Artificial

 Lite

From the water’s edge

May 2014 - Doing the time

I hope that you find my journal interesting and entertaining. If, having read this, you think that I am talking rubbish then at least you have stopped and thought about it long enough to come to that conclusion which is something of a result in my book. If you would like to comment on this article or anything else relating to my website, please feel free to contact me using the adjacent form. Feedback is always greatly appreciated and very helpful when it comes to improving both my site and my angling. Thank you for looking.

Getting away from it all

I will make drop- shotting work for me....won't I? Buoyed by last weeks immediate results, I was at the waters edge keen and raring to give it another go. Using a single swan shot in place of my more usual 10gm weight makes the whole method more subtle and pleasant to use.

Our first spot was, however, to prove utterly fruitless. Conditions were absolutely beautiful despite the weather girl's best efforts and yet the fish either weren't there or weren't coming out to play. Unusually for me, I wasn't really worried. I just started trying some different lures and finally after an hours searching around, I managed a fish, albeit a small one, and a tickle or two. 1-0 to the DS!

With little more to show for our efforts, it was back in the car and off up the road. Ten minutes later, we had a lock to fish to. We shared the swim, both casting up into the lock mouth itself and almost immediately Pete was level. Within five minutes, he was 6-1 up, while I managed just a flicker or two. In no time at all, the DS had, yet again, proved itself to be less than productive compared with standard cast and retrieve tactics.

Generally speaking, when I am being shown up, my confidence in what I am doing evaporates like a pint of Guiness. Swallowed in moments by doubt and an unquenchable urge to join the plunder by switching back to what has always worked best. But not today, today I was happy to watch Pete catching, while tinkering with my new DS rig in an effort to improve results.

My efforts didn't exactly transform my results, but I did make a little progress. Last week, I tried using 4lbs nylon right through the rig, tied directly to the end of the braid. Everything was fine until I over-reacted to a sharp and unexpected take, whereupon the line parted at the braid/fluoro knot. My fault, the braid/nylon knot is fine if great care is taken in tying it, but I think the disparity between the fine smooth nylon and the coarser, more abrasive, 20lbs braid was just too great. I should have used a swivel, but then I would keep winding it into the rod tip.The old rubber bead above the swivel trick would sort that, but I do like to keep my terminal tackle simple and uncluttered. That maybe one reason why I am so uncomfortable with the DS. The clutch was set correctly, the rod was light enough, but none of that meant that my fine line could cope with the sudden shock application of excess stress.

This time I used the fine line from my size 4 spinshot hook down to the shot, and my more usual 8lbs fluoro tied directly to the braid above it. I am worried that the tight line stretched across the nose of the bait will prevent its being taken in properly. With this method, the lure is fished very slowly, allowing a lot of time for close inspection and I fear that any impediment to easy ingestion is going to put them off. Hopefully the finer line beneath the hook will be supple enough to fold easily into the fishes mouth. Of course if the line  is taut, it won't make much difference, the lure still cannot be sucked in only chewed in far enough, taken precisely or absolutely hammered. On a tight line, the fish will have to either move the weight or bend the rod to get enough slack to take the bait in very far.

 

 

The lighter lead is a help, although there is a limit to just how taut you can pull the line against its resistance. In practice it is enough, It hangs up in leaves, mud and debris enough to keep contact but you cannot really hold it dead still while working the lure more than two rods out. Suits me, the retrieve is still  v e r y  s l o w,  but at least allows a swim to be searched thoroughly without the angler actually dozing off.

Even as I write this, it is clear that to my mind,the drop-shot is a totally crap presentation however you look at it. That doesn't mean it has no worth, merely that it has more going against it than for it. I am not surprised that it won't work for me. Not once with this rig have I ever outfished anybody using straightforward cast and retrieve. I only persevere because it does allow me to fish a bait very slowly or even stationary, off bottom and further out. There is also that horrible maggot worming its way through the back of my mind which suggests that it is not the method that is useless.

We whiled the morning away, experimenting and bickering over pointless and insubstantial theories until the sheer volume of boaters ‘enjoying’ the peace and quiet of the countryside reduced our enjoyment just too much and headed off for some grub. Days like these are part and parcel of summer lure fishing on canals. They are the days that lure manufacturers need to concentrate their inventive minds on creating consistently effective lures and methods for. I call it doing time. It is the pennance one has to endure in order to progress, and although it didn’t really feel that way today, we have made great strides over the last five years that have enabled us to finish a difficult, (once impossible) morning with 8 fish between us.

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