Wednesday, February 18, 2015

All is right with the world

At long last I'm getting on top of work, and despite the fact I should really have spent the afternoon doing mundane things like getting some cash out of the bank and replenishing my dwindling food larder I dug some bait out of the freezer and threw the rods in the car. I'd checked the weather forecast and rain wasn't due until eight. Yippee! I could leave the brolly at home.

Not having any info to go on there were two choices of where to fish. I took the lazy option and fished near the car, setting up with the wind in my face  made it feel half an overcoat cooler than it was behind shelter. Not that it was cold, by any means.


There were two bits of lamprey and a section of bluey that were left over from my last session in the bait bag, so they went on the hooks. Two close in and one further out. It wasn't long before I was wishing I'd bought some maggots yesterday and gone roach fishing. I wasn't feeling at all confident. So uninspired was I that I thought up a way to pop a bait up and even did it to relieve the tedium of watching floats doing nothing but rock in the wind.

After an hour and a half I packed everything away and went as far from the car as I could. I still managed to pick a swim with the wind in my face, but it felt a bit more like it. The lamprey head was still oozing blood so that got dropped in the right hand margin. The bluey section had got squashed when I inadvertently stood on it, and the other bit of lamprey was all washed out so I had to delve into the unopened bait packs. Mixed deadbait packs are often thought of as being aimed at 'noddy' pikers, but they sometimes contain decent baits. The pack I opened in search of a joey to decapitate also had a nice big herring tail in it. I lobbed the herring tail out to my left, not too far but away from the margin, and the macky got the big heave ho.

I'd not been settled down for long when there was a noisy swirl under the rod tops. It sounded like a pike striking (I was rooting in my bag at the time) but it could easily have been a grebe or even a cormorant, although nothing surfaced that I noticed.

At least one predator was in action. the first inkling I had was when I heard a redwing and then saw it flying determinedly followed by a sparrowhawk which gave up the chase and veered off over the reeds. A bleep from one of the Delks made me look up to see the left hand, herring, float bob, dip and then slide away accompanied by the musical trilling of the sounder. Bloody hell!

I untangled the landing net from a fallen branch then picked the rod up, engaged the reel and struck in one smooth movement. There was a dead weight on the end of the line. This was either a big fish swimming slowly towards me or a teenager getting dragged in. I'd know which it was to be when it was directly in front of me. If it carried on going to the right it would be a big fish, if it rode to the surface it'd be a teenager. It didn't keep on going. It didn't do much. I'm not sure it wagged its tail once, and made a half-hearted wallow once over the net.

It didn't look like it would quite make the teens as it rested in the net while I readied the scales and stuff. Lifting the fish ashore, however, it had that chesty look that pike often get around this pre-spawn time of year and a chunky build. A couple of ounces over fourteen and  a half made up for my previous blanks.

The herring tail had been shaken free of the hooks during the 'fight', so I had to look for another bait. In the mixed pack there was what looked like a tiny herring. I put that on the hooks and lobbed it out. My confidence was boosted and with over an hour of daylight remaining I was sure of another chance.

Then I felt the rain. Surely it wasn't eight already? It was only a few spots, and the sky looked clearer in the direction the wind was blowing out of. I still put my jacket on, although there wasn't really much need but it kept the wind chill down anyway. As the cloud broke there was a brief, but lovely, sunset. People love photographing sunsets, and I'm no exception, but I don't think photographs do them justice. I keep trying though.


I was still sure that one of the floats would move before the last of the light had gone. As all too often is the case, my certainty was misplaced. With the rain blown over and the wind dropping  I shoved my jacket back in the rucky and traipsed back to the car in a better frame of mind than I'd left it. I might not have got much fishing done so far this year, but I've had a fix now and feel more content with my lot.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Hurrah!!

No, I haven't caught anything. I haven't even been fishing. The last couple of weeks have been filled with work, problem solving, and waiting around for deliveries - one of which was a box full of large Lureweave meshes! Which meant another day taken up dying the things...


It's a right messy process involving dye (surprisingly..), salt, and hot water in what does a good imitation of a tea urn - probably because it is a tea urn! This time I remembered to wear gloves so my hands didn't turn as green as the meshes. Once dyed the things have to be dried, which can't involve too much heat or the meshes go crinkly. You can probably guess how I know that...

That means they have to be hung up. Naturally the day of the dying was rainy. The garage was cold. The result being that once sufficient green water had dripped off the meshes hung from the garage roof beams they were brought inside to hang over the bath. I am now a very subtle shade of green all over.

Another potential cause for celebration is that I have my webshop back on line with a functioning checkout. I hope. I was told I'd be notified when the missing checkout was reinstated, but I found out when I decided to go look for myself. Thanks a bunch. Thanks too for putting all my prices up by a few pence resulting in me having to alter them all individually to be correct. That's what I've spend this evening doing. What a palaver. Fingers crossed things are back to normal. If they are I'll be working on the way the webshop looks next. All the fonts have gone haywire for one thing. Still, there do seem to be a few improvements - like the possibility of zoomed in views of products. Although I've not activated that yet as it'll mean taking new photos. One step at a time!

I thought I'd post the picture below as it's the closest I've come to catching a fish this year!


 Odd people, carp anglers...

Friday, February 06, 2015

Solid

With work well under control I was all set to pick up a pint of maggots tomorrow for a roach session. Fortunately I went to have a look at the roach lake and found its surface less than fluid.Testing the ice in the margin it was at least an inch thick. That was that plan scuppered!


Temperatures are forecast to rise (slightly) over the next few days (but this morning's frost wasn't predicted) so it might have thawed out by the time another batch of blanks arrive next week. Better try and find some moving water to soak some baits in before I get busy again.

Among the odd jobs I have had recently have been fitting Tip Light clips to a couple of beachcasters. Nice and easy to do and it does make a better looking, and more permanent, job than insulation tape - or the cable ties I had to remove before fitting one of the clips!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Enough's enough

The website frustration, which I just can't be bothered with trying to sort out right now, and my  workload was driving me nuts and finally drove me out in an attempt to beat the oncoming foul weather yesterday.

I tried to find a spot that was sheltered from the chilling wind, and almost succeeded. The trouble was it was in a swim I've had next to no success in. However, it did allow me to cover a lot of water by casting baits out and working them back to me every half an hour. Which was what I did for the first two hours.


Despite the touch of colour in the water I wasn't feeling very confident. Unlike the robin that came to see me. No doubt used to being fed maggots and scraps of sandwiches it was out of luck as I had neither maggots not sandwiches with me. Even so it was finding plenty of small invertebrates in the mud that had been paddled up in the damp grass around the swim.


After those two blank hours I was getting restless and had a move. That was the cue for the weather to change from overcast with sunny spells to overcast with rain. I was a little happier in the new swim though, having caught from it in the past. Not this time. The whole place seemed lifeless. Yet another day when there was no pike activity to my rods and little bird activity around the water. With the hawthorns all but bare of berries there's nothing to tempt the winter thrushes. Even the tits made only a brief appearance and the goldfinch flocks were elsewhere or keeping low. To be honest I was glad when I packed up. It had been ne of those sessions. Not even fishing two bits of lamprey made a difference.

Back on the rod front I've fitted another Alps reel seat to a spinning rod for a customer. I have to confess that these Alps seats are exquisitely machined. Very nice if you like that sort of thing but no more practical than a bog standard Fuji seat.


All reel seats with inserts for decorative purposes require extra faffing about to fit to a rod. The one in question required more than usual. It's typical of designers to make things look pretty without giving a thought to how they'll be put to use. A reel seat has to be well bonded to the rod blank. That means there has to be enough of a gap for glue to fill. It's obvious from the photo that there's not much space for glue with this seat, and what there is is at each end. Still, a little ingenuity (not to mention a bit of bodging...) has done the trick.

One more thing. Fuji's composite reel seats were rightly hailed as an advance when they were introduced. They were not only corrosion proof, they were warmer to the touch than the all metal reel seats that were standard in the seventies and before. To my mind this fad for fancy machined aluminium reel seats is a step backwards, no matter how nice they look. Not that they all look nice. Some are plain ugly!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Catfish rods and ****ing technology

I continue to be kept away from the water by work and non-arriving parcels. So here's another post about rods and a big moan...

Once more I've been working on catfish rods.As yet nobody who has ordered cat rods has gone for what will be my standard build (although the next set in the pipeline will be close enough), which is holding up my getting a page devoted to the rods on my website. Below is the latest handle configuration on a 10ft Ballista catfish blank.


My standard handle will be similar, but with parallel Duplon between the Fuji butt cap and the reel seat and the foregrip will be the same style. Rings will be the usual BSVOG starting with a 40mm butt ring followed by six more reducing in size to a 10mm and a heavy duty, flanged, BUHT tip ring.

Now the moan...

My usually reliable internet hosts migrated the DLST webshop to a new platform (as I think the jargon has it) the other day and promised it would be a seamless transiition apart from some cosmetic alterations. Like hell it was. They've managed to remove any means of accepting on-line payments with no apparent means of reinstating them. That's not all that's gone haywire, but it's the most important thing.  I'm not a happy Lumby...

If you'd like to order any of my stuff you can find most of it here. Just put the order together in an e-mail to dave@dlst.co.uk. I'll work the total out and send you a Paypal invoice which can be paid by Paypal or card.

As soon as I've beaten my service provider into submission with a frozen mackerel and they have sorted the problems out to a satisfactory level I'll report back.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Spot the difference

Although I am actually keen to get out and try to catch some pike I find myself dogged by work. Which is not to say I'm complaining, for January and February are the tackle trade's quietest months as a rule. My mate shuts shop on Wednesdays from the New Year until Easterish, and one long-gone shop used close for the whole of February. The problem I have is psychological. Once the sun drops below the horizon my work hormone levels plummet. I simply cannot get motivated to do anything productive in the dark hours. At least it's a bit lighter in the mornings so I can just about start work around nine these days!

While waiting for some glue to set I thought I'd take some photos to show the difference between the centres of the aluminium oxide centres of the Fuji BSVOG rings I fit as standard and the Alconite centres of the BSVAG pattern which a customer has requested. The frames are identical but the Alconite centres are markedly slimmer. Naturally there's a price premium to pay for that!



This is the first time I've fitted BSVAGs. I still prefer the BMNAG frame for aesthetic reasons, and the practicality of the rolled frame, if I don't want to go to the expense of Silicone Carbides on my own rods. If you really must have 50mm butt rings then the choice is between BSVAGs or Kigans as the BSVOGs get really clunky at 50mm. There's not much in it in terms of price but the Fuji frames are much more nicely finished than those of the Kigans.

L to R: BSVOG, Kigan, BSVAG (40mm)