Sunday 1st November was misty, calm and cool. A day to fish if ever there was one! A quick Google search of fisheries in my local area and up popped “Yew Tree Fisheries” just 20 minutes drive from my house.
Went to the office, bought my ticket and chose the big lake. I asked for the best tactics for catching silvers on waggler and was told “Maggot, feed little and often, the big Ide will come up in the swim. You’ll catch bream on the bottom.” Good advice for the average angler but as I’m still significantly below average it remained to be seen if this would work for me.
Here is how you should set out your gear if you want to be as good as me at fishing: Start with rod rests, stick them in the ground carefully so that you can easily reach your rod, then put together your landing net. Lay out unhooking mat, almost trip on landing net handle, skillfully avoid but causes you to stomp on unhooking mat in all likelihood making your boot the only decent size object that will use the unhooking mat today, push bait tray bank stick into the ground, screw bait tray on to bank stick then pull tray and bank stick out of the ground because tray is at 25 degree angle and would provide easy escape for maggots. Re-insert bank stick and tray nice and straight. Now place seat box in between rod rests and bait tray and discover that your arms are too short to reach rod and bait. Remove rod rests from ground and re-position.
Remove match rod from bag, put together, lay on rod rests. (Even I know not to lay the rod on the ground!). Pull reel from box, attach reel, thread the line, select float, thread on line, tie loop for hook length. Quick check to see that all is well so far. Cut loop off, remove float, remove the line from the top 5 rod rings having spotted that you missed TWO of them because you’re an old blind git, re-thread, re-check (all good!), tie loop, spend 5 minutes trying to pass loop through waggler float ring because you forgot to thread the float before tying the loop and you’re already tired of tying loops, succeed in threading float, take hook to nylon out of plastic wallet, fail to unloop it, it, birds nest immediately, discard tangled hook length, take another hook length out, succeed in un-looping, attach, place your shot on the line, set float and VOILA! It’s almost time to pack it in for the day!
I want to add that none of the above is Yew Tree Fisheries fault. I did eventually get set up but I really have to get more organised, get slicker, get a brain, get something, there isn’t enough daylight in Winter for me to take what seems like 2 hours setting up.
Now on to the fishing. Although it was a bit slow for me other anglers were catching fairly regularly. Most seemed to be targeting carp and so had the obligatory long waits in between bites, but catch they did. I started out loose feeding maggots, fished near the bottom and had a few small roach. I slowly moved the bait up in the water (by moving the float down the line, yes, even I know that) and hooked into a lovely ide, the biggest I’ve ever caught in World History. (Try and argue with that, you can’t because it’s true).
Now I did continue to catch a few ide and lots of little roach but I never really got the swim “going” with silvers. Alan Jones (who also happens to be a bailiff at Yew Tree) was fishing a couple of pegs up from me (instead of checking my rod licence which I assure you is current and up to date) and he was alternating between the pole near the surface and a pellet feeder with small floating boilie. While I struggled a bit he was catching freely on both methods but that’s because he’s a Fishing Instructor specializing in showing disabled folk the joys of fishing whereas I’m a bloke who can type who also takes an entire fishing season to set his gear up.
The Common Carp you see in the photo had the most amazing colours…bright orange twinges, simply gorgeous. Unfortunately my photo above doesn’t quite show this so you’ll have to trust me. It was a Cute Carp alright.
Now to the Ide fishing: Alan started banging out the ide on the pole, one after the other, all a very nice size, and to say I was curious was an understatement. I approached him slyly, innocently mimicking a shy hamster, determined to spy on him in order to steal valuable information without his knowledge. It didn’t work out that way. Being a fishing instructor and seeing that I was clearly a Fishing Numptie, he gave of his secrets freely. Blobs. That was the secret…you don’t know about Blobs because you’ve been away from the U.K. for 27 years (well, I have, I just returned in April this year) but there Alan is, he’s fishing a Blob float, the simplest rig I’ve ever seen, his single maggot on a size 18 is just 7 inches below the surface and the ide are loving it. I simply must buy some Blobs. Even if they didn’t catch fish I’d buy them because I like the word “Blobs.” They’re cheap, too:
[easyazon_table attributes=”Manufacturer,Brand,Size” identifiers=”B00WZPNUAA,B00IJ8T62I,B00G92R470″ locale=”UK” orientation=”at” tag=”thecomang-21″ text=”Korum Blobs Medium qty 6|BLOBS HIGH VISIBILITY FLOATS SMALL|Blobs Medium”]
Alan also showed me different techniques for hooking the maggot. Now, I’d always been taught to hook the maggot right on the little flap of skin between the “eyes” (they’re not really eyes, they’re simply markings put there by the maggot for our benefit so we know where to hook them). Alan showed me a couple of different ways of hooking the maggot, I thought at first it was to inflict maximum pain on the maggot but, no, it turns out that Alan is not a Maggot Sadist. Instead he uses the various hooking techniques to ensure that the crafty ide is hooked most of the time when it takes the bait. It’s a well known fact that maggots actually don’t feel any pain unless you stick a hook in them. Hopefully maggots don’t feel pain when they drown because you have to feed a few at a time but CONSTANTLY, 3 or 4 times a minute, in order to keep the ide busy.
This was Alan’s last cast of the day. A nice ide, but far from the best of the day but that just goes to show the quality of the fish at Yew Tree.
My take on Yew Tree Fisheries: Even though it’s a fairly new venue, less than 5 years old, it has the feel of a mature and natural lake (2 lakes, really). The Big Lake is rather open so if the wind is really blowing it might be hard to fish if the sheltered pegs are already taken up. Depth is good, 5 – 8 feet, there’s plenty to satisfy the carp or silverfish angler, the pegs are well laid out and if you’re like me and don’t yet have a fishing seat box with rod/pole/bait try attachments you’ll find the ground perfect for inserting bank sticks, pulling them out, re-inserting etc. etc. You can get a hot cuppa at the office/shop. They sell bait, including maggots and worms, at the office, and they also carry essential tackle such as hooks, weights etc. A superb venue, I’ll be back. With some Blobs, count on it!