Well to say it's been a hard slog recently, would be putting it mildly!
I'm trying to remember if its five or six weeks now, without a touch... in fact, I think I'm really trying to forget as many as I can!
But that's fishing.
So after spending last summer on a club water with a reasonable head of 20's and a few 30's, with Gary and myself landing a fair number of the 'twenty plus' fish, we decided to push it a little bit further this season.
This latest club water also boasts a good stock of 20's, but has a number of 30's, plus the added attraction of a couple of 40lb'ers. The latter two, a mirror and a common, being known to make an appearance fairly regularly at the start of the season.
But besides a small common on our first visit it's been very quiet for us both.. in fact, most of the lads fishing here have had an uneventful Spring so far. What with the early season weather being bright and clear, with high pressure dominating, keeping it pretty cool, then more recently frequent deluges of cold rain, it's only lately that the temperature has started to inch nearer the seasonal average.
So the lake definitely hasn't switched on yet.. but we all turn up each week hoping this will be the time when it does!
Not that we've sat there without giving the situation some thought, having varied our set-ups, and our hookbaits.. like different shaped boilies, to pop-ups, pellets, wafters, and even tried naturals, like maggots, worms, and even mussels!
We've tweaked our rigs, from long hooklinks, to short, the bait tight to the hook, to extra long hairs, slack lined, it's made no difference.. you can have the most perfect presentation, but when they ain't eating, it doesn't matter how pretty it looks!
Our basic set-up for bottom bait presentation is a sort of 'claw' rig, with the hair being held tight to the bend of the hook by a short length of tubing. Being lucky enough to have made friends with a couple of top lads from Gardner tackle over the years, they've pointed out the virtues of some of their great terminal gear, so I've been using Disruption covered braid for my hooklinks, teamed up with a curved hook pattern, Gardner's Mugga.
Actually pop a shot on the hooklink, just under the hook, and it works fine as a pop-up rig, or if you want a critically balanced set-up, put a small shot straight on the hair, just below your pop-up, so that it sinks very slowly in the water.. it fools a lot of fish when they're wafting your freebies around to see what moves naturally, and what doesn't! Gary passed that on to me a while back, and it's a great tip.
Well, it's sod's law, while writing this I've just heard the 40lb mirror has come out, and now everyone is hoping they'll be in with a chance of the big common.. and of course, so will Gary and myself.. actually I think we'll be happy if we land anything!