Sunday, 29 August 2010

The month in summary: August, and whatever happened to..?

...The Dog days of August??????

Didn't August used to be one of those hot still months, and because of this the fish would be lethargic and unwilling to feed? August was always a difficult month for tempting Coarse fish, and yet the last few weeks I can't seem to stop catching. It certainly hasn't been a classic August, the wind hasn't stopped blowing, the temperature has taken a nose dive and several bouts of heavy rain have caused localised flooding! Summer itself lasted about three or four weeks. Whether we will have a second, late summer remains to be seen.

I can't complain I suppose, like I said I have benefitted because I have had some fairly good fishing lateley, and have taken a very relaxed approach allowing me to enjoy it more than I have for a long time. From float fishing, to quiver tipping and some light line specialist tactics, It's been fun to experiment with some different methods and tactics, catching a range of different species along the way.

What's next? September, often a warmer month, may present the opportunity for a return to the Salt for some late Bass fishing, and if the wind drops then it will be on the Fly. If not then I shall continue with the Coarse fishing, maybe even a trip to the Throop fishery in Dorset to try for some Chub or Roach, that would be nice...

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Float on...

Not being able to pursue any Saltwater Fly fishing has forced me to spend a lot more time Coarse fishing this year, and, to be honest it's been a bit of a revelation. I re joined my local freshwater fishing club because day tickets were getting to be an expensive hobby, thus allowing me more frequent access to the lakes and to some I wasn't able to fish before. It's also enabled me to take my children fishing more often and they are beginning to accompany me more frequently and practice the gentle art, developing their skills as anglers.

Just lately I have been doing quite a lot of Float fishing for various species, and have enjoyed some success of varying degrees. For a long time I didn't really practice float fishing to any great extent, preferring to take a more 'specialist' approach of sitting behind bite alarms. Re learning the art of float fishing has reminded me that it can be just as effective a way to fish for Specimen fish as the ledgering approach. On many waters these days you find most specimen anglers sitting behind pairs of rods positioned on bite alarms, and I think it's fair to say, their rods, Lines and other tackle are usually geared towards the heavier end of the scale due to the nature of the way they are fishing. Whilst this can be an effective method, and I have frequently used it myself, sometimes a more pro active approach and with lighter tackle can prove winning ways. You only have to watch how match anglers work their swims, building them up and fishing through the small fish, eventually hooking into better specimens by drawing all fish into their swim, thus building the confidence of the fish and creating competition between them. Also the match angler often uses tackle balanced toward the finer end of the scale, and sometimes changing to one or two sizes smaller a hook or using a lower diameter line can make all the difference to their catch rate. I have frequently used a similar ethos myself when applying myself to trying to catch the larger specimens of a species, and float fishing has proved it's worth, over the usual static bottom bait fishing. Not to mention, and the point of this piece, enjoy the overall experience more by using lighter more balanced tackle rather than gear that really the fish, once securely hooked, doesn't really stand a chance on. Yes the object is to land the fish, but it's also about getting the bite and enjoying the fight. Skill, patience and thought are all attributes of a good angler.

So often lately I have been happily catching smaller Roach, Bream and Tench on the float, when I have suddenly connected with a larger specimen of one of those, or the culprit has been a Carp that has been drawn in by the feeding activity of the smaller fish! Due to the fact that my tackle has been balanced as well as being on the lighter side, every fish has been landed, of all sizes, moreover I have been able to enjoy an exhilarating fight from the bigger fish rather than just winding them in on traditional heavy Carp gear.

Shakespeare Mach 3 Lite Match Rod.

Yesterday I took delivery of another new Rod. This one aimed firmly at the Specimens of the Silver fish category. I intend to do some River fishing for Roach and Grayling this winter, so to be able to make the most of the experience I invested in Shakespeare Mach 3 Lite Match Rod.

This Rod's primary designation is as a Silver fish Rod, with a line rating of 12oz up to six pound though really I can't see any need to gear up that heavy. I tackled up with 4lb line (in case of a rogue Carp!) and took it to My local water to test it out on the small Bream and Roach stocks. It became immediately apparent that I had chosen the right tool for the job and this Rod will be a joy to use for My intended purpose of trotting for Grayling and Roach, even six ounce fish required netting such was the gentleness of the tip. Not sloppy, crisp on the strike with a soft progressive playing action yet still with enough in reserve in the lower sections to cope with bonus fish up to say 4lb. Although I did land a couple of Bream around the 7lb mark, they didn't put up much resistance thankfully and I honestly wouldn't want to hook anything that size that did, as you really would have a task on your hands on this beautifully light Rod. I can't wait to use it for the Grayling and Roach because I had rediscovered the thrill of playing small to medium sizes fish on ultra light tackle. Any Grayling or Roach of a pound or over will be superb on 3lb mainline and ultra light hooklinks coupled with tiny hooks. Roll on winter!

Friday, 13 August 2010

Shimano Purist Multi Light specialist Rod

I have a new aquisition in the the form of the Shimano purist multi light specialist Rod. It is aimed, as the name suggests, at the All round specialist Angler targeting specimens of the smaller species like Roach, Perch, Chub etc. However, I feel it is capable of heavier applications too. It is a multi piece rod and consists of two 'Avon' tops, one is three quarter pound test curve ( 12oz )and the other is one and a quarter pound ( 1.25lb ) There are two, slim butt sections, that allow the rod to be used at two different lengths, eleven feet and twelve foot six inches. To complete the package there is a seperate 'carrier' section that facilitates the use of three different weight Carbon quiver tips, 0.75 ounces, 1.0 ounces and 1.5 ounces, which are included, for feeder and plain ledger fishing.

The Rod is beautifully finished to Shimano's usual high standards in a satin olive green with translucent olive whippings over the double leg fuji rings, which are fitted throughout, no single legs here, giving the rod a 'traditional' look. The overall look of the rod is very understated with subtle graphics. The full cork handle is slim and comfortable and comes with a 'slightly used' finish, and a hint of a green marbled effect here and there which might sound strange but it adds something to the overall look of the rod. A black screw winch fitting for the reel, again compliments the understated aesthetics of the rod.

Also supplied is a case in which to carry the rod and all it's sections plus two neoprene Shimano rod bands which is a nice touch.

Now, the rod is designed to do several different jobs and as such is a bit of a compromise in action, this means the two butt sections are of a fairly stiff nature and with either of the two Avon tops fitted it is these that demonstrate most of the fish playing action, that doesn't mean the rod is a poker, as the overall action in this mode is progressive and you can detect some flexing in the butt sections when playing reasonable sized fish. Remember the rod is aimed at the smaller species, however it shows it has the backbone to cope with rogue larger specimens, while still allowing smaller fish to be enjoyed on lighter tackle.

With the carrier section fitted to accept the quiver tips. the rod becomes a much softer tool, but still with plenty of power in the butt sections, and I would say that it is in this configuration that catching the smaller specimens would be at it's most enjoyable.

A first test..

I took the rod to my local lake yesterday evening for a test run and set it up in the twelve foot six, one and a quarter pound mode, and the rod does actually feel quite powerful set up like this. Fishing with Pellet for loose feed and float fished paste as a hookbait, my sole intention was to hook a Carp and give the Rod a thorough work out to see what it would or wouldn't cope with, but also ascertaining whether it had the finesse to deal with float fishing tactics.

A few small Roach barely bothered the rod and I could see that it was going to take a good fish to test the rod properly. A while later I hooked my intended quarry, the fish imediately tried to bolt under the overhanging bush that I was fishing next to, I applied opposite strain and the Rod took on a pleasing curve, the top section being the workhorse but with some curve towards the butt. The fish was easily stopped in it's tracks and appeared to give up more or less straight away, but on being showed the net, it decided to wake up and a good fight ensued, giving a better idea of the Rod's qualities as a fish playing instrument. The one and a quarter pound tip seems to be beefed up with the use of a fairly fast taper which is what seems to give it the extra power, at no point during the fight with the 13lb (ish) Carp was I not in control, so the Rod certainly has some power in this guise.

After that I changed to the softer three quarter pound top to try and ascertain just where it would sit as far as catching smaller fish was concerned. Again a few small Roach came along before I hooked something a bit larger, I believe it was a good Roach, probably over a pound, possibly an upper one pound, sadly I lost it fairly quickly to a hook pull, but fitted with the softer tip it certainly bent well and gave me a good idea of what was on the end, but all too briefly the sensation was gone. All was not lost as a short time later I hooked a small stockie Carp of about one and a half to two pounds, an ideal size to demonstrate the capabilies of the tip.

This fish stayed on and I enjoyed a nice fight, again during which there was a slight flexing in the rod butt, the main playing action being in the tip through to the mid (ish) section of the rod. Definitely some good feedback and the fish wasn't overpowered by the rod, nor was there any danger of a hook pull as there was plenty of cushioning action throughout, despite the stiff butt.

I have not yet had a chance to use the feeder set up of this Rod, but when I do I will add it on here.

In summary..

This is a very nice, beautifully built and versatile Rod that Shimano have come up with, I can see it will be an extremely useful tool in My own fishing:

11ft 0.75 tip for float fishing and light feeder or ledger fishing for Roach and Perch, Tench, Bream and smaller Carp, plus Chub and smaller Barbel on the Rivers.

12ft 0.75 tip for floater fishing for sub double figure Carp

11ft 1.25lb tip for Stalking Carp on the bottom, or big Barbel on the Rivers.

12ft 1.25 tip for floater fishing for double figure Carp and upwards.

12ft 1.25lb for heavier float fishing or medium feeder or ledger fishing for double figure Carp and upwards, plus heavy Barbel Tactics.

Then there is the 11 and 12ft set up coupled with the quiver tips for fishing for anything from Roach, Perch, Bream and Tench to Chub and Barbel on the Rivers.

Which, apart from Pole fishing for Roach in winter, and some light Trotting for Grayling and Roach on the rivers, covers just about all my Coarse fishing needs..

If I had to buy all the rods seperately to perform those tasks, I'm sure it would cost Me considerably more than the cost of this one rod that has the capacity to do all the above and probably more besides. Coupled with the one obvious fact that I can carry just this one rod around with Me and cover ninety percent of My Coarse fishing, then you can see the advantages of owning such a versatile tool. It becomes especially useful on day trips away to the Mainland, fishing the Rivers and such. I only need to take this one rod and I should be able to cover just about any situation that arises.

Obviously the brief outing I have had so far with the rod isn't sufficient for me to give a really detailed account of it's capabilities, but having seen it in action and had a play around it's certainly got potential. Time will tell of course and I hope to put it through some more tests in the near future, and naturally record my findings here, but so far so good!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Moving on

Well, it's August already, doesn't time fly (!) when your having fun?!

Still no joy on the Saltwater fly fishing front, the weather has been atrocious lately, and the wind just won't settle long enough for the inshore waters to calm sufficently to do any meaningful fly fishing. And then to add insult to injury the Sun decides to let off a couple of explosions and send a 'Solar Tsunami', containing charged particles and Ions careering towards the Earth ,which must have had a major affect on the weather systems as they are very much governed by solar activity, particularly from the Sun! Maybe thats why we have had what seems a never ending Wind!

So regarding some fishing then..

We thought We had a window in the weather yesterday evening, but upon visiting the venue, it turned out that there was no window and the Sea was definitely not in the right state for some Fly fishing! A quick decision was made and instead We decided to do some freshwater fly fishing for Carp as most of the gear needed was already in the Car, just a couple of extra bits to grab with a short detour home before making our Way to the lake.
Finding the lake empty on our arrival was a bonus as the swims where there is sufficient room for the back cast are limited in number so we had pole position for the evening.
The lake is well stocked with Carp from singles to scraper doubles in weight so it wasn't long after starting to feed some floating dog biscuits that some fish were up and feeding on the surface. Hookbaits were artificial dog biscuit imitations made from spun Deer hair, which are very good.
It was a good evening with plenty of fun and banter and numerous fish between myself and My angling partner, very enjoyable indeed, although not as good as Bass fishing on the Fly!