In my last post I’d mentioned that I wanted to give the upper coarse lake at Llandegla Fishery a go. Thus, yesterday I hied my way back to their beautiful location. It was almost lunch time when I arrived. So, I sat down in their great little cafe for a bowl of their delicious home made tomato soup and a couple of thick slices of farmhouse loaf. I paid for my afternoon’s coarse fishing along with my meal. Just under £6.00 for everything, such value for money! Continue reading Back to Llandegla – Rainbows and Roach→
OK, so here’s The Compleat Angler’s New Years Resolutions. In 2016 I promise that I will:
1. Catch a Pike. I’ve never caught one in my life. I’ve “hooked” a few while reeling in tiddlers but of course under those circumstances the pike is holding on to the little fish and they always let go right at the end. So, in 2016 I’ll have to set some time aside Continue reading 2016 Fishing New Years Resolutions→
After yesterdays Death By Freezing Wind at Four Oaks Fishery it seemed like madness to venture out today with the forecast highs set to be similar. The difference was…NO WIND! It was positively Tropical out there. Excellent, time to get up super-early! By 9:30am I was in the shower after a quick cup of tea. A nice breakfast, another cup of tea, finish yesterdays blog, fire out a couple of emails, (“Dear BT, Your Website Is An Awful Piece Of Crap Although Your Football Coverage Is Getting Better, Michael Owen is learning to talk some sense” etc.) another cup of tea, make a flask of tea (in case I forgot to have a cup of tea in the morning) get the gear into the car, cameras, bait, put my warm clothes on and I was fishing at Four Oaks at the crack of dawn, about 11:30am.
Now because the wind was down I decided to give Heron Pit a go. However I noticed a LOT of black, dying weed covering a good fifty percent of the lake but there were a few clear swims and so I chose one. After about 40 minutes of not so much as a nibble I took a wander around the pool with a whip and some maggots. The whole time I was there I didn’t see any sign of fish at all. No fish were jumping, swirling, topping, blowing bubbles or performing Olympic Synchronised Swimming for my viewing pleasure. Very odd. No bites, no nothing. I was the only one at Heron Pit and it appeared this included the fish. The black dying weed might have something to do with it or maybe it was just me?
So, after another 30 minutes of bite-less hell I hied my way over to Pete’s Pool. One angler was there but he had blanked thus far. Mind you, he was after bigger stuff than me. Worms, corn, pellets were his bait, I only had maggots. His quiver tipped rod was firmly set, ready for the Big One, which, sad to say for this nice gentleman, never came on this day. Clearly the sudden chill in the weather and the water had cooled off feeding for some of the bigger species.
That said, compared to Heron Pit, Pete’s Pool was alive with swirling fish. I secretly thought to myself “Perhaps the owners need to rake the rotting black weed out of Heron Pit before it kills the fish” but now my secret thought is longer a secret. I am clearly a Security Risk because you have read my Secret Thought about raking the weed right here. Maybe I’m wrong about the Black Creeping Decomposing Slime Covered Weed, maybe it’s harmless. But, to my untrained eye (that’s the left eye, he’s the wild one; my right eye is tame and opens and closes on request) the fact that I’ve called it “Black Creeping Decomposing Slime Covered Weed” makes it look pretty bad to me. If someone could reassure me otherwise it’d be much appreciated. I noticed a couple of FABULOUS reviews of Heron Pit from a few years ago on the Fishing in the North West website, maybe it was just me being a bloody awful angler?
[wpgmza id=”12″]A tribute to the Roach at Four Oaks…the Bouncing Roach marks the spot.
But, on to the fishing at Pete’s Pool. It was fun! Some nice fat early Winter roach were obligingly taking my red single maggot. They were in great condition (the roach, that is. The maggots were in critical shape having been impaled by a hook and then chomped at by the roach). The tactics were, 4 meter whip, fishing 6 meters out on a long line, light pole float, size 18 hook, 2lb hook length. I had to fish right on the bottom, the fish were not interested in mid or top water presentation. Bites were quite tricky to spot at times but I bumped just two fish and caught bunches which is pretty good for The Man Who Was Born With No Reflexes.
No other species turned up for my catching pleasure which just goes to show what bad sports bream, carp, tench and all the other coarse fish species were at Four Oaks on this day. Here’s something interesting: I mixed up a few maggots with cinnamon powder and hemp oil, just enough to use as hook bait. It worked! Bites on the Cinnamon and Hemp Oil flavoured maggots definitely attracted bites much better than the Maggot flavoured maggots. So, informally, we can definitely cement Hemp Oil and Cinnamon Powder as the two best bait additives thus far. Still, there is much more testing to be done and much betting and speculation before I can make an announcement to the Fishing World as to the best stuff to dip your maggots into in order to catch fish when fishing. (Put your money on “The Water”).
I should give another mention to the SJCAM SJ4000 WIFI Action Camera I’ve been using these last couple of trips. As well as the video below, all of the roach still photos you see in this article were taken by the same camera. They’re actually video “captures” from moving video. I’m really getting into this great little miracle bit of gear. It’s a “Miracle” because for £65 I don’t think you can beat the Value For Money it offers. Mind you, you have to beware, there are fakes out there with the same name and for less money… thankfully the SJCAM Official Website has a Serial Number checker so if you buy your camera through Amazon and it turns out to be a fake be assured that Amazon will stick up for you and you’ll be refunded. So far, I’ve no complaints, I haven’t been able to find any fault with it. I’ll keep using it in the coming days and weeks. Hopefully it’ll record some bigger fish!
Yes, this is 7 minutes of me catching fat early Winter roach at Four Oaks today, but admit it, as anglers you all love this stuff! I have to say I’m addicted to YouTube videos showing Coarse Fishing Persons catching Coarse Fish. Watching them always makes me want to get onto the bank at the earliest opportunity.
Note the Seller is “Mini Kitty”…that’s the same Seller I bought mine from through Amazon and the camera serial number checked out just fine on the SJCAM Official Website. I see the price has gone DOWN by £3 since I bought it. Bugger.
Don’t forget, if you enjoy reading this blog don’t keep it to yourself! Tell your Fishing Friends about The Compleat Angler Website and make their lives a misery too!
As promised, here are the results of our Bait Additives Tests. Today I decided to conduct the test at The Trap Pool in Buckley, owned and run by the very friendly folks of Buckley AA. It’s considered a “Difficult Water” even for the most expert of anglers, so a total fishing buffoon like me was sure to have a hard time. Nevertheless, it would prove to be a great testing ground for the various additives, flavourings, and in one case, potential explosives, that I brought to the venue to test.
First of all, the contenders:
From left to right in the photo, Clove Spice, Cinnamon powder, Hemp Oil, Powdered Krill, Strawberry spray and Turmeric. A motley crew of flavoured crud if ever there was one. I had to make a couple of changes from the flavours I’d said I’d review in The Compleat Angler’s previous article. That’s because Lionels Tackle Shop has a wonderful selection of additives but were missing one or two of the items I’d promised to review. So, to make up for it, I added a couple of likely candidate additives to the list.
It was important to avoid cross-contamination and so I raided my wife’s Sealed Container collection and thus I am a Dead Man if she ever finds out. I considerately added the names of each flavour in permanent marker because I don’t want to give the containers back to her.
I used my extensive knowledge of fishing watercraft to carefully assess the wind, air temperature, water temperature, clouds, sunshine and barometric pressure and settled on Peg 40 because it seemed quite nice plus it wasn’t very far from my car. When fishing a “Difficult Water” like The Trap Pool it’s important to understand that you are likely in for a few hours of Fishing Hell and so there’s no need to add a 15 minute gear-laden hump to the probability of not catching anything.
But, on to our testing! I set up a fine pole float, 3lbs main line, 2lbs hook length, size 20 hook. Something was wrong! Ah, yes, I added the pole rig to the POLE. It all added up. Keep net in the water, landing net set up, it felt like now we were just being silly, catching a fish today wasn’t looking likely, let alone anything requiring a landing net.
The water was clear, there wasn’t much “fishy” activity on the surface, the wind was very fresh but it was also very mild and the water felt a lot colder than the air. This was because the water was a lot colder than the air. There was no other explanation.
I started off by mixing the Cinnamon, Turmeric and Krill maggots with their respective flavourings and in their respective containers. The containers were sealed for 30 minutes. In the meantime I loose fed a few unflavoured maggots, mixed up a ground bait mix of dark soil, lake ground bait and breadcrumbs, added unflavoured maggots to that and placed it in an oven, Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes. Having read some of the ingredients of those so-called “readymeals” we all seem to lap up this wouldn’t be all that far-fetched an option in the event of nuclear war and famine. Back to the testing. I fed a little maggot laced ground bait and started to fish over this with a single ground bait flavoured maggot.
Here’s another photo of The Trap Pool. 30 minutes passed and she did not give of me a single bite in that time. So, now, on to the flavourings! First, the Turmeric.
What is this? I had put the Turmeric into RED maggots and this is what it did, Perfect Bronzies. Full of optimism I put one on the hook. Now, I should add here that EVERY time I took my rig out of the water I changed the maggot to ensure that the flavouring was at maximum strength each time. Using this carefully thought out tactic the Turmeric failed to attract a single bite. I gave it five tries, each with a Turmeric flavoured maggot. Nothing.
OK, so on to the……
…..KRILL. As you can see from the photo the maggots didn’t seem all that Thrilled with Krill, choosing to let it pile up in the middle of my wife’s plastic container (please don’t tell her) while they did a march around the outside. But, the smell…it was definitely sea-foody and fishy, thus, full of optimism I baited up the hook with a single Krill laced maggot and put it in the water and waited and repeated the whole silly exercise four more times before it dawned on my wind-swept brain that The Fish At The Trap Pool in Buckley were not in the least bit interested in Krill Flavoured maggots.
Now, thoroughly pessimistic, I moved on to the…..
…..Cinnamon. Now, I love powdered cinnamon on my custard and rice pudding, I love the sticks in my tea, cinnamon is good for you, etc. etc. But, careful research has told me that The Fish at The Trap Pool in Buckley do not routinely eat custard or drink tea. Thus, it was with deep pessimism that I dropped the cinnamon-flavoured maggot into the Dead Zone that I called “My Swim” and POW! my float went down almost immediately! Coolly using my cat-like reflexes I missed the bite completely but I was excited, not to mention gob-smackedly amazed, that I had had a bite. So, change maggot, put in and 20 seconds later, ANOTHER BITE. Missed again, but that is quite common at this venue and it is even more common when “It Is Me” who is fishing “This Venue.”
OK, but we’re getting BITES on CINNAMON! So, another put in and a bite and it’s a 2 ounce perch. OK, it’s not much of a fish but had I been fishing a team match I’d have done my bit, I didn’t blank my section, I’d be a Team Hero! New maggot on, put in, another bite missed…. and so it went on. After 20 minutes of fishing cinnamon I had about 10 bites, 1 perch, 1 small roach and 1 ide (I used the landing net on the Ide, it was just about big enough for that).
So, the Cinnamon works! I have to thank James Davies of Fishing In The North West for that tip. And it was only the ASDA brand cinnamon. 60p. Imagine what Schwartz Brand would have achieved for 3 times the price!
Back to our flavourings…..
In the meantime I’d added the Hemp Oil, Strawberry and Clove Spice to their respective maggots and tins. I tried the Strawberry next………
It smelled really nice, the maggots seemed quite happy swimming around in their Sweetened Smorgasbord of Strawberry Secretions. But, a Happy Maggot does not necessarily a Happy Fish make. NOTHING. Not a nibble on strawberry. Five put-ins, five nothings. So far we’d tried four flavourings plus the regular unflavoured maggots and the groundbait flavoured maggots and only the Cinnamon had produced any action.
The next test subject HAD to be the…… ……HEMP OIL. The maggots were getting a bit sluggish swimming about in it plus they were giggling and feeling peckish. So you can imagine how surprised they were when I started impaling them on the hook, proof that harmless soft drugs can lead to much injury if someone sticks you on a massive hook while you’re getting high. But, the Hemp Oil….IT WORKED….I got a few bites, landed one decent ide, overall a success! Clearly the fish wanted “In” on the hemp oil (or whatever was in it) and they were prepared to kill maggots to get their share.
And now, we finish with the explosive……..
…..CLOVE SPICE! Now this stuff…..goodness me, when I sprayed it on to the maggots the spicy pong was overbearing. Check out the photo…this was the only additive the maggots tried to run away from! This is Heap Powerful Stuff. I was convinced that any fish waiting 12ft down were probably aware that I had sprayed my maggots with it even before I put one on the hook. Now, while fishing, we’ve all nibbled sweetcorn or luncheon meat from the can, taken a bite or two of bread bait, even put maggots in our mouths to keep them warm (this is before I realised it was easier and more pleasant to put a hand-warmer in the maggot box) but I do not recommend that you try and taste this stuff. Clove Spice will leave you in an exploded state, a complete Pariah for hours to come. (If you don’t know what “Pariah” means look it up like I had to). With regards to “Catching Fish”, “Clove Spice” may or may not have worked. The only bites I got were when I put double maggot on the hook, one Hemp Oil, one Clove Spice. Two bites, one Ide and that was that. I didn’t get any bites from it when used as a single maggot. It was probably a shared effort but with the Hemp Oil contributing about 80% of the work.
So, what does this all mean? Well, I can tell you it means I’m going to repeat this test at least two more times. I’ll go to a fish-packed Commercial Fishery and I’ll also conduct the test on a river. Because of the difficulty of this particular venue (“The Trap Pool at Buckley” if you haven’t been paying attention) I feel that all of these additives deserve a second chance. Cinnamon and Hemp Oil were the clear winners, Clove Spice (also known as “KABOOM”) was a distant third and all of the other additives, groundbait and regular unflavoured maggots were rubbish today. But, because we know that unflavoured maggots are often effective fish catchers we also know that I’ll have to force myself to go fishing at least two more times in order to fairly and impartially complete this accurate survey and write two more blatantly word-stuffed reports for The Compleat Angler. It’s a hard life.
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A word about the camera I used. It’s a Panasonic FZ270 camera with a ridiculous zoom on it. You can see that from how close we get to the float at the start of the vid. The Camera also has image stabilization which is handy at the long zoom lengths we sometimes need when filming nature. It takes great photos too, which is always a bonus when using a camera……