Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blast from the past

I've just been given an old, very old, Prowler Plus to refurbish. The rod had been bought second hand and there was a chunk of cork missing. Other than that it was in excellent condition. Below is a picture of it with the replacement cork fitted prior to final sanding.

(Click to enlarge)

The reel seat is an unbranded and rather agricultural trigger grip, but it was finding that Harrison's had a stock of them they had no use for that I started building lure rods for the burgeoning band of multiplier users. I'm guessing that was around 1995, and the Prowler Plus was developed a couple of years after that I think. The supply of those reel seats ran out just at the time that the much nicer Fuji trigger seats became available in the UK as the mid-nineties lure boom took off.

It was also interesting to note that back in those days the plastic buttons I finish the handles off with weren't available with narrow enough stems to fit inside slim blanks, but now they are. Blank technology must have moved on a little, too, since those days.

Friday, October 08, 2010

No need for commercials

A day later than intended I bought those maggots and dusted off the Torrixes. I set the pod up in a favourite swim with a strong wind blowing from an angle behind meaning there wouldn't be too much trouble sinking the lines. The sun was shining, the air was positively warm (no need for a fleece even in the wind), and leaves were falling on the water.

All three rods were rigged up with The Rig. Unfortunately I'd picked up three 50g feeders instead of 30g ones. Not to worry. One rod was baited with two red maggots, one with a single white maggot and the third with a dendrobena. The idea was to leave the worm out in the hope of a better stamp of fish, or something different, while working the other two rods to get some bait out.

As it turned out the bobbins were hardly still from the first cast! I put the initial movements down to line bites until I wound in and found a sucked maggot. The next casts produced skimmers. Silvery, thin, skimmers. It was a bite, and very nearly a fish, a chuck. I gave up counting at ten fish.

After an hour some slightly larger skimmers started to show up. The biggest might have made 12oz, but they were all more like small bream - less silvery, darker backed, more chunky.

A 'better stamp' of skimmer
It was around this time that the pike made their presence known. I had been expecting a skimmer to get heavy at some point when a pike had taken hold, but that wasn't what happened. The pike were more cunning. Lying in wait at the point I have often found productive when lure fishing, the point where you can no longer see the bottom of the lake. What they were doing was waiting for a fish to be returned then appearing like lightning to snatch the fish close to the edge. My guess is that this strategy is used as the prey fish has nowhere to go to flee, being effectively penned by the bank it can only go left or right.

The early pike strikes were energetic and noisy affairs. As the afternoon wore on they became less frantic. I got teh impression the pie were getting full. I got a good look at one pike that seemed to me to be a low double, another I got a bit of a glimpse of when it almost beached itself was a little smaller, and I'm pretty sure there was a smaller pike still judging by the size of the vortices created when it struck.

I had been hoping to catch roach, but only one showed up around three o'clock. Rather than drop it in the margin I gave it a sporting chance by throwing it further out when I returned it!

Not a skimmer
To make my pint of maggots go further I'd bought a bag of micro trout pellets and a tin of hemp (being too idle to cook a pint in advance). The hemp and pellets were mixed and used to either fill or partly fill the feeders. It's an approach I've used before and seems to work.

Good fun though it is to catch plenty of fish, even small ones, little bream are horribly slimy. The spod mix from my tenching that is still caked on the rods has now been joined by skimmer snot. Nice.

I'm not 'rod proud'!
Despite the fact there were lots of fish in front of me the worm rod produced one skimmer, and one ruffe. The ruffe provoked a particularly violent strike from a pike that showered my legs in lake water!

Tommy ruffe

I had expected a lazy afternoon, picking up a fish or two every now and then, which was why I took my Fancy Dan camera with me to take some shots of the autumnal colours. I didn't get time with all the action! Action that has got me thinking about doing some rather more serious fishing soon. Catching a lot of fish easily is all well and good, but fewer fish of a larger size would feel more of an achievement.

I did manage to use Fancy Dan to  video one of the skimmers' final moments.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

More rod (and other) twaddle

The annual Tackle and Guns trade show is coming up this month and Harrison's are working on some new blanks which I got to waggle yesterday. Probably the nicest, to my mind, were a revamped 11ft Avon and a three piece twelve footer of around 2 to 2.25lb which was through actioned but not sloppy. I also saw a stalker that seemed a little stiff in the butt and a new (cheaper) Torrix carp blank. I hope to get a better look at these, and some others that are in the pipeline, as finished rods at the show.

Since Barbel Fishing World demanded payment or a charitable donation to use their forums I've been staying away on principle - the reason for the charge was to make everyone post under their real name, which I did anyway and so felt disgruntled. Can't say my world has crumbled without the place. I dropped by today to see what little a guest can see and there was the same old obsessing over stuff that doesn't need obsessing about.

One poster was looking for something better than a paperclip for releasing snagged feeders. Good luck in the search! Nothing that can withstand casting a six ounce feeder is going to work every time, but it is worth bearing in mind that using 30lb braid is a big help in releasing snagged feeders. As with pike bite indication you have to look at the whole 'system', and not one item in isolation, to understand how it functions.

Another topic being discussed is the age old question of how to ring a rod. There's no one right answer to this. What was mentioned was that the 1.75lb Torrix felt more like a tip to middle action than a through because of the 'unusual' ring spacing. Er, no. It feels like a tip to middle action because that's what it is, as I discovered when using mine for tench fishing. It errs to the middle, rather than the tip, but it is not through.

Off to buy some maggots now, and use those 1.75lb Torrixes for some roach fishing!