As I write this, it’s that funny time of year. Autumn is fast approaching and one day it feels like the chub and pike gear should be dusted off, the next it’s like a hot summer day. On my personal fishing front I’ve been struggling for a bite on my chosen bream water. This time last year I could do no wrong and averaged over 10 big bream a day. I never got amongst the largest fish, which go to over 14lbs, but you can’t turn your nose up at fish averaging between 10 and 12lbs. Quite often I would even land 2 fish at once, It was fantastic fishing.
So what’s gone wrong this year? First, I found the fish and baited the area ready for a dawn start. When dawn came half of the lake was covered by floating weed! I waited for it to clear, but after an hour I was heading back home. Another day I baited the same area and arrived to find bream rolling in the swim. I was just putting my tackle on the ground when I received a phone call to tell me my sister had been rushed into hospital, so I went straight to see her. Are you getting the picture? It’s been one of those months! I did manage 2 days uninterrupted fishing there, but had no positive bites. I’ll give it another week or 2 then it’s time for roach, chub, perch etc.
Because my days off work had been disasters, I tried a few after work sessions. First I did a piece on a local commercial lake with the Angling Stars editor Jim Baxter, who wanted to catch a big ide. I can safely say that was a success, with Jim landing many 3lb+ samples. I had a big ide myself, but spent more time taking photos of the day.
I also went to try and catch a big roach or 2 from a local river. Again, this time last year I caught a number of fish from this river up to a pound and a half. There were larger fish present and I promised myself I’d catch them later in the year when they were fattening up for winter. Despite the river being crystal clear, I’ve never seen those roach again! They must be somewhere, but where I don’t know, yet! I’ll keep looking. Most of the fish averaged between 12oz and 1lb 4oz, so it was cracking fishing. This time when I walked the stretch with my tackle I saw just 1 nice chub. I think I’m going to have to go for a long walk down stream because I’d love to find them again,and of course catch a few!
I think I’m due a change in my luck so I’m hoping to report on some good fish here soon!
One of my favourite angling targets is a big rudd. They are arguably our prettiest fish, but are a bit thin on the ground these days. One of the good things about them is they’re not too hard to catch if you can locate them. With this in mind I headed into ‘rudd country’ or the fens to be more accurate.
There are loads of rivers and drains in the fens and most will contain some quality rudd. The best way to locate them is to fire some bread crusts into the water and follow them down stream. Usually small rudd are on them straight away, but when the big rudd move in you will see large splashes as they engulf the bread. If this doesn’t happen straight away, keep moving until you find them.
On my latest big rudd trip I did all of the above until I found some better fish. Instead of casting for them straight away I carried on feeding them crusts until they were very confident, almost aggressive in the way they fed. It would now just be a case of extracting as many fish as I could before the shoal spooked and moved away.
My tackle was fairly simple. A quality 13ft match rod and a reel, loaded with 3lb breaking strain line. Don’t go any lighter than this. The drains are weedy and the rudd are dirty fighters. You need to be able to keep them away from weed or pull them out of it. At the business end of my line is a Drennan puddle chucker float, secured by the appropriate locking shot. The hook sits about 6 feet below this, with no shot on the line. The long hook link prevents the fish seeing and spooking off the float before they see the crust. The hooks are the now discontinued Drennan Carbon Specimen model, in size 10
As expected, my first bite came within seconds of my first cast. A nice swirl down stream of my float had my right hand twitching, the float sliding under had it sweeping the rod away from me. Instant success! The fish fought hard and dirty, but I was soon staring at a stunning ‘bar of gold’ The fish’s gold flanks and blood red fins glistened in the evening sun. I was over the moon, but I wanted more.
By repeating my feeding process I managed another 7 lovely rudd. A couple were between 8 and 12ozs but all the others were true specimens. 5 fish were over 1lb 10oz and 3 of these crept over the 2lbs mark, a fantastic evenings fishing in anyone’s book.
One week I’m going to have a few days in ‘Fenland’ to see if I can get one of the monster 3lb ers. If I don’t catch one I’ll be more than happy to catch the 2lb ‘tiddlers’!