Saturday, 9 June 2012


Image Above: Roach and home made balsa waggler float.

    By late afternoon the storm had developed into a small monsoon. Sheets of rain blew in over the surface of the lake dropping their load in fat drops that pummelled at the waters. Without a bivy or the modesty of an umbrella I padded through the ring of mud that marks out the island looking for shelter amongst its trees. This turned out to be a false promise as the wind took to liberating the rainfall from the trees at regular enough intervals to ensure I would not miss out on the bounty.

     Despite the weather summer has arrived at the lake; the stretches of water cleared by the winter die back of weed have gradually shrunk under the season’s new growth.  Even bank space is at a premium as anglers have returned from hibernation in public houses or curled up under the warm glow of a T.V.  sets.  There is little open water in which to throw a lure and so I have my excuses to fish with floats and bait. 
    There is almost a welcome rhythm to float fishing, tie on hook, slide a float up to what you think depth may be, add some shot weights to hold it and then hook on a plumb weight and cast. The plumb was given to me by a fellow angler who took pity on my early attempts to catch fish with a float. Unlike the other weights in my box it never ventures out as part of rig but serves as a temporary addition to the hook to find the depth of the water. I pass the hook and line through the eye on top of the plumb weight and then push the point of the hook into a small piece of cork wedged into a slot on the base.

     I cast and wind in stopping every few feet to check the depths, if the float disappears under the weight of the plumb the length between the float and hook is under depth, if the float lies flat on the surface I am over depth. From my plotting’s I work out that the bottom falls away sharply to a pretty constant depth only a short way out. I cast again and bring the float back to my chosen fishing position just beyond the drop off and the float sinks until its top creates the slightest lump in the surface tension; I am just on depth at about five feet. Once retrieved I unhook the plumb weight and move the small shot weights that hold the float in position and the float six inches up the line over depth so the hook will lie on the bottom rather than hang mid water like an apparition.

    I take four of the larger split shot weights from my selection box and pinch them on the line either side of the float and then drop it in the water. The float stands upright with the water covering three quarters of its length, I add another smaller shot half way between the float and the hook and a much finer one six inches from the hook.  When I cast again to deeper water the float settles until only half an inch shows above the surface enough to hold its own in amongst the ripples surface but still show a bite. The float is traditional waggler with a bulb of balsa at its base, the design keeps the float relativity still even when the surface of the lake is bruised by ripples. I am ready to fish.

    I hook on a single sweet corn kernel and cast again following it with a handful of loose kernels thrown around the float. The fish come in short bursts mainly roach of a good size and skimmers (small bream). As afternoon turns to evening the sky darkens prematurely and my rain filled bait box takes on the look of sweet corn chowder. I realise it is time to leave when I begin cradling fish for warmth and wondering whether wading in the lake may be the drier option. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Balsa Jubilee

Image Above: Hand Carved Balsa Lure Bodies

Summer has missed beat and a little bit of early spring has once again reared its head. The lake water at least looked to have benefited from the cold snap and the rain; it had gone from its normal Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup to a light broth with a hint of ginger. I spent a little longer there this morning than I should of float fishing and catching my fair share of roach, skimmers and golden bream all candidates for a new look alike lure.