Friday, August 29, 2008

Better than watching telly

I've had a couple of e-mails asking about self-take photographs with fish this week. The ones you see on this blog are the best of the ones I take. Some turn out pretty ropey, even with practice, but most work out quite well.

The equipment I use is simple, and idiot proof. Which is just as well! The camera is a Canon S3-IS which has a flip round screen. I have used a camera without a flip round screen, but it is a bit of a bind having to take a test shot (sans fish), walk round the back of the tripod, review the picture, make adjustments, repeat the test shot and so on. With the screen flipped each shot is previewed automatically, so all you have to do is either move your position or the tripod to get the shot framed. I wouldn't consider a camera without a flip round screen these days.

Canon S3-IS

Self timers are okay, but they focus when you set them going. Unless you put something in the same place as you and the fish will be when taking the picture this means the camera focuses on the background. Not too good in a lot of situations. A bulb release and adaptor is what is required.

Camera, adaptor bracket and bulb release

The one shown came from Jessop's, but I don't think they supply them any longer. There is an alternative which seems better made that I bought when the Jessop's one broke. But after mending the bracket by fixing the release mechanism to it all has been well. At least I have a spare!


You can find more about these items, and links to suppliers, on Barbel Now. There is a good article on self take photography on the PAC website. I have found it best to place the bulb under the heel of my foot, rather than trying to use a knee or toes to press it. More weight is transfered more easily, and I don't seem to gurn quite so much. I still usually manage to look gormless. But that's situation normal for me...

I called in at my local tackle shop to top up my stock of crab Pellet-Os yesterday afternoon (using five at a time gets through the handy little tubs quite quickly when you're catching). My mate who works there asked if I was fishing again that evening and I said I didn't think I was. He reckoned he would if he'd had a good catch. After I'd finished my chicken and chips and washed the pots I threw the gear in the car and was on my way. Well, fishing beats watching the TV and surfing the bloomin' internet!

I wasn't keen on fishing the same peg two days running, but I didn't have much option. Within five minutes of casting out I pulled out of a fish. Then it went quiet. As the light faded I landed a barbel of some three pounds on the upstream rod, fishing a five pellet snake. Five minutes later the same rod was away again and I weighed the next fish - two ounces short of nine pounds.

Ten minutes later I was winding in the downstream rod for a recast when the upstreamer started nodding and the baitrunner whirred. It seems like the barbel will give a 'proper' bite if you don't react instantly. However, by the time I picked up the rod everything felt solid. I put the rod back in the rests, the rod tip nodding occasionally, while I rebaited and recast the downstream rod. Returning to the snagged fish I pointed the rod down the line and pulled. The paper clip did its job and released the lead. The fish was another smallish one of five or so pounds - unhooked in the water and slipped straight back like all the little ones.

Two more fish came to the 'snake', and one to the downstream Tuff 1 during the following hour and a half. A couple more also snagged me on the strike. I snagged a few times without getting a bite too. I need to mould up more leads before I run out!

The night was warm again, no fleece required, but it turned damp. Hardly drizzle, more a fine misty-mizzle that hardly warranted erecting the brolly but I put it up anyway. Things seemed to have gone quite when at ten forty the 'snake' rod finally acted like it should when a barbel makes off with the bait. This felt much better, and a bit of a plod upstream gave the game away.

A final self-take tip - don't wear a black sweatshirt for night time photos!

I've been away from the Ribble since I was fishing it three nights a week during the '05-'06 season, catching my last double from it on the foggy Christmas Eve of 2005. It's good to be back. An hour after returning the fish I was on my way home. With a few fish under my belt I think I can face a blank or two after something bigger elsewhere!