Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Grafham Perch, socials and Rutland Zander.

It's time for another round-up of my fishing for Autumn and early Winter. Most of my fishing had been targeting Pike on rivers and lakes with the odd day chasing dreams on the big reservoirs. The last four years I have been cutting my teeth on the big Anglian water reservoirs of Grafham and Rutland waters. When I started fishing these massive lakes I felt like I was pissing in the wind as I had to learn how to tackle them on my own. To say the reservoir fishing had been hard this season would be an understatement! Although some anglers had caught fish of dreams most left with memories of what might have been!

September the 1st saw me and angling buddy Giles waiting at the gates of Grafham water for the chance to get an opening day specimen Perch in the net. We were not alone and I expect every boat was booked for the day! In just a few years I have noticed Grafham getting very busy. It's no surprise considering whats in there. Tickets were soon purchased and we set off chugging to the main tower (along with everyone else) to get our spot. We were mainly jigging and drop shotting to target the Perch. From the off we were catching lots of small Perch to a pound or so. Everyone was catching this size of fish with only the odd big stripey coming out. One particular take felt strange. It was just heavy and coming in like a dead weight. To my surprise it was a big Bream around 8lb in weight! In fact there were a few caught that day.

We were having fun but we wondered if we were going to get a chance of a big Perch? Well we did, but it was last knockings when I finally hit into a solid fish that started taking line fast! I was praying it was not a Trout and by the way it was fighting I didn't think I would be disappointed. Sure enough a big black and green stripey went in the net with a cheer! It had been hard work but very enjoyable. It went 3lb 7oz. The action didn't stop there as next drop down and Giles was into a good fish. It was not fighting like a Perch and when a good sized Zander started flapping on the surface it showed us why. At over 8lb it was a pb for Giles. That was it for the opening day of the season. We made our way back and saw that several boats had gone in early. Who knows what they would have caught if they had stayed out for the whole day?

With Pike in mind I decided to visit an old haunt in the fens. These lakes gave me my pb Zander many years ago and if the Pike were not in the feeding mood I hoped the Zander would be. I pitched up in the smaller lake as the trees would protect me from the strong cold fenland winds that were blowing! It did not take long before my DLD float was bobbing away nicely. I gave it several seconds before I wound down and pulled into thin air! Most likely a small Zander being the culprit?! Not long after this I saw a good Pike swirl on the surface. There was a lot of small fish activity so I switched the bait from a Smelt to a small dead Roach. Within a minute I had a savage take and the DLD float was ripping along the surface! I hit into the fish and this time was met with solid resistance. It gave me a good scrap with several strong runs. A solid looking Pike went into the net and weighed 14lb 8oz.

Another Piking trip saw me and Giles fishing from his boat on my local river. The plan was to anchor up at likely looking spots and float fish dead baits and allow them to go down river with the flow. However, the river was low and clear due to a lack of rain so it was like fishing a long narrow lake as there was no flow! It did not affect our plan much apart from we had to cast the baits around more to search the water. We had a great day watching the DLD floats bobbing along as Jacks to 7lb pulled them around the river.

It was way overdue for a social session with longtime angling mates Colin, Alan and Giles. We decided on a trip to my local club lake as it held a big stock of hard fighting Carp that Al and Giles would target. Me and Col would target the lakes small stock of Pike hoping that one of the few bigguns would make an appearance. Giles and I got there before sunrise and were soon looking over the lake watching Carp bosh out in front of us. Colin and Al arrived some time later and after casting out we were all drinking tea and eating bacon sarnies. Col had the 1st take and a small Jack Pike was netted. Soon after I had a Jack too.

The Carp were not in the feeding mood during the day but as soon as light levels began to fade Giles had a run. It was a plodding fight so we thought it would be a decent fish and sure enough a chunky mirror was scooped up! The fish was unhooked and weighed in at 23lb 10oz. Giles was fishing as a guest so I was very pleased he caught a good fish after hearing my stories of the fantastic fishing this lake has given me over the years. Al was next and he was given a very hard fight from a Carp that weighed in just over 20lbs. The feeding spell came to an end when Giles was beaten up by a 17lb mirror! Now he believed the stories of me leaving the lake after just a few hours a broken man from catching these muscle bound torpedos!

It was time for another trip vertical jigging for Zander. Giles and I had fished Grafham several times already but fancied a change of scenery. Rutland water was to be the destination and it would hopefully be more accommodating?! The 1st port of call was a pipe that runs along the North arm of the lake. The fish finder showed a few pockets of fish along the pipe but nothing was taking the bait. A change was needed so we were soon jigging in the main part of the lake. Larger numbers of fish were given away here by the finder. 1st drop down and I was into a Zander of a few pounds and it was extremely welcome. Over the next few drifts a greedy bonus Perch of about 1lb 8oz engulfed my lure along with a few more small Zander. Giles had a few similar sized zeds too. Soon after a better fish fell to my static lure rod. This had some weight to it and put a healthy bend in my rod. At 8lb I was very happy indeed!

Time was drifting away and the sun was getting lower in the sky when my static lure rod bent over again. And another nice sized fish about 6lb was netted and swiftly returned. There was only a matter of minutes left before the boat was due back when yet again my static lure rod was bending over in anger! After what felt like an age a nice Zander about 7lbs made its way up from the depths. As soon as it was unhooked I plunged it back down and we made our way back to the boat yard. It was a very enjoyable day afloat and my batteries were fully recharged ready to tackle Grafham water next time out.