Saturday, 22 February 2014

Bad timing ONCE AGAIN!

So here we are again, yet another string of perfect fishing days go by then when I'm set to fish it rains on the hills overnight and the river floods. Its something to learn every time though so its never a total waste of time as long as your taking on board what you learn.

I was set to fish with Neil and after checking the levels through the week it was looking like it was near perfect. I checked in the morning and the level had gone up but only slightly. In hindsight this was more of a risk than i thought and I'll take that on board. The fact that the river showed a rise and i was unable to see anymore updates on the levels, there was no knowing whether or not the river would have continued to rise or not. At the minute i am trying to get my head around the rivers and the weather, its obvious to see that our climate is changing and flooding rivers are becoming more common so we have to adapt and learn more about them to get better results. This means going and having a look despite what the levels are saying.

As we had worried about when we got to the river it had clearly risen more and was tonking through. The clarity was not too bad but the trouble was the lack of slacks, even areas that should have been slacks were still abit pacey as the river was that high.

We fished anyway and the plan was to walk as far as we needed to find the slacks that would be our only hope. We walked quite a way before we found a fishy looking slack and it wasn't too long before Neil had an out of season trout on which shook the hooks. Further up the slack i had a fish swipe at the lure then as i re-cast it took again. It was another trout which was a stunning fish, I got Neil to take a quick snap before putting it back. It was evident it had spawned as it was so hollow. We then moved away from that area and remembered it for when trout are back in season!

We was struggling to find anymore slack water so decided to head further down stream, I had brought my new curado 51e to try out that i had partnered with my Volkey, this was to be a bait casting outfit for throwing 2" kopytos about amongst other light baits but for today i just wanted to try it out. I only had some 15lb power pro spare so stuck that on and clipped my lure of the moment on, a 10cm pearl white cannibal shad, sadly this is my last one and they are now discontinued.

It was evident form the first few casts that this reel was going to be perfect for what i had bought it for, it was actually casting the 7g jig head and shad a little too easy and i was having to thumb the spool to really slow it down!
I gave the set up a proper testing in the next slack when i ran the shad down the edge of a submerged bush and a pike shot out and grabbed the shad. A nice fish and again i had got a result out of the session even though the conditions were far from good.

We fished on in vain trying to get something out of the day for Neil, I even fished his swims after him just to see if it was my magic lures that were catching all the fish but nothing else showed. I'm disappointed again with the bad timing and conditions but i feel i got a result so moderately happy, just a shame we couldn't find Neil a fish as its no fun when your mates are not doing as well as yourself. It all circles round though and at some point it will be my turn to endure a run of misfortune and bad results.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Finally get the timing right

Ive been watching the river levels now for months and it always seems to shoot up just before i plan to fish then when i can't fish the levels drop and i miss out on good conditions.
Today I made the decision to lose some fishing time for more travel time, as for once the timing was right and the levels were looking good. I didn't want to miss the opportunity by staying local and getting more time on the water so instead chose to drive further away for better conditions.

I took the ultralight rod to chuck some small soft plastics about and also a drop shot set up to try for some perch. The river looked good but i wasn't that familiar with the area so had to do allot of walking to find the right kind of water that would have held fish. I was mainly looking for the right kind of slacks.
I started to get a few small jacks and missed a few too, the very first fish i had come in looked the better one maybe 5-7lb but i pulled the hooks out twice. I thought I'd have a chance at this fish again if i left it alone so went further up stream. Nothing was doing and by now I'd chosen to stick with the 10cm pearl white cannibal shad as that was producing more interest from pike than i was getting from anything on drop shot.
I made my way back to the area i had missed the better sized fish and after a few casts along the edge of the crease between the flow and the slack water, i saw a pike ghost up from the depths and take my lure. It was exactly the same spot as the first fish but this one was much bigger, it tore off down stream at a rate of knots. Ive never had a pike hold bottom like this fish then chose to do, it gave me the chance to get my net sorted and ready and i had to really apply some pressure to get it to even move. Then it woke up and tore off again, and again and again!
Finally in the net I got a quick photo then slipped it back after realising my scales were in my other bag. It wasn't going to make 20lb so i wasn't bothered, it did however feel really heavy for its length, its head size didn't kind of match its body length but it was fat as.

Another great result, I'm really happy with my fishing at the minute as i keep getting something from my sessions and i really can't remember many blanks at all this winter. I put allot of that down to my decision making and getting to know when its the right call to fish the rivers after they have been in flood.
By the way, I haven't sat on a pigeon, it was a buzzards kill, by the looks of the parts remaining it was a wood pigeon. I hadn't realised i had knelt in it for the photo!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Prospecting the slacks

Its quite evident these days that we seem to get more rain and in turn for us fishermen that means flooded rivers and poor fishing conditions, especially for us lure anglers that rely allot on clarity and sight.
Its one area of my fishing that I'm continually trying to get to grips with and adapt. Understanding your rivers, timing, weather influences and conditions all go in hand and is something you need to understand to get the most out of your opportunities. Some rivers flood and colour up badly, some flood but stay relatively clear, it all depends on there sources and what kind of ground is on the source.

On Tuesday myself and Neil was all set to fish a river that we knew was up in depth but was falling nicely into place. When i fish rivers i make notes on clarity, depths and weather so that i get an understanding of what to expect. As i mentioned I had been looking at the levels and knew it was dropping and also knew from previous trips that the chosen river was fishable at this depth and also relatively clear.
We were not set to fish until about dinner time so i was very annoyed at the fact it rained all morning and at times quite heavy. Once again the conditions were perfect, but were they to be spoilt just before I got my chance to fish, more often than not this is the case! After debating it on the phone with Neil, we made the decision to just fish, not really knowing the true extent of the river after the rain. We knew that there would be slack areas to target, and these areas offer refuge for fish trying to rest out of the fast currents, so despite the river seemingly looking unfishable, using your watercraft can actually get you a result.

We arrived at the river to see the main flow quite strong, but the clarity wasn't too bad at all so we set off prospecting the slacks in hope of perch and pike. I was fishing drop shot for the perch and Neil was targeting the pike with shads and smaller shads for perch.

Despite there being allot of really fishy looking slacks, none of them were producing fish. we were more or less in the frame of mind that we were not going to catch and used the time so wander about and explore the river for visits when the conditions were more suitable. On the way back I chose to fish a couple of swims that had a bit more flow but allot more steady than the main flow, I nearly didn't bother but thought there is always a chance and wanted to at least rule out the possibility of fish being there and just walking past them. I chose to switch to a 10cm white pearl Cannibal shad and first cast along the seam and a thumping take! At first i thought it was a small pike but then got the glimpse of a huge chub, This fish was quite big, it certainly had the size and frame of a 6lb fish but it had not fully bulked out. I was not disappointed at all when the scales read 5lb 2oz.

I fished a few more swims until we more or less reached the last swim, it was a very small bit of water just off the main flow with a small over hanging bush, only a small area but again it just looked fishy and thought with it being surrounded by much faster water that it might be refuge for a fish. I cast the cannibal shad through the swim a few times until something took it, it came to the surface quite soon and started thrashing away, it was a decent out of season brown trout, i was a little surprised as i didn't assume there was many this far down the river. It was such a nice looking fish, we took a few quick photos, not the done thing with it being out of season but it never left the water and Neil took the photos while i revived the fish so it wasn't unduly done by. it gave Neil a chance to try his underwater camera which he had just bought, this will be something he can play around with which will be great in the warmer months for getting some interesting photos.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Crossing The Border

Its not very often I go fishing further out of Yorkshire unless its on holiday. Its the biggest county and im just about slap bang in the middle so driving out of it is always going to be a trek. Yesterday myself and Paul crossed the pennines border to go and visit another fellow LAS angler Paul, yes i was stuck between a couple of Paul's. Paul had been catching some fantastic perch and had invited us over to have a go for them.

I'll just give a brief account of the day mainly from my perspective, you can read a full run down of the day on Paul's blog here

My day was pretty frustrating to start with, Ive been drop shotting canals allot recently and haven't got myself a dedicated rod yet but the light tipped ultralight rod i have been using has done the job fine. With going to fish a big river and the prospects of more snags and bigger fish i decided to step up my gear. I just couldn't fish effectively with the rod i used and i wanted to step up lure size too so stepped up the line and hook size too which all lead to the outfit feeling clumsy, i hadn't even noticed until mid day that the thicker gauge hook i was using was pulling my lures over to one side totally spoiling the presentation. The biggest annoyance of the day was the wind putting a bow in my line which meant i could not keep in contact and the thicker tipped rod meant any input to the lure would move the weight, again adding slack and a bow into the line.

I had to watch both Paul's hook and land some really nice fish with Yorkshire Paul getting a new PB, fantastic stuff for them but again it added to my frustrations.

I went through a few lure choices and Paul even gave me one of the fish arrow lures he had been catching on and still i could not buy a take. I looked again through what i had brought and found a few lures i had made the other day, combined with scaling my leader and hook size down.
 Just an experiment of making drop shot lures, i wanted to try and add a piece of foil inside the lure like some of the more expensive drop shot lures, you can not see it in the photo but it flashes quite well in the water. these were just simple top pour lures and the fact i was melting other soft plastics to pour into the mould it wasn't really producing a neat finish.
I thought with them being quite dark they might show up better in the slightly cloudy water. I also started fishing them a bit more erratically in order to keep in contact and prevent slack line. This seemed to do the trick and not long after i hooked a big perch, finally i was going to get on the scoreboard! well no not yet as the fish rolled on the surface the hook pulled!
I fished on and again i hooked another big perch, sadly again it rolled and the hooks pulled, for me this was turning into a disaster. I was getting interest though so the changes i had made worked which was pleasing.
I carried on hoping for a chance at another fish when that moment came, it was evident I'd hooked a pike as it tore off at speed. After a battle the fish was in the net and i could let out a big sigh of relief at not driving all this way to blank!
A mid double angry pike on 6lb flouro and a size 6 hook! Although not recommended the fluorocarbon held out even after being tangled and rubbing all over the pikes teeth. Lets not forget i was not targeting pike here, and I don't see it being irresponsible using a size 6 hook and 3 inch lure with no wire, theres no difference to that and fishing a lively lob worm on similar end tackle and we know pike take lob worms. The thing is its very unlikely a size 6 is going to even hook the pike with a huge mouth as proven in another half hour I had what felt like another bigger pike but this time it wasn't on for long.
A great day out and some nice fish caught by all, couldn't get much better than that, thanks to Paul for inviting us over.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Frustrating times

Since before Christmas it has none stopped raining on and off, just as the rivers start to drop it rains again. You can have really pick your days well to get on a river and sadly that doesn't fit in with my work and life, i have to plan ahead to go fishing come what may. So Thursday i check the river level and its dropping nicely into place, same on Friday, then Friday afternoon it chucks it down just before I'm due to fish the Saturday. This happens every time and its really getting me down, even the canals are now coloured up and its the kind of colour that hangs around for ages.
So basically i was that miffed off on Saturday i chose to stay at home and get some lures finished off, more of that to come soon.
Yesterday i had the chance to fish and just stuck with a well known spot as i really needed a fish or two to keep me going through this tough time. The canal was more coloured than i have seen it recently and it showed with the fishing, i did get a few fish on my first few consecutive casts but it was quite tough going after that compared to other sessions.

A little ray of light cam not just in the form of the low lying sun that gets right in your eyes but from a nice barrel of a fish around the 2lb mark, i tried a few times to get a decent photo but the sun was playing havoc with my camera so just took a quick snap before putting it back. I was catching fish but had to really work for them and search more areas for them.

After a while it started to really dry up so i thought I'd give some Gulp Alive angleworms i bought a while ago a try. I was hoping because they was scented and small i might stand a chance of a different species as we all know fish of all species like worms. Well this was the best decision i could have made as the perch went nuts for these worms, not sure if it was the scent or not but it was like switching a feed button on.
Now some will say it is cheating using this scented biodegradable stuff that is now being used more in the lure angling scene, I think if it helps it can only be a bonus, and it still gives you the freedom that any other type does, that being not have to source and manage any kind of bait. After the switch to the angle worms my tally went up and i must have had over twenty, i could have kept going but the cold wind got the better of me and i was shivering quite violently so thought it best to call it a day. A successful session in the end that will keep me going until Saturday when i plan on crossing the border, hopefully for some huge perch.