Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Technology in the wrong hands

It's taking a bit of getting used to, fishing swims for a short time then moving. I'll get used to it eventually. Mind you, I'd have thought I'd have got used to taking photos of myself with fish by now, but I still manage to make some basic mistakes...

Always pop the flash up when taking pictures in the dark! Obviously I spotted the non-glaring error and corrected it for the next shot. Even so, playing with the image this morning demonstrates how much more can be salvaged from a digital underexposure than one on film.

Not the biggest barbel, but another baby-step on a new venue.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Pastures new

At least I know that there are barbel where I have started fishing, and not a population of red herings. The river was a couple of feet up when I first set eyes on it, which actually made it easy to read as all I had to do was look for slower water at the tail of a nearside eddy and drop a bait in the right place. For a change this summer the sun also shone, so the insect life was plentiful, and when they weren't eating each other they were trying to eat me.

The first spot really looked the business, and I'm sure that had I stopped in it until dark I would have had barbel. However, that wouldn't speed the learning process, so a move was called for.

In the third swim back to the car park I decided to fish it for a little longer - partly because of the thunderstorm and accompanying rain shower. Although I was fishing right under the rod tip the first bite was a sort of slack liner that went nowhere. It was intuition that made me pick the rod up, it just 'looked' like a bite rather than more weed. On tightening down there was a weight, one that suddenly flew off downstream!

By no means the biggest fish in the river, but the first hurdle on tackling the new venue had been cleared - a fish on the bank. Shortly after dark the rod pulled down in a slightly more decisive manner and another fish of a similar size was landed.

As I was travelling light with one rod I had chosen to give the new rod a try out for barbel. As I suspected, it wasn't my kind of barbel rod as it didn't give me the control I have come to appreciate from the Chimera 3 - not even over the smallish fish I caught!

For the second session I headed for another stretch, armed with the heavier rods. Again the sun was shining, and the river still up and coloured. Although I managed a few abortive chub bites no barbel showed any interest. Not a wasted trip though as I had a good look along the length. Slowly the picture will come into focus.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Review - Daiwa Infinity Duo

Although I prefer using braid for some of my fishing there are situations where I don't think it gives any real advantage over nylon mono. For stillwater legering I am more than happy to use mono, for example. In the past I have used Sylcast, Berkley Big Game and Daiwa Sensor with confidence. All cheap and reliable, but also all a bit on the 'wiry' side. Using braid a lot does let you see the benefit of a limp line's handling properties.

When a customer brought a rigged up rod along for me to look at with regard a rebuild I noticed the line on his reel was a nice pale green colour and very limp. It was Infinity Duo, which actually has a two tone green/black effect to it. At the first opportunity I bought a spool of the same diameter as the Sensor I had been using for tench fishing last year - 0.31mm.

I know I keep harping on about buying line by diameter, but Duo is IGFA rated - which means it is guaranteed to break at less than the breaking strain stated on the spool. This means that the 0.31 is rated at 14lb compared to 0.31 Sensor which is rated at 10lb. IGFA rated lines will not break above that strain stated on the spool, whereas other lines might do.

After a couple of sessions I decided to re-spool with the next diameter down, 0.285mm rated at 12lb. Still plenty strong enough for tench and bream, but more supple still owing to the finer diameter compared to the 0.33mm line.

Despite having seen reports that Duo is prone to line twist I really cannot say that it has been any worse than any other mono I have used. There may be some truth in the story that line twist in Duo appears worse than other lines because of its split colouring making the twist more visually obvious. In practice I haven't had as many problems with line wrapping round rod tips or curling up on itself when allowed to go slack as I had with Sensor in the past.

In use I have found Duo to be easy to knot, to cast well off the spool and, although not used in the most testing of environments, to be reasonably abrasion resistant having stood up to fishing in weedy tench swims. Not as cheap as Sensor, but a nicer line to use, and reliable.

PS - 23/08/08
While this line in the 0.285mm didn't let me down in 2007 I have experienced some unexplained knot failures in 2008 with the 0.26mm which I had been using for tench fishing with no problems (landing some nice fish). Out of the blue I lost two fish on the stuff while applying very little pressure. Spooling up with the 0.285mm I had no further problems. It has been known for some lines to suddenly become unreliable, maybe Duo is one of them. Or possibly more line needs cutting back at the start of each session than I had been doing.

PPS - 22/03/09
I have since heard of other people having similar unexplained failures with this line. Fine when new, but untrustworthy after some use.

Friday, July 13, 2007

One last try

Despite the barbel bug biting I had a new blank I wanted to try out for casting method feeders. I also got the impression the tench hadn't spawned the last time I fished for them and there would be a slim chance that, given the weather since then, they might still be carrying spawn. So it was that I got my work for the week out of the way and was getting down to sorting the gear out for a final tench session when the phone rang. It was an invite back to the gravel pit to try for the bream, doubles had been coming out hand over fist. Why not? The gear would be the same, I'd still get a chance to try the new blank out and even though the tench would have spawned on the pit an eight or two might be on the cards.

The carp fishing had been slow by all accounts and I got the pick of the swims - so I settled in on the gravel bar that had been producing the bream. A few casts with the plumbing rod soon found the bar, but there were large patches of bubbles coming to the right of the bar in what felt like a weed free area. One rod on the bar, one where the bubbles were rising. As I was targeting the bream I'd added some Vitalin and brown crumb to my hemp/molases meal/pellet/pv1 mix, saving some back for catapulting out in balls.

It didn't take long before the indicator on the new rod cast to the bar was telling the line bite tale. I knew I'd get a fish when the stars came out. Sure enough around ten thirty the left hand, bar rod, indicator rose and held steady. The typical dead weight and occasional thump confirmed the presence of a bream on the end of the line. It was a dead ringer (bar two ounces) for the two I caught last time, again picking up the trusty double plastic corn bait.

I didn't get much sleep as liners kept the bobbins moving at regular intervals but didn't get another fish. As it came light I switched the method rod on the bar to a maggot feeder/fake caster rig which produced a surprisingly plump tench just after eight am. They hadn't spawned. July 11th and the tench hadn't spawned. Most odd. But I wasn't complaining when a bigger one, proving to be a new personal best, and the next step on the big tench ladder climbed, took the corn fished off the bar. It's not often that a new rod proves lucky, but this one did just what I wanted it to - cast method balls well, and play big fish nicely. Although the tip is stiffer than the Torrixes I have been using all spring, and so casts heavy method balls better, the playing action comes further down the blank with no hint of lock-up.

Despite a few tench rolling and tail-slapping no more were caught during the day, although three more bream came along followed by another at half eleven. A fake pop-up pellet on a method rig produced one of them, the others all taking corn. The rest of the night was quiet and I got a few hours kip. The following morning produced another three bream, to the corn, before I packed up and headed for the water I had been concentrating most of my efforts on this spring/summer. It had been a successful session, eight bream (six over ten pounds), and a couple of tench. Just as well given what was to follow...

On arrival the water looked a picture, yet it was all but devoid of anglers. Just one was fishing despite it being a Thursday. A month ago would have seen it a struggle to find a free swim between Wednesday afternoon and Sunday evening. This meant that I could set up where I'd succeeded a fortnight ago. This time I got more than a few hours undisturbed sleep... The opening of the rivers and the way the water had been fishing had combined to create an exodus to pastures new, and that's where I'll be heading next time!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Wild goose season

I'm beginning to think the fish I have been trying to catch since the last blog are red and herring shaped.

However, I have had the place to myself with hares springing up from under my feet as I trek to the swims, curlews flying low overhead as I tuck myself away in the Himalayan balsam - and friendly rats scurrying around in the undergrowth at dusk.

They say "there's more to fishing than catching fish".

What a load of old tosh. I'm going somewhere else next time!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Review - Reflo Powerline

To fill in the gaps between fishing session reports (which may become a bit thin on the ground for a while) I thought I'd start reviewing tackle and other stuff that I've been impressed with. So here goes.

I was first told about Reflo Powerline from Preston Innovations last year when I was tench fishing, but didn't get round to trying it out for myself. That was why I used it for the first time during my brief perch fishing campaign and liked it. Since then I have been using it for tench and bream and been well suited with it.

It knots well with the knotless knot, four turn Uni-knot and even with a figure of eight loop (which is the knot I use for making up hooklinks when the length needs to be carefully controlled). What I like about Reflo Powerline is that it is clear and limp. Frankly I don't know what all the fuss is about fluorocarbons - I can't see Reflo any easier than fluoros when I drop a rig in the margins, so given its ease of use and reliability I'll be sticking with it.

For the perch I used it in 0.15mm for worm and maggot fishing, in the 0.19mm for fake casters on a #16 hook for tench and the 0.21mm for tench and bream with a #14 or larger. It's a pity it isn't available in thicker gauges still as I would be tempted to try it for barbel if it was.