Monday 31 December 2012

Ending the year with a struggle

I've not been posting much of late, this is because I've not caught anything to show for my efforts since the last entry. Despite this poor run of form, I thought I'd just throw a quick catch up together.

I've been fishing the local lake for pike a few times since November but I can't even report a single run on there yet. The sessions have been short bursts of 2 to 3 hours each and all of them during the morning so far.   There have been reports of a couple of mid doubles out recently but nothing more than that. I don't now if I'm wasting my time on there and the big fish have all gone but I would dearly love to catch a decent double (or better) from here if they do still exist?  I don't know why really it's just something about the lake that always pulls me back for more punishment. A lad stopped to talk the other day, asking the usual questions before telling me him and his mate had witnessed a decent sized fish ploughing into the fry in one of the bays. He said they chucked lures at it but couldn't get any interest.  I expect the fish was spooked to the other side of the lake by the way they were crashing around in their swims when I looked over a bit later!

I'm not sure why it is so difficult as the lake holds plenty of bait fish and is large enough to support a number of larger pike. I don't know if they are wise to my baits or I'm just not dropping on to the fish? The numbers of pike may have been somewhat reduced by the catch and none release members of our fishing community, but there must still be a few bigger fish left which would hopefully make the effort worthwhile if a run could be tempted from even one of them. The quest continues and the plan is to keep trying here and there through the rest of the winter and right into the spring when the fish will have spawned and will be ravenously  hungry again.

So far I've tried a roaming approach on various swims around the lake using deadbaits either popped up over weed or on the deck where there is no weed,  drifted at various depths and even twitched back slowly, but still no signs of a take.
The lure rod has been employed of course, although I should really do a session without the deadbait rods distracting me and using up my time slot, so I can give my newest lures in the growing collection a proper chance.
I've visited the canal recently but not found the fish in feeding mood since all the rain has been keeping the water a constant brown near to any river inlet.   I did a bit of exploring along an urban stretch I sometimes pass in the car that was a bit clearer, but only managed a small perch on a light jig. The snags were abundant around the bridges - which you have to accept in this urban style fishing I'm afraid.
In November I joined some workmates on a trip to Boddington Res for day out where we were treated to an adventure just trying to get to the water. Well getting to water wasn't so much a problem as the floods around the area were encircling all the entrances and lanes in the valley, but once we found a safe parking spot and waded through floodwater to get to the submerged car park and up the embankment we were able to set up and fish. It was a completely wasted effort though as the water that was still pouring in from the inlet stream continued to colour the the entire res turning it more and more chocolate throughout the day making our chances of any fish extremely remote. Needless to say the three of us blanked that day.
Slowly turning chocolate !
Finally just a quick thought about the black death from the sky (or cormorants), I saw three last week at the lake near me in the two or three hours I was there.
.... Today in the same amount of time I just lost count !
 At one stage I saw a flock of five in the sky together. You could have literally filmed a documentary about them. It's getting ridiculous now, I'm no expert but surely this affects all wildlife in the ecosystem and not just the fish themselves. Other inland bird species must suffer as a result of so many of these sea birds living inland and competing for food and roosting sites like this, not to mention knock on effects on other wildlife, plants and trees etc.  
When out for an afternoon walk today with the family we saw a chap shooting ducks across the swollen river tame opposite in the flooded meadows, I couldn't help thinking he should be leaving the ducks alone and targeting something else !
Where I used to see one or two a day,  I now see flocks of them !
Black Death - to a fish

On a lighter note I saw plenty of other bird life at the lake this morning, from buzzards to herons and then capping it off were two white egrets locked in an air battle to defend territory, the first egrets I've ever seen in this area.  Too quick for me to get the camera out in time unfortunately.
Happy New Year ...  lets hope it's a good one !

Saturday 10 November 2012

Really eely

I bit the bullet and splashed out on a pack of real eels, purple and pearl was one of the few choices left in the 20cm size, I think fire tiger was the only other. Since it arrived mid week I was like a kid at Christmas waiting to get my first chance to use it. That finally arrived this morning for a very quick two hour session before the wife went to work, ( had to be back in time to look after the kids). So I set off "down the cut" with it to a favourite pike spot.
I have to say it was a bit strange to use at first but then I soon got a technique going making it flash and rock from side to side with the tail spiralling like a artistic gymnasts ribbon. This had an instant effect as an over optimistic small perch chased it out of the water as I lifted to recast.  Next cast and the first fish to christen it was landed. Just a small jack that was snared on the main hook not the stinger, which means it must have attacked it from the side. I did notice a small tear near the main hook so had to glue that with some superglue I had in my bag. I hope they don't disintegrate too quickly after only a few fish ?
I had nothing more on it in the next half an hour so I tried some of my other previously successful lures but couldn't get any joy on these either.   The water was quite coloured today, so did this mean the fish weren't having it?  I don't know so to be fair the real eel was the most successful lure of the session after all.  I'm looking forward to the chance to get to a nice clear running river  to give it a go and see what it can do in clear conditions. 

Wednesday 31 October 2012

A couple of questions answered

Back in the summer I fished a couple of small wild clay pools in the Lincolnshire countryside. I had an overnight stay in the area at the weekend so took the opportunity to fish them again on the Sunday morning. On that last session I had a few half hearted flicks of the lure rod without success and the feeder rod soon won over when I caught a tench on breadflake. I wondered back then  if there were any pike in the water? but that question still lay unanswered.

This time I took only my lure rod and bag of jigs, plugs and spinners. With the consistent yellow and white kopyto I made the first few casts into the south east corner and the lure didn't let me down pulling in this little chap from under the near margin.

Question number one solved - they are indeed present, so if there are small jacks then there must be a bigger girl in there lurking somewhere? I cast across to a the edge of a dying lillypad bed and hit what felt a much bigger fish - unfortunately it was off quickly and all I had to show for it was a critically damaged tail paddle, which soon fell off on a subsequent cast.  Never mind I knew there were at least two fish in the pool and I will be back in the spring to try again.  The adjacent pool was very coloured in comparison for some reason so I didn't spend long trying in its murky brown water. 

Shallow  Lincolnshire drain
On the way back I stopped to try a small drain for a few casts, but only managed to spook a shoal of roach in the shallow depth with my lure knifing though the surface layers above the heavy filamentous weed still present from the summer growth. I later saw something charging into them making them scatter like a shoal of flying fish as they leaped out of the water to evade there pursuer, and despite my casts into that area I couldn't get a take from whatever it was !

Question two for this week

Is something that I've pondered over for a while but have struggled to find out much info about on the net. I've found a few brief mentions or accounts about it and some posts on forums that said yes you can, but then they admit they've never actually tried it themsleves ( I love that ...  I mean seriously come on ?)  However, despite all this supposition there was not much that you could call solid evidence or proper advice about techniques.

So what is this big question?

Well it's simple,  could I catch a Zander in the dark on a lure?

The Answer.................


So I stopped off at the canal about 6:30pm  on the way home (it was fully dark by then if your reading this from outside the UK) just  to prove if for myself, and on the third cast hooked another of these handsome looking creatures. Only 3lb 12oz but that's not really  the point here, it was another challenge succeded and one to be ticked off the list certainly.  It will open up some more opportunities for me over the winter I'm sure. Trying to catch bigger fish is always on the adgenda for us specimen anglers so I may even try exploring some other stretches of canal on the way home.... I'm sure you'll read about it on here if I do.

Thursday 25 October 2012

The last of the fading light

The clocks go back on Sunday, which for me means no chance of any after work lure sessions until about the end of the season. I had time for a quick 1/2 hour smash n grab session this evening on the Grand Union Canal near work. After reading Matt Holmes  Fooling Fish  and Paul Bosworth's River Piker recent exploits on a canal near them with small Kopytos, I decided to try out some of my smaller ones that had yet to be christened with a fish. I selected a small 3" yellow/white one and gave it a work out on a stretch I had just discovered earlier in the day whilst out on lunch hour recce. Lots of mouthwatering swims full of overhanging trees and reed beds were found, it just had to contain some pike or perch. I even saw a few small shoals of bait fish lurking by the towpath piling in a few places, so everything looked good for a predator or two.

The first spot produced a lovely fat jack of about 5lb or so, a fish that had obviously been feeding up for the long cold winter ahead.

There were a few further bangs and bumps on the jig on successive casts, and due to the good clarity of the water I saw a follow from a larger fish that was maybe a low double? Unfortunately it turned at the last second.
Further down the canal I managed this little tyke that I saw swim along side the lure for a few turns of the handle, then swallow it as I paused under the rod tip.

Another even smaller fish fell off near the net before I decided to head home as the curtain of darkness cast its sinister shadows around me, out there all alone on a deserted tow path in a strange town !

I reckon I may be able to sneak in a few casts here on my lunch hour where I will try to explore a bit more of this lovely stretch of canal over the winter.  The image of that larger fish that I missed out on now etched into my minds eye will only prove to be another challenge for me to pursue, after all they can't all be baby pike, and as the lads mentioned above have proved more than once the larger fish will take a small lure too.  It's just a question of right place right time now.

Sunday 21 October 2012


Up and out in the thick early morning fog and made it to the river bank despite losing my bearings walking across the fields and ending up going in completely the wrong direction away from the area I was heading for ! With visibility down to about 30 or 40 ft it was difficult to pick out the usual landmarks like trees and hedgerows etc and was pretty disorentating, in fact it's easier to find your way in the dark than fog as thick as that, and I can quite easily see why hillwalkers get so lost in mountain mists, it would be frightening.

The gates over there somewhere ... erm, I think?

I was on deadbaits today so once I'd found a nice slack on the outside of a bend, a sardine was halved and each piece put on the two rods and cast out into the murky mists. The right hander showed movement within minutes but as the float went under and I wound down bringing the bait back in minus half it's flesh instead of bending into a nice fish! Something had striped it. Second cast and the same thing happened then, third, forth and so on. There was obviously a clawed culprit at work here or possibly eels ? but my fear is the former. That will be bad news for the river in terms of succesfull fish egg and fry recruitment, but good for specimen sized fish feeding on young ronnie and reggie I suppose, not that this river struggles too much in specimen sized fish anyway.

go on .... go on.....!

After an hour or so I had wondered around the stretch trying out a few more  swims with no joy.  I just couldn't get into really depite being excited for the last few days about coming over to this river. Sometimes it just doesn't happen for you and so you might as well pack up and go home rather than slog it out half heartedly.  By 11:00am I was back home with a warm brew building a scalextric track in the lounge for the kids and me to keep ourselves occupied on a murky foggy Sunday morning.

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Bonus morning on the Trent & Mersey canal



I had a day off work due and a visit to Burton on Trent with the wife. She would be busy most of the day so being the chauffeur, I had to find something to pass the time while I waited for her.  The Trent and Mersey canal was only a stones throw away, so a rod was neatly tucked into the boot with some other bits n pieces that I might need for a few hours wandering the towpath.

I started off chucking some lures about and was astonished to see how clear the water was on this canal. Despite the boat traffic coming in waves - almost a boat a chuck at times ! The clarity was probably down to two feet, which is half way to the bottom on most parts of the canal.  The conditions were bright but cold with the gusting wind barrelling down the canal like a mini hurricane, real hold on to your hat stuff.  This of course created an additional flow on the canal that almost turned it into river conditions.

This canal seems to move with a latent steady flow probably from the effect of the Trent system that feeds into it, the wind only added to this.  It effected the action of the lure on the retrieval in the same way that a cast upstream or downstream does in the pace of a rivers current.  It was easier to get a good action retrieving upstream against the flow rather than down - where the line would fall slack as the lure was pushed along.  The fishing was very hard going and I only saw one follow from a small perch all morning.

After a break for lunch back at the car I headed to another stretch a few bridges down and tried a bit of sprat twitching, or better known as sink and draw. The wife text me to update me on pick up times etc and enquired on how I was getting on.   I had nothing to report and texted her so, then as I looked down to my rod lying at my feet and saw braid peeling off the open spool.  I realised that the sprat that had been left to sink across the slack next to a lock run off wear had been picked up by something. The rod arched over as I wound down to the fish and the fight was on !

A slender fish was landed in a short time.  A very thin fish that looked more like a draft excluder than a predator at the top of the food chain. I didn't bother to weight it but it was probably between 4 and 5lb.
That was to be all for the session as time was against me all too quickly, it was time to go back to chauffeur duties.

Sunday 14 October 2012

First Frosts of Autumn ...

Getting out of the house before the sun is up is a great way to start a session, unfortunately the sun beat me this morning as I couldn't peel myself out of bed as early as I'd planned. Still it was a lovely bright morning with a light crisp frost. After performing the first scrape down of my windscreen this Autumn I was finally on my way.

 Checking the river levels online yesterday the Trent system in Burton and Staffordshire seemed to be 'in flood'  so my planned pike and perch session on the Dove or Trent was postponed for another time.  Instead my back up plan was to re visit to the canal in hope of a big double from my usual spot. I could easily have been a bit more adventurous and gone for a bit of pioneering on a new stretch of the cut, but today the known knowns outweighed the unknown knowns. I was soon settled in and fishing two halves of a sardine by a quarter to eight.

The early morning mist in the valley enveloped the scene around me and whilst sat there contemplating the usual questions we fisherman ask ourselves when waiting for a bite, I thought I saw the float on the left hander twitch.  Nah, must have been the wind !

The odd dog walker passed by along the towpath (some of them very odd !) and early morning pleasantries were exchanged with most. The float twitched again, I was sure. I had that feeling there was something interested but it still could have been my imagination. A few more quiet moments passed by, then the float bobbed, moved and line was taken, finally it wasn't my imagination. I picked up the rod and wound down to a taking fish that fought well for it size. Although it wasn't the hoped for double, it was a nice fish at least. A holiday boater out for a morning stroll, cup of coffee in hand, stopped to admire it and took a photo on his own camara. We chatted for a while about fishing and all things canal, he wondered back to see if the rest of his crew were stirring by now, and I got back to concentrating on the floats.

7lb 8oz

That was all the peak of the action for the morning despite trying out some "sprat twitching" ala' Graham Pullen (look it up on youtube), I didn't receive any further interest up until the Sunday morning boat traffic became too intolerable to continue. I was back home by ten thirty just in time for coffee and toast.

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Hitting the right spot ..

Another day another quick session, this time back on the canal.  I wanted to try for a canal perch as there are some fish that go up to at least 2lb on this stretch.   I suspect there is potential for bigger specimens than that, but I've no hard evidence other than fish I've caught myself. I always like to work on facts so I usually rely on photos from reliable sources or my own eyes.  A kopyto two & half inch in yellow and white was cast around a bridge and the pilings along the edge but with no joy, so after a while I decided to get the 4play soft roach out of the box again.
I headed to my left up the canal towpath this time but soon turned back around when a couple of boats decided to moor up causing too much disturbance and noise for my liking. The beauty of lure fishing is great mobility of course, so I just headed back the other way.

Down by some reed beds again and after several casts around there was nothing doing. I headed further along trying all the little gaps in between the reeds. Eventually I decided time was up but had to have one last go back where I started at the head of the reeds, where I caught last weeks zed from. Second cast and literally my last cast of the evening over the hot spot and another zander grabbed the lure hard and proceeded to go mental thrashing about and headshaking wildly.  Luckily the stinger I had put on since losing the big pike at the weekend did the business and another zed was in the net, upping my lure caught PB to 4lb 10oz

After successfully removing the stinger from the back of its mouth cavity, proving the fish really wanted that lure, then weighing it and taking some mat shots, I was just letting it recover in the net when a couple walking their dog came by. I soon had the chap on photography duties to take a trophy shot of me holding the fish, but looking at the photo I should have asked his wife to take it !
To be fair the light levels were not good and with just the phone camera again  I had to hope for the best.  Unfortunately it doesn't take brilliant shots in low light, (that can't explain my daft expression though - Doh!)

My biggest zander from this stretch of canal prior to last week was 3lb 5oz and the average on the stretch was approx 2lb 4oz all caught on coarse deadbaits. The lure caught average is 4lb 2oz so far and OK, I know the numbers of separate units are less, but the bait caught averge is only spread over 6 units, whereas the lure caught ave is over just two units to date. You can see what I'm getting at though.  The other factor to consider is whether the fish are getting bigger naturally?  All the bait caught fish are over the last two years results - which would give enough time for some average size increase in the population anyway I would guess.  The only way to really test this theory is to bait fish on the stretch and see what size of fish are caught. If they are still of smaller average size,  then lure fishing could be the way forward in sorting out the bigger fish ?  It's an interesting theory and I'll explore it further in time I'm sure.  It makes me wonder what the maximum size potential is along here ?

Monday 1 October 2012

Three for a jack

That's how many casts it took on the way home today to catch this hard fighting jack. It's the beauty of fishing lures, the most instant of fishing, and one of the reasons I'm getting so addicted to it. Simply roll up, get out the car, put on suitable clothing to protect work wear, grab your gear from the boot and cast in all within a minute or two.

Nothing massive granted, but it came on an size 3 spinner (above) intended for one of the large perch I was hunting. The jack gave me the right run around even tail walking, reminding me that sometimes the size is just irrelevant. Or in other words "it's not the size of the pike in the fight, but the size of the fight in the pike".

(Please excuse the rubbish quality photo's - I've got to get round to getting a new camera still)

Sunday 30 September 2012

The one that got away

The kids and me were on the way to my Mom & Dads for another quick visit about 6:00pm, lure fishing tackle was in the boot.

"Fancy half hour on the canal" I said.
" Oh not fishing" said Hollie.
"Yes, come on just a quick go before the light goes, I'll let you have a go too" I said trying to induce some enthusiasm from them both.

After a short walk I was casting across the canal, whilst the kids sat quietly on a wall playing games on my phone and the NDS.

Working the soft 4play for a while without any signs of a take I decided to move 20 yards down to cast to a reed bed. I had a few casts around then finally felt a hit but the fish came free as it surfaced. It looked silvery like a zed to me and knowing from experience that they will normally take a dead bait straight away again if they slip the hook, I quickly cast back over the spot where it came free to see if they would do the same with a lure.  There was another pull and a fish was on, this was a small jack though, maybe I'd been wrong about seeing a zed I don't know? but I wasn't too bothered I'd got a fish on and now I just needed to land it so I could show the kids their first pike.

Jacob keeps his fingers well back
Photo's were taken and the kids were excited although Jacob wasn't too sure about the pikes teeth (he's not daft Dad).  Hollie suddenly became interested in fishing again and wanted a go on the rod, so I let her reel in a few casts I made for her.  It's difficult to impart all your years of experience to someone who has barely even held a rod very much let alone reeled a lure in an acceptable fashion that will fool a fish, (hell, I'm not really that experienced with lures myself yet).

After a few iffy retrieves I had an inspired thought on how I could slow down her erratic winding.  "Just reel in time to one potato two potato" I said and let her do it without my guiding hand reminding her not to forget to gently flick the rod tip now and again to make the lure flutter up in the water. As I watched Hollie retrieve the lure back near to the bank I wondered if she would achieve just the right action without any old habits to iron out,  then the rod suddenly pulled round in a full curve down toward the water a few feet from the edge of the tow path in front of us. Fully expecting it to have snagged on a branch or some other debris, I grabbed the rod near the spigot and pulled it towards me to lift the offending snag. It turned out to be a large long greeny - yellowy gold spotty shape  that rose up in the water. My senses snapped into realisation as a fish of good double proportions "lolled" on the surface.  I uttered Jesus, or bloody hell look at the size of that or something.  Hollie now just instinctively handed the rod over to me and she rushed off to grab the net that was about 8ft behind us.  The pike now realised something was up and dived pulling the rod tip down further.  Before I had chance to react and give it some line the single treble hook pulled and the fish was off !

It was a mixture of elation in that the lure had succeeded in tempting a decent fish and gutting disappointment that I'd managed to lose it. But I suppose if the hook hasn't got hold properly then there's not a lot you can do. The points still felt sharp so it was just unlucky I think.  Hollie wasn't that bothered though and seemed pleased enough just to have seen it and that was almost as good as actually catching it for her.  I just wished that we'd landed it for a photo of Hollie and me holding her first pike, a probable 12 or 13lb fish !! Still there's always next time.

Thursday 27 September 2012

More on the lure ... with another ticked off the list

Just a few quick lure sessions to report on lately, well I tell a lie I did have a blank during a mornings pike fishing on deadbaits the other weekend, but apart from that I've only been  sneaking in a half hour after work here and there.  If I'm honest I quite enjoy these little quick fishing fixes but they do tend to stop me getting around to a proper session after the non predators.

Today was a great example of one of these quickfire sessions, I was trying out the 4play soft body  roach  for the first time down the canal. The lure was twitched slowly back giving a great impression of an injured fish I thought and within about four casts it was grabbed by this great looking zed. My first ever zander caught on a lure and I've got to say was completely unexpected. Weighing in at a reasonable 3lb 13oz - (well reasonable for the canal).
I was really pleased with it, something I've been wanting to achieve for a while ever since watching Mr Hayes on wets nets repeats catching zeds on lures on the Warks Avon. Shame I only had the phone's camera with me.

First of many on the lure ?

The results on my usual river have dipped a bit of late (might be the very clear water conditions prior to the latest floods?) and I can't seem to settle on a lure that I'm really confident in again. I doesn't help that I've been buying them like they're going out of fashion in recent weeks. Too many lures in the bag is not always a good idea. Unless of course your out all day where you might have the luxury of giving them all a decent go. Any way I digress, the good old yellow red head kopyto is still bringing the odd result and tempted this hungry little chap, amazing that he managed to get this three and a half inch lure so far down its throat !

Hungry ?!!

Looking ahead...

I'm really finding lure fishing enjoyable but at the same time I'm hankering for a few bait fished sessions now that Autumn is upon us, and with all the big stripey's that are being caught around the country its hard not to get inspired to try for another big one too.  I know a few spots where a carefully chosen bait fished in the right spot might just produce what I'm after.  Then there's barbel and chub to think about, the barbel will start to get more and more difficult to tempt as the water gets colder. The chub will become slightly easier as winter approaches, or at least more accessible in their hidey holes in the snags when the weed beds start to die back anyway. A few zander trips will definitely be on the cards, visits to the Severn and Avon are already being planned in the hope of a big beast.

Finally there's all the pike fishing I am planning to do over the autumn and winter.  I am looking forward to this the most at the moment, and holding a big pike up for the camera is the image I tend to see in my dreams.  So I expect that it will be the pike that receives most of my attention over the next few months ahead, not least because they are the most accessible large fish to me locally, and until I satisfy my current obsession with them I might just get stuck in a pike rut for a bit.

13cm 4play soft body "Dirty Roach"

Friday 7 September 2012

Nailed !

Been trying out the small 3" Kopyto's since they arrived a few weeks ago but had yet to catch on them. To be fair I hadn't given them much of a go really.

I had another little dabble on the way home  yesterday and decided to leave the spinners in the bag and try to tempt something on the small 3g red /white jig. First cast near some weeds and overhanging bushes and bang fish on !

Nailed ! - first perch on a jig


No more interest after that in the couple of swims I tried before heading home in time for tea !

Holiday snaps ...

Just got back from Majorca, (Mallorca if you're Spanish). The weather was a little changeable, not that it stopped us enjoying our week away. On the flight we were checking in hand luggage only to reduce the costs ( cheapskates) and after researching what you were allowed to take on board I read that you might not get a rod through customs in your bag. I risked it anyway and slipped an old Shakespeare 9ft telescopic in my small case. There were no issues going out through East Mids Airport but I got a bit of an inspection on the way back leaving Spain. I think they just wanted to check out the long stick shape the showed up on the x-ray machine. They still allowed it back home with me after realising it wasn't an offensive weapon after all (not in my hands anyway).

Of course I managed to shoehorn in a few short sessions while we were there. The results were small, in fact quite minute but I never blanked once over three sessions.

My son Jacob even got in on the action,  helping Daddy land this little monster.
I took only a rod and reel but no terminal tackle (sharp hooks etc not allowed in the case) and only managing to find some hooks for sale in a local supermarket  I had to improvise with a ledger for weight.
Champagne super sinker !
An old champagne cork cage I found on the floor and some suitable sandstone rocks did the job.
Oh and the hooks were a pack of size 12 to about 5lb mono, the bait bread and slices of ham from the all inclusive breakfast buffet ! All the fish came on ham, although they were really hard to hook stripping the bait in a swift jabbing take that was almost impossible to hit. A bit like chub or roach on speed. I don't think the hook size helped much and a size 16 or 18 would have done the job far better for these tricky little blighters. Shame I didn't tempt any bigger fish but these little scamps were so much fun trying to hook I kind of got preoccupied with them.

Sunday 26 August 2012

Getting jiggy with it ...

Since the Kopyto Jigs arrived I've not really had many "throws" of them, so in order to rectify that I headed out this morning to try out the 4" yellow / red head relax with a 7gram jig head and size 4/0 hook. Now I have not caught a fish yet using jigs so I was hoping to break my duck.

I got to the river by 7:00am and worked my way up to the top of the stretch stopping at a few of the likely swims along the way. Nothing showed any interest but I decided to persevere with the jig wondering if my lack of results so far was purely down to my retrieval methods with them?

The water was showing just hint of colour, and since yesterdays rain the flow under my bank as it ran off from the shallows up stream funnelling the current onto a deeper pool out in front was a bit strong for my liking . As I pondered the water the first of the mornings other anglers turned up for a look. I told him he was welcome to move in here, as I was heading back down stream to try some slacker areas.  I dropped into the next peg down at the tail of the pool and hooked a nice  jack of around 7lb at a guess on the first cast as the lure was worked literally feet from the bank. The sight of the fish three feet down below me was awesome as it's gills flared in surprise then took off at speed to dive under the marginal weeds. This was the biggest test for my 10 - 30 gram lure rod so far and it performed excellently stopping the fish and turning it with ease. The fish was netted in no time, and my faith in the jig as a method was suddenly lifted.

That funny sense of over assured confidence washed over me as I rushed the photo's to get the fish back in as quickly as possible.  I expected I would easily have at least another couple of fish by the time I got back to the car. This didn't happen of course, I worked the lure tirelessly in all the nooks and crannies I could think of on the way back downstream only to miss a take from a tiny jack just twice the length of the lure itself as I neared the last swim.  The lure works I know that for sure now but is it the best one for the job ? I don't know.  I think that most reputable lures will work for you otherwise why would they develop and then sell them, the important thing for the lure angler is to find the one that suits them and then be totally confident in it. I know that my skills as a lure angler are still in the early stages but as long as I have a lure that I know will at least attract fish I know I always have a chance.  The rest is down to me and how I work it back to the bank.

Tight lines!

Saturday 25 August 2012

Trent, a quick lure session..

After a late afternoon site visit in Kegworth I headed to the nearby Trent for a chuck of the lures and spin of the...erm spinners. I was soon in the first swim on the stretch with the usual copper gold spinner on winding in under a canopy  of trees looking for that big fat perch to grab it.  A fish almost surfed half out the water to try and snap it up but missed, exciting to see though. Next cast and a sub pound fish was landed.

After a few of these I headed further upstream to a nice deep channel running parallel to the bank, there was a point above a large slack pool where I could stand and cast to my left along a 30 yard line of lillies running along the slacks edge as it met the flow.  First cast and bang - something hit the spinner hard. Turned out to be my first lure caught chub (well chublet) !

The rest of the session saw me landing perch after perch, maybe 20 or so ! The biggest going about 3/4 of a pound.  Having now caught what must be about 50 or 60 of these small perch in the last few weeks, the biggest being a fish of 1lb 2oz, I am starting to realise that although the spinner will catch you plenty of perch it can't catch the bigger fish if they ain't in front of you.  I will need to work harder to locate where  these bigger fish hold up on the rivers I am fishing or suffer more and more of these sub pounders.

I also tried out the new Kopyto jigs that arrived about a week ago. Though I didn't get any interest, it's early days and I need to get my technique right with jigs as I don't feel like I'm fishing them correctly enough yet but once I get that first bit of  interest I know I'll soon learn how to work them as the confidence grows.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Whilst on a weekend away.....

Friday evening and after a last minute decision to head to the in laws caravan in Lincolnshire for the week end, I was soon sneaking a few bits of kit in the back of the car between bags of clothes and beach towels.  First thing Saturday morning and I was up and about looking at a dyke !

With rudd topping all over the corner in front of me, I baited up with some crumbled bread and small pellets, then proceeded to drop a link lead over the top with a pinch of bread folded over and hooked through the fold in the way Jeff showed me on the Warks Avon a while ago. (Try it, it really works & no more agonising if it's still on !).

The first bite was missed but soon after the second pull was struck in time finding a hefty resistance that I wasn't really expecting. I was hooked to something that had the ratchet on the pin singing and my initial thought was small carp. The fish headed straight into the near margin reed line then tried to bury itself on the bottom some 8ft down sending up a fizzy cauldron of bubbles from the silty clay. I guessed it might be something else which was soon confirmed when a tench rose to the surface before sliding into the net. A nice short fight was had on light gear with a 4lb fish, the biggest landed on the new (ish) 9ft feeder rod so far. The rod easily subduing the lunges made by the fish admirably, giving me great confidence for the small stream chub fishing I purchased it for.

Sunday mornings session and I was out again to fish the other dyke to the left. A local angler I spoke to yesterday at dyke one told me that there were some good fish to be had in both waters, particularly the roach, bream and tench. Fishing armed with some corn and spam form the local shop now I was hoping to draw the bigger fish in. Unfortunately in dyke no two it was not to be. Despite seeing some nice fish roll I only managed a small skimmer / bream.  The water was gin clear and I suspect the fish were not too used to seeing much bait thrown in. However the ever faithful corn did the job on this occasion.

That was it for my total of 4 hours on these water, the promise is definitely there for some decent fish and I look forward to trying again next time we're in the area.