Monday, 28 February 2011
On Catching and Crashing
Bad luck, as the saying goes, comes in threes. I was hoping for a decent days fishing for my birthday. To be fair I got the first bit right; a car crash down one of Devon's shittier, twistier country roads plus a hospital visit were a less brilliant Birthday present.
But to return to the first, Stafford Moor was a very welcome day out. I've written before about the pros and cons of predators on commercial fisheries. But then again, this complex is anything but typical and I for one salute the owner's brave decision to include pike and catfish. Indeed, as our rivers continue to decline they could have a big part to play in the future and thankfully some forward thinking owners recognise that we want more than simply carp fishing.
One good point about predator fishing such venues is that you can successfully mix tactics, with loose feeding for roach, skimmers and other species always liable to draw in predators at some point in the day. I decided to fish chopped worm on pole rig and running line, expecting decent perch whilst also adding a deadbait rod into the mix for a bonus or two. This worked well. When I wasn't catching skimmers and perch it was often because of pike presence and I landed two fish, both doubles, perhaps the highlight of the day a sudden surge on the surface, roach catapulted in all directions. Within seconds I had a tell tale run on the second rod. The pike haven't been here for many seasons, but with all the food present this could be a fishery to keep an eye on- although future success will also depend on how careful visitors are with these pike.
The real highlight was a late flurry with perch however. I had tried a small live rudd to sort out a better perch or two, but the killing tactic in the end was simply a worm over plenty of "chop", the better of two chunky fish at 2lbs 9oz. Specimen tactics are fine, but nothing beats light tackle and the rattle of centrepin against a lively fish is surely one of the greatest sounds in fishing. Perhaps a small live or deadbait might also work for these perch- but for obvious reasons a wire trace is a necessity here and I'm convinced this puts the perch off.
My crash came the day after, and about the only good thing I can say is thank goodness I wasn't badly hurt. But even a purely precautionary stretcher ride to hospital is a sobering experience. Even more delightfully, I had gone less than three miles in the hire car provided by my insurers next day when quite inexplicably the windscreen started to crack from the bottom up. More bullshit paperwork. More tedious phonecalls, elevator music and "your call is important to us". More parasites ready to bill you. In my darker moments I start to think life is simply a permanent wrestling match between trying to make enough money to live and having it sucked away again. Maybe this is why we go fishing?
Some fresh air was definitely called for and I had the pleasure of taking fly fishers Lance Downes and Darren Hunt for a crack at some Tiverton pike. In spite of a lack of bigger fish, we had some fun along the way with outrageously clear water and cat and mouse style fun with the jacks, some titchy (like the little critter below), but all of them cute and endlessly intriguing to watch.
Crazy catch of the month definitely goes to Lance, who managed to catch a half pound roach on a small pike fly! Strange but true and it just goes to show that anything is possible in fishing.