Posts Tagged ‘fishing tackle’
For a fly fisher, surviving winter at high elevation is usually an arduous and inconsistent process. Snow and bitter cold temperatures can dominate the weather for months at a time and a visit to the river is often times only to watch through the months of December, January, and February.
With ice and cold winds as limiting factors, finding a window of opportunity for even a few hours of deep water nymphing or streamer fishing can be rare if human comfort assumes a role in determining whether to fish or stay indoors. Gradually, however, the daytime hours lengthen and subzero temperatures eventually become a casualty of the calendar. And as an ice bound river begins to regain its flowing character, there comes a glimmer of expectation for the first true sign of an eventual spring.
Although the timing of conditions suitable for dry fly fishing can vary from year to year, the sight of the first rise of a new season is always something to savor. And while the source of surface interest among trout in late winter is invariably of a size that dictates keen refinement in all aspects of fishing tackle and skill, nothing in the entire year is more welcome than the humble midge.
While chironomids on local still waters and elsewhere can be realistically imitated on a hook as large as size 12, the term midge is an appropriate description when they are found on moving water. Seldom larger than size 20, midges are available to trout in the Henry’s Fork and most other streams throughout the year. However, they are never more important than in cold weather conditions and are often the only hatch to be found during the longest season of the trout states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
Because of a craving for dry fly fishing after a long absence, I watch for conditions that promote surface availability of the tiny insects. Air temperatures that exceed the freezing point by 6 to 8 degrees will usually stimulate late winter and early spring emergence, and overcast skies are often a positive factor in tempting wary trout to the surface. Temperatures below 50ᵒ seem to hold the adults on the surface, and this increases the potential for finding rising trout.
Trout feed more efficiently in slower currents when floating midges are the target, but gently riffled water should not be ignored. Seeing the miniature dry flies is completely dependent upon fishing as close to a surface feeder as possible, regardless of the water type. A cast beyond 30 feet will likely put a size 22 out of view, at which time you will be required to set the hook when a rise appears in the area where you think the fly is located.
By necessity, midge patterns must be of relatively simple design, as is the case with all exceptionally small imitations. Because of its unique flotational properties, CDC works well for midge patterns that must be supported on the surface with a minimal amount of material. My favorite floating patterns also incorporate a sparse application of hackle, and stripped goose biots are a regular feature as well.
While my midge box contains an extensive assortment of patterns representing all phases of the life cycle, three distinct floating imitations have demonstrated reliable productivity on waters as distant as Japan. And I fear little shame in admitting that their favored status is also based on the relative ease in which they can be seen on the water.
CDC Biot Midge Adult
This pattern rides fairly high on the water and parallel to the surface in a manner that represents a fully emerged midge adult.
Hook: TMC 100 BL size 18-24
Thread: Gray 8/0
Abdomen: Canada Goose Biot or Stripped Peacock Herl
Wing: Sparse Lt. Dun CDC
Thorax: Gray Dubbing
Hackle: 1-3 turns of Grizzly
CDC Hanging Midge
This easy to see midge pattern rides partially submerged with only the wing and hackle showing above the surface.
Hook: TMC 100 BL size 18-24
Thread: Gray 8/0
Body: Canada Goose Biot or Peacock Herl
Thorax: Gray Dubbing
Wing: White CDC
Hackle: 1-3 turns of Grizzly
CDC Cluster Midge
In a way, this pattern allows a bit of cheating on the usually very small midge patterns by imitating a cluster of mating insects that often swarm together on the surface.
Hook: TMC 100 BL size 14-20
Thread: Gray 8/0
Body: Peacock Herl
Hackle: Grizzly palmered
Wing: Sparse White CDC
These days, it is the rare individual who does not bring a lasting ambition to cast a long line when he first picks up a fly rod. As a tool designed specifically for this purpose, a weight forward line is generally the first choice of a beginner, and many will never try anything different.
Like anyone else, I appreciate the ease in which a weight forward taper can be applied in situations where a long, straight line cast is the foremost objective. This especially applies to still water fishing where a floating line is not subject to the same factors found on moving water.
With a lifelong fondness for fishing dry flies on the predominantly larger rivers of the Rocky Mountain west, my preference lies in a much different line configuration when compared to the popular weight forward taper.
On moving water, inducing a natural presentation of an artificial is often almost equally dependent upon casting and mending. With maximum control both in the air and on the water as requirements more important than easily attained distance, my choice is a double taper floating line.
Even on big waters, I try to wade within 30 feet of a feeding trout. At this range and anything less, the performance of a weight forward and double taper line are essentially equal. It is beyond this distance that I begin to struggle with line control when fishing a weight forward taper.
Unlike a weight forward, there is no hinge point with a double taper because the weight of the line is distributed throughout its length rather than being concentrated in the first 30 feet. With consistent flex and contact with the rod tip, a double taper permits superior line control while also making it easier to regulate the velocity of fly delivery. And while there are exceptions, shooting slack line into the cast is not something I generally apply when presenting a dry fly. Additionally, I find it difficult if not impossible to make certain casts that rely on controlled line speed or consistent response to the rod tip when fishing a weight forward beyond 30 feet. Curve casting, aerial mending, and a long reach cast are much more easily accomplished with a double taper.
Precise mending techniques are vital to managing the drift once the fly is on the water. With the thinner running line in the guides, it is virtually impossible to reposition the heavier front portion of a weight forward taper as a means of overcoming problematic currents that can disrupt a natural drift by causing the fly to drag.
Refined nymphing methods involving submerged flies in moving water can require precise casting and deft mending techniques that are quite similar to fishing a floating imitation. Whether maintaining a natural drift or inducing controlled action to the fly, it is not unusual to experience some difficulty when fishing beyond 30 feet with a weight forward line. For the same reasons that apply to dry fly fishing, I generally prefer a double taper when presenting a subsurface pattern to a big, nymphing trout in moving water.
In keeping with the example of old time steel-headers prior to the popularity of two handed fly casting, I rely on a double taper floating line for spring and fall streamer fishing for trout when the water is low and often quite cold.
Swimming the fly mostly with the current or on a slow, pulsating swing often involves long, looping mends that may require some serious roll casting to execute correctly. And while a long cast on big water may require significantly more effort, I find 60-70 feet to be a reasonable distance for a 6 or 7 wt. double taper. Again, as in other situations discussed herein, I value line control above ease in gaining distance for low water streamer fishing where presenting the fly means considerably more than simply stripping it quickly through the water.
I have many highly accomplished friends and acquaintances who will stick with a weight forward line for virtually all of their trout fishing, and many will disagree with my comments and personal opinion regarding a double taper. This I accept without argument because fly tackle performance is an entirely individual matter, and I would never try to convince anyone that my way is best.
In general, I believe a double taper to be a specialized line best suited for refined presentation of dry flies on moving water. But failing to understand its versatility is a common oversight by many who might benefit by simply giving it a try.
For the second time in just a few months, another giant sea creature has been found on the coast of California. This time a Giant squid measuring over 150 feet from head to tip of the tentacle has been washed ashore on the beach of the west-coast of the United States.
Judging by reports, experts in ‘radioactive gigantism’ believe these enlarged animals are coming from the waters near the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant in the Futaba District of Japan. Just three years ago the Nuclear Power Plant suffered badly from the Tsunami triggered by the Tōhoku earthquake back in 2011. The plant released an estimated 10-30% of radioactive material of that recorded at the Chernobyl disaster 1986 – the second (first – Chernobyl) to be recorded a level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale. An unknown number of sea creatures suffered genetic mutations that triggered uncontrolled growth – or “radioactive gigantism” due to the incident.
The problem is, say officials in Santa Monica, CA, “These giant sea creatures seem to be drifting towards the US from Japan” They intend to remove the beast in pieces to Scripps Research Institute so they can study it in detail.
This may well be a hoax, but could you imagine a 30ft long eel swimming up your local river, or maybe a giant mackerel following your 20lb cod hooked on your favourite fishing tackle from the bottom of the ocean? This is the possibility of radioactive gigantism!
More genetically modified fish:
Oarfish have been reported to grow up to 15 meters in length, but the longest recorded and verified is 9 meters long. Rare fish such as these are almost impossible to catch as they can dive up to more than 3,000 feet (914 meters) in depth.
Could you imagine hooking into something like this on your carp fishing rod? A giant Goldfish? After a ten minute battle, this thirty pound goldie was returned to fight another day. But with the lack of corroborating evidence, there have been many claims that the photo is nothing more than a clever hoax.
Another classic case of fish mutation would be Blinky the Three-Eyed Fish (or Blinky) – a three-eyed orange fish species, found in the ponds and lakes outside Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. The Nuclear Power Plant caused the mutations.
All the above look real enough, there is some suspicion to them all, but who are we to cast judgement. What do you think?
It is almost a year since I started my position with Fishtec, a year in which my knowledge of the fishing tackle market has improved way beyond my expectations. Naturally, my heart belongs to the gear designed and manufactured by TF Gear: it’s great stuff, and it’s priced competitively enough for most anglers to enjoy. I can report our directors’ commitment to great design, good service and total dedication to ‘getting it right’. It can take many months of negotiation and, sometimes, a great deal of frustration before a particular item is deemed good enough to ‘go live’. Such was the case with the tremendously successful TF Gear Juggernaut Barrow. The carpets in our office were pretty worn out when I arrived on the scene in December of last year but endless ‘trial’ runs of the Juggernaut put a noticeable furrow in the canvas backing, I’d swear. But all the brain-ache was worth it: the TF Gear Juggernaut now trundles around countless lakes here and abroad, transporting heaps of tackle to distant swims with minimal effort and fuss. Why nobody thought before of a 3-wheeled barrow I’ll never know, but TF Gear got there first and are now at No.1 in the barrow-selling market.
Look too at the TF Gear Speed-Runner fixed spool reel. It’s a feature-packed, high quality piece of angling wizardry that satisfies the demands of many a renowned angler, including Dave Lane who never goes fishing without them. With smooth, reliable, precision-engineered gears; a strong, well-balanced, high-grade alloy body; micro-adjustable drag and ten (that’s 10) ball-bearings to boost its performance, anyone would reasonably expect to pay twice the current price of £49.99! And here’s the thing: despite their astonishingly low price tag, they perform and look and ARE good enough to grace the classiest rods.
And let’s hear it for the TF Gear Poncho! I suspect I was like many anglers in viewing a Mexican-inspired ‘cover-all’ as a bit naff, but I bought one: at less than ten quid I thought it worth a gamble. First time out with the Poncho it absolutely hassed down but by gathering my gear around and under my low chair and covering the back-rest I rendered myself and my tackle utterly waterproof. Sitting in the thundering rain could hardly be called fun but I experienced a great deal of satisfaction from thwarting the worst Nature could throw at me. When the rain stopped I stood and uncovered my possessions in so doing, and in the midst of a steaming, dripping water-world I found myself and my gear to be bone dry! How’s that for a good tenner’s worth! I now keep a TF Gear Poncho in the car as well and intend buying half a dozen more for friends and family at Christmas.
Under our website-heading ‘Fishing Hats and Caps’ you’ll see the ‘TF Gear Fleece Hat, Gloves and Neck-Warmer Set’. It costs £19.99. I ask you to look at what this very modest sum buys, then to imagine how these items will keep you warm during those rock-solid days of deep mid-winter. The neck-warmer really appeals to me: it does everything a scarf can do but without superfluous, flailing tail-ends getting in the way; you simply pop it over your head and adjust the draw-cord for instant warmth and draft-proofing – things just keep getting better! Here’s further proof, and also evidence of our (necessarily!) unbiased nature at Fishtec Towers…
The Avid Super-Low Chair: at just 2.8kgs and supplied in a good quality canvas bag, you can sling this little beauty over your shoulder and set off for a full day’s roving and stalking. Thanks to Avid, being ‘mobile’ no longer means standing all day or sitting on the ground; now you can be comfortable in every little gap you come across – and very inconspicuous. The Avid Super-Low Chair is extremely well made and ingeniously designed; it folds lengthways and features rounded EVA arms that truly enhance your comfort. It takes up very little room and can be easily stored in a small cupboard, in the boot or at the back of the bivvy for guests.
So, the Avid Super-Low is just the job for the rover and the guest, but for the longer-stay angler who needs sustained comfort in a full-size chair there is simply no need to look further than the TF Gear ‘Dave Lane’ range and the Dave Lane Hardcore Armchair in particular. Just looking at the picture on the website brings about a sense of comfort and well-being so just think of how good it actually is to relax in; it might well have been designed by a top osteopath for his much-loved mother…sheer luxury! Truth is, you could ditch the armchairs in your living room in favour of a set of TF Gear Hardcore Armchairs and continue to enjoy a perfectly acceptable standard of living (A much better one in some cases!) I mean…how many G-Plan, Ercol or Parker-Knoll armchairs have adjustable legs and mud-feet back and front? None, I’d wager. Which of them allows you to recline parallel to the floor? And can you simply fold up a glazed-chintz Sanderson fireside chair and sling it single-handedly into the back of your van? You see the advantages of the TF Gear way, don’t you? Allow your mind to race a little…imagine your WHOLE HOUSE furnished with a full range of TF Gear fishing tackle? You could literally fold-up your living-room and bedrooms and have the lot stowed in the pantechnicon in less than three minutes. All of those black plastic bags filled to bursting with duvets and bed-clothes could be replaced by a few nicely compacted TF Gear sleeping bags in their stuff-sacks. At a stroke, moving house would be relegated to about 19th place in the list of life’s most stressful events.
God, I love working here….
This is an undisguised but wholly justified plug for the products available from my employer, Fishtec!
I have written at length over many years about the hardships me and my fishing buddies used to suffer in pursuit of specimen fish, but before launching myself into this unashamed endorsement of fishing tackle I would emphasize the value of our very unsophisticated angling adventures; I really wouldn’t have missed a moment of them and, what’s more, I fundamentally believe that we owe our good health and undiminished zeal to the way we were compelled to fish. Those who entered our wonderful way of life at any time after…say, 1990, will have little or no concept of how their predecessors paved the way for today’s bank-side opulence and convenience products, their view of fishing predicated on the expectation of a dry, warm environment and hot, well-cooked meals around the clock!
I am all too aware of how this piece could blossom into a full-blown Python sketch, with descriptions of long, late-September nights huddled beneath a 36” brolly – a wooden-poled brolly at that! – eking-out the last dregs of lukewarm tea from the flask… I could go on and on and on and on and on about ‘ow toof we ‘ad it in thorz days and, frankly, I’d have every good reason for doing so! You see, everything is relative. (Indeed, we live in an age of relativism brought about by the tyranny of political correctness but that’s another story for a different publication)
If you’ve been smacked across the face with a big, wet cod every day of your life it’d come as a relief – nay, a pleasure – to have that cod replaced by a sprat, wouldn’t it? Think about it…EVERY rotten single day of your life – at around mid-day – you receive a jaw-jarring, eye-watering SMACK! right across your chops from a glistening-wet cod wielded by a big sadistic bruiser; then, one day, he runs out of cod and can only muster little sprats thereafter…you’d be GAGGING for that daily sprat every day for the rest of your life knowing what the alternative could be.
So in that same spirit of relativism it was considered the pinnacle of Hedonistic indulgence the day we learned how to tuck a couple of donkey jackets under the brolly ribs to form a rain and wind-break; well-informed anglers from up the bank would ‘casually’ saunter down to see our creations and briefly experience the joy of the Brollyjacket. Why we didn’t see the possibilities and immediately form the world’s first fishing bivvy company I don’t know, but I suppose it was because the novelty of being only damp and fairly cold was seen as the ultimate pleasure!
And seats! Oh, those seats! It beggars belief that quality-control officers (or whoever made the bloody things) deemed our seats ‘OK – A1’ or whatever they labelled them prior to distribution. Even the luxury longer-legged versions of the things we spent our lives perched upon should, by rights, have been marketed as ‘back destroyers’ – ‘Can also be used as a handy fishing chair!!’ They really were diabolical contraptions comprising a green-painted iron frame and a length of candy-striped nylon. A more torso-friendly tubular seat did become available but the user was compelled to sit high and straight for the duration of the session – which could have been 17 hours of damp and darkness. We did it though…for years we regularly fished around the clock from the relative comfort of these things! Still…we had a 1 pint flask of tea and a pack of sandwiches to sustain ourselves so it wasn’t too bad was it?
The thing was, fishing equipment was never designed by anglers, or so it seemed. Indeed, when good tackle eventually became available it was marketed as being ‘Made by Anglers for Anglers’ so we really do owe a debt of thanks to those guys who put their money where their mouths were. Today the tackle market is quite enormous and there’s very little you can’t buy to enhance the angling-experience. I ask you…PVA bags…twin-skinned bivvies…luxury beds…carp bite alarms…polyphonic alarm receivers…boots that keep your feet warm in sub-zero temperatures! What a bunch of (lucky, warm, well-fed) cissies we’ve become!
Leafing through the latest TF Gear catalogue this morning I came across the Hardwear Pod; at just £19.99 it allows you to fish effectively on ANY surface. Honestly! What was wrong with a small pile of bricks and a couple of milk bottles? I found a – get this – ‘throwing spoon’. Now will somebody tell me what was wrong with the throwing arm? It’s true that I regularly came near to dislocating my shoulder and that I could never hurl a ball of cheese-paste further than 40 yards but I mean…we didn’t need a super-duper, accurate, effort-free throwing spoon for Pete’s sake! And what about this on page 49? A bloody ‘poncho’!! Ok, it’s only £9.99 but why fork out nearly a tenner when you can brave the pouring rain in a pair of denims and a Pacamac? I mean….the Pacamac never tore or split under the arms did it!!! Why would anyone need a good quality, green, hooded, sleeved, all-enveloping, totally waterproof Poncho – for NINE whole pounds and 99 pennies – just for when they’re caught by surprise? And what’s this? Page 34…’Stalking Belt’ Pah!! What was wrong with stuffing a farmhouse loaf down your trousers and filling your jacket with leads, binoculars, scales, camera, chocolate bars, hook-packets, floats and split shot, eh? Nothing at all! But now you can have all your stalking stuff neatly and comfortably worn around your waist in a TFG ‘Stalking Belt’ for heaven’s sake!! Who’d want one!! Ok, it’s only about twenty quid and it does enable you to spend entire summer afternoons exploring the upper river with everything you need – but what was wrong with the way I did it??
Really…you can peruse this decadent, self-indulgent catalog and find item after item that’s cleverly designed to make your fishing life ‘better’…’easier’…’more successful’! There’s reams of stuff that “…takes out the hard work… “and “catches you more fish” but really? Wouldn’t you rather ‘ave it ‘ard?
Two new prototype beach casters to be released by TF Gear in the New Year arrived for a final test this month and went straight into action at my local two day pier Festival at Folkestone. I finished second overall behind England Squad manager, Martyn Reid who is on peak form at present, although I did win one of the days with a haul of 50 fish and that included pouting to 750 grams, dabs and whiting. No cod I am afraid with Dungeness the only Kent venue producing cod of any size.
Another new sea fishing rod for next year is called the Slik Tip and it is an ultra slim line match rod based around a model I designed several years ago. Its essence is its stability in wind and its bite indication. You see it’s a myth that you need a soft, fine tip for good bite indication – All these types of tips do at sea is soak up the tide as they curve with bites then dampened by the line stretch. So you want a fine, but stiffish tip and the Slik Tip has got just that. Add low rider rings to its fine diameter and it sits in the wind as stable as you like and only bites can rattle it. To cut a long story short I fished a relatively short three hook flapper rig, six ounce fixed wire lead and size 1 hooks at around the 120 yard mark for a bite a cast and ten fish an hour average. Match fishing doesn’t get any better when you can watch for bites and count the fish on, much better that timed casts which are the only answer when the tide is bending the tip and bites are not showing. Nicking five minutes a cast by watching for bites gives the match angler a big advantage.
The other rod in the new range is the Continental and that I will try out in January at the Irish Winter beach Champs – It is a 15ft small fish scratching rod aimed at those anglers who want to fish Continental style, really light and delicately through the summer.
As I write this diary the cod are starting to appear around the Kent Coast, although most of the catches are limited to the boats and the deep water of Dungeness – If you have never been to the venue then you may not realise the main reason why Dungeness is still so productive for cod is that it’s so close to the English Channel’s deepest water. Just yards of Dungeness Point the depth goes down to 80ft plus. Check out a map and you will see how Dungie juts out into the English Channel.
The venue is worth a visit and some anglers will get lucky – Take Chris Radley of Hextable in Kent who beached an 18lb 8oz cod. The fish took a whiting which had hooked itself on one of the Pennell hooks on his rig. That’s a big clue how to fish Dungeness and any other cod venue for that matter. The bigger cod are eating whiting so always use two hooks on each bait, either live bait style or as a Pennell.
I have organised a novelty competition for 2014. It’s called the World LRF Championships and is being fished on Samphire Hoe near Dover on the 10th of August 14. Samphire is a walled promenade, not that picturesque but it’s packed with wrasse, pout, pollack, mackerel, etc during the summer and can be great fun to fish with Light Rock Fishing tackle. The rules allow lures or bait to be used and there are prizes for species, the best average and biggest fish landed.
Obviously it’s only open to those who fish proper LRF tackle and that are one hook.
Fishing is from 10am until 4pm. Catch measure and release with anglers allowed to keep their best fish only. Species pts, biggest and best average fish. Details from me on; 01303 250017
I presented the prizes for Barclays Bank SAC at their recent Championships held at Dover and it was great to get among a group of Clubmen in a very competitive and happy mood. Their match was won by two end pegs (one and two) which sometimes happens when you fish pier venues, but it’s a sure fire way of keeping all anglers happy. They also featured drawn pairs and team events – So often clubs make their competitions “fair” by doing away with the luck element, but then the entry and membership walk away when a few top match anglers dominate. If I had to play snooker against Ronnie Sullivan ever weekend who could blame me for voting with my feet. So I urge clubs to think about the decisions they make to make events fair – Far better to make them fair for all that just the top few!
The Super-Dri Lake Pro has been designed for the serious lake angler, utilising Airflo’s standard DELTA taper, the line casts effortlessly, turns over extremely well and shoots to the distance will little effort. The most serious casters will benefit immensely for the taper design of this line, a medium to long front taper lets for great stability through the cast, keeping your line speed high with extremely tight loops. The Super-dri Lake pro also lends itself to the lesser casts, giving the novice angler a great, easy casting line, a great addition to our fly fishing tackle.
Complete with Airflo’s patented ridge design and legendary PU coatings, you can expect these Airflo Super-Dri range to last longer than any other line you have and to perform as well as any fly line you will cast.
What are the key benefits of Super-Dri?
- High riding – Superb float-ability.v
- Zone Technology – Low compression hauling zone
- Ultra supple coating for improved handling
- Micro loops both ends
Learn more about the Super-dri Lake Pro fly line here
After some tough fishing at the Big Lake in Bedford over the last couple of weeks, Dave Lane makes the decision to move to Monks Pit in search of some of the larger carp he currently hadn’t caught.
Dave describes where the fish are likely to be, how to approach a carp water and what carp fishing tackle will help tempt specimen fish!
Fishing tackle Dave uses in this video:
DL Nantec Carp Rods
Dave Lane Hardcore Bivvy
The warm summer weather rolls on and at the time of writing this blog it is still very warm for the time of year and although the winter season has started to kick in the codling are marked by their absence in many regions. In Kent its masses of whiting and dogfish and its difficult to get a hook back without a fish on it after dark – Seabrook is producing some record number of whiting with 50 in a three hour contest fairly common. Check out next month’s Sea Angler magazine for the low down on how the match anglers are managing to catch so many fish in such a short time.
My latest competition was the three day Dover pier festival, in days gone by over 200 anglers fished each day, but in line with match fishing generally the event was down to a dismal 60 odd rods. To blame in undoubtedly the lack of bigger fish and the whiting and dogfish snatchers making it difficult for the average angler to compete and most are know no longer giving their hard earned cash to the matchmen. The event was won by Folkestone angler, Mick Tapsell who landed 95 fish over the two days. I managed a respectable second with a poor start on day one setting me back, although I came through from tenth on the final day. The biggest fish prize over the three days went to John Chalk from Herne Bay with a bass of 1.116kg, he also landed the best fish on Monday, a codling of 950 grams, which was the best of three landed from the breakwater and is an example of the size of codling coming from the shore in the region at present…
Other events I have fished recently included a club evening match on Folkestone pier and that turned into a dogathon. Dogfish two three at a time for three hours is exhausting with the winner landing 35 plus, not that enjoyable. One event I did not fish was at Princes Parade at Seabrook where Kent angler, Paul Gunner won with 57 whiting for 23.15lb. Second was Cliff Sharp of with 20.50lb and third Ronnie Warne of Hythe with 18.55lb. Fourth place went to Linton Warne of Hythe who landed his best ever catch of 38 fish, but didn’t make the top three! However, worse was for Ashford angler, John Smith who landed a cracking 9.65lb bass in the contest, a new Seabrook Angling Society all time record and he didn’t make the frame either – Sometimes I think we have our priorities wrong, such a splendid fish deserves more credit than a bunch of scrawny whiting.
All of this adds to the call for a change of approach to match fishing, we need a new system, but what it’s going to be I have no idea? More sea fishing tackle prizes?!
Staying with sea fishing competition’s it was a pleasure to fish the 41st City of London Thames Fishery Experiment competition, at Gravesend. This annual event is organised to help establish the environmental condition of the river and is fished from the Gravesend foreshore on the Kent side with anglers zoned adjacent to the Port Health Lower Thames office. 8 County teams of 8 and three school teams compete for an array of different trophies, fishing over three hours. The event started in 1966 and first arranged by the Thames preservation Society who together with the City of London Corporation shared the organisation from 1971 to the present day. Event sponsors include the Fishmongers Company and the Port of London Authority with the Environment Agency also represented. The points scoring devised by the Natural history museum reflects the species rarity etc in the river.
This year the match times arranged around the banquet (rack of lamb with mint sauce) after the fishing , missed the best of the high tide, although several anglers caught fish on their last cast. Best of the catches though came on his very first cast to Essex captain, Mick Sharp who beached a 44cm bass by far the best fish of the day and along with whiting, flounders and eel was easily the best individual score of 75points which gave victory for Essex County almost on his own, the team score was 145points winning the Lady Howard trophy. Runners up were the Charles Stanley Angling Team on 85points and third The Thameside Angling Team on 80points. Schools winners were the London School for Girls with 25pt.
In total 99 fish were landed including bass, sole, eel, flounder and whiting. The poor catches, last year the event produced nearly 600 fish, being blamed on a number of factors including local dredging for the new port nearby and the late spring/summer season, although the short tide was mostly likely to blame.
I am looking forward to a trip to Norway in February to fish a shore competition organised by Tin Tur’s Ian Peacock. Cod, haddock, coalfish and a halibut are the target species, but its going to be chilly with sub zero temperatures and just maybe – snow. Details: www.dintur.co.uk. E mail email@example.com Tel. 01914472363
Check out Fishtec TV because I have a blog on there about the forthcoming cod season. Details:
Half a century wielding an expensive stick has rewarded me – at one time or another – with most of those delicious sensations a resisting fish can give: with the right rod and fitting line the roach has had me truly worried, 2lb mono cutting fizzy lines through the dross of a chocolate winter flow; tooled-up and less generous of spirit, teeth clenched and knuckles white, I’ve laid into distant carp and felt the awesome bulk move off like a locomotive. Tench, too, have torn me from my chair, their new-found authority still shocking and shaking my expectations of a round or two with a brown sugar bag. Pike? Them too: from the splashiest jack to the un-nerving power of a big fish determined to reach the snags. But perch?? Well, they kick about a bit, don’t they… they put up a ‘spirited tussle’, and even the 2-plussers only thump a few times before they’re in the net.
Last Sunday saw me acting on a telephoned tip-off: a boat-yard somewhere in the County of Norfolk, frequented – in the literal sense – by a notoriously stroppy owner predisposed to saying bugger-off, but I chanced it grabbed the fishing tackle with the prospect of a ‘fat footballer’… a big ‘stripey’ just too tempting to resist. Swinging out a five inch roach under a one inch bob-float, memories of vibrant, bristling scraps with perchlets and the better, livelier bouts with the two-pounders would have occupied my subconscious – experience teaches us what to expect, and in decades as an angler I’d never had a lob provoked by a really plump sergeant; for all his bombast and chutzpah, percia fluviatilis rarely grows big enough to really get the blood pumping…eh?
But today it was live-bait, and within half an hour the float went down, sharply, and with a little splash. Heading for the gloom of a barge’s hull, the float drew to a halt against the tightening line then eased toward the curving rod as the hook took hold. “Pike” said brother, Barry, and I probably thought him right; but on bringing the fish to mid-stream it bashed-out a most unfamiliar tune on my TF Gear Banshee float rods – not quite the theme from ‘Jaws’ but certainly something involving a little light cello and, perhaps, a hint of kettle-drum.
“More like a zander” I eventually replied “It’s certainly not a perch”. My suspicions were confirmed for me after four or five determined lunges brought the tip-eye down to meet the water then compelled the reel to yield a yard or two. On seeing the ripples flatten I just knew a bug-eyed ‘Zed’ was on the cards and I asked Barry to have the forceps handy.
After a long minute and a half, the fish was coaxed to the top of his world, there to reveal his true colours: bars of black on yellow-green, trimmed with scarlet and a crown of thorns!
Three and a half pounds doesn’t put a perch up there in the monster class, I know, and a fair few are caught every week, but this fish of mine ‘did it’ for me! Barry had already landed a couple of ‘twos’ so the morning was, at this precise point, rather ‘sweet’…but then the wholly predictable ‘bitter’ turned-up and read the predictable riot-act: I do wish these people would take a little time to compose something a little more original.
But I couldn’t complain too much: a personal best that had afforded me a brand-new fishing experience – a perch big enough to really fight!