John Bailey: How to combat a day of irritations

John Bailey with a fine Kingfisher bream.

John Bailey with a fine Kingfisher bream. - Credit: Archant

Thursday, May 9, some of you will remember as a day of extraordinarily high winds for the time of the year.

I hate high winds. I detest them. High winds have ruined more football games than I can remember in my soccer career. And I remember gale force winds in my youth making me weep with despair in those days when we were condemned to clunky reels and line that lay like barbed wire on the water's surface.

I'm not playing much football anymore and my fishing skills and fishing tackle have improved over 40 or 50 years but, on May 9 the wind still made me miserable. I was out with dear pal, Bill, who's a magnificent man in every way but his busy life has meant that he's not an expert angler. It's possibly fair to say that if Bill can get into a tangle then he probably will do so and that's even in a light breeze.

So, it was mayhem from the start. Rods were blown off rests, maggot lids ended up in the lake, unhooking mats flew off like kites and an empty bait bucket ended up somewhere in Lenwade. And considering we were fishing at the Kingfisher Lake at Lyng, that was quite a gust!

The other issue is that I truly believe that strong winds, from any quarter, aren't good for the fish. I know this flies in the face of a lot of accepted carp lore. I'm well aware many of my carp boys at Kingi live for big blows. As I've said before, I'm primarily an estate lake man if I go back to my roots and, believe me, a big wind on these shallow waters and you might as well not bother.

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However, I'm a glass half full type of chap and I'm always looking for a solution. I think if you're out on one of the big blow days then it makes sense to look for those pockets of water which are reasonably sheltered. And for most of us, I don't think this is a cop out. Obviously, if you're after massive carp on a plateau at a hundred yards plus distance then it's a different matter. If you're like me and Bill and you just want to enjoy a session, I don't think there is any harm in looking for a calm piece of water. That's what we chose to do anyway.

A howling wind obviously brings about a falling temperature as well as falling atmospheric pressure. In my experience, a falling anything is not good for the tench but, simply because we piled in the maggots, we actually got a few tincas blowing at one stage during the day.

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Half an hour into the activity, Bill's float rose, lay flat, slid under and he was into a tench for about ten seconds before it broke him. And that was on six pound line. We knew it was a tench because there was tinca slime all the way up the last few inches of line.

If you are piling in maggots and if you have found an interesting little bay, then you're never going to be quite sure what will come along. If you're pestered by small silver fish then I suggest you go onto a bigger hook and try a lobworm. Lobs are one of our most overlooked baits. In truth, I'd probably choose a lob over any other on a day of irritations like this. There's nothing that won't take one. And we were soon to appreciate the proof of that.

Once again, Bill's float went under and, once again, his rod hooped over. He's becoming a bit of a dap hand with the centrepin but he couldn't convince a very big perch indeed to swim out into open water. The fish thrashed on the surface for an agonizing five seconds and threw the hook. It was big. We were shaken. The wind howled with laughter.

Next up, it was my turn. My float dillied and dallied, dithered and shallied, and then slid under in a decisive fashion. I was into a cracking fish.

For a while I was convinced it was a tench and then it began to feel just a little bit like a perch. It turned out to be a very fine bream indeed just under the eight pound mark. There were a few points of interest here. The fish itself was absolutely pristine and looked new as the day. My feeling is that it is going to be in the forefront of a new generation of big bream here at Kingfisher. It's wonderful to see fish like this coming through again and I feel that the days of doubles in plenty aren't far off once more. What was also interesting was the fact that it was taken under the rod tip. We tend to think of bream as fish of the open water, following patrol routes way out in the lake. Perhaps I caught that bream close in because I was fishing so sensitively. We do well, I think, to remember that big, clever bream don't always want to pick up boilies or feeder maggots.

In short, Bill and I could easily have been put off by the wind, packed up and gone for an early lunch. The fact that we persevered paid off handsomely. We ended with that nice bream, a few more perch, some good roach and that oh-so-nearly tench. We'd actually enjoyed the day in the end and laughed at the flying bait boxes.

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