Sunday, 27 March 2011
Bored by some slow specimen hunting, this week spelled a welcome return to fishing with fun and action in mind. And why not indeed? It beats sitting there so deadened that parts of you start to fall off. Stafford Moor is one of those rare places worthy of the name "mixed fishery" to the very letter- loads of variety, stacks of suprises and a perfect place to go for a mixed bag with a few genuine question marks over what you might catch.
I love nothing better than using a long rod, centrepin reel and sensitive pole style set up for varied waters such as Woody's Lake. You get finesse for shy biting fish, but also terrific versatility and with the flex of a 5m blank and the free running control of the pin you can land even large bonuses on light line. But if that sounds rather technical, my real reasoning is that it's bloody good fun and the rattle of a centrepin reel is surely one of the greatest sounds in fishing.
By feeding three close in lines with different baits in each, I hoped to get a real mix of species and so it proved. Chopped worm and groundbait drew skimmers and a tench, corn tamed half a dozen lovely crucians, while bigger pellets came in later for bonus carp. I love this game! We get so specialised in our approach, but it's so refreshing when you just don't know what will bite next.
A massive thumbs up to ever helpful fishery boss Andy Seery here, as well as photographer James Callison who was at the fishery to capture a beautifully sunny spring afternoon. This place is well worth a visit, however you like to fish.
Equally good fun however was meeting up with the PAC members and non members alike for a cracking little lure fishing day on the Grand Western Canal (above). All of our intrepid anglers present caught fish and got into the spirit of the day- lots of banter, but no bitching; an element of competition but also great sportsmanship. Lewis Palk, for example, had his winning fourth pike netted by the angler he was neck and neck with for the lead! Not that Ian Woodason had much to worry about, having scooped the prize for best fish on the day with a pretty Tivvy pike not far off four pounds (yes, that is Ian- despite his current beard disguise!).
Everyone caught then, but it was Ian's brightly coloured jerkbait that dominated early on, before action slowed in the sun and smaller jigs took most of the fish. Crazily enough, in spite of the many hundreds of casts on the day Ian's fish came with virtually the first shot in the entire match! It nicely closed an enjoyable if testing season for the Pike Angler's Club- but do watch this space for updates and a new venue and events next year. The Region 13/Devon PAC Blog is the place to look- and should have some more pics from today's friendly match: http://devonpac.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
The strange midway point between end of the coarse season and the slow waking up on trout streams is definitely a time to take stock and kill off a few of those jobs you should have done ages ago, from tying flies to fending off paperwork. After a fair old slog in the winter however, I can't wait to do some more light hearted fishing and get lost on a sunny little stream somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
And with cute, small waters in mind I've very much been enjoying American author Ron Swegman's terrific book "Small Fry: The Lure of the Little".
Some opening words sum up his position- "Catch BIGGER fish!... I have lost count of the number of times I have read this alluring phrase in fishing magazines. But what I am willing and ready to debate is the sport's obsession with sheer, or may I submit mere, size.... The highlights of my own fishing life have always involved a little more finesse and occured almost exclusively along small streams, glacial lakes or farm ponds." The book cuts an intriguing dash through hidden, intimate waters and a range of smaller but no less fascinating species from bass and bluegills on the fly to fishes more familiar to Brits such as perch and chub.
Truly a writer after my own heart, the book is great fun and in a way I wish we had more reference points such as this in UK writing. The yanks are miles ahead on this score with a real passion for fishing material that stands up as literature. Take a look at Ron's site for some great samples of his work and more info: www.ronpswegman.com
Strangely enough though, I got in touch with Ron initially on the subject of fishing in Central Park, New York- a subject to be featured in next month's "Fish & Tips", which behind the lads mag format boasts some refreshingly different and original content.
Back on small waters, I keep returning to the Tiverton Canal, for little reason other than the fact it is a perfect place to waste a sunny afternoon. It's cracking on a fly rod for silver fish too- although I'm still trying in vain for a tench here. At the risk of becoming an anorak, I'm quite fascinated by canals and my other current reading material is a history of the GW Canal, for the massive charity shop sum of 20p, some way short of the £220 000 cost of the canal- and that was some 200 years ago!
I should also add that the PAC has a friendly lure fishing meet up, 7 30am in Sampford Peverell (car park just after Spars on the right). This should be a lot of fun- non members are also welcome and there is a pub grub buffet. More on this at: http://devonpac.blogspot.com/
In the meantime however, I may sneak back out and see if I can tempt one of those tench. They don't seem to spook easily, but I'm sure their poor eyesight doesn't help them find a fly. It's a big challenge, but I've caught the species before on game tackle and some suitably big and unmissable treats are currently being cooked up at the vise:
Tuesday, 15 March 2011
As we hit that in between stage in the season, everything has been rather up in the air for a while. Whether confused by perplexing ups and downs of frost and sun, the fish have been playing hardball. Spring is coming however- you can feel it. On a sunny afternoon on Tiverton canal all the signs were there: everything from frogs and toads to neighbourhood dogs getting frisky. Blossom and sunshine. The ability of non-northerners to sit in a pub beer garden without shivering.
It was one of thus one of those days to make hay in the sun and grab some pictures therefore, in the absence of any great drama. With some fair results too I hope- although the more adventurous the shot, the more fuss it always takes. I've even been experimenting with some underwater snaps:
A few jack pike have been looking interested in flies or bait- but just as often giving up. Apart from the odd little pike, a toad was also banked which had bizarrely decided to cuddle a smelt, perhaps trying to initiate some kind of strange criss species relations.
Who can blame the fish for being temperamental really? After a winter of fishing, they must be close to spawning by now and it will soon be time to do something else. There's a trout stream with my name on it somewhere...
Also worth a quick mention is the launch of new magazine "Fish'n'Tips", in which you'll find my own ramblings on class divide in the sport and the risky business of fishing a wild, overgrown stream. Don't be put off by the dolly birds and lads mag appearance of the magazine- the content so far looks great, with the emphasis on entertaining stories rather than the "how to" angle so well covered just about everywhere else you care to look.