Sunday, 28 December 2014

Rod Testing

Got out today to try out the rod Ive been modifying and mentioned previously. The rod is a savagear butch light 50-80g 8'6" and i wanted a longer handle as i have long arms and wanted the butt to rest along side my ribs and not the butt end digging into them.

So I extended the handle by about 3-4" and also added about 35g right in the butt to balance it better. I gave it a test last week with some duplon grips just pushed on but on Christmas eve i had time to fully build the handle. First off all i tried to match the gold of the blank above the fore grip but it didn't look right so i went to wipe it off while still wet and it left me with a really nice effect. I liked the custom look of of it so decided to leave it. I went for duplon behind the reel seat for comfort and added a trim ring of dark cork. The butt was turned in cork, i went for cork because the butt would be sat under my arm allot and cork would be much more durable than duplon that is prone to ripping and marking easily. I made the butt quite slim to also make it more comfortable when tucked under arm, and finished it off with a couple of rings of composite cork to cap it off to protect the end. Finished with a black thread and silver trim.

Onto the fishing.. well i was up early looking to make the most of it and out in the sub zero conditions. It was the first time id felt id needed gloves and even with those on my finger tips where painful. I always wear surgical gloves under other gloves to protect from getting wet when using baitcasters as they can spray water all over your hands. I'm not one for wearing gloves and never wear them unless i know I'll be in pain as its just not worth being uncomfortable when fishing. 
The fishing was quite tough to be honest and i didn't expect any less given the temperatures but i was always hoping for something big to show up but sadly it didn't. I managed 3 pike which keeps me in the fish and away from any blanks but it felt like i put allot more effort in than i got out in reward.

Chuffed to bits with the rod though it does and is exactly what i wanted for throwing my shads on, which i fished with today and caught on. Only trouble is now I've developed a problem, and that's the feeling of needing to use my shads because Ive made them. It will be difficult to fish with other lures at the minute, not so much a bad thing if there catching for you but if i had varied things up a bit i might have caught more, finding a lure that they wanted. 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

All work and no play..

Ive been pretty busy recently and just not been able to get out fishing for many reasons. Its not often i go a week without fishing but this month i think Ive only fished twice. So I was pretty keen to get out this week for a few hours before Christmas came.
I've been pouring more shads and wanted to try some out along with another rod project i wanted to test. I've been wanting a longer rod (ooer) for awhile now for chucking my 7" shads amongst other things, i wanted a longer rod to help reach over the margins on the bigger rivers, sometimes, due to the quite dangerous banks you can be perched on a mound further up the bank unable to get low enough to the water but still within netting distance. A long rod help with this amongst other things like control and casting distance, i think it also feels better with a fish hooked on a longer rod. Another requirement i had was for a longer handle from the reel seat to the butt, i have quite long arms and find the butt can by right in my ribs at times which is not comfortable. I was looking about for the ideal rod/blank when a mate offered me a savagear Butch light xlnt 30-80g and at 8'6" it certainly fitted the bill. I thought I'd take a punt on it and had plans to re-build the handle anyway. As it turned out the handle did need to be longer so i extended it by 3-4" which sat right under my arm and left comfortable.
I got to try the rod out the other day along with some new poured shads, if the rod suited what i wanted it for my plan was to order the parts to complete the handle. I was a bit dubious whether or not I'd catch and having gone so long without fishing its surprising how the confidence wains not to mention your updated knowledge of venue conditions. I find when your fishing regularly you build up a kind of mental note of conditions on different venues and you can near enough guess what they will be like after differing weather, but i had no clue what was going on out there as id not been out enough.
The river were still going to be a bit of a chance but what the hell i was just glad to get out. I was chuffed to bits when i got a fish on and was already enjoying the rod alone which did everything i wanted it to do for the job in hand. I ended up with 3 pike to scraper double size which was enough to keep me happy until next time.

Some more natural patterns experimenting with subtle multiple pours.

I've also been trying some foil inserts as shown below which should give off lots of flash and at the bottom some of my 4" shad with Mylar tubing inserts. Still enjoying it and finding it addictive, the trouble now is using other lures as you always tend to favour your own when you make them and catch on them, but i don't suppose theres anything wrong in that.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

No Fishing

Well my fishing has really ground to a halt, i was quite hungry to get out this week but my Mrs car broke down so until we get that sorted we are down to one car which she needs for work. I'm hoping i get it back in the next day or so as I'm desperate to get out before Christmas.
In the meantime I've been doing a few more shads and have done some really nice colours, the pearl effects don't show on the photos but they look really nice.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Product testing

For the first time in probably years i have gone a full week without fishing, and this has been down to getting obsessed with making soft plastic lures. I'm really enjoying it at the minute and today i finally got out to give my fruits of labour a wetting. To say it went well was an understatement, i started off by loosing a decent fish i didn't see that took on the drop while i had slack line due to the wind, even with the bow in the line i felt the pluck but i struck into slack and just felt contact at the end of the strike, not enough to set the hooks and it was off after a short while. Casting back out in the same swim saw me snag up, i pulled for all my might hoping not to loose my shad despite having a box full, the facilities at home to make endless copies and a dealer half an hour down the road to supply me with the stuff to make them. It gave way and i felt i still had my shad on, but then half way back i got another take and i struck and it was off straight away. When i lifted my shad out i realised my stinger had gone, so basically when the fish took i had no hook on!

Off to the next swim with a bit of confidence that my shad was doing the business and i was in first cast after starting the retrieve, a fish that wouldn't have made double but it was seriously fat pushing it into doubles. I was fishing with Paul who was also trying out a shad and he was in on his first cast in the same swim while i was putting mine back. Another double and another obese fish, they had really been feeding hard.

Paul had a jack and we missed a couple of takes before it was nearly time to call it a day with the light fading so it was time to go over a couple of swims again where we had missed takes. I was soon into a fish and thought it was a reasonable jack because it was whizzing all over with allot of energy, not your usual slow plodding of a big fish, i nearly got it in sight and it tore off which made me think, hang on a minute. With the slight coloured water when it came closer you could make out the shape but not enough to see it but it was a big shape!
Finally in the net and weighed on some reputable scales of Paul's (hes learnt his lesson with scales now) it came in at 21lb 8oz. I'm absolutely chuffed to bits, i could have had any lure on and probably caught it but the fact id not been out for a while and then gone out to test my lures and caught such a nice fish made it extra special.

If you really are thinking of giving soft lure making a bash get in touch with Mark at, its easier than you think! You can buy moulds already made so you can pour your own or go the full hog and design your own. The best thing is when you get that lure that catches and gives you confidence in it you can make hundreds cheap! so no worries about shops not selling them.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

More softbaits

I'm hardly doing any fishing at the minute as I'm totally engrossed in making soft lures, i don't think Ive been missing much though as the fishing hasn't been great.

I've been pouring more of my 7" shad trying to improve the way i pour and get the best quality end product i can and its starting to come together now, my favourite so far are the two below, which are followed by a few random coloured ones trying things out


I'm looking forward to getting out and actually catching on these as so far Ive only tested them and not fished to catch with them. I'm as pleased with the action as the look though and I'm sure its only a matter of time before i catch on them once i start throwing them at fish.

I then moved onto my next soft bait which is something i will use allot in my fishing, a 4" shad. I use this size allot as its a good size to throw at pike but still stand a good chance of a decent perch or chub too. While pouring my other lures i i had an idea i wanted to use on a smaller sized shad, that being to try and emulate the really pearly belly shape of a fish, Ive noticed this before on minnows and took this as my inspiration. Although slightly bigger than a realistic minnow i went for a minnow shape with the 4" shad, and then tried to replicate the belly with my pouring. Below shows the concept, hard master and the first poured bait after making the mold.

I'm really pleased with how these turned out and although the pearl effect does not show in photos i pretty much got the look i wanted. I have ideas to improve this particular pattern as i want to include so black along the flank and also use some better eyes. 

I can't stop pouring lures at the minute its very addictive, i actually had to go to the pound shop to get some Tupperware cos I'm running out of storage for them.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

When ya can't buy what you want..

Make it ya self!

Theres been a few things ive wanted recently that ive come stuck with getting hold of, either because its too expensive shipping in or because we just dont have anything here that i like. 

I've made pretty much everything in lure fishing now except a few things which recently ive finally got round to doing and now i have a whole new avenue to go down, theres nothing like supplying yourself with things to fish with. Its not just the satisfaction of catching on something you have made, its a whole interest in itself and the interest keeps going at home when not out on the bank.

So recently it started with not being able to get hold of decent nose weights to screw into bigger sized soft shads to replace the use of jigheads and make a break away rig so that soft lures hopefully last longer by not being chewed up inside a pikes mouth while playing it. This was done surprisingly easy by just making a mold of a 10g weight to put a wire through and then form it into a screw in spiral. I've allready gone on to make some 20g versions but these 10g versions were my first.

Then i struggled to find decent loose body soft shads bigger than 6" most were either crap or just too expensive. At this time Wayne Fletcher from the lure anglers society started showing some of the brilliant work hes been doing with soft shads and this sparked off ideas in my head that id had for awhile. I fish with soft plastics in all sizes probably more than i do any other lure type, but yet i made every other lure type except soft plastics. I had a go with a decent sized shad earlier this year but it didnt turn out as good as i'd wanted and at that point i felt like i was wasting time and money not achieving what i wanted. I put that on the back burner meaning to come back to it until as i say Wayne reminded me of what could be done.

So i set about making another 7" shad master to make a mold of, as i was doing this i was starting to get allsorts of ideas of how i could make more and more soft plastics of all sizes. I finnished my master and it was a case now of making a mould of it into a top pour.

While i was waiting to mould my 7" shad i got side tracked with something else i'd not been able to get hold of. A few years ago i bought some Aji ringer shads, these were tiny little paddle tails, to this day ive not seen anything else as small as these and they worked great for trout along with foreign species with them LRF. I was running out and could not get them here anymore.

This lead me into making my own injection molds, i'd watched a video by Paul Adams from who had made his own worm mold for injecting so i set about doing something similiar to make tiny little paddle tails. I made my originals out of oven baked modelling clay and now my head is absolutely crammed with ideas for other possible things to make its endless! 
I got carried away with the little shads and made a few different types and just raided my boxes for softplastics i never used and melted them down to inject new lures. This became addictive and before long i had hand fulls of the little bleeders.

I still have loads to do and im now trying drop shot lures as again it is endless what you can do, here an example of one i did the other day.

Friday came and i'd arranged to go and see Mark Kelly from and check out and choose some of his Lure factors products, i spent a good 3-4 hours there i think chatting and watching Mark pour and chuck stuff together and it was quite apparent my thoughts on this being endless possibilities was more infinite than id thought. Mark has probably poured thousands of baits before but by just chucking a few things together showing me pouring, he was coming up with many new things to try himself and coming up with some great looking mixes of lure flex. 
I had in mind what i wanted to do colourwise with my 7" shad so Mark showed me a just a few examples of mixes of colours to suit what i wanted.
I moulded my master friday night when i got home and i didnt sleep all night, i was too excited to pour my first shad and see if my hard work had been worthwhile. As soon as i woke saturday morning i ran downstairs like a kid at christmas and checked my mold which was ready! Time to take over the microwave and get pouring.

I was chuffed to bits with my first results and now ive gained a whole new route to go down with my lure building.

While doing all this i've noticed how cost effective it can be, if your sat thinking you'd like to give this kind of thing a go dont hesitate its great fun and not expensive at all once you get going.

Monday, 24 November 2014

A good un

I've done my blog for that long now i struggle to come up with new titles for Posts these days. Popped out today for a short drop shot session, its that time of year now where it excels over other methods and its great when you just need to bag a few fish. Its one method that i actually don't mind catching minute fish on, in fact it kind of gets my heart going when i get a really tiny bite and then lift into what feels like a minnow, the reason for that is because i really want to catch a ruffe and every time i get i tiny perch I'm hoping that's what it is. The water was quite badly coloured today and it had been an over night frost so i didn't expect to do brilliant, i just expected to bag a few little perch down the margins and around structure. I had a steady session with the highlight being a lump of a perch. Most lures worked but my favourite at the minute is the lake fork Live
baby shads, love the smell of them too!


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Grinds to a halt

I don't know what happened and when but the fishing this year just totally grinded to a stop. Sure fish still get caught but a few weeks ago it felt like options were still numerous and everything you tried seemed to work. Then it rained typically on a Friday and then we've been waiting for the rivers to settle after going up and down but not quite reaching good conditions. You know in the middle of winter it is always going to be tough but it seemed to come all of a sudden this year.

 I've not been able to get out that much recently and to be honest Ive not been too bothered, Ive been busy with a few things I'm working on which I'll talk about when finished and that's kept my hunger for going fishing at bay.
 The few times Ive been out it made sense to dust off the drop shot gear and prove to myself that in tough times it really does hammer anything else. I caught ok numbers wise but nothing big, although i did have some nice ones in size, colour and condition. Catching big ones isn't what its all about though in winter, its just about ticking over and carrying on catching when conditions are tough. I actually caught a couple of pike on the drop shot gear too which was unexpected given that Ive fished this venue in numerous spots literally hundreds of times and only ever had one single pike in 4-5 years.

The last photo below shows my tally from a couple of hours today, i thought it would be a bit of fun using one of those click counters to see how many i caught, recently seeing them being used on the 'perch pro' episodes on Kanal Gratis. Its not anything serious, just another thing to introduce to my own fishing to make it a little more interesting and fun. The counter was only £1.39 off ebay so was worth it just to give it a go.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Minger saves the day

Was out today with Paul chucking some big soft plastics about, we was hopeful of a good day when we saw the water was reasonably clear. It was an over night frost though and high pressure, despite most pikers praying for cold weather to come i still think they need a little bit of time to adjust to it and a sudden change could put them off straight away. Its a guessing game with pike at times and your constantly trying to work them out, sometimes you get it right and often your left with not knowing if your theories are correct or not.

It was certainly cold on the hands to start with and the wind was a bit sharp too, we soldiered on and Paul was having a stinker again missing a couple of fish. Eventually i found a fish though and it turned out to be a nice double in great shape, but hell what a gammy mouth it had! I think it was slightly pug too but don't know if that was due to what ever was going on in its mouth, it had a few growths and generally looked sore. A shame really as it was a nice looking pike but it was obviously still feeding, i think we sometimes think pike are allot more fragile than they really are. They have been around as long as dinosaurs so they can't be that fragile, often you will catch fish pretty beat up with injuries but there still feeding and thriving.

The day never really improved although i did miss a couple of further fish myself, it was a day off work though and catching a gammy pike was better than working.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Riging stingers

Just recently Ive been playing around with rigging stingers and for one of may favourite pike sized kopytos Ive settled on a rig that does exactly what i want. Basically once you start using bigger sized soft plastics they get pretty chewed up from being in a pikes mouth so i wanted to rig them in a way that they would break away from the stinger out side of the pikes mouth which would mean they last allot longer.
I want to get away from using jig heads on larger sized soft plastics because i just don't like to lace my lures with hooks, the thing that appeals to be with the smaller sized shads is the fact that you only need a jig head and pretty much get a good ratio of hook ups and its better for the fish and easier to unhook. I could fish my bigger sized shads with just jig heads but i feel id not get a very good ratio.

So basically i wanted a rig with just one treble placed in the right spot to increase hook ups, this is my rig below unattached.

This comprises of a treble, a nose weight and a pin, the nose weight adds some weight obviously without using a jig head and it is also screwed into the nose of the lure to basically hold it. I then clip my stinger and nose weight direct to my trace clip, the stinger wire is held inline with the pin and then the treble is just lightly hooked into the lure. When a fish takes the treble and pin pull out and the lure swings away out of the way of the teeth. The photo below shows the rig attached in place.

Of course doing it this way is not essential at all but the little things Ive done work in a way that it works for me, i like a neat presentation, the fish don't care but i enjoy it more if i do a better job of it. I like the addition of a pin with the stinger, not only because it neatens things up, that's an after effect, its main purpose is to keep the stinger inline so that the wire does not rid up the side of the lure bringing the treble offline, why is that important you ask? Theres two reasons, firstly if the treble isn't inline it can sometimes cause the lure to spin or not fish right. The second reason is because if the treble rides up one side and the fish takes from the other the rubber lure can actually impair the hook up so for those reasons i like to keep the treble exactly where i want it. 

I really enjoy messing about at home with rigs and stuff, i have plans to make my own nose weights, allot better than the few i have made so far, these were just trials and trying things out. Below is an example of a nose weight i made using a bullet weight and stainless steel wire to form a corkscrew and spike. After making this first one i also made a few with the line tie at the top like a jig head, ensuring that the lure balances right.

I got out today to give the rig a go and it did exactly what i wanted, i actually a great little session with 10 pike banked and on all occasions the lure remained outside of the pikes mouth, the hook up rate was also very good, often fish being hooked in the scissors making for easy unhooking. I caught some nice fish with really orangey coloured backs, i didn't get a photo of the best of the day, a low double as just before my camera fired off it started to kick off so i was out of shot when the camera took. I then noticed i was being watched, so thought it best to put the fish back than mess about setting the camera up again.

I had a few casts with the fly rod too and hooked a really strong fish that tore off to the other side of the river before unhooking itself.