Dave Coster Diary- July 2019

After finishing off my June Diary adventures with an interesting session at Homeclose Fishery in Rutland, I just had to go back. I opted for Hornbeam Lake again but chose a deeper area, where I hoped a groundbait feeder might help to get through the piranha like rudd, which attack everything you try feeding. I had heard on the grapevine that some big perch sometimes get caught here, so I went well armed with worms, casters and prawns. I also had a crafty back-up plan I will reveal a bit later.

I found the reed lined lake surprisingly empty, despite it being a very pleasant day, weather wise. The peg I settled in was a fair bit deeper than the one by the island I’d fished before, so I started well out with feeder tackle, but also fed a close line to try for a tench or two with my margin pole.

I managed to get my feeder to the bottom for the first couple of casts, but sure enough, once some regular feed started going in, hordes of hungry rudd were on it instantly. Maggots, casters and worms were a waste of time on the hook, being mauled to bits in seconds. Even with a pellet, my quivertip was sailing round before the tackle reached bottom. I decided to ignore any immediate indications to see if I could get through the rudd, hoping a 6mm Dynamite Durable Pellet might withstand their initial attentions.

I stopped feeding worm and casters, turning to plan B, which was to use just krill groundbait and krill feed pellets in the feeder, switching between a 6mm krill hooker and a prawn. I still encountered rudd problems but not quite as bad as before and the fish tended to be a bit bigger. When I did get through a few times and waited longer for a proper bite to develop, small skimmers resulted. I tried feeding a few mashed-up prawns in my feeder mix, but that was a big mistake because the rudd quickly got a taste for this bait too.

I went back to 6mm pellets on the hook and did manage a decent skimmer before the rudd started to drive me mad again. Time to give my margin pole a run out. Surprise, surprise it was rudd city there too, although I did manage a tench before piling a load of chopped worms and prawns in, to try and wake up some perch action. Prawns on the hook were immediately snapped up by the hungry rudd, so just for a bit of fun I started loose feeding a mixture of casters, pellets and prawns even closer down the margins.

The bottom of the lake in front of me started to churn up as the fish went crazy for the grub I was putting in. I switched to just the top kit of my margin pole and shallowed my rig right up. I had strong tackle on, but that didn’t matter. I was soon bagging up with rudd on bits of prawns really quickly, along with a few small perch. I enjoyed doing this for a while, but couldn’t get through to anything bigger. Not the session I was hoping for, but good reason for a return visit, to try and work this interesting venue out properly.

A Willows AC club match was coming up, so I decided to have a sneaky practice on the snake-like lake at Stretton, where another local club event was won with a 30lb weight a few days before. There were other anglers on the water, which at this time of the year is heavily overgrown, making each swim nicely secluded.

It soon became evident that not many carp were showing. This lead me to get my head down on the silver fish, bagging up with skimmers to begin with on the pole, before finding some quality roach I haven’t seen in this place before. I began loose feeding casters close in and the roach started swirling on top for them. I was suddenly catching as fast as I had a few days before with those rudd on Hornbeam Lake, amassing a good weight of quality roach, odd hybrids and small skimmers. Worth a try on the match, I reasoned.

As is often the case when you practise, it never turns out quite the same on the day. On the club match I did manage a few hectic spells bagging fair-sized roach, along with a few bonus skimmers, but the fish kept drifting off. This forced me to have a go for some bonus carp down the margins, but for some reason mainly skimmers were showing there, and they weren’t big enough weight builders. The only carp I caught were quite small too.

Alan Cullington in the accompanying photograph won the day, with an all carp haul of 35lbs. His seven-year-old grandson Oliver helped with the weigh in and was absolutely enthralled with his first fishing experience, to the extent promises had to be made to take him fishing properly. Great to see!

Because events were not going to plan, I tried rushing things during the last hour and managed to lose a better-sized carp. That fish cost me a place in the frame, but I was still reasonably happy with this mainly silver fish haul, which took the scales to 22lbs.

Thanks to the mixed bag of weather during the middle part of July, quite a few normally prolific fisheries around where I live were not providing their normal level of sport, with another local club scoring very similar weights to ours on a venue that normally provides much better catches.

My Angler’s Mail photographer wanted to get out on the bank for some more feature sequences, but where to go? I decided to take a gamble and go back to Hornbeam Lake, knowing I could at least put a decent catch of rudd together, if all else failed. The plan this time was to have another go on the groundbait feeder, putting in just Krill pellets and groundbait, once again switching between krill hooker pellets and prawns. While this was going on, I was going to prime the margins to try and keep as many rudd as possible away from my feeder line.

It was slow going to begin with on the feeder, with just one decent skimmer and a few rudd, so I enjoyed a couple of hours fishing a top kit to hand style, clobbering the rudd and a few similar sized perch. I was catching fast and reckon over 5 hours a big weight could easily be on the cards on this venue, but I needed some bigger fish on this occasion, so I went back on the feeder.

Second cast, with a krill pellet on the hook, my quivertip sailed round and suddenly a good fish was on. It felt heavy and a bit like a proper bream to begin with, but halfway in it woke up and made some darting runs. I was just beginning to think it might be a tench when the unseen fish hit into a submerged weed bed and came off. I got a good telling off from my photographer, who wasn’t at all happy!

A few casts later and I was into another good fish, which fought in similar fashion and boy was I pleased when I slid my landing net under a big perch. Perch on krill pellets, that’s a bit different!

The rudd returned after that and with a vengeance. Every time my feeder was hitting the water, the surface was exploding with them. But every now and then bigger fish were marauding into them and I realised it was big perch. I stuck a whole prawn on the hook and next time my feeder hit the water, my quivertip sailed round immediately. This was a better fish and once again felt very similar to the perch I caught before. And it was a perch. Suddenly I was back in the good books with my photographer, who travels a long way for these photo shoots.

After that I lost another big fish that came adrift of the hook, otherwise it was rudd all the way.

My mate Andy was around so we decided to try a new place we hadn’t fished before, Eye Kettleby Lakes, just outside Melton Mowbray. I say new but when we were purchasing our day tickets in the office, another angler approached me and reminded me I had been there before, some ten years back. He told me I had emptied the swim next to him and said he was fishing well away this time!

We opted for Lake 5, which has a nice feature in the shape of an overgrown island running down the middle. Andy went straight on his favourite pellet feeder, while I set up a waggler and margin pole.

Andy expertly flicked his feeder a couple of inches off the big island that runs down the middle of the lake, catching 10 carp to double figures, loads of skimmers and a few crucians. He caught the smallest carp of the day when I arrived in his peg to take this photo of him in action.

I spent a good two hours on the waggler but got severely pestered by hand sized skimmers and small roach, even when using pellets. There are supposed to be some huge perch and big bream in this lake, but it was steaming hot and not ideal conditions for the latter. I gave the waggler up and concentrated on my margin rig, which had a size 12 hook that took half a prawn. It was a bit similar to my Hornbeam Lake experience, but this time roach and skimmers were taking a liking to seafood. I had a run of good-sized skimmers and some roach to 12ozs, before switching to worms, but the only perch I caught were absolutely minute. To cut a long story short, I caught fish all day and must have had over 30lbs, but not consisting of what I was looking for.

An angler on the next lake down to me was bagging up with decent sized carp, using a long bolognaise style rod and what looked like big chunks of luncheon meat. I haven’t witnessed this unusual tactic before. I reckon he must have at least doubled my catch and suspect he was placed there by the old acquaintance I had met earlier in the fishery office - to get some revenge!

I must say, the family run Eye Kettleby complex is like the Wembley of fishing. The grassy banks are perfectly manicured, almost to golf coarse standard and all the lakes seem to be stuffed with fish. Another gem of a fishery to carry on exploring.

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