A short session at Emerald Ponds near Highbridge in Somerset produced a few fish for My daughters and me. A match on the pond we had been hoping to fish meant we had to make do with one of the other ponds – a much smaller and shallow one that we hadn’t fished before. We set up the pole and fished with worm and spam and had a steady trickle of fish from a spot tight against the reeds of an island feature. We landed a couple of small tench along with a few good sized roach, rudd and skimmers. Isobel was delighted to catch her first ever tench along with a skimmer / roach hybrid?.
Sadly the session was cut shortchanged by the need for the small people to use the toilet combined with the fact that neither of my daughters or wife would use the toilet on site. At 3 against 1, I knew the odds were stacked against me so beat a hasty retreat to a local pub for a first class Sunday roast and pint.
I popped up to Harpers Lakes, one of Exeter Angling Associations waters for an exploratory session today. Situated adjacent to the Tiverton Parkway railway station and Junction 27 of the M5 these two lakes offer tench, bream and carp fishing all in relatively tranquil surroundings considering their proximity to the railway and road.
On arrival I chatted to the only other angler on the lake who was feeder fishing and it turned out was a regular here. I learnt that the first lake was 5-6 foot deep at the shallower end and sloped down to around 12 foot. It held a good head of bream and small tench as well as crucians and carp into double figures. The Second lake on the other side of the railway line and much more secluded mainly featured carp. Both lakes had large shoals of rudd cruising the upper layers.
I had only made the call to go fishing the night before and hence only came armed with a can of sweetcorn and a can of spam. chose to set up the pole in the shallower corner near the weeds and went for a size 12 hook and 5lb hooklength to give me some chance should I hook one of the carp. A few nibbles on sweetcorn didn’t develop into anything, but after rooting around under a pile of weed on the bank that someone had obviously raked out of the swim recently, I collected a few juicy worms. These turned out a better option as I swiftly landed a small tench and a nice skimmer on worm.
A switch to luncheon meat resulted in me connecting with a bigger fish which I assume was a carp that I just couldn’t bully away from the weed, where it promptly transferred the hook leaving me with nothing but a big bundle of weed to drag back in.
Another fish followed, which I assume was either a crucian or a hybrid before I then connected with two more carp – one on sweetcorn and the other on meat – both of which were unstoppable with the pole. After this the bites dried up as it approached midday, so I packed up and took a stroll with the fly rod around to the second lake; mainly to have a look more than anything else.
The second lake is reached via the path the runs behind the first lake, up to the North Devon link road, where you walk alongside the link road over the bridge, across the railway before hopping over the crash barrier and heading down a flight of steps to the lake..
The second lake was very secluded with only a handful of swims and much of the bank inaccessible. Large numbers of very skittish rudd were evident along with the occasional carp that could be seen cruising the surface further out from the bank. Space for a back cast with the fly rod was not that generous so I was limited to fishing quite close in. A small red grub type fly tempted the rudd whilst a squirmy worm slowly retrieved was the downfall of a greedy little perch. I only really had a few casts before deciding that lunch beckoned and that it was time to head home.
All in all, Harpers Lakes were a pleasant diversion for the morning with plenty of potential for the future. Next time an early morning or evening session would be more sensible I think.
The weather today has been amazing for October! Amazing full stop in fact. Hot and sunny and not a breath of wind. Isobel and myself headed to Kia Ora lakes near Cullompton this afternoon for a chilled out session.
We set up on the smaller of the two lakes to fish for the ‘Silver fish’ and proceeded to pull out a steady stream of quality roach, rudd, skimmers and small tench along with a few hybrids and gudgeon. All were on a short pole and double maggot. Isobel really got into the swing of things and amazed me not only with her patience (not a quality 9 year olds usually have), but her enthusiasm for pole fishing. I would have to admit that she definitely takes after me when it comes to striking bites though… not exactly lightening reflexes shall we say. In fact she made me look positively on the ball… Still – loads of fun and she enjoyed herself.
The ‘Gold’ lake containing the carp was just a couple of yards away from where we were fishing, so I popped over there to stalk a few carp with the fly rod, whilst Izzy was making a dent in the food supplies.
Floating baits aren’t permitted at Kia Ora and as I didn’t want to fall foul of the bailiff should he visit, I fished a sinking fly – my squirmy worm fly.
There wasn’t that many carp to be seen, but I did spot and get to cast to a few that were sunbathing or just cruising around. I probably managed to cast to half a dozen, and hooked 3 of those. It was really satisfying to cast to a stationary sunbathing carp and land a fly a foot in front of his nose then watch him suddenly swim purposefully forward to take the slowly sinking ‘worm’. All close range stuff and pretty arm wrenching.
I had 3 carp in total, the biggest 8lb and the others around 6lb.
Izzy did’ take that long to demolish the sandwiches and before I knew it I was called back to catch more of the ever obliging roach and rudd. Will have to bring more food next time to buy myself a little more time to myself…
Last weekend saw the ‘Flyfishing for Coarse Fish” group weekend meet in Somerset. Fine weather for the weekend boded well and the Saturday morning saw us meeting bright and early on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal at Upper Maunsell Lock. Day tickets are available online from the Taunton Angling Association’s website for £7.50 giving access to a large stretch of the canal and also the River Tone. Given the heavy rain of the two previous days, we were pleasantly surprised to find the canal spectacularly clear. The Bridgwater & Taunton Canal is generally quite shallow and with quite wide margins of reeds, making fishing tricky in places. Our host & organiser for the event, fishing guide and writer, Dominic Garnett certainly knew what to expect and advised #3 – #4 rods for general coarse fish with the longer rods useful for being able to reach over the nearside reeds. He was right!
The plan was to rove the canal for the day and cover as much ground as possible. The canal was crystal clear and allowed sight fishing to any fish spotted. The only issue being that we had to spot and cast to our quarry before we were ourselves spotted by the fish.
Finding fish in the clear, shallow waters wasn’t difficult and we were able to target the larger fish (Dominic certainly seemed to be able to at any rate…). Wandering the bank, Roach, rudd, bream and hybrids were numerous and easy to spot in the clear water, along with some cracking tench and a good few large perch. Pike (mainly small jacks) were also prevalent. To me some of the most impressive fish, alongside the tench, were the quality rudd and it was these that were the main target for the day.
Dominic lead the way in showing us how it’s done by promptly catching a couple of very nice rudd illustrating that he really does know what he’s talking and writing about.
The rest of us did our best to try to keep up, whilst David concentrated on the large perch which are very much a favourite of his. Everyone caught fish, including myself. I managed half a dozen rudd and some roach but nothing quite in the league of Dom’s fish. David hit the mark with a splendid 2lb 1oz perch that was one amongst 3 or 4 that chased down his fly.
We ended the day between us with a variety of species including rudd, roach, silver bream, hybrids & perch but surprisingly considering how many were around, no pike. A post session pub meal and drink followed in the sunshine – bringing a thoroughly enjoyable day to a great end. Sadly due to having a pre-arranged boat fishing trip on the Sunday I wasn’t able to join the group for the sunday session but you can read about how the chaps got on in Dominic’s blog. Hopefully There’ll be a follow up day or weekend session arranged in the imminent future – maybe a 2016 rematch?! Looking forward to it already.