Sunday, August 16, 2009

Field testing

Looking at my newly built Torrixes got too much for me to bear. Two of them had reels fitted and were slung in the quiver. Despite the rain earlier in the day the river was still very low, lower than it had been two days earlier, but only the usual angler in his usual swim when I arrived. Unbelievable on a Saturday evening. I took my time tackling up the new rods and had two baits in the water by eight thirty. Although I built them for stillwater fishing I know some people rate them as barbel rods and I'd have a good chance to put a bend in them with a fish on the end.

I should really have rigged them up with braid for a fair comparison with my Chimeras, but my spare reels were loaded with mono and I'm lazy. They cast the three ounce leads well enough. The tips deflect more than the Chimeras do. I didn't chance a bigger lead. I suspect that the mono may have accounted for the slightly spongy feeling on the cast. The real test would be playing a fish or two.

There was a slight chill in the brisk westerly, a hint of autumn on its way, the sky clear. It was only half an hour in when the upstream rod started bouncing rapidly. This was caused by a cheeky little chub of two or three pounds. Not the most arduous test fro the new rod. The next bite, to the same rod, was far more positive. The baitrunner spinning slow and steady. The rod took on more of a curve. Again, it could have been the mono, but things felt springy. The fish wasn't big, in fact it was the third visit to my net for The Kinky One.

Hello again

Ten minutes after recasting the rod was away again. A slightly bigger fish that I slipped back fifteen yards downstream where the margin was slighlt deeper. Where I had set up the margin was so shallow that I had to paddle out to net fish with the pole at full stretch. The barbel hadn't powered off, it sat in the edge either resting or bemused.

I'm fairly sure that this fish was a recapture as it had some raw marks near it's tail. I've had a few fish in this size range bearing these marks, and I'm pretty sure they are the same few fish. Earlier in the season I had put these marks down to spawning injuries. I'd have expected them to have healed by now. So I'm not sure what the cause might be. The fish are feeding well enough and filling out though.

Mystery marks

Another ten minute break and the 'runner was turning again. Another pea-in-a-pod fish that I unhooked in the net and pushed out into deeper water. The next fish took half an hour to take the bait. I think this might have been because I had run out of tied up pellet bags. With more tied up I'd wound in and rebaited. The bite came quickly after that. I weighed this one at a shade over seven pounds to keep my guessing eye in. With the fish in the sling I carried it to the deeper spot.

I was a little surprised to see the second barbel of the night was still where I'd left it. Lying quietly fanning it's gills. This isn't unusual. Quite a few times I've slipped a fish into shallow water and it has stayed there for some time. They come to no harm, so long as they can maintain their balance and remain upright, and eventually waddle off. The fish I was releasing was a real live wire and thrashed its way out of the sling. As it regained its freedom it brushed against the other fish. This must have stimulated something in it's fishy brain and it swam off following it's boisterous shoalmate. It was quite a sight watching the the pair of them swimming over the shallows heading upstream and slowly fading from view.

As I was playing each fish I looked up at the curve the rod was taking on. More tippy than the Chimeras, and I feel a little lighter in test curve - despite what it says on the tin. I'll be doing some comparative deflection tests in due course. The rods are definitely lighter in weight than the Chimeras and I think will be perfect for their intended purpose of hurling method feeders towards the bream.

At five to eleven, under a starry, but mild and mistless, sky I wound in the downstream rod which had remained undisturbed by fish. There was something on the end in addition to the boilie. Whatever it was was small. I expected an eeel, but it turned out to be a barbel of a pound, maybe less! Over my shoulder a band of cloud was moving in. I thought I might need the brolly, but it soon blew over without depositing anything wet on me.

Small and greedy!

That was it for the night. I stopped on until twelve thirty when the flask ran dry. Bites having dried up I guessed there'd been a feeding spell and it was over.