Monday 24 August 2015

Check it..

I post a bit on face book these days and have a "This Angling Life" face book page. It's far easier to use than blogger  especially on a mobile or tablet. Check it out sometime.

Saturday 15 August 2015

Challenge photos

Here's a few challenge points photos of some recent fish. A Very modest campaign this year so far compared to the rest of the field but I'll be happy as an alsoran if I can finish with one or two nice fish. That's the excuses out the way - here's a selection of my results to date.

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Smoothhounds abound

Since staying on the coast a few years ago I have been aware of Smoothhound. Whenever I visit the sea, like most anglers I expect our first thoughts are biased toward the fishing available in the area and what we can expect to catch ? The fishing pages mentioned smoothhound and that they would be running throughout the summer along the beaches where I would be staying, great  that's an easy one then.  Well you would think so but it's not so simple when you have to learn all about a new species and the methods and techniques needed to successfully target them.

Back then there were only a few pages on line that explained how to catch them and most seemed to insist on using  peeler crab, either freshly caught being better or frozen if not. The problem I found is that you need to either gather them yourself, not as easy to find on great expansive barren sandy beaches as they are down south in the secluded  rocky coves under racks of bladder weed. Alternatively you can pre order from the local tackle shops but I could never guarantee when I would be able to go fishing and had no way of storing frozen bait. Also at £5 for about 4 or 5 they are costly  To counter this I decided to try another option and use Lug worm which seemed to be more readily available shop bought, I even bought a £20 worm pump so I could hunt for my own on the beaches that seemed to be covered in them at low tide. This handful of attempts over a small series of visits to the area sadly bore no fruit and the idea kind of hit the back burner when I discovered there were some nice rivers,  drains and pools available to explore with my new forming passion for lure fishing.

This year however I thought about giving it another go as we would be visiting the area some more this year. Coincidentally some of the lads on a FB group I post on came up with a plan to have a go for smoothhound too and would be meeting near to where I stay.  I jumped at the kind offer to tag along and see what we could collectively come up with.

Meeting at Phil's house ( the host of the event)  just before eight in the morning, we were soon all gathered in his back garden discussing tactics and dividing up the packets of bait. After a hearty breakfast scoffed eagerly by six of us provided by Phil and expertly cooked by his better half we were soon heading to the beach, stopping off on the way to pick up some peeler crab and black lug worm from the bait man in the village. Shortly we were spread out in a line along the beach to Phil's lead.

The action began pretty quickly when the yell came from up the beach as Phil rod drew first blood with a small pup. I don't think it was long before Andy landed the next.  Not sure if I was next or if it was Dave but soon 4 of us had caught our target.

Chuffed with my early result of a small starry pup,  I was soon belting out the lead again to a comfortable 70 yards or more. I missed  another rod wrapping bite but confidence remained high.
Dave caught another fish, a bigger one this time that attracted an audience as we all gathered to see what he was bending into. Best fish so far.

 Leo and Phil K were getting a little frustrated by now, being surrounded by others who had all landed fish but not able to get any bites themselves. Leo remarked that he would try the black lugworm  for a better chance of  a fish, any fish would do, but he was sure that it would not be a smoothhound  that would take it.  Not 10 minutes later and he eating his words as he was bending into a good un.  I was on hand to tail out the fish of the day for him,  and what a cracking example it was too. Not a giant to the experienced sure,  but to us novices it was still pretty impressive non the less.

That was the end of the action for the day aside from a few dabs and flounder caught,  and the strange story behind the small thornback ray the was landed by Dave and Phil in a mixed up tangle of lines.
Fast forward a week and I was back down with the family for the weekend. The tides were not peaking at the best of times for me but I decided to go for the early start on the Sunday morning for a 5:00am kick off. Phil commented on FB that he would be there too so I aimed to get up at 4:30am to meet up. As I walked over the brow of the sand dune I was greeted by a calm sea and the sight of Phil bending into a fish already ! I thought he might just be dramatically reeling in a lump of weed but no the kick on the rod tip gave away the culprit. I was soon taking the photos for his new PB.  Quickly setting up and casting out my bait I was all set for the rod to hoop over any second. many seconds later I was still waiting as Phil was into another not more than 30 yards away from where I stood. Springing in ghillie action, I tailed his second fish and PB of the day.
As the fish was returned I noticed Phils second rod tapping away and shortly another pup was drawn up to the beach and quickly returned. A little over a week ago we would have both been gobsmacked at it.... now it was put back without a second  thought like so many a jack or  a schoolie zed ... such is the nature of progress.
In case your thinking well did he blank, yeah you'd be right, no rhyme, no reason that's fishing. I'll say this though, it was still worth the early rise to see those fish and re-affirm the tactics. Time fishing is never wasted  someone once said ........... till next time.
Oh and finally here's the 6lb carp I caught for the bloggers challenge points.. could do with feeding it a sack of pellets (its a joke..).

Monday 18 May 2015

One little fish

So we're away for the weekend and Jacob asks if I will take him fishing. This was a bit of a shock as he's always been a bit reluctant to go with me in the past. Next morning we were out on the caravan park lake nice and early-ish at around 7:30am.

I set up two rods, one a waggler rod and second utilizing my medium lure rod as a crude sliding bomb set up. A few missed bites on whole worm to the bomb started the session off before I decided to abandon it and concentrate on helping Jacob land his first fish. I did the casting as i just wanted him to enjoy catching and not confuse him with too many of the technicalities.

The first fish came in  soon after casting out, much to Jacobs surprise and obvious delight. Next cast and it was his turn on the rod. The float dipped again and Jacob struck well, wound in the fish and lifted it out swinging it gently to my hand with good control for his first go.

A series of fish came until he'd reached 10 to my 2. Mind you it was difficult to get a look in on the rod once he'd realised he was catching all the fish with minimal help from me. Every fish had to be photgraphed with him holding it up (like father like son). That was until he got a handfull of roach milt on one occasion. I told him it was just milk - easier than trying to explain the truth. (Don't worry he went staight to the toilet block to wash his hands). Eventually the stiff breeze and hunger got the better of him and he toddled off back to get breakfast in the warm. I carried on and managed one more fish on the worm rod, a nice 10 oz roach before the smell of bacon butties cooking had me also retreating out of the wind for breakfast.

Sunday 15 March 2015

Closing time again

My river season has been a strange one this year -  I've hardly done any to speak of in comparison to previous years. Most of my time has been spent lure fishing the canals for zander and the odd perch instead. My visits to the rivers has been so few and far between I don't think I even fished for barbel this year which I aim to rectify in the new season ahead.

Well, in my usual last minute rush I tried to squeeze a few sessions in over the last remaining weekends in hope of a river pike, and maybe some trotting for grayling. Suffice to say this didn't quite go a well as planned and either the conditions were against me or the fish not obliging. And so we came to my finale on the river on Friday afternoon. Thursday night prior around 10:00 pm, tackle prepared, baits purchased for Pike and maggots for trotting for grayling so it starts to rain and didn't stop until well into next morning on Friday.... just bloody perfect timing.  So as suspected arriving at the first river venue that afternoon to find it chocolate brown and creeping over the banks. No good for trotting nor did I feel confident in searching for pike holed up in any slacks in that lot either.  Next venue and conditions were slightly better the river was up but not too much. A few other anglers were already down to try for barbel.  I found the swim I fancied was free and quietly set up my gear as a barrage of heavy feeders boshed down into the river around  me.  This river was still steadily rising as my carefully positioned banksticks indicated, starting on shore then soon to be surrounded by water.   After an hour of this and not so much as a twitch on maggot or Lamprey I decided to cut my losses and head elsewhere while there was still time. To a smaller river now that can usually be relied upon to throw up a few Jacks in a short session, with the outside chance of something larger. Again within the time allotted for something to have occurred, the same empty result on both maggot and deadbait. I was just not feeling it here either so with one last chuck of the dice I was off to the canal.

First cast on  the half Lamprey I had been using all afternoon and within 15 minutes the line started to tighten and the float sank away resulting in this lovely mid double to save my afternoon. (15lb 3oz)

The only other notable capture since the last update is this lovely 2lb 4oz canal perch caught at the beginning of March.

 So that's my end of season update, a season where I spent practically most of the time fishing the Canal and neglected the river, and now I can't fish it I am missing it already- roll on June 16th !


Sunday 15 February 2015

Jan to Feb round up

Lure fishing for canal zander  has taken up most of my fishing time since Christmas and It's been quite enjoyable, catching plenty of zander and the odd perch. I've even started to dabble with drop shotting finally but I'm not convinced yet. It does work well that's true but not sure it's anymore effective than jigs or lures not in my limited experience of it so far. It's all subjective though and you need to fish how you enjoy doing it and not by what current the trend is.

Not many pike to report this winter and as the days tick by I grow more and more consious of the fact that my winter river pike fishing will soon run out of time. I will of course continue to fish for the zander on quick after work sessions especially as there is enough light left now to fish the witching hour properly(light into dark).

I managed to get on the river today for an hour or two and while the result was a resounding blank it wasn't a complete waste of time. You see after sitting for the first hour with no action. I thought about how I could get my bait to a beter spot.  I soon discovered a new technique for those hard to reach spots downstream you can't quite cast to,  namely trotting ! Yes nothing new there and no doubt it's a standard tactic for most pike anglers, but this was the first time I've thought about using it myself for pike. I suppose the swim I was fishing lent itself perfectly to technique, indeed it is a very good roach and grayling trotting run.

The slack area on the near margin is mouthwatering for pike but is unreachable by cast alone due to the overhanging trailing branches of the first tree,  but trot a sardine down the swirling current to the desired distance then tighten up the line to swing the float and its cargo in towards the margin and straight into the mouth of a waiting pike. Well that was the theory. First attempt and the float glided into position in the slack water. It stayed in position for a while then 'bob bob' stop. "Better check that" I thought, As I wound down the slack line pulling up tight to the rig, the rod hooped round to a heavy weight then the pulse of a large fish kicked back up the line. I had to get it away from the branches quick so tried to bully it out into open water. The fish started to move and was just clear of the branches, I was now ready to fight her in the strong flow of the pool when that sickening shift in pressure from heavy to light suddenly occured as she let go ! Arhh ##@** she hadn't turned the bait yet and the hooks had not stuck. Ahh well at least the theory had worked and a good fish was hooked all be it only briefly, but I think i'll be back before the close.