Roach, Crucians, Carp and Tench: The Doc Spot
It has warmed up at last and some of the summer species are finally beginning to show up on a very busy Paul Garnerâ€™s radar.
Well finally we have seen a marked improvement in the weather, unfortunately, for a couple of reasons, I wasn’t able to capitalise on the warm and sunny conditions in April, but such is life, you can’t win them all. The fishing early in the month, despite the continued grim conditions was actually quite productive though, with some excellent sport, some nice fish banked, and a new project water visited for the first time.
With the conditions staying cold, with strong easterly winds, I decided to begin the month with one last trip to a small day ticket fishery that is a little bit off the radar, but which has definitely produced some big roach in the past. The lake is only small, no more than an acre and a half, and is really a carp water, but with tales of roach to 3lb plus and confirmed captures of fish to 2lb 12oz, it was definitely worth a look.
My first visit at the end of 2012 had resulted in lots of tiny roach and a few nice fish to over the pound mark, but nothing massive. The owner had mentioned that he was planning to remove a lot of the tiny fish over the winter, so with this information filed away in the back of my head I decided to leave it until spring before the next visit.
Although it was a chilly, damp morning the fish were certainly much more active than they had been in the autumn, and the line bites started almost straight away as fish (carp probably) homed-in on my helicopter maggot feeders. An early pound plus roach and the lack of small fish activity was very encouraging, but then the carp moved in and over the space of a few hours eight fish to well into double figures gave me the run-around.
The one positive from this (apart from it being great fun on light gear) was that I had decided to try a new hook pattern, which in bench tests had proven strong and very sharp. On the lake it proved equally good and I now have confidence in them for future roach trips.
Strangely, the carp went off the feed around lunchtime and the afternoon was spent catching small tench, seven in total, along with lots of small roach, bream and a couple of slightly better roach. Unfortunately, all of the better roach were showing signs of cormorant damage, not good.
The owner came for a walk around in the afternoon and confirmed that he had removed a lot of the small roach but also confirmed that they had not caught anything like as many good roach as in the past. The best were just over 2 pounds, and there were less than a 100 fish over a pound. It looks like I will have to look elsewhere for my roach fishing this winter.
My next trip out was to be a bit of a tour of the South of England! I had a working party to attend at Godalming on the Sunday morning, so setting off at 5:30am I at least had a clear run down the M40, before arriving at the venue just before 8:00. It was a lovely sunny day and the morning flew by as we built new paths, cleared the bankside undergrowth, and generally tidied up what was already a well kept looking fishery. You have to hand it to Godalming AS, their venues really are a credit to them.
By the end of the working party I was knackered, but fortunately only had a 20 minute drive over to Marsh Farm, where I had arranged to meet up with my friend Stuart Jupp for the afternoon.
News from the on-site tackle shop was that Harris Lake, our chosen venue, was still a bit slow, but we should catch a few fish. As it turned out, a method feeder loaded with Talapia groundbait and an 8mm Squidgee on the hair didn’t last long before a succession of tench roared off with the bait.
I really wanted a quiet afternoon, so placed both rigs right on the edge of the marginal reeds where I hoped a specimen crucian might be hiding. Certainly the tench activity was massively decreased by fishing up the shelf, which suited me. As a member I can night fish the lakes so, with the next day due to be spent in Kent, I was going to spend the night on the bank rather than travel all the way home. Just before dark I decided to move to the other side of the lake and as the last of the light faded I eventually got the rods out, bivvy up, and kettle on.
Fish rolled in front of me in the gloom, it was looking like the move had been a good one. Once again I placed both rigs in about 3ft of water just off the marginal reeds. The odd tench still found the baits but after an hour or so I had a slower take that rattled the indicator up to the rod and bent the tip around as it made for deeper water. There was no rushing around this time, as a decent fish bored hard, before rolling and revealing a golden flank.
At a smidgen over 2lb it wasn’t one of the record-shaking crucians that the venue has become famous for but it would do for me. I gave it another tench-filled hour, before winding in and hitting the sack.
Monday morning dawned and after a leisurely pack up it was around the M25 bound for Kent. I had arranged to meet up with fellow Peg One angler Ted Bryan to shoot a magazine feature on spring tench with him. We had all day to shoot the feature, so we took our time, and whilst recording an interview with Ted his right hand rod roared off as an 8lb tench put in an appearance with perfect timing. Ted’s tactics were interesting to say the least, and his watercraft first class, no wonder he catches so many big fish!
I settled into the swim next to Ted for the night, partly so that we could photograph any more fish that he caught through the night, and also to keep him company. I also had another early start, so it helped that the swims were close to the car park! The night passed uneventfully for both of us and not long after dawn I was pushing a heavily laden barrow back to the car park and preparing to get on my way.
Another day, another job, another county. This time I was heading to Nash HQ in Essex with an interesting day’s fishing ahead. Some friends were over from Belgium filming some videos and whilst they had spent the weekend fishing Kevin’s amazing Church Pool, they had also asked if they could film some method feeder tactics with me on one of the other pools.
I don’t mind being filmed but to be honest I am much more comfortable with photography, but for once everything went pretty much to plan. A succession of small carp fell for our simple method feeder tactics with Halibut Groundbait and Squidgees, and by mid-afternoon Rudy the cameraman called it a wrap. Minutes later there was a call from the Church Lake as one of the anglers was bent into a big fish on a Zig Bug. As we raced up to the lake we could see the fish roll into the net and were just in time to see a big mirror hoisted ashore. What a perfect end to the filming. The boys had done well, and for once everything had gone more or less to plan.
Fishing during the second half of the month was curtailed by a family holiday to the far north of Scotland, followed by some major work on my house, which kept me busy until calendar eventually clicked over to May. The big positive though is that I now have a fully kitted out ‘fishing room’ to play around in, which I am sure will fill many a long winter evening with tinkering about with various bits of tackle!
By the Same Author
- Late Autumn Barbel and Pike: Dr Paul Garner.
- Roach and Reflections: The Doc Spot
- Grayling, Zander and Pike: The Doc Spot
- A Hard Month: The Doc Spot
- Reservoir Ramblings: The Doc Spot
- Back on the Big Ponds: The Doc Spot
- Planning for Big Barbel: The Doc Spot
- Opportunity Knocks: The Doc Spot
- Flaminâ€™ June: The Doc Spot
- Carp of all Sizes: The Doc Spot