Tag: coarse fishing

Skill development

Maria and her son Max came for a lesson. They had been fishing a couple of times already but were looking to improve their skills.

They started off learning to ‘plumb the depth’ using a plummet. This is a weight that can be quickly attached to the hook:

Boy with plummet

Next they needed to bait the hook – here Max has got the maggot on just right, with the point of the hook standing clear:

Baiting with maggot

With these preliminaries sorted, it didn’t take him long to start catching perch, so then he needed to master the art of unhooking them:

Unhooking a perch

Maria started fishing with the whip in the next spot along. Her first fish was a roach:

Whip fishing
Maria's roach

We moved on to rod and reel, learning how to cast and wind in (and deal with tangles – this was useful as they had had some problems with this before):

Learning to cast
Learning to cast
Learning to cast

As always, it was a bit harder to catch fish on rod and reel as compared to the whip, but it provided plenty of good casting practice. After a while, Max had his first fish on this method:

Roach on waggler

They are now all set to go fishing again. With their improved skills they should be able to enjoy themselves catching fish while staying tangle-free.

All ages can fish together

Hedley and his grandson Sebbie came along for a coarse fishing lesson. Hedley used to fish matches back in the 70s, whereas Sebbie was a complete beginner (one of many youngsters inspired to try fishing by TV programs such as Chasing Monsters).

They were soon in action with the whips:

Grandad fishing
Grandson fishing

The roach were being very finicky and there were many missed bites and some quiet spells, but they caught a few:

Roach for grandad
Sebbie's roach

Sebbie learned to cast with a rod and reel and managed one roach on this method:

Sebbie fishing with rod and reel

He then went back to the whip for more roach and this nice perch:

Sebbie's perch

Hedley was finding angling to be just as enjoyable as it ever was, even after a 40 year layoff:

Hedley fishing

In the afternoon I was joined by Sam and his son Hector, back for another session after trying fishing for the first time with me back in May.

The fishing was even slower now and after a while Hector asked if we could try the river. It turned out to be a good idea. He had bites straight away from minnows:

Hector's minnow

Then he had some chub and dace:

Small chub
Small dace

Towards the end he caught a cracking dace (no picture unfortunately) and a decent roach:

Hector's roach
Roach

Sam had been a bystander so far, but had a quick go with the whip and immediately had a dace (not as big as Hector’s, I should point out!):

Sam's dace

It was going to be Hector’s birthday the next day. I understood from Sam that a set of fishing tackle was the main present this enthusiastic young angler was going to receive.

It had been great seeing the different generations enjoying fishing together.

Sam and Hector fishing

Hampstead carp and tench

There was a moment of drama during the recent school tuition day on Hampstead Heath, when one of the pupils connected with a large fish which eventually broke away. The general consensus was that it was probably a tench – one of my favourite species.

A few days later I came back at daybreak to try and catch one. It was warm, overcast and still:

Highgate boating pond

Nothing happened for a couple of hours, except that twice I saw large tench roll silently right over my bait. They have a way of smoothly breaking the surface with barely a ripple. As you can imagine this kept me in a state of tense expectation, but my float remained motionless.

In a shallow corner of the lake not far away, I could see signs of life – boils and splashes at the surface. I crept in quietly with my gear and after checking the depth, cast in with a piece of bread set to fish on the bottom. As a couple more fish showed I could see that they were carp, but I was still hopeful of a tench.

The float shot under and the rod started bending round before I could pick it up. When I did, there was a massive surge of power. I was only using a 4lb hook length so I had to just let it run at first. It took a few minutes to get it in the net, with the help of a mate who had turned up to fish just before – a 21lb carp:

Hampstead carp

A few days later I gave it another go. It was a misty morning:

Misty lake

I was standing there in the half light deciding where to fish, when a tench rolled right in front of me. That made my mind up for me, and I placed my bait in the exact spot where the tench had been.

An hour later, the float lifted and twitched before disappearing. A tench of 6lb 9oz was responsible – a handsome fish with its olive scales and bluish-black fins:

Hampstead tench

Soon after that, the rising sun started to burn off the mist and light up the far bank of the lake. Eventually its rays crept round to my corner, and I was glad of their warmth after the chill of the early morning.

Early morning sun on the lake
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