July came and with, so did the rain. After a pretty epic May and June when sunshine was almost guaranteed, it had to come to an end. It might be good for the reservoirs and the beach days have taken a hit! Still, there always fish to be found even if you might have to pack a coat when I’d rather be packing flip flops.
The month started in much the same way that June finished, mullet fishing. I fished around at some familiar spots and some new ones and found fish everywhere I went but the big fish have still eluded me. Numbers were thin on the ground so it was a case of, fish for what was in front of month, there weren’t enough to try and be picky and pick out a bigger fish from a shoal. The bread flinging fun has taken a bit of a backseat for the last couple of weeks but on a little adventure yesterday I did spot a lot of fish and some good ones too. I’m sure there will be a few more mullet trips this year.
Catching carp at four and three quarters
It should have then been the July coaching session but a dodgy (soaking wet!) forecast meant I decided to postpone. Postponing fishing lessons, in July! I’m so glad I did though, that particular evening was horrendous, as keen as I am and the gang that have been fishing with me this are, it would have been fun at all. The fish would have to wait.
The following weekend I took one of my kids fishing. It was a Sunday and we needed bait and being lazy opted to pop just down the road to the famous Whiteacres fishery and their tackle shop. Whaiteacres is home to lakes that have everything from the opportunity to catch literally hundreds of pounds of few in a few hours, to individual fish that weigh a whopping 100 pounds! A couple of friends work at the fishery so it was good to catch up and get the updates on the fishery. Since we were already there we decided to stay and have a fish. I’ve never taken my kids to lakes full of carp before, they’ve been serving their apprenticeship on small fish or a variety of species. They’re keRning how to use the tackle properly whilst valuing every fish they catch. I honestly feel sad for people that miss out on this fishing foundation and go straight to giant carp. But, having been fishing for a couple of years and being proficient with a rod and reel I decided that today was the day and Joss could have a good for a carp. The lake is bursting with them and almost immediately he was into a hard fighting fish. He handled it beautifully without panicking although there were a few moments when I did go a bit Paul Whitehouse, “don’t wind!”.
We enjoyed a really fun 90 minutes which was more than enough for a few fish, some great photos and some special memories. I’m going to sound like a fishing snob now but, around us were anglers with more tackle than I could carry in a single trip from the car and yet they weren’t catching anything from the fish soup in front of us. It’s that foundation in the fishing basics that I think is so important that was missing from their mobile tackle shop. With a tiny rod and reel, light line and small hook with a maggot hook bait we enjoyed constant sport. We took the time to plumb the depth first and feed bait into the margins whilst sitting back and keeping quiet. Maybe we were just lucky and they were unlucky.
Coaching in July
A week later the weather did improve so it was back to Waterside fishery for the July coaching session. I always enjoy the fishing lessons but this year has been really great fun. All the anglers are so enthusiastic, it’s so infectious. We fished a different part of Long Island lake to previous sessions so the anglers could enjoy a different view and the sunshine as well as adapt their skills to a different fishing position. Very quickly the bream came out to play and the skills everyone had been learning over the summer were put to good use. Increasingly everyone is developing their patience and having caught loads of roach and Rudd with maggots for hook bait, they were switching to sweetcorn and waiting for a larger fish. They were rewarded to with more bream, beautiful crucian carp and unfortunately a lost carp which are a real handful on the light tackle. Another fabulous evening in great company!
To round off the month and to celebrate turning forty (36 years of fishing!!) I grabbed an opportunity with my good mate Mike and we got out on the water. As if always the way with small boat fishing you have to adapt to what’s in front of us. We headed out later than hoped after the first hiccup but were greeted by calm seas. Getting on the water late meant we missed the opportunity to catch mackerel (you really need to be on these at first light) so the chance to go shark fishing was ruled out. Then, whilst we hatched “plan b” we enjoyed watching a minki whale joined by rissos dolphins and more common dolphins and porpoises than you you shake a stick at. Lovely to see the bay coming to life again and a little earlier this year. Here’s hoping for a good season ahead.
We were probably on “plan e” before we found any good sport but it was worth the wait. After lots of searching for finally found some consistent bird activity as a huge shoal of bait fish was pushed up to the surface sparking a feeding frenzy. Not quite the levels of frenzy and intensity we’ll see over the coming months but exciting all the same and a sign of fish. We flicked lures amongst the activity and after some toing and froing we got our drift over the reef sorted and then pulled into bass after bass. A lovely stamp of fish to around the four pound mark, a couple of which came home and made for a delicious dinner or two.
At the end of the month the experts told us what we already knew, July had been officially, WET! Here’s hoping summer comes back to play in August and we can get back on the water once again.