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.