Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year..... all of you. Thanks for reading and I hope I can entertain you further in 2015.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Cut Perch

As the river has been in flood for a couple of weeks I've enjoyed trying to get to grips with some canal perch. Both sessions saw low overnight temperatures and cold, blustery conditions with wintery showers. These are never going to be easy days and I tried a few different presentations before finding that dragging a lure very slowly across the bottom to be the way to winkle the fish out.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Do Not Apply

There is so much being written about the drop shot rig at the moment I've been moved to add this to the Drop Shot section of my blog.

When I first put the blog together I stuck to the mechanics of drop shot. I'd been using it in my perch fishing for a while and felt there was so much variation in the way it could be used that, attempting to describe ways of fishing the rig would be pretty pointless.
I do not belong to the 'I've been using it for years brigade' as if some cudos arises from being told about it or discovering it before others. It is a very old technique, two decades or more, even as it is used today and yes, the paternoster rig with hook above weight has been around for even longer.
I'm not claiming any particular expertise but I love the technique and have gained experience over many sessions. Here is some of what I have picked up.

The first comment often to come out in any discussion is that it is a boring technique. If that means chucking a DS rig out, leaving it completely static and maybe jiggling it about it a bit and blanking, I guess I would agree - I would get bored very quickly too.
A completely static presentation is hardly effective lure fishing in my book and waiting for a fish in any venue to find a lure and then to hope it will be enticed into taking it would, for me, be time spent poorly.  I got hooked watching guys who were already profficient when I first became interested in it and found it endlessly fascinating. 

Is there anything completely unique about the drop shot presentation - something that cannot be replicated or approximated to in another way? I can think of only one - the ability to stop and hang a lure in one position in flowing water. That said, there are other features which make it a useful technique in other circumstances. If you can see the bottom or are completely familiar with the bottom contours of the water it might be possible to retrieve a lure at  a constant height above the deck and keep it in the kill zone for the whole retrieve. In any other situation a DS rig will do that job better.

A DS rig allows a lure to be fished around both natural and man-made features very effectively. It is often possible to lower a DS rig in causing minimal disturbance. If the approach has been stealthy it can produce an almost instant hit and if not, it is often only a short time before a fish moves out of the feature to take the lure. Given that neither of those events have come to pass, leaving the rig in place is a fairly pointless activity. You may be lucky if you left it long enough to bank a fish but I need to go hunting in these circumstances. My first response would be to run the lure past the feature, maybe parallel to the shore along the reed bed or a short cast past the trees, bushes or logs and a retrieve working the lure as close as possible to it. 'Run it past' can mean a steady retrieve, fast or slow or a retrieve with pauses, long or short. Therein lies one of the many fascinations for me - an almost infinite combination of retrieves is possible from dead stop (without a nose dive or rise) to ripped. I usually start with a half turn or full turn of the reel handle followed by a pause with either no movement of the rod tip on the pause or only the slightest movement - almost a vibration. The length of pause will increase in coloured water, or low light to give them a little longer to find the lure and in cold water where they are more lethargic. I will usually work the lure faster with shorter pauses in warmer water or in clearer conditions or brighter weather. 

 I usually fish with the reel stem inside my little finger and my index finger resting on the blank.  I want to feel the bite through the rod. I cannot stand for any length of time watching a high rod tip without risking a cricked neck! Any time when the line has some slack I revert to watching either the loop of line from rod top to water or the entry point of line into the water if that is possible. Takes are often unambiguous thumps , especially with the bigger fish. If the fish are smaller or more tentative and you get small sharp taps without hooking up, soft hands are required. I just tip my wrist and allow a small amount of slack. This causes the lure to drop a little whilst at the same time allows the lure to be inhaled more easily - a combination that can result in a hook up.

One of the often repeated ideas is that it is not a good searching technique particularly in open water. However I have found that it allows such a natural presentation, that generates a response so often that I often use it in that way. A fast retrieve in warm conditions will soon have any perch in the area having a nip. In these circumstances once I've found them and realised they are up for a chase I might switch to another method. It really excels in cold water where fish are not so active and less likely to move far to take a lure. For me it is in winter when these cold, clear water conditions are prevalent that the technique really comes into its own. 

In all my years of fishing I have discovered several things of note that are worth sharing - fish do not read the right books, use forums, social media or other online resources and that 'always' and 'never' do not apply to fishing. 

Friday, 7 November 2014

Line Thru Rigging

Haven't tried them yet and although others report no problems I've been tinkering again.
This is how they come and I'm going to leave this one as is for the moment and see how it goes..

..there is a slot for the top point of the belly treble and the pins on the single just push in. The two ponts of the trebles look a bit close to the body to me and they are small/narrow and don't stick out past the fattest part of the body?

A bit of messing with stainless wire and a more traditional two sets of trebles...

I know which one I'd like to bite least!

May be completely unecessary  - I just need a few fishy opinions to be convinced the hook up rate will be OK on the original rig.  

Thursday, 30 October 2014

All Hallows Eve

In the dark she waits. She has always waited. In the times before men walked the Earth she swam through the miles deep layers of rock beneath their feet. There she fed on the fossil souls of creatures trapped under the crushing strata above. Then she found the river and tastier fare.
Now, when she must, she takes the souls of the sorry creatures who share her river, and those damned to fall into her domain. These small offerings are not enough – she craves the souls of men – the ones who have sought her through the ages. They came for her with spears and bone hooks, with traps and nets, and now with iron hooks and devil lures – it is the angler she desires the most.
The Earth has rolled around the sun many times since she fed last – she is hungry, very hungry.
She does not see him first approach, she feels his footfall – she knows he is there. She rises slowly, closing on her quarry. She will wait, wait for him to step into the water, to take his ankle and drag him down. She will eat his soul and leave the bones and flesh to the river.
He does not enter the water, he stands and casts his lures, she grows impatient, her anger grows with each passing moment.
Then she is startled by a sudden movement above her, she feels the pressure of the water change and in her hatred she strikes. She takes the lure with such fury that the unwary angler slips, his clutch is too tight, the line does not yield - he slides down the grassy slope – and into the water.
With a flick of her mighty tail she is on him – teeth sunk into flesh. She turns and takes him to the deeps. All that remains a cap floating on the oily surface that turns, and slowly sinks.
However his soul is not like that of other men, it is not even the soul of a single man but that of many, they are fierce and full of their own passions – the souls of many anglers. She cannot bear their taste and she relinquishes her hold, the angler makes for the surface now far above him.
He swims free and scrambles to the shore – his trusty rod still clenched in his hand. He heaves and strains and turns the monster before she reaches sanctuary, he fights. The two souls are locked. Back and forth the battle rages, she takes the line – the angler regains it. It seems the war cannot be won and neither beast nor man can best the other. Long into the night they struggle. It is the soul of the angler which is stronger and little by little the leviathan tires, and by daylight the angler takes his prize.

Pikenstein strikes again!

Happy Halloween Folks
A big thank you to Matt Holmes for working his magic with photoshop!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Man Cave

Haven't done anything creative lure-wise recently as my erstwhile 'man cave' has, until a few days ago, been a 'junk room' where everything that didn't get unpacked properly was dumped!
So having sorted it and unpacked all my tying stuff, and having seen a few of a friends imaginative ties recently, I thought I'd have a crack at a twin fish jigfly.

..and this is the aftermath - she's gonna kill me when she gets in from work!

I was only tying for a few minutes and it all kind of exploded !!!!!!!!!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Hat Training

After a friends suggestion yesterday, that the reason I wasn't getting the big pike I was after, may be due to a poorly trained, new 'lucky hat' I thought I'd go and investigate further this morning and run the new hat by some perch.

Next weekend I shall continue pike training with the hat!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

On The Stillness Of Whippets

Lour De Jour...

...and a couple of fish in nice condition.

Did try to capture the whippet in both shots but it refuses to be still – I guess that’s whippets for ya!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Where Are The Songs of Spring?

Firstly a massive thank you to those of you still popping in for a looksee even though I have been very remiss in not posting for ages. Hopefully with the Winter perch and pike season looming I'll have a bit more to write about.

By the river by 6.30 waiting for the light.

It was one of those lovely mornings when the dawn comes slowly with mist rolling across the river- absolute magic. I was hoping for a bit more water and some colour but the short lift had already taken itself off down to the Irish Sea.

I knew with clear skies above the mist my best chance would be early on and I clipped on my urban camo slider on. The ducks exploded in riotous laughter – and I’m sure I heard one say to its mate, ‘’he’s never gonna catch on that thing!!!’’

I had an attack from a good fish that didn’t stick and was still licking my wounds when this nice little fish cheered me a little.

I worked upstream a bit and was briefly attached to one of the super tankers – Which promptly rolled and spat the hooks. Nice to get a chance to practice my Anglo Saxon as I’ve been so chilled of late that I’ve been losing my touch.

As predicted the sun soon burned through the mist and low cloud and so I gave the ducks the bird and headed home!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Crazy Beautiful

A beautiful strory of freedom and art. If you get a chance be a part of the journey.

Monday, 30 June 2014


Had a wet but wonderful Saturday at Braunston canal festival. The Bream I caught may not have been what my regular Blogistas were expecting - there was a Perch too - but in the torrential rain I missed it - and when the sun eventually came out I couldn't find her in the melee of 80 historic boats!




Monday, 23 June 2014

Perch on Sunday

A lazy start on Sunday meant I only got to the river for about 9am and the sun was already blazing. Conditions didn't look great! As always location is important with the perch - they seem to move up and down the river far more than the other species - so I spent some time walking and looking. Eventually I spotted some fry scattering and hoped it was perch on the hunt causing the panic.
A quick hunt in the box produced a paddle tailed Fish Arrow that I thought might do the trick - a little bigger than the fry lining the margins, which is no bad thing - little point in being indistinguishable from a million other prey items!

It didn't take long to confirm the presence of my target.

 A morning filled with a dozen hard fighting fish like these meant I wasn't bothered about not finding any of the super-tankers. By 12 noon the sun was intense and  beat a hasty retreat to continue getting ready for the move.

Two nice double figure pike, another over 15lb and one over 25lb, several chub over 4lb and some nice perch completed a fantastic opening week for me! 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Longest Day

I always like to make the most of the longest day and make an early start. With an extended period of warm fine weather and low, clear water, I always feel that early mornings and fading evening light are likely to produce the best chance of a decent fish or two.

A pre dawn start and the excitement of visiting our new home for a driving lesson later in the day meant I didn’t sleep well, and consequently I was on the river bank before 3 am!

I was pleased with this moon shot – hand held and 140x zoom is rarely a good combination.

As daylight crept in a heavy mist rolled off the river, It was stunning watching the swans ghost in  and out of view.

It wasn’t until about 4.30 that the pike woke up and this lean double fish hit my jerk bait.
A few minutes later I was treated by the fantastic sight of a growing bow wave behind the lure as a bigger fish accelerated after a lure worked fast and shallow across the river. As I saw the wave I sped up slightly giving the fish a simple choice – breakfast or go hungry!
I had intended to go chasing perch in the evening but after an afternoon spent learning how to operate our new home with the current owners I was wiped out and decided to wait until Sunday. Hopefully by early next month we will no longer be land lubbers!

I dropped a perch of around 2lb earlier in the week in a new area. I love discovering new haunts for my target species and the excitement of exploring new water! If the perch won’t play tomorrow- I know where a chub or two live!

Friday, 20 June 2014

World Predator Classic

I know guys in several of the competing boats so its very exciting watching the live catch reports and seeing places change on the leader board - even a page with GPS showing where each of the boats is!

My mate Evaldas and his partner Ivan, who are representing Lithuania are currently 6th - fantastic effort guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday evening was too nice to condemn myself to watching our national football team imploding so I decided a wander along the river bank would be far more therapeutic!
I had already discovered how effective the Fiiish Black Minnows were during the close season taking a dozen fish over the 5lb mark - they were so good I actually stopped using them and switched to other lures in the hope of avoiding the chub and selecting out the trout.
I had a fantastic couple of hours after work with loads of fish around the 3lb mark with a few slightly better ones thrown in.




Wednesday, 18 June 2014

2 Day, Day 2

The second day of the season saw me chasing one of my favourite summer species.
A few short weeks ago these were nuisance fish who were annoyingly unaware that I was fishing for the trout and salmon and that they were out of season!
This one took one of Mark Houghtons' custom bean crank baits. Hollow bellied after spawning recently but still just the right side of 4lb.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Opening Day

I've been really excited about the opening of the coarse season on the rivers and not a little jealous of the guys who had booked time off work to fish today. I've been consoling myself with the fact that with the river is down to its bones and the weather being bright and brassy, conditions would make it difficult. I nearly didn't bother going after work but decided that with the fish having not seen a lure for a while I might be in with a slim chance and thought I'd give it a couple of hours.
Within ten minutes a scraper double had put a smile on my face and I was content not to blank on the opening day!

Half an hour later a brutal hit and a thankfully short fight saw this 25lb 14oz beauty on the bank!

Even more pleasing to take both fish on one of my own custom paint jobs

A fantastic couple of hours and a great way to start the 2014 season. I'll be chasing the chub and the perch tomorrow!

Monday, 2 June 2014

First Blood

Spent some time last week doing some work on the boat and finally got my first full day out in her today.

Enough gear for one man?

First fish in the boat taken on the urban camo slider....

..taken fishing round.this island

..first blood 

..and a bit of scenery...

Glorious to be on the lake in such fantastic weather!