Thursday, 27 June 2013

Despair to elation

I was up for work yesterday as usual at 4:20am and i pretty much rushed for the rest of the day to get my work done and get on the bank to meet my mate Neil. We had planned to fish a river we usually fish from bank but today was going to be a trial in Neils boat to see what we could find. So after rushing round i was finally on the bank where Neil was already waiting for me with the Boat set up and ready to go, we would head of downstream and fish into the evening.

The river levels were really low but there was allot of colour in the water, despite there being some visibility it wasn't really that good for trolling. We must have spent about 4 hours exploring downstream with not so much as a take, it was very soul destroying and despite having a laugh we were both abit miffed and ready for a fish each.
A few boats had been through heading in the opposite direction which had churned the river bed up making even more colour, we hadn't thought about the fact that we was heading downstream and all that extra colour would be following us. When the penny finally dropped we thought it best to head back the other way and see if the water cleared abit beyond where the boats would go. On the way back we had abit of a drama when Neil let myself have a go at driving (sailing?) the boat. It was to be my first time and i soon realised and appreciated what Neil had to take on, watching the finder for snags and sudden depth changes, watching ahead for things, steering the boat and powering it whilst also fishing. After about 10 mins of me in control the engine suddenly cut out! what had happened was the braces on my waterproofs had snagged round the fuel line, when i moved it must have pulled it out. It took us awhile to get the boat going again all the time drifting into the trees, it would have been interesting if a large boat had come along and lapped us with waves!

I suggested Neil take back the controls when the engine was running again and off we headed back upstream, another hour and still nothing to show for our efforts. Just as we are discussing our next move Neil gets a couple of knocks then a fish is one, a nice little chub saved the boat from its first blank and Neil was chuffed to bits with the fish. next up we needed to find myself a fish to avoid a blank.

Eventually we got back to where we started with nothing else caught, Neil sometimes fishes this spot from the bank so he knew it well but wanted to run around the area with the finder to get some idea of the depths for future reference. We found a really big hole that was about 20ft deep and all around it was averaging about 3-7ft within the deep hole it looked like a huge ball of bait fish. This was a feature that was too good to miss so we anchored up on the edge of it and started to cast soft baits. I clipped a 2.5" white kopyto on, cast it out and let it sink, as soon as i started retrieving all went solid and i had a fish on, finally a fish on the line and i was going to save myself a blank! It felt like a good fish and it was staying low so we couldn't fully see it, just as it looked like we had the better of it, it flashed away and out pinged the kopyto!! barsteward!
I moaned for awhile at the loss of that fish, after fishing for so long then finally getting something on which also felt a good fish, then loosing it was heart wrenching.

i decided to change the kopyto to a cannibal shad which i also rigged with a stinger to hopefully avoid losing another if i was lucky enough to get another take. Luckily after several casts i was in again and this time the stinger made all the difference, a smaller fish than the first but as you can tell by my face i was over losing the first fish and pleased to be off a blank!

Not long after putting that fish back i was in again, and this time abit bigger, had we finally found some fish or had they suddenly just switched on?
The captain was in next with a pike, it was great to finally be onto some fish.

Several more casts and again I was in, this time a touch bigger again, when this fish surfaced we got quite a surprise and i consider this fish quite a special one, abit of a freak really... The photos do not show it well but this pike was bright electric purple! not just that usual sheen you get on some fish, the whole fish had a really bright vivid purple colour which was pretty amazing, its a real shame you cannot pick it up in the photos, there are hints of it but nothing like in reality, it was almost glowing it was that bright.

I was really beginning to enjoy myself now and the change to the cannibal shad with the stinger really paid off as most fish were hooked on the stinger. I was using my Volkey and these were the best fish id had on it to date, really solid stocky fit river fish really put the rod through its paces and it was a joy to play them on. Its really different playing fish from a boat as they have so much more water to run in, at times the fish were going under the boat tugging my rod end down into the water. I must admit i can get abit over excited and i bet at this point I was becoming abit annoying!
It was just about time to head back and get the boat out so Neil decided to have another quick scan for depths, while doing so i left my shad in the water and just let it swim, just as we was circling round i had a fish take the shad and i was playing another, a great little spell of fishing that I really enjoyed and just what I needed, a big thanks to Neil for putting me onto the fish and making it a great end to a frustrating session, cheers Mate.


Monday, 24 June 2013

Rainbow Perch

Just a quick update with a few things, I popped out today for a couple of hours trying for some perch. I was getting allot of nips but nothing was really sticking, I suspected it was a shoal of really small perch or just aggressive silver fish as they do sometimes nip at lures. I tried scaling down from a 2" Kopyto to a 1" kopyto along with other tiny lures but that resulted in no action at all so i thought at least i could plug away with the 2" kopyto and eventually hook one of the little beggers! It was slow going but i did manage a few along with this unusual perch that had no stripes and a rainbow trout like colouring, Ive caught them like this before. Shame we don't get bigger ones like it as its interesting having a variation.

On the building front, i have just finished a batch of snap beans, photos of which are below. I have also been tinkering with a few other things and have been getting into rod building, more of this to follow soon.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Shopping or....


With my kids birthdays coming up in a few weeks the grandparents both want to go shopping for presents this weekend, with my Mrs working all weekend I usually go out with my parents if I'm not fishing. So today was the first 'shopping' day, I couldn't think of anything worse than spending my weekend in Toys'r'us so chucked ultralight gear in the car so i could get dropped off for a few hours on a tiny river i fished a few years ago. On the last visit there was allot of chublets around and i caught loads on dry fly so fancied abit of that today.

On arrival the water was extremely low so I had to walk upstream to find some slightly deeper spots as most of it was about a foot deep with a sandy bottom and i could see there was no fish about. About a mile upstream it finally started to deepen but still only 2-3feet deep but there was quite abit of colour in so thought that might help the fish to ambush. There was also allot of lilies about and my first bit of action came when i was retrieving a small bean lure past some of the lilies. I noticed a big shadow following the bean, at first i thought it was one of the bigger chub but it kept getting bigger until it was virtually right in front of me inhaling the bean, it was a scraper double pike! Looking forward to the fight that was to ensue on the 3g rod i was using i gave it a quick strike but a head shake from the pike saw the bean come flying out...Bugger!

I carried on fishing after the initial bit of excitement and kept picking up perch and the odd small jack, the perch were amazingly coloured with really bright red fins and striking black bars. This was the kind of fishing I had missed for sometime, lots of action and a steady flow of fish despite nothing of great size but still fun on the tiny light rod.

My thoughts started to sway towards the prospect of a tiny river treble which would have been the icing on a very enjoyable couple of hours but despite catching lots of chublets a few years ago i just couldn't find any today.  I finished off with a crazy spell of pike, i think I'd had about 5 pike on in 5 casts all in the one area, all different fish too and another one that looked a scraper double. It didn't help because of the small spinner I was using it was tiny in comparison to a pike mouth and just kept pinging out, but the perch loved it and i was hoping for a chub so didn't bother changing it when it was getting so much action.

In the end i didn't want to leave i was enjoying it so much even falling over in nettles and getting wet through with rain.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Opening week...

The rivers opening again were finally here and I had made plans previous to get the most out of them when they opened. I booked two days off work after opening day which fell on a Sunday, this meant i had a good three days to go fishing.

It all started the Wednesday before opening day, I planned to fish a local canal and meet up with my mate Neil to discuss the first day and make some plans. We came up with a plan which was to fish a river that Neil had fished before from his boat and we picked the best spot to get into the river. While we was out making these plans we did do some fishing, the canal was not really up to much and in places still quite coloured, however after many hours fishing i finally got a reward in the shape of a good perch. At first I thought it was bigger than it weighed but was still happy when it read 2.5lb not much else caught but that one fish made up for it.

The day on the boat did not really go as well as we hoped, it was a real struggle and all though we caught 23 fish between us, that was well below average for the river. However it was great being out afloat and we enjoyed the day none the less, just sometimes you have too much expectancy.
Here's some photos of the day, the little jacks were crazy jumping and tail walking all over the place, we even had one jump into the boat which made for easy landing! Towards the end of the session I managed to capture one of the jacks jumping out.

During the session on the boat on opening day, i had developed hay fever which i hadn't had for years. This developed much worse on my second fishing day to the point i had to seek medical attention.
On the Monday which followed opening day I had planned to fish a few rivers from the bank with my mate Paul, ideally we had chub in mind but it was on the cards for a good mixed species day. Those plans all went out the window when we arrived on the bank to find the river flowing through very heavily coloured, the level wasn't a problem just horrible colour. We thought we should give it a go anyway and it turned out it was a good move as Paul landed a beast of a chub!
After that cracking fish we decided it would be better to go fish a small stream and catch some trout along with a good chance of chub,perch and pike on lures. Again the fishing was hard work this time on account of the low level and clean water making it hard to find the fish without them seeing us first, and when we did find fish they were not really in the mood only half heatedly having a go at the little cranks. Persistence paid off though as i managed to tempt quite a nice trout. By this point we had done allot of walking in long grass and often there was a fog of pollen around me, you can see the start of the terrible hay fever setting in, my eyes were starting to swell and itch and i couldn't talk for sneezing.
A few more smaller fish were caught before the end of the session, not what we would have hoped for but those two nice fish still sent us home happy. Well, I say happy... My hay fever became so severe it was suggested i go see a doctor as i couldn't even turn my eyes sideways they were so swollen and inflamed, the water was streaming out of them constantly.
Things are improving a little now but still in a bad way which wasn't made easy by going out fishing again this morning in the long grass. the river i chose was pretty choked with blanket weed so i just decided to take myself home and try to rest away from any pollen!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Ready for the rivers

Ive been busy making lots of cranks and bean lures recently in time for the rivers opening, these are the kind and size of lures i use when targeting chub but they get crunched by all species! I haven't finished all of the bean lures so will post them up when Ive finished them.

These cranks are made to work shallow and i tend to use them in rivers with a bit of flow and often in shallow pools, they work really well in the places that chub like to hang out.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

All trouted out...

Today i had my last trout session for awhile as i feel pretty much trouted out at the minute. Its been great and Ive had some cracking fish which have filled a gap while other venues were still waking up. I will still have the odd ultralight trout session but with the rivers due to open its time to focus on some other things. This year I really want to catch more river chub as last year was a total wash out.

So today I headed off for a few explorations on some becks with my mate Paul. The action started pretty much straight away with Paul hooking into a good lump of a trout.

The good start did not carry on really and it started to get tough with the really low crystal clear water, more often than not the fish would spook up ahead of us before we got a chance to fish for them. It was quite challenging in that respect. Paul eventually managed to tempt another good trout and this one was going on a run peeling line off Pauls reel, it gave a good scrap and even when it was nearly ready to net it was bidding one last attempt at freedom!
We fished on for quite some time without tempting anymore fish, they seemed more spookier than previous visits maybe on account of it being later into the season and coming into contact with more people. In the end we decided to cut our losses and head for another spot, this stream i had in mind was more over grown with canopy and had more flowing pools than flat sections. I thought the fact that the moving water and cover would help hide our presence more.
The plan worked well and first few casts i had nips and following fish, i was just about to go on past this particular pool when Paul decided to have one more cast. A huge trout came up and took the lure right in front of me, it shot past me towards Paul who was now enjoying the battle, it looked to be a really big fish but unluckily the hooks pulled just before it was ready for the net... Paul was more than a little bit upset about losing that one!
By now we were picking fish up from most pools and if not we were seeing them or getting plucks and takes so it was getting better, they were of a smaller stamp but still great fun. Eventually Paul found a slightly better one, which added to the other two he had earlier in the day and the big one he lost, he was having a great day. Myself on the other hand wasn't doing as well, I was catching and enjoying it but I was hoping for a good fish just to top it off.

Towards the end of the session we reached a heavily wooded area and enjoyed quite a number of fish just from a few pools, they were really stacked into these areas. Again it was difficult to leave as we wanted 'just one more each' over and over again, and there is always that excitement of seeing whats round the next corner.
Some cracking fish for Paul, and the fish below probably my biggest, with really big spots. A shame I didn't get a 'proper un' but it was fun and plenty of fish caught by both.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Good times ahead..

Its nearly that time that we all look forward to when the rivers open and we can start to explore moving water again. Unless you like catching trout then you can still fish the rivers as I've been doing most of spring, and theres just enough time for a couple more sessions before my focus will turn to the bigger rivers.

Yesterday I had a nice afternoon into evening session on a small stream with fellow LAS member John. Last time i fished with John we had a really good session so I was looking forward to it again.
We decided to head downstream this time and come back up and fish upstream later in the evening. Things started off well when John was into a fish not long after starting and as he was playing it I also had a take that sadly i didn't connect with but would have been great to have a double header to kick things off. Johns fish was an out of season Chub, but a nice one at that so I took a quick snap in the nice surroundings before John quickly put it back. Thoughts suddenly came to a weeks time when the rivers open and these fish can be targeted again!

We fished on downstream and picked up a few perch and small pike that were being found in very trouty looking swims, we kept moving on and for once the trout were proving harder to find. Eventually we found some and i caught this lovely fish after seeing it rising, I nearly carried on walking but headed back to the rise and cast over it getting a take straight away.

By now we were heading back up stream and the trout tally was starting to climb, not quite on the scale of recent visits but we were finding some fish at least. The best one came to John who fished a really fishy swim and had three goes at this fish, even after it was hooked momentarily it came back and took again on the next cast!

On Monday I had a few hours on a local canal and having not fished it for some time i was hopeful it had cleared of the dirty water, sadly it hadn't and the barges coming through didn't help at all. They would churn up lots of loose blanket weed and fishing through it was getting pretty pointless so i change to a weedless surface frog in hope that I'd get some takes in the warm weather. It wasn't actually long before a big mouth appeared from behind the fleeing frog and engulfed it. I nice fish on the frogs but sadly the only one as soon after a few more barges came through and turned the canal into a chocolate soup! Still, was great to get my first fish off the top on a frog.

On the lure building front I have been busy with more Ultralights that I'm just beginning to come to the finish stages of so will post some photos when done. In the mean time here is a couple of foil re-finishes I completed a week ago.