WELCOME to the Wednesday blog – each week filled by Angler’s Mail magazine’s HQ, focusing on happenings in the wonderful world of fishing.
This week’s Angler’s Mail HQ blog is by features editor Richard Howard.
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MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS!
IT’S funny how angling often leaves you with more questions than answers!
I’ve not fished seriously for cats for a long time, I’ve had them to around 50 lb, but I have got cat mecca – Wintons Fishery, near Burgess Hill on my doorstep where the fish are packing it on, and breeding.
And when they’re ‘ on the prod’ believe me some phenomenal catches can be accumulated of 30s, 40s, 50s even 60s!
Now they pull a bit, and it’s not unusual for the serious lads down there to be on 5 lb rods, 25 lb plus line etc and they still get the runaround and anglers can still be snapped–up.
So it was a mad scramble to grab some heavier gear the other afternoon, including a 5 lb and 4 lb test curve cat rod and freespools loaded with 18 lb line, huge landing net and an even bigger mat.
The plan was to leger large lumps of luncheon meat, hair rigged to barbless Catfish Pro size 1 hooks to a 70 lb Catfish Pro hooklength. The meat soaked in Marukyu Krill and rolled in Krill Powder.
If they were ‘on’- a big smelly hookbait fished on a low resistance rig with open bale arms, a 50 p piece just trapping the 18 lb mono against the spool until it toppled off – old school style would put me in with a chance – or so I thought.
Anyway, the girlfriend and I turn up, and a quick chat to a guy leaving the swim we fancied revealed ‘there’s not much happening mate, even the cats aren’t really having it.’
But out of the corner of my eye we could see some really dark clouds of silt from fish tearing up the bottom, 20-30 yards out. There was fizzing, then a carp sticks it’s head out, another one rolls. There was an unusual amount of carp activity…
So I’m standing there with cat gear. A 4 lb and 5 lb rod, heavy line, size 1 hooks and 70 lb braid. I start setting up for cats, and another decent carp rolls and fizzes – it was daft. I swung out a ‘krilled’, catfish cube alongide an island margin ahead of me to my left, complete with a 2.5 oz lead, and the fizzing still continues in open water to my right. They didn’t spook!
I rig up the 5 lb rod, with catfish tackle, still keeping an eye cocked, then I bite it all off, and reach for my end tackle box of carp gear. I can’t ignore the chance of a big carp.
I find a 0.5 oz bomb, a size 8 swivel, a size 12 hook and some 10 lb line. Now I’ve also got about eight brandlings left over from a previous trip.
So on go two brandlings on a size 12 barbless, a bit of rubber band to hold them on and out I flick the 0.5 oz bomb into the general area where fish have been showing. With a slackish line I add a little ‘ring bobbin’ – like a bottle top.
About 45 minutes pass, there’s still fish moving in the area and we’re suddenly in. I’m playing the fish ‘gingerly’ – it could be a 25 lb- plus mirror – the size 12 hook, 18 lb mainline and a 9 ft, 5 lb cat rod feels like a ludicrous combination.
There’s some nasty bangs, on the line, a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, some line taken against the clutch, but eventually what I’m expecting to be a carp head to pop-up out of the coloured water, turns out to be a catfish. With the little size 12 neatly in the scissors.
A kitten by Wintons standards but it’s a fish and the first one I’ve seen landed since I’ve been on the bank. And the girlfriend gets to see her first cat – a low ‘twenty’. What to do now? The carp would have definitely done the off, but no. There were still a few out there, heads, fins, fizzing etc.
I go back in, this time scaling up to a size 10 hook to 10 lb line and double brandling, dipped in Krill.
A couple of hours later and we’re in again, the bobbin rises 4 in. to the rod and just stays there, but no line is taken, I strike into the ‘carp’ and eventually after a lively fight, another cat – slightly smaller is sitting in the net.
I’m not complaining but how could I have been on so many carp, offered them a small mouthful of double brandling on ‘reasonable’ end tackle and not caught one?
What were they feeding on? The feeding was too widespread to be someone else’s bait so I assume it was some form of ‘natural’. If it had been bloodworm, my double brandling couldn’t have looked that out of place – could it? I even dragged the bottom in the next swim with my landing net for a clue, but couldn’t find anything.
Meanwhile the cat rod, positioned on the more ‘banker spot’ to intercept any cats patrolling an island margin stayed quiet for the full five hours. Are cats that tackle shy that they preferred a small worm offering on a size 10 or 12 on the day? Questions…questions…questions….
JIM TYREE’S BARBEL CHALLENGE. Our Jim has challenged ‘our John’ (Bailey ) to catch a barbel from the River Wensum. Read My Say on page 15. And watch this space!
TALES FROM THE RIVERBANK. Navitas head honcho Mark Munson had us in stitches with this weeks ‘Tales’ on page 87! Don’t miss it!
TACKLE THEFTS. Top angler and Mr nice guy Jan Porter has been the victim of a mass tackle theft. Korda ace Tom Dove has had his gear stolen too. Disturbing news. Full report in the magazine.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Click below for more on how to use your free line, given with our latest magazine.
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