Sunday, 30 September 2007

Carp Venues North West - River Weaver Pt1

Following on from the end of last weeks diary entry, I was unable to make a decision on which direction my carp fishing would take for the next month or so. Sometimes things happen in life and the fishing has to take a back seat. This week, one of my work mates left for pastures new so Friday night meant a farewell night out with lots of drink!. Depending on what happened I may have squeezed in a short carp session on Saturday but when I crawled into bed at 5am on Saturday morning I knew there would be no carp fishing session, or any other fishing session this weekend!.
With this in mind, and in keeping with the odd river carping session I’ve had on the river dee recently, I thought I’d take a little look back at the time I spent fishing the river weaver for carp a few years back.

I first fished the river weaver back in July 1998, I’d chosen to fish the winsford stretch of the river at an area that is now known as the sunken boat, this area of the river weaver was just outside winsford town centre. I well remember my first night on the river, it was a Friday night, I’d been down to the river the night before and put in 5 kilos of hemp/groats and 400 boilies around the sunken boat and down the near margin. When I settled down for that first night I didn’t quite know what to expect, I love that ‘not knowing’ feeling in my fishing, the saying ‘who dares wins’ springs to mind, walking onto a water you have no prior knowledge of and not knowing if your onto a winner or completely wasting your time!. It’s so much more rewarding than sitting on a lake fishing for a named carp that has been caught many times before.
That Friday night I topped up my swim with a little more hemp and a light scattering of boilies, at the time I was using nutrabaits pineapple and banana readymades and these proved to be a real winner on the river weaver. I actually only waited 40 minutes for my first run from a river carp, a blistering take from the rod fished tight to the upstream end of the boat, I remember that particular carp being very stubborn, it seemed to take an age before I finally slipped the net under it. Much to my delight my first river weaver carp actually turned out to be a twenty, 21lb 4oz and a common to boot. That was quite a start to my first river carping campaign, a twenty within the first hour was more than I could have hoped for. I also had another carp that first night, a high single of 9lb+. I was hooked after that and what turned out as a break from my fishing at capesthorne hall eventually turned into my next north west carp venue.

My first weaver carp, 21lb 4oz

I fished the winsford stretch of the river weaver for a few months and caught very well, funnily enough that twenty I had first night actually turned out to be the only twenty I caught from that particular section of river. I believe I had my baiting tactics spot on for the river, I eventually settled on fishing upstream of the boat, which was a good feature. Heavy baiting with hemp, groats and boilies proved to be perfect baiting tactics on the river, the hemp and groats had massive attraction and were superb at holding carp that would travel the river during the night looking for food. The nutrabaits pineapple and banana boilies worked a treat fished over the hemp/groats and carp could literally home in on my heavily baited spot as the attraction leaking off the bait was carried downstream.

Unknown to me at the time, night fishing wasn’t allowed on the winsford stretch of the river weaver and a chance meeting with another angler put me right regarding the fishing in that particular area. I had no intention of continuing to fish this section of river knowing I wasn’t supposed to be night fishing so I called it a day after a couple of months and left the river alone. At the time I was still fishing the stoke on trent anglers water capesthorne hall and I continued on there for another couple of years before accepting my time on there had run it’s course.
I wanted legal night fishing on the river weaver and when the time came I joined northwich angling association and moved my weaver campaign further down river and below hulse’s island. I’ve decided to split this river weaver piece into two parts, moving downstream to fish northwich waters turned out to be a good move and it began a superb summers fishing in which I didn’t see a single blank session, I night fished the northwich sections of the river from June until the very end of October, I never missed a Friday night and I never failed to catch at least one carp on each trip, multiple carp captures where the norm with the odd twenty cropping up too.
There’s also the winter carp fishing on the river, my winter carping on the weaver turned out to be a real eye opener and I found the carp easy to catch especially during periods of high pressure and sharp frosts which you would normally associate with poor fishing conditions.
I’ll talk more of my river weaver carping next time as the northwich sections of the river and the baiting tactics I used on there deserve a page all of their own.

Tight Lines

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Carp Fishing - Pear Shaped Week!

Well this weeks carp fishing trip pretty much went pear shaped from the start. With my diary now bang up to date I had a week off work to go fishing and hopefully catch a few decent carp. I considered a trip to the carp societies horseshoe lake with linear fisheries as a backup plan if anything went wrong. The trouble is something did go wrong and it wrecked my plans for horseshoe and linear, the alternator went on my car resulting in a loss of power steering.
There was nothing I could do, I put the car in Monday morning and got it back late on Tuesday, too late to go fishing. That was the best and quietest two days fishing down the pan, going to horseshoe lake or linear fisheries from midweek onwards I consider to be a complete waste of time so I had to look closer to home for the rest of the week.

The easiest thing to do was to head back to the Cheshire carp lake I’ve been fishing the odd session on recently, it wasn’t exactly where I wanted to go with a week off but under the circumstances there wasn’t a lot left and I had little choice but to keep with the north west carp, this mean’t there would be no more carp trips down south for this year.
Rather than do a night on the Cheshire carp lake I opted for a day session instead, being mid-week I thought I’d be sure to get a good choice of peg.
On the way to the lake I paid a quick visit to gp pellets in middlewich, I’d been there a week or two ago to pick up a bucket of mixed trout pellets and found they were closed, at least I had better luck this time and I bought myself one of their 8 kilo buckets of mixed trout pellets for £10, considering you get a nice plastic bucket with a sealable lid I’d say that’s a fair price and definitely better than the price the tackle shops are charging!. I also paid a quick visit to daves of middlewich for a new spool of kryston silkworm, I had a look at the price of the trout pellets whilst I was there and wondered why anyone would be stupid enough to buy them!.

Having successfully avoided one of the teenage shop assistants trying to impress me with his word for word recital of the latest carp world magazine I headed off to the lake for the rest of the day. On arrival at the lake I couldn’t see anyone fishing. I stood at one end of the lake looking across at the tree line spot I’d fished for the last few sessions, I looked up the lake into the out of bounds area too, I sort of knew where I wanted to fish and I was just about to head back to the car for my fishing gear when a guy appeared from nowhere in the swim I wanted. I watched him for a minute and he bent down as if adjusting his rods, I strained my eyes and tried to focus and I’m sure I could make out a rod pod with rods sitting on it. Sure enough he was back minutes later with a marker rod, I was gutted, one angler on the whole lake and he turns out to be a carp angler in the very swim I wanted to fish!. I looked a bit closer and discovered he was actually bivvied up, he’d just set his bivvy well back from the waters edge and I hadn’t seen it because he was set well back in the trees.
I had no choice but to fish the tree line peg, the water here is fairly shallow and I wasn’t happy with my choice of swim for this session, with no carp rolling or showing I had little choice but to pick a swim then watch closely and move if necessary. This was the course of action I took and despite the water being well stocked I didn’t see a single carp crash or roll all day. My tree line swim looks like it’s dried up too, no carp where seen here either and no action came my way. I packed up at 7.30pm and trudged off home a little bit despondent, my week off had gone from wanting to chase those big southern carp to blanking for our smaller north west carp on a water I could fish every week, not exactly what I envisaged when I finished work for my holiday last Friday!.

With one blank half day session to show for my week off I sat and pondered what I was going to do next, things had gone so wrong I actually felt like saving the rest of my holidays and going back to work!. Unfortunately that was out of the question and I found myself with little motivation to get the rods out for the rest of the week. I did return to my swim on the river dee for a few hours one morning but it had rained heavily the previous day and I found the river a good 12 inches up and flowing so fast I could barely hold bottom with a 3oz lead weight. I didn’t see any sign of a carp during my short session either and needless to say I blanked.

I regard the next five to six weeks as a tough time for any north west carp angler, autumn is here and it won’t be long before we start seeing some frost, I’m sure some big carp will be caught from the Cheshire area over the next month and I’m currently considering my own options. I have the choice to stick with the Cheshire carp lake I’ve started fishing, keep with the river dee carp and see if I can get amongst some bigger carp or return to one of Cheshire’s big carp waters, fish through the blanks and hope to be rewarded with a big fish.
Each has it’s own attractions, the Cheshire carp lake means a good chance of action for medium sized carp, the river dee carp are all unknown and one of Cheshire’s big carp lakes could well bring a new pb but may well result in me catching nothing at all between now and early November.
I haven’t decided what to do yet but whatever I decide, you can read about it next week!.

Tight Lines

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Carp Fishing - Change of Plan

Sitting down to write this, I can’t help thinking of the best laid plans entry I wrote a few weeks ago. In it I seem to remember saying I quite often end up somewhere else despite my plans and this week has been no exception.
I knew mid-week that my river severn barbel trip had been cancelled, things come up and a few of the lads had dropped out during the week, it was decided the barbel trip would be re-arranged at a later date.
This left me with a free Saturday and rather than head down to the river severn I decided it had to be our elusive north west carp again this weekend, I am a carp angler after all and the barbel are just a break from the norm now and again. The river dee for carp wasn’t really an option, I’d kept the prebaiting up for the last few weeks but my river dee fishing partner was carp fishing in france for the week so I decided to leave the river alone until next week.
The obvious plan was to go back to the new lake I was on last week, so far I’d had the 20 from my social session there last month but apart from that I’d done just the one 6 hour session last week which resulted in a blank.

I headed off to the lake and after an un-eventful car journey I found myself standing by the lake scanning the water for carp. Nothing showed for the short time I spent looking, I had made one observation and that was the wind direction, the wind was blowing straight into the tree line I was fishing against last week. I figured as the carp had followed the wind into an out of bounds area last week, I might as well start on the end of it this week!.
I dropped my gear in my peg and started setting up, I had my chair out, the rod pod was up and the rods were together when I just happened to look up and see a carp crash out, I was gutted, it crashed right in the back of the out of bounds area!. I focused on the area I’d seen the carp crash and sure enough over the next few minutes half a dozen other fish either rolled or crashed out of the water. Now I had a problem, should I stay put and hope there were a few carp along the tree line on the wind or should I move and try to get a little nearer to the rolling fish?. I opted to stay were I was, I figured that any carp that were not with the showing fish would be in my swim and any that decided to leave the out of bounds safety would most likely drift my way with the wind.

I set up the same as last week, chest waders on and two rods cast down the tree line to my left, the closest rod to the trees was a cracking cast, so close I half thought I might have clipped the branches, I hadn’t and my single 15mm boilie bottom bait and two bait stringer were in a perfect position. The second rod went a little further away from the trees but was still in a good position.
With the rods out I sat back to watch the water, I find short session carping requires concentration and for the 5/6 hours I’m on the bank I watch the water like a hawk, all sightings of carp are noted and if I find carp rolling or showing in the same areas repeatedly I either move if I think I have a better chance or I make a note to try the area at a later date if I can’t cover it from where I am. As I watched I began to see more and more shows, carp were actually crashing, rolling and bubbling all over the place and after an hour of watching I got the third rod out. I rigged it up the same as the other rods, a single 15mm boilie bottom bait and a two bait stringer. I spent the afternoon roving this rod around every hour or so, if I spotted a carp roll within range I’d drop a bait into the area and leave it for a while in the hope it would be picked up. Such was the carp activity, moving that rod and watching the water kept me busy most of the session but it proved fruitless in the end. Still, with only a few hours to catch a fish you have to try and make things happen.

I’d been busy watching and observing rolling carp for a few hours, I was so engrossed in it I’d actually forgotten about the rods cast along the tree line. Just after 4.15pm the closest rod to the trees (good cast!) ripped off, I was already sat in my chest waders and the rods were right next to me so I was on it and standing waist deep in the water within seconds, this gave me the upper hand and I buried the rod tip in the water and applied as much side strain as I dared. It worked and the carp came along the tree line slowly but surely, once away from the trees I was able to ease off on the pressure and play the fish out comfortably in the margins, another few minutes passed with the carp making a few attempts to get back towards the trees but eventually the pressure told and I slipped the net under a nice looking low double ghostie.

Low Double Ghost Common

It was a nice fish, you can’t really see it on the picture but it had a lovely black and yellow coloured head with hints of black on the fins, I weighed the fish at 12lb 4oz, not massive I know but a lovely looking fish none the less. I returned the fish to the water after a couple of photos, returned all my gear to it’s rightful place in my rucksack and then repositioned the rod with a fresh hookbait and pva mesh stringer.

Carp continued to roll throughout the evening, I made several casts to the areas I saw these fish rolling and one thing I began to notice was that they were showing over quite deep water, certainly 20ft plus. I may have been better fishing with a pop-up on a zig rig rather than using a standard bottom bait. I made a mental note that a zig rig might be an option for future carp sessions on this particular Cheshire carp lake.
Despite my best efforts, no more carp were forthcoming and I decided to call it a day at 7.30pm, I was a little disappointed I couldn’t pick up an extra fish, I’d spent quite a few hours chasing them round with the roving rod but it wasn’t to be.

At the moment, I’m torn between fishing this Cheshire carp lake and fishing the river dee, I’m leaning towards the river at the moment simply because it’s so unpredictable. Very few north west carp anglers have ever set foot on the banks of the dee and that really appeals to me, I’ll drop back onto this lake again for an odd trip but I think the river will occupy most of my fishing time until the end of October. I’ve found the months of September and October to be ‘big carp’ months when I fished the river weaver and I hope this proves to be the case on the river dee too.

Tight Lines

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Carp Fishing - River Dee n Stuff

I write and publish my blog once a week, if I go fishing more than once in a week then things can fall behind a bit. Up until now, I’ve been writing 3 weeks behind, that is, what you read last week actually happened 3 weeks previous.
I quite like to have a little bit of material ‘in the bank’ because it enables me to skip a week when I have a ‘can’t be bothered’ moment or when something unexpected happens as it has done recently.

I was back on the river dee carp trail for my third dee carp session a few weeks ago, I was hoping to emulate my previous two sessions and bag myself a few fish, I’ve still been baiting the river a couple of times per week with tiger nuts, chick peas and boilies but despite keeping the bait going in session number 3 turned out to be quite tricky fishing.
There was a full moon beaming down from a clear blue sky for most of the night and it was like someone had flicked a switch and turned all the fish activity off. Nothing showed and nothing happened until first light when the left hand rod pulled round and finally flew off!. Unfortunately the carp won the day this time as the hook pulled out under pressure, 1-0 to the rocket powered river dee carp this time!. This run came at 5.45am and I was due off the river at 7.00am in order to avoid being detected. At 6.45am the same rod was off again, no such problems this time and after the usual long dogged fight I slipped the net under a rather tatty looking common that turned the scales to 14lb exactly. Well I guess that particular carp saved my bacon that morning, I came within 15 minutes of my first river dee blank!. The photo didn’t do the carp any justice, it had clearly been in the wars and being a full on daylight shot it would never see the light of day on here. With a last gasp blank saver under my belt I peppered my swim with a few more kilo's of tigers, chick peas and boilies before heading off home.

I don’t actually go after these river dee carp alone, I have a mate who fishes with me, he chooses to keep his catches quiet and I respect his wishes, which is why neither he or the fish he catches ever get a mention. My mate cried off our 4th dee carp trip, he wasn’t well so I arranged to drop onto the same Cheshire carp lake I had my 20lb 12oz common from a few weeks ago instead.
I finished work at 5pm on Friday and headed home to have a bite to eat and collect my fishing gear. Ah the best laid plans!. I’m not quite sure what happened to me on the Friday night?. I caught some kind of bug/virus and it completely pole-axed me!. You know the sort of thing, aches, pains, shivering cold one minute and burning up the next!.
Whatever it was I picked up it lasted for all of last weekend, most of which I slept!, and most of this week up until Thursday. I didn’t fancy the river dee on Friday evening and on top of this I have a long standing barbel social session coming up next weekend. I formulated a plan, I needed some pellets for next weeks barbel session on the river severn so I decided a trip to gp pellets was in order on Saturday morning, I could kill two birds with one stone here as the lake I intended to visit last week wasn’t more than 10 minutes away from middlewich. Unfortunately gp pellets was closed which has kind of stuffed up my barbel fishing plans for the moment. I could have headed for daves of middlewich but the thought of over paying for bait, helping greedy dave buy his next merc and having to put up with some snotty kid telling me I wouldn’t catch unless it was a ‘dynamite’ pellet was just too much so I went straight to the lake instead!.

The lake looked in good shape, I couldn’t see any carp showing so I had to take my best guess, I opted for a ‘snags’ peg, there was a line of trees down to my left and the fish liked to tuck themselves away down here, they could be reached but it requires the use of chest waders which I’d remembered to bring this time. I was fishing by 2pm and the peg I was in is usually a flier. Things remained spookily quiet. It was gone 5pm when I saw the first carp show, they’d followed the wind all they way down the lake into an out of bounds area and after seeing the first one I began to notice one after another boshing out early in the evening. There was nothing I could do, the nearest peg to the fish had a bivvy in it and my best option was to stay put and hope that a few fish might drift into the snag area where I was, after all, it was a daytime holding area. Needless to say they didn’t arrive and I finally conceded a blank at 8pm and headed for home. I'd sat all day in a pair of chest waders and I have to say I was glad to get them off at the end of the session, I think I might have to invest in a more comfortable neoprene pair sometime soon.

This brings my writing bang up to date, my short blank was yesterday, next week I’ll be heading down to the river severn armed with a 1.75lb test curve rod and hopefully a bag of pellets. This severn trip is a bit of a social with a few mates but it also has a flip side, it’s a recce with a view to going after some river severn carp sometime next year, most probably June when the season starts. The Barbel fishing itself should be good fun, I’m of the opinion that they don’t fight as hard as river carp but on lighter gear they provide excellent sport and hopefully I won’t blank.

A walk along the Meadows in Chester City Centre

Tight Lines

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Carp Fishing - River Dee Carp

Following on from my first ever visit to the river dee last week I was keen to get back again, with two carp under my belt I couldn’t help but wonder what else was in there?. I’m only just scratching the surface when it comes to the potential of the river dee as a carp water and last weeks success was a real bonus. I was actually expecting to have to put in a lot of time and effort to find these elusive dee carp but my initial recce sessions and reasoning for choosing my swim must have been pretty much right, at least I hoped they were!.
I paid another midweek visit to the river to bait up, another 2 kilos of chick peas, 2 kilos of tiger nuts and a sprinkling of boilies was deposited into the area I’d had success in last week. The bait I’m using to bait up with is merely what I’ve been using recently, I have a sack of both chick peas and tiger nuts so rather than buy any more bait I’m simply using up what I have. The addition of tiger nuts in particular puts my mind at rest when it comes to nuisance fish like bream and roach, tiger nuts are a very selective bait so I can be sure there will at least be something there when the carp do eventually pass through my chosen swim.
I was back on the river early for this weeks session, it had been raining in the week and a wet night lay ahead too as the first of many showers moved in. I needed to put line markers on my rods this week. I cast to my chosen spots, clipped the line and tied a small length of size 4 pole elastic to my line. I find pole elastic ideal for use as a line marker, a simple overhand knot is all that’s required to attach the elastic to my mainline. The elastic locks in position when you pull it tight and a size 4 elastic is thin enough not to cause any problems when casting. When finished, a simple pull on one of the tags and the elastic comes off no trouble at all. With my line marked up I could easily hit my spots again in the dark.
With the rods now marked up I cast them out and put several pouchfuls of chick peas and tiger nuts over each rod, the usual sprinkling of boilies went in too with single 15mm bottom baits on each rod. This session was a lot different to the last one, there had been no wind at all on my first trip last week but this time there was a steady blow pushing waves upstream, the wind, along with constant showers made spotting carp difficult this week. I’m sure I heard a carp crash out just after dark but with the wind and rain I couldn’t be sure?. I needn’t of worried about the conditions, shortly after 10.00pm the right hand delkim bleeped once, I looked at the rod wondering if a carp was responsible, before I had chance to think about anything else the delkim burst into life and another angry dee carp headed for the back of beyond!. I was on the rod straight away and another mental battle ensued as the carp used the current to try and head downstream as fast as it could. I reckon heavy rods help when it comes to playing river carp, they have the necessary power to bring these fish under control and eventually this particular carp succumbed to steady pressure, after a few short runs close in it slipped over the net. It was another single, a small common weighing exactly 6lbs.
With a carp under my belt so early, things looked promising for the night ahead. The time passed by with nothing much happening, the wind kept blowing up river and the rain kept coming and going, in between times I had a bite to eat and got up occasionally to stretch my legs. By the early hours I was starting to think that little 6lb carp was going to be my last for this session, things remained quiet until 4.00am when the right hand rod was away again. The run and fight off this carp was the same as the others I’d caught, the fish headed off downstream at a rate of knots with me hanging on and applying as much pressure as I dare to stop it. Once again my tackle did it’s job well and I eventually had a good tussle close in with this carp, it put up even more resistance than the last one. I won through in the end and slipped the net under a nice river dee mirror carp. The scales revealed a weight of 12lb 6oz, it was easy to see why this carp had given such a good account of itself, it was bigger than my previous carp and it was all muscle!

12lb 6oz of solid muscle

I went through my usual routine again, putting everything back in its place so it’s easily found, with my scales, camera, tackle box and torch all neatly back in their places I recast to the same area and topped up my swim with another couple of pouchfuls of chick peas, tiger nuts and boilies. It didn’t seem long when the same rod was away again!, this carp headed off across the river instead of downstream, despite not using the rivers flow to its advantage this fish still gave an exceptionally good account of itself. The carp made several good runs out into the river before eventually giving up and rolling into the landing net, it was another mirror, slightly bigger than the last one at 13lb 4oz. I checked my watch and it was 4.45am, I hadn’t waited long at all for that carp!.

Slightly bigger at 13lb 4oz

Another recast and re-bait and I was fishing again. An hour or so passed and it was starting to break light, with three carp under my belt I began to think about packing up and leaving before anybody saw me, I decided to give it until 7.00am again, I figured nobody would be walking their dog that early with the rain around. An hour before I was due to depart the same right hand rod was off again, these river dee carp really do go, the takes are absolutely vicious and they leave lake carp standing with their awesome power. This carp was no exception and like the others before it, it just went like a train on it’s first run. Another long fight ensued and again I got the upper hand with strong tackle, eventually, I slipped the net under a nice looking common in the same kind of weight bracket as the two mirrors I’d had in the last couple of hours. This common turned the scales to 14lb exactly, three ‘river dee pb’s’ one after the other, I’m getting to like fishing the river dee for carp, two sessions in and six fish banked so far!.
The common was my last action of the night, there was a bit of daylight when it came to photographing this particular carp which is why I’ve left it out of this blog entry, there is enough background in the shot to risk giving away my location on the river and I’m not prepared to share it at this present moment in time. I’d like to unlock some of the river dee’s carp secrets before I share details with other anglers!.
I had a brew after that carp and gave it another half an hour just to see if I was in for another but it wasn’t to be. Still, I had four carp throughout the night and that’s a decent fishing trip in anybodies eyes. Once packed away I deposited another couple of kilos of chick peas, tiger nuts and boilies into my swim then headed off home before anyone turned up.

A walk along the Meadows in Chester City Centre

Tight Lines

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