted to ensure that if any other anglers turned up they wouldn’t be casting near me and disturbing my swim.
The corner looked deep but a quick plumb around on the float showed it to be around four foot a couple of rod lengths out and shallowing up to two feet in the margins. The tip rod was set up with my latest adaptation of the classic screw in quiver tip which I’d ‘engineered’ from a standard push in quiver, at 2oz it was designed with river chubbing in mind and looked too over gunned for the delicate bites of small still water fish.
As soon as I attached the tip is sagged under it’s own weight, I struggled on but it’s droop made me doubt it’s effectiveness so I switched back to the one I’d purchased of ‘The Bay of Temptation’ and this sat as it should, back to the drawing board for a shortened version as the 1oz tip I was using wouldn’t do the job on a fast flowing river and I’m sure would give more false indications than true.
The tip of the tree to my left was the first area I concentrated on and a few pouch-fulls of hemp and caster were dispatched ahead of the hook bait which as ever was two red maggots on a size 16 just to get that all important first fish on the bank.
I didn’t have to wait long and within a few minutes the tip started flickering as the fish moved into investigate the hook bait, as the tip pulled steadily around I lifted into a rather feisty carps which had me testing the old cane rod a fair bit especially under the rod tip but soon enough it was on the mat and posing for a photo.
The next fish was a good hour later and only after switch to banded pellet after missing so many takes on maggot I decided it time to step it up, the brown goldfish had a tinge of crucian in it to me and fought better than the carp despite being half it’s size.
At 1pm Mr Last turned up with some screw in tips including a vintage swing tip that looked very robust compared to some I’d used recently and I felt was intended to be used on rivers back in the day of match fishing when casting 30 yards downstream wasn’t possible without casting into your opponents swim.
As Bill settled into the drivers seat I set about making the tea and serving up a lovely slice or two of walnut cake, Bill on the other hand proceeded to give me a master class in missing bites until eventually a crucian took pity and was duly landed by a very happy Mr Last.
Ash had turned up and dropped into the swim the other side of the bush to my left. He was after tincas so put a good bed of hemp out about half way. I decided, after a lull in proceedings, to go and take the float rod for a spot of stalking on the next swim and have a chat.
The fishing was slow and although Ash had a couple I couldn’t get back into the rhythm I’d experienced first thing this morning. As evening approached I did have a couple of takers for my banded pellet, namely a nice plump roach and a crucian/brown goldfish?
That was it for the evening so as darkness fell I called it quit’s, as usual I was the last man standing and everyone else had long since gone home. On the whole a thoroughly enjoyable days fishing and great to catch up with a couple of friends too.
Grimsditch Mill Pool 04-05-14 to 31-05-14
Looking back at the month of May I concentrated on a beautiful little water called Grimsditch Mill Pool and for five weeks in a row I spent my time fishing for most species happily taking anything that came along including a few surprises. For that reason and as each session was similar to the previous one with a few surprises I’m going to spare the detail and post some of the many photo’s I took, enjoy…
The recent work parties had made good progress and, as I stood in the car park, I looked out onto a very picturesque scene.
An abundance of wildlife makes the place feel as if it is miles from civilization and yet it’s less than 500 yards from the busy A49, the birdsong drowning out any distant road traffic noise. The bird life was prolific and on my first visit I made some new friends that would visit me each week knowing I was a soft touch for giving them some freebies.
Grimsditch Mill Pool 04-05-14
Most memorable for forgetting how much additional ‘baggage’ is required for overnighters on still waters, the first impression as I pulled into the car park, the sunrise, first baby tench one of two hundred recently stocked and finally learning how to float fish all over again!!
Grimsditch Mill Pool 10-05-14
Most memorable for my bin lid breakfast barm off good friend and fellow traditionalist Bill Last, the cheeky Great Tit posing for some amazing shots all for a few red maggots, discovering the bumble bee ducklings had lost their mum, tiffin (tea and cakes) at 3pm in the car park which attracted a few other members of Committee including the Chairman Neil Boaz and Head Water Keeper John ‘I’m flippin tellin yer’ Stubbs. hearing Grimsditch project manager Shauns plans for this great venue and my mate Penno using one of my cane rods to float fish and catching a young tench.
Grimsditch Mill Pool 17-05-14
Most memorable for the Great Tit getting cheekier, the four ducklings becoming the three amigos, the baby geese arriving, more quality tench and roach, my first silver bream, my first photo of a bird on my cane float rod, a big carps on the float rod and the Red Robin joining in on the action.
Grimsditch Mill Pool 24-05-14
Most memorable for my first home made float, tench on punched bread, the three amigos surviving another week on their own and getting big enough to climb out on the bank and take some sweetcorn, more silver bream, a good tench of around 3lbs, it rained very heavily and the fish started feeding, some stunning scenery in the evening as the sun went down, my first run on my vintage bite alarm and of course spending 36 hours on one of the most tranquil waters in Cheshire!!
Grimsditch Mill Pool 31-05-14
My final trip for May and it was back to Grimsditch Pool, a creature of habit or had I found my close season blues becoming increasingly heavy as the river season beckoned? I concluded that ‘No’ was the answer and I wasn’t feeling blue at all, fishing is more than spending nine months of the year on the riverbank and each trip to Grimsditch had made me a better angler. I’d learn’t how to fish again, how to scale down and fish lightly for tench, bream and roach, I’d learn’t how to float fish again, better still I’d taken a liking to float making as it seemed to fit with my ever ageing tackle so all geared up for another 36 hour session I was back in my favourite peg and casting out a crow quill float as if it was my first time there.
The fish came to the, by now, usual tactics and I continued into darkness wondering if I’d find the 6lb tench that had been stocked last winter, surely that would be some sort of venue record? I fitted the isotope to my float and continued to float fish where I had been all day, my logic being that I’d laid a nice bed of bait down and had been fishing the same distance out so I’d bound to catch.
The green tipped float dipped once and slid slowly away, I struck and ………… nothing so I started to reel in for another cast. As I got within a yard of the bank everything went heavy, snagged maybe? Hell no, the isotope surfaced and then shot off at a tremendous speed towards the island, I leaned into the fish and watched the bamboo strain over well passed anything I’d seen it do before. It darted right and just seemed to stay on the bottom, it ran left and I watched as the isotope glowed a few inches beneath the surface.
It must be a carp, the possibility of being snapped off was increasing by the second but the a stroke of luck brought the fish up to the surface and as it broke cover for the first time I saw the silky smooth flank and thought tench!! and it’s the 6lber but it hadn’t jagged like a tench just a dull thump occasionally. It surfaced again and this time with my head torch on I realised it was a tench or a carp, it was unbelievably my very first cat fish!! I was fishing with a tiny cube of meat on a size 16 hook with 4.4lb bottom on and I was doing battle with a monster.
After a good 15 minutes it was ready for the net which when offered managed to get some of the fish in first time, the rest of the fish just kind of surfed in behind it. I got the weigh sling ready and after a short rest hauled out the fish, it was huge even without my glasses on, it was as long as my landing mat and a sight to behold I’d never seen a cat fish close up and personal and I was delighted.
It tipped the scales at 9lb 4oz and looked majestic, not everyone’s cup of tea but I liked it especially feeling the power as it made a run a few minutes previously. I took a few mat shots but there’s no way I was going to manage a self take not on that tight peg, the better shots would have to be done in the morning.
Andy arrived around 6am just as the sun was rising and we went back to the car for a celebratory bacon butty and a cuppa. It was only a kitten but that didn’t matter, my first barbel was only a 3lber but that didn’t matter either and I’ll never forget it, just like I’ll never forget my first cat fish.
That had to be my best session so far on Grimsditch and for once I really didn’t mind packing away and going home.
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