The weather has been mild for some time now, but the wind has been picking up and I hear the cooler temperatures are not far away. I did manage to sneak out for a couple of hours one afternoon, throwing a new, huge (for me) lure around in the hope of a pike. It was hard work I have to say, and with very large trebles adorning it I feared there might be a few missed hook-ups. However I was not prepared to have EIGHT pike in a row come unbuttoned, two of which were doubles. I was fishing braid to transmit any rod top movement straight to the lure, but even with its non-stretch qualities I just couldn’t stay attached. In the failing light I finally got one, a double of 13lbs, so a salvaged trip and learning curve. The lure action was good, but I found it hard to work, especially with my usual pike lure rods. I needed a stiff jerk bait rod I reckon.
Sea fishing, I hear the usual varied reports of the great shore Cod fishing to be had down off Dorset’s Chesil beach. Some anglers have a red letter session, but many more blank or just scratch out Whiting, Dabs, Pout and the like. It’s always been like that, but it does seem the place to be heading once this wind drops away. A storm beach like Chesil will have some big fish moving close inshore, but you need to get down there within 48 hours of the blow dying down, 24 is better, but of course a lot of us just cannot go at the drop of a hat. Kent’s Dungeness should be firing out the Cod as well after the constant south-westerlies, but what is good for the shore guys might not be so hot for small boat anglers. Even if the wind drops there might be enough residual swell to make for an uncomfortable trip. But those who persevere should be rewarded by Cod, Whiting, and the occasional Thornback or Undulate Ray. Squid and Lugworm will be baits to try, or a combo wrap of both, bound on by some elasticated thread.
Over in Southern Ireland they are still pounding the Albacore (Longfin) Tuna, especially out from Dingle, according to Paul Harris, Ireland’s top shore fishing guide. The big Bluefins are still being caught, mostly to trolled squid lures, some using straight Daisy Chain teasers, though whether anyone is pulling a dredge or using a spreader bar rig I don’t know. Paul was also telling me it’s been the best year for Pollack he can recall, with lots of double figure fish falling to lures like Wedges, spoons, spinners, even poppers on the surface. That’s the great thing about fishing from the Beara peninsula. Untouched sport and plenty of scope for some exploratory fishing on the shore. If you fancy a winter shore trip give Paul a shout at his B&B, Dromagowlane House. The Pollack will still be there, and coming up is a great time for a Cod or Conger.
The workload at home has been largely garden clearing. We have a lot of trees so its leaf clearing, tree sawing, bonfire time etc. Plus a couple of other landscaping sorties, and film jobs for Mike’s TOTALLY AWESOME OUTDOORS SHOW. If you haven’t visited it yet, swing over, it’s all free to watch, and for those D.I.Y enthusiasts who like to tinker in the garage or workshop there might be a few ideas for you. Me personally I just cannot be bothered to watch anything on TV related to fishing. You know it’s going to be heavily slanted towards “the wider audience” with little information on fishing itself. The best place to get your “fishing fix” is on YouTube, where you can watch what you want, when you want, 24/7. The TV stuff is on one minute, gone the next. I think for a lot of people, even non anglers, that YouTube is actually their favoured choice of viewing rather than Television. The times they are a-changing as the saying goes. Let’s hope the Totally Awesome Fishing Show is going with them!! The only TV programmes I found worth watching was “OUT OF TOWN” by Jack Hargreaves. Of course not many under the age of 40 would probably have heard of it, but it was basically a fishy/outdoors forerunner of the Countryfile programme, but far more personal and down to earth. The other was obviously Passion for Angling, which speaks for itself. A quality probably never to be seen on television again, it wasn’t just some angling wannabee presenter type, but about the real significance of why we go angling. Superb photography. Anyone who hasn’t seen it might want to track down a DVD. Probably collector’s pieces by now.
I have been trying to get all jobs cleared now as I feel mid-November is time I get geared up for some Pike fishing, and Cod from the shore. I do enjoy a bit of winter shore fishing, I guess as it’s the best chance we have of catching a decent sized eating fish. The Cod are around in good numbers, running 3 to 5lbs, with the occasional lunker close to double figures. As we head towards December I think there may be some really big shore Cod coming out.
I was going to zip over to Ireland for a final shark chase, but seeing the Jetstream change decided to can the trip. No point wasting good fuel and time when I dare not even get the camera out of the bag. The shark fishing will be put on the back burner until next spring. I can’t complain however, as I got my biggest of a new species last month. Between 6 and 700lbs. Plus I got to free-tag 500 pounders that we chummed right to the boat. To be honest, it was a pleasure to be somewhere warm where you knew you were at least going to get out in a boat, rather than here, where small boat fishing is such a lottery. Sadly “Hi Sea Drifter” is covered with tarpaulin now, and it might be another month before I drag her seawards again.
The Perch are coming well on the bite, and I hear up in the Cotswolds they are hauling out 5 pounders. There must be dozens of waters now that can throw up Perch in the 3 to 4lb range. I feel sure they are capitalising on highly stocked commercial carp and silver fish waters where there are probably no Pike to predate the stock. Left alone for ten years or more the Perch have really grown in size. Coupled to the popularity of drop shotting it really is boom time for the Perch enthusiast.
Talking of soft rubber lures, you Perch guys ought to be grateful you are not throwing the rubbers out into the tropical waters!!….everything here has cutting teeth, none more so that the Triggerfish. On one recent expedition (despite being told not to use rubber) I cast out one of the Sidewinder lures, and in a cast or two it was stripped back to the base of hook and leadhead !!. Just take a look at the picture showing before and after, plus all I felt on the way back in was a series of vibrating taps. They must have hit the lure like a swarm of ravenous Piranhas, and wait for this….I even got bite marks, or “dings” in the metalwork of a big silver Wedge lure. So it’s nice to know if you cast your rubbers into our freshwater systems at least the fish won’t shred it completely. Having said that, and being one not to waste a good leadhead, I cut a couple of elastic bands in half, hooked them on the bend of the hook and caught Jack after Jack. It seemed the elastic bands were just too wiggly for the Triggers to shred down. Should be in an upcoming film so watch out.
Had a session up on the River Thames at Lechlade, right by Lee Pollard’s Lechlade Angling shop. Bait was worms and red Maggots, but with the river so low it was barely moving. That made it a bit tough to target the fish as the bait stayed in one spot, rather than travel downstream and draw them into a narrow feeding zone. The leger indicator rose enough times and the float dipped under giving me a nice little net of fish. With the recent rain those rivers should now be pushing, plus with a bit of colour it will bring the fish on the feed. I saw some guys dropshotting upstream, so I figure there have been some lunkers coming out near the canal boats. Trouble is, that pushing water and extra colour might be good for bait fishing, but makes it tougher for dropshotting which is a visual technique. So it’s all to play for in the month of November. Let’s hope the cold doesn’t lock in until December, the rivers don’t flood, the wind eases, the price of lugworm goes down, nobody is in your best fishing spot, the wife doesn’t want you for Christmas shopping expeditions, and the kids drive themselves to school…..If they all come together we should be able to get out and get the string pulled on some good fish…..Stay lucky…
I did manage to get out and do some dropshotting in the torrential rain that we had here in the south of England on Saturday. It was a short session, I wasn’t expecting to catch many Perch but ended up with 13. Nothing over a lb but this is normal for the area of river I was fishing. At the end of the day, I could fish a harder venue that has giant Perch in it, and probably not catch many, and I therefore give you less tips on dropshotting. Or I could go to a venue that has a good number of Perch, and actually enjoy myself in conditions that are generally unfavourable. It’s a no brainer!
Now is when I generally start to target Perch on the dropshot. I try to fish the river as much as I can first. As I know that with the winter rain it will more than likely colour up and flood, making dropshotting much harder. Once the rivers get too coloured or flooded, I head to the canals as the flow of water is almost nothing! At the moment you may be seeing a lot of dead leaves on the river. I have a love/hate relationship with these whilst dropshotting. They help when river fishing as if you look closely at them, they can tell you the exact flow of the river. The faster they are moving, the faster the current. If they are floating back up river (against the current) then you have an eddy forming and that’s a likely hiding spot for Perch. They also show you where the areas of slack water are. However, they can also get in the way of your lure and as the hook point is exposed, they can get caught on the tip, very frustrating when you’ve just made a good cast! Due to the rain we had, the river was pushing fairly fast. It wasn’t coloured up though. So having put on a trusty white FishAction attractor shad DS I landed 3 Perch. Then I had a quiet period, so I put on a slightly larger FishAction Real Roach DS in Pink. This worked a dream and landed 10 Perch in quick succession. Sometimes a change of lure is definitely a good move when the fishing gets tough.
I am still busy with the editing side of things. Thankfully I have been managing to get the Friday videos edited, plus a couple of Midweek Madness Wednesday episodes, as well as a few videos for our other YouTube Channel – TA Outdoors. I’ve also been editing the extra Q&A videos and behind the scenes footage for our Patrons this month. So I am keeping myself occupied!
Weather is looking pretty inconsistent this week. I might pop back down to the river on the weekend for another short session. Rain isn’t forcast in the morning so I can actually speak to the camera without getting soaked!