Sunday, 28 July 2013

Fish Soup

It rained heavily overnight and the river came up 3 feet in under two hours. So knowing the river would be blown for at least 48 hrs decided after a 2 month break to have a go for perch.
Had a lazy start and arrived at my favourite swim near the bridge - slight problem - no water!...actually not strictly true, there was a slight tickle of water about two feet wide and 2'' deep. The lake has dropped 20' since my last visit in May. This is a massive lake so I thought the huge reduction in volume and shoreline might just work to my advantage, in theory it should be like fish soup!, so I moved to a different part of the lake. I was catching plenty of small fish on a 2'' shad and thought a step up in size might work so on went a 3 1/2'' fish hunter. I was still getting hits from the small fish but most weren't actually hooking up and were just briefly hanging on to the tail before letting go. About ten minutes after changing up I had a good hit followed by the heavy lunges of a better fish at 2lb 12oz.

You can see in the pic that the water would normally be 15 ' or more above my head!

Friday, 26 July 2013


With the heat and humidity I couldn't sleep last night and found myself on the river at 4.45am with the mist coming gently off the water.

It was so dark when I caught my first fish I had to use the flash!

The recent showers have lifted masses of weed again meaning clearing hooks every cast which was a pain but in amongst a few smaller ones managed two nice fish.

This at just over 4lb

....and 4lb8oz

Home at 9.30am for tea and medals!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Grand Slam

I've had this Major Craft Trapara 562SUL for a while now but haven't used it as I've been fishing on a big river since the season opened. It's 5' 6'' and rated 0.8-3g. I paired it with an Abu 800 'Specialist' loaded with 10lb Super 8 Slick Power Pro. At first glance it looks like a fairly standard spinning outfit....

...until you get a sense of scale.

The rod, reel, line and lure weigh about 6 1/2 oz  and the blank is incredibly thin!
I decided it needed its first outing and decided to take it on a small stream I haven't fished for almost 12 months.  I have enough Matt Holmes (fishfooler - see links) snap beans to make a chilli con carne and they are perfect for this outfit. The stream is very shallow at the best of times but in this extended dry spell  is only inches deep for long stretches. Matt's beans are perfect as they run super shallow with the rod held high and can work down to a foot or so with the rod tip low. They have a fantastic tight wiggle and are super stable even in fast water - I've never come across such a small lure which is as stable in fast water.

The first deeper pool produced a small perch.

The water was like gin and the fish super spooky and I spent an interesting hour or so watching fish follow but not take or nip at the lure without hooking up.  The rod has a through action and I found it hard to set the hook by striking in the usual way. I eventually worked out that the best way to get them to stick was to point the rod straight at the fish and use the reel with the clutch set fairly tight to set the hook.
The chub in this stream are mostly not as big as on the river but are really nice looking fish.

I did see some better fish that looked around the 2 or 3lb mark but they just ghosted away at the first plop of the lure landing.

 Once I'd worked out how to set the hooks I landed a few of the gorgeous little brownies to complete a grand slam of sorts !

This one came from this little tongue of fast water in a typically tight swim.

I absolutely love this rod - even the tiny perch were bending the rod. I've tried a variety of lure fishing styles over the last couple of seasons but I get the most fun from the ultra-light set ups and this jungle style approach - fishing at its finest.

Saturday, 20 July 2013


It's way too hot to fish through the day so was on the river at 6am and off by 11am. There was a bit of high, patchy cloud which kept the temperature down compared to the last few days which made it bearable. Had some nice fish all on the shallow bomber square A.

This was the best of the bunch at 4lb 4oz and a nice clean fish.
I lost a really big fish when it managed to get into a huge mat of weed but I know where it lives and I'll be going back for that one! I now want a good bit of heavy rain to flush all the weed out and freshen the river up.
Had a dozen or so more fish to make it a really enjoyable morning.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Home Turf

I attended a Lure Anglers Society event on the River Ure in Yorkshire today and it was nice to see some old faces and meet some new ones. The morning started with a gaggle of anglers leaning over the bridge watching the chub in the shallow pacy water. This proved the only sighting for me as the stretch we were booked to fish the match on was deep and sluggish - not ideal for chub in the high temperatures. At the top of the stretch the water had a little flow and I had some fun for a while catching small perch before the shoal spooked and it went quiet.

I came across Mark Houghton one of the event sponsors (Mark Houghton Custom Lures-see links) doing a passable impersonation of a gnome trying to tempt some perch which were lurking at the bottom of the near side shelf.

I'd  taken the Ultra Light gear in the hope of some sport with the chub which were proving elusive and I'd been changing lures in the hope of finding something that might tempt them. A kopyto tempted a small jack which managed to shake free of the hooks. A few minutes later another pike a shade smaller than the first stuck on.
The pike were obviously feeding as quite a few had been caught and most of the anglers had had some action from the perch. I tried a few swims downstream but access to the banks was very limited and the water got progressively deeper and slower and by lunchtime I decided the prospects for the fishing probably wouldn't improve until the sun started to dip. With the match finishing at 4pm I decided to bail and drive home for a go at the chub on my home turf.
A short walk and an hours fishing provided some much needed excitement with lots of fish striking at the lure. I managed to actually land a couple of nice fish!
The Ure is a beautiful river and I'd love a crack at the faster water and those chub some day. Many thanks to Mark and Moonfleet Angling of Gateshead for sponsoring the event and to Roy Goddard the LAS Event Organiser for putting the event together.


Saturday, 13 July 2013

Sun Lovers

It seems whilst these conditions are the kiss of death for most species the chub just love it!


Friday, 12 July 2013

Young Blood

I was on the river for 5.30 this morning and sat and watched the mist gently rolling off the water with my first coffee of the day – magic. The river is lower than I've ever seen it and it meant I was able to wade in areas with too much flow usually. It was really interesting to see parts of the river bed I often fish blind over and have logged a few deeper spots that the fish will probably hold in when the river is higher.
I'd had a few fish between 1lb and 2lb when I had a really strong hit and I thought this might be my first 4lb chub on the fly but it fell shy at 3lb 12oz, another long lean fish.

I stumbled taking this one to the bank and ended up on my knees in 2' of water - with only thigh waders on!
A few more smaller ones took the beetle before another wrenching take turned out to be the fish I was after - just over 4lb.
I haven't been seeing the smaller fish like this on lures and its nice to see a good head of these mint fish ready to take the place of the old warriors. I took a picture of this just because it was so nice - golden, scale perfect flanks and lovely orange fins.
If I'd hooked every fish that swirled at the beetle I could have had 40 fish. They seem to love the hot bright weather.


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Chub On The Fly

I've caught a few chub whilst fly fishing for trout but wanted to catch a good one by design. I made some balsa bodied beetles and a couple of fly poppers and rooted out what I thought might be suitable from my fly boxes.

I blanked on my first attempt but managed to catch a few today despite the heat and brassy skies.
A modest start but very satisfying!
The second was a little better.
..and the third .
 Still not a monster but good fun on a 5/6 weight fly rod.

I've made a start and I'm really looking forward to one of the 4-5 pounders I've  been catching on lures on this outfit!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

A New Fave and A Lost Sole!

Tried a replacement for one of my 'go to' lures this morning as they are no longer made, and increasingly hard to find, and was really pleased. Very similar in most respects and an improvement in some - I'll pass it on when I have secured a decent supply myself.
I was amazed to see a small flatfish in the margins - I know they inhabit the lower reaches of many rivers but this was a long way up this particular river.
Despite the bright and hot conditions the fish were feeding well, this was the best at 4lb 8oz.
Many of the LAS members from the continent measure rather than weigh and I have a hard time working out how big they are so I've been meaning to measure some of the better fish. I usually remember just after putting them back! This was 53cm to the fork of the tail.

..and the best of the rest!
I've noticed the condition of some of these fish is deteriorating - quite a few have argulus infestations and a few seem to be developing red sores - I think the very low water and high temperatures and the fact that the river is choked with fine filamentous weed have combined to make it  difficult for them to recover their condition after spawning - maybe they will pack on some weight in late Summer/Autumn?

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Far From The Madding Crowd

Having hit my first marking deadline I decided to have a few hours this morning on a new river which is a tributary of the river I usually fish. I was expecting the fish to be of a smaller stamp as this river is small, very rocky and shallow.
The first fish meant I had to revise my estimate of the potential of this new water as it went 4lb 8oz! 

Had another nice fish from the same pool.

..and another good one at 4lb 4oz

This has got me fired up about exploring this new river.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

G. Loomis Greenwater Series

I received my prize for the opening day catch report on the Lure Anglers Society forum yesterday. Evaldas at kindly donated a G.Loomis Greenwater series GWPR842S a 7' one piece spinning rod designed primarily as a saltwater rod. It is described as medium light power with a casting range of 7-14 grams. First impressions were of the usual high quality Loomis finish and the lightness of the rod despite having a full cork handle and a quick bend and a wiggle seemed to confirm the description as a medium fast action rod.
I am currently marking exam papers so fishing time is limited but I was under instructions from Keith to go out, catch some fish , take some pictures and write a report :lol: So this morning after a good session marking I decided I needed a break and decided to go to the river for a couple of hours. I threw a Shimano Exage 2500 on the rod (loaded with Suffix 832 braid) and off I went.
The first area I wanted to try was occupied by a salmon angler playing a foul hooked barbel up and down the pool - it was giving him a right run around so I decided to try another areas I knew often holds a few fish as I didn't have much time. I was using crank baits around 7g which is the lower end of the rods stated casting range and the rod loaded nicely and flicked them out exactly where I wanted them without any fuss. The rod gave really good feel for what the lure was doing -immediately telegraphing when the lure had picked up any weed. The blank was doing everything I needed it to and I soon forgot I was using a new rod. I didn't try anything heavier but it feels like 14g is probably close to the maximum I'd be comfortable casting on it.

It took about an hour to find the first co-operative fish of 4lb 8oz - a great first fish on a new rod. :D 

Not long later the second fell just shy of the magic mark at 4lb 15oz. A really nice brace to start with.