Tackling a fishery for the first time can be an exciting but equally a daunting prospect for many of us Anglers, for anyone else I’m sure you will find some useful information, as it is knowledge as well as experience that helps you get the best from your chosen fishery on any given day.
Seldom is there better knowledge available, than that of the fishery owner or bailiff. Their constant observations of us Angler’s coming and going, listening to stories of our successes as well as our failures, combined with a bankside presence of a professional fisherman (or woman) and often a real passion for their livelihood, often means that the information they can provide is worth its weight in, let’s say fish…. As, in my opinion catching that first fish in a session is certainly more precious than gold, especially when combined with the anticipation and mystery a new venue holds.
With this in mind, we arrive at Wyreside Lakes Fishery in Lancaster to be warmly welcomed by owner Bob Birkin, for over 20 years Bob has been present at this establishment and his intimate knowledge of the waters soon becomes apparent as he directs me to a peg on Fox’s Lake.
With temperatures recently rising to above 10 degrees, from around zero only a few days previous, a blustery south easterly wind and large clouds looming in the air, conditions are not ideal. I head down to Fox’s Lake ever hopeful of a decent session. I arrive at the peg Bob has recommended and the first glimpse of the lake looks good, nestled amongst well established tree’s and foliage that surround the lake and more to the point, if was totally lazy I’d probably be able to fish from the car, as the parking is nice and close.
The swim looks enticing, Bob explained that water levels are a little down on usual, due to recent work carried out to remove snags from around the island. I settle into the swim, seat levelled and all tackle within easy reach. I peruse the water for any signs of fish, a few swirls which could just be the blustery wind are noted before a large swirl, possibly from a hungry Carp only a few feet from the bank, my heart racing with eagerness to get started and I set up hoping for some close in action.
The Wyreside complex holds some massive fish and with the Fox’s lake record Carp at over 30lb, the advisable 6lb minimum breaking strain line and no fixed leads rules seem fair enough to me. As I am fishing for any species of fish, I opt to use a hook length of just 4lb on the pole line. As this should to improve my chances of catching some of the quality Roach this lake holds, whilst serving to reduce the chance of losing all my rig should a larger fish prove too much of a handful.
Fishing just one rod, I opt for 3 lines of attack, firstly quiver-tip and running ground-bait feeder at distance, short pole line at 2m and another at 8m. Plumbing up the swim reveals a depth of around 4 feet pretty consistently across the swim, with a slightly shallower 3 feet on the 2m line. I opt for a simple strung out shot rig to float fish on the drop, allowing me to work the bait through the water and pick up feeding fish at all depths. My thinking being that the fish, particularly roach, tend to move up and down in the water throughout the day, also it’s a rig that I have caught consistently with at other venues of similar depth and I’m a firm believer of fishing to our strengths in order to increase your chance of catching.
Choice of bait, crushed hemp based ground-bait as a base for all my chosen lines, on the feeder I opt for dead reds and cooked hemp in the mix and a combination of red and white maggots on the size 16 barbless hook. Now I will tell you, this method proved to be totally ineffective on the day yielding zero fish, that’s not to say it didn’t produce bites, as there where quite a few. The twitches on the tip indicated that fish where attacking the feeder as soon as it hit the water and a method feeder set up may have been more productive on the day, perhaps worth a try for the next session? The important thing is trying, if you try something and it doesn’t work then you are learning and when we are learning we are increasing our chances of catching, the day I stop learning is the day to stop fishing forever, and that isn’t going to happen. Anyway, with the pole I was having more success, so my focus was directed here. Feeding maggot and hemp little & often on the 2m & 8m lines I add the occasional walnut sized ball of ground-bait throughout the session. After about 30 minutes of alternating between feeder and pole lines, bites start to come regularly to double live maggot, mainly Roach all a good size and pretty much one a chuck at 8m. A switch to double or triple dead reds produces better quality Roach with several immaculate fish around the 1lb mark, they make for great sport and start to add some good weight to my catch.
So all is going well, a steady rhythm is building and so is the weight of fish, until I put on a red and a white maggot, the float sails away, I hit into the fish which moves towards me with ease, suddenly it turns parallel with the bank and starts to motor, the hollow core elastic stretches increasingly as I frantically add pole sections, keeping the pole low I try to turn the fish but it keeps going and going and going way to the left, I actually think it must have been staying in one of the log cabins up the hill as it seemed to reach there before it finally snapped my hook length! Needless to say my heart sinks, filled with promise and excitement I’m eager to repair the damage and get back fishing, feeling the benefit for choosing the lighter hook length, I’m soon back up and fishing again.
Swim ruined it takes a while feeding little and often to kickstart the swim again, eventually the Roach and occasional Perch grace the net. By switching between live red, white and dead red maggots I manage plenty of bites before I try the days lucky combo of single red and single white maggot, as soon as I put in the float thumps under and the elastic starts to stretch once again, at this point I start to think “perhaps I should have fished the 6lb line straight through!” the fish feels big and its making its bid for freedom, it appears it is heading the same way as the last one, after a pretty lengthy run the fish eventually tires, turns and heads back, hope comes back to me and with each passing second I appear to be making on the fish, it’s a hard fighter and makes several nerve racking runs into open water, eventually it rolls just below the surface and a flash of green is seen, a nice Tench it seems, just a few more feet that seem to take forever, then I have it, as I slip the landing net under her. The scales go round to 5lb which is not bad for a first try, the rest of the session continues with the Roach until begrudgingly I have to leave this beautiful place. As if the fishing Gods where watching over me, I pack up just in time before the rain came belting down, result dry and a net catch of fish too.
Now I have had a good go and understand a little more about this water it won’t be long until I’m back to see what else I can catch, they say you can learn something new every day, I certainly did and it will help me the next time I’m go fishing perhaps you could too, tight lines, let us know how you get on and if anyone finds my broken 4lb line with size 16 hook in a 30lb plus Carp??