Cosgrove Caster's - May 2013

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At last, the end of that long cold winter and spring. May arrived with some nice weather and suddenly spring had sprung! Apart from a few horrible days of heavy rain and wind over the Whit-week the weather was reasonably settled and this made the fish start to feed. As I said in last month’s blog I was hoping particularly that the tench would start to feed and feed they did!

‘Park Grapevine’

The Residents Lake was in good form. There was a few good carp reported. Paul Hickson had one that clearly broke his PB. Unfortunately Paul was unable to weigh the fish and had to guestimate its weight at mid-20’s. Paul also backed it up with some nice doubles. The lake’s smaller species also went on the feed with the bream, tench and roach taken in good numbers.Kingfisher was in good form, nothing huge, but lots of nice fish taken on a variety of tactics.

Fountain View 1 continued its good form with plenty of carp mostly in the 5 to 6lb class, but with one or two doubles to all methods.

Fountain View 2 initially was in great form. The silver fish fishing was superb with double figure nets of roach and bream taken. Quite a few carp were also taken to mid-double figures. A lot of carp were taken near to the trees and inevitably a few were lost in the snags! For some strange reason as the month wore on the fishing became much harder.

Willow Banks was in mixed form, some anglers catching well and others not doing so well. My wife Claire and I suffered a total blank one Friday early in the month; yet one particular young angler took plenty of carp as well as silver fish on his new pole from the same area!

The Ski Lake was in quite strange form, overall it was quite quiet, but one or two reasonable fish were taken. Steve Knight had the best I heard about at a nats under 20lb early in the month. On the 3rd May Alex Mccarlie who was visiting for the bank holiday weekend had just parked his motor home next to the Ski Lake when he noticed a few nice carp cruising around the surface, he quickly set a rod up that in all honesty was inadequate for the job, but dropped a piece of bread on one and it took straight away. To cut a long story short using an 8’ spinning rod and 6lb main line an hour later after it had run all around the bay and had snagged up twice I netted for him a stunning 15lb 4oz fully scaled mirror carp (see picture below). The regular anglers landed one or two nice carp to mid doubles from all around the lake. Phil Moate had a stunning 18lb common (see picture below). Although a few tench were taken it was quieter than usual, which was a surprise considering that elsewhere it was so good.

Heronsfield was ‘on fire’ as far as the tench fishing goes. Several anglers had multiple catches of tench at all hours of the day and night and on a variety of methods. On the 8th May Fred Jackson fishing his favourite pole tactics and maggots during the day had 13 tench to over 6lb and then later that same week I had 11 using carp gear and boilies during the night and first thing in the morning! The carp fishing was quite hard, but as usual Michael Dodds put a lot of effort in and was rewarded with several carp with the best two a 15lb 9oz mirror and a 15lb common. A few nice bream to 9lb were also taken. As well as the variety of methods used the other nice thing about the fishing was that good fish were taken from all areas of the lake.

Canada Lake was in particularly good form this month, with several regular anglers taking some good catches of both carp and tench again on a variety of methods and baits. I had a very pleasant evening session on this lake using pole tactics. I was completely mauled by a couple of carp, before stepping up to my ‘heavy margin gear’ fitted with  size 20 hydro-elastic, then taking 6 nice carp and a couple of lovely tench. For whatever reason the carp in this lake are ‘turbo charged’ and when hooked fight incredibly hard for their size, so please use strong, balanced kit to save any breakages.

Grebe, Mallard, Teal and Lilly Lakes were in good form during May. The issue of vehicle access has now been resolved and the gate will be open between 9am and 5pm allowing anglers to take their cars to the lakes between these times. What was interesting was that the stock fish were still very quiet with only a few fish taken, but it was the larger fish of many species that suddenly went on the feed. Particularly Grebe Lake fished very well for ‘pleasure anglers. Mark Jones had several double figure carp and bream to 9lb 8oz. My wife Claire had 4 good carp one afternoon the best going 10lb 4oz and they are in stunning condition.

‘The Second Match’

The second match in the 2013 series was fished on the 4th May by 20 anglers, fishing both Mallard and Grebe Lake’s. Conditions were cool, but dry; fishing was again hard for most anglers, with the top 3 places being taken with just one carp.In 1st place was visiting angler Graham Sale who was drawn on peg 10 on Grebe Lake.

Graham fished feeder tactics towards the island. Graham only had one fish but, it was a stunning common carp of 8lb 15oz to take the win.

2nd place went to Paul Hickson who was drawn on peg 26 at the top of Mallard Lake. Paul took one good looking mirror carp on the feeder early in the match for a total of 7lb.

In 3rd place was Mick Barber, drawn on peg 13 on Grebe Lake. Mick took one carp for 3lb 6oz.My own match was very poor. There was a bit of a mix up at the draw and I was left with peg 22 that I know is not usually a good area of Mallard Lake. I fished a method feeder at 60 yards right across under the far bank tree line. I fished for 3 hours without so much as a line bite. I then had a blank hour on the float and couldn’t buy a bite even on single pinkie on a 22! I decided that it was to be ‘big fish or nothing’ so went back on the feeder to have just one line bite 15 minutes before the whistle. So I had a very disappointing blank.

’The Third Match’

The third match was fished on the 18th May by 16 anglers, fishing both Mallard and Grebe Lake’s. Conditions were dull and overcast, but quite warm, but fishing was again hard for most anglers.

In 1st place was me. I was drawn on peg 14 tight in the corner of Grebe Lake. Now I’ve fished this swim on a few occasions and have found it to be either full of fish or empty. Before the start as I was setting up my gear I could see some fish movement to my left, in the snags under the corner trees. The question was could I attract them out into a position I could catch them. So as not to blow my chances and spook the fish straight away, on the whistle I cupped in some bait, then due to peg 13 being empty was able to fish the feeder to the island. I was hoping to nick a quick carp from this line, but I didn’t even have a liner. I stuck at it for 2 hours before I just had to give the pole a go. It is quite snaggy in the corner swim so it was a good excuse to air my Daiwa margin pole that is fitted with red 20 hydro-elastic, together with a serious rig. First put in with a grain of corn produced a bite straight away and despite the fish desperately trying to get me in the rushes using my strong-arm tactics I managed to get it out and to my surprise it wasn’t a carp but a lovely tench of well over 4lb. Following this I thought I was in for a few, but it was not to be. As time went on I was getting frustrated. I had heard that my wife Claire had a good carp and was probably in 1st place, so I knew I needed another decent fish, but I couldn’t buy a bite. The carp were still splashing about under the trees in my corner, but despite careful feeding refused to come out of the snags. At 12.45pm I cupped some floaters on the inside edge of the rushes, but out from the snags and within minutes the fish started to take them. I took a gamble and rigged up very heavy on the pole and popped a floater into position. A 1.15pm, just 15 minutes before the end a carp took the floater. I hit it hard and held on. As the anglers around me will testify my 10m margin pole took on a frightening curve, like a giant waggler rod and after what seemed like ages I managed to ‘horse’ the carp over the rush bed and netted a bewildered 7lb common carp to take the win!

2nd place went to my wife Claire who was drawn on peg 10 on Grebe Lake. Claire took one good looking 8lb 10oz common carp on the method feeder. It just goes to show you when your lucks in as following the match she threw a lure out in Heronsfield Lake and promtly took a double figure pike first cast. 

In 3rd place was Tim Jolley who was drawn on peg 24 on Mallard Lake. Tim took one bream for 4lb.

’Gary’s Month’

My own fishing this month was really good, not so much for any particularly big fish, but for numbers of really nice fish. Although I did have some nice carp to low double figures, ‘the lumps’ I was hoping for eluded me. I had a couple of overnighters on the Ski Lake that were very hard, taking just one tench one night and blanking on the second. I think that this was down to my location. I insisted on fishing an area that had seen some very good results for me last spring. It didn’t occur to me until later, but for most of the month the wind direction has not been the usual prevailing south-westerly wind direction. Usually fish don’t like an easterly or north-easterly wind direction as it is generally a cold wind and in fact that has been the case this year, but with the general trend of the weather getting much warmer that cold wind has not had the same impact. This has shown itself in the results and a lot of nice fish have come from the generally less fancied western end of the lake.

For me it has been the tench fishing that has been so good. I have taken over 50 tench in May, with Heronsfield particularly giving me very good results using pole, waggler and ‘proper’ carp tactics. I had a lot of tench in the 5 to 6lb class and had one elusive ‘7’ in the form of a 7lb 2oz fish (see picture below) taken on a pop-up on a chod rig (according to my son-in-law ‘chod' is Essex speak for detritus). This particular rig has proved superb for me over the last 7 or 8 years. For those anglers unfamiliar with this rig, basically it is a ‘helicopter’ set up with a short stiff hooklink to present a pop-up (see picture below). The hook link is either fixed or running on the line or leadcore well above the lead. This presentation means that the pop-up fishes effectively over almost any bottom conditions.

I use two versions of the ‘choddy’. The first is what I would describe as the standard leadcore set up and the second is a ‘naked chod’ or ‘chod on the line’ as it is sometimes known, this is where the hooklink is running on bare - in my case fluorocarbon line. The most important thing to remember with the chod rig is to make sure the top stop is not fixed. It must be able to come off easily and eject the hooklink if you suffer a breakage, so as not to potentially tether any fish (see picture below).

During May I had a week off and took advantage of the feeding fish. I did have a couple of sessions off the park that were really productive, but I had some cracking ‘mini’ sessions on the waggler nicking a couple of hours at dawn and dusk. Again it was the tench that were feeding, but on the Tuesday morning, sitting out watching an un-moving float in a freezing wind for 2 hours I then had 3 lovely tench to 6lb 8oz in the next 45 minutes then hit a carp on corn and maggot cocktail. Using med-heavy gear, the float dipped just enough for me to strike, the next thing my little Shimano was screaming as the fish ran 50m across the lake. I managed to turn it from the far bank rushes and it turned left and run a further 100m up the lake, so far in fact I thought it wasn’t going to stop. It swirled on the surface and surprise surprise I started to recover line, gently pumping the fish back I got it back to within 25m and it just came off, b***er or words to that effect. I always believe that as long as you don’t get broken up then it is just bad luck. The following evening it was my turn to be lucky.

On the Wednesday evening I was fishing an overnight and morning session on Heronsfield with my ‘big rods’ hoping for a carp. The session started really well with a 9lb 12oz common followed by a good tench just on darkness. You may laugh, but when I have my rods out overnight my wife Claire will not let me sleep in the caravan. She and the dogs (two dirty great big German Shepherd’s) are not amused if I get a run, so I have to ‘bivvy up’ in the awning. It was 11.15pm and I was just getting ready for the night, when I had a screaming run on a yellow pineapple pop-up on a naked chod. On lifting into the fish I thought “Ah this is the one”. It thumped about for a few seconds then the water erupted and the fish came up like a Polaris missile, “What the heck is that” me thinks, well the luck was on my side this night and after wiping out my others rods I netted an immaculate 18lb pike. It was hooked just inside its mouth. As the photo (see below) was taken I joked that obviously it had turned ‘veggie’. After a quiet night the tench went on the feed in the morning. Although cool and breezy they fed hard until midday and I took a further 10 tench to 6lb 8oz – top session.


Hopefully June will bring more of the same. The fish, of all species should have spawned and be really feeding hard. One evening at the end of May I witnessed a lovely sight on ‘the Ouse’ watching 4 barbel spawning on the gravel shallows. What I took to be the female looked all of 8lb. I have had several double figure barbel including my PB of 11lb 6oz from the Ouse, but not from the Cosgrove stretch. When the river season opens on the glorious 16th June I will have to give the river some serious time hopefully to catch one.Get some bait in and keep it trickling in and the fish will respond. I am a firm believer in the matchman’s adage of little and often. I keep ‘carping’ on about pre-baiting, but it does work. It need not cost a fortune, my favourite mix for carp, tench and bream being particle and pellet based, using mixed hemp, pigeon conditioner, corn, mixed pellets, maggots (both alive and dead) and chopped boilies.A lot of anglers keep whinging to me about the lack of fish in there lakes, then go on to say that they only fish on a Saturday afternoon when there are lots of people on the bank banging about and bbq’ing etc., and wonder why they are not catching. Fish are wild animals and are not stupid; they will back off from disturbance and will only feed when the time and conditions are right. Enjoy your fishing, but access your results according to when you are fishing. If you are serious about catching then you may have to get up early or even have the rods out overnight! Also bear in mind that you are expecting to catch from your own plot. If the lake was not surrounded by caravans and you had a free hand, would you fish in front of your caravan, perhaps not! My own results show nearly all my better catches come ‘mid-week’. I have had some great results on a Friday then caught next to nothing from the same swim over the weekend!Anyway have a good one. If you have any good individual fish, good catches or any interesting stories please keep in touch on  

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Venetian Marina Whilton Caravan Storage Whilton Marina
Cosgrove Park. Main Street, Cosgrove, Milton Keynes, MK19 7JP.
Phone: 01908 563360 Fax: 01908 263615