10 Summer Holiday Fishing Tips

Off on your travels this summer? Whether it’s a dedicated fishing break, or just a rod snuck away on a family holiday, a lot of us will be on the road this summer. But if you want to get the best from your trip, you’ll need to be prepared. We’ve asked Dom Garnett for some timely advice. Here are his top 10 tips for the travelling angler.

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Successful fishing abroad just takes a little careful planning.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

1. Make a list

Once you’re on the road, you can’t nip home, so be prepared. Make a list of all your basics, from rods and reels to lures and cameras. It’s worth doing just for peace of mind, and you’ll be able to use your list again next time.

2. Protect your neck

There are things that save your neck time and again on long haul fishing trips. I always store a few essentials in the boot and they come with me on any holiday: Bottled water; a hat (wide brim is best); sun block; spare socks and a towel. Get a simple first aid kit too.

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Local tackle shops might not be what you expected, so be prepared!
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

3. Map it out

Mapping out where you’re going will save you time and hassle when you get there. The internet is a great resource for maps, postcodes and so on. I tend to go low tech on holiday and have them written down too – if you’re in the middle of nowhere with a poor signal, a hard copy beats Google every time. Maps and directions can also be screen-shotted on your mobile phone, as can fishing licenses and addresses.

4. Be social

We live in a brilliant age for networking with other anglers. I’ve been on a lot of fishing trips simply through making friends on Facebook, messaging a blogger, or following up a conversation. So be friendly. Ask questions. You may get some great advice, or better still make a new friend.

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An American smallmouth bass, from a summer road trip.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

5. Bait’s motel

Don’t court disaster by travelling with too much bait, or filthy live stuff. It can smell worse than election expenses in a hot car. If you want to take maggots, worms or other fresh bait, it needs to be put in a cooler bag or box, and well packed! Boilies, pellets and groundbaits are much easier to manage. If you’re flying, get your bait when you arrive.

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Featured product: Savage Gear Tele Finesse Lure Rod from Fishtec

6. Travel light with lures and flies

If time is limited, or you’re juggling fishing with family time, lure fishing is probably my favourite method. A travel rod and a couple of boxes of lures take up little space and you can sneak in short sessions whenever the chance arises.

Fly tackle is similarly light, with a fly box or two weighing next to nothing. Chris Ogborne’s recent blog for Turrall has some great recommendations for hitting wild rivers and the coast this summer.

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Invest in some travel kit that won’t take up much space.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

7. Rods, bags and customs

Airport staff can be an utter pain when it comes to taking fishing tackle on holiday. They like slapping on extra charges, or going right through your things. Be polite though, and above all be prepared. Lures, scissors and bait can raise their hackles if included in hand luggage. Have everything well organised, smile and they shouldn’t give you too many problems.

Rods need to be well packed, padded and in tubes if you are on a long haul flight. Many airlines will insist that they go in the hold luggage, so do pack well. I swear they play football with some of the cases.

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Featured product: Airflo Multi Fly Rod Tube from Fishtec

8. Get a Guide

There is no substitute for local knowledge and guides are worth their weight in gold. OK, so you might not fancy paying extra. But a guide can save days of guesswork and put you right on the fish. Furthermore, the new skills and knowledge you pick up will last for more than just a day.

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Local guides offer know-how and experiences you’ll never forget.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

9. Water-tight packing

Wet gear or water-damaged kit are bad news on any journey. Bring a large zip or plastic bag to store pongy nets and always take a waterproof hike bag for your phone and camera. I always wrap things like cameras in bubble wrap for the long haul.

10. Go boldly forth…

Finally, my last tip is to be brave, try something new and challenge yourself. There are so many amazing countries out there and not all cost the earth to travel to. Look for cheap flights and anything is possible. The same is true in your own country. If you haven’t already, why not try your hand at the Wye Valley and the Norfolk Broads. Or the Scottish Highlands and rugged coast of Cornwall (see last year’s blog on our top UK fishing destinations for five great options closer to home).

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Jason Coggins fishes the Isle of Skye. You needn’t travel far to find good fishing.

More from our blogger

Read two-dozen great angling tales from Dom Garnett in his most recent book Crooked Lines. With original illustrations and travels from Arctic Norway and the streets of Manhattan, it makes great summer reading. Find it at www.dgfishing.co.uk or as a £4.99 E-book for your tablet or Kindle at www.amazon.co.uk

Fishing in Orlando Florida

As a family holiday destination, Orlando must be one of the most popular in the world – but have you ever considered fishing there? As well as Disney world, great food and alligators, Orlando has some fantastic fishing opportunities, both fresh and saltwater.

Fishing in Orlando - just off international drive

Fishing in Orlando – just off international drive.

Water World

When you look at Orlando on google maps, or whilst landing at the airport, the first thing you will notice are the lakes. They are literally everywhere – ranging from puddle sized drainage ponds, canals and mid sized waters, all the way up to huge inland seas of many thousands of acres. These lakes look incredibly fishy – because they are. They are literally full of largemouth bass, and their smaller cousins the sunfish. These species are very keen to hit artificial lures and flies.

Lakes in the Orlando area tend to be clear, with prolific weed growth. Many of the larger lakes in the area need to be fished by boat – this is where a guide comes in handy. There are plenty of guides available, including Captain Dean Puller of Gator bass, who can take you on the world famous Lake Toho and supply all the gear you will need.

Orlando is dotted with lakes and canals full of fish

Orlando is dotted with lakes and canals full of fish.

For a budget option, or if your time is limited, numerous small urban lakes and canals can be easily fished from the shore. Generally, as long as there is access from a bridge crossing or a road you are able to fish with the state license (look out for private property signs!). This license is available for a non-resident at just $30 for 7 days; and is easily available online or at a fishing shop such as Bass Pro. Google maps is the best way to scope out likely looking fishing spots near to where you are staying.

Become a Bass Pro

Largemouth bass are predators that like to patrol marginal areas, weed-lines and drop offs in search of any food item they can fit into their cavernous mouths. They will eat anything – from small fish to ducks, mice and frogs. The bass is a hard fighting sportfish known for leaping clear of the water when hooked and can grow to double figures in weight, with Orlando being home to fish of this caliber in some of it’s lakes. Generally though, fish of a pound or two are what you are likely to encounter, with the odd bigger specimen thrown into the mix.

A good sized Florida bass

A good sized Florida largemouth bass, caught in a urban canal.

Bass really like to hit surface lures if they are in the mood – floating plugs and lures can draw fierce, exciting strikes. The surface lures from Savage Gear, such as the 3D rat and 3D suicide duck make for perfect topwater bass fishing lures.

If fly fishing, large deer hair bass bug flies will work well. It is also worth getting hold of some weedless popper patterns. As well as the big bass flies, UK stillwater trout fishing lures can be deadly, especially if the bass have seen it all. For example Minky boobies fished on the surface proved to be a winner on a heavily fished lake.

Bass on a surface fly

Bass caught on a surface fly – a minky booby from Fulling Mill!

The key to surface fishing for bass is to hit the edge of thick cover, then twitch your lure violently to entice the bass out of hiding. Then it pays to pause the retrieve, sometimes for a minute or two – bass will often hit while the lure is stationary.

Sinking your lure or fly is the way to fish if the bass are not interested in breaking the surface. Woolly buggers and Clouser minnows are great flies to fish on a floating fly line, whilst rubber ‘Senko worms‘ rigged ‘wacky style‘ can be lethal on a spinning outfit. Allow these to sink to the bottom and twitch them back – the action can be irresistible to bass.

Bass captured with a senko worm.

Bass captured with a senko worm.

Sunfish are fun if the bass ain’t biting…

Sunfish can be found in almost any body of water in Florida. There are numerous species, including bluegill, longear, redbreast, warmouth and crappie. What they lack in size they make up for in character, colour and willingness to take lures and flies – provided they are small enough. For example, a size 12 Hares ear nymph or a size 16 jig head/worm combo would be perfect. Allow your lure to sink near structure and you will usually find them eager to bite.

Florida Sunfish caught on fly fishing gear

Florida Sunfish caught on fly fishing gear.

What about Saltwater?

Orlando is just under an hours drive from same fantastic saltwater flats fishing – the world famous Indian river and Mosqito lagoon are well known for their tarpon, redfish, snook and sea-trout fishing. Here you can fish in the shadow of NASA off cape Canaveral using flies or lures, with abundant bird life, dolphins and manatees to keep you company. The services of a guide are essential, and many offer a pick up service from Orlando, such as the extremely knowledgeable Capt. Dustin Link of Xtreme Sight Fishing Charters.

A baby Goliath grouper from Mosquito lagoon

A baby Goliath grouper from Mosquito lagoon, Florida.

Watch the wildlife and the weather

The summer weather in Florida is very hot and humid, making daytime fishing very tough. The fishing is always better at dawn and dusk, so as well as being more pleasant to be out in, the chances of you catching are very much improved. This also ties in nicely if you are on a family holiday, allowing you to grab a few hours on the water before the day gets underway.

Dawn on vista cay lake - great fishing, with public access.

Dawn on Vista Cay lake – great fishing, with public access.

Wherever you are fishing, it pays to look out for dangerous wildlife. Alligators are present in most lakes and inshore areas of Florida. Generally they are harmless, but take care not to fish near them, or disturb them. Look at for furrows in the weed and banks where they crawl out of the water. While you fish, stand a bit higher up on the bank than usual – so you get a good view of what is in there. Mosquito’s and no-see-ums (midge) are a constant menace so make sure you pack some repellent. Finally avoid walking through high brush and grass – where snakes and ticks like to hang out.

Orlando Alliagtor

Orlando Alligator – this one lived right outside a holiday apartment block.

What tackle to bring?

For fly fishing, a multi section 9 foot 7 weight should have you covered for both fresh and saltwater action; a fly line such as Airflo’s bass/muskie taper or bonefish tropical will work best in the heat, and for turning over large and heavy flies.

Fly fishing for bass with a 7 weight rod.

Fly fishing for bass with a 7 weight rod.

For lure fishing a lightweight multi section or telescopic rod (e.g Saveggear Finesse) with a fixed spool or baitcasting reel fitted with 15 or 20lb braid will do the job well. Rubber worms and bass specific surface lures can be purchased in Bass Pro Orlando, or in supermarkets such as Walmart, at very reasonable prices.

In the video above, Fishtec’s Tim Hughes catches a largemouth bass in an Orlando lake using a light baitcasting outfit.

Have fun!

Above all Orlando is a great place to catch fish. Wherever you wet a line, action is sure to come. So next time you are on a family holiday, sneak in a rod.

Float Tube Fishing

Float tubes can open a whole world to the fisherman, whether you are a flyfisher or a predator specialist. In this blog we take a look at the world of float tubing and the advantages they can bring to your fishing.

Float tube fishing - a great way to fish!!

Float tube fishing – a fun way to fish!!

What are they?

A float tube (aka belly boat) is an inflatable fishing craft originally based on a tractor tyre inner tube. These early ‘donut’ designs have long been replaced with much better U or V shaped hulls designed to cut through the water efficiently. Float tubes typically have an integrated seat and a bar across the lap with a mesh tray designed to keep you from slipping out.

You propel yourself about the lake by using a pair of fins attached to your fishing waders. These fins are much like those used by scuba divers, although specialist types are available. The paddling motion required is very much like cycling a bike – but backwards.

float tube with fins

Float tube, fins and life jacket – the essentials!

Are they safe?

Float tubes in our opinion are even safer than a boat. They feature multiple inflation bladders and a thick cordura covered hull; which when taunt is very resistant to punctures. Once inside the tube it is almost impossible to flip yourself out or go into the water.

There are however a few common sense safety concerns to address:

  • Ensure the tube is fully inflated and the valves securely tightened.
  • Never walk to the water with the flippers on, put them on at the edge.
  • Enter the water slowly backwards so you do not trip over head first.
  • Choose a gently sloping bank to access the water.
  • Wear an inflatable life jacket as a back up.
  • Wear warm waders – e.g neoprene, or a thermal undersuit even on summer days.
  • Be aware of sharp objects including your own hooks.
  • Stick to stillwater – never tube in a flowing river or the sea.

Float tube techniques – the advantages they bring.

Float tubes allow complete freedom of movement, giving you a huge advantage if a boat is not available on the venue. They allow you a silent, stealthy approach – for whatever reason fish simply do not fear float tubes like they do a boat or wading angler. This allows you to get very close to them and  fish shoreline shallows where bank angling would instantly spook fish. As well as conventional casting, float tubes allow you to troll your flies or lures allowing you to cover a vast area easily.

A wild brown trout caught on a float tube.

A wild brown trout caught on a float tube.

Float tubes are most popular for fly fishing for trout –  a 10 foot long fly rod will help keep the line off the surface on the back cast. A floating line is the best option, a short headed 6 or 7 weight is ideal. Although for trolling with flies a full sinking line like an Airflo Di5 or Di7 will really come in handy.

Float tubes are also becoming ever more popular with the pike and predator community, for pike fly fishing or lure fishing with spinning rods. Float tubes can give you access to areas pike love that are often inaccessible from the bank – for example outside edges of weedbeds, off thick reed banks and on drop offs where treading water allows you to hover in position, and present your lures effectively.

A pike caught from a float tube

A pike caught from a float tube.

Where can I use one?

It would be great if you could use one anywhere, but you should always check fishery rules before you launch one. Generally natural venues such as the Lochs of Scotland, Pike loughs in Ireland and the Welsh mountain lakes are places where you can freely use a tube. For stocked trout fisheries the BFTA (British Float Tube Association) has a great list of float tube venues on their website. For predator anglers wherever you can use a kayak or launch your own boat to fish it should be a safe bet.

It’s great fun!!

Above all, the main draw with a float tube is the enjoyment factor. Nothing beats being out on the lake, fishing from what is essentially a comfortable armchair but with free mobility. For those who try, there is simply no looking back. So get out there and tube!

Fishtec stock the Ron Thompson Max float tube and also matching float tube fins. A great combination to help get you started on float tubing – available for just £164.98.

10 Pike Boat Fishing tips

When faced with a large sheet of water catching Pike from a boat can be a daunting prospect – where to start? If you follow these 10 Pike boat fishing tips the next time you are afloat on a lake or reservoir, your pike catches should increase dramatically.

Pike boat fishing success - a 35lb plus pike! Captor: Leighton Ryan

Pike boat fishing success – a 35lb plus pike! Captor: Leighton Ryan

1. Bring a fish finder. An essential bit of fishing gear for boat fishing, it’s like an extra pair of underwater eyes. It’s a huge advantage to invest in one. There are many to choose from, but Fishin Buddy and Deeper are our favourites.

Don't forget your fishfinder!

Don’t forget your fishfinder!

2. Bring a second anchor or mudweight. When fishing deadbaits an unstable moving boat means bad presentation. Bad presentation = no runs. Ensure you pack a mudweight, as most fisheries do not supply them. Anchor your boat at both ends, with the prow facing into the wind for safety reasons.

3. Drift with lures. Drifting and casting lures covering water will always outfish anchoring up and working a small area. The more water you cover with lures, the more fish will see them and the more you will catch! A drogue is an essential bit of kit, it will slow your drift to just the right speed on a windy day.

4. Cast your deadbaits far away from the boat.  I often see pike anglers  fishing with their floats way too close to the boat. Pike can be spooked from boat noise and vibration, especially during a prolonged period of pressure. From experience a good cast of 30 – 40 yards away from where you are anchored will get you more runs.

5. Find the contours, find the fish. Drop offs are where pike sit or patrol, and underwater spits and plateaus can literally be fish magnets. If you do not have a fishfinder check out the lie of the surrounding land and try and work out where submerged features may be found. If you can, get hold of a depth contour map of the venue, it will be invaluable.

A fishery contour map is invaluable.

A fishery contour map is invaluable.

6. Don’t follow the crowd. It can be very tempting to pull up and fish near to somebody who just pulled out a 30! Or if you see a cluster of boats in a bay fishing away, you might think there is a reason they are here – and decide to join in. It’s best to go looking for fresh, unfished areas where fish have been undisturbed. Find your own fish, don’t be a sheep!

7. Be mobile. This is the main advantage of a boat – you can go wherever you want! It amazes me when people anchor up and stay static all day in exactly the same spot, with often little to show for it. I like to pick a decent spot, anchor up and fish it for an hour max. I have lost count of the amount of runs that have come within the first 10 minutes. If they are there, have seen your bait and are feeding you wont be hanging around for ages waiting for action. No runs in an hour, up anchor and try somewhere else.

A Chew pike - result of a mobile approach, an instant run in a new spot.

A Chew pike – result of a mobile approach, an instant run in a new spot.

8. Stick it out. Where fishery rules permit try and stay on the water as long as possible. The last hour of fishing into dusk is often the best, a last knockings fish can save your day.

9. Run the lures through the area first. When deabaiting it pays to throw the lure around the boat for a few casts before you cast out your deads. You might pick up an instant fish, and even if you don’t the vibration and disturbance can ”wake up” pike nearby or draw them closer. They may then take your dead with gusto.

10. Be organised. A lot of success is down organising your pike fishing tackle. Ensure you set your gear out in the boat so clutter and mess is at a minimum. Get the net and unhooking matt ready for action before you begin fishing. Attach your drogue and assemble your rods prior to heading out from the jetty. Efficient organisation equals more free time, better concentration on the job in hand and ultimately results.

Pike fishing success in an organised boat

Pike fishing success in an organised boat.

Lure Fishing for Freshwater Predators

A Perch caught on a lure

Image source: Tim Hughes
Perch caught on a lure

Do you find it hard to sit still waiting for the fish to come to you? Lure fishing is a great sport for born fidgets and anyone who likes to keep active on the riverbank.

If you’re tempted to give lure fishing a go but don’t know where to begin, here we provide a useful introduction to the sport – a quick rundown of all the basics you need to get started.

What species can you catch on a lure?

What species can you expect to catch if you’re new to lure angling? If you’re sticking to freshwater, you’re most likely to get into some pike, perch, zander, chub and even trout – great sport fish that’ll test your retrieval skills to the limit.

Zander - a fish that readily takes a lure.

Image source: Tim Hughes
Zander – a fish that readily takes a lure.

The Pike - These ultmate freshwater predators can be targeted exclusively with lures.

Image Source: Leighton Ryan
The Pike – These ultimate freshwater predators can be targeted exclusively with lures.

You need two things before you go lure fishing: a rod fishing license which you can buy at the Post Office, and the permission of the landowner or club day ticket. Many lakes and reservoirs don’t allow lure fishing, so you’re more likely to be looking at rivers for most of your sport. And do check the .gov website for details of freshwater fishing rules because they vary around the country.

Rods

lure caught chub

Image source: An Angler’s Dangling Log
Getting roddy

There’s no need to spend a fortune on a brand new rod for lure fishing. A short light rod will do the trick – and it doesn’t need to be expensive. Angling blogger Keith Edmunds says the ideal lure fishing rod measures between 6’ 6” and 7’ 6”, though anywhere up to 9’ is OK. Any longer and Keith says the rod will:

“hinder the ability to impart action into the lure and too much length will also reduce a lot of the ‘feedback’ from the lure”.

Keith also advises you to go for something light enough for you to cast and retrieve all day without losing the feeling in your arm. Aim for a rod that will cope with 5-30g of weight, so you can vary the lures you use without worrying about the ability of the rod to handle the heavier ones.

Reels

fishing reel for lures

Image source: Plugs and Spinners
Reely good

You need a fixed spool reel with adjustable drag to allow fish to run without snapping your line. The ‘bail arm’ also enables even spooling of the line during retrieval – this is vital because you’ll be casting and reeling in repeatedly.

Blogger, the River Piker says you should keep your choice of reel simple, buying one that’s compatible with the length of your rod:

“Retrieve speeds, gear ratios and lots of other complicated things can be considered. However, just try to match by size and you will be on the right track at least”

Line

lure caught pike

Image source: An Angler’s Dangling Log
Walk the line

You have two options: braid or mono. Braid costs more but its lack of stretch gives you a lot more ‘feel’ than monofilament line. Braid is also finer than the same breaking strain monofilament line, which makes it more sensitive, communicating the movement of the lure as well as knocks and bites more effectively.

Henry Gilbey says using braid is the “best way” to lure fish. He offers a really good tip for novices – deliberately underfill your reel:

“This really cuts down any chances of getting a dreaded wind knot. Do not be tempted to fill your spinning reel to the brim to try and get a few extra yards distance. I have done this, and then paid the price with a beauty wind knot first cast.”

While braid is best, you shouldn’t rule out using mono because as Plugs and Spinner’s Keith points out. If you’re fishing in areas with lots of rocks or branches, mono line might be a better option because it’s more resistant to abrasion.

Lures

fishing lures

Image source: River Piker
The allure of lures is strong

There are three main points you need to consider when purchasing lures:

  • Where will you be fishing?
  • What depth of the water will you be fishing?
  • What type of fish do you want to catch?

Plugs and Spinners’ share this nugget of advice:

“The typical rule of thumb is shiny lures for clear water and bright conditions and coloured lures for coloured water and overcast conditions”

That said, one of the attractions of lure fishing is that every lure has its day, giving you the freedom to experiment and see what works best for you.

River Piker has the following advice for pike hungry lure fishermen:

“Pretty much every lure will catch you a pike if you use it enough, if you use it where pike are and if you use it when a pike wants to eat something”

Broadly speaking though, he selects his lure depending on the weight of his rod and line:

Small lures

Are perfect for a 15-20lb line and wire trace combination.

Medium lures

Will work with a set up of 30-50lb braided line and wire trace.

Large lures

For anything very large use over 50lb braid minimum and a wire trace set up. Ideally this will work best with 80lb upwards.

Wire traces

A wire trace is an essential part of your lure fishing kit, especially if your prey has sharp gnashers such as pike. Even when targeting other species, if pike are present in the water always ensure you fit a wire trace or the inevitable bite off will happen. Choose the diameter of the wire according to the type of fish you want to catch.

For chub or perch, you’ll need fine wire. For pike, you’ll need something with a higher breaking strain of 30lbs and above. In this clip, Mick Brown explains how to set up, but also suggests that for ease, beginners can consider buying ready made traces:

Types of Lure

types of lure

Image source: River Piker
Lure them in

Plugs

With a plastic or wood body, plugs are used to fish the surface of the water or just beneath it. They’re painted to look like bait-fish, and are designed to move as though wounded as you retrieve them.

Choose your plug based on the colour and depth of the water you’re fishing and also the size of the fish you want to snag.

Spinners

Spinners – as the name suggests – spin. And it’s this motion that creates a “flash” – a tried and tested method of attracting predatory fish.

These types of lures are usually made from metal and sometimes have ‘tails’ made from animal hair. Spinners will slowly sink through the water so it’s up to you to decide how long wait after casting and therefore how deep your spinner sinks, before you start to retrieve.

Even if you’re only planning on lure fishing occasionally, Keith Edmunds  advises that you always have a spinner or two in your tackle bag. He generally recommends

“Mepps Aglia size 5, Rublex Ondex size 6 and Mepps Lusox sizes 2 and 3”.

Rubber

A rubber soft lure.

Image source: Tim Hughes
A rubber fish lure

Freshwater fish will naturally feed on insects and worms, so something that imitates these creatures makes an ideal lure, which is why soft rubber eels are often a winner.

Shads, twin tailed grubs and curly tailed grubs are just a sample of the myriad rubber lures on the market. Keith Edmunds favours these types for the cooler months. He says

“jigging gets the bait bouncing along the bottom, ideal for rousing those lethargic toothy critters during cold conditions”

A selection of rubber soft lures and jig heads for jigging.

A selection of rubber soft lures and jig heads for jigging

Tools of the trade

lure fishing tools

Image source: River Piker
Tools to Lure

One of the ‘lures’ of lure fishing is that in terms of gear, it gives you the opportunity to travel light, moving easily from one swim to another to try your luck. But you’ll still need a few decent tools.

According to River Piker this is one time when size matters. “You need big tools”, he says.

“No tiny disgorger for pike fishing, just big tough tools. Get the best you can afford – don’t scrimp”

Three tools

There are three main tools that should always make it into your tackle bag. Keith Edmunds says a good pair of forceps are essential for fine wire hooks, as are a pair of pliers.  River Piker backs this up, suggesting you get two pairs, one regular and “a pair of extra long forceps for smaller lures”.

Carrying two different sizes of pliers is also a good idea, one large and one smaller, the latter to deal with simpler unhooking jobs.

Investing in a side cutter is wise. This tool comes in handy for the times when you simply can’t remove a hook. The welfare of the fish is priority, and a tool like this can prevent causing any unnecessary distress to your catch and injury to yourself.

One final idea from Edmunds is to buy a good, small unhooking mat. While he agrees that carrying something like this can be cumbersome, he says it’s worth it for the times when you might need to unhook on a tow-path or stony bank.

He also adds that an unhooking mat:

“doubles up as a great kneeling mat on small waters where I will often cast and retrieve in a kneeling position to stay off the sky line”

 

Where to fish

Where to fish - a decent looking spot for predatory fish with lots of features and cover.

A decent looking spot for predatory fish with lots of cover and features.

When deciding where to fish, lure angler Dave Pugh’ s advice is to ask around – talk to local anglers and ask where they fish. Many waters will have areas that produce good pike, and other spots that seldom produce anything.

Fish such as chub will use the same waters year after year, but perch and zander will use different rivers according to the seasons and the weather also affects their movement.

Camouflage is key

If you’re fishing in clear water, chances are a fish, like pike, will see you a long time before you see it. Fishing Lures recommend you invest in camouflage clothing, particularly jacket and trousers. They say that even though the fish might appear to be chasing your lure, it will be aware of you, and can see you clearly! If you’ve not convinced it to take your lure, its only real option once it gets to the bank is to swerve away and avoid you.

By comparison an angler in camouflage clothing who moves stealthily and quietly from the cover of vegetation or bushes is more likely to get their pike or perch with one or two carefully made casts with a spinner or lure.

Unhooking your catch

lure fishing rod

Image source: An Angler’s Dangling Log
Off the hook!

You’ve managed to lure a prize Pike, Perch or Zander, but you need to unhook it carefully. This is where the tools of your trade – forceps, pliers and unhooking mat – come in. The welfare of the fish is paramount.

Once the fish is netted, place it on the unhooking mat and turn it onto its side. From here Dave Pugh tells you to “slide your left hand under the pike’s gill cover”. Now you should be able to release to hook using your pliers.

If it’s proving tricky to free, use your side cutters to snip the points of the hook. The ultimate goal here is to free the fish and get it back into the water as soon as you can. In fact, Dave reckons it should take you less time to let the fish go, than it does to read these instructions.

Whether you’re new to lure fishing or an experienced hand we’d love to hear your hints and tricks which you can post our Facebook page.

Predator Fishing On Rutland Water

We are now into autumn and falling air and water temperatures have kicked off the predator fishing season in earnest. The Fishtec sales team start their season with a weekends predator fishing on one of the biggest reservoirs in the UK, the vast expanse of Rutland water. Find out how they get on!

Here at Fishtec we normally take an annual pilgrimage to one of the superb Anglian water fisheries, and this year Rutland was our destination with predator fish species being our prime target.

A Rutland water Zander.

A Rutland water Zander.

You can fish for predators all over the UK in rivers, lakes, gravel pits and canals at a moderate cost, but my favourite venues are the larger UK trout reservoir fisheries which open their doors in autumn to predator anglers.

Once exclusively for trout fly fishers, these vast waters now attract plenty of predator fishermen in season. These large reservoirs are full of abundant numbers of predatory fish which can grow to huge proportions; you can fish for pike, perch and in some cases zander.

The benefits to the trout angler of allowing predator fishermen onto their waters are very high; more money goes into investing in the facilities and trout stocking, whilst the lure anglers target fish which occupy a completely different niche of the lake and tend to concentrate their efforts from September to March, when fishing  for trout becomes much harder.  So everyone is ultimately a winner.

The vast expanse of Rutland water.

The vast expanse of Rutland water.

Rutland water has a decent head of zander of a moderate size – great sport can be had, but the main challenge is tracking them down in the vast 3100 acres with depths over 100 foot deep. Our plan was to mainly concentrate on fishing for the zander on this trip.

We arrived at the water at 9.00 am on a crisp late September morning. Unlike previous years the weather was settled and calm with air temps in the high teens rather than lashing down with rain and wind as is often the case. These settled conditions allow you to fish effectively at depth when vertical jigging, the preferred method for targeting zander.

Loading up a boat with fishing tackle.

Loading up a boat with fishing tackle.

In the day time zander tend to hug the bottom in deep water, so the only way to effectively target them is to drop your lure straight down on top of them. Calmer conditions make this so much easier. We had all set up with lightweight spinning rods, small fixed spool reels and soft-plastic lures fitted with jig heads.

Braid is used as a mainline to give you maximum feel down to your jig, with the rough rule of approximately 1 gram of weight per two feet foot of depth for the head. There is no need to go mad when jigging, it’s not like mackeral feathering. A slight rise and fall is all you need, and when you set up a second ”sleeper” rod on a rest you often get takes to an almost static presentation; with the motion of the boat being enough to induce a strike.

The fishing tackle combination being used on our boat was the Savage gear bushwacker XLNT2 rod 7′ 10 -40g, TF Gear blue strike reel 20 FD, and Savage gear finesse HD4 Braid in 17lb which has a diameter of just 0.13mm. On the business end was a 40 gram jig head and a berkely shad lure body. This particular outfit is exceptionally well balanced and ideal for a full days jigging.

We headed out to a well known hotspot on the lake and in 70 foot of water we began picking up fish on our fish finder holding near the bottom. A fish finder is a truly essential item of fishing tackle for targeting bigger waters; my advise is to always take one along with you- it really is like having an extra set of underwater eyes. Knowing there are fish in the area is always a confidence boost and this sometimes permeates into how you fish and helps get your results.  Within half an hour I had a decent take and a nice conditioned zander came to the surface.

A pristine Rutland Zander.

A pristine Rutland Zander.

We had several more decent zander over the next few hours, plus a couple of bonus brown trout which hit the jigs when retrieving vertically. Perch and several jack pike also found their way into the net. The reason for this mixed predator species feeding frenzy seemed to be water being pumped into the reservoir in this area. In the turbulent up-welling of the pumped water small stunned coarse fish could be seen floating about; free and easy pickings for any predator on the prowl. It must have been like a dinner bell going off in that part of the lake!

A Rutalnd zander in a Savage Gear net.

A Rutland zander in a Savage Gear net.

A greedy perch.

A greedy perch.

A bonus Rutland brown trout.

A bonus Rutland brown trout.

Pike also joined in on the feeding frenzy.

Pike also joined in on the feeding frenzy.

After a few hours of pretty much constant catching and takes, the pumping suddenly switched off and the wind picked up. Both factors saw the fish disappear from the area as rapidly as they had arrived, so we decided to try a few other areas which had produced on previous visits. After a few fruitless drifts we turned our attention to the main tower, in 85 foot of water. Almost right away I picked up a nice one on the jig and had some knocks.

A fish off the main tower on Rutland.

A fish off the main tower on Rutland.

Unfortunately sailing traffic suddenly increased in this area, and it become uncomfortable fishing so we tried another area near the tower in the north arm. My boat partner Simon hooked up with a  jack at 50 foot down, and I had a surprise bream which somehow foul hooked itself on a pike lure. This fish put up one hell of a fight, making me think for a few minutes I was into a 20lb plus pike. If this fish had been hooked in the mouth using a feeder rod it probably would have come in like a wet sack!

Simon with a jack pike.

Simon with a jack pike.

A decent sized bream.

A decent sized bream.

The day ended with a fairly early return to the digs for a hearty evening meal and to catch a rugby game, it being the world cup of course! A decent days fishing was experienced by all of us, and in the extremely bright sunshine we had done better than expected.

Coming off at the end of the day.

Coming off at the end of the day.

Day two and we were on the water early again. Nothing happened in the first hotspot aside from a perch of about 1lb and a very small zander, so we prospected in the deeper water off the main tower and off the Normanton church.

I had a decent Z off the tower first drift, about 10 feet off bottom in 85 foot, and we picked up 5 schoolies to 2.5lb in rapid succession near the church in about 65 foot of water.

A Zander from 85 feet down.

A Zander from 85 feet down.

We were forced to abandon the area due to very heavy sailing traffic again, so a slow period followed but Simon picked up a pike of about 8lb on his sleeper rod off Amberly wood, which gave him a decent fight on his lightweight setup.

Simons 8lb Pike.

Simon’s 8lb Pike

Rhys and Mike had stayed in the main basin near the boils and picked up a good number of small shoal zander here and also drifting off the dam.

A small schoolie zander.

A small schoolie zander.

Like all fishing, time really flies when you are having fun and it was soon time to leave the water and return to Wales. We had experienced a pretty decent start to the predator season, with 20+ zander landed to both our boats, 5 pike, several perch and trout. A great couple of days fishing on one of the best mixed fisheries in the UK to say the least.

Rhys with a jack.

Rhys with a jack pike.

Predator fishing is a new exciting growth area of our sport, with more and more predator fishing tackle becoming available from the big brands, including Savage Gear, Fox, and Korum.  So why not give it a go this winter when fishing for other species is at it’s worst? You never know, you might just become hooked!

How do fish see colour underwater?

the right coloured lure

Image source: lure and light game
Learn to see like a fish and choose the right lure for the job

Every angler has his favourite lure. Entire fishing trips have been spent debating the merits of type, colour and material. So what are the qualities of a great lure? Can we settle the argument once and for all?

In order to find the perfect lure we first need to understand just what it looks like to a fish.
What looks good to us on land doesn’t necessarily look good underwater. It might explain why something that looks drab to us never fails to land a catch; a puzzle blogger Henry Gilbey has long been pondering:

‘It will never cease to amaze me how such a plain and perhaps even boring looking soft plastic lure can be so lethal, and especially when there are so many lovely looking shiny bits of hard and soft plastic out there that look far more appealing both on the shelf and in the water’.

We might think that brightly coloured or iridescent lures are the most attractive but, in truth, a fish may not even be able to see them.

This is because fish eyes have a different anatomy to our own, even though they contain the same basic types of cell: cones and rods. Cones are used during the day, and can perceive differences in colour, while rods only measure the intensity of light, and are responsible for night vision. Fish have almost spherical lenses (unlike our flattened ones), which let in more light, but limit the distance they can see. Many fish have extra cones, allowing them to see more of the total light spectrum than we can. Trout, for instance, can see bits of ultraviolet and infrared light.

This means they can see more ‘colours’ than we can. The extra cones in their eyes are able to detect frequencies of light we can’t. Light travels as a wave, and different wavelengths (the distances between two peaks in the wave) produce different colours. Visible light (the part of the spectrum we can see) is made of different wavelengths, and how objects absorb or reflect particular wavelengths determines their colour. For instance, a red fishing float appears that way because it absorbs all the visible light which hits it, apart from light in the red part of the spectrum. White reflects all light back, black reflects none.

It is easy to think of light as being immaterial, but that isn’t true. It can be affected by the environments it passes through, and this has a big impact upon whether or not your favourite lure is going to catch you any fish today.

While “be the fish” might be a piece of advice too far, it is true that you need to picture the world from the fish’s point of view. Location, weather, water depth, and even season play a role in deciding how effective your lure will be. Wavelengths of light get absorbed by water at different depths – red and orange are the first to go, with violet being the last. So red might work near the surface, but if you’re going deep you’ll want something violet on the end of your line. Uli-Beyer.com have done some extensive research into the effect of water depth on colour reflection and fluorescence (in fresh and sea water), and have found that fluorescent lures can have a marked effect on your results. There are those, of course, who have questioned whether these lures are just a groovy gimmick.

Season and location play a role because they dictate which colours are being reflected into the water. Fish in a pond surrounded by trees with yellowing autumn leaves will be used to seeing yellow and orange in the water. Is it better to choose a lure that mimics those colours in order to fit into the environment, or to go for something out of the ordinary? It depends who you talk to.

coloured lure collection

Image source:River Piker
Match lures to the season, the weather, and your catch

Fish will be able to perceive colours better on bright days, where there is more light getting underwater to reflect off things, than on overcast ones.

So is there a perfect lure? Technically yes, but it depends upon where you are, what the weather is, what time of year it is, and what you are trying to catch. Equip yourself with a varied set of lures to give yourself plenty of options, and you should be able to use the information in this post to better match the lure you use to your fish of choice.

Pike attack on Fishing lures!

We’ve been trawling the web looking for some exciting fishing footage for your viewing pleasure and have put together a selection of our three favourite pike attack clips!

Lure fishing can be very exciting at the best of times, but using a braided mainline whilst fishing lures can be absolutely phenomenal, but have you ever thought about what’s happening beneath the water? Make sure you have your drag knobs tightened hard on your fishing reels when one of these fearsome looking fish hits your lure!

Great Lure Fishing Blogs

Lure Fishing Blogs Fishtec

Almost anything that swims the UK shoreline has been targeted with a lure, recently, Lure Fishing for Bass, Pollock, Wrasse has almost become a full time occupation for some anglers and as anglers ourselves we love to read what others are using, where they’re catching and of course, how big it was…

We’re lucky enough to know others who are just as passionate about fishing as we are and those who specifically fish lures, so we’ve compiled a list of the best Lure Fishing Blogs we read – The ideal place to get your fishing fix when you can’t make it to the shore yourself!

BraidRunner

Neil Burnell, keen lure angler and designer from the South West.

Neil Burnell Fishing BlogDespite fishing from a young age, Neil has only recently (2010) become addicted to lure fishing and what it has to bring. Counting for some of his most enjoyable days fishing, whether the Wrasse, Bass or Pollock are pulling back.

Also mad keen about his photography especially fishing shots, there are some amazing pictures of lures and fishing tackle to be found within his blog…

Henry Gilbey

TV presenter, Photographer and Fishing Fetish!

Henry Gilbey Fishing Blog

If you watch the Discovery Channel then you might well have heard of self confessed fishing addict Henry Gilbey.

He has presented, Fishing with Henry, Fishing on the Edge, Wild Fishing and Wild Fishing 2 for the channel and blogs about his world wide travels in search of fish and adventure, you’ll definatly have a case of the green eyed monster after reading!

 

Dean Pilgrim Fishing

A dedicated Lure Angler with a passion for Photography!

Dean Pilgrim Fishing Blog

Dean’s one of these people who picked up the art of lure fishing surprisingly late in life, at 18, Dean decided to part with his carp fishing rods and pick up a spinning rod to fish the beautiful Cornish coast line.

A self confessed fishing addict who’s happy to catch anything that swims, but his preferred fishing revolves around Wrasse with soft plastics.

 

Lurefish-Ireland

A Bass and Wrasse angler who loves to fish plastic jigs!
LureFishing Ireland Blog

Dave enjoys throwing lures around the Irish coast for Bass and a variety of other species including the beautiful Ballan Wrasse.

His blog is home to a mixture of Bass fishing tails right through to luring wild brown trout with a spinner on ultra light fishing tackle. Fishing comfortably among friends is his way of fishing,  what other way would you want to spend your sessions?

Lure Fishing With Danny

A mad keen angler based in the gorgeous South West.

Lure Fishing With Danny

Danny has fished literally all of his life, his faintest memory is of his 3 year old self picking up a lure rod and becoming hooked from the off!

Not really bothered whether it’s a Pike, Chub, Wrasse or Bass, lure fishing is Danny’s life! An out and out lure basher and owner of Evil Wrasse Cult, lure fishing apparel!

 

Cornwall Lure Fishing

A personal account of lure fishing techniques and experience.

Luke Fox Fishing BlogBased in Cornwall, Luke Fox is lure fisherman through and through. Writing this blog to provide an up to date account of all his lure fishing experiences and techniques employed to catch as many species as possible.

Preferring to tackle Wrasse and Bass as his main hobby, Luke enjoys the challenge of targeting these fish specifically with lures, but as most anglers, anything that takes the lures are most welcomed!

 

If there’s a blog that you think we’ve missed – please send me an email kieron@bvg-airflo.co.uk