What a difference a day makes... Back to The Farm today to continue bagging up on tench and perhaps a crucian or two, but the fishing gods had other ideas.
I didn't struggle to count them today, a 5lb 4oz new personal best and one about three pounds all day - it was not fishing well, everyone on the lakes had a hard time of it.
I was joined by James, straight off the plane from his holiday, and having read about my success yesterday we thought we were on to a winner - he faired slightly better than me - but a new PB, who's complaining!
Oh fickle lakes we will be back...
A photo I like from yesterday, rediscovered today.
With the local river still full of weed and an unappealing colour I decided to head down to Marsh Farm to see if the crucian carp wanted to play - and I'm glad I did!
I spent the morning on Richardson (match lake) where it was a bite a cast, landing 4 tench to 2lb, lots of skimmers and little roach, 2 perch and my target; three crucians to just over a pound.
The problem was the small roach, they would smash the maggots up on the drop leaving a dodgy looking bait for the target species - even so I found it difficult to drag myself away...
The afternoon saw me heading over to Harris (specimen lake) and a rain storm had driven everyone home, I had the pick of the place. It took a while to build a swim, but when one tench arrived - they all did!
The action was so thick and fast I totally lost track of how many tench I caught (I only caught tench). The smallest was over 3lb, with most of them over 4lb, the biggest went 5lb 2oz, top photo - new personal best - got my five pounder!
The biggest female went 4lb 15oz, below. It's hard to work out a weight for the afternoon (I only weighed the two that I thought might scrape over 5lb), but it wouldn't surprise me if it was over 100lb... What an afternoon's fishing!
The past three trips to the river have presented me with pretty horrible water conditions, so I surprised when I arrive on the riverbank today just how low and clear the water was. Perfect for a bit of barbel spotting, and I did spot a couple.
But within an hour the water had risen about a foot, was murky grey and had a ton of crap washing through. Somewhere upstream someone is pumping this extra water in - I don't think it's polluted, the masses of weed I caught was teaming with insect life - but it made fishing pretty impossible.
I didn't know how long it would last, perhaps an hour, perhaps all week. As well as making bait presentation painful, I'm not sure the fish would feed in these conditions. Dejected I went home.
With limited fishing time I think I need to find a few more venues to fish, time for a bit of research...
A beautiful afternoon on the river, until I saw the water conditions - it was the colour of weak tea and had a ton of weed washing through, worse than yesterday.
I'm back at work tomorrow and today there was nowhere else I'd rather be so I persevered, I think the line was collecting weed at the rate of 2lb per minute. But I did get my chance; just before dark I had the three-foot-twitch and a screaming baitrunner - and I struck into thin air - it happens.
Looking back it was a lot of fishing for two barbel, I could have spent the three days on a still water bagging up on tench or carp - but barbel would have been on my mind. Think it was the right call - probably would be saying something else if it was a total blank!
For me, the first barbel of the season isn't about the size of the fish, it's about the size of the bite - and this little barbel tried to rip the rod in - fantastic!
Back to the river this afternoon and the plan was to spend an hour or so fish spotting, but the river was still coloured - I would have needed x-ray glasses, polaroids wouldn't cut it. A second chuck it and chance it mission then. A bait and wait approach today after God knows how many miles I walked yesterday.
Patience paid off with a barbel just over a pound above, and a 7lb 10oz barbel below - get in!
I had enough bait (for both the fish and me) to stick it out to dawn if I caught a fish but there was tonnes of weed washing through - some clumps as big as me, so when it got too dark to spot them I headed to the nearest pub for a celebratory pint. No questions where I'm heading tomorrow then.
Oh yeah, the only other fish I caught was a very dead gudgeon - well most of it - looked like it had been dead for a while... But I've been told it doesn't count!
I did have a few breaks from iceberg spotting giant weed raft spotting to play our new football game. Out on Android now, just search for 'Stick Soccer' it's free and great fun (although I would say that). Apple version is out tomorrow.
Give it a try and if you think you can beat me, friend me on Facebook (I'll know you're a fisherman because you'll probably be wearing a hat in your profile photo), in the game click 'Find Friends' and click on the Facebook icon... Bring it on!
...Bust! Arriving just after 4am I gave it 12 hours of hard fishing... Not a bite!
This leaves me with a dilemma... I've only got two more days off before it's slave-to-the-grind, and I didn't catch my first barbel until the 9th July last year... Should I head back tomorrow? Or should I head for a lake and try and get a tench to fight back?
Less than a week to go before the 2014/2015 season opens - and to be honest it's snuck up on me this year. I'll be on the riverbank next Monday... Can't wait!
This is the first time I've fished during the closed season, I only managed four trips to Marsh Farm but it broke the closed season up a bit. I set myself 3 targets for the closed season:
• A Tench (5lb) -- Had a quite a few tench to 4lb 14oz, pretty close.
• Brown Trout (5lb) -- Didn't cast a fly, busy closed season.
• Crucian Carp (any size) -- Success!
I really have fallen in love with crucian carp and hope to have a few more before the summer ends. Best is 2lb 9oz - I'd love to see a three pounder, but I'm pretty delighted with the results of the few trips so far.
And I do plan to chuck a fly about at some stage over the summer.
What have I spent the closed season doing? We decided to make a football game in time for the World Cup. Twelve weeks between deciding to make the game and launching it - a seriously short timescale.
We are so close - is it going to be out in time for the first game? Perhaps we'll be a few days late - but I'll post it on here when it's out...
It's going to be free and the test versions we have are a lot of fun... Something to keep you busy while waiting for that 3 foot twitch!
I've been reading about the closed season and the glorious 16th over the past three months. And if we're honest; the seasons and nature don't follow an exact timescale.
Last year I didn't see the first stag beetle until the 17th June, this year I saw the first one on the 28th May - a sign that nature is ahead of schedule this year. I didn't have my camera with me so I got the above photo from here.
We have to remember the Glorious 16th was a phrase coined when the closed season applied to still waters as well, and we anglers were chomping at the bit to chase the tench and carp.
As a friend of mine once said of our imposed 3 month break "I need a break from the fish, and I'm sure the fish need a break from me."
Right then - plans for the forth-coming season, and this year it's going to be really simple: Try and go fishing a bit more! OK, I'd like to crack the 200lb of pike that eluded me last season, and fingers crossed perhaps even land a shark or two, but the main target is time on the water...
Great bit of client feedback at work today (I'm working on a sports game) "...but essentially I agree the images need to look more like our user base, definitely no cats or pirates or cross eyed maniacs"