Artificial

 Lite

From the water’s edge

November 2015 - Beware - pedant at large

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. If this form will not work for you, please e-mail me at editor@ericweight.co.uk

It would seem that there is a brand new super effective method of lure fishing on the scene. Destined to take the lure angling world by storm, I know people who use it (successfully) I have had it recommended to me, and I have had marketing emails telling just what a revolutionary new technique it is; but I just don’t get it. It, is called the ned rig and with a growing presence like that, I felt I ought to check it out online. Well, I am sorry to be pedantic, but I found absolutely nothing to convince me that it is either a rig, or new. I know it will work, because just about everybody I know has been using it for donkey’s years with enormous success, only all of us know it as jigging. When fishing it dead slow across the bottom, we know it by Wadey’s description of fishing the gherkin. But all of it is just jigging.  

Fundamentally it appears to be a piece of senko worm, mounted on a jighead. You can use a light jighead so it stays up in the water when you flick the tip around or let it lie (dead-sticking) with occasional sharp lifts off the bottom. Apparently it works well if you use a shad or a crayfish instead of the senko. In fact it is so versatile that you can fish it anyway that you fish a jig, because it is jig fishing. When I first looked into it, I was very interested to see that the bait was sitting vertically up off the bottom at rest, but I have been unable to find out whether that is because of the shape of the jighead, extra buoyancy in the tail of the bait, or a combination of the two. I have used standup jigheads many times in the past, but the truth of the matter is, they don’t stand up very well unless the bait is very bouyant or, as is usually the case in underwater footage, the line leads pretty well vertically down to the bait.

All of this is academic really, the method is still just jigging and the refinements that are mentioned are all just reversions back to basic ultra light jig fishing. We use all those techniques all the time, don’t we? So until somebody can explain what is different about it, I shall remain convinced that it is just another marketing scam aimed at making something that is old hat, look shiny and brand new. It is only a matter of time before a jigging rod is produced with ‘ned rig’ painted on the butt instead of dropshot.

However, I am equally certain that it is very effective and just like every other variation on the theme will sometimes prove successful on days when nothing else works; and just as certain that there will be days when any other method you care to mention will outfish it by miles. I don’t think it hurts to have these little nudges from time to time. Sometimes a bait or method that has caught well for us in the past falls out of favour unfairly as we are sidetracked down other experimental tracks and for that reason, I have just put a few of the necessary bits of senko into my lure box for tomorrow, but I shall be looking out for more buoyant baits before I write it off completely.

Such is our passion for lure angling that we grasp at any straws to get better at it and long may it remain so. If you are anything like me your natural insecurity and fear that you may be missing something will certainly keep the tackle trade afloat a bit longer and my minimalist lure box fuller and fatter than ever.

I’ve no doubt that the reader may well be miffed at my scepticism, but scepticism is healthy and will save you money and more importantly lead you to catch more fish. If you can take everything you read about lure fishing (including this blog) with a pinch of salt  but give fair consideration to what is said, you won’t go far wrong. Be sniffy about the ‘new’ stuff but don’t ignore it until you have either proved that what you believe about it is correct, or been proved wrong yet again, because that is the way to learn, and the more you find out the easier it is to catch fish. Knowledge is power. Read everything, believe nothing until you have proved it one way or the other and,, and,, bugger, I’ve run out of cliches.

Tomorrow will be interesting then. More interesting than Wednesday was anyway. On Wednesday, we met up with Colin, and I was champing at the bit to put the long line through its paces, putting everything I learned last week to good effect. I warned you in the last post, that it would all go wrong didn’t I? Well I was right about that at least.

Crayfish on the long line, earned me four tiny bites that I know of and which I missed. Sweeping shads caught me nothing, merely provoking a few follows in one spot from small fish. The wind howled and nothing I could do seemed to work. I could barely hold the pole out in the wind and bite detection was impossible. Pete used the rod and line and caught a few small ones. Colin outfished us both, catching perch to a pound and a quarter and unfortunately losing one over two pounds.

Didn’t I just say that we all need reminding sometimes that we don’t know it all and of techniques that have worked but which we now ignore? He caught all of his fish with a fast (by mine and Pete’s standards) retrieve up in the water. We long ago learned how much more effective slow retrieves are, but had forgotten that fast ones can be better sometimes.On the journey down to Colin’s neck of the woods, we had been discussing how the pole would be a struggle to use in strong winds and it was certainly true. The method has it limitations and some big ones at that. Every technique does have its drawbacks, and the trick is to know how to get around the problems as well as possible.

The wind rarely blows across a canal unless it is very open, more often it blows along it no matter how twisty its course. I couldn’t hold the pole out across the water without using two hands and then I couldn’t control the line or feel the bites. I solved the problem with half an hour to go however, and as usual it was easy and glaringly obvious. I changed to the short line and dibbled the margin. By using all the pole I had with me, I was able to turn my back on the wind and hold it parallel to the bank. Obviously the longer the pole the shallower the angle to the wind and the more the angler’s body will shield both it and the line.

I only tried this when I spotted small perch attacking a 2” kopyto swept around on the long line into the edge and a change of tactics quickly caught me nine small fish. If I had twigged earlier I reckon I could have had a hatful, but I know now. Another small step forward and it just goes to show that if you pay attention and keep thinking the problems through, the answers are there to be found. Maybe a bit of senko fished like that would have caught? That ned rig darting about might have done a bit of damage, too.

 

 

That technique of using a long pole down the margin was put into action again today for a different reason, it kept me well back from the fish lying up against the bank. Dibbling with a short rod or pole can be utterly ineffective when you are fishing eighteen inches of clear water under the rod tip. Fishing the margin from a position five metres further up the bank caught me an awful lot of fish today and that is another nugget filed away, albeit an obvious one. Its still nice to have its effectiveness confirmed though.

I did try ‘ned rigging’ and scored immediately with the smallest perch of the day on 3” of senko worm. Humble pie was on the menu for two more casts as I missed bites and that was it, not another sniff. Change to a Fox mini fry and immediately started catching again. Oh well, its just a start, I shall find out some more before long I expect and maybe then it will prove to be a revolutionary new technique after all.

I used the long line a lot today and it worked very well. I used it to sweep 2” kopytos around and to jig those mini fry right across the canal. Although the long line does not allow dibbling until the bait is beneath the tip it does put the tip, which is the fulcrum between bait and bank, further out and a much slower, accurate and effective retrieve can be achieved than it can be with a short rod. Both of my two best fish, a pound plus perch and a two pound pike, and a lot of the smaller ones fell to it. Its not as good as a couple of extra sections would be, but it is lighter and far more practical and it extends the versatility of this style of fishing even further.

By the time we packed it was getting unpleasantly chilly, we really have been spoiled this autumn so far, but the fish were still feeding when we put the rods away with just shy of fifty fish in four hours. That was a lot more fun.

Back on home turf then for Friday’s foray. The weather looked like it might just hold out until we got to the pub, which is exactly what happened. In total contrast to Wednesday’s howling gale, we had a flat calm for the first two hours and a light, but rapidly cooling, breeze for the last two. The difference it made to our catches was immense, but the difference it made to our enjoyment of the fishing was a hundred times greater. Every tiny twitch and tap was obvious and the tally rose quickly. The canal was gin clear thanks to an extended closure programme which has closed the canal to boat traffic to the extent that there just isn’t any. There were plenty of leaves however for the fish to hide under and the pole really copes well with them.

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