Friday, 30 July 2010

Near-3lb River Perch on the Fly!

After a few Summers of catching a decent number of 2lb+ perch on lures I decided it was time for a slightly different kind of challenge.  I would still visit my favourite Summer swims which took many blank sessions to find, but now I know where the perch are at this time of year they've been very reliable and with only a few repeat captures.  The main difference is that instead of conventional lure fishing (which I'm fairly proficient at), I would try for them with a discipline which I'm far more clumsy and out of practice with; fly fishing.

I asked my good friend and fly fishing instructor, Kevin Miles, to tie me up some flies replicating perch fry, after seeing a good perch spit one out in my landing net a few weeks ago.  The resulting flies - tied onto size 2 Nash Fang hooks - were really good too!  I should have really taken some photos of them before I started destroying them by hurling them into undergrowth and such like!

I was using my Fox Predator XS fly rod, which I bought when it was on offer a couple of years ago and it's been gathering dust since, just begging for me to get around to using it.  To this I attached a Greys GRXi large-arbour fly reel loaded with clear sinking line.  I then used a "Rio Toothy Critter" leader, which has a coated wire trace section at the tippet.

Anyway, I had about an hour of fluff-chucking and had just a single take, but it was from a big perch - my biggest of 2010 so far in fact - 2lb 15oz of fry-eating, fly-crunching, prime Summer stripey!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

River Chub Brace

I recently captured my best-ever chub brace, landing this 5lb 2oz specimen (left), followed by a 4lb 8oz fish while I was setting up my camera!   I risked life & limb to land the latter fish, because I was fishing a peg with a very steep - almost vertical - bank leading down to the water.  I wanted to rest the chub in my landing net, in the margins, but as this wasn't possible where I was fishing, I took the net and fish a couple of swims downstream where the margins were shallow and calm. 

As I was setting up the self-timer function on my camera, the alarm on my other rod screamed!  I was left to battle the fish in a deep, fast-water peg with no landing net!  Standing between me and the net were 3 trees, overhanging the water.  There was no way over or around them, so I had to (in the dark), scale the steep bank, test the margin depth with my toe whilst holding onto a tree with one hand and the rod in the other.  Luckily there was a narrow, rocky ledge about a foot under the water, so I slowly shuffled along this, negotiated the trees and a reedbed and finally reached an area I knew was shallow, where I jumped in feet-first and managed to reach my net!  It's a good job it wasn't a barbel or I may have been waterskiing! 

I later went on to catch a barbel and another 4lb 8oz chub, all caught on a variety of pellets.

This brace of chub were 5lb 2oz (left) and 4lb 8oz (right)

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Not something you'll see often!

This posting is about something that you won't catch me doing very often, but last weekend I fished a MATCH at Glebe Fishery (part of Ray Marlow's Mallory Fisheries) and managed to come second out of 11 entrants.

It wasn't what I'd class as "proper" fishing - just lobbing a bait at a bunch of far-too-enthusiastic water pigs and reeling them in - but it was quite enjoyable to get a decent bend in the rod a few times.  I mainly caught bream and carp, although there were a few roach and the odd perch amongst them, but others also caught crucians, rudd and barbel.  I ended up with 72lb 6oz, with my largest fish being a 9lb 6oz mirror carp. 

Part of my 72lb Glebe Fishery bag

The Environment Agency has released an extremely handy feature on its website, for checking river levels.  I believe it's based on the same data they use for their "rivercall" telephone service, but it's more up-to-date and it's free to access!  The interactive map isn't the greatest unless you have the length and course of your favourite river permanently etched into your brain, it can be difficult to pick the right one out but with practice it's a decent system.

EA River Levels

The only problem is, for some reason the service has been "unavailable" this week!  Maybe the website boffins got caught in an unexpected flash flood... 

Speaking of rivers, they're back on the agenda for my next blog!