Early in June I had a few weekends to spare, the carp had spawned on my target water and although it was a good time to catch, I didn’t really want to catch them several pounds down and looking a bit empty and possibly a bit tatty. The river season hadn’t yet started so I found myself looking round for something to fill the gap until the rivers opened. I decided to try for another catfish, I had a couple of Saturday afternoons to spare in the run up to June 16th and I was sure I could catch one in that timescale so I set myself a plan to target carp with one rod and catfish with the other.
I dropped into a very familiar swim at the lake and got myself set up, a standard carp rig baited with a nashbait Scopex Squid boilie was cast tight to the lily pads on the far bank using the line clip on my Shimano Reels to get the rig tight without losing any tackle. I baited this rod with 20-30 baits tightly grouped using an ESP Catapult. The other rod was fished with a Pellet Rig for the catfish, it was baited with a 16mm coppens trout pellet and this was fished over a bed of 70-80 of the same Coppens Trout Pellets in order to pull in the catfish.
I’d only been fishing 20 minutes when the boilie rod on the pads was away with my first fish of the session. The carp caught me unaware so the only footage I managed to get was of me holding the fish up for the Camera, it was a mirror weighing 11lb.
Things went quiet for an hour or so but eventually the pellet rod gave me one of those stuttery takes that the catfish in this lake seem to give. I picked up the rod and sure enough I was attached to a cat but this one turned out to be more of a kitten, I weighed it in at 8lb 8oz, not quite the monster I was hoping for but it was only mid afternoon and I had plenty of time left.
I re-baited the pellet rod and topped up the swim with more coppens trout pellets then sat back and waited for things to unfold. I had to wait quite a while for my next run, both rods stayed stubbornly quiet until the pellet rod finally burst into life with another stuttery take. This time the catfish that took the bait was a bit bigger than a kitten and I had a great battle with a mid twenty cat that eventually found its way into my Landing Net. I weighed this Cheshire Catfish in at 25lb 4oz in the end so I actually got one of my target wels catfish first session out.
The carp rod stayed quiet after that first fish and I ended up with just the one carp of 11lb and catfish of 8lb 8oz and 25lb 4oz. It was mission accomplished as far as the catfish went but I still had one more trip left before the rivers opened, I couldn’t repeat that feat, could I?.
After a weekend off I was back again a fortnight later, same tactics, same swim. This time I had to wait an hour before the catfish rod was away, there were no kittens first this week and I found myself attached to another twenty plus wels catfish. Like the mid twenty a fortnight ago, this one gave me a great scrap even on a short line, I had trouble getting this particular cat into the net as it was quite long. Catfish can be difficult to net due to their length, the thing to remember is that the head is by far the heaviest end and even if the tail is still outside the landing net all you have to do is lift the net and the tail should fold and drop into the net, this happened to me with this fish and as you can see in the video that's underneath the picture below, the tail does indeed flop into the Landing Net.
An hour in and I had another twenty plus cat on the bank, not quite as big as last week’s but at 22lb 8oz I wasn’t complaining. I got some more video footage and did some photo’s before I returned this catfish to its watery home. I then re-baited with a further 30 Coppens Trout Pellets after this catfish then sat back to await another possible run.
A few hours later it was the turn of my carp rod on the pads and after a mental fight I finally netted a high single common that weighed 9lb 12oz, it wasn’t massive but it was a nice fish and it fought like a typical high single, trying to charge round everywhere, you can see this common on the video immediately below, just click to watch.
19.30pm seems to be a good time on this lake, a fortnight ago this time produced a 25lb+ catfish and again the catfish rod was away at what appears to be a magic time at the moment. This fish didn’t appear to have the strength of the two previous twenties but it was clearly bigger than a kitten. What turned out to be my last fish of the day weighed in at 16lb 4oz and it brought to a close my short targeting of catfish for this year. Over the two Saturday's I ended up with Cheshire Catfish of 25lb 4oz, 22lb 8oz, 16lb 4oz and 8lb 8oz plus a couple of carp weighing 11lb and 9lb 12oz, it was quality fishing for sure and I was very happy with the results of my two session 'Cheshire Carp and Catfish' campaign which totalled roughly 13hrs of fishing!.
The river season is now open, I haven’t done any barbel fishing yet, mainly due to the heavy rain we’ve had since the season started but I hope to get on the river very soon. I’ll be back chasing carp again once we are into August, by that time I expect them to have regained some weight and improved in condition after spawning and hopefully the carp I’m after will be attaining some good weights.
Until next time, tight lines and be lucky.