- Venue: The Tidal Dorset Stour, Tuckton
- Swim: By the Hire Boats on the Christchurch bank
- Time: 18:00 to 20:00
- Weather: about as good as it gets for a September evening – initially sunny, clouding over, no wind and warm enough for just a t-shirt and sweat shirt.
It has been about three weeks or so since I last went fishing and there is no one reason, just the cumulative impact of a bit of DIY, various visitors and five days in Guernsey including a day trip to Sark. Today, however, marked my return to the bank and I was slightly under prepared as I tend to be at my most organised when I am fishing regularly. Therefore, despite closing my last post by noting I needed to break the Parley Lakes – Tuckton – Parley Lakes – Tuckton – Parley Lakes routine that I have slipped in to, lo and behold there was a high tide at Tuckton this evening. Not the classic Solent double high tide that I am currently favouring, but a high tide nevertheless. Also not really being in the swing of things, I ended up taking maggots, which rather contradicts my thoughts after I last fished at this spot. I was leaning towards liquidised bread with flake as a hook bait and https://claretbumbler.com/ had suggested prawns.
As I am sure there are perch about prawns may be worth a try. However, having had a wee break from fishing it seemed sensible to get out and fish even if my preparation wasn’t ideal. Added to that Summer is receding fast and it was actually our day in Sark that meant I recalled the lyrics of Sandie Thom’s ‘Sunset Borderline. In a convoluted way the smell of red diesel from tractors reminded me of Thom’s line about ‘the smell of two-stroke petrol from a motorbike’. Now it is the line ‘every Suns got to set with time’ that has flipped into my consciousness, but I doubt Thom’s requiem for lost Summers is alluding to the need to dig out the thermals and extra jumpers if you are going to fish through the winter. Time though to make hay whilst the sun still shines and I set up with two rods, because every Suns got to set some time:
- Tackle: The 10’ ledger rod, 6lb line to a size 12 hook on 5lb to nylon
- Method: Ledgering with an in-line maggot feeder
- Bait: Bronze maggots, brandling/maggot, flake and 5mm Fjuka white pellets
- Ground Bait: Swim fed maggots
- Tackle: The glass fibre Milbro match rod, 6lb line to a size 14 hook on 5lb to nylon
- Method: Over depth float fishing on the drop with a SB large quill
- Bait: Bronze maggots, sweetcorn, brandling/maggot and flake
- Ground Bait: Initially loose fed maggots and sweetcorn and then groundbait with a 50/50 mix of white and brown crumb.
The ledger rod was cast to my left and initially equal distant from both banks. The float rod was cast more to the right hand 45 degree angle than I’ve tried before.
Initially I just loose fed maggots around the float as the lack of preparation equated to a lack of hemp or pearl barley. As a starter I used maggots on both rods, but the only indications in first twenty minutes or so only were small nudges and I wondered if I would be hoist on my ‘nine in a row’ petard. In my last post I likened my run of nine non-blanks to Celtic’s run of nine top flight titles. Of course, football fans will know what happened to their attempt to make it ten in a row, so maybe my old rival, the Dorset Stour, was going to get the better of me. However, eventually the float sailed away in a positive bite, that resulted in a bleak that was chunky by bleak standards. I guess a bleak technically is a blank avoider! This was quickly followed by two distinctly un-chunky dace, which was the catalyst to try baits other than maggots. On the float rod this was sweetcorn, maggot tipped brandling and flake all of which produced nudges but no positive bites. With the lack of action on the float rod I mixed up some brown and white crumb groundbait in the hope of drawing some better fish in.
On the ledger rod I made the mistake of trying maggot tipped brandling close to the near bank which resulted in the inevitable bootlace eel. At least the one was neatly lip hooked and easy to unhook. With eels about I switched to flake on the ledger rod and when that brought no bites, in desperation I even tried a pellet (a 5mm Fjuka lightning white pellet) but that too was ignored.
Things only picked up when the light started to fade and I switched back to maggots. On the ledger rod I decided to try further over towards the far bank boats and I wish I could bottle and reuse the first cast in that direction. The feeder landed six inches short of the stern of a boat, accuracy I rarely achieve! Inevitably the longer I maintain this blog for the more repetitive it will be become, the more grating my stock turn of phrases will be and I know I’ve said this before, but I’m not a fan of clipping up. However, this was a cast I was prepared to make an exception for! Without setting the world alight I was glad I did because a double twitch of the tip resulting in a roach. Once again it was short of needing the net and that has been a theme over recent weeks as I keep hitting the roach woodwork without finding the net.
Immediately afterwards I missed another similar bite and other than a few bits after I switched back to maggots on the float rod that was it and I packed up in the dark.
Lessons learnt; well despite my reservations I haven’t been ‘minnowed out’ in this spot when using maggots, but I still feel I haven’t fully tapped the potential of this area. I can see a few other spots nearby I can drop into and presumably the mid-week hire boat season is over, so I can start to fish high tides here during the day
Next steps; with a nod to Bart Simpson; I will not head to Parley Lakes next, I will not head to Parley Lakes next, I will not …
Nature notes; for the first time this Winter I saw the flight of evening geese heading back from Christchurch Harbour to their roosting grounds. This two way flight has been a feature of recent winters in this neck of the woods.