Monday, June 23, 2008

Going underground

While I'm sat around waiting for blanks to turn up I'm occupying my time building up three blanks I've had lying around for a couple of years. I ordered them in error, but now I have a use for them myself. They are smooth ground, brown painted, 2.5lb Harrison Ballistas which I intend to use for a bit of eel fishing in a month or so (and possibly some long range bream fishing in the future). Out of boredom I decided to make them look a bit more tarty than the rods that I usually fish with, partly so that carp anglers will mistake me for one of their own, and partly for something to do.

They have slim, parallel Duplon butt grips with stainless winding checks to match those at the reel seat and will have stainless butt caps too. The rings are Fuji Alconites (30mm butt to 10mm tip) which have black frames with dark brown liners and the brown thread will darken up nicely when the varnish is applied to blend almost seamlessly with the colour of the blanks. Mmmmm. Nice!

These rods also provide me with a thin excuse to feed my reel habit. I think three 10,000 size Baitrunners will go nicely on them...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

No record perch – just a big fine for illegal angler

This just in from the Environment Agency - I post it without comment...

An illegal angler could have had the catch of the year with a national record size perch weighing in at 6lb 2oz – if only he had bought a rod licence and asked the fishery owner for their permission to fish.

Today, Thursday (19 June), at North Surrey Magistrates Court, Robert Townsend was ordered to pay a total of £290 in fines and costs to the Environment Agency for fishing without a valid rod licence.

“This sends a clear message to people who think they can fish where and when they like without a valid rod licence – it won’t be tolerated. Over 1.3 million people pay to fish legally in England and Wales each year; these honest people help fund our work to protect and improve fish populations,” Dafydd Evans, Head of Fisheries at the Environment Agency, said.

“It is important that anglers have their rod licences with them at all times when fishing. If you are caught fishing without one, you are cheating other anglers and could face a fine of up to £2,500.”

Robert Townsend, 41, from Surrey, was found to be fishing illegally when he tried to make a claim for the record fish captured on 31 December 2007 at Thames Ditton, Surrey, along the River Thames.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Review - Gardner Braided Hair Needle

Despite its name I find the Gardner Braided Hair Needle, which I have used since 1990 or thereabouts, to be a versatile tool to carry - even for piking. Not only does it serve for its intended purpose of putting boilies on hair rigs, I also use it for threading braid through rubber beads, any line through short lengths of silicone tubing or tapered rig sleeves to provide tangle protection on rigs, for pulling loops through when tying hair rigs and figure eight knots on the end of hooklinks, as well as for tightening loop knots (using the shaft of the needle rather than the hook).

Although the point is sharp enough to push through plastic corn, casters and so forth, it won't prick your fingers when rummaging in the tackle box or if carried in a pocket, and there are no sharp edges to fray braids - which also makes it a handy tangle unpicker! I have yet to find a more useful needle and always carry a spare.


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Got my mojo working

What a lovely summer day. The sun shone, the bees buzzed, England batted and bowled well, and the jinx is off! Only one bite but a fish landed. A strange bite too. The line tightened and the alarm sounded a couple of times as a coot popped to the surface near my maggot feeder. The coot was shaking some weed as the alarm continued to stutter with no line being taken from the reel. With trepidation I picked the rod up, felt something move, yet the coot remained undisturbed. Fish on!

The tench decided that it would kite over the line of my middle rod, then under the line of my right hand rod. After I had sorted the mess out and got the fish clear I saw another fish shadowing the tench, which was around the six pound mark. The shadower was a pike of maybe ten pounds. Needless to say this put the wind up the tench! As the tench swam to the right the pike followed it. When it ran out from the bank out of sight the pike went with it, to reappear behind the tench when I drew it back. Eventually the pike shot off when the tench splashed on the surface just before I netted it.

As can be seen, I was using was a Preston Innovations feeder modified to fish in-line. As they come the swivel attachment is weak and will snap off in use. I'm told this fault has been rectified, but it makes the feeders a perfect candidate for modification. After removing the swivel attachment holes are drilled in the centre of the cap and the closed end of the feeder. The holes should be just wide enough to accept the PVC (I think) tubing which is the key to the modification. I drill the holes slightly too small and open them out with a reamer to get the snug fit. The tubing I use comes from and old bulb release. It is the perfect size to grip a size 10 Power Swivel and does away with the need for tulip beads or neoprene sleeves attached to rigid tubing. I fit the feeder to the tube, running superglue around the it where it exits the end of the feeder. When set the tubing is trimmed to length.

My MkI version seen in the photo above revealed a problem in use. The end of the tubing sticking out of the cap was cut too short. When filling the feeder the cap would slide down the line making it a fiddle to replace - by which time half the maggots had wriggled out of the feeder! By leaving the tail a little longer and superglueing a tapered sleeve to it I hope to have solved the problem for the MkII model shown below. Although simply making the tail a bit longer still might do the same job and be cheaper. I'll try both options next time out.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

What a din!

Hidden away in the undergrowth is a noisy little sedge warbler. I've known them keep that racket up all night.

Still jinxed

How many ways are there to write about a session where the bobbins never move and no fish are seen? I have a horrid feeling that the new bobbin jinx might be applying individually - one blank per bobbin. Anyway.

After mentioning the MCF Swordfish spod's foolproof release system I had a go at modifying a cheap spod to use the same mechanism. It looks a bit crude, but it works! A bit of bent wire, some braid, a swivel, a bead, a screw eye in the nose and I'm in business. Now I can make any spod I like retrieve effortlessly.

The 'highlight' of the session was trying to catch a Trent hamster in my landing net. No. I wasn't running around after it like a demented butterfly collector. The animal was running over the net laid on the ground. The plan was to lift the net and trap it - then stamp on its head. Ha! Rats have sharper reflexes than Lumbs. As time wore on it gained in confidence, making brief scurries under the rods to pick up spilt particles and even running under my chair at one point. Plan B was to stone it using a catapult. To my amazement this almost worked and I twice missed it by a whisker. I'm sure I heard the stone brush fur on the second attempt! The creature certainly didn't reappear after that.

Watching a male chaffinch eating and collecting particles from under the rods was more relaxing. It did seem to be picking the hemp seeds for preference and leaving the other seeds for last. Perhaps it's the oil in the hemp that appeals to birds as it does to fish?