Well since my foray up into Oxland the fishing has all been based a little closer to home, mostly concentrating on Spooky Pool. Couple that with two trips out with the Popster it has actually been a pretty good couple of months.
The fishing on Spooky has been a little sporadic, and when its looked bob on for a bite things haven’t always materialised, and mostly when its look less so fish have graced my net. But I often find the middle of summer is an odd time to be on the bank. Fish behave a little strangely and often patterns of behaviour that you have observed over the months previous change completely and become much more random and difficult to follow.
At the beginning of the year the water in Spooky pool was pretty clear and you could nearly always find the fish cruising along the marginal shelfs or just sunning themselves in the middle of the pool. But in the last couple of months the visibility has disappeared completely and the water has taken on the colour of pea soup. I think this is largely down to increased algal activity but mostly down to the voracious nature of all the successfully spawned little ones, which love nothing more that playing head tennis with your bait. These little ones have been piling on the weight and are some of the finest examples of carp you could ever wish to see. Much like their larger brothers and sisters they are a complete Heinz 57, it would seem that no two fish are alike, except that they are all stunning. They completely make me want to dig a pond so I can cultivate a few of them myself!
Back to the fishing a couple of blank nights were finally rewarded when I slipped the net under the lakes second biggest resident. Well down in weight after a proper spawn and looking a little battered as well but another one of the list and one step closer to a red card. The ever faithful tactic of signature squid pop ups, fished over relatively big beds of Krill boilies and pellets proving her downfall.
Spooky is such a small, intimate venue, most of the time I am placing my baits with the aid of a baiting pole or lowering them into the margins. Because of this I use the biggest leads I can, 5 or 6oz flat pears usually fished to release on the take with very short 3 inch hooklengths. I firmly believe out hookbaits are picked up and spat out more times that is healthy for our nerves. But by shortening the link and increasing the anchor point I think it becomes far more likely that the hook will find a home inside the fish’s mouth. Only when fishing in the middle of the pool where there is a thick layer of very soft silt do I consider fishing a lighter lead arrangement?
After the capture of the big Ghost things went a little quiet and I had a couple of sessions where nothing much occurred, and one disaster where I somehow conspired to lose not one but two fish! Following this I gave the fish a week off and was planning on giving them another but good friends of the shop Paula and Chris were down on holiday so I suggested to Chris we sneak out one eve for a quick session. So having picked Chris up from their holiday lodge we drove up to Spooky to find the fish extremely active to say the least. It wasn’t long before we were settled at either end of the lake, with this in mind we sat down in between the swims for a brew or two. All the bigger girls were out to play that evening and to be honest I’ve never seen the fish up there roll and crash so much, it just had to be good for a bite? Well about half an hour before dark my rod placed in the middle of the pond ripped off. A spectacular fight ensued with the fish ripping yards of line from the spool to be inched back towards the net only for it to wake up and repeat the dose. Eventually it slid over the net cord and I peered over Chris to determine which fish was mine. Well I was delighted to see the Ghost linear nestled in the folds, another one of the big ghosts off the list leaving just two fish that were on my must have list, the stunning zip linear and the grand lady of the lake.
The bank holiday weekend saw myself and Poppy making the very early start for a day up at Creedy lakes. I scooped her up from her bed at 3:30am and plonked her in the already packed car and we set off through long and winding lanes heading up towards Crediton. Upon our arrival I was pleasantly surprised to see only two guys in the car park, a right result for a Sunday over the bank holiday weekend. So we loaded up the barrow, Poppy slide on her rucksack moaned it was too heavy and stuck it on the barrow again, and then we set off. No matter how quiet Creedy is to start with I always plan for it to get much busier as the day progresses, and I always think the fish then generally push towards the corners. So we headed along the nearside bank and settled on a swim one up from the far end, were I was confident that we could secure our own bit of water should it get silly busy later on. It was due to be a baking hot day and I just knew it would be a day to target them off the top. But before the sun rose we flicked a rod down either margin and plopped one on a solid bag out in front, just trying to steal a bite whilst we waited for the sun to rise and the fish to do the same. Well we didn’t manage anything first up but as the sun started to peak through as it rose above the trees I began “pulting” a few mixers, and low and behold Poppys margin rod burst into life. I was determined that she would do all the work on her rod so she gingerly picked it up and I tightened the clutch on the screaming Daiwa. She proceeded to hoop the rod round and leant into the fish tucking it under her arm to gain leverage. She does struggle to get the rod up but knows not to point it directly at the fish, and after a somewhat hectic and bruising battle I netted her first fish of the day which would at only five pound be the smallest by some considerable distance.
Once the fish was safely returned it became apparent that the Creedy fish would have little interest in feeding in the lower layers for the rest of the day, so we dispensed with the bottom rods and concentrated on catching them on surface tactics. Nothing complicated a simple controller float and size 10 barbless hook was baited with a trimmed down Manilla pop up mounted on the back of the hook. I normally like to use the fake dog biscuits made by enterprise tackle which you are able to counterbalance with a small shot. This keeps the hook on top of the bait and out of the way of the fish, and I find these get you so many more bites when fishing off the surface. However all artificial baits are banned at Creedy, hence the trimmed down pop up. Well we managed to keep the fish feeding on the top for most of the day and despite not fishing very hard Poppy managed to land 11 fish including three fish weighing in at 19lb 6oz, 19lb 8oz and 19lb 10oz, with the rest all upper doubles, not bad at all for a 6 year old!
One thing I will comment on and I found very strange was the number of anglers I could hear round the lake in passing conversation stating how hard it was and how the fish just weren’t biting for them. This would be followed by well there catching lots over there, don’t know what they are doing? I find it odd that although probably 90% of the lakes carp population where visibly up on the surface, nearly everyone was fishing firmly on the bottom. Now Creedy isn’t a deep lake by any means but by fishing hard on the deck they were giving themselves a much reduced chance of a bite. So never discount your floater gear, there is no way we would have caught as many as we did without it.