Thursday, January 31, 2013

More handle fun

Needless to say that since the thaw came I've been tied up with work and chores. I might get a chance to fish over the weekend although I'm expecting to be inundated with blanks today, heralding another feverish bout of rod building. Everyone seems to want their rods in a hurry for some untold reason!

I'm not sure why, but cork handles have been popular on my new X-1 pike rod. With it being a slimmer blank than my other twelve footers this has meant slimmer cork can be easily fitted. I have to say the look is rather nice. Maybe nicer still with a flared butt end to the cork too.

Before Christmas I was sent a lure rod handle for my evaluation. It was a bit of an odd request and in the end the customer and I decided to go for an unusual option. The blank manufacturer, Edge Fishing Rods, offer an offset cork rear grip to match up to an offset exposed blank trigger reel seat. The customer ordered up the cork (he had already supplied the reel seat) and forwarded it to me a few weeks ago.

As expected the cork required reaming, which was easily done, but the seat did too. This went more smoothly than anticipated. Marrying the two was straightforward, as was fitting the composite butt cap.  Then I shaped up and fitted a foregrip and fitted a new keeper ring and the original butt ring. I must say that the result feels very nice and it was an interesting little project that I would do slightly differently if there was a next time. Don't ask me for this as an option on any of my rods though. Not unless you want to supply the components!

Another oddball handle configuration I've done recently is a split cork handle on a light 7ft spinning rod. This required the custom turning of the three 'grips'. Rather than fit cork to the blank and shape it in situ I learned the lesson from the Edge rod of glueing up the cork shives and turning them on a mandrel - a piece of scrap rod blank! Doing it this way means that if anything goes Pete Tong there's less hassle. Especially when it comes to the grip behind the reel seat. I've never liked these split cork grips on heavy rods, but the proportions seem better on this little thing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Just thinking

At the moment this is just an idle thought, but an offer might make my mind up. Back in 2009 (how time flies) I built myself a set of 12ft 2.5lb Torrix with the intention of using them for long range bream fishing and maybe a bit of eeling. As it turned out my plans changed and the bream fishing has taken a back seat and I have other rods that serve for close range eeling. Two of the rods have been used a couple or three times and the other one hasn't been on the bank. As it stands I can't find a use for these rods. I could do some carp fishing with them I guess, but that's not in my plans.

Being stuck indoors due to the weather and with a few moments to spare while some glue was setting I had a play around with a camera and a flash gun. The trouble with having decent camera gear is that all the flaws in the subject show up. I was sure I'd cleaned all the dust off the rods, but there's loads of specks visible!

I've hung on to these rods simply because they feel great. I just don't have a need for them. No doubt if I do part with them a long range bream opportunity will immediately crop up and I'll have to build a replacement set.

A price? Currently a set of three 12ft 2.5lb Torrix with Fuji SiC rings would be in the region of £700. I might be tempted by half that... (Sold)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cold Snap

I wasn't going to bother turning out last weekend, but a mate of mine suggested the fish would be feeding up to beat the cold weather that was on the way. Like a fool I took his advice and headed out on Saturday afternoon for a short session. The only good thing about it was the lack of rain. The wind was howling out of the east and, although it wasn't actually freezing, sure to be cooling the water.

At least I was able to fish my baits accurately and it wasn't long before the left hand rod signalled a jiggling bite. Lifting into the fish it felt like a real good one. A few shakes of the head suggesting it wasn't another of those odd carp things. It was coming in nicely until it got half way back when it swirled on the surface. My suspicions were aroused. Closer in and it rolled leaving me with spots before my eyes. When it hit the margins it took off to the left making me backwind like mad. There were a couple more runs like that from the net, one going round the line on the middle rod, before I had the daft thing on the bank. Where it went mental.

It's no wonder people kill trout when they catch them. It must make getting the hook out a lot easier. As it was this one unhooked itself in the net. Or so I thought. After I'd returned the fish and was sorting the mess out I discovered the hooklink had snapped.

With everything back to normality I settled down to the routine of recasting the cage feeders at regular intervals and drinking tea. There wasn't much birdy activity. Too cold and windy I reckon. I'd managed to pick a spot that gave me some shelter from the Siberian blast, so sitting it out until dark wasn't a great hardship.

Recent sessions had seen a chance of action around three o'clock. When the left hand bobbin dropped back around the witching hour I thought I was in business. Lifting into the fish there was a heavy weight, a few head shakes, but a horrible feeling of déja vu. Sure enough when the fish hit the margin it tore off, this time along the surface. I began to get a strange feeling that this was the same stupid trout. In the net and probing for the hook with my disgorger, sure enough, there was the hook that had snapped off in the net right next to the one attached to my rig. After removing both hooks I returned the fish hoping it would have had enough of my maggots for the day. The sky was clear and it was still fairly light when I finally gave in and packed up at five.

Sunday was cold and the week following I was tied up with work. Now there's snow around, and solid water, I'm keeping my nose to the grindstone until I can make the most of the feeding frenzy my mate assures me the roach will go on when things warm up...

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Back to work

The rain has been falling all day today, which doesn't bother me right now as fishing will be taking second place to work for a while. Daft as it seems, after my manic roach sessions it feels like I'm having a rest building rods! I officially launched my new pike blank, the X-1 over the weekend and am already building a few up.

One pair is getting cork handles, and with the blanks being slimmer than those of my other 12ft pike rods I have been able to fit slimmer cork than I usually do. They should look rather suave when they're done.

No doubt after a week of rod building I'll be getting cabin fever...

In case you didn't know, I'm selling off my remaining stocks of Owner trebles. Not many left now.

Saturday, January 05, 2013


New Year's Day saw me after the roach again. I wanted to fish a different swim but the howling gale blowing down the lake rather dictated where I could set up the brolly. Back in the same swim I'd fished the previous two days. For some reason the undertow wasn't in evidence and the lines were bowing well downwind. So strong was the wind that accurate casting was impossible. One cast would veer off to my right so I'd compensate on the next cast and it would fly true. I kind of knew I was wasting my time, and so it proved. I spent the afternoon birdwatching with three rods out!

A kestrel bravely battled the wind, taking breaks to rest in a birch tree. I've watched them use the wind to hold station hovering with minimal wing flapping, but the wind was such that the poor little chap was flapping away like mad.

In the distance I watched a buzzard struggling into the wind, flying low. A flock of jackdaws came overhead purposefully heading somewhere. The sight of the buzzard made them divert their course to mob it, and once they were satisfied they resumed their journey. This corvid dislike of raptors can't be teritorial, it must be something they have to give in to no matter what.

There's a small roost of starlings at the lake, and right on cue a few arrived to begin their wheeling and circling. This time they were joined by a couple of other small flocks. Nothing like the large murmurations that gather in some places.It was big group that evening, maybe twenty or more birds. Some evenings I've seen as few as eight birds. No matter how few there are they still spend as long as half an hour flying around the area before descending as a group into the roost.

Having other things to do for the rest of the week I replenished my maggot supply on Friday, almost taking them for an outing in the afternoon but leaving it until today. Not only was there no rain, the lake was almost flat calm. I could pick any swim I liked. The one I'd had in mind was near the car park. I didn't like the look of it though and ended up walking right round the lake to fish the opposite bank working up quite a sweat despite not wearing a fleece under the bunny suit.

The swim I picked was in the right area. It was a bit cramped to fish though. Eventually I managed to get comfortable and the baits in place. I feel like I'm starting to go through the motions here and the approach was the same as the last few sessions. Again the sleeper rod fished the fake/real maggot combo.

I'd had my first cup of tea and made the second casts with the two closer range rods when I saw the line tighten on the left hand rod before the alarm sounded. The roach was hooked and netted without issue. That was a surprising start. Needless to say it was nearly three hours before I got another bite!

Throughout the day there had been one or two fish topping. The first time I'd noticed this. Towards dusk there appeared to be a shoal of fish feeding on the surface out from the swim I'd fished last time out. A group of mallards muscled into the area, so I'm guessing there was a hatch of insects in the area.

Over to my left a smaller group of small fish were topping too, and some over on the far side. I'd never seen so much activity!

The bite that came was to the sleeper rod and even on the long chuck the fish felt heavyish and was fighting. Close in it woke up a bit more. The light had faded to the extent that I couldn't see into the water to identify the species. When I aught a flash of scales I was thinking hybrid or bream. When the fish rolled to reveal a long dorsal I thought something else. In the net it was revealed as some sort of mutant carp. I wasn't aware there were any of these things in the place.

The rig had got tangled. Time was running out. I put the rod away to sort out later and began tidying my gear. It was almost dark when I heard an alarm bleep. The bobbin on the left hand rod was jiggling. The fish turned out to be another roach that didn't fall off. Three bites and everyone resulting in a landed fish this time. It must be the luck of the draw if the rig hooks or not. When it does work the hook is firmly embedded in the bottom lip.

Roach burnout is imminent. Not only am I doing the same things each time out I'm getting the itch to fish for something else. Maybe it's knowing that my local waters will be shutting in less than ten weeks, maybe there's something in the air, the distant chinking of a great tit perhaps, that is making me think of pike again.