Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Singles Success & "Fly For Coarse" Winners

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A few bits of current news to round up in this edition of "Crooked Lines", including the results of the competition. But we will start with some encouraging recent pike fishing. Those of you who regularly read the blog and my work in general will know I'm not always a huge fan of twin trebles for pike fishing. They make a right mess of landing nets, jumpers and just about anything else come to think of it, including occasional fingers and (yes, I've said it) pike.

For a while now I've been dabbling with different rigs, but hair rigging using a size 1 or 2 Catmaster hook seems a very good ploy. You can't easily use a huge bait, but with a long baiting needle it's easy to hair rig something like a lamprey section or half a sardine, with a little foam section to gently lift it off the bottom where it won't get lost from view or weeded up (just buy a block of foam and cut it up, rather than being ripped off by one of the tackle companies). This also seems to ensure that the popped up end heads for the throat first, rather than the hook end. I also seem to be using feeders more and more, partly due to the wet winters we are getting and the resulting muddy water. And that is about as technical as I'm going to get outside the realm of a proper article.

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The above was a very welcome second on a bitterly cold day of biting wind and murky water. A nice result and not a treble hook in sight. Can the single hook really hold its own you ask? With a smallish bait, there can't be much in it. Unless you use the 19th Century method of virtually waiting until the pike has digested the bait, you will always lose the odd fish. I never, ever delay the strike personally, but it has now been several pike on the trot without loss- until I wrote this sentence and probably jinxed everything.

Seriously though, almost every fish I've had on the singles has been neatly hooked in the scissors and been a piece of cake to unhook. And even if I were to lose the occasional extra fish, isn't this a small price to pay for cutting out not only accidental damage, but the additional time out of water that inevitably follows a thrashing pike and two potentially awkward trebles? Feel free to debate this, but please use words and reasoning rather than bile and excrement. For now though, I'm sticking with singles.

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Other experiments are also afoot with flies in 2015, as above with these new "Drop Minnows" intended for either fly or drop shot tackle as takes the user's fancy. So far so good, at least where local perch are concerned. Hopefully my next trip will coincide with nice clear water so I can get the fly rod out and try some further prototypes.

In essence, this process of experimentation is a lot of the fun of fishing. Because where exactly is the fun in doing it the same way every week or just copying someone else? In my own meandering fashion, I enjoy every little test whether it is a new fly or lure to field test, or trying a new method on an old favourite venue. Because apart from the law, regulations printed on pieces of paper or fishery signs, THERE ARE NO FIXED RULES! Enjoy turning over this liberating concept for a few seconds, before you make your 500th trip to your favourite peg with the same set up you used last week. Only robots and morons never deviate from the instruction booklet.

Talking of adventure and experimentation, it has been another cracking year for "Fly For Coarse". While the meat and two veg weeklies continue with headlines such as "CATCH YOUR OWN BODY WEIGHT IN MASSIVE FISH NOW!" or "FREE DISGORGER!" we've had an astonishing year of adventure, surprise catches and novel ideas once again. It was a royal headache for Matt Hayes, John Bailey and myself to split some hugely impressive entries, but the one that squeaked home in the end was Fergus Kelley's metre long grass carp. What a fish to catch on a classic Adams dry fly:

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Fergus wins a Turrall goody bag worth over £100 quid, featuring some of their brilliant UV tying materials (superb for pike flies!) and the full range of "Flies for Coarse Fish" in a split cane box.

Meanwhile, in joint second place were rising star Sam Edmonds and another promising young blade Matt Roberts, with a 30lb 12oz pike and 4lb 2oz perch respectively. I know what you're thinking… fly fishing only catches small fish. The contest also produced dace, rudd, chub, carp and even a tench among loads of other catches. Read more about it in the Fishing Magic news roundup here, or better still have a peek at the official website

Do also keep an eye out for details of the 2015 contest, with more prize categories, a grand day out and some exciting spoils from our friends at Turrall and Snowbee well worth battling for!


Jeff Hatt said...

Clean hooking is the hallmark of the right method. Large single hooks give just that and it surprises me that Victorian principles still persist to this day. There is no argument so far as I'm concerned, Dom.

Dominic said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks so Jeff. I'd dabbled with single hooks before, but I must admit I was really sold on your zander rigs.