Way back in the 1990s I fished rivers extensively and never looked upon a commercial venue. Hemp and tares, corn, punched bread and maggots were the norm for me on the pole, and having fished these pretty well I was a little stumped when I was introduced to Heyford Fishery in Northants. A superb venue then and a great place to cut my teeth on commies.
The fish were bigger and hungrier. Well I say bigger. I caught many perch, bream and tench bigger than these smallish carp at this new venue but they sure went some. My setup was somewhat off kilter. I had to make rigs out of 6lb reel line and fish small canal dibbers at 14.5m when dared. My pole really wasn't up to fishing that length. I only had two beefed up top twos from my usual No1 section with No2 elastic. Most of the time I fished whip anyway, so hauling 50lb nets of small carp seemed like hard work.
I got the bug all the same. Fishing straight lead or waggler was good enough but fishing long pole after a while seemed more exciting for me. And the more I did it the better and more comfortable I got with it. Most weekends I was there and even after work in the evenings I grabbed a few hours on the bank at Heyford.
The more I fished there the more I kept with fishing corn over hemp or bread up in the water in the warmer months. Fast forward 20 years and I had progressed from that fishing mainly corn and pellet over micros. So on this local venue I found myself reminiscing of those days gone by while potting in a big pot of hemp and wondered why I ever went off hemp as a main bed of attack.
So a few days ago on a venue very similar I decided to do just that. No fussy feeding, no fussy rigs just pure simple fishing. Like the old days. I had plonked myself down on Peg 14 on one of the canals at Wrightington Fishery in Lancashire. It was a nice day too, I must say. Clear, crisp and hardly any wind. Perfect for a go at hemp and corn fishing.
I had plumbed up one line at 11.5m the find 5 feet. The crease is at this length and will be better fishing this with hard baits like hemp and corn as the free offerings will fall down the slope and settle in the crease anyway. My rig set up was very simple. A 4x14 Middy Carp Grey Series 1. A wire stem float is a good choice today. A size 18 63-13 hook pattern. Bulked up shot on 0.14mm mainline and a 6 inch 0.12mm hooklength fishing two inches over depth. Simple. Elasticated to Middy's new 4-8 Hollow.
I had cupped in 125ml of hemp and 4 grains of corn. Letting that settle for 10 minutes, drinking a coffee and taking in the view over Rivington Pike was lovely. With bad weather forecast that night I had made the most of it being out.
Well, I lowered a piece of corn in the swim. Being just nipped through the side I wanted to make connection with the first fish that looked at it. The elastic shot out almost immediately. I have to say while I remember – this hollow elastic is super soft and will require a puller if you hook into something decent. Just like this one. A battling 4lb mirror in perfect condition. A string of mirrors followed then, to my surprise, I was landing crucian after cruician. I mean, they are lovely fish but not what I was after. So I potted in another 125ml of Bag 'em Matchbaits ready Natural Hemp and lowered the rig in. Again another cruician but then as planned another carp. This one, a common of 3lb, came in without much fuss on the elastic. Must be something to do with the amount of tension which makes the fish less angry and not fight as hard on softer elastics like this? Anyway, a few more carp landed and then a dry spell. Even one more pot of hemp and some corn didn't pick it up.
Fifteen minutes without a bite and the skimmers moved in. And I have to say how nice it was to catch them too after not having a bite for a while. A quarter of an hour can seem like ages when you stare at the bristle without it moving. And catch skimmers I did. Lots of them. To a point as soon as I had picked the smallest kernel I could find and lowered it in it was off again. They must have had been hoovering up the hemp like no tomorrow because as soon as I had potted in some more hemp the bristle went and I was into fish again.
I wish it could be like this more with the weather. Gives me the energy to stick to a plan, no matter how simple and concentrate on getting things right. And I had done exactly that. Hemp and corn fishing was great I thoroughly enjoyed it. You should give it a go sometime.