October 19, 2012

The Viking

I haven't fished for the last week or so, just don't have the urge right now. The lake looks lifeless and never seems encouraging when full of coloured water from the streams and the river, well, its just been up and down like a tart's knickers and has been fishing very poorly.

Not so long ago, in circumstances like this, I'd have been on the river fishing like a little ferret in an attempt to find an answer to where the fish were and how to catch them but, at the moment, I can't be bothered. I'm just fed up with fishing in flood conditions.

So what do I do, wait for the river to drop - if it ever does? Wait for the lake to clear and become cold? Look for somewhere else to fish? I don't know, but something will turn up, it always does. I'm quite content to let the fish be for a week or two, I'm away with Nicky for a little break next week, when we get back I dare say I'll be gagging for some fishing action and that may well involve a pike or two.

Although I didn't wet a line, I was on the river yesterday. Johnny Jensen, international angler, journalist and photographer, who was over from Denmark for a short stay with his lovely wife Charlotte and their son Emille. Johhny has fished the Red Lion stretch for years, he loves the Wye and the countryside of the Welsh boarder. He is a pleasure to know with his positive, non judgemental outlook and great charm. He loves to remind you that he's a Viking and his mantra 'Let's fish and if the fishing's bad, let's get drunk' is straight from his Viking roots. I spent one evening chatting with him and Nigel Botherway but hark at me, the old name dropper :-)

We tried hard for a few hours yesterday but failed to raise as much as a bite - but I waited till the evening for the drink.

During the day and over a curry in the evening Johnny regaled us with tales of his fishing trips around the world. His accounts of ice fishing in Sweden and especially the journeys into the Amazon were particularly mouth watering. He has a new book out which chronicles just a part of his angling life, it is only available in his local language at the moment but may be reprinted into English as and when he can find a publisher. He very generously gave me a copy and the pictures throughout are quite stupendous.

To see more of Johnny's photographs and picture accounts of his trips, check out here

October 11, 2012

The Goose Quill

I bought some floats a while back, old ones off Ebay,  floats like I used as a kid and still enjoy watching as they send back information about the world below the water's surface. The perch bobbers were what I was really after, that and the large bodied cork 'Avon' floats for long trotting but they need a spot of tlc before use.

Amongst the assortment was a lone goose quill with a yellow top. I don't like yellow tops on my floats, my eyes are better suited to red or orange but this float seemed to cast a spell of some sort and I was smitten. I had a mind's eye image of it sat, surrounded by little ripples and bubbles in the margin of a lake. I wanted to see it lean against a lily leaf but most of all, I wanted to see it sink.

The waters at my disposal do not really lend themselves to this style of fishing and, when I read the accounts of others that were enjoying the sport I so desired on the TFF forum, my desire became a craving.

One such lucky so and so was Gary, he was fishing a couple of pools and catching good numbers of modest carp with that glorious accompaniment called blind ambition. One of these pools had only been open for a short while and the fish stocks are still a mystery, a good fish has been seen and who knows what lurks in the tree lined depths? The unknown is a strong lure and Gary was well and truly hooked. And he lives in Herefordshire - contact was made.

So it was that yesterday morning I met Gary for the first time and we headed to the new pool. Although only recently open to anglers it is a mature farm reservoir with a predictable slope in depths from just a few feet down to nearly twenty. There is a shelf around the edge and this is, in my experience, just the place to concentrate your efforts when intercepting cruising carp.

We walked the perimeter and saw a few fish near the top although they declined our floaters. I was attracted to a spot where I could either float fish the margin or put a lead on the edge of the small island which was overhung by trees. In the end I decided that temptation was too much to deal with and I put a rod on each although the island rod didn't so much as twitch all day.

However, the yellow topped goose quill sat beautifully in the margin over about 6' of water which was liberally sprayed with hemp, a few grains of corn and some worm pieces. My bait was a lob worm tipped with a grain of corn, a deadly set up for carp on many waters.

I had a wander after an hour or so just to see if there was anything showing that I'd previously missed, I didn't find anything. But, whilst I chatted with Gary and wondered at his choice of bait - prawns dipped in extra thick cream! his little float ( a fly angler's sight bob) sank and he landed a chunky little common of about 8lbs.

Back in my swim I noticed a few tiny bubbles around my float, the quill stood up in the water then, without so much as a ripple, disappeared. Heaven! I lifted my MkIV carp rod and felt it bend under the efforts of a small carp. I can go and fish for big carp any time but catching scrappy little commons on float gear is just a different game altogether and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

That first fish weighed a mere 5lbs or so and, when the float did the same lift and slide on two more occasions the fish were smaller, each was in perfect condition. I lost another that sank the float without so much as a bubble to warn me, it went off like a scolded journalist - that means something to Gary ;-) but the hook pulled after a few seconds. I had a wonderful time.

We packed at around 5.30 knowing that staying later would have probably meant more fish but that they will still be there next time. Gary was buzzing, telling me about the mirror carp he'd seen and that it frequented that area but he has yet to hook it. He will one day, of that I'm sure after all, what carp can resist a creamy prawn?