Catch Fish with
For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).
I just had my first trip to the river for about five weeks. I'd no idea what to expect except that the water would be low and clear and the sun would be shining. Sure enough these were the conditions and the first thing I noticed were the rafts of duckweed and the carpet of algal filaments on parts of the river bed. I was keen to see whether I could catch my usual four target species on lures so I started with a small white plug which I'd never used before. To be honest the lure had one too many trebles and the lip looked a bit too deep diving for many spots but it as beautifully made and I expected it to attract fish.
First cast under the arch of a bridge I wasn't disappointed when a firm take in the fast water produced a fat, two-pound, trout. Good start Mike! I paddled on upstram and the next action was from a big perch which followed the plug from under an overhanging bush. The fish was a real beauty and it followed for some distance before turning away and swimming back to its lair. It showed no further interest - damn! I moved on wading through the shallows upstram. I cast into a slack on the left hand bank and as soon as I began to wind a big bow wave, certainly a chub, followed the lure down. The plug was fouled with algae and the fish did not take. I tried again with exactly the same result before changing to a J11f Rapala in the hope that it would fish above the algae - no such luck! For the third time I had a follow and found the hooks draped with filaments. No further interest from Mrs Chub. Two of my 'grand slam' species missed in the first ten minutes, what a downer.
By now I was near the top of the shallows so I cast the Rapala up into the tail of the pool. There was a snatch and a pull and then nothing as a pike struck and then freed itself - how do they do that? I made a longer cast and, almost at once there was a heavy pull and I found myself attached to a decent pike. I played it down onto the shallows, thrashing and leaping (very lively pike), took a picture and released it. Fortunately, as always, I was using a trace of 15lb knottable wire. Worth another chuck I thought and sure enough the next cast produced a smaller pike - probably the one I'd lost earlier. Two species down and two to go.
I turned and retraced my steps downstream. This sometimes produces fish that I'd missed by casting up but not this time. I went back to the car and drove to another stretch about five minutes away. The water was much deeper here and the Rpala would probably be useless. I had a couple of casts and then switched to a jig head with a soft plastic fish. I lowered the lure straight down under the rod tip and was instantly into a small perch - species three. One after another the perch hung themselves on my jig. None was bigger than about half-a-pound although I dropped one a good deal larger that simply wriggled off the hook. Why is it always the big ones that escape? After I'd caught about a dozen perch they went off completely so I set off downstream to a shallow glide. I switched back to the Rapala to fish the shallow water. My first two casts were followed by tiny chub, not much bigger than the lure, but they did not bite. Wading into mid-river I flicked the plug into a slack just downstream of a bush on the far bank. Wallop - a good chub grabbed it and after a couple of sploshes came unstuck. Thet was that - I suppose I should be pleased to have caught three of my 'grand'slam' species but the memory of the big perch and the hefty chub still rankles a little.
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