Saturday, October 15, 2011

All wibbly-wobbly

Ready to wobble
That getting up at daft o'clock thing still isn't happening. The alarm clock goes off okay now, but I roll over and go back to sleep. When I wake up and see the sun is shining I wish I'd got up with the alarm. Still, I did have some tasks to attend to. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! After lunch I was itching to go and try some things out on the drain. More exploratory than really trying to catch fish.

For the fifth time I set off to check out a stretch I hadn't seen for years. This one really had changed, above the water at least. Now there are bushes growing on the bank. If nothing else this provides something to hide behind. It's an otherwise open stretch and easy to 'skyline'. With the sun at my back I was also conscious of casting a shadow over the water. I have no idea if this really does spook pike, but it's best to try and avoid it. The sky was clear and the sun warm. The water was trickling out with the same touch of colour as last time. Unless there's heavy rain it'll be like that most of the winter. 

Initially I had thought of taking just the one rod and covering water wobbling the dead roach I'd found in my freezer. Well, they would be dead having been in the freezer for years. They wouldn't have been my first choice as static baits, but for wobbling they'd be okay. The rod is an old favourite. I've yet to find anything exactly like it. It's a Century carbon-Kevlar blank, nine feet long with a really soft tip and a progressive action. I love it for wobbling baits. The rig I use is simplicity itself. It's the same two treble snap tackle I use for static bait fishing. 

As the photograph on the right shows I've used a bait flag to keep the bait on the hooks - the top treble being passed in through the nose area and out through the centre of the bottom jaw. I used to use squares of cycle inner tube but these bait flags have been in my pike box for years unused. They're not quite as good as the inner tube, but they look prettier.

It only took me fifteen minutes to lose patience with the wobbling. So it was a good thing I'd taken another rod along in preparation! This one was float legering a decapitated joey mackerel in the near margin.

As I was only to be fishing for three hours or so I'd chucked the basics in my Korum 'shopping bag' (aka Bait and Bits Bag). This open topped carryall thing is ideal for short roving sessions. Everything gets slung in it, the landing net and rod rests go across the top and the strap over the shoulder. Rods in one hand, chair (if taken) in the other and away I go. I wished I chucked something to drink in it though.

It's a funny thing returning to a venue you used to fish a lot but haven't fished for years. In some ways it's like starting on a new water. This is especially so when you haven't fished for the target species for a long time too. Which is good. It means I'm approaching these sessions with an open mind, and with the benefit of experience fishing for other things. It's certainly got the few little grey cells I have working again. Another slight change I've made is to pare down the stuff I take with me. I don't need to go equipped to pike fish anywhere, I only need the essentials. In fact I only need them most places.

With this in mind I got myself some new tackle boxes. Actually they are food containers. Larger versions of the one I put my nuts and dried fruit in. The brand is Lock&Lock, although I'm sure there are others. They have sealed lids that clip securely, but best of all the ones I have put my pike tackle in also have dividers in the form of lift out trays. One box takes everything I need to make up traces, plus a few ready made up traces. The other box contains all the stuff I use for making up rigs. I even have a smaller box with a packet of hooks to nylon and a few swimfeeders to throw in the pike bag if I feel like trying to snatch some fresh fish! If I was still into boat fishing these sealed boxes would be ideal for keeping stuff dry. Did I mention I have a larger box still that takes my camera, flash gun and bulb release?

Click the pic for a closer look

I made a few moves, wobbling the roach around the static bait before settling in to one swim for the last three quarters of an hour. Here I took advantage of the Korum clips I mentioned a few post back to swap the wobbling rig to a running leger.

Above the trace I have a 6mm rubber bead, which doesn't affect presentation or the pike, and above that the clip can be added. I still have one more use for these clips that I'm playing around with. I like 'em!

Ready to leger
As can also be seen I have taken to adding rig sleeves to cover the twists on my traces. I'd given up sleeving the turns of wire a few years ago, but after using an unsleeved trace for wobbling last week, and having the braid tangle in the twists, the tapered sleeves seemed like a good idea.

Sunset was due around six thirty, and as it approached the air temperature began to drop. Some of the trees now have lattice silhouettes, others are still in the earth colours of autumn. With a thin veil of mist hanging low over the mere it felt like the first frost might be getting nearer. The drop in light level was a trigger for surface activity from small fish. Some dimpling, others swirling and one or two leaping. All this in the area my baits were in. But no pike decided to put in an appearance this time.

This is an odd stretch of water. It always looks pikey as all get out. Yet it has rarely lived up to its promise for me. Strange because if I go the other way along the drain when I leave the car I'm on water that has produced the goods more than once. That might be where I head next time.