Friday, 25 July 2008

Video killed the radio star...

Back in 1979 the Buggles had a hit with the title of this entry in the blog. The song was about a radio career cut short by television... "What has that got to do with fishing?" Well the DVD/digital age has now seen off the video! What can we do with all those video boxes? Well the picture gives the game away... throw away that useless tape and cut two pieces of ethafoam and place them inside the box...

And there you have it a rather neat fly box for pike flies.

Now that idea wasn't mine it was courtesy of Colin Brett on the Pike Anglers Club forum.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Lady of the Lake...?

Dad was 77 last week. Instead of the usual couple of bottles of wine as a present, I took him fishing. It has to be said that I was looking for clement weather (for my dad) and frankly that doesn't always go hand in hand with good fishing weather. It was too warm and little fish movement was seen... the odd swirl and the splash of a tail together with a jumping bait fish and that was our lot.

However, the former fly fisherman (dad) got the hang of the spinning rod and lures and was quickly casting and retrieving on numerous drifts... whilst yours truly manned the motor and tried to unravel the line on the multiplier!

Funny to think that the last time dad and I fished together must have been 30 odd years ago.... I think dad enjoyed the day as much as I did (well apart from my power steering pump going... SOB SOB!).

Oh and the Lady of the Lake... she's on the chimney on the house in the lake.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Just plain UGLY!

I did wonder what it was initially... then it dawned on me it was a 2.5 ft lamprey! It looked like a great sea going leviathan that had been at sea for centuries gaining scars along the way... I do have a photo of it on the sandbank as it was helped up there with my boot. I helped it back as well and it tore off into the distance. If it had been a few months earlier I would have used it on my dead bait set up. Lamprey do bleed for ages and are a great pike bait!

Did you know that the Royal Air Force presented the Queen Elizabeth at her coronation breakfast with a lamprey pie? Mmmmmm.... it's meant to be a delicacy (I wouldn't)!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Who's a pretty girl then?

This pretty girl was caught in November last year from the River Dee. I was having a seriously bad time... "Blank" was my middle name! I was fishing a good few miles down stream from where I snagged this one and another angler fishing for roach & chub suggested that I try up river the next weekend.

Advice taken I arrived at the mark to find the same chap fishing a peg up from me. He was feeding the silver fish heavily and I could see a lot of fish movement evidently being pursued by a pike. On the third cast with a pink and white spinnerbait finished off with a white jelly worm on the stinger this pretty pike obliged. I got her in quickly and put her back quickly as well. Off she went in a flash... the next week I bought an unhooking mat at the suggestion of a few folk!

This weekend saw me have a couple of hours in less than ideal conditions trying to cast flies in the teeth of a gale... I retired as the pike hadn't come out to play either!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

The source...

Every river has a source... by its very nature everything starts somewhere!
I remember consuming my dad's fly fishing books when I was younger and also getting my very own book on fishing. I still have the volume on the shelf here in the study... the cover is a lurid fluorescent orange, slightly faded with browned edges to the paper (not great quality paper!). The book by W E Davies is called The Technique of Fresh Water Fishing and Tackle Tinkering... it's that last bit of the title I love.
So what has this all to do with the chap holding the pike... no it isn't my dad it is Mike Ladle the renowned Bass fisherman who co authored "Hooked on Bass". In my search for information I stumbled across Mike's website and have used that as a constant source of information. Like a good book I keep going back to it and turning up gems.
There is also a link between Mike and I... it is a small world! I decided to model my fish catching gear on Mike and noticed that he used a 4 piece spinning rod... well the rod was designed by Steve Harrison of Harrison Advanced Rods in Liverpool. Steve took me under his wing and I became one of his pit crew on his yacht Quattro, racing week in week out on the Mersey... sadly I don't race anymore BUT it was something I needed at that time in my life. Anyway I digress, back to the fishing...
I armed myself with the Veal's Mike Ladle 4 Sure Spin, which is a great travelling rod and thus started out on the journey as a born again angler!
Mike's site has been an invaluable source of info and I'd recommend it to anyone who hasn't yet seen it.
Sitting here writing this, I think it is a great shame that we perhaps (because of the Internet) don't hold books in the same high regard as we once did... having said that I'm eagerly awaiting two books that I've ordered on fly fishing for pike (Ad Swier and Barry Reynolds... both will no doubt feature here at some point!)

Friday, 18 July 2008

The guide... on Derwentwater

Eric Hope

5th April this year... my birthday! Mmmm... 40 something and the years passing like lightning.

This is what I wrote the day after to Mike Ladle.
“Back in January Janet, my wife asked me what I wanted for my birthday...? Having fished in hard conditions on hard waters and blanked continually I suggested a day on a lake with a guide might be a reasonable idea... My birthday was yesterday sooooooooooooo... I woke up in the Lake District and went out fishing... Within the first hour I had a rather nice pike on a smutley drop belly jerk bait... and then lost it! Doh!
Nothing was up for the drifted deads!Drifted and cast many lures over the second site... nothing doing so off the third spot dropping temperature and squalls coming through leaving the fells white had us doing three drifts very fast and in a rising chop... so we headed for the lee shore. Mark number four... bright sunshine and calmer waters had us drift and then throw the hook out... more lures (1330hrs at this stage).

My guide for the day (Eric Hope) then got out a gas stove and began cooking bacon... don't know whether that was it or the snurge in the smelt but one rod twitched and then the reel next to me started to whine. I picked up the rod and... "wind down... strike... and in...." in she came after a goodly fight a nice post spawn lady!

In she went after the photo and I dipped my GPS for the mark... (she went in at just before 1420hrs... that what it says)... Mark five we had another smaller lady (Eric's... man in wooly hat) and another loss... doh!...Mark six and seven were re-runs of one and two... Looking at the weather there was a significant temperature drop from the day before and the fishing became harder... that has been the general story of my fishing exploits since November... poor choice of days and venue!

So for all to see... here's my birthday present and worth every penny of the guided day out!"

I've tidied the email a little for clarity...
So the guide...
If you want to learn a little or a lot, gain confidence and see that it is bad luck that you are having and that you aren't a "carp" (dyslexia rules KO) angler altogether then I'd recommend a guide... even if it is only the once. I'd recommend Eric as a no nonsense chap with a great sense of humour... very dry... appealed to my humour and we bounced of each other all day... the time flew, I was relaxed and we caught fish, discussed this that and the other.
Would I do it again..? YES
So if you want to hear about the birthday pike, snurging and Barnes Wallis rigs, catch some fish and enjoy some craic give Eric a call...

Photography and Fishing...

The two subjects are inextricably linked... we all like photos of our catch. Don't we?
I came across JayMorr's blog via the North American Fly Fishing Forum... when I first clicked to enter his blog I was stunned by the photography. Take the recent pictures of the largemouth bass or the dragonfly... completely faultless! This guy breathes his surroundings into his photographs... awesome isn't a word to use lightly. Jay's photos are totally awesome!
I was intrigued by the pontoon boats JayMorr and his friends have... Such boats are few and far between in the UK. However, I did try a Costco boat BUT it had to go back due to a fault. I didn't have complete confidence in getting a replacement... anyway I want Jay's boat!!
Thanks for the photo Jay.

The lure of the lure...

Mmmm... lures! I must admit I have quite a collection - perhaps one day each one will have produced a pike before I lose the darned things. Interestingly I have always been a fan of the Mepps spinner in size 0, and I've taken to carrying one again (especially when I carry the superlight spinning rod) just to catch the errant perch.

Favourite lures... Rapala countdown lures have been the best producers of fish for me... the little perch pattern above is yet to catch but the black/silver and blue/silver are hot! The black/silver CD9 is a little battered now but after a trip to Egypt and catching 7 Barracuda and a Jack Trevally, little wonder! The photo has been altered in Photoshop if you hadn't guessed a touch on the hue & saturation!

Pike eat pike and my pikelet lures have accounted for pike more than most, the Salmo floating diver replaced one that I got from Harris over 20 years ago after I'd lost it in a tree!

The prettiest pike I've caught to date 10lb from the Dee fell to a pink and white FOX spinner bait with a stinger hook dressed with a white grub.

Now there are jerk baits and flies to consider... so in addition to fishing it appears I collect the gear as well!

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Finding Esox after a long break...

I've caught the occasional trout but the fish I've always targeted is the pike. Not that successfully I have to say... I limited myself to lures and perhaps didn't quite understand where I was chucking them. 17 years ago or so I put the rod to one side and went back to fishing the holiday way... once every so often!

After Porth Swtan and the holiday in France where William and I caught "micro roach" we visited the cousins on the Thames again.

With Old Billy the borrowed ex-Thames police river launch we chugged up the Thames toward Henley stopping en-route for lunch at Bray. Eventful trip to say the least... who snapped the key in the ignition? Fortunately the boat behind had an auto-electrician on board... hot wiring a police vehicle! I'd secreted a bunch of lures and a fishing rod on board and fished as we meandered up river. The tally for the day were a few good perch and the elusive pike in failing light on our return... it was Sam's turn to net the catch... I was gutted (excuse the pun) when he pushed the lightly hooked fish of with the net... it wasn't his fault - I hadn't explained that the landing net extended!

The following day we found out that the wrong key had been snapped in the lock... doh! The photo is a jack caught on a pikelet lure fished past a set of reeds on the Thames.

The passion begins... again!

Fishing reborn

Back to June last year (07) and a weekend with the family in Porth Swtan... we loaded the car straight from school with the all important cargo of rag worms wrapped in newspaper and in a cool bag to keep them fresh. A couple of late nights for the boys and William bagged the only fish of the weekend... a plaice. He was somewhat irked I wouldn't let him take it home to show his mum.

This wasn't Will's first fish, that was a perch to a small Mepps size 0, on an Irish lough a few years earlier. On both occassions he outfished his brother Sam... by good luck than good measure. (Following the Irish holiday we visited the boys' cousins Roobs and Tom-Tom and armed with a bucket of maggots on the banks of the Thames I think they were about even in the end).

The photo reminds me how I felt catching my first sea fish, a mackerel and how it bent that fibreglass spinning rod... I even rember that it was a Mepps spinner. That memory is etched on my mind... I didn't get a picture of "me" with my fish BUT it tasted great!

Not quite the beginning!

Imagine standing looking down at the water and lurking beneath the surface, under those lily pads, is the river's greatest predator... the pike!

This river was in the Vendee in France and I took the photo whilst thinking how I'd love to draw a lure or two around the edge of the pads to draw Esox out... but it wasn't to be.

Maybe on my return.