Thursday 29 July 2010

99p Fishing Competition

There are shops in London that sell everything for 99p, so with a budget of £5 each, myself and Dan bought a rod, reel, tackle and bait and went to Clapham Common pond for a fishing competition.

• Most fish in 3 hours wins.
• The time starts when the first fish is landed.
• Only tackle from the 99p shop, max budget £5 each.
• Loser buys the drinks.

Rod: 99p (one each)
Reel: 99p (one each)
Floats: 99p (between us)
Hooks: 99p (between us)
Shot: 99p (between us)
Groundbait: 99p (between us)
3x Sweetcorn: 99p (between us)
Landing net: 99p (optimistic)
Total: £9.90 (£4.95 each)

Now I wasn't expecting much from £5 worth of fishing kit although it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. The main issue was the 7lb line that came with the reel - it was thicker than 30lb line and curly like a spring. We had to add one cheat to our tackle list, a 2lb hook length (free on the front of the Angling Times so it stayed within the spirit of things). We could justify this as the original line couldn't fit though the eyes on the hooks.

The tackle & bait (the net didn't come with a handle).

The Match: Both myself and Dan started fishing where we were catching on our previous trip, fishing at about 12-20 foot out. It was easy enough to cast this distance and the first bites didn't take long. But despite more and more exaggerated striking techniques we just couldn't hit the bites.

A mid-double?! I also caught a mirror carp this size.

Dan decided to persevere, while I changed tactics and fished right in front of the rod tip. I kept regular bait going in, and while Dan still missed bites I was more confident that should I get a bite I could hit it. Half an hour or so later my float dipped and I caught my first carp - the smallest carp I have ever seen - but this was a numbers game.

The biggest fish of the session, about 5-6oz

We both continued out chosen techniques and it soon became clear I had made the right decision when the score rose to 14 fish to me before Dan caught a single, suicidal gudgeon.

Dan does some mid-match rod repairs.

The final score was 18-1, mostly carp with the odd gudgeon. Dan didn't give up even when he broke his rod just before time, he fixed it with a stick brace and black tape... but the game was over... time to claim my pint.

Dan: 1
Brian: 18

To the winner the spoils! And revenge for last year's perch competition.

A fun yet infuriating session, but enough messing about, I need to catch some proper fish!

Friday 23 July 2010

Zander Run!

An early morning start and a new location, a small river feeding into the river Thames. I had looked at this river during the closed season and it looked like it should be full of pike and perch, and who knows perhaps a zander. On arrival the water was so low and clear we could see the bottom all the way across, and even more disheartening we couldn't see a single fish.

We decided to give it a couple of hours and I cast out a float fished roach deadbait. On the second cast my float rested briefly against an overhanging bush before going down and shooting across the river... where it bobbed back up again and was ignored. The only run of the morning, probably a jack pike or perch but I'd like to think it was a zander. Dan didn't have a touch on his float fished lobworm so we decided to leave and return another day after some rain has brought a bit of colour to the water.

We moved further up the Thames and had about 20 perch on float fished worms, no monsters but at least we avoided a blank.

It's been a really slow start to the season, and talking to the local anglers I don't think it's just me, the Thames just isn't fishing at the moment. I am going to resist the temptation to park myself on the local carp pond (for the time being) but I think I'm going to wait for a change in the weather before hitting the Thames again. I hear the river Wye is fishing...

<- Here is a self-taken photo of me with the largest perch, I think I need practice / to read the instructions!

Sunday 11 July 2010

37lb 10oz Wye Pike

While looking around an antiques shop in south London yesterday I found a mounted head of an enormous pike. [What really happened: I was going to have a few beers in the park with some friends and I saw the pike head through the window on the way past, looking round an antiques shop!?!]

The plaque claimed it was the head of a 37lb 10oz pike caught from the River Wye in 1936. If these details are true it beats the official* Wye record of 37lb caught in May 1910 by Major W. H. Booth at Hay-on-Wye.

I didn't have my camera on me but it I go back past I'll see if they will let me take a photo. And it can be yours for £225, bargain!

* We all know there are forties in there.

Friday 9 July 2010

More Mini Monsters

I couldn't resist getting up early and having another go at the carp in Clapham Common pond before work.

Again lots of fish but they were all small (up to about 8oz) and still no sign of the tench and bream that I'm told are also in the pond...

Float fished sweetcorn over maze groundbait did the trick.

Oh, and I also caught 2 ledgers and a really nice drop-off bite indicator!

Monday 5 July 2010

Mini Monsters

Today myself and Dan popped down to Clapham Common pond for a morning's fishing.

Clapham Common has two fishing ponds, the large of the ponds is being drained, dredged and restocked and will be opening in 2011 - so we fished the smaller pond. Both ponds are free to fish, and being the only free ponds in London they get a lot of angling pressure.

Our aim was to catch some of the smaller carp and tench on float fished sweetcorn over a maze groundbait. After about an hour the small carp moved into our swims and we had fairly consistent action, the fish were small up to around the 8oz mark, but there were lots of them. We lost count of how many we caught (I counted the first 30 before losing count) so we think it was well over 50.

None of the bigger carp moved in (there are fish to over 20lb in the pond but we were really targeting the ones about 1-2lb) and we didn't catch any tench. We did have a few gudgeon, I haven't seen a gudgeon for years so it brought back some great memories of catching them in the Wye as a kid.

Next we're off after something a bit bigger but we will probably return to Clapham for our 99p fishing kit competition!

Apart from being right by the road it's a great looking pond.

Most of the carp were small common carp with the odd tiny mirror carp among them.

The odd gudgeon made an appearance.

And a terrapin kept a watchful eye on the fishing!