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Leon Roskilly

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Blog Entries posted by Leon Roskilly

  1. Leon Roskilly
    I joined Kingfishers (KAPS) late last year, mainly to fish the rivers, and to fish with friends who are already members.
     
    But they do also have a number of stillwaters.
     
    One of these is comprised of three lakes that are only about 20 mins from where I live (Why did I buy a house so far away from decent fishing, 20 years before retirement - No longer working, I'd love to be able to just pick up my rods and stroll down to the local river, rather than having to plan a journey).
     
    There's the main lake, where the bivvy brigade live, the stock pond where more of the bivvy brigade can be found, and The Cut where noddy anglers like me can practise catching tiddlers.
     
    Stocked with smaller carp (not too many, and not too small), some large bream and tench, there's also plenty of small roach and perch (although nobody fishes for them), Oh! and pike.
     
    Not too long, and not very wide (in fact in some places not very wide at all), mature vegetation, both bankside and in the water, it is packed with features.
     
    The attraction for me is the possibility of some early season tench.
     
    But first I have to get the measure of the place.
     
    The first tentative trips had me exploring various swims with a float road, plumbing around (mostly hard gravelly bottom, with a fairly constant depth).
     
    The place is a delight, not heavily fished (the proper fishermen stay in their bivvies on the main lake), packed with wildlife. Rabbits, warblers, kingfishers, swifts and swallows, moorhens and coots, hawks etc, there is always something flitting, splashing or rustling around you, and bold bullfinches to mop up any maggots you may drop.
     
    So, the first 3 trips produced bites, but no takes, but I loved just being there anyway.
     
    The fourth trip had me putting out a feeder, but using the float rod to target the roach and perch (and anything else that might want to play), and I soon had the action I was looking for, some of the roach getting on for 1/2lb and needing the net.
     
    A 9" pikelet appeared and hovered in my swim a while, and I saw another of around 2lbs doing the same thing further up.
     
    (During these explorations I wasn't using any groundbait, though a variety of hookbaits, the idea was to see what was there).
     
    The fifth trip had me fishing another swim, to which I had been attracted by the hint of some bubbles that MIGHT have been a tench.
     
    As I tackled up, I saw the shapes of large fish near the top (in about 7ft of water), which I came to recognise as carp, ranging in size from about 3 - 10lbs, and about 30 fish in all, patrolling imperceptably slowly between two reed banks,.
     
    Of course I couldn't help but try and tempt them!
     
    But they really weren't interested (apart from bumping into my line!).
     
    Time to stop messing around.
     
    So, last night I aimed to fish the dusk into darkness, and to put in some groundbait to get the fish interested.
     
    Fishing a feeder and a float rod, I was using worm, sweetcorn, pineapple flavoured pelllets and bread as hookbaits, tried fishing up near the top, and down on the bottom.
     
    I watched the carp, meandering, the birds flitting, the insect-life buzzind (and biting), the sun going down, the moon reflected amongst the reeds, small perch chasing the fry amongst the reeds right at my feet and the occasional larger fish bumping through the reed beed.
     
    But my feeder tip remained motionless, as did my float.
     
    Eventually the light reached the point where my eyes began playing tricks, so it was time to leave, feeling frustrated yet satisfied at the same time, as my bank of knowledge about this place and the creatures who live in and around the water increases.
  2. Leon Roskilly
    Thought I'd get out for a couple of hours stick float fishing in preparation for the Itchen Fish-in in just over a weeks time.
     
    The 'river' (more of a stream really) was fined down nicely, and I was soon getting small roach and chub up to around 8oz from most of my favourite swims.
     
    (Where the river is often just inches deep, deeper holes formed around features usually hold a few fish)
     
    Early on, I lost a larger chub that took me by surprise and went straight into the tree roots.
     
    Then I hooked into a fish that gave a good account of itself on the light tackle I was using.
     

     
    It came out of some deeper water near to the tree on the far bank.
     

     
    I then lost another larger chub when the hook pulled (I was using size 16s to 2lb bottoms).
     
    A while later I briefly hooked a much larger fish, then hooked it again as I trotted throught the swim.
     
    I didn't get to see it, but it felt much bigger than anything I'd so far hooked into.
     
    I tried trotting the swim a few more times, but it had obviously had enough, so I moved on.
     
     
    I really coudn't resist trying the swim again on the way back to the car.
     

     
    First trot through and I was in
     
    This time the fish stayed on and I netted it, and weighed it in at 3lb 8oz
     

     
    A young lad, on his way back from Mote Park was gob-smacked, that a fish so big had come out of such a tiny ditch!
     
    'Is it a pike?'
     
    I returned the fish (which was actually an old friend that I'd had out of that swim at around the same weight a couple of years back), and emptied the maggots in to boil around 'his' hole as compensation for the indignity of being caught.
     
    I occasionally do get a larger chub out of the Len, but most are around the 8oz mark. I caught plenty of those today, and I've had many bigger chub from bigger rivers in the past, but having caught two decent sized fish, and lost two others, on the same day out of this tiny river made it a rewarding trip.
     
    And a memory to torment me when the river season ends in just a few weeks time!
  3. Leon Roskilly
    A late bit of rain soaked the potato bed and when I next went to dig a few spuds, the first forkful turned over was full of fat juicy lob-worms.
     
    Too many to ignore, I fetched a bucket from the shed, added wet shredded newspaper and collected lobs as well as potatoes.
     
    The bucket stood in the shed for a couple of weeks, demanding that I think about going perch fishing.
     
    Now one of the problems of being retired is that the calendar soon becomes full.
     
    And when there are not pre-arranged visits etc then the number of jobs around the house, in the garden, on the computer, seem insurmountable.
     
    And because I’m are retired, there's always tomorrow to go fishing (I suppose that part of the problem is that when I was working I was up, showered, and out of the door within an hour. Now it usually takes me most of the morning to get around to making some tea, cleaning my teeth, answering a few emails...).
     
    Part of the problem is that there's always tomorrow, but as we all know, tomorrow never comes, so that endless leisure time that you were looking forward to somehow disappears as the weeks drift by.
     
    Enough of that, a New Year's resolution (in September!).
     
    Wednesday henceforth is Go Fishing Day.
     
    And so Wednesday arrives, a tub of lobworms decides perch are to be the target (as does a dull cloudy day), and a remembered momentary encounter with a large stripey that nearly took a lure last year decides the venue.
     
    And so I arrive at the place on the free stretch of the Medway just above Allington.
     
    A worm is broken up and offered to the river as a sacrifice, before the centrepin goes onto the rod.
     
    There's hardly any flow, and almost no wind, despite light rain dappling the smooth surface, so I opt for an antenna float which makes a pleasing target for my eyes.
     
    The water has just the right amount of colour, green rather than the more usual dirty brown.
     
    The flow is no more than you would expect from a slight undertow in a lake, and a few leaves drift by on the surface of the water, as I make a couple of more sacrifices of the broken bodies of worms to the river.
     
    The float jigs enticingly, then continues on its way as I imagine tiddlers playing with the end of the worm as it passes by.
     
    Another cast and the float drifts towards me again, slipping slowly beneath the surface as I strike.
     
    Nothing.
     
    A few more casts and the same thing happens.
     
    The float disappears, but no contact is made on the strike.
     
    Are the tiddlers strong but too small, or is something bigger cautiously swimming off with just the tail of the worm? Should I try a smaller bait or wait a little longer before striking?
     
    On the next pass the float sinks under again, I strike and feel solid resistance.
     
    There’s a big fish down there, and I’ve hooked it.
     
    The fight goes on for a while, the unseen fish seems to be getting heavier and more powerful and I’m beginning to think I’ve hooked a pike.
     
    The fish comes in towards the bank and I increase the pressure slightly to try and steer it clear of the unseen snags on the bottom as the water shallows, but what’s on the end of the line is having none of it.
     
    Ping!
     
    Pike!! (well 98% sure of that).
     
    Re-tackled and re-baited (and wishing that I’d a wire trace with me), the float dips down a couple of more times resulting in a none-productive strike, before I finally make contact with a small perch.
     
    Then I start getting more of the small perch and a small roach too, before again striking into something more solid.
     
    Another pike? I don’t think so.
     
    Anxious not to provoke too hard a fight this time, I play the fish gently for a short while, then the hook comes free (how did that happen?).
     
    Hmmmm! Maybe a small jack, I’m 50% undecided.
     
    And so the hours go by, with bites that fail to connect, small perch coming to hand, worms broken and sacrificed, the current quickening as the sluice opens, prompting a change to a stick float for nearly an hour, and an unsuccessful experiment with bread.
     
    Looking away I fail to see the float go under, but when I lift it, it is absolutely solid.
     
    Damn! a snag.
     
    The hidden branch pulls back, I pull a little harder.
     
    I move to reposition myself, the hook comes free and I turn back to where the line is coming out of the water just in time to see a massive perch swirl at the worm as it lifts clear of the surface.
     
    The perch heads back down followed by my worm, but it doesn’t show interest a second time.
     
    More time passes, then I strike into something that fights back.
     
    As I play it into view, it looks like a chub. No, it’s a big roach, around a pound and a half.
     
    This is more like it.
     
    Then I have a bigger perch, around a pound.
     
    Then the clouds clear away, the sun is on the water, the bites dry up and I’m getting hungry.
     
    A very interesting session, I guess I’ll be back some other Wednesday.
     
    (There seems to be potential for some real surprises along that stretch, with the right bait and method)
     
    I just have to dig some more potatoes now.
  4. Leon Roskilly
    Managed to get on top of my emails this morning, and out for a bicycle ride by just after 12.
     
    26th October, a decent day and Brenda's in London so I have the car.
     
    Too good not to go fishing!
     
    Took the quick route home, and threw some tackle into the boot (nearly forgot to pack a rod)
     
    Stopped for 1/2 pint of red and white maggots at the local tackle shop then 1/2 hour drive had me at the waterside.
     
    The river (more of a stream really, filled with wooden branches and waterlogged sticks and brambles draping down the banks into the water).
     
    I decided to fish the stretch between Spot Lane and Mote park. A very unpromising stretch of water to those that know no better.
     
    My target was to try and catch one of the small brown trout that occasionally put in an appearance.
     
    I was fishing with a short telescopic rod (the river isn't wide enough for a bigger rod), married to my Okuma centrepin. A small drennan chub float with double maggot on a size 18.
     
    (As I rig the tackle, beneath the trees, I can smell the pleasant smell of wet rotted leaves, as more yellow and browns fall down to join them. The air is warm, though overhead the clouds have darkened)
     
    The river here is mostly just a few inches deep, with unexpected holes that go down a couple of feet, sometimes more. It's at a nice depth and flow, gurgling noisily between the banks and over the stones.
     
    The firs spot I tried was where the river curved hard left beneath a tree, where it has scrapped a hole and exposed the roots. You'd think it was an ideal spot for a big chub, but a few small roach and tiny chub was all I had.
     
    Remembering that I was after a trout, I moved on.
     
    To a stretch where the river ripples through over stones and is nearly 8" deep along the far bank.
     
    First trot through and I have my trout.
     
    Well more of a mini-trout really!
     
    Still she looks really pretty.
     
    I try running though there a few more times, but nothing else comes, just a couple of small chub from the slacker water at the end of the glide.
     
    I move on again, to a deeper looking spot where the river has undercut the opposite bank. A few more chub.
     
    I'm enjoying this
     
    A little way further down river a tree is across the river and the winter flood waters have gouged away the bottom downstream of the obstruction.
     
    Here I start getting better fish, nearly 1/2 pound, chub, roach and perch.
     
    Feeding just a few maggots with each trot through, I'm soon getting a fish a chuck.
     
    Pretty soon, I can predict what species I will get. The perch are close under the fallen tree where the water is slackest and deepest, the chub are to the left where the water glides fast and deep under the bank, the roach out to the shallower water to the right.
     
    A flotilla of ducks, moving upstream are perplexed by my presence, wondering if it's safe to come past. They take their chance as I bend down to rebait the hook. Hoping that I won't notice them.
     
    I'm catching so many fish, I feel that it's time to move on before I'm catching each one too many times.
     
    (There can't possibly be so many in that small area)
     
    Then my hook catches in the roots of a tree and is lost.
     
    I've had my fun, so I empty the rest of the maggots into the pool, pack my tackle back into the bag and head back to the car (not so easy, the banks are steep here and it's quite a climb back through the undergrowth to the path).
     
    I wonder what I'll do tomorrow?
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