Sunday, 2 September 2012

Shatterford Lakes on the off-chance

There I was, driving happily along the A442 in search of a) River fishing at Hampton Loade. I arrived there to find that I needed a BAA licence in order to fish! (Found out later that if I'd have walked the other way from the ferry, I'd have found a section owned by the Kinver Freeliners and could have paid a day ticket - Duh! Oh well, that;s for another day) and b) Poole Hall Fishery at Alveley. Disorientated by the early morning and lack of Shreddies, I headed along the A442 in the wrong direction, saw a fishery sign and turned in, only to find myself not at Poole Hall, but Shatterford Lakes. I didn't know it existed but after an extremely friendly welcome ( I emphasise this because I have since read that the reception here can sometimes be a small cereal flake covered in sugar - Frosty Ha Ha!) from Chris co-owner (I think), and a detailed guide the handful of lakes hidden away here, I decided to stay a while and fling a few hooks.
The day was over cast, but I tried not to. Just to the right
was Cardiac hill. I picked my way through the remains of
former anglers who underestimated its ferocity on the way
back to the car park!

My vehicle was pointed in the direction of a narrow but steep track that bordered several of the lakes here. I rolled all the way to the bottom and parked in a spot overlooking the most picturesque of the set, Stuart's Lake. Here it was but a short downhill tramp (they call the slope 'Cardiac Hill' but I can't imagine why?) to the pool side. A fellow fisherman with three rods in the water assured me that he was going great guns with the carp and catfish in this pool, although he had been there since November 2009 (I jest, only two days and nights) After departing wisdom and advice about luncheon meat and boilies, I shuffled along the side under the weight of my back pack and collapsed in a likely looking spot, Choosing the hair-rigged luncheon meat (Spam Spam Spam) approach.

Now, a few people (my next door neighbour Maud for one) have asked me 'Riviera Kid, what in carp's name is a hair rig when it's at home?' Now, I don't know what planet Maud has been living on since the 1970's but the hair rig is quite simply the most effective rig to use for carp EVER (excluding dynamite)! So, if you know all about hair rigging, you might want to skip this paragraph.

The hair rig - The delicious alternative
to dynamiting for carp
As you can see from the expertly informative picture, the bait is actually mounted on a small length of line (the 'hair') just behind the hook. It is placed on by passing a baiting needle through the meat, pulling the line through by the small loop tied in its end and then placing some sort of stopper through the loop to stop the meat falling off. You can buy plastic stoppers but as you can see in the picture, I have cunningly used a small piece of folded grass to add to the natural look of processed meat lying at the bottom of a lake! The theory behind this little beauty is that carp feed by sucking in potential food and spit it out before deciding to eat it. When this happens with the hair rig, the strategically placed hook 'skewers' them on the 'spit' (my non-technical phrase) stage of the operation. In my experience, you get a higher percentage of cleanly hooked fish using this method. You can buy sets of hair-rigged hooks from any good tackle shop (I like Hingley's in Stourbridge - Excellent) or you can tie your own using an extremetly clever 'knotless knot' method (see the cool video below  for a quick guide) I favour the buying method as trying to tie extremely small knots can lead to headaches, blindness and a severe case of perforated finger syndrome.

Big Jim. A carp of almost dustbin lid proportions!
Anyway, despite using this masterly tackle set-up, I didn't do awfully well in my day's session until the last half hour when I bagged my on and only common carp. A decent, if extremely portly, 6.5lb common. Throughout the afternoon, gigantic carp were scudding along the surface of the lake hoovering up and bread or floating pellets that I cared to throw in, except of course the ones that contained my hook, proving that fish can do internet research on fishing techniques also. Next time, I think that I might try one of the two specimen lakes that are here at Shatterford. A bit more expensive but probably worth it if you land a 40lb catfish.

Oh, and Cardiac Hill. Now I understand.

Riviera Kid

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