Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Sand, cement and pike.

Well i didnt think id have anything to add to my blog so soon as im quite busy at the moment and not really got a lot of opportunities to get out fishing for a week or so.
I had to pop out to get some sand and cement for a job in the back garden, i went to put it in the car boot... nackers! fishing gears still in. Hold on i take that back, im not far from a river and i reckon i have about an hour to spare before picking the kids up. Fishing gear out, sand and cement in.

I thought id try out a lure i had in my bag that my mate John had bought ten of from china, they came as a clear plastic blank with a holographic strip of flash inside. He wanted me to airbrush them and seen as though they were dirt cheap said i could have half for my efforts. I'd only got round to painting the two so far but they were dead easy to paint, and id just done a couple of natural baitfish like patterns. Id chucked one in my bag the other day when i went frogging incase i got chance to try it out but forgot.

The lure worked a treat and was perfect for shallow venues, i had 3 fish in quick succession with the tidy fish below the best of the bunch. Not bad for a little unexpected hours fishing.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Choosing the optimal time

Year by year i seem to slightly adjust my approaches to fit in with the best times of year and the best time to get the most out of each technique i like to fish. For me its trying to match what method is going to be most successful with the right time, this way i get the most out of everything and i get to have a good variety of fishing.

Today I chose to fish frogs for the first time this year, allot of people fish them much earlier and i have done also in the past, but Ive fished frogs allot over the years and now try to match them with the best time to use them. This is basically when you cannot really use any other lure because the weed is that bad. If the conditions still enable me to use other lures that will give me a better hook up rate, allow me to fish subsurface and allow me to enjoy fishing a different style, i might as well make the most of that and save the frogs for when they are needed.

I went to fish a small river that i didn't get to fish allot last year because the mosquitoes where horrendous and you couldn't fish there at all without being plagued, I'm not talking about a few bites, I'm talking about standing still and having just about all of your skin covered with them! they even chase you when you run.
I thought if i got on it early this year the mosquitoes would hopefully not be there in vast numbers. What i didn't account for though was a sign that's becoming all to familiar this year, up to 6ft bank side vegetation. This makes it virtually impossible to get through, and its not the best pushing your way through it when you have hay fever and that results in a fog of pollen blowing in your face.

Anyway i could only fish a limited amount of river as it was just too hard work getting through it all and not enjoyable in the heat. The river itself was pretty think with weed in places then a bit clearer in others, my plan was to fish weedless floating frogs over the dense areas then switch to sinking frogs in the clearer water.

it wasn't long before i was getting takes but the fish were only small and often they would get matted in weed and come off before i dragged it all in. Eventually a small pike stuck though and i was off the mark.

I've not yet got round to re-stocking my frogs as the ones i have are abit trashed now and most sink. The black one above was the only one i had that wasn't chewed up. I'd missed a few takes on it that enabled me to wind down and really lean into the strike but they kept coming off. I didn't realise till later on that at some point id crushed the barbs on this frog and the point wasn't really that long before it was onto the bend which would explain all the lost fish.I routed about in my bag to see if i could switch the hook over from another frog but while doing so i found a small koppers live target frog that wasn't in too bad a shape all though still thrashed!
This did the trick and next fish was on and stayed on. 

I started to get more interest and even tiny pike were being brave and having a go even though they could hardly get the whole frog in there mouths.

I'd now reached one of the clearer areas and thought I'd give the sinking frogs a go, these frogs you can fish your rod nearly vertically and the frogs will still fish along the surface but then you can drop them into holes and clear areas by lowering the rod, i used a single hook on these frogs hoping for a better hook up rate still as i do think the hollow bodied double frog hooks can often work against each other and you get a much better penetration with a single hook. Most brands have a hollow slit in the body to allow you to sink the hook into the lure to make them weedless.

First cast with the yellow frog above and just as i was letting it sink after bringing it over some weeds a shape came from the corner of my vision, in slow motion this decent pike came for the frog and as it neared i twitched it and it bolted for it, brilliant to see. I got a good hook set being able to see that the frog was fully inhaled and the fish was quickly in the net, i had strong gear so didn't much about with it and wanted all fish in as quickly as possible even though the heat had died down abit, it was a case of horsing them in, a quick photo and back they go.
I was chuffed to bits with this fish it was never going to be a PB so in my eyes it didn't need faffing about with weighing it and keeping it out of water longer.

I tried a few different brand frogs and all got interest, i was actually preferring the sinking frogs as they were more versatile being able to fish them on the surface and below it.
I had a little flurry of action towards the end of the session where i was getting a few takes but being able to see what was happening i was unable to strike them. The pike were grabbing the legs and head shaking the frog, it reminded me of what sharks do with prey to cut chunks of meat off. They were trying to rip the legs off by shaking there heads, obviously this meant there was not hooks inhaled so pointless striking. That's it with frogging though its not about banking fish after fish, its all about the takes and watching it all unfold in front of you. I had another decent fish come for the frog before i left but i gather it saw me as it turned away just as it was about to inhale.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Another season starts.

I always book a few days off for the new river season and this year was no exception, i had a few plans on the go for weeks leading up to the 16th. Monday was going to be a day on the boat with Neil, Tuesday was a bank day with Paul and I wasn't exactly sure where i was ending up Wednesday.
I was out all day Sunday for fathers day and didn't get in till late evening so I was pretty much going to be full on for 5 days in a row as Saturday had been a long day, as Sunday night drew near i was getting excited again though, just one more sleep and up early to fish with Neil on his boat.
We was a little disappointed to find the river low but still carrying quite allot of colour, you couldn't see that far past the length of a trace, so we wondered if our excitement was going to soon turn to disappointment.
We started trolling ultralight lures and covered a bit of water before we got a take but it was great to get a fish and give us a bit of hope. We was probably a little hasty in worrying about the colour as we steadily picked up fish, we also caught quite a few drifting and casting into areas which doesn't always go to plan when we have tried it in the past. I would say on this session we caught more fish casting than we did trolling.
Nothing massive caught but we had some decent perch and pike big enough to pull back which were actually amazing fun on the ultralight gear, fit river fish don't half fight!
We bumped into quite a few of the Yorkshire lot who had also had the same plans and at one point i think there was five boats all within view. everyone seemed to be having a decent day and catching plenty.
Another highlight was when we saw an otter asleep on a rock right next to the boat, it was curled up like a cat but soon woke up and went into the river. A brilliant sight and surprising how big they can get, not sure its a good thing for the river though taking into account where we saw it being quite urban.
One more thing to mention was a perch Neil had on that surfaced and looked very big, we only got a glimpse of it and to me it looked a good 3lber but we will never know as sadly it came off!

I was still pretty shattered Tuesday after the long day on the boat and was up again early to fish all day. I had planned to meet Paul for a days bank fishing and hopefully some chub. Paul only had the morning to fish so i had some ideas for where i could move onto.
No sooner had i pulled up and was walking to check out the river than i get a text from Paul saying he had slept in, this didn't come as a surprise as Paul has a bit of a habit of this.  My first thought was well at least there will be more fish for me.
As it turned out the small river was still carrying allot of colour too and i didn't fancy it, i didn't give this spot too long i just had a feeling i was wasting my time so thought I'd put plan B into effect.
I had a drive to the second spot then realised I'd have to wait nearly 2hours for the postie to open to buy a fishing permit! I thought id have a walk and check out all the swims while i waited. What swims? the bank vegetation was over head height and you could not even see the river, i pushed my way though but i was getting covered in pollen which made the hay fever i was suffering with even worse. I was getting a bit annoyed at this point as my plans for today were going down the swanny.
Eventually the post office opened and i went to buy a ticket not really looking forward to having to make my hay fever worse. The guy at the counter was really helpful and said the banks had not been cut yet and he was a bit annoyed about it, he suggested i go elsewhere and gave me a map and talked about the spot in detail.
The story of today was pushing my way through pollen laden grass and lots of climbing into and out of swims often falling back into them and getting scratched and nettled. My arms, neck and face were a bit of a mess with stings and generally being puffy because of the hay fever, i felt pretty lousy but pushed on. It was a tiring day but i did OK, i had a handful of pike quite a few perch and a few chub to make it a Yorkshire treble.
I had a phone call of the Mrs to say her car was knackered and would need mine on Wednesday so that meant i wouldn't be able to fish. I decided to go check out a canal spot Ive not fished for a while and see if i could spend the evening catching perch on the fly that Ive been enjoying over the last month. It didn't go to plan and there seemed to be nothing about other than a few tiny perch. All of a sudden everything tightened up and i had a fish on, what a surprise i got when a trout surfaced! Not sure if it had been to sea or was on its way but given its location it was certainly migrating somewhere. It had some characteristics of a fish that had been in saltwater, apparently the fins of a river dweller are olive and migrated fish have no colour in there fins even when the body colour starts to come back. It also had star shaped spots, no red spots and was nearly white in colour. Its always difficult to tell where the trout have been and its something that interests me and would like to learn more about. i did a bit of reading and apparently when a fish decides its going to migrate to sea at a young age it starts to change its colour and characteristics before it travels, this is called a 'Smolt' Either way it was a surprise and capped the day off nicely.


Saturday, 14 June 2014

You've gotta pick a pocket or two...

I finished for work Friday knowing i had 4 good days fishing in front of me, It will be great to get back on the rivers. Saturday was to be my first day and it had been planned for some time. I was going up in't dales to fish some pocket water with my mate Mart. He's been getting into Tenkara fly fishing which basically is a Japanese form of fly fishing using a long very light rod and a fixed line, no reel at all. The method is used to dibble the flies into pockets of water in bolder strewn rivers for little trout. Mart had come up with the idea to fish one particular area that was just like the Japanese would fish this style.
I decided on taking my longer #5 rod despite only fishing for tiny fish i thought the extra length would benefit reaching around on a short line into the pocket water similar to what Mart was going to be doing but no where near as accurate and delicate.
I'm writing this after being out all day so I'm thinking I'm going to keep it short as i have allot of planning to do tonight as i have a full 3 days solid fishing to come from Monday.
We caught quite a few fish but not as many as we would have hoped because every spot we came to looked fantastic and like it should be full of fish, but it wasn't the case we had to really search them out. All the fish caught were very small but it was all about the scenery and the type of water we was fishing, we couldn't stop snapping photos as every new corner revealed a stunning scene.
I caught a fish early on that looked different and we wondered if it was a salmon Parr, it had a forked tail and seemed longer with very pronounced Parr marks, i was about to take a photo but it flipped out of my hand, 5 minutes later i was trying to take another photo when my camera flipped out of my hand and went off downstream in the flow i had to grab it quick but it was water logged and didn't work so i had to switch to my phone, luckily later on my camera came back to life but it still needs drying out fully internally. After a few hours fishing Mart caught another of the fish id caught earlier and by now we had checked out the differences online and we knew they were indeed salmon Parr, funny really because they look exactly like brown trout but when you compare the differences they are allot different.
Anyway I'll let the photos do the rest of the talking, we didn't get many fish shots but the scenery and action shots make up for the lack of fish photos.



Thursday, 5 June 2014

Favouring Fluff

Recently I've been doing more fly fishing than lure fishing, and really enjoying it. Even when your not catching, the casting is just so enjoyable and addictive, you could almost say it has a therapeutic effect.
I've managed to get out over the last three days when i was supposed to be only going out Tuesday which was a planned trip, but finishing work in time on Monday and Today meant I could get out for a few short session.
So on Monday i wanted to get the pike fly gear out as Ive not fished with it for ages. I had great fun with some small pike which at times were hard to get in because they would bury into the weed and then I'd have to drag them out or drag them in with the weed as well. When they didn't dive into the weed though it was brilliant fun. I even had a tiny pikelet take my 5-6" which totally engulfed it, you couldn't even see the pikes mouth for fluff!

On the Tuesday I had planned to get out with John and properly fish for trout, hopefully on the dry but with the recent weather it wasn't happening. The river wasn't full but it was pushing through and for a well known good fishery it was quite hard work. Not only was the fishing tough but at times it was tricky standing up and i nearly went in more than once tripping or dropping into deeper holes i couldn't see because of the colour in the water.
We fished Duo most of the session and picked the odd fish up here and there but nothing near the numbers that was expected, i had getting on for twenty brownies which doesn't sound bad but this river averages allot more than that when the conditions are right and the fish are playing ball.
We had a few changes to streamer and had some good takes but not many of the better fish connected, until i got the best of the session right at the end on a streamer.

Its been three days of change with today seeing me target perch, i started off catching tiny little perch before a few better ones made an appearance and then towards the end they disappeared and it was the little guys turn again!
I'm thoroughly enjoying my fishing at the minute and it seems every session is something different from the last. I have quite a few good plans coming up with the rivers opening and can't wait to get into some fit river fish!