Saturday, December 29, 2012

Magiscroft magic.

After yesterday's successful assault on the rudd in Markle Fisheries' bait pond I decided to head out again today to try and get my 15th freshwater species of the year. Another early start, for me anyway, saw me up at 6am to get ready and catch a train to Cumbernauld, home of Magiscroft, Scotland's biggest coarse fishery. With several ponds full of a multitude of species surely even in December I couldn't fail to catch something new?

When I got off the train just after 8am it was rather windy and was raining too. Undeterred I walked the mile or so up to Magiscroft to find the shop open early. After buying a couple of small puddle chucker floats I paid for my permit and asked for some advice. The chap was very helpful and even marked down the pegs that had been fishing well on a map. Armed with half a pint of maggots off I went. Setting up my float rod in the rain wasn't fun but at least the larger of the two "Birch ponds" I elected to fish was fairly well sheltered from the wind. Catapulting out a few free offerings to hopefully get the fish going I cast out towards a small island in front if my peg. I like to start with almost all of my shot bulked around my float so The maggot falls through the water column nice and slowly. This tactic often helps find the fish and almost straight away I started getting small knocks and when the float shot under I quickly lifted into a small fish. As I brought it towards me I saw a silver flash and thought it was a roach. I was very pleasantly surprised when I lifted it up to find it was a nice little bream instead. Mission accomplished first cast.

My first ever bream?

With the pressure off I could now relax and enjoy fishing in the rain. I was curious to see what else I could catch. Steadily feeding a few maggots before every cast I soon had the float bobbing around before hooking a few of the culprits.

A roach this time. The first of a succession.
Some smaller than others.

Over the next couple of hours I caught a further seven roach and then I caught a fish that I thought was a roach when bringing it in but once in my hand, under closer inspection and asking a bailiff his opinion as it had me stumped, it turned out to be my first ever ide.

Identifying silverfish can be a bit if a nightmare to the untrained eye!

He also informed me that my first fish looked like a bream/roach hybrid which I would later confirm via a lateral line scale count when I examined the photos at home. Oh well mission accomplished anyway with the ide! At this point the rain finally stopped and I spotted one or two slightly larger fish cruising around the island further up in the water so I decided to start fishing double maggots a couple of feet under my float. After patiently waiting a while with the float almost vanishing a few times before quickly popping up again it went right under and I struck, hooking a better fish. As it came towards me it stayed quite deep and decided it didn't want to be caught about half way in. Charging off to my right I caught a glimpse of a dark back and a gold flank as I turned it away from some reeds at the waters edge. Then as it came to the surface in front of me I realised it was a small carp. Initially I thought it may be a crucian carp but wasn't too fussy about which carp species it was to be honest as regardless it was still my first ever carp!

Lovely little fish. Bit of a bruiser too.

The bailiff would return later picking litter and when I showed him the picture of the carp he informed me that it was in fact an F1 carp. Vroom vroom! I'd never heard of them before and he told me they are a hybrid of the common and crucian carp or goldfish and are becoming increasingly popular in coarse fisheries because they only grow to an average size of about 5lb and feed well all year round.

Whilst bites on the double maggot were fewer and further apart I was keen to discover what the other larger fish were that I could still see patrolling around the island and after patiently waiting for about half an hour I got a positive bite and hooked one of them. This fish wasn't messing around and as soon as it was hooked it motored off to my right. It was no match for my rod though which soaked up the fight quite easily and after thrashing around on the surface a few times the fish was soon heading towards me. When it opened its huge mouth wide open and kept it open as I unhooked it I thought it was a chub.

My biggest and also my last fish of the session as I ran out of maggots shortly after catching it!
Again a lateral line count when I returned home would reveal that it was in fact a second larger ide. Just one that refused to close its rather large mouth.

Well, having thought I could struggle to catch two new freshwater species before the end of the year I've managed to catch them and an extra one for good measure which was a nice bonus as it puts me on a total of 60 species of fish in 2012! Despite getting thoroughly soaked in the morning and early afternoon I really enjoyed my trip to Magiscroft today and I'll certainly be back there again next year for more coarse fishing. Perhaps in better weather though!

On a side note, I'm reasonable happy that I've now got the identification of the above fish correct. If you disagree please let me know as I'd hate to be wrong!

Tight lines, Scott.

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