With my family holiday looming I suggest to Gary we try something different for this week, as one of our clubs has just added a new venue to their books.
It's a small mixed fishery that's rumoured to have some good roach, tench, and bream, plus the odd carp... in fact I don't think they really know what's in there!
Gary's up for it, and it will give us a break from the tough water we've been on all Spring/Summer.
Gary arrives first, and has already found a nice double swim halfway along one bank when I turn up. It's not really a case of finding the fish, so much as attracting them into the area we fancy. This is a social session after all!
Our set-ups are simple with Gary going for a maggot feeder, while I stick on a small in-line cage feeder, as I'm going to build up a bed of ground bait over the session. Our hooklinks are kept short, around 4 inches, as we hope the fish will be competing for the bait and with the weight of the cage/feeders acting as small bolt rigs we should be ok hitting the quick bites.
We're not casting far, about 4 rod lengths out, and clipping up so we hit the same spot regularly to feed the area initially.
It's not long before we're catching. There's obviously a good head of roach in this water, and they're soon hoovering up the bait.
It's great landing plenty of 6-8oz roach, and every few fish there's one a little bit bigger, going to 10, perhaps 12ozs. In the warm sunshine looking at these sparkling silver beauties, with their orange eyes and blood red fins, it's easy to see why they're such a favourite species.
Our afternoon catching is punctuated every now and again with something pulling the rod over with a little more force... and we know the bream have moved in!
Again they're not huge, but on light tackle 3-4lb snotties are good fun.
It wasn't long after we arrived that Gary had noticed we weren't alone here, with a small head popping out of the water, which turned out to be a terrapin, and as this was a voyage of discovery he duly tried a worm on the hook, and the terrapin found this too hard to resist, and now I'm looking eye to eye with him, with Gary asking 'Have you met my new friend?'.
But as the light fades I'm now getting distracted by a couple of large splashes off to one side of my swim, this is the top end of the lake which narrows and becomes covered in lily pads. I'm suddenly thinking a change of tactics could be in order as we both agree that leaving the rods out with maggots on the hook will lead to a sleepness night.
I put together a flourocarbon leader with a Covert Mugga hook and hair-rig a 10mm strawberry boilie on the end, then precision cast it into a narrow gap between the pads. Gary's almost impressed!
We relax with a cool 'tinny' or two as the sun settles behind the nearby trees and chat about what the rest of the season might have in store for us.
This doesn't last long as my alarm screams into life. I'm on the rod in seconds, as my 'cidre' rolls down the bank, the fish is now kiting along the front edge of the lily pads as I keep the pressure on. Fighting it to the nearside bank, then along to the waiting net has me adjusting the clutch setting every few seconds, but it's finally in!
So this is supposed to be a roach fishing trip, and I've now got a 12lb common on the bank, oh well I'm not complaining.
As you can imagine, even with boilies, sweetcorn, worms and pellet tried on the hook we still had a busy night, but that's the nature of this type of fishing... hey, we're catching!
Up early to catch the morning feed, we're back on the maggot, and the roach are coming in thick and fast. There's some nice fish amongst them too, I reckon a handful are easily nudging the pound mark. Gary also hooks a few perch, none particularly big, but as greedy as ever.
So we've had quite a few species, and a great session with numerous fish caught, it really has revitalised us and I'm sure we'll be ready for some of the bigger lumps next time out!