Dave Coster's Fishing Diary- August 2019

My mate Andy was around for a few days and said he would like to try Hornbeam Lake at Homeclose Fishery, where I caught some big perch in July. I didn’t mind visiting the quiet Rutland countryside again and we only discovered a couple of other anglers on the water, giving us plenty of interesting swims to choose from.

We both started on groundbait feeder tactics, but just like previous visits, rudd were a big problem as soon as some regular feed started going in. I tried my prawn and krill groundbait trick, which had previously worked so well for the perch, but the heaving rudd shoals quickly took a liking to this. I manged a few skimmers on a couple of occasions when my hook bait managed to get through these fish, but it was hard work.

I decided to rest my swim for a bit and went to see what Andy was up to. He was now dropping a small pellet feeder just past his quivertip. When I enquired what this was all about (knowing there are no carp in this lake) he explained he could see some big bream drifting in close every now and then. He had dribbled some bait in, and these fish were upending over it. I wasn’t that surprised after catching a big slab in the margins on a previous visit. I had accidentally tipped some bait in when filling my feeder and in similar fashion, a little later had noticed a large shadow moving over it, catching a decent bream when I popped a baited hook in next to my landing net.

Andy showed me his rig, a compact pellet feeder, which he was packing with rich groundbait. He was hiding a banded pellet inside, which seemed a good idea to help avoid the ravenous rudd. These fish were still rattling his quivertip as soon as his rig hit bottom, but at least they were only attacking his feeder. I left him to it and decided to see if I could wade my way through the rudd by setting up a margin pole.

I tried fishing a margin rig down the nearside shelf, just off the reed beds to the left and right of my peg. It was rudd city in both areas the minute I fed anything. I tried maggots, casters and pellets, all having the same effect. I then tried shortening down to just my top kit, which only sped up the rudd action. I even tried loose feeding whole prawns, resulting in slightly bigger rudd and hordes of small perch moving in. Good fun to bag up so fast in match conditions, but a bit tedious after a while when pleasure fishing.

Looking round, I suddenly saw Andy’s quivertip rod bent over as he was playing something big. Sure enough, those bream had moved in close again and this time he had managed to snare one of them. A proper slab-sided fish that just about fitted in his match sized landing net. Amazingly, when I took a close look at his catch, it turned out to be the same bream I had caught in the margins a few weeks

before, on the other side of the lake. It had a slightly disfigured tail fin (obscured by the landing net mesh in this photograph).

I rested my margin pole and tried casting my feeder a lot further out, just off the end of the island opposite my swim. I caught a pair of decent skimmers before the pesky rudd moved in and swamped the area.

After that I spent the last couple of hours of the session switching between the feeder and margin pole, mainly using prawns. It amazed me how the skimmers liked this bait, on the odd occasion when I got it past the ravenous rudd, which I suspect will eat just about anything that comes their way. I did catch quite a few more perch, but nowhere near as big as on my previous visit. Another fish-packed day but not quite what I was hoping for.

For Andy’s last day in the area he wanted to fish Woodland Waters, where he has the uncanny knack of sitting on a pile of bream. I gave him the slightly harder task of finding them by suggesting the Match Lake, as he seems to have mastered catching slabs in the bigger Specimen Lake next door.

It was a bright sunny day and flat calm, not ideal bream conditions, but that wasn’t going to put Andy off. He was soon latching into a steady stream of decent fish, using a medium sized pellet feeder, crammed full of krill micro pellets.

I went to see what his secret was, as yet another bream was being played into his waiting landing net. It turned out he was burying a banded red Ringers’ wafter and hiding this in each loading of red krill pellets he was cramming into his feeder. Nobody else on the lake seemed to be catching much, but as usual, Andy’s swim was heaving with fish. Each time he cast out the fish were attacking his feeder, almost as soon as it landed on the bottom. His quivertip was alive, constantly shuddering and trembling until something sucked in his hook bait, after which his rod would nearly jump off it’s rest. Incredible!

I returned to my swim in the trees and bushes on a corner where tench are known to hang out, but all I could catch tight to the cover was skimmers. I set up a long pole and started pinging small amounts of casters out into the open water, to see if I could get the big roach feeding. It didn’t take long before fish were swirling on the surface for my regular loose feed, but to begin with a lot of these were small rudd, roach and perch. I kept at it and gradually my shallow float rig started to find some better-quality red fins, with a few pushing close to the one-pound mark. A couple of times I hooked something much bigger, but on both occasions the unseen fish came off. I then hooked another big fish, which severely tested my light rig and tiny hook to their limits. Everything held and suddenly a huge roach was wallowing on the surface. It was massive and just as I was thinking this could be a PB, the hook pinged out of its mouth. As you can imagine, I was not happy for a long time after that, even though I ended up with a tidy catch of silvers.

As usual, Andy emptied the place, ending up with 36 bream for a comfortable 100lb catch (not counting a couple of sizeable carp he had returned earlier). Locals at Woodies are beginning to realise why Andy is nicknamed Epicentre on the match scene down south, where there is always a hushed silence at the draw when his hand goes in the bag for a peg number. When we used to fish big matches on the Grand Union Canal around the Northampton area, Epicentre became so well known for drawing “Flier” pegs, nobody would tell him which number they were. Not that it mattered; he would draw them anyway!

August has been a good month for me on Denton Reservoir, a hard venue just outside Grantham. I planned to have several trips for the big tench, knowing the fishing can be very hit or miss. In the past I’ve caught on the feeder, also a few big fish closer in on either a margin pole or a long float rod.

First session I fished the deep water along the dam wall, where weed isn’t normally a problem. It wasn’t, although fish weren’t much of a problem either! Just one sail-away bite as I was reaching for my ringing mobile, which caused me to miss the take. It turned out to be a nuisance call anyway, which made me less than pleased.

My second session was equally unimpressive. I sat biteless on the feeder for ages, some 100 metres further along the dam wall. I could see odd fish topping, so I set up a waggler to find out what they were and caught a decent roach first cast. Nothing after that, so I went round to see how another angler was doing on the far side.

The other angler turned out to be Chris, a club member for many years, who I’ve heard about as being really good on this venue. He didn’t disappoint, because just as I arrived his quivertip came alive and he was into a good fish.

It took a fair while for Chris to play the fish in because he was a long way out with his feeder, somewhere around 80 metres! Anyway, he expertly guided a big tench into his landing net. It looked a good seven pounds to me and turned out to be just that. This was his third decent tench of the day, so I had to ask what the secret was. It turned out Chris was using one of the new Preston Window Feeders with a 60g base weight, cramming it full with a mixture of sweetcorn, pellets, casters and groundbait. For hook baits he was switching between sweetcorn and worms.

It was good to sit and watch such a good angler making something happen, on what can be a heartbreak venue, especially for me so far this year.

Before my next trip to the reservoir, I visited my local Angling Direct at Lincoln and stocked up with some of the new Preston Window Feeders. I had to give these a go after seeing how effective they can be. It seems the trick is not to use too long a hook length and to hair rig baits with a Quick Stop, particularly when chasing such big and wise fish. The other thing I noticed when trying out the new feeders, is they don’t catch up with as much weed as conventional cage or open-end designs, due to their streamlined nature. They also cast much further and a lot more easily. All I need to do now is catch something with them!

August wasn’t a brilliant month for me fish wise, but I was privileged to be out on the bank with some class anglers and learnt lots of new tactics to try.

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