Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Autumn sessions

Since my last entry I've done quite a bit of fishing, in fact , as I sit here and write I'm struggling to remember it all! The weather has definately taken a turn for the worse of late and autumn is well and truly upon us. For the most part I've been doing a lot of lure fishing as that side of things seems to have taken on a whole new lease of life for me, more on that shortly however. In the meantime to kick things off I'll talk a little bit about a grayling session on the Dove around three weeks ago.

As expected, Phil and I had the whole stretch to ourselves upon our arrival and the fishing started off in a promising way with a lovely Chub falling to phils rod within minutes. After that we really struggled in a couple of swims which was quite surprising really as the fish seemed quite active. A strong and cold wind got up which didn't help the situation but eventually I found a swim where I could sit with my back to it. Bites were hard to come by to begin with but I was reluctant to move and decided to stay put and keep the feed going in. This soon began to pay off as a succession of small grayling and trout steadily came to my rod. After an hour or so I suddenly realised my catch rate was really picking up as was the size of the fish, the more maggots I put in the river the more I was catching. It was one those times when everything seems to fall into place and a nice rhythm was established, cast, bait,wait 30secs, catch, cast, bait, wait 30secs,catch, lovely!

Every fish I caught was full of maggots so they were obviously really having it, even a flotilla of passing canoes didn't dampen their appetite! I lost count of how many I caught, grayling nudging 2lb and trout to over 3lb all came to the net over the next couple of hours before, eventually, I managed to exhaust my maggot supply and was forced to pack up. Nothing big was caught but it was a great days fishing and the beautifully marked trout in the pic below was probably my favourite fish of the trip, a proper wild stunner!


After that trip I had a bit of a mishap with my car exhaust so decided to book a day off work to sort it out with a view to maybe squeeze some fishing in aswell. As you probably know by now, I like to lure fish whenever I get a limited window to fish as this technique requires absolutely no preparation and you are fishing the second the lure hits the water. Today was no exception and I headed to a local canal with nothing more than a few bits to do some dropshotting.

The water was fairly murky but it didn't take long to find a few Perch, only little ones but plenty of them. I found the best lure was a little panic minnow but it was the last I had and I was gutted when something nipped the tail of it! It did some damage of its own though as you can see below.


The pike seemed very active today for some reason aswell and they took a liking to the dropshot lures.


After catching a couple of jacks and getting bitten off I decided to incorporate a trace into my rig. This had the instant effect of putting the perch off but I still managed a couple more pike including a nice one which must've been approaching double figures.



After that I headed back to pick up the car well pleased with the mornings action. I did have another dropshotting session on a local pool a couple of days later and managed another load of small perch. The water was crystal clear and it was great fun watching the perch attack the lure, such aggressive little buggers!

The next fishing trip proper was to a large reservoir with Roach being the target. Despite it only being a short distance from home I'd never fished it before so was totally unsure as to what to expect other than that the roach averaged a good size.

It was absolutely chucking it down when we arrived but even so the lake itself was still very low after the long dry summer. My chosen spot wasn't any different in looks to any other swim for 500yards in either direction but there was fish showing within casting range so that was good enough for me!

I fished two maggot bolt feeder rigs at around 50yards range and the plan was to keep recasting both rods every 5mins until a good bed of bait was built up and hopefully the roach came on the feed.

Fortunately it didn't take long to start getting bites and soon the fish were coming thick and fast. I was really pleased with the average size aswell with most fish being between 6-12oz and a nice sprinkling of pound plussers chucked in for good measure.

I was playing the numbers game to try and snare a 2lber but there was just too many smaller samples in my swim. I ended up with somewhere around 30lb of roach I'd say with the biggest I weighed going 1lb5oz. I have no doubt that 2lbers exist in the lake but it'd take a lot of fishing to find one given just how stuffed the place is! A water I'll revisit with different tactics next time I feel.
Since the roach trip I've been pretty much 100% lure fishing or more specifically, Ultra light lure fishing. I met up with well known angler and lure fishing guru Steve Collett who has kindly been showing me the ropes with the whole U/L concept.
Tiny lures, fine wire hooks, pencil thin rods and miniature reels are all part and parcel of this style of fishing and some of the tips and edges that Steve has passed on have been real eye openers. Balanced tackle which allows you to see and feel even the shyest of bites is the key to getting the most out of U/L as is technique. After seeing Steve in action I realise what a newbie I am to lure fishing and how much scope I have to refine and improve my technique, it's like a hidden world has been opened up to me!
Another major thing which Steve has helped me to overcome is my reluctance to lure fish coloured water. I always had a mental block about chucking lures about in coloured water thinking if the fish can't see it then they won't take it, how wrong I was! An adjustment in technique and the confidence to keep plugging away was all that was needed and after witnessing Steve catch a zander in the most coloured water you could imagine I set about trying to catch one of my own.
In the end it took a couple of trips but catch one I did and, although it was small, I can't overstate the significance of the fish in terms of confidence building. I feel ready to take on the entire midlands canal network now! my next blank trip will certainly send me crashing back down to earth but there are exciting times ahead I feel.