Sunday, 28 September 2008

Sunday, Sunday...

No photo today... a lot of pike activity BUT also too many carpers!! One chap decided he'd chin wag with me whilst I was on a retrieve... so sad, a pike turned over the fly and I didn't have the line tight enough to strike. The moral of the story is... don't act like John Wilson on the local pond... it ain't cool!

Won't get a chance this week BUT I'll be there again...

Friday, 26 September 2008

On my fly!

Down to the water for 7am with very few there... still morning with a mist rising from the water. Bait fish moving and jumping and pike striking like there was no tomorrow. A real feeding frenzy!

So with my newly tied fly on the line I decided to fish it. Once it lost its buoyancy it moved with a the grace of a ballerina... the only difference this has a sting in the tail! I fished the first bay and noticed some excessive bait fish movement a few casts and changed position... quick, quick, pause... and bang "fish on!". Bit more of a fight with this fellow but succumbed relatively quickly. Out of interest I weighed it in the net and came up at 5lbs... I've been doing myself short... my first could have been a double!!! The Ad Swier hooks again excelled themselves and I quickly unhooked the fish and allowed it to recover and away he went!

I moved pegs and moved up the lake a couple of casts later I missed a take and had a pike roll over the fly... annoying but soon forgotten. Just can't beat catching a fish at the start of the day!

There is a big fish in this water... I can feel it in my bones.

A note to myself I must start taking photos with a proper camera and not the Mickey Mouse one on the phone!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Lord of the flies...

OK today was a bit of a bum day so retail therapy kicked in! A vice and some tools and a few materials... they were really set up for the trout and salmon boys so an internet shop happened as well!

Icelandic sheep's wool... with a little flash... can't wait to see it in the water... and really can't wait until the bucktail and mylar tubing arrives so I can tie those tandems!!!

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Well, he's...he's, ah...probably pining for the fjords.

Back in 1969 Michael Palin and John Cleese performed the Dead Parrot Sketch as part of a Monty Python TV show. What on earth has that to do with piking? The link is tenuous to say the least! Read on...

I took the opportunity to have a couple of hours on my secret venue last night just as the light was fading... as I approached the venue I passed a car on the unmade road and we both opened our windows I asked how it was fishing. The response was that yesterday it wasn't so good BUT today it was excellent! T'other chap asked me what I was after and I said that I was after pike, on the fly. "Oh you're the bloke that had two last week" was the reply... notoriety... at last!

In contrast there were few carp fishing albeit conditions were better... apparently. I had a chat to a couple of chaps sitting fishing for roach and they told me that one of them had had a 5lb pike on a roach as he was retrieving the silver fish... good news indeed.

I spent 40 minutes working my way up the swims until I met a group of lads going home and they commented that pike had be chasing the roach in their swim a couple of pegs up fom where I was. OK... give it a go.

The large peg was littered with the ends of bait and I saw from the bank a small shoal of roach hanging around in the shallows. Mmmm... promising. A few casts parallel to the bank retrieving one long and two short with a pause of varying lengths and bang I was into a fish!

After a short fight the jack yielded... I was ready today with the handle of the net close at hand and slipped it under the fish... there was no escape for young Esox today. The first hook of the tandem had caught him fair and square a centimetre or so back from his bottom jaw... those Ad Swier hooks are so easy to remove... a large treble there and I would have had to have used a pair of snips to take the point and barb off. I didn't bother weighing the fish but gave myself 3 - 4 lbs based on the length of the fish... approximate length judged by the width of the bottom of my net... I actually don't care about the weight... it's just all about catching pike!

Hooks extracted (in the net) my quarry wanted to return to the murky depths of the lake... what an utterly fantastic sight these fish are... I feel a certain honour that I have found the secret in catching them... and to see them swim off unharmed and with vigour... fantastic!

I'm looking forward to Monday night and to test driving a Harrison 9ft 9 weight blank... a rod in the making!

Oh I almost forgot... the parrot... in the still balmy air I heard one of the two anglers after the roach comment, "must be like casting a dead parrot on that rod" My retort across the water was that it was the mother-in-law's budgie! There was a ripple of laughter and sniggers that echoed around the lake as night fell.

Friday, 12 September 2008


What a hard fought campaign I've had!
I decided today to pop down to the river again... not quite as bad as the August foray but with all that rain there was too much of a flow to make it worthwile. However, as I was there I fished it... true to form losing a lure to the river gods who continually seek to punish my impudence!
Anyway there were a number of conversations along the way with fellow fishermen and passers by that made the day enjoyable... apart from the annoying comments that some folk make, for example... "there was a chap last week who caught a massive pike over there!" I bite my lip and scream inwardly... "do I look bovvered!" I know they mean well.
Unlike me but I decided that I'd do the secret stillwater before dinner. After a quick cup of tea I drifted off to "the venue". There were quite a few carp anglers in attendance but fortunately all on the pegs I knew wouldn't produce pike... believe that, and you'll believe anything! Now I think in the ways of the Pike Angler's Club of Great Britain (of which I'm a member) I will leave out the location and the fly I used at "the venue"... it's a sort of unwritten rule you see... just in case another chap comes and fishes its socks off. It seems odd that a society whose aim is to preserve the pike are worried about its own members "raping and pillaging" waters... maybe I can understand it though. I like fishing, not politics and I have digressed. Where were we? Ah, yes!
Near enough ninety minutes of fly fishing as the sun dipped toward the horizon...
"Mark A" is on a straight bank lined with reeds, probably 9 feet out drops considerably, in the 9 feet zone it ranges from 6 inches to 4 foot deep. The first fly I had on although stood out in the murk of a carp water didn't have a massive volume about it, so I changed it for a fly of considerable substance... gaudy to excess as well. I had about half a dozen casts parallel with the bank and on one of the pauses it felt as if I'd hit a snag BUT instinctively I knew this was a fish and struck... the water boiled immediately with a pike on the end of my line... bullying him quickly to submit I got him to the net (thanks to a carper waiting in the wings). There isn't a photo of this 6.5lb pike... Why? Well I decided to put it on the unhooking mat... wrong move... must have spotted the water and made a dive for it! Darn it!!!
"Mark B" was an absolute gift from the last person I spoke to at the lake... he suggested the bay opposite to him... out of respect for his float I hadn't fished it and the platform on the opposite side of the bay was a difficult cast. I had visions of tying up the fly in a tree. 2nd or 3rd cast in and "bang" we were fish on again. The photo above is from my phone on the camera... so quality isn't good! BUT it is a photo of the 2nd pike I caught on a fly(albeit smaller at 3lbs)... 2 pike in one session on the fly... fantastic...
I have reflected on today and have to say that I feel that I earned those fish... I feel elated!
As a post script there are folk that worry that pike on the fly isn't good for the fish. Well both fish were landed quickly and were returned quickly as well! The big difference for me is the hook. Partridge Ad Swier pike hooks, they just drop out... no nasty trebles. It has me re-thinking trebles!

Monday, 1 September 2008

Fishes & Loaves....

Rather than camping with the boys and having the remnants of a miserable August impose its wrath on us under canvas we opted for a friend's cottage on Anglesey!

With the car loaded up last Wednesday we set off with all but the kitchen sink... "Grandma Margaret's" cottage has to be one of the most idyllic retreats on earth and the setting is fantastic. Such is the impact of the place on me, that returning to reality is hard!

I decided in addition to the usual armoury of fishing rods to pack the bikes for the boys, giving them their own transport to "cruise the strip" as it might be termed in a built up beach side resort such as Cannes! This back of beyond boasts a church, pub, cafe and renowned sea food restaurant... oh and an original cottage set up as a museum!

The weather was good to us and during Wednesday afternoon we stopped off at the fishing tackle shop in Amlwch... Telboy Tackle is run by Terry Thomas and is situated between the the Dinorben Arms and the Premier Stores. A veritable Aladdin's cave for the angler whether sea, coarse or game fishing. He can arrange sea fishing trips on Tuesday and Thursday each week. Well worth a visit to stock up on fresh bait.

Will and I tried our luck on the Thursday night at ledgering for plaice and bass and after a couple of hours we both retired empty handed... nothing new there!

Having set a challenge of "Catch, Kill, Clean, Cook & Eat" I thought it best to ensure that we did catch something... else we'd go hungry! So off to Moelfre and the rocks behind the lifeboat station. Two things about this mark, the first is, it is a tackle grave yard BUT second you will catch here more often than not. I decided to put both boys on the cheap carp rods with feathers and a 2 ounce weight... with the advice "as soon as it hits the water, wind the handle!". Both managed to attach themselves to the bottom so I switched both to spinners.

I initially went onto a Dexter wedge hoping for bass but soon decided to switch to a line of foil feathers with a two ounce lead. The Harrison designed Veal's 4 Sure Spin 9ft rod certainly had the weight ripping the feathers out into the distance and on the third retrieve I felt that we were on a home run. Cranking the handle I was overjoyed to see three excellent sized mackerel beneath the surface. All fish were dispatched quickly and popped into the bag.

Not being greedy I let William take my rod and the mark, a few casts later he was in! I watched him excitedly bring two mackerel home and on landing them... well, maybe I won't write what he said... somewhat overcome by emotion his inhibitions were laid bare to the world! Enough said!

Sam took over the rod but linked with a fast falling tide and a chap, who by now was insisting that his float should come across Sam's line of fire meant that Sam lost the terminal tackle and went home empty handed. To compound his misery I put a line of pink shrimps on one of the carp rods and pulled in a solo mackerel! I did feel for him.

With six in the bag we went off home... rather satisfied and a degree of smugness that can only come with catching fish! Back at the cottage I showed the boys how to gut and clean the fish... I have to say that both of them performed the task without complaint and did it to a higher standard than the fish counter at our local supermarket! I was proud of both of them.

We had put the White Eagle at Rhoscolyn as the banker for Friday night... great gastro pub/restaurant... food was good BUT just have a main and a dessert unless you are greedy! Overfaced or what...

Saturday we had the mackerel for tea... I dislike throw away BBQs but when the devil drives sometimes that is all there is to hand. We headed and tailed the fish and just managed to squeeze the six on one BBQ on the beach! A sheet of foil over the top retains both heat and moisture... 12 minutes later they were being wrapped in foil and put in a Thermos bag and back off to the cottage where Janet was preparing the rest of the meal.
Freshly cooked fish with a hint of smoke, a squeeze of lemon and rocket from our own garden... what more could you ask for... apart from a glass of sauvignon blanc to wash it down!

So we met the challenge and succeeded!
Please not we were responsible with the BBQ, we doused it with water from a rock pool and when sure all flame/heat was out placed it in a bin!