Monday, October 01, 2018

Unwelcome break.

On my drive home from Devon I took a slight detour and stopped at Welcome Break services near Oxford. I'm now able to report that anglers aren't welcome at all, at least not if they intend to stealthily do some fishing using a piece of line, split shot, a barbless hook and small chunks from the crust of a Subway sandwich. This fact only became apparent after I'd caught about a dozen goldfish from the large water feature at the bottom of the service stations' food court area when I was rudely interrupted and had to make a sharp exit.

Goldfish come in all shapes and sizes. From the traditional fairground prize type...
...to silver ones.
This one is a shubunkin, an ornamental goldfish with a long tail and the odd metallic scale.
This one is bog standard brown goldfish. This is what they should actually look like and what ornamental goldfish revert back to if they breed without a selection process.

Anyway, just to clarify, anglers aren't welcome to take a break at Welcome Break services near Oxford. If they do they might get chased from said rest stop by site management and security just like I was. You have been warned!

Tight lines, Scott.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Good heavens!

After the fairly disappointing fishing of the first half of my south coast adventure I drove west to Devon to do a bit of coarse fishing. I headed to Angler's Paradise to try and catch my first koi carp and golden rudd. I say Angler's Paradise but really I didn't fish the specimen lakes around the main complex as they are for residents of the holiday homes situated there only. As I was staying in a campsite down the road I was limited to fishing the day ticket waters that are situated nearby and over four days I fished two lakes in Angler's Eldorado and one in Angler's Shangri La. My visit got off to a great start and within the first few hours fishing I'd caught both my targets from the "Koi lake". The novelty of catching golden rudd quickly wore off however as the Koi lake is absolutely full of them.

Not technically a new species but still my first golden rudd.
My first ever koi carp was caught on single maggot fished on the bottom under a waggler.
Freelining maggots to cruising fish worked very well too. I simply cast onto a lily pad and slowly pulled it off into the water as a cruising carp approached.
Sight fishing was great fun and my third koi carp also fell to freelined maggots.

Things went a bit quiet on the Koi lake after my third koi carp so I moved to the neighbouring Tench and Orfe pond. Starting with single maggot under a waggler I quickly discovered that it was full of lots of small... 

...tench and...
...orfe.

Over the remaining days of my trip I switched to fishing a method feeder and had an enjoyable time. Fishing hair rigged double corn produced plenty of nice carp and I was pleasantly surprised that there were koi carp in all three of the lakes I fished.

I mainly fished down the margins to various water features.
Nothing fancy just double corn and micro pellets.
It usually didn't take too long for my rod tip to pull round.
All the fish were in great condition including this nice common carp.
In amongst the mirror carp I caught this stunning looking fully scaled fish.
I caught the odd small tench too including this lovely golden one.
I'm pretty sure I caught more koi carp than common carp and mirror carp put together.
With their colourful patterns they are beautiful looking fish.
I caught quite a few of these orange and black ones.

Before I knew it another south coast adventure had come to an end and I was heading back up the road. I must say I was very impressed with both the Angler's Eldorado and Angler's Shangri La day ticket waters and as I fancy a few sessions targeting the catfish and specimen carp in the two ponds I didn't fish in the Angler's Eldorado complex I may be back down there again next year at some point.

Tight lines, Scott.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Chance encounter.

Last month I spent a week camping and fishing on the south coast. My trip was split into two halves with the first three days being spent in Dorset. On two of those days I had booked myself a space aboard Weymouth skipper Colin Penny's boat Flamer IV. On both days we were due to spend some time drifting over the famous Shambles sand banks and I was hoping to catch my first ever brill while doing so. Sadly however the first day's fishing was very poor and due to a deterioration in the weather the second day was cancelled. Obviously this was a major disappointment but I ended up driving along to Swanage Pier twice where I relaxed, kept things simple and enjoyed a couple of fun sessions fishing rigs with small hooks baited with ragworm on ultralight tackle. On my first visit the end of the pier was off limits due to restoration work being carried out but fishing further up than I usually do I was still hopeful something odd might turn up, with a black faced blenny at the top of my wish list. I caught no little surprises though and the main species caught by some distance was corkwing wrasse. If I said there are lots of them underneath Swanage Pier it would be a massive understatement! In amongst the endless corkwings, the odd tompot blenny and a few dozen pouting I did manage to catch a few Baillon's wrasse too which brought a smile to my face. With their colourful markings I think they just pip the rock cook to the title of the nicest looking of the wrasse species that can be caught in the UK.

A great example of the stunning markings on the head of a Baillon's wrasse.

Swanage Pier is the only venue that I'm aware of in the UK where these can be caught with any reliability and I even managed to catch the same one three times during my first day there. It had a small deformity just behind it's left eye in case you're wondering how I know it was the same one. I dare say if you took good photos you could use their facial markings to identify individual fish.

Arriving to begin my second session the end of the pier had re-opened and walking down the steps onto its lower deck there were already a few people fishing in the open area in the middle of the deck. As I got closer I thought I recognised an angler that I knew but had never met in person before so I went over and said hello. The person I'd accidentally bumped into was Adam Kirby, an angler with over thirty years' experience in several disciplines who now focuses on lure fishing.

Adam with an impressive lure caught grey gurnard.

Adam currently contributes to Sea Angler magazine and is a member of the Prostaff team with UK tackle company Tronix. He is also very passionate about light rock fishing in it's purest form and recently published the 500th post on his excellent "Light Rock Fishing" blog. More important than any of that though I'd also been told by several mutual friends who had already met him that he was a really nice guy and I'm happy to report that he is! We got on very well and enjoyed fishing together, talking about fishing and species hunting too. Adam also caught a Baillon's Wrasse whilst he was on the pier but with a little more skill and finesse than my lazy efforts with bait, catching it on a tiny Mushi creature lure mounted on a equally tiny jighead worked slowly along the bottom.

Baillon's wrasse light rock fishing style!


Pretty soon it was time to leave as the pier was being closed for the evening. On the way back to the car we carried on chatting and exchanged some mark information for various species. It was a real pleasure meeting Adam, the chance encounter being the highlight of my stay in Dorset really and I hope we can fish together again in the future.

Tight lines, Scott.