Thursday, 27 September 2012

Welcome to my Perch Blog!

Its seems all I'm posting about at the minute is Perch! Throughout the year i go through lots of phases of fishing certain venues or techniques, or targeting specific species. You have to make the most of what you can find so when conditions etc are right its always best to go with an approach that will provide the best action for the time.
In summer I do allot of pike fishing with surface lures, in winter I do allot of grayling fishing on the fly, in spring I target the pre spawn pike with jerkbaits and swimbaits, my year is always revolving, at present its the best time to get good results with big perch so that's what I'm concentrating on.

Today I was abit optimistic about the colour of the water with all the rain we have had and seeing the rivers just about holding there banks, and in some places not! Its amazing to see just how much water has fallen this week! despite the water being very coloured I did ok and caught into double figures most of which were a good size of fish.

The method that worked today was a very slow jig with lots of pauses, its great fun watching the rod tip like a quiver rod and suddenly seeing it rattle away or thud right over as you jig the shad up. I'm beginning to think I've missed out on allot of fish over the year by not thinking about what I'm doing. I've stuck with my usual retrieve style for too long and blamed not catching as many as usual on the fish not being interested. In reality the water has been allot more coloured and more often, so it should have made sense to slow things right down and give the fish longer to find the lure, this is why jigging works very well as they see the lure and react to it allot quicker than when your just retrieving constantly and pulling it away from fish before they have fully locked onto it, which is then lost in the coloured water. The last two times I've spent more time jigging slowly I've caught allot more fish.

Here's a few photos from today including a mussel which took a fancy to my kopyto, or was it the other way round!


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

More success with Perch

Over the last few weeks my focus has been on locating the perch that have been very quiet this year, I've had to do allot of searching in new places and allot of walking to get there but have done ok. I've managed to find some nice ones too along the way, but more importantly i've had some good fun with the smaller fish too, sometimes when your struggling with other methods, venues or fish species its nice to have time out and just bag a load of small perch and enjoy the wealth of attention your lures get as they pass through the shoals of these little hungry chompers!

Allthough I like a nice big perch now and again, i'll never tire of catching and photographing those fin perfect little aggresive ones.

A few from over the last week or so.


Thursday, 20 September 2012

The search for perch continues...

Having not been able to locate the perch at a usual spot i fish, today i decided to try another area in hope of locating them. I've had some nice perch this year but whats been missing has been the many shoals of small perch that provide great fun on light tackle sometimes and quite often taking consecutive fish on many casts. Its nice when you've had a few not so good days to go to a venue full of small perch and just have a few hours bagging up!

Well today paid off, I didn't end up with much time but the short time i had ended up being quite hectic with most casts involving some kind of response, be it a fish, a take or a follow. i really enjoyed just catching a few fish and they were all in super condition, lovely colours and well defined bars, they were also feeding up as everyone had a stuffed belly.

I also caught a pink perch! It had a very unusual pinkish colouring to it which I've not seen before.

Here's a few photos to show just how pristine and fin perfect they were, all of them were bristling too, dorsals stood on end with sheer aggression.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Searching for Perch

I went out today in search of Perch and was hoping to find them shoaling up ready for winter, The canal I was fishing was quite heavily coloured so I knew it was going to be tough going.
I started off with a kopyto shad in white to try and cut through the colour. Things started slow but eventually a fish was on and an enjoyable fight ensued. A lovely perch was netted and was in really good condition, you could see it had been feeding by the full stomach.
After a short a while another much smaller perch was on, this one also very fat, they were obviously feeding up for winter. I don't think the colour of the water really helped but still the signs were not there that they where packing into shoals and specific areas.

Things never really got any better with just another couple of dropped takes. i then started to jig a kopyto shad in the margin to see how deep it was and to feel the lure bounce on the bottom, as i was lifting up I thought I'd snagged up until i checked my rod tip and it started nodding, surprisingly a chub surfaced and was soon in the net. A strange turn of events but very welcome.

A couple of nice fish caught but still no sign of the kind of sport I was getting around the same time last year, I'll probably leave it a couple more weeks now or try and fall on it when the colour has dropped out.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Testing flash flies

yesterday i went to my local canal for abit of fly fishing for pike, I'd tied a few flash flies recently based on one I had that I lost a few weeks ago. I'd had allot of interest in the past with this flash fly, I used to use it for fishing abit deeper in slightly coloured or stained water and it was one that showed up really well in these conditions. To fish them deeper I weighted them, some with dumbells and some with fish skulls, I like to combine the flash tinsel with red materials too.

Incidentally the first fish of the day was caught on another fly I was wanting to try, a nice little jack saved a blank.

Things went abit quiet for awhile but as soon as i switched over to one of the flash flies i started getting abit of interest. After casting along side some tree cover i was just picking up the slack line and as soon i made contact with the fly a pike had come out of the cover and snatched the fly, A nice golden coloured pike that gave a great account of itself jumping on multiple occasions, really enjoyable.

I went on to get another really strong take that nearly pulled the rod out of my hand as i was stripping, Ive not had that before on the fly rod so it must have been taking off at speed as soon as it took the fly, either that or a very good fish, either way i'll never know as the hook didn't stick.
I was also impressed with the Authanic wire i was using, its the first time i've given it a go and have to say its lovely supple stuff, its literally like a piece of string its that soft and supple. After the above pike it did show signs of kinking but this was easily rubbed out by rubbing along the opposite way of the kinks between my finger and thumb. As you can see below, before and after.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Another re-capture

I woke this morning to the sun beaming down and just knew the only thing I would want to do is be out in it fishing. I decided on a small local river and quickly set about on the vice tying up a couple of deer hair diver pike flies. I didnt have much in the way of materials to make them just a limited supply but was still pleased with what I produced. I'd not had a chance to try for the pike on the fly for abit so was looking forward to giving the divers a go.

One was tied in the normal fashion and i thought i'd try one with an upwards facing hook to try eliminate weed snagging, i tied some flurocarbon underneath so i could fix some split shot so that the fly would sit the right way up.
I got to my chosen river and set off with the pike fly outfit and the flies i'd tied prior to going out. As i walked through a shaded area I could the water was absolutely full of fish shoaled up, I dont really know why they were there but there was thousands of them.
I thought to myself, i'll have to come back for those with the #3 fly rod if the piking doesnt produce much!
After a short while I realised that i was not really getting the best out the venue with it being quite clear and the level had dropped allot making the weed more prominent on the surface. I made the decision to go back for my fixed spool outfit and the weedless frogs so that i could fish more acurately along and in the weed margin where i expected the pike to be laid up out of the sunlight.
I fished back up the stretch I usually catch on and abit further up too with not even as much as a take, i thought it might be difficult with the sun blazing down. I then wondered if the fish i'd seen earlier where shoaled up there out of the sun as it was a very shaded area, with the water being shallow it would warm up quickly.
I carried on knowing i would be coming into another shaded area and thought i might find some pike there keeping out of the sun, first cast along the margin into the shade and a fish took my frog, I could see it was a nice fish and seemed to be well hooked so i gave it abit of stick to get it in quickly so i could take a quick snap and get it back as to not distress it in the warm sun. I didnt weigh the fish as again I wanted it back and would rather have a photo with the time i had it out. It would have been a midish double. I also noticed it was blind in one eye probably from a lure sometime or bad handling.

When i got home later i realised it was a fish i'd caught back in august 2011, again on a frog and i didnt weigh her then either for the same reasons. Heres the fish below back in august last year.

You can see by the marking above the anal fin in particular that its the same fish, nice to know its doing well despite the bad eye, i always name my recaptures so i can identify them again on the bank so this one will be known as 'Bad Eye'
Despite having another 2 takes that failed to hook up it was proving quite quiet so i then decided to go back and have a go at the silver fish in the shade, a quick swap for my #3 fly rod and i was bank side again.
I soon started picking up fish with small nymps mostly rudd and a few roach, The small rudd below met its maker when i threw it back in, as soon as it hit the water a jack came from nowhere and smashed it off the surface, id not even seen the pike!



Thursday, 6 September 2012

Making the most of the surroundings

Today I went to a spot that i like to think of as my little sanctuary, once you get away from the road your in the middle of nowhere and it feels like your totally in the wilderness. I've seen all sorts of wildlife here some of which is quite rare.
I tend to do most of my fishing here over winter and into spring, as the river suffers allot from weed growth and flooding. Today the water was quite clear and the weed growth wasn't too bad but still suited frogging better than any other method. I was surprised at how high the water appeared despite a lack of significant rain lately, it was clear water too and not your usual coloured water, even allot of the land around was quite flooded.

So the first cast with the hollow bodied frog across and up river was met with a sideways swipe from a pike, taking the frog under and flying over to the near margin, i wound down and i thought it had let go but after abit of winding i felt the fish so struck into it and it wasn't there! I think what had happened was the fish had swam towards me so i was just reeling in the slack and then not having the right angle to strike effectively. Another few casts and a follow, this was looking promising so headed on.
Nothing was doing really so i decided to head for another spot and on my way came across some swans and a brute of a bull.

I reached my next spot and after a few casts I had another take on the frog, i wound down and felt the fish but the same was happening, the pike was swimming towards me so i wound quickly and got a good solid strike in but it was off straight away. I fished around that area and had a few pike come for the frog but not take, one of which i was surprised to see come from at least 10 metres away, i saw the water bulge as it started to home in on the frog but as it got in front of it, it gave the frog a slap with its tail as it turned and splashed away.
I then came to a clear area so thought I'd try a 4play and fish through the water, straight away I had a take getting a good view of the pike come flying in and snapping at the lure, but not actually taking it in, still fish less it was turning into one of those days.
I started to make my way back and not think about the fishing and just enjoy the surroundings. I recently set my camera up so that i have it in a pouch on the front of my bag strap so that i can grab it easily, theres times Ive seen things and not taken a photo as the camera has been in my rucksack. I looked across and down an opening in some trees where a small dike cut through and noticed a heron sat in a beam of sunlight while some swans also swam through, i grabbed the camera and took a photo. I'm really enjoying taking photos and think I'll add a better camera to my wish list, the one I have is good for what i need but I'd like to take better photos of the wildlife and things i see, my current camera just doesn't hold the quality when i need to zoom in on something. This would have made a cracking photo if I'd have been able to zoom in and retrain the quality.
i was now back where i'd parked and thought i'd have my last 10 minutes the other way down stream, which looked a little clearer of weed so stuck on another fly with a weighted fish skull on that i'd managed to save myself from a blank with the previous day. It did the trick as after a few casts a modest jack came following it in, id run out of room so i had to let it drop down into the weedy margin where i could no longer see it or the pike. I waited a second or two and then gave it a little jig and the marginal vegetation moved so i struck and was into the pike. I could see it was only just lip hooked and after a few head shakes the hook pulled out...beggar!
This pretty summed up my weeks fishing of missed chances, and things would have been allot different if i'd taken most of the chances that were offered, but never mind i wasn't disappointed as i was glad to be out again enjoying it.
As I was about the turn and head back again i noticed something moving out the corner of my eye and was pleased to see a little grass snake having a swim.
The highlight of my day came when i got back to my car and took one last look at the river, noticing a kingfisher sat very close to me on a branch next to the waters edge, I knew it had seen me and as i reached for the camera it flew off! as it did so i saw a big boil in the water so went down the bank with the camera to take a look, thinking it might be an otter. it all went quiet and just when i was thinking it must have been  a fish, up popped a bloody cormorant right in front of me, i don't know who jumped the most, it struggled to fly off at first from the shock of seeing me....
Go on beggar off ya fish killer!!!

As i got back into the car i thought i'd take a quick snap of the field beside me, to me it pretty sums up the time of year, things slowly starting to change, and for fishing, a few good months to come!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Fishing in the!

I was set for fishing after work today for a short session, i wanted to test some pike flies ive been tying so opted to take the fly outfit along with a medium fixed spool outfit incase it was too windy for the flies.

Two days in a row its been sunny, whats going on! I've read somwehere that september is supposed to be nice and warm all month so maybe a chance for the fishing to settle down after on and off rain for most of the year!

I set off with the fly out and after trying a few swims i was finding it abit awkward with all the loose weed about and the tight swims, i'd also spooked a jack pike in just about every swim i'd walked into so could'nt resist going back to the van and switching outfits so i could have a go with the weedless frogs and get some pike off the top hopefully.
It didnt pay off as after about 2 hours i'd not even had a take, the venue i was fishing was usually very good in summer for frog fishing but then again it is usually covered in duck weed for most of the summer which gives the pike confidence to come off the bottom with it being a very shallow and clear venue. This year the duck weed has'nt grown at all due to all the rain and lack of sun.

I was nearing the end of my time and remembered i had left a few boxes of flies in my bag so took the few minutes i had left to try out one of the weighted flies i'd tied which i thought i'd be able to cast on my fixed spool outfit.

The fly was inspired by something i'd seen in a fly magazine, the author of an article had added a tag of red materail to the back of his fly using a few strands from the centre of the fly itself. I thought this was a good idea and assumed that with the cone effect the material was tied in, it would wiggle behind the fly.

I set about tying myself something similiar but opted to also add a fish skull to it so i could fish it deeper.

You can see from the photos above the idea of the added tag, i think if the tag was more flared and maybe more rigid it would wiggle more. I'm sure theres lots of room for experimentation anyway. The first thing i'd probably do is try one without the weighted head, the addition of the head would mean the fly would swim up and down rather than side to side.

Anyway back to the fishing.... I had a few flicks out with it to see what it looked like in the water, it had a nice swimming action up and down and allthough the tail tag didnt wiggle as much as i'd hoped it did have abit of extra movement on its own so did add something to the overall fly.
I get it a long cast to the other side of the canal and worked it over the cabbages before letting it sink down into the boat channel of the canal, i then jigged it along and back up the near margin by lifting the rod tip and working it abit quicker... FISH ON! A fish took it as I was working it back up the margin, would you believe it all that time with the frogs and the first cast with the fly and it produced a fish!

It didnt end there either, the next 5 casts produced another fish and a follow, had i finally found a method for fishing the boat channel when the cabbages were in the margins? Im assuming the fish hide in the boat channel out of sight with the canal being so shallow and clear its one of the best places for them to hide.
They can be so vividly marked across the back they can often look like green mackerel in the water!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The one that got away

Today I was visiting a spot I'd not been to for a few weeks in hope that the colour had dropped out of it. My chosen method and quarry was in the form of bouncy kopyto shads along the bottom looking for some big perch.
The venue I was fishing has a good head of perch its just timing it right with the colour and conditions.

I could tell straight away when I saw the water that it would be a struggle, about 6" visibility in sometimes over 15 foot depth is not good. Its always worth a go through as predators like the perch don't feed on sight alone.

I managed to get into a few perch in a short flurry of action, managing a couple of better ones with the best just short of 2lb. I then lost a good fish off before continuing to fish the same area, all of a sudden the line went tight and a good fish was on. I could tell straight away this was a big perch probably a 3lber, it was a heavier weight and you could tell by the slower and more powerful head shakes. It started to come towards me but as i expected as it came near it decided to wake up and bolt for the depths. My reel started screaming as the fish drove for the bottom, then without warning the braid gave way at the reel, I looked at the line on the water and it wasn't really moving away so I'm not sure if the fish came off too. I immediately inspected my reel and rod rings for sign of damage but nothing was obvious. There was no reason for the braid to break as the rod i was using was a very soft actioned rod and the reel was screaming so the drag wasn't set to high, it had to be a defect in the braid or just abit of damage to the braid that had gone unnoticed.
A shame the fish might have gone with a hook in its mouth and a shame I didn't get to see what or how big it was, the thing is, I've fished this venue probably more than 50 times and have only had perch and chub, it fought like a perch and not like a chub so my thoughts were on the size of it knowing it could have only been a perch. In fact I've hooked a trout here before but not landed it so it could have possibly been a trout but if it was it would also have been a big one as smaller trout go nuts straight from the off and this fish held its ground at first.

Never mind theres always tomorrow...hopefully some pike on the fly!