Bailey Payne

The Wonder of Crucian Bites!

In today’s blog, I am back at my club lakes; Hockley Angling Club. With my aim catching a few early April Crucians, and also adding a few more species to my tally in the species hunt, which has so far been appalling! However a day catching a few decent skimmers/bream and some Crucians mixed in, would make a good early, very cold April session.

The setup for me was back to the Pole and on my seat box, fish accurately in a spot and be able to react quickly to the small fiddly touches Crucians can give. With the water still being cold, I want to stay accurate, even more than normal, and the keep the small amount I feed, in the same area and keep the Fish tight. And Pole fishing gives me the ability to do this.

I setup and plumbed slightly over depth, it’s always my go to, just by the stem of the float. Bait for today was micro pellets with the special G groundbait dusted over them. And on the hook I was using soft expanders and some dead maggots.

With the weather still being cold, I opted to feed very lightly. You can always put more in, but you can’t take any out. I potted in one golf ball size of the micro mix along with a few dead maggots and some of the soft expanders. Then quick drink break, let it settle a bit, and then first put in, opting for a single red dead maggot on the hook. Wasn’t long before a tell tale bite from a skimmer, with the float lifting right to the body, a lovely lift bite, and the first fish of the day.

Make sure the species hunt card is in the photo!

Weirdly, the skimmers today weren’t the main feature, normally here it’s mainly skimmers with some Crucians mixed in for good measure. However, this was one of only a few. The lake recently had Crucians stocked in from a young age, along with some more Tench. So a load of small baby Crucians were coming out! It wasn’t long before they controlled the bait and for them to start coming thick and fast. However, their bites showed how shy and small they were, with bites being small sideways movements of the float, barely a touch on the float moving up or down. I introduced a method of lifting the float every 10-15 seconds just to make sure a crucian wasn’t hanging on without giving any indication, a lot of the time lifting the float up did result in the elastic coming out and a Crucian on the end!

Was a pleasure catching this small crucians, and made for good sport, although the tough bite indication was certainly difficult. However, was good to still be catching them, and it wasn’t soon before a few of the biggers one started coming!

Great to see how some of the older stocked ones have been doing, some nudging around 1lb!

However, with all this catching, the bites started slowing down in the open. I did plumb and feed a few over spots, however nothing really came from them, and in this venue, it’s always worth having a look down the margin, a lot of the Bream, Crucians, Tench and even a few Barbel will stay down in the deep margins in this lake, through the day I had been throwing a few micros and dead maggots down the edge in hope of a few better fish.

And then my float went under for the first, and only time of the day! For a tiny baby barbel!

The next bite from down the edge, was a lift bite, thinking it would be a bream, however up popped one of the baby tench! Lovely little bar of soap!

The margin then started throwing up those tell tale bites, float moving sideways, or not even moving, with big Crucians on the end, the Crucian fully took over everywhere on the peg! The margin Crucians were of a much better size than in the open, and really gave a good fight, was a pleasure to catch.

The whole session really provided a good 3-4 hours of Fishing, ending the day with a lovely 21 Crucians! Not a bad haul at all!

Very glad I am now able to go back to this venue with the lockdown travel restrictions being lifted!

For my blog on some basic pole fishing tips (With the next instalment coming next saturday (17th)):

Tight Lines all…

Species Hunt

Bailey Payne – Barbel

Barbel caught from Hockley Angling Club.

Species Hunt

Bailey Payne – Tench

Tench caught from Hockley Angling Club.

Species Hunt

Bailey Payne – Skimmer/Bream

Skimmer from Hockley Angling Club.

Species Hunt

Bailey Payne – Crucian

Crucian caught from Hockley Angling Club on the Pole.

Bailey Payne

Small Pond Mystery Fishing

There is something about fishing a small local pond, they seem to hold a bit more mystery than other venues, mostly due to a lot of Fish being re-homed in them from people who no longer wish to keep them, this really can give a surprising variation of species in one of these little ponds.

This past Sunday I opted to have a few minute walk down to a little local pond and just spend an hour, mainly only an hour because of the strong winds making it a bit chilly! Opted for a simple setup of just fishing on the tip with a light bomb on the end, 15 inch hook length to a size 12 hook, good enough size for anything really. The approach was to fish bread flake on the hook, and feed the reminder of an old groundbait we had lying around.

The pond I fished is somewhere I have walked by a few times, and always seen a few fish topping, mostly looking like Carp, however before I even started fishing a seemingly golden fish topped in front of me, leaving a few questions to what this was, Goldfish? Golden Rudd? or possibly even a Crucian still lurking around in a small pond? Years ago, probably over 20, the pond was known to have a good population of small Crucians, whether they are pure or not with the Goldfish and Carp which have been added over the years, I won’t know until I see one.

On the first cast, it didn’t take long before a few knocks on my bread, with the warming water I guessed a lot of smaller fish maybe such as Roach or Rudd where on it straight away, however no bites developed, I did try to hit the odd tap, but to no avail. It took a good 30 minutes, before, in all honestly, I fluked a fish! I was about to freshen up my bread flake, after a few knocks I thought it was sucked off again, however on lifting, a Fish decided to take my bait at the same time! Let’s just say it was an incredibly quick strike!

This led to a full of energy small Carp being caught, lovely little Carp, as perfect as you could imagine.

The next bite after this didn’t take too long, almost seemingly one set them off, this time a much better pull round. No mistaking this for a Fish, and a certinaly more sizeable, giving a great fight on my light 1oz tip, trying to avoid the logs in the pond and other obstacles. But netted again, a pristine common carp, this time maybe just a bit over 3lb, maybe nudging 4lb.

Ignore my hair, forgot my woolly hat to control it! The wind made it out of control!

A slightly longer wait after this Fish, but another few taps developing into a bite, not pulling the tip right round, more shaking than anything, however I was in again. This time to the surprise of the trip, up popped a lovely little Brown Goldfish Fantail hybrid.

What a beautiful little fish, all these lovely pond fish where in perfect knick, not a scale out of place. Lovely to see.

While fishing here too, a guy was fishing on the other side, catching another sizeable Carp for the pond, but also, something which looked like a Crucian from distance, of course this could’ve been a small brown goldfish, however on asking, he did confirm it was a Crucian, whether true or not, certainly spikes my interest in a small pond Crucian possibly! And this little pond will have another few more visits, especially being in walking distance. The venues you ignore can often be the most fun, I would recommend to everyone to have a little look around on a map, to see if you have any small ponds you can Fish.

Tight Lines all…

Species Hunt

Bailey Payne – Fantail Brown Goldfish

Fantail Goldfish hybrid caught from a small pond in Basildon on bread and tip.

Species Hunt

Bailey Payne – Common Carp

Small carp caught from a local pond in Basildon.

Bailey Payne

Pole Fishing Basics 1: Tackle

This will be the first of a small series talking about the basics of Pole Fishing to hopefully help a few beginners find their way in this discipline and see what it’s all about a bit more. When I started fishing as a kid, from as young as I can remember, I have always pole fished, my dad was the pole/matchmen type fishermen, so that’s just how I got into Fishing, starting on a small whip/top kit section progressing to fishing long 13m poles and eventually doing a few local club matches and framing well. Of course, I’m no expert, however it’s the style of Fishing which I am most familiar with. The idea of this first blog is just to go over the few main pieces of kit to get going, we will continue to go over more setup and technique in future instalments. So lets get started!

The Seat Box

Where it all begins for this style of fishing is the seat box. Having a seatbox setup to make sure you can have everything easily to hand, from your bait to your rigs is vital as it keeps you as efficient as possible. Also a comfortable sitting position while pole fishing is even more important, otherwise you may cause yourself back problems. A lot of the time you will be sitting on this box for 6 hours, so being comfy, sitting correctly is incredibly important. There is plenty of seat boxes on the market at the moment from a varied price range. You want to make sure you have a big enough tray to store your pole float rigs and other small pieces of tackle like a disgorger, shots or stotz and a plummet. Personally, I use the Maver Signature Venue seat box, It was a fairly nice budget option, packs down into a bag so for me, someone who doesn’t have a lot of space (and drives a mini!), it is ideal, enough room on my tray, comes with a small bag on the back to store bigger pits and pieces such as pole cups and other seat box extensions like a keep net bar. Also a big side table with plenty of room to have my selection of bait, and a few snacks for myself! However, try and find the right box for yourself, a lot of tackle shops will let you look around their boxes and try a few, so be sure to ask questions and find what works for you!

The Pole

Of course, while pole fishing, you will need to have a Pole! Pole’s are fairly expensive compared to rods, so be prepared for a slight shock while looking around. However, there is some better budget solutions, middy, map, preston and browning provide some great budget poles. A lot of companies will do days/events at places, so keep an eye out, as you can get a little trial of a Pole, and see what you like and feels nice! It’s important to get something nice and light for long range fishing, but also stiff so you can react and strike to bites on time! The Pole is a great tool for catching fish in an efficient manner, set a mark on the opposite bank, and you can fish accurately all day! Feeding in an exact location, this is why the pole is used so much in match fishing, it can keep the fish in a tighter area. You want a pole which can get you to about 13m, fishing 7-10m is a nice beginner length, however you don’t have to fish as far as you can, fish may be held to a feature closer, in a future blog, I will talk about finding holes fish may be in and approaching a new swim. Using a pole also gives you great control over your float, holding it in the flow and tow on a lake or river can be key to getting bites. It is nice to get a few extras with the Pole, a lot of Pole’s will come with these, however a cupping kit (To feed balls of groundbait etc) and a selection of top kits. With a selection of a few top kits, you can fit different strength elastic to your pole. Now, what’s elastic? This is what will fight and tire the fish, in a rod, its the bend of the tip which does all the work, however on a pole, you don’t have that bend, you have the elastic, having a variety of elastic for different types of fishing and different lakes is important, you don’t want to be fishing light elastic on a lake with a load of carp, or really heavy elastic on a lake with small roach and bream, otherwise you will bump all your fish off! Setting up a pulley kit on your top kit of your pole is also a good call, if you are on light elastic and hook a bigger fish, you can use the pulley kit to pull elastic out from your end of the pole, this tightens the elastic in your pole so makes it harder for the fish to pull back so can be really helpful to control the bigger fish, I have many of good size fish which would’ve been lost if it wasn’t for the pulley kit!

Other Bits & Bobs

The above will be the big main two things you need, however here is a list of smaller and other important pieces of tackle you will need to kick start your pole fishing adventure!

  • Pole Roller – This is something for you to ship your pole back onto, so it doesn’t rub against the ground, keep it up, off the ground and easy to reach from your box. While fishing long pole, you may need two pole rollers, you can pick these from any brand or tackle shop for fairly cheap!
  • Bait/Tackle Bag – This is store your bags of groundbait, other bait, bait pots and other bits and pieces you may want in it! It’s nice to have a big bag to make sure you have everything you would need in a session!
  • Trolley – With all this big heavy gear! You may need a trolley to help lug it all around, there are some great barrow trolleys and golf club like trolleys around to chose from!
  • Disgorger – Speaks for itself, helps to get a hook out when it’s a bit out of reach, always buy plenty, and never go without one!
  • Plummet – This will help you find the depth of where you are fishing, and find the depth of the area around, so you can set your rig to be exact, a tad under depth or a tad over, whatever is working on the day!
  • Shots/Stotz – To weight your float and set it properly!
  • Umbrella Box attachment – Speaks for itself again, keep yourself dry!
  • Keep net box attachment – So you can attach your keep net to your box setup.
  • Landing Net/Keep Net – Again, you should always have a landing net, however check the rules of the water you are fishing in regards to a keep net, and if you do catch a load of fish, make sure you don’t over pack it!
  • Plastic Net Bag – A nice bag to keep your landing and keep nets in, saves a smelly car!

Of course, in pole fishing, there is a lot more tackle than this, however to get started, these are the bits and pieces which are maybe most important, and before you know it you will able to catch bags full of fish! Hope this has helped a few people on maybe the basic bits of tackle you need! Now you get to be like a kid in a sweet shop and chose what suits you best!

Tight Lines all!

Bailey Payne

Weird Fishing Facts

The sport/hobby/passion that we all share and love, is full of different weird and wonderful bits of information! Some of them may surprise you, however it’s no doubt that with so many different types of Fishing to take up in the country it leaves a few weird facts to find!

  • It’s estimated there is 2.9 million anglers in the UK! With almost 2 and a quarter anglers opting to coarse Fish, 834,000 game fishermen and just over a 1 million sea anglers. From this data you can see there is a number of multi discipline anglers!
  • With all those Anglers, the EA make a hefty amount of money from Rod licences! The EA have their own fish farm at Calverton, which produced 12.3 tonnes of Fish in 2019 which have been stocked in Rivers and Lakes across the Country! They also built over 100 “Fish Passes” helping fish move up rivers more freely!
  • Only one freshwater fish in the UK can swim backwards, any ideas?
    The Eel! What a weird and wonderful Fish!
  • How about a sea fishing fact? Porbeagle, Thresher, Shortfin Mako and Blue Sharks can all be found in UK waters! Slightly scary!
  • Like seaweeed? Well, selling this in the UK without a licence is illegal.
  • In the UK we have 38 species of native freshwater fish, and at least 12 introduced species! From Minnows and Sticklebacks to Pike and Carp!
  • In the UK we have over 1500 discrete river systems with over 200,000km of watercourses! That’s a lot of River to walk!
  • There are between 2,000 and 2,500 fishing tackle shops in the UK!
  • The humble stickleback is the most common freshwater fish in the UK, however rarely targetted by Anglers!

Hope you enjoyed this slightly different read, I enjoyed putting it together, some very weird and interesting facts!

Tight Lines all!