Artificial

 Lite

October 2013 - Quantitative teasing

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.

 

From the water’s edge

 

After struggling to fit an ever-increasing (at a time of the year when it should be decreasing) workload into days curtailed by rain and storms, it was good to get out there again on our first cold morning of the autumn. There was some frost even, by the side of the road, but along with that the clear skies had brought bright sunshine and a subtle breeze of the kind that inflicts a special  kind of whispering death to the fingers. Next time out, I think my favourite winter combination of combinations, gloves and sunglasses will be in order.

To celebrate the sunshine, and in response to last weeks surfeit of small perch, I took down the spro and gave it a dust off. What a special rod.

Last night I went through the lure boxes and had a clear out. I didn’t actually shed any patterns or even colours, just most of the spares that I have been carrying. I lose so few these days, that two of each colour and size of everything is ample. In addition, I had some new lures to try, so of course as lure anglers do, I filled all the space I had saved back up. I am an irredeemably, hopeless case. I have to have options.

Right from the off, in nice clean water heavily laden with the fruits of the mower’s recent labours, we started catching. They were all small.Two to six ounce perch mostly, gulping down lures impossibly large for their size. We soon scaled down to reap the benefit of their greed. Pete managed to catch nine from one spot and I added another three, casting over his shoulder. The new lures worked by the way. They didn’t really work in the way I had hoped, but they look like they at least offer a different enough profile to make another option when takes stop on the usual baits. I had three sizes with me and caught on them all which probably shows that I am not a very good judge of a lure.

I have too many pre-and ill-conceived prejudices to be a great lure tester. Add to that a healthy scepticism about why new lures are produced and the veracity of those that find them all to be a quantum leap forward and it becomes difficult to be objective. Still these showed promise and if they warrant it in the future I will be more specific.

I know I have expressed surprise about this before, but I cannot believe the number of perch that we are catching these days. Go back a couple of seasons and our canal perch catches were pretty small. Some, naturally cleaner canals produced well for us it is true as did dirtier ones as soon as the water cleared in response to local lock closures but casting and retrieving the usual lures in dirty water was utterly ineffective. Bright colours might have made a marginal improvement, but the commonly recommended remedies of vibration and larger size were no improvement at all.

Almost unbelievably, counter-intuitively, 1” baits have been the drivers behind the ever increasing numbers of perch that we are now catching from dirty water. Last week we had 30 fish between three of us in a morning. In a shorter morning this week we had one more than that between two of us. I believe these improved catches are driven by the accuracy of our presentation and the delicacy of our techniques and tackle. I am sure that the spro caught me a few more today. I had been using a greys G lite which is an excellent rod but today I had fish to bites that I could barely distinguish. I just knew that something was amiss and a minute grating sensation through the rod was all I could determine but lifting smoothly put more fish up on the bank. Very interesting stuff.

Of course we used larger baits. My best zander took a 3” hammer and the best perch of the day at around a pound and a half, which rolled off the net as I tiffled about with the camera again, had taken a 2” yellow kopyto. All the same more than two dozen fish took 1” baits in water that steadily became filthier throughout the morning as the boat traffic became increasingly heavy.

My biggest zander which was probably around two and a half pounds had been well chewed, presumably by a pike which, judging by the size of the bite, couldn’t have been any bigger.

Once again, the zander all came to 3” baits and a pattern is emerging. While using 1” lures seems to have little negative effect on the size of the perch we catch, the number and size of zander that are caught plummets. With perch I really believe that we catch just as many big ones and an awful lot more small ones on tiny baits. Generally the average size of the zander we catch increases with lure size. We still catch plenty on 2” baits but over the long haul, I think we get more three pound plus fish once we use lures of 3 or 4”. We hardly ever see any pike which is fine by me, but which surprises every body we talk to. We won’t break any records like this, not size-wise anyway, but the tip keeps going round and fish after fish keeps us entertained until we catch a wiff of the barmaid’s apron. Glory days.

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