Sunday, 15 September 2013

To plug or not to plug

Although I’ve spent the last thirteen years working in the tackle & bait trade I try not to let that creep into this blog. I hate over commercialism in angling, and particularly dislike fishing articles that are full of blatant plugs. I think I may have mentioned that before? For once I’m going to bend my own unwritten rules and mention the day job. One of the brands we manufacture at work is ‘Crafty Catcher’ and I’ve been using this bait all summer with pleasing results. In particular the ‘Fast food boilies’ along with associated wafters and dips, if I can catch on them, anyone can. More details here…

While I’m in the mood I’m going to mention the other dreaded subject of the Carp angler and that is rigs. As you may have read in these pages I’ve mostly used Helicopter and Chod rigs this summer. This is mainly to combat the silt of the Marsh but I’ve become confident using them and they work on the other places I’ve tried them too. One thing common to both rigs is the length of leadcore leader of about one metre. I use the pre-rigged ones made by ACE which can be easily converted between both rigs by repositioning the beads that slide on them. For the Chod rig I use a short length of ‘Rigamortis’ also made by ACE, this stiff hooklength material can be easily shaped into a curve between your fingers. I like the Fox Arma point hooks, usually in size 6 and apparently the SR pattern is best suited to chod rigs so that’s the one I use. I tie an ACE pop up peg onto the ‘D’ as this makes mounting the bait so much easier than fiddling about with floss. 

For the helicopter rig I mostly use Fox Coretex coated braid to make a 9” hooklength, with the last few inches stripped back and tie on a Fox SSBP hook in size 6. I also use an Ace ‘kicker’ line aligner to angle the hook. I tie a fairly long hair and have recently added a small rig ring to the hook to give a ‘blow back’ effect. I’ve seen the modern Carpy trend for fishing really slack lines and thinking as a Pike angler that just screams “bad bite indication”, so I don’t do it. I do use flying back-leads to make sure the last few yards of line are laying on the bottom and hopefully not in the way. While I’m breaking my own rules I’ll add that all the rig bits, components and bait are available at Copdock Mill… Next month I will mostly be sticking a lump of dead fish onto hooks and wire then chucking it out.

The weather is certainly autumnal and the nights are drawing in, opportunities for short after work trips are scarce so when a small gap in the mad weekly routine appeared I had to take it. The end of work couldn’t come quick enough and I found myself at a wild, windswept lake by 1820. The wind was a strong North westerly whipping drizzle out of the gloomy skies, pretty unpleasant really but good fishing weather. I tried to repeat my previous successes by finding a quiet area at the end of the wind. My first choice area had a couple of anglers present so I went to the opposite end of the windward bank. I eventually settled in a bay I happen to like which was slightly out of the wind. This would make my short evening session more comfortable but once I was settled I had the feeling I’d compromised with swim selection, I should have roughed it a bit more.

Tonight I decided to stick to what works so fished identical helicopter/snowman rigs both baited with the usual boilie and fished amongst 30 or so free offerings. One was swung under an overhang to my left and the other flicked to a bed of lilies in the bay. I sat back in my chair but couldn’t really relax, it was growing dark already and was an unpleasant evening all round. After forty five minutes or so the lily pad rod beeped into life but I was slow out of my chair and the fish was well buried in the pads. I tried slackening off which led to the Carp taking more line off the Baitrunner but I still couldn’t get it out and eventually the hook pulled. Oh well. At least this endorsed my choice of swim and reminded me that I have a bait that Carp like and a rig that hooks them.

After another hour I’d had enough and packed up a little earlier than planned. Have I lost my immunity to crappy weather? I’ve certainly reminded myself that good weather makes fishing so much easier. I must be getting old.

Barring something unexpected that pretty much brings my ‘summer’ fishing to a close and what an enjoyable few months it’s been. I’ve done much more warm weather fishing this year and taken full advantage of the decent summer we’ve had. I’ve managed to push my Tench PB up by a few ounces and completely smash my Carp PB’s out of sight. It has to be said, it takes much more effort to catch big Pike these days but I’m not going to knock this Carp fishing lark!

I love Pike fishing in the autumn, I’ve always found it to be the most productive time of year and it’s still mild enough to make being outside a pleasure. Those that preach waiting for the first frost are usually people who haven’t done a lot of Pike fishing or are just repeating stuff they’ve read on internet forums. So in a couple of weeks’ time I’ll be launching the boat with the wind rattling the masts on the yachts in the yard, then I’ll be cutting through the waves, heading out into about a thousand acres of open water or about eight miles of channels and dykes. I can almost hear the wind rustling the still green reeds and feel the breeze on my face...  

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