Saturday, 22 October 2011
Fun-sized lure fishing
Lure fishing doesn't get much cuter than an ultra light outfit and a box of pint-sized special lures. The little works of art certainly catch anglers as well as fish- but when it comes to tempting a wider range of species such as chub, perch and trout, besides the usual pike, these little devils really come into their own. I had been meaning to grab the camera for a trip with Ian Nadin for a while now to capture the fun of an ultralight session.
The handmade Polish specials he imports (above) are about as appetising as they come. For my money they just cried out to be used for chub and so he took up the challenge of a bash at the River Tone on the outskirts of Taunton. In many ways it is perfect ultralight territory here: narrow, clear waters with a good number of chub in the 1-3lbs bracket, as well as other surprises in the form of pike, perch and even trout. It's rather urban looking, but in some places if you squinted you might fancy yourself out on a little chub stream in the sticks; until you spot the shopping trolleys and the concrete bypass that is.
You could run a stick float through much of this and catch all day, but somehow lure fishing -like casting a fly- offers visual kicks and a special thrill. The big issue with small lures is always how the heck you cast them and do them justice. The only answer for little plugs and spinners that might weigh only a couple of grams is to use a fine, tippy rod and light braid of around 10lbs strength. You do wonder if you might catch more without one, but with jack pike present a light wire trace is essential.
In the streamy, cold waters it proved real cat and mouse stuff. The chub are certainly interested in lures, but painfully easy to spook. A little Mepps earned some action with smaller chub, but the better ones seemed to favour the dive and wiggle of a baby plug on this occasion. It was totally absorbing watching the fish tailing the lures- often switching on when a little burst of movement was added. Is this a feeding response or pure aggression? Like Ian, I believe it to be more a mean streak than a feeding response. After several near misses and spooked fish, a lean two pounder gave Ian's little lure a mouthy response and his 1-5g rated rod smashed over.
Conspicuous by their absence were the pike however, although Ian later added a pretty jack. Aside from this we saw all sorts- nosey perch, a trout, roach, dace and even the odd grayling. Perhaps the strangest happening was Ian's capture of a minnow however, hooked fairly in the lips on a tiny spinner! A predatory minnow- what next? The fish may not have been big, but I could happily spend every weekend fish spotting and casting a lure when the fun is so instant and so visual. Chucking about small lures in clear water is basically pure play -as fishing should be. For those curious about Ian's devilishly cute little lures and ultra light lure tackle, take a look at his site (www.microbaits.co.uk) or see the links section at www.dgfishing.co.uk
And on the subject of exciting, visual fishing I hope some of you can join us on Tuesday for the PAC meet at 7pm, Mill on Exe. I'm doing the first talk, and the focus will be exactly this- the thrill of close quarters fishing with a special emphasis on flies. Besides the actual fish, I spend much of my time trying to capture inspiring images and I hope to share plenty of unseen highlights on the night.
Back to the fishing itself, apart from a lost pike on the canal, the only other action of late has been at Exe Valley Fishery. The fishing was funny- slow in much of the lake, but absolute dynamite in one or two "hotspots". Along with four solid rainbows, I also took a grayling of about a pound on a buzzer! I'm not in the habit of cooking them, but this tasted pretty good.