Good Friday saw Rhianna and I heading out to Newcourt Barton ponds for a quick afternoon session fly fishing for the carp there. The rest of the Easter weekends weather forecast was pretty horrible so it was definitely a case of making the most of the time we had. It was bitterly cold and slightly breezy, but dry and sunny at least.
I’ve had success on the fly rod with the carp here before so went straight the fly rod, trying all sorts of ‘natural’ flies, before eventually switching to floating bread flies. The fish showed no interest whatsoever. Even the floating loose fed bread was largely ignored. Maybe it was too early in the season for the fish to be feeding on the surface? whatever the reason, after an hour or two, It was obvious I needed a change of approach to have any hope of landing any fish.
It’s at times like this that the pole and a can of spam comes to the rescue… Bites to float fished spam in the margins were instantaneous, and I put Rhianna to work netting fish straight away. 3 perfectly conditioned carp within the space of 10 minutes, and we decided to call it a day. The fish weren’t big but were very welcome all the same, and we went home satisfied.
Maybe later in the year, we’ll return for a rematch.
Another weekend without any fishing as such, although not totally without some fish related activities! I took the family up to the West of England Game Fair at the Bath & West Showground on the Sunday. This two day event focuses on shooting and fly fishing along with a host of associated country pursuits. I have to admit that I’d hoodwinked the kids into coming along on the pretext that there would be loads to do, but amazingly there really was loads to do! We came away wishing we’d had more time and were already planning our return trip next year before we’d got back in the car to come home!
A fly casting demonstration with Hywel Morgan really showed how it’s supposed to be done. It even gave me a few pointers as to where I’m going wrong at times. Hywel’s two daughters braved the cold to assist the demonstration and made fly casting look easy – both of whom looked far more comfortable with a fly rod in hand than myself… Damn! I really need to get more practice!
There were food stalls, outdoor clothing, shooting, fishing & fly tying stalls, along with a multitude of demonstrations, and have a go activities, ranging from blacksmithing, shooting, axe throwing and ferret racing – to mention but a few. The family favourite turned out to be the willow weaving – with both my girls coming away with a wicker fish each.
With such a large site and with several large halls all crammed with things going on, we just didn’t get to see everything we wanted to. Next year we’ll aim to get there when it opens and make a full day of it. Now then…. when can I fit in some real fishing?
March the 6th – time for the first boat trip of the year and we’re greeted by a bitterly cold and pretty strong wind. A chilly start to my sea fishing calendar saw Mike and myself heading out of Minehead with Dave James aboard one of our two usual boat’s, ‘Edwin John’.
Despite the chill, we were treated to a glorious sunrise, as we set up. As usual We both fished two upside rods each and soon settled in to the steady rhythm of catching dogfish one after another which is pretty standard for this part of the Bristol Channel. Amongst the doggies were a few more interesting species.
We had a few 3 bearded rockling, several whiting, including one up to around a pound and a half, along with a decent conger, a small thornback ray and a small-eyed ray. Alongside the ray we also had a couple of small codling between us although Mike did manage to trump me as usual with a ‘keeper’ at a few pounds. Don’t know how he does it but he always manages to winkle out better quality fish!
Whilst we fished the usual sandeel, herring and squid baits it was definitely the herring that seemed to be the best bait on the day. The herring are netted by Dave and his brother, Marcus during the winter months and then frozen down for use throughout the rest of the year. The herring have by all accounts recovered number wise in the area over recent years which is nice to see, as they’re obviously an important food source for many of the other fish in the channel.
To add to the days entertainment we were perfectly situated to spectate on the RNLI lifeboat practice session with the air sea rescue helicopter, just off of Minehead. Considering the slightly choppy conditions I thought they did well to winch crewmen on and off the lifeboat. I was cold just watching, so rather them than me!