Saturday, 30 August 2014

Holiday LRF

Last week i was away for a short holiday on the north east coast, it was planned for awhile and I'd planned a spot of fishing while i was over near the coast. I arranged to meet up with Paul who was going to drive over in the morning.
I wanted to try for flat fish on the beach so got up really early to fit in a few hours of the high tide before Paul came over. It was a cracking morning after the the weather the previous day had been really windy and the sea was really rough smashing up against the breakers.

Sadly the previous days rough seas had coloured the shallow beach and whipped up a load of sea weed, the sea was still pretty rough too so i couldn't wade out far enough without a big wave going over my waders. When i did make casts i was just snagging loose weed all the time. I got frustrated and just went for a walk where i bumped into a small seal literally a few rod lengths away, as soon as it saw me it made for the sea.
I called it a day and headed back for a fry up while i waited for Paul.

When Paul arrived we headed off for a rocky mark that we knew still had good depth while the tide was at its lowest, the plan was to fish there before moving off to fish a harbour in the evening when there was the next high tide.
We started off in some rock pools for the blennies and scorpion fish and my first fish was a tiny scorpion. They are really aggressive and they often just inhale any size bait straight away before trying to get back into there lair.

Next up was some blennies, these are different to the scorpions as they will often just try and nibble the lures rather than inhale it so if sight fishing you have to time it right when they take enough of the isome in.

We didn't give the pools too long before moving to the deeper water, it was quite busy with fishermen so we had to find our spot, this spot didn't produce anything but it was quite rough and hard to fish.
We moved off to another spot that looked a little calmer, Paul started catching pollack on casting jigs while i was struggling to get down to any depth. I had come prepared for LRF really as i could only bring so much in the car with all the other luggage in too so just concentrated on LRF stuff along with a the fly gear.
It was evident that around 40g was needed to get down deep enough to the pollack and this was not possible for me, Paul caught a hand full of pollack and was just settling into the shoal until he snagged and lost his jigs so we were both now left with nothing to get us down deep enough. A lesson learnt, we don't fish saltwater often as its far away from where we live so we pick up little tips and tricks along the way for next time. This was a good example of that and we would have to stock up on some jigs and heaver gear for another trip.

It was soon time to make our way back and drive to the harbour so we could get into position for a few hours up and down of high tide.
Paul wanted to try bait and had brought a heaver rod to cast the big weights needed for this so i left him watching his rod tip while i started to fish small bits of isome on a jig head down the edge of the wall. This was proving difficult as there was something down there that i kept snagging, it was reasonably easy to pull out of so i presumed the wall edge was covered in weed. I got a rattle on the tip eventually and the first fish was another scorpion which i never tire of catching.

I changed from isome to a Gulp fish fry and this brought a small pollack, hoping i had found a shoal i dropped back down but nothing else came of it.

Despite catching numerous crabs and another scorpion not allot was really happening so i changed over to a drop shot rig and fished about a foot off the bottom hoping to pick up a flattie with a whole isome.
Meanwhile Paul was getting bites but was struggling to hook any of them despite getting a flattie to the surface before it shook the hook.
After a couple of casts with the drop shot rig, which i had cast right out instead of down the wall i got a decent rattle and hooked a fish, whatever it was it was small, and turned out to be a weaver. I didn't really know the full extent of the risk of there sting but chose to play it safe by shaking them off rather than handle them. 
I cast back out and it was evident there was lots of these weavers about as i kept catching them, by now Paul was getting frustrated with the missed takes on bait and presumed something small was taking it so he also set up drop shot and we bagged a load of weavers. We kept at it hoping for a flattie but none of the bait guys on the harbour were catching anything and usually they would be bringing loads of flatties in.

The weavers dried up eventually or at least it was proving hard to hook any of the takes all of a sudden which was odd because they had been really easy to hook obviously being very aggressive. It didn't take too long to hook what was probably the answer to all of the sudden missed takes. A shoal of Launce must have taken over as i picked a couple of these up which were proving really hard to hook.

The last action of the day if you can call it that came in the form of a tiny cod which i caught closer to where water was rushing in along a harbour wall. That brought up my 6th species for the day with a couple of new ones for me. It wasn't really what we had hoped for but this was the north east coast and its not as abundant with species as the slightly warmer waters of the south. 
We learnt some more stuff though and tried a few different things that worked so next time we will have more ideas and options to catch again.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

New rod just had to get christened

My new rod turned up today when i wasn't expecting it, so this evening after I'd made the tea and looked like i was making an effort to tidy up a bit, i popped in the inevitable question.... "Do you mind if i go try out my new rod love?"

The answer was yes and i was out the door in a flash, I've been looking forward to this rod for awhile now and with going away next week i didn't think id even get it let alone get to try it out before i went.
The rod in question is my new pike fly rod, a Vision Big Daddy 9' #9.

Although casting was a little tricky with the overgrown venue i got a sense that the rod was going to be great in open space. It loaded allot easier than my previous rod and was lighter too.
It wasn't long before i had some interest and i saw a fish flash at my fly but missed, so i quickly cast back out again and the fish took on the drop but i pulled the fly out with a hesitated pull. I cast back out for a third time and the fish took confidently. A reasonable jack but it felt great to get a fish on the new rod. 
I've noticed recently that when using flies and missing a take or a fish misses the fly you often get multiple repeat chances, this isn't the same with lure fishing. I think the fact that the flies are next to nothing, by that i mean theres no substance to them like a hard lure so when a fish takes it or snaps at it there not really alarmed by it. When they take a lure, especially a hard lure they will feel it and know its not really a food item so are reluctant to have another go.

In the next swim i saw a fish following the fly in, then right in front of me it lunged and took the fly, i struck instinctively and pulled the fly out. This is something i need to train myself with, again because the fly has no substance theres nothing for the fish to hold onto so quite often if you strike in the direction the fish is facing you will often pull the fly straight out. It was also due to the fact that i was reacting to the visual take rather than feeling a take so i would naturally strike straight away in urgency rather than wait for the fly to go fully in and possibly wait for the fish to turn. Anyway a shame as the fish would probably have gone double.

A few further swims and I'd cast out and was just sorting my line out that had looped round a nettle without even starting my retrieve i saw the line start to move which indicated a fish had just taken the fly on the drop. I lifted into it and there was a good solid resistance and that feeling of a decent fish hanging low. I was keen to see it so wound the line back onto my reel so i could apply more pressure easier. I had a great battle with the fish and it jumped clear of the water at one point which was brilliant. A cracking fish to really test my rod out!

Quite dramatic photos with it being late evening and it just clouding over and starting to rain a bit, i didn't notice the rainbow until later on.

Apart from another missed take that was it a great couple of hours trying out the rod and I'm chuffed to bits with it, i just need to buy it a new reel now as I'd really like something in black for this rod... what tarts we are!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Pre Holiday round off

Ive had a couple of sessions since my last posting but only just found the time or enthusiasm to sit and write about them. I'm going away for a week next, no where fancy just to stop in the in laws caravan by the coast.

So last week I met up with Neil and enjoyed a few hours frogging, we thought it a good chance to get on the frogs before the time of year came when it is not at its most productive, which isn't that far away now! Can't complain at the nice summer we have had but its gone by in no time at all, not exactly over yet but it does have the feeling of change in the air not to mention noticeably darker earlier in the evenings and longer in the mornings.
Things started of slow but it soon picked up and we had quite a good session in the end, I think i ended up with 9 fish on the bank with Neil not too far behind. What did please me though was my hook up rate, think i had 11 takes altogether, and only missed the one, the other take i did manage to hook which was probably my best fish of the session but sadly the hook pulled just as Neil was about to chin it out for me.
We had some decent sized fish for the venue too with Neil having the biggest at probably just a double. Some really nice marked fish though and always great fun on frogs.

Now the other day was going to be a pike fly day and i was hoping my new gear would come in time to try it out before i went away. Sadly it didn't, and still hasn't come! So i chose to have a bash at perch on the fly again.
I'd recently replaced my camera so was keen to try it out, i always like to take plenty of close ups to test it out. I also tried one of the settings on the camera in the first photo which was called 'toy camera' god knows why its called that and what its supposed to do but the shot came out all dramatic which i really like, nothing like what you would expect from something called 'toy camera' setting.
The fishing was pretty average really so not allot to report other than a huge perch that came after my 5oz hooked fish, easily upper 3 or more! Those are the times you want the hook to pull out....

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Spending but worth it

What do you find yourself doing when you cannot fish much? yes that's right, sat in front of a computer looking for fishing gear to buy! Ive been selling gear i don't use recently to buy new stuff i want. A new fly line came the other week and id still not got out to try it until this week.
The line was a Rio streamer tip, its a floating line but it has an intermediate tip so you can work down but the floating line gives you a bit more control in moving water and also when lifting off. I bought the line for perch fishing primarily but it will come in handy for a few things not to mention what it was designed for which is fishing streamers on rivers. You cannot beat spending money on a decent line, probably more important than the reel, i was excited to try it out knowing how good rio lines were and to compare it to my last line.

It was quite a windy day and i was fishing a fly with a 4.5mm tungsten bead, this would be quite a weight for some lines so it was going to be interesting to see if the line coped with the weight.
So my first cast just a couple of back casts and i let the line go, i cannot include what my exact words were as basically it was dirty language! The line flew out the rings and i wasn't even trying, on the second cast, for the usual distance i was covering it didn't even feel like i needed more than one false cast as you could feel the line wanting to go. I was really pleased with it and the expense was well worth it.

So onto the fishing, it wasn't brilliant, but i manged double figures of perch with a couple of 2lbers which go really well on the fly rod. It was only a short session but i got my fix for the week.

Now onto things coming up, theres too much to talk and think about in the coming months as once we get to the end of summer we come to what i consider some of the best fishing months, for now though I'll just stick to the near future and whats on my mind. Firstly i will be getting my new pike fly rod, Ive spent a bit on this as i hope to do allot more of that this winter, again I'll talk more about that soon.
In a few weeks time I'm going away for short holiday on the north east coast, its a family holiday but Ive been given one day to fish so that is going to be a day to make the most of the coast and do some LRF, Ive had that planned for awhile now with Paul so I'm looking forward to that. I'm also taking a fly rod in case i get an odd hour or more to have a bash for flatties. I know nothing about this kind of thing so Ive started to do my homework in preparation, find out as much as possible to increase my chances of catching. I'll tie myself some suitable flies next week. Ive already started on a few but these are intended to be fished on my LRF rod too by adding a shot in front of them, thought it best to it this way so i can use them on a fly rod too if i want. I tied a few shrimps, and a few small baitfish in case theres any mackerel to go at.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Passing time in a rut..

I seem to be in a bit of a rut at the minute, i can't get out much because of the kids school holiday and things just seem to be going wrong which means when I'm stressed or in a bad mood i cannot get out fishing to calm myself down. Fishing is enjoyment but the more i fish the more i realise how it suits my life and how therapeutic it is for me.

So the day i got out was Wednesday, things started off really good with three pike on the fly rod in quick succession along with a few follows. Nothing big but i did catch the jack below which was an amazing colour, the tail and fins were like the colour you normally see on a big fish. It was great fun on the fly rod too with two of the fish being sight fished.

Just i was settling into the session i got the third jack on and it just so happens i was being watched at the time, not sure if this added extra pressure but i made a right tit of myself, firstly the bank was very steep so i could not chin the fish so i took my bag off to get my net. As i pulled my net off i knocked my bag and it went rolling down the bank into the river! Luckily the river margin was very shallow despite being silty. I saw the bag look like it was going to drift off but luckily it held, meanwhile i still had the fish to sort, i had to extend my net so as i usually do one handed, i stood on the net while pulling up on the handle, the net ripped of the corner of the frame..DAMMIT! anyway it did provide me with a good hook to get my bag back with, as i lifted my bag up i remembered where my camera was.... for god sake!
I've dropped cameras in before and they have come back to life so wasn't too worried although its not a great feeling as its happening.

Sadly this time my camera didn't come back to life but knowing how easy it is to drop them and done it a few times i got my camera covered for mishap or damage. So today off to the shop to get a new one, the only ones that were in the price range were out of stock, typical! so now i have to wait until i can get to another of the same retailers stores.

Being stuck at home with no fishing i thought i would use the time to build some lures to raise money for a new rod i really want, so this morning i set about it. Into the shed and realised i didn't really have the wood i needed, i had a few bits but they were not the same as what I'm used to using, they have a different density basically so need a whole new weighting set up. I started to get frustrated and didn't really have the mojo to be building lures, however i remembered that i had a few blanks already half finished so i could get on with those at least. While digging those out i then noticed i didn't even have any screw eyes left to build anymore lures...ARGGHH!

Ive also been doing some more fly tying, pike flies in particular and even that's being going rubbish, i just can't seem to think what to do and when i try to do something it ends up being a mess. I managed to pull the three below out the bag which aren't too bad but it still left me even more frustrated.

So that's it, pretty hacked off at the minute and no chance to calm myself down with some fishing, my main drive at the minute is my next purchase which is an upgrade of my pike fly rod. To fund that I'm having to part with jerkbaits from my own collection that Ive really had to force my hand to take them out there boxes, having made them myself and putting the time and effort into them i always find it hard to part with them. When i build lures i generally make multiples so that i can keep some and now I'm having to reluctantly part with those.

I'm just going to have to grin and bare it for about 3-4 weeks till the kids go back to school and hopefully everything else that's hacking me off sorts itself out.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Ultralight river fishing

I've only just found enough time to write up what i got up to last week having every day of the week to fish straight from work until dark if needs be. I chose to fish ultralight, mostly small cranks as it was pacey water i was mostly going to be fishing and wading allot of it too.

Tuesday was to be a day fishing with my mate Steve whom id not fished with for nearly a year so it was going to be a nice catch up more than anything else, the river spot we chose to fish though had always done us well so we was looking forward to getting amongst some fish too.
The further we got down the river stretch the more and more we was realising that spots we usually catch from every time were not producing and despite a few perch it wasn't really producing anything at all. We fished the stretch through though with Steve catching the majority of perch while i just had one or two and a bonus chub. Disappointing, and we wasn't sure if the lack of rain and oxygen had anything to do with it.

We moved off to another river next a smaller river which would be a nice change and good chances of big chub and trout. Again it was more of the same, that being a bit of a struggle. I manged to find a half decent chub which was a result but the most interesting part of the session was finding all the big crays that we kept seeing on the river bed.

On Wednesday I met up with Paul whom and we both agreed that we fancied a half days trout fishing and then move onto a canal or river later in the day for a hopefully a mixed bag.
So we started off on a small stream that i had not fished before so I'd have that exciting feeling of not knowing what the pool round the next corner was going to be like or have lurking in it! We were off to a good start straight away but that soon fizzled off when it was evident that the stream was lacking in water so it was a case of walking further to find any deeper holes. When ever we did find any they produced fish. Nothing massive was caught but we had fun getting amongst fish and missing lots of hits from smaller ones.

Later in the day we headed closer to home for an evening on a bigger river and there was always the chance of a treble here, but again things proved difficult for what ever reason and we were struggling to find many fish with just the odd perch showing, sadly no pike action though. I got a bonus fish in the form of a chub so i was pushing hard for a pike later on to complete a treble but it never came. We had a flurry of perch late in the evening but that was it. Pretty knackered by the end of the day after being up for work at 4:10am and not getting home till 22:30pm with just the odd crisp sandwich to sustain me all day.

On Thursday my fuel was running low and i nearly made the decision not to bother but as soon as i finished work i thought sod it and off i went again, a bit of a drive to where i wanted to fish but hopefully it would be worth it.
Things started off slow as i had the difficulty of getting good river access as the area i wanted to fish was taken up by stick float fishers and any further downstream was going to be too deep to wade and no bank access at all. I really wanted to get amongst the chub with a fly rod but this just didn't suit where was going to have to fish. Pretty frustrated i thought id just get in the river where i could and see how far i could wade downstream before it became too dangerous.
I picked up a nice chub early on and then the odd few perch here and there before id fished out that area. i thought I'd go back upstream and fish through it again as id spooked a decent chub under a tree and thought id get a second shot at it. As i neared the spot i saw the chub come up and take something off the top so thought it would be great to see if i could catch it on a floating bean crank. I must have spooked it again as it never showed any interest but i suddenly started catch allot more fish all be it smaller in size, both chub and perch and a few pike to complete a treble. The bean was a floating crank that skittered across the surface but by casting it downstream and pulling it across or into the flow it dived a few inches and the fish seemed to really like this.

After fishing through that stretch again and catching much more i thought id go see if the other guys had gone as it was now reaching early evening. I was pleased to see they had gone and i then enjoyed a great hour or so catching fish after fish, most perch but i also had more chub with some better ones mixed in. I'd now had chub from 4 different rivers this week and it was great to get amongst them.
I'd saved the best untill last and despite being frustrated early on about more than i mentioned which i won't go into on here, it ended up a really good day with plenty caught.