Monday, October 29, 2012

I can see clearly now

The last time I went fishing I managed to pick a dry and sunny morning. It did me no good on the pike front as not a run was had. However, I did spend some time watching a female stonechat hunting. Hard to imagine a small robin-like bird hunting, but if it had been a bird of prey that's what its behaviour would be called. The perky little bird was perching high on dead umbellifers, seemingly doing nothing, but all the while it was surveying the area around it for insects and when one was spotted it would swoop up or down then return to its perch or take up another one.

This was all observed through the cheap and cheerful pair of binoculars that has lived in my rucksack for a number of years.  I bought them before I needed to wear glasses full time, so I have to remove my specs to use the binoculars. After trying a friend's expensive Swarowski binoculars and being able to see through them while still wearing my specs I'd been hankering for a new pair for a while.

Watching the stonechat I realised that not only was the eyepiece adjustment on the right side becoming useless, but also if I closed my right eye everything looked orangey-red, while is I shut my left eye the world turned bluey-green! I vowed to spend more than £25 on a replacement pair...

Although the binoculars I ended up with are a little more powerful then my old ones that suits me as I usually want to identify small birds that are far away when I'm fishing. As they focus very close so should prove useful for identifying dragonflies. They are a little bigger and heavier than my old pair. This doesn't bother me much as I can see through them without having to remove my glasses, and the images are much clearer and the colour is better. The eyepiece adjustment ring clicks as it turns so shouldn't slip out of place like the ring on my old bins did. Yippee!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Esoxworld 9

The on-line pike and muskie fishing magazine, Esoxworld, is into it's ninth edition, and it's another good mix of topics.

As usual there's some great photography that puts mine to shame. If you like watching big muskies being caught there's a video from Bob Mehsikomer. That man has been producing big muskies and pike for the camera for a long time now and is a very professional presenter.

There's a nice feature on Serbian piking that looks superb, and Bertus is back with a lavishly illustrated article about the Baltic

More down to earth for UK anglers are Gary Knowles 's piece on slow trolling and Micky Jones's recollections. There's some rambling nonsense from yours truly too.

If you don't already subscribe get over to and sign up. It's free!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A day out

There are two days in the autumn when I can guarantee the sun will shine. The Saturday of the PAC show and the Sunday of the Tackle and Guns trade show. After a foggy start the sun began to burn through today, and true to form it was a glorious, if chilly, autumnal day today as I drove to Stoneleigh. On my way to the motorway I had to stop off to get a snap of the mist dissipating.

As the years go by there's less and less to excite me in the way of tackle, but it's one of those events where I meet people I haven't seen since last year - or last Thursday in a few cases!

There always seems to be something in the car park to amuse me. I saw no daft number plates this time, but this motor stuck out like a sore thumb today. Which is kinda ironic.

Last year one guy distributing some soft plastics had a demo pool set up which attracted some attention. This year Fox had one too, in which Dietmar Isaiasch was giving the Rage lures a hard sell. Thir range of lure rods was pretty big, most of them being for fixed spool use with smallish lures. Obviously the European lure market is what they have their sights set on.

I spotted a couple more high quality soft plastic lure brands being promoted, but the stands didn't look too busy. I'm sure most of this stuff is going to be sought out by sea anglers. Only the dedicated lure-only angler is likely to give them a go in freshwater. Snowbee had some nice looking soft baits, sort of sluggy/sandeely things. As I've made a contact and might be having a crack at some Welsh bass with him some time I'll be keeping an eye out for this kind of thing. The hooks for rigging them are becoming more widely available these days.

The biggest laugh I had was a new bedchair on the Nash stand. With its long legs making it stand as tall as a proper bed it would be perfect for my mate, Geoff, who claims not to be scared of rats but always has his bedchair legs extended as high as he can get them!

The biggest shock was the new Eagle Claw  Lazer TroKar trebles. They look really nice. But at £4.45 for two I can't see many pikers buying them for bait fishing! Or for lure replacement hooks either.

Shimano have a lighter version of the Baitrunner D series which I liked the look of. Three 6000s might be finding their way onto some of my pike rods in due course. Apart from some dinky bobbins on the Korum stand nothing else gave me GAS*.

After three hours I'd been round the show three or four times and had had enough. I'm glad I don't have to spend a whole two days on a stand there trying to sell stuff to tackle dealers. It would drive me nuts.

* Gear Acquisition Syndrome 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Secret squirrels and red herrings

I've never met a pike angler I don't know worth his salt when out fishing who has ever caught anything more than 'a couple of jacks'. Not even when I've watched them from a distance as they landed a good fish or the weigh sling is drying out beside them. Come to think of it I can't recall admitting to much more when quizzed myself!

Keeping quiet about what you are catching is part and parcel of pike fishing because of the nature of the fish. For one thing there are never as many pike per acre of water as there might be other fish. For another they don't all feed every day. You can have a good catch of barbel from a swim and do equally well in it the following day. Try that with pike and it's a case of rapidly diminishing returns. Either the pike move, or they stop feeding.

If you find feeding pike, on a daily basis or over a period of time, it's a good idea to keep it as quiet as you can or someone else will undoubtedly plunder your horde. Some people see this as selfish. I suppose it is. But when you've put time and effort into finding the pike it seems equally selfish for someone to take advantage of your efforts, and catch 'your' fish - thereby preventing you from catching them.

Given the growth of blogging among anglers, and pikers using forums and Facebook there are more prying eyes on the lookout for titbits of information about where's hot for a few pike. That's why some old school pikers who blog post a lot less during the winter months, and why many pikers never post photos of fish (unless they'd photoshopped out the background). As a blogging piker there are two ways to try and preserve your fishing. The simplest is to say nothing at all. The other is to tell the truth, but not the whole truth!

In other words, as I have my pike head back on, there might not be much to read here until spring. And what is posted might need to be taken with a pinch of salt!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Still here

Nothing much of interest happening in Lumbland. I managed to forget the new prototype bait rod when I attended the PAC show in Harrogate. I've not managed to try it out again until today, when yet again it failed to land me any pike while my ancient P-1 landed two. I made sure the new rod had a livebait on it, but it was the half lamprey that got taken twice.

I was struggling to get fish to hang themselves on my usually fail safe bait snatching rig today. I was getting bites, the swim was stuffed with skimmers, some too big for bait. I can only put the poor hook up ratio down to using a different hook pattern. My local shop has had no Kamasan B511 hooks to nylon in since spring, and stocks little in the way of barbed hooks to nylon. I fear small barbed hooks are going out of fashion due to the proliferation of commercial fisheries that prohibit their use. So I bought a packet of some supposedly wide gape tied hooks that had a strange shape - to my eyes. Bloody rubbish they are.

Although it did rain at times, and the water level rose, the sun made reasonably prolonged appearances for a change. This gave me an opportunity to play with my fisheye lens. It makes for an extremely distorted perspective, but has its place for making striking pictures.