August 2013 - Optional extras

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From the water’s edge



A new water for Pete and I today. Another Midlands river as guests of LAS member Terry Mann and a very welcome and enjoyable day’s fishing it was too.

I’d already decided before I packed the car (when will I ever learn?) that the drop-shot could go hang itself. Today I would revert to type, casting and retrieving as I always used to. Today I would not be side-tracked and pressured into fishing the wrong method just because I had the means ready to hand. Today, I would have to swap traces to fish the DS which meant that I would need to be a very good reason to go to the trouble. A very good reason because I am bone idle. Lazy to a fault. And if something is too much trouble I just will not bother. Unless of course there is a good perch at stake.

Instead, I vowed to give the spinnerbaits an outing and while I had takes on them, I had no fish and so they were soon back in the box. The shads were fairly effective, although considering the number of fish about and the endless variety of really good looking swims, not as successful as I felt they should have been. Even so the tally was ticking over nicely for all of us and leaving the DS trace in the wallet was no hardship.

The fish were mostly small - all perch and one small chub, but they were ever likely to be given that most of them came to 1” kopytos. My first contact with a better fish came to a simple lob amongst the trailing broken onion stems. A decent perch shot out nailed the lure on the drop and I missed. I don’t know how - there was no sign of the lure, until it whistled past my ear. The perch was un-fazed and drifted downstream away from the reeds, so I recast and brought the lure back through the area where it had disappeared. Sure enough it cruised up behind and sucked in the 2” cut-down black and copper hammer. There was no mistake and a pretty pound perch was soon in the net.

While Pete and I were playing catch the tiddler, Terry split his time between gillying for us and drop-shotting likely looking holes for a better fish. I heard the shout go up and nipped round to his peg to watch him playing a lively jack. It was my long handled net that was in demand, the bank being slippery and somewhat treacherous. Yet another pike made it to the bank without chewing the fluoro off, and this was one of very few that Terry has had on the drop-shot set-up. He had a caught a couple of slightly better perch as well and I was getting the urge. If I had been carrying the second rod, I would not have held out so long, but when another good fish came up to my hammer shad, but declined the offer, I felt that the time was right to sit down and change rigs.

On went a fluorescent yellow Lake Fork tailless minnow and I swung the lot across the river working it back into the lee of a waving tress of water crowfoot. I could clearly see the lure and gave it a few tentative tweaks making it dart and turn on the spot. Wallop, the perch shot our from under the weed and I lifted into my second fish of around the pound mark. Result.

My next cast went a little further downstream and straight away, another half decent fish nailed it. Just as I had made my mind up that the method was lacking, it came up with the goods. Further downstream I had a third before abandoning it for the straight jig and I was immediately back on the tiddler trail.

We set off for the pub at lunchtime with getting on for thirty fish between us and another lesson learned. Use the method where it is best suited and to overcome a specific problem. It isn’t the golden bullet, but it does give me another option and puts a few extras on the bank.

Of course, on the rivers, I can see the bait most of the time. This makes it a lot easier to manipulate than fishing blind does. If you can’t see the lure, you are never really sure how it is working. You have no idea if there is a fish there and what effect your twitching and tweaking is having on his desire to eat the lure. Are you spooking him or working him into a frenzy of greed?

I had three fish on the method today and although they all hit it hard and the hook was well down inside the mouth each time, it seemed to me that they hit the lure and stopped. I can’t honestly say that I felt any of those very definite hits. The problem is I have no idea if that was because I struck as soon as I saw the lure disappear or because they were never going to swim off with it anyway.

I will be a lot more comfortable with this method once I have had a few decent but anonymous hits, but it may be the winter before that happens, once we are back on the canals. Terry was saying that despite fishing it further across, he has had most success using it fairly close in because the angle of the line is steeper and works the lure more effectively. In theory, simply having the hook further above the lead, using a longer rod and holding the rod higher should make it effective further out, but even I find that lure action becomes dampened by the weight of the line. You can’t move the lure as quickly or as precisely with a long, drooping bow in the line, but I wonder if that is just another of those feelings that will evaporate once the takes start coming?

All that remains is to thank Terry for going to the trouble of getting some tickets and showing us around his local fishery, Another great day in great company.

artificial lite




journal 2013.



journal 2013.