Sunday, 26 January 2014

Rain called off play?.......

Pah... don't think so, we is hard oop north!

It was abit uncomfortable today to say the least when the rain was coming down in sheets, along with the chilly air. I think i had about 4-5 layers on and the water got right into everyone, certainly tests your 'waterproof' clothing out.

Today I finally got on a river with my mate Mart whom I've not fished with in a long time despite having a quite frequent exchange of digital conversation with. We knew rain was forecast but the river looked fishable so we hit it early before any rain came.
Ive been wanting to get on the rivers with drop shot but just not been able to with the levels and timing etc so was happy to see the clarity was good when on the bank. Things started slow but abit of action came my way when i hooked into something close to the bank, i saw it flash about in the margin and thought it was a jack but as it surfaced i saw it was a bloody huge trout easily over 4lb, it wasn't on for very long as the hooks pulled. I wasn't expecting that and despite it being close season for trout, i can't help being abit disappointed in not getting a better look at it. I carried on and had a few small perch to a lb before it then started to lash it down. We fished back over some of the areas we had started at, and i hooked something that felt bigger, a nice perch surfaced and in a panic i got it in the net as soon as i could, a nice solid fish that made the trip worthwhile.

Excuse the miserable face, i didn't hear 'say cheese' being called...

 Mart was trying for the pike with his fly gear and wanted to switch to his drop shot gear as it was proving to be successful on the day so we decided to just fish a few more spots before getting his gear and moving to another area. In the next spot i hooked another decent fish but sadly once again it came off, i repeated casted into the area hoping it was a perch and part of a shoal. I must have had a handful of casts when something took my drop shotted panic minnow and took off. I was hoping it was a huge perch as the fight suggested if it had of been a perch it certainly wasn't going to be small.
A chub came into view and it was quite a big one too, slightly disappointed it wasn't a huge perch i was still over the moon with that.

It was now difficult to leave this area so had a few more casts and was in again, another good fish and when it surfaced it gave me that excited panic only a big perch can give you, you only really focus on the red fins and stripes and as soon as you see them you go into panic mode and never fully sure of its actual size until its on the bank.
It was a really solid built fish and i was really happy with how things were going.

We then moved area so Mart could get his gear, sadly in a way that was the end of our success for the day as the rain was coming down that hard you could literally see the river changing colour, before we knew it the conditions were far from ideal and it was evident it was pointless carrying on.

It took quite a while to warm up after spending much of the day in sodden clothes, still, its fishing and we ain't soft when it comes to fishing, nothing gets in the way of a man and his fish!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Lost my touch

At one point within my circle of fishing buddies it was joked about the fact that I kept catching 2lb+ perch, where ever i went. I did catch my fair share of 2's and 3's but over the last few months my halo has slipped and I don't seem to be able to find any. I keep getting close but no cigar.

I have been fishing the same areas though and have not yet been able to get to as many new venues id like and specifically target the big perch. I have quite a few venues lined up, its just the weather, constant rain and flooding rivers that is stopping me from putting my plans into action.

Anyway here's a few decent fish from today after visiting a venue I've not been to for over a year now, I might not be catching the size of fish I'd like but I'm consistently catching plenty of fish from where ever i try. And even though there not 2lbers they still put up an awesome fight. Fish arrow flash-J did the business again with over 40 fish.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Recce day

As previously mentioned one of my aims this year is to explore new waters. Yesterday I was out fishing with my mate Neil and we decided to check out a few areas knowing that it might not result in the best of fishing but when finding new places to fish you have to accept the rough with the smooth so to speak.

Our first spot was a river and we knew it wasn't in the best nick but we wanted to try this area with dead baits which would have been a better option in the coloured and flooded conditions. We tried a few areas and sussed out some promising looking spots and parking which would all improve our time there next time we wanted to try it. Nothing came of the fishing but we expected that with the conditions. It was not late morning so we set off for our second area.

On arrival at the second area, again the river was up and very coloured but we expected that and set about with the baits again in a slack area that must hold a fish or two. It wasn't very long before my float was bobbing slightly then looking as if it was going to go under, sadly the fish must have dropped the bait as nothing more happened. While this was going on Neil was in the process of baiting up another rod and getting the right depth, he cast out and no sooner had he sat down when his float started bobbing and moving about. He waited til the best moment to strike and a fish was on. We were sat high up on a bank and getting down to net a fish was a bit dicey, i went down with the net and got his fish in but it was a decent double and it didn't all go in with the back end hanging out as it was in the shallows, Neil could not get the right angle from up the bank to direct the fish in anymore and the fish kicked and came out the net. A moment later the hooks came out and the fish was gone. a real shame as it was a nice fish, I'm not sure what we could have done better and it wasn't really any ones fault, but being the nets man i did feel like it was mine.

Nothing else happened for some time so we tried another spot before we made the decision to move areas again and try a canal spot this time that might be a bit clearer and give us a chance with lures too.
It was a recce day so we took a lure rod each and a bait rod so that we could test the water out on different methods. Casting the baits out to the far bank we started to jig about with ultralight set ups to see what might be about. having being sat down all day i thought I'd have a little walk and said to Neil that I was going to try abit of walk trolling as it had produced for me in the past when unexpected and saved the day. No sooner had i finished telling Neil and walking off my rod hooped round and a fish was on! Looked like a small pike but it shook its head and hooks pulled. Surprised that the method worked i set off again, a few more paces and again a fish was on. This time i got it in and we were both surprised at how fat it was, it was like a little barrel, obviously feeding well.

Neil came over and we started to cast around this area more and i think the very first cast from Neil and he was into a fish, they were in great condition and fin perfect probably never been caught before. We started to get that buzz now where a fish is expected on every cast.

Surprise, surprise I was in again! A better fish this time and again a lovely conditioned fish and fat as a pig they must have been gorging on something. Maybe a shoal of bait fish which would have been keeping them packed into this area?

I had another fish soon after which was the smallest of the day, what a mad 10 minutes!
The fish then started to dry up other than another take awhile later that felt like the best of the day, sadly it came off but that's fishing for you. 
A great result in the end but more than that we had some new places to try another day when conditions were better. 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Fish Arrow Flash-J

I was out yesterday trying out some new drop shot lures i have just received 'Fish Arrow 2" Flash-J', even from the first moment they popped out of the envelope i was impressed with them, all lined up in the packet like real little fish.

There is a few things i liked about them on closer inspection, straight away they looked so realistic. I love the section of flash in the belly, its a sliver of some reflective material that is inside the poured soft plastic and it kind of magnifies with the clear plastic that is around it, in the water is give us a nice flash. One of the other main things i like about this lure is the tail, it never stops moving, even while your holding it you body is transmitting vibrations into it which shows on the tail quivering away, i can see that being very seductive to a fish.
The water had some colour in it so i thought i would test the swim with a white fin-s first so that if i got a fish i knew they were there as i was concerned the fish arrow lures would not be seen so easily in the colour. After a few casts i got a perch so popped the fish arrow on. First cast and i was in, wasn't long in the water either to be honest.

From that moment onwards i never looked back the fishing was excellent, plenty of fish over 1lb and they were going crazy for the fish arrow lures. I started to think about it and was pretty sure it was the closet thing o live baiting a minnow without using a real minnow, the match of the presentation and the realistic fish seemed to get them really going. The colour was no issue what so ever.

I was lipping hooking the lures to get maximum action out of them and after what must have been over 50 fish there wasn't even much sign of wear on the lure. It was actually hard to pack up and go home but I didn't have much choice really having to do the school run.
The best fish came towards the end of the session with this fantastic looking perch pushing towards 2lb. A great session, and I'll be buying more of the fish arrow lures definitely!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Getting out and about

This year I'm planning and getting out more to new waters, theres always loads of new places to try out but you never get round to doing it or just stick with what you know. So this year I'm just going o do it and fish waters Ive been meaning to for awhile. I'm sure that i will have many disappointing trips with not knowing the waters but i should also find some good ones and hopefully have some really good sessions along the way.

Yesterday i had half a day to go explore one new spot of canal, I took my drop shot outfit and also an ultra light outfit so that i could cast about more and try for a pike too. It pretty much carried on how I'd left off and started to bag lots more perch on the drop shot, Ive not actually blanked for some time now and a usual drop shot session is producing 20-30 fish which isn't bad at all. Its also pleasing as its been from a few different venues too.

After enjoying the perch it was time to go so thought I'd use abit of time to stop and look at a river on the way back, i expected it to be up and coloured but it was only going to be a general recce. I stopped off on a bridge and when i looked down i spotted a dead pike straight away, it seemed strange as its head looked to have been eaten yet its body was fully in tact, its usually the body they eat and leave the head. I went for a closer inspection to see if i could see otter foot prints but could not get close enough to see although there wasn't any leading up to it so maybe it had washed down stream.

I'd taken my gear with me just in case so thought while i was stood by the water i would have a cast into a slack, seeing the dead pike obviously was a sign there could be more about. I didn't expect to get anything with the water being up and very coloured but on my third cast i had the all too familiar feeling of being snagged but the snag suddenly moves, don't you just love that feeling of the penny dropping! It gave a great account of itself before i subdued it, then I'd realised I was going to have to land it. Not expecting to get anything so easily I'd not thought about the difficulty of landing it as i didn't have a net. I knew i was close enough to chin it, that wasn't the problem it was the fact I'd not realised how soft the muddy bank was and it was quite dangerous if I'm honest. I had to shuffle one foot really deep into the mud for grip while i slid my other down the sloping bank enough for me to chin the pike. I manged it but not without stretching and afterwards realising i had pulled my groin!

I was chuffed to bit with that and now have a new bit of water to explore when the conditions are much better, i could have had more casts but i thought I'd pushed it already and was better to be safe.

I've not targeted pike for awhile now as there just hasn't been the venues and opportunities to do it with the rivers being in such terrible condition. despite catching in conditions that were far from ideal, i think it was more the fact that it was such an obvious slack in a quite boily water that made a place for the fish to rest.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Drop shot lures

I thought I'd write a little about some of the drop shot lures I have been using, to be honest I've not seen a great difference in catch rate across the board. At the moment with the cold temperatures I'm just concentrating on catching fish of any size so I'm using relatively small lures to give the smaller perch a better chance.

YOSHIKAWA 36mm Worms

These worms are what I've been using in my last couple of sessions and the perch have been loving them, they measure 36mm or just over an inch. They are also scented and smell quite sea food like. I'm hoping in warmer weather that these might pick up other fresh water species and so far have lost a few fish off that felt quite small and not like perch.

YOSHIKAWA 1.5" Craws
I tried these tiny craws today despite the water having a colour quite similar to that of the craws themselves, the little appendages flutter about all over and the perch seems to like them as after changing from a worm to one of these craws my catch rate didn't alter.

Ive used these allot since starting drop shotting and Ive caught allot of fish on them, even very tiny perch that you have to shake off the lure as even after unhooking the lure is that far down there throat they are still hanging on!

I just love these little fry profiled lures, and like the LAKEFORK shads Ive caught allot of fish on these too. The forked tail quivers really well and doesn't have too much of an erratic action which you don't always need with drop shotting, less is more. I like to quiver the rod with these to make the lure flutter gently then drop the tip about 6" to let the lure slowly sink before rising it and quivering it again. It mimics a dying fish really well.
I really want some more natural colours so like allot of other things they have gone on the shopping list!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Its not always about the big ones

Ive had a couple of drop shot sessions in the last week, and still really enjoying it. Ive been trying some new spots as despite knowing areas that I'm probably guaranteed to catch at, it does get abit boring looking at the same scenery all the time. Every new spot i have caught from on the drop shot, i'd have expected to have blanked on any other method.

I really can't believe what Ive been missing out on by not getting into drop shot sooner, the fact that its put me more fish on the bank at the worst fishing time of year really proves its worth. The more i fish it in really chilly weather the more i realise how my other approaches where just not going to be as effective. The fish sat down on the bottom in freezing water do not really want to chase down lures at speed. Drop shotting enables you to work lures in a very controlled manner and at what speed you choose to work them. The amount of takes Ive had that have just been a very delicate tap, just shows that pulling a moving bait over there heads at speed is not really going to get much response.

I've not been catching anything to write home about, but what they lack in size they make up for in there beauty and i love catching them at any size which provides great fun in even the coldest months.

Ive not had chance to do anything else other than drop shot as this suits the only venues i have been able to get to with the rivers being in flood for weeks now! I realise my blog is getting full of photos of perch but i can't stop, i just love them, such a fantastic looking fish.
Anyway to try and add something different to my blog in the meantime, i will try to start blogging abit more about gear i use as i realise i never really mention what lures I'm using or what has been successful.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

First of the new year..

I had planned to fish a few new spots today with my mate Paul but things got off slowly when my old man phoned to say he was ill so wasn't coming for the kids straight away, that meant most of the new spots would have to wait and we only had time to fish one spot.

I wanted to fish drop shot again as Ive really been enjoying it recently and its proving to be 'the' method for this time of year, not only has it been putting more fish on the bank but its also attracted the attention of smaller perch too that you wouldn't always get when jigging soft plastics.
I was abit concerned for the presentation with the recent strong winds but today it was not bad at all, in fact the water was flat as glass.

The action started straight away with lots of small perch for both myself and Paul, i wanted to chop and change my lures to experiment with size, shape and also some lures that were scented.

Nothing seemed to make a noticeable difference as what ever i tried I was catching on. We set our target on 50 perch between us to make catching lots of small fish more interesting and fun. At first it didn't seem like we would get there but we started to get the odd flurry of fish when landing in a shoal and the total soon started to grow. Paul had a nice 2lb which was the best of the day and probably the only one over a pound but it was more about just catching fish of any size today, really for the cold water and time of year we were doing well and it was keeping us busy.

In the end we reached a tally of 62 perch between us with many fish dropped off along the way aswell. I caught a couple of unusual fish too which got me a little excited as i thought the stripeless perch below was a ruffe at first as it came into first view. Ive caught a few stripeless perch before but the last fish of the day was very unusual, it was almost patterned like a mackerel, it doesn't show up aswel in the photo as it did in reality but you can kind of make it out.

All in all a very satisfying day and I'm very much hooked on this drop shot lark now, i don't need more lures but i will be buying many more as drop shot lures specifically come in little packets that almost look like sweets and its this kind of thing that really gets us lure anglers going!
A nice steady start to the year and I'm in a good frame of mind while i wait for the rivers to get there backsides into shape!