Friday, 20 September 2013

Still on my Perch

I couldn't resist another crack at my 'latest' favourite fish the Perch. Again it had to be a river variety, when the cold wet weather arrives(no sign of it yet!) I will target some still water stripeys but while the Warwickshire Avon is in such good condition I will stick with it. I also took a bucket of maggots along so that there was plenty of action. The fish fed well right from the off seeing me land loads of Dace, several Roach, a few clonking Gudgeon, some Chublets and a few smaller Perch.
I also landed a lively Jack and the best fish of the day, a chunky Perch weighing 2lb 2oz. An enjoyable session in this mini Indian summer we are having.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Opportunistic Angling, Monster Perch

This morning I didn't set myself any targets, had no real ambition, I just wandered down to the river with a bucket of maggots and a tin of luncheon meat. I thought I would just catch fish under no pressure whatsoever. I started off in my favourite Dace swim happily trotting away loose feeding as I went hoping for a decent fish or two to come my way.
In the next swim above me was Hank, a friend of the family who has recently been made reduntant and feels that fishing is a good way to spend his now abundant free time. What he lacks in skill he makes up for in enthusiasm and I'd gone along to give him a few pointers. His plan involved swimfeeders and the way he kept losing them, lots of them.
We were building up quite a netful between us catching Dace, Roach and Gudgeon with consistent regularity. None of them monsters but good fishing fun all the same. We were about halfway through the session when I noticed a disturbance by the keepnet. At first I thought a Jack had taken an interest in our captives but on closer inspection I made out a monster Perch that was obviously pretty hungry. Not being the sort of person to miss out on an opportunity, look a gift horse etc I thought I'd like some of that.
I snipped off the hair rig on my Barbel rod and stuck a size eight hook through the lip of a mini Dace.
Float just beyond the keepnet

My keepnet was under a Willow tree which I used as a makeshift rod rest and dropped the Dace by the net in only two feet of water. The bait runner was put on and I left it as a sleeper. I carried on 'tiddler bashing' for a while when suddenly the sleeper rod burst into life and a fish shot off into the main current. I grabbed the rod but within seconds of me doing so the hook pulled-gutted! I dropped it back on the same spot and ten minutes later it went again, this time though I won a short battle but I was disappointed as the Perch I drew over the net was definitely not the same one I saw terrorising the keepnet, I was sure the one I saw was much bigger.
1lb 2oz
The sleeper rod went out again with fresh bait and I continued trotting maggot down the main flow still catching bits and pieces including some quite decent sized Gudgeon. All went pretty quiet and with about ten minutes to go I checked the sleeper bait to find the hook bare so I put on one last Dace. Within minutes the reel screamed as another fish made off into the main flow. I gained control, turned it's head and saw a great swirl that set my heart racing, I was attached to a good fish. Slowly and carefully I drew the fish upstream and breathed a huge sigh of relief as it was forced into the net. I pulled back the folds of the net and knew that this was definitely the one I was after.
Big Perch have been a nemesis of mine in recent years, eluding my considerable efforts so hopefully this 3lb 2oz beauty will break that run of poor results, my biggest Perca Fluviatilis for over 20 years.
3lb 2oz
Back she goes........
There was no need to carry on, I had just caught one of the biggest Perch I have ever heard of from the Warwickshire Avon, job done.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Plymouth Blues

The Devon coastline is not as renowned for it's shark fishing as it's neighbour Cornwall and more recently the Welsh shore but it is my favourite place to wet a salty line. We have been fishing with Malcolm Jones aboard the 'Sea Angler 2' for several years now, in fact this was my seventh trip with him, my fourth chasing sharks but my companions this time were both shark virgins, 'little bro' Nathan and Cheggars. Malcolm charters out of Plymouth and the nightlife there is the second best reason to visit the city, after the fishing obviously. Having travelled down the night before and endured a shocking full English breakfast in our cheap B&B (you get what you pay for!) we arrived in dock at about 7.30am.
The sharks round here live a good distance from shore so we have no choice but to steam out for about 16 miles and then set about the first task to gather bait, Mackerel.
We needed flappers for the hook and the rest goes in the 'rubby dubby' which mixed with oil and bran and hung over the side in an onion sack.

This is the ocean version of ground bait and gives me an idea for Pike! By lunchtime we were eventually sharking.
The set up is a fairly simple float rig, only on a bigger scale.
Big circle hooks are attached to a six foot hook link of wire trace for obvious reasons. This is then clipped to several feet of 200 pound mono leader which is needed if the shark rolls, which they often do. If they were to roll straight onto the main line then their sandpaper-like skin would part the line like cotton but the 200lb mono gives extra insurance against a lost fish. The float is attached free running but has a genius clip that grips the line just enough to hold the bait at the desired depth but the line releases when a fish is hooked and running.
There is nothing more exciting than watching a float sink out of view knowing that a big shark is the culprit.
Three rods were put out, all baited with Mackerel, the spines removed to make the flappers and all three are set at different depths. One rod each to begin with but if someone catches then they would take a step back and the remaining anglers would have all the rods. The first run came on Cheggar's rod and the reel screamed, obviously a good fish attached.
Gradually he started to get the line back on the reel until finally we saw colour. As we got it alongside the boat it rolled up the trace right to the mono and managed to take a bite, not all the way through but enough for it to snap as we tried to lift it aboard. The skipper estimated it at 80lb but I thought that was a little generous, we'll never know. The touched leader/did it count debate continued light heartedly all afternoon and evening.
The next run came to my rod and a one-sided battle ended with me landing a thirty pounder.

The action then became fast and furious with Nathan landing his first ever Blue, a twenty pounder and Cheggar's had his second fish, a fifteen pound puppy.
Next up was me again this time having a much better battle from a fifty pounder that I ended up winning.
Nathan landed one more fish and that was the end of the shark action. A great result, six sharks in four hours.
Even though we were 20 miles out to sea there are other species to fish for whilst waiting for a shark to turn up. Bass, though not easy are possible but I love playing around with the Garfish that are attracted to the rubby-dubby slick. They fight like stink on an avon rod even tail walking and leaping about like a baby Marlin! I landed my biggest ever on the trip and what a fight!
We had drifted so far that it took over two hours to get back to the harbour but it was worth it.
If anyone fancies a great day's fishing with a top skipper who works hard, especially with the kettle, then give Malcolm a call, you won't regret it.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Autumn is definitely on it's way

There was a distinct Autumnal feeling as I wandered down to the river this morning. The mist was rolling down stream adding to the chill in the air. I checked the water temperature on arrival and it was still warm but that won't last long now the nights are drawing in and the sun is having less of an influence. To be honest I am looking forward to the season change and targeting a few Grayling but for now I am sticking with Barbel and Chub.
The first fish of the day came on the second trot, a 4lb 12oz Chub that snagged me up in the middle of the fight but I won in the end. As usual luncheon meat proved it's down fall. I then struggled for another bite, roamed a bit and still struggled but eventually nailed a 5 8oz Barbel. 
A christening meant the session was just a quickie but it was nice to be back on the bank after a two week break. I am looking forward to next weekends foray, watch this space to see why.