Sunday 28 December 2014

December Catch up

lure caught PB

Not a lot of change in my fishing since my last update, I'm finding it difficult to be motivated to do anything other than a bit of lure fishing these days. Maybe I've just become a bit lazy and succumbed to the convenience of chucking a bit of kit in the car and grabbing a few hours a week here and there.

I've been fishing with my light set up mostly hitting the canal catching plenty of small perch, zander and the odd small pike to keep me interested mostly all have fell for my small 2" jigs.  Recently though I have started to find some better Zander. I also hooked a larger pike last week that was on for a few seconds long enough to see a glimpse of its long flank before the small 2" jig pulled.
I returned on Christmas Eve for a quick go for the pike after finishing work with my medium set up and a BBZ lure that just happened to have been left clipped on. First cast and wallop a zed of about 2 or 3lb, not the pike I was after but very welcome all the same.

Just in time for Christmas
 The next time I could get down wasn't until the 27th for a few hours in a more wintery landscape following a layer of snow on boxing night. While the snow had all but gone the temperature had dropped since my last visit a couple of days before, and this didn't deter the fish it seemed. Once again practically first cast in the same area and bang another zed on. The fish thrashed on the surface then gave a decent enough fight pulling line off the drag before doing the usual roll to the surface and a capitulating glide into the net.
you want some - I'll give it yer !
Looking down at my prize in the net I was pretty pleased with the size of this one, and happy when the scales registered 5lb 4oz.  A new lure caught zander PB and whilst not my biggest ever zander certainly a pleasing fish to catch from the canal on any method. The session didn't continue in this good form though and I struggled to both catch more fish and to deal with cold hands able to work the rod and reel effectively enough, so once my flask ran out I called it a day about half past ten.  Getting back home for some fresh hot coffee and toast to thaw me out was a welcome end to an overall pleasant mornings fishing.

Thursday 30 October 2014

Cutting it's fine...

A great way to break up the working day if you happen to work near a canal is to spend your lunch hour lure fishing. That's exactly what I have been up to in the last few weeks searching a stretch of canal that has been throwing up the a few fish for me already.

Get that down yer neck !

The most successful method by far has been trolling the lure in the edge whilst walking slowly along the towpath. This is how I almost landed a 2lb + perch the other day, and again at lunch today managed a small perch followed by a larger zander of 3lb or so.

The method is an excellent way of quickly locating the fish ( time being of the essence on a quicky lunch hour sessions) and over a few short weeks I have found the areas where I catch are proving to be consistent with fish caught on multiple visits, as opposed to other areas seemingly barren where no takes have been forthcoming. Interestingly I have only caught one fish with a standard cast and retrieve on this particular stretch, whilst trolling has had much more success landing the fish mentioned with a few missed strikes thrown in for good measure.

So far there are two fish holding areas I have located in a stretch less than half a mile.  The water is always pretty murky and brown, not the worst I've ever seen, but with probably just less than a foot of visibility at best. There have been occasional boats coming and going stirring up the muck on most of my short half hour sessions, but this has not stopped me catching.  In these conditions I expect the fish are probably sensing more than seeing, although even if  you can't generally see the lure yourself from the surface I'm sure if it passes within a foot or so of a predatory fish it is a target on both levels.   Big Hammer 3" lures have worked best so far with the ever reliable 2 " Kopyto's scoring well too.  I think the colour is not too important but I seem always go for a bright one. More importantly is to select one that your have most confidence in. Dark lures should work in these conditions too but as I haven't got any at the moment I can't back that up with fact - I will have add some to my next lure order and see for myself.

Thursday 23 October 2014

A small revelation

A cheeky 1/2 hour after work on a new stretch of canal.  I was using my recently purchased ultralight  Ron Thompson Flexide V2 4 - 12g rod working a 1" creamy white kopyto on a small jig head along the edge, I soon had my first zander on the bank.

More of a zedlet really but every one's a result. I continued along the canal for another 200 yards or so before turning around to head back. Occasionally I stopped to cast across the canal under some enticing bushes or feature and worked the lure slowly back along the bottom to my near edge and then, remembering what I'd read on the excellent  Artificial Lite from the waters edge web site by Eric Weight,  I decided to start dibbling the lure in the edge near the pilings and features.  I soon felt a knock and saw a nice size perch twisting on the line under the water but unfortunately it didn't hook up properly. A little disappointed I kept dibbling and managed to hook a small perch to the method - result.

On a slow amble back to the car I trolled a larger 3" hammer shad along the bank under my feet and felt the rod tip pull round near a slight indent of the soft bank, this was followed by a head shake and as I looked down I saw a large perch easily over two pounds, its thick back and bold stripes clear to see up on the surface. I tried to compose myself in those few important split seconds upon realising what I had on and attempting get the fish under control it was all over with a flick and a shake the fish broke free from the small jig head and disappeared !! That was easily a Lure caught PB perch for me but it was not to be today maybe the hook was a little too small?  I tried the lure again and felt a knock but subsequent casts met nothing more.
I moved back to the bridge where the car was parked and tried a few spots on the other side, catching another consolation zedlet on a 2" kopyto in flouro yellow. With the light fading fast and still licking my wounds a little after losing the big perch, I got back to the car and headed home feeling both pleased at the success of new techniques and the pain of lost chances. I think I'm going to enjoy exploring with this new rod. The extra feeling and sensation from a lighter set up allows you to naturally exploit subtle changes in your technique which can't be understood or realised until you try one out. In other words my old spinning rod now feels like a thick carp rod in comparison and just can't hope to give me the information I receive on the ultralite. If your thinking of investing in a lighter set up then I can highly recommend it.

Saturday 13 September 2014

Practice makes perfect

Back out on the river last night for another go at the Zander. I was hoping for something bigger but managed another nice 6lber amongst some other schoolies.  Plenty of bites came to both rods, some were missed because of dropped takes or fish stealing the bait of the single hook, others were just down to simple human error (note to self: remember to disengage the baitrunner before striking you bloody idiot !!).

Still the practice is done - now to head somewhere new to find the bigger fish !! 

Saturday 23 August 2014

Zander time again

With a dip in the temperatures of late I've been gagging to get the bait rods out after some Zeds. The last session I tried on the canal resulted in just the one missed take. This week I arrived back at the canal again for an evening session but on walking to the intended spot I had that nagging feeling that it wasn't right again and I'd just be wasting my time.  I needed to confirm to myself that my bait fishing methods were still OK and wanted to have a reasonable chance of a nice zed in the net, (there's nothing worse than lack of confidence to hinder your enjoyment of fishing).  I made a snap decision and headed back to the car, setting off for the river instead. When I arrived 50mins later it was good to see the river was slightly coloured and at a nice summer level so I was in an optimistic mood. A couple of groups of other anglers were dotted along the bank but they were far enough away not to interfere with my intended spot.

With the daylight due to fail in about an hour or so I had to get my bait caught quickly, so set up the float rod and went about catching a few suitable candidates for the keepnet. This turned out to be a struggle at first, not because I couldn't catch anything, far from it, I just couldn't catch anything of suitable size. A string of small dace the size of my little finger were all that I could muster no matter how deep or shallow I set the float. Very frustrating, but eventually the right size roach and bleak started to make an appearance and I built up enough samples to begin with the main event. However, before I could begin another angler had set up in the next swim downstream,  I checked where he was casting first  and had a little chat with him before setting up the zander rods to make the first cast as twilight descended.  With one bait cast to the crease in the flow on my near bank I sent the other out across the river to a slack area near a patch of surface duck weed in case there were Zeds hiding away under there. It was soon fully dark and the isotopes on the end of my rods remained still aside from the odd pluck from the bats. It was nearly an hour later before the first take registered on the rod tip. A typical quivering staccato pluck that could easily be mistaken for a line bite had it not continued for enough moments to warrant my instincts to kick in. I struck into a fish that stayed low until it was under the rod tip then with violent head shaking the shape of a zander loomed out of the depths towards my waiting net. It managed to swerve the net on another dive for freedom, then on the second netting attempt disaster stuck when, during another head shake as it reach the net chord saw it throw the hook and slide inches wide of the net and away back down to the bottom. "Ahh well it was no more than a four" I told myself and to be fair I wasn't too worried at least they were feeding.

I had to wait another hour until around 11.00pm for the next bite and by this time I was on my own on the bank. I had the baits repositioned further downstream where the mainflow from the weir widened slightly figuring that the smell of the bait would  be better carried along, the odour of fresh blood oozing out of the deadbaits might draw more fish upstream to me. Whether this was the case or whether it was just that the fish were already around and were feeding sparrodically I don't really know but it seemed to work and I landed my first fish of the night. Only a small one of a couple pounds or so.

The bites became more consistent from then on and I had the next fish on the bank soon after on the other rod out in the flow mid river, again it was just a small fish.  There was another take soon after that never connected on the downstream rod meaning they were definitely on the feed tonight.   Evedently I should have cast into the main flow earlier in the evening rather than searching fruitlessly in the slack areas for so long.

Time was pressing on by now and I was starting to think about packing the gear away, but the urge to recast the rods at least once more was too strong. Sure enough it  paid off and within ten minutes I was holding the best fish of the night.  By the time I had sorted out the photo's and put it back it was now 12.37am and the wife had text  asking "you still fishing? ".  I took that as my cue to call it a day and packed up and started to make my way back home. If I had stayed on how many more would I have connected with before I finally succumbed to tiredness and fell asleep in my chair I wonder ?

6lb 5oz (if your interested)

It was interesting that all the fish came from either the edge of the flow or right in the middle of it. At first thought this seems at odds with what you would expect from a predator. You might think they hide away under cover in the slack areas waiting to ambush unsuspecting prey that passes by. And this might be the case during the daytime feeding period where they would be easily seen by their quarry but at night they appear to skulk around in the flow picking up the scent of any potential meal being carried along on the current.

Thursday 3 July 2014

Picture this...

The river season has started.....

Eyes are bigger than belly !

Comma - taken on S4 mini

First river Jack this season

make sure you rest them first before releasing

Banded Demoiselle
A young goldfinch

Red eye damselfly male


Emerald Damselfly

More fish pictures in the next post I hope !!

Monday 16 June 2014

Espania mullet and a big old roach

The last few weeks have been a bit hectic with both work and a family holiday in sunny Spain, I've not been out fishing a great deal really and to be honest I've been counting down to the fishing season opening day, I've really missed being on the rivers this closed season so now it's finally time to get back on the banks, I'm raring to go.

Mullet in Spain.....

In  Spain I packed a reel and a few bits including some jigs and lures in the case but needed to buy a suitable rod when we got out there. I managed to find one but only a cheap tourist shop telescopic effort, it would have to do. I looked at the fishing options on the net but was a bit disappointed to discover nothing much to go on in terms of info for the area. I took a walk within the first day or so and found some nice looking rocks to fish from. The first couple of 1/2 hour  sessions drew a blank though and I thought it might be a waste of time. However on seeing some locals fishing from the same rocks later in the holiday I knew it must be worth another punt. With my trusty "slap up fishing gear" rod I managed to get down for a quick couple of hours before sunset and searching for signs of life I found  a shoal of mullet in the swirling cauldron of deeper water directly below the end of the rock outcrop. I decided that the lures I had would not be any help for these fish and so I managed to cobble together a two hook paternoster baited with bread and waited for the rod tip to nibble. The nibbles came and went but in typical mullet fashion were nigh on impossible to hook at first.

Eventually I watched the bread on the bottom hook drift around in the current below me, it suddenly disappeared and a dark shaped could be seen moving where the bread had been. In a split second I had struck and the fish was on ! Success a last, the fish fought well but was no match for the "slap up rod"  and 20lb braid !

I caught a smaller mullet soon after, an sadly lost an even larger one that slipped the hook as it violently twisted and turned below me.

A big canal Roach....

Back in Blighty after a couple of  mediocre short lure sessions on the canal catching a couple of small perch for my trouble  I deciding that a change was needed. So at the weekend I set up a rod for canal carp and a float rod to catch bits and anything else that came along. Last time I did this I hooked and lost a carp so decided to beef up the line to 4lb straight through. With the boilie rod in I set about building up a swim. It didn't take long to start getting bites and soon a steady stream of bite size roach and small to medium perch were coming to hand. The boilie rod stuttered off  at one point and my heart was in my mouth until I felt the fish fighting and new it  wasn't quite a carp but not a quite a bream either ? Turned out to be what I suspect might have been a hybrid of about 2lb which probably explained the bit of fight it had in it.
The boilie rod remained quiet after that bit of action, but the on the float things were hotting up, - I caught a few more reasonable perch in between the blade roach and lost  a better one that had run me round the swim taking line off the pin before slipping the hook just before the net slid under it.
Then on the fifth or sixth last cast of the evening I hooked a slow plodder that hooped the rod tip round rather nicely. Thinking bream I just let it slowly nod around drawing it steadily towards me until I caught the first glimpse of red and sliver. Not panicking I readied the net and strangely just glided it over the rim on automatic pilot. I was now looking down at a huge roach. Well huge in terms of my previous catches - in fact it turned out to be my new Roach  PB !
I have witnessed bigger Roach before, like when I fished with Jeff on the Warwickshire Avon a couple of years ago, but now this fish was in the bottom of my net.  The photos were taken and the fish weighed and safely rested and returned back the water. Shame it was a bit of a battered old warrior or maybe just badly out of condition after spawning.  I'd heard some tow path rumours before but now I know they are here I can always try for another in the future.

1lb 5oz Canal Roach

Sunday 11 May 2014

Funny looking zander...

Canal chub are something of an enigma in my experience, whilst I am well aware of their presence in the canal system they are not a natural target that I think about often. I've heard reports over the years of some very decent fish coming from most of the canals within my reach, but I have never got around to specifically fishing for any canal chub as yet. It's just another entry on my long to do list.
As with a lot of the chub I catch they often come by accident when fishing for other species. It happened again the other night, there I was sat in the darkness happily ledgering strips of trout on a stretch of canal for zander to see if I could locate some in a new area, when the bobbin finally slid up to the rod blank and the tip pulled round. I lifted into a fish that fought back and resisted being raised to the surface more than the usual 3 or 4lb zed would. This could be a decent one I thought until this fine chub popped up and slid over the net rim. Though not a big zander I wasn't disappointed to catch this nice chub of around 3 - 4lb.  If there is one fish that fits the omnivorous bracket best it must be the chub. They will have a go at virtually anything, in fact I think it is one of the only British freshwater fish you can catch on almost any method from fly to lure and certainly any bait !

Thursday 8 May 2014

Catching up - to do

Lure fishing can be a fickle mistress at times leaving you wondering why you bother at all. You can at times seemingly catch fish by chucking practically anything in the water and then suddenly without warning you can go weeks without catching much of anything at all.

It all started at one of my local lakes where I lost a couple of fish on a short morning session ending with a blank. Then it was off on holiday to Devon where I spent a couple of early mornings searching for a bass in vain.

Rough ground - surely bass heaven

But nothing to show for a long mornings chucking into a rising tide.

Finally on my return back to the Midlands I managed to get into a few small perch back on the canal, and a small pike from the lake on my old faithful 13cm 4play lowrider in flouro orange flavour.


As spring is now in full flow I had the urge to get the float rod out and try a little pool for tench and crucians, which was a 50 percent success at least.
Finally I took  walk down by the river on the way home from the last session in order to get some inspiration for the summer ahead.   I shouldn't have teased myself really because now the canal just doesn't seem so pretty and I just can't wait to get back on running water.
Frogging spot found.

Simple beauty of the river

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Snakes alive !!

When your out and about fishing you sometimes get to see other wildlife apart from the fish your pursuing.  Wildlife that you probably wouldn't see otherwise,. I mean why else would you be standing by the side of a canal at stupid hours of the morning?  Sunday was just one of these occasions when I was privileged enough to see quite a rare sight, a grass snake that swam up to me and under my feet along the canal margin.

Shortly after I got treated to another sighting in the form of a small group of Muntjac deer roaming along the far bank seemingly unfazed by my presence directly opposite them, as I quickly fumbled in my bag for the camera they causally wondered along looking for tasty shoots to eat along the way.

Despite blanking and the occasional bit of drizzle it was a great morning to be up and out in the early British springtime.

Here's a little clip of the snake

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Always time for a quick one...

5:00pm time to leave work.

Get in car and drive to the junction, beat the dithering old woman to pole position in my lane on the island, go right to head home, or straight on past the canal.  hmmm...  Follow the meandering traffic down the hill, got to hurry now.  Got to get to the canal bridge, I'll decide then, check my watch and the clock in the car,  shall I stop?.. is there time.. ?

10 minutes later .... Yeah, of course there is..

There was plenty of time for one of these,  and back home in time for tea.

Sunday 23 March 2014

Canal Zander - jigged

A bright and sunny Sunday lunchtime with on and off showers but a couple of hours free to myself,  I didn't fancy going far so I headed to the nearby canal. It's been a while since I successfully landed a lure caught Zander so headed to the stretch where I've succeeded before with the aim of trying out a fluorocarbon leader, as there are very few pike in this stretch.  I intended to attach this to a selection of light 2" jelly lures.   Unfortunately I had forgotten to put the bag of lures I had sorted out into my rucksack ! Luckily I still had some 3 & 4 " Kopytos in my other lure box in the car so dug them out from the dark corners of the box, dusted them down and fitted one to a 7gram jig head. 

It was a fair few casts before I finally had a take on an old 4" yellow kopyto that's done the rounds a bit, but hey if it still works then use it !

A bit overexposed... but you get the gist.

That was the only hit I tempted before I got a call from the wife asking if I fancied  heading out for a late Sunday lunch, Id already been out two hours and with a cold breeze biting my hands now, I happily agreed and headed back towards the car.

With the lighter evenings we have now,  I'm looking forward to squeezing in a few sessions on the way home from work so I can concentrate on finding more zeds and hopefully locate the perch ?

Saturday 15 March 2014

Double ending

Well that's it the fishing's over on the rivers for another season, it's a shame half of it was scuppered by the weather but that's fishing in Britain I guess.  I rounded my season off with a couple of hours on the river after work and although I caught this nice 11 lb'er  I also lost three others due to my own stupidity, one of them a very nice fish too.  (Note to self) Always make sure you have spare hooks and traces made up so you don't have to rely on hooks that are no longer sharp enough.  I could have ended the season with a red letter day otherwise !! Ah well roll on the new season...

Sunday 2 March 2014

Back to the river..

A long time since my last post I know, but I have been out fishing  once or twice since November. It's been pretty tuff going though with missed fish and a few blank sessions along the way.
With the rivers being up and in flood for what seems like the whole winter I haven't made any effort to venture very far from home.

In the last week or so though the rivers have started to settle down a bit in between  the odd downpour that threatens to bring them back up again. ( as I write it's pouring down yet again !!)

I have caught a couple of jacks here and there on the local rivers recently and then finally made it to the Dove today, and caught this scraper double on bait, my biggest so far this year.

a dove double (just)

I also lost another fish later in the session that took the bait within seconds of me dropping it in the margin presumably smack on its nose. I felt the line pulling tight as the float dived under because I was still holding the rod as I struck and it proceeded to rip 20 yards off the reel before spitting the bait, I didn't get to see it but it felt a good one, you know, heavy, solid and powerful !

I should hopefully manage one or two more sessions on the river before the close session kicks in, the hopes I had this year for plenty of river sessions and lots of big river pike have been washed away with the floods, so I'll be back on the canals again for a while I think, which isn't a bad thing but I'll look forward to the new season in June even more this year I expect.

A couple of jacks from the local ....