Monday, 30 January 2012

A trip to the Wye

With the price of bait, fishing permit and petrol, Sundays trip to the river Wye below Ross-on-Wye was an expensive affair but certainly worth it.
The stretch, set under the gaze of the historic Goodrich castle was picturesque to say the least and made all the money and effort well worthwhile.

18lb 4oz
I was after the resident pike but on arriving the river didn’t look at its best. It was coloured and running through at a fair old pace. However there were still some areas of slack water around overhanging bushes and trees – these were the areas I’d try to target.
Goodrich Castle

I thought I’d look to keep tactics as simple as possible and take as little tackle with me as I could. This meant no chair, no quiver and no brolly. I’d give each swim an hour and move on - hopefully this mobile approach would see me covering pike at some point.

I’d been reliably informed that herring was the ‘in-form’ bait so I made sure that my cooler bag was full of those, plus some mackerel tails and smelt.

I fished simple leger tactics, just flicking baits into likely looking holes and giving them an hour or so, tweaking them occasionally to provoke an attack.

I used light front bobbins to alert me of a drop-back and I opened up the bail-arm and held the line on the spool with some mud. I’m sure Blu-Tack or a piece of tape was a cleaner bet, but the soft nature of the mud meant that if I did get a take the line would fall off the spool smoothly and not cause the pike to feel any resistance.

State-of-the-art bite detection

After 4-5 hours and not a sign of a toothy pike I was beginning to lose confidence and all the usual doubts started to creep in to my mind - “Am I using the right bait?” “The river’s too coloured and high.”

However, the last peg of the beat looked like a banker. A massive area of slack water and loads of branches, bushes and trees littering the area. I cast in my herring bait close to one of these likely looking haunts, just off the main flow of the river. As I was playing about setting up the front bobbin line plucked out of my fingers - I had a bite!

I released the line from the clutches of the bobbin and opened up the bail arm, line began to peel from the spool as the fish moved away. I didn’t wait long before setting the hooks and the rod lurched over into a satisfying curve.

A short but spirited fight ensued and as I reached for my net I released it wasn’t there, looking round I saw it resting 20 yards back, next to my bag – brilliant. Anyway, I managed to cover myself in mud but eventually got the fish on the bank.

It went 18lb 4oz so it was worth the mud bath. Another fish of around 15lb was lost a little while later and then no more action. I’ve lost count of the amount of pike I’ve caught between 16lb and 19lb 15oz (I haven’t it’s 12) but hopefully a 20 will be on its way soon. The Wye is a stunning river and I’ll certainly be back.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Kick in the b*lls Kingsbury

For some reason I love to fish Kingsbury Water Park. Over the last 15 years fishing partners have lost interest, bored of countless blanks, but I’ve persisted, don’t ask me why but I keep going back for more punishment.

Still trying to master the art of self take photography, as you can see...

Last winter I fished it hard with lures, catching on most trips but luring nothing particularly of note (biggest fish was 12lb).

This season I decided to give it a go with deads. “This will single out the bigger fish,” I thought to myself. However after five trips and one pike of just under 10lbs to show for my efforts I was getting bored of fishing behind static rods. Yesterday I was again sitting there bored and miserable so I decided to break my lure curfew and flick a Eumer fly around, I wondered off to find a few likely looking spots and after a while I came across a deep bay, where I thought I saw a large fish boil on the surface. Maybe it was a grebe. Anyway the area looked promising so I gave it a bit of time. Suddenly, as I was wondering what to have for tea my rod bent around and I hit into a fish, the line immediately went slack as the fish began to swim towards me at quite a pace, I wound in quickly to try and regain some line and finally I felt some strong resistance down below. Wow, it felt like a bit of a lump. The fish was 10ft down and stayed at that depth as it powered off across the lake, slowly ticking line off of the spool - like big pike tend to do.
Eventually I clawed back a bit of ground and managed to get the, now evidently large, pike to the surface, it boiled and I managed to see a fair old portion of it’s flank. It was big. Over 20lb in my head. Then off it went again, ‘tick’ ‘tick’ went the spool, then ‘ping’ went the fly as it lost its footing in the pikes spiky jaws.

I was (still am) gutted. Hopefully the Wye can cheer me up tomorrow…

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Lunchtime Snack

I've finally been convinced to start up a blog. It seems like a great way to find out what's going on, share some ideas and generally become jealous that everyone else is catching more and bigger fish than me!

Fluorescent yellow Kopyto did the damage

Monday to Friday, nine to five. This is a familiar working pattern for most people in England including me and this really restricts fishing in the week, especially in the winter.
One time when I can get out for my fishing fix is at lunch – a golden window of opportunity. Me and my mate Steve jumped in my car and two minutes later we found ourselves at the bank of the Grand Union Canal.
Carrying just a rod and a pocket full softies we fished about ½ a mile’s worth of water, casting to the far bank and twitching the 3 to 4 inch baits back along the bottom. We were struggling. Not a touch. And it was bitterly cold. This was a slow way of covering the water and with only 40 minutes of fishing in front of us and the fish most probably packed up tight we decided to change tactics.
There was a bridge about 300 yards along the towpath and it looked like it might hold a few fish so instead of casting to the far bank we flicked our baits over into the near margin and walked slowly towards the structure. With our arms out-stretched we could just about fish the baits alongside the near-drop. This means that we could work a known fish holding feature quickly.
The mood was glum as we approached the bridge. Not a sausage. We passed under the bridge, still nothing. Then bang, my rod tip wrapped round and the tell-tale ‘jag-jag’ of a big stripy signaled a take.
A short but spirited fight concluded with this perch on the bank. It looked big, Steve reckons it was about 2lb 6oz, I agreed. A nice fish on any day but it somehow felt more satisfying taking the fish on a lunch break. Beats going to Waitrose.