Artificial

 Lite

From the water’s edge

December 2015 - Buoyant results

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If there has been one consistent thorn in my side this year, it has been the wind. Apart from a shortage of daylight, November and December hardly seem to have differed from June, July or august around here. Temperatures today were heading for record winter highs which would offer us some comfort, at least it would have if it hadn’t been for the damn wind again. I love using the pole for lure fishing, but if I had to point to one thing that can make it a bind to use it would be the wind. Sensitivity goes out of the window, control goes out of the window and both of them take my temper with them.

I have been rude about the ned rig, but I have to say that I am enthralled by its productivity and the manner in which it is fished. It suits me down to the ground, because it is fished in exactly the same way that we fish many of our other jigs. It is no more of a finesse method than most of the methods we already use, but it is an enormously valuable addition to the armoury. Make no mistake about it, it is not a rig, it is just a familiar bait with different qualities, that is all. The killer feature is the bait’s buoyancy. It makes it very sensitive to both water disturbance and physical manipulation with the rod. The jighead merely enables it to fish in a more vertical stance that in itself allows even more movement and makes the lure even more sensitive to water currents.

 

Having been impressed by its performance on our last trip out, I have bought some of my own baits now so I don’t have to cadge them off Terry any more and today I decided to fish with it all morning if I could. I bought two colours as I usually do with most lures. A bright fluo one for coloured water and a more refrained ‘natural’ one for the clean stuff. We arrived just before dawn, or rather dawn arrived even later than normal, and started fishing in the dark. I’ve never found night fishing with lures all that effective on the few occasions I have tried it which is probably as much to do with my lack of ability at fishing when I can’t see what I am doing than anything else. At least with the pole I can’t cast into the bushes on the far side, they are too far away most of the time.

 

I began with a short line, clipped on the natural coloured bait and began fighting the wind. It kept buffeting the pole and it was hard to know when the line was tight or when I was moving or about to move the bait, factors I consider important for detecting most takes. I resorted to slowly dragging the lure around with the tip held low. I had no trouble detecting the first take. It was the fiercest I have ever had on the pole, slamming the tip round and pulling the elastic out. A short tussle and fish number one was in the net, a nice zander of three pounds plus.

I had another couple of small fish on and off by the time it got light. By then I figured that if I was dragging the bait around, I could cope with a longer line and changed immediately. Of course it gave me more reach, and with constant tension on the line, was no harder to fish than the short one. Unfortunately it didn’t help me land any more. I had a small zander it’s true, but by the time I had lost another half dozen it was clear that something was wrong. Terry tells me that most of his fish have the bait right down, I haven’t found that to be the case yet although that three pounder was hooked well back.

I wondered if the number 1 hook I was using might just be more than the pole with its elastic can pull home unless the hook is well down. I changed to a smaller number 4 which looked frankly absurd on a 3” bait with an inadequate gape and a lot of unarmed lure, but it worked. I had three more takes and hooked them all. They were nice fish as well, two zander, the best 4-2 and a 1-13 perch.

Pete was struggling a bit, but he had a nice perch around a pound and three quarters as well on a 4” Daiwa tournament shad fished slowly across the bottom. A good day really, for quality if not quantity, so no complaints - except for the wind of course.

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