Wind…Wind…and more Wind…..and that’s got nothing at all to do with my wife’s cooking!
I don’t think I have ever known such a year for non-stop air movement. I did spot a break in it last week so made the phone call to the Somerset lads, confirmed my accommodation with St.Audries Bay Holiday Park, and loaded the car with shore fishing gear. It means just under a 3 hour run for me to make the trip to West Somerset, and I dropped in en- route to see “Jim the lure” man to see how his jerk bait and stick bait lures were going after we put a film up on him. Seems there has been loads of interest and he had plenty of stick baits slowly turning on his drying machine. Just as soon as the rivers drop I’ll be out there a-twiching and a-jerking to see if I can’t put a toothy critter on the bank. The trouble is those lures look so immaculate I almost don’t want them slashed up. It seems OK with regular shop bought mass produced lures but when you have seen how much goes into these hand crafted beauties you really do have an appreciation for the end product.
I arrived at St.A’s, checked in, and checked out again to meet with Craig Butler down on Watchet Pier. The sky was blue but there was a bitter South Easterly blowing that cut through you like a knife. The boats we watched leave for a 4- hour short session all anchored within sight of us, and when they returned to the marina to catch the tide we learned one boat had netted (and released) a 26lb plus Cod, and later, one of the others steamed past us with a 33 pounder ! Seems Watchet is the place of the moment for throwing up big Cod only a few hundred yards from the pier.
I struggled myself, and to be fair with that Easterly blowing and temperatures down to minus 10 it was hardly surprising the fish were few and far between. I did manage to film Cod to nearly 10lbs off the beaches, and on the last day dropped in to a beach near Hinckley Point where I had an absolute field day collecting other angler’s lost terminal tackle. Now none of us can help losing tackle but I always like to collect what loose line I can as its often this that your own bait gets tangled in, rather than the boulders . So if you see loose line, especially on a low water spring, track it back to where the snag is, ball it up and take it home. Often you will be rewarded in finding several rigs and leads. I think I reclaimed 10 or 11 sets of gear, and now have replenished my stock of expensive grip leads.
I could have sneaked out aboard “HI Sea Drifter” the other day, but it’s a long tow for me when there might only have been a weather window of half a day. Instead I gave both batteries a run-up with the engine so if there is a full day gap I will probably take it. Apparently the fishing has not been great in the Eastern Wight area. As usual, one or two boats hang a big Cod, but plenty of others scratch around for the Ray and Dogfish. To be honest I far prefer the drive down to West Somerset where there is at least the chance of a decent fish from the shore, whereas many South Coast beaches have dire catches in the month of February.
Had a supposed hour with Mike helping film his Bushcraft series for his “Totally Awesome Outdoors Show” which is growing rapidly by the day. That turned into a full day of doing jobs at his forest camp, and more hand sawing than someone of my age should do. Trouble is I have been spoilt with a reciprocal saw and electric power, so hand sawing with a blade 10 inches long is not really high on my list of priorities. Enjoyed the day, apart from the fact I put too much wood in his fire box and it melted through his Army “cook-in-the-bag” provisions. Well, at least he knew it was cooked!
Also been out with “T”-Gun yesterday doing a shotgun safety film for the Totally Awesome Outdoors Show. The subscribers are growing on this channel so I am trying to do films for this on the days I cannot get out fishing. What was an absolute shock to me was when “T” put a round into a 40-gallon oil drum on one of his shoots, so we could show on film the dangers of bad gun handling when closing it. That was at about 15 yards. The shot not only ripped a hole in the drum, but it went out the other side and sent bits of metal into a tree behind!…the entry hole was the size of a small Jack Russell. I confess I was amazed at the size of the hole, and trust me, you won’t need to put a plaster on the hole it makes. Shotgun safety is paramount, and I can well see why. I ran two cameras to get the footage. One at close range, the other I put on slow motion and stood well behind the gun and zoomed in. I saw the sound meter on the camera bounce up to red when the twelve gauge went off, so I must be careful when filming close to the barrel as the sound might actually damage the microphone. If you get the chance to watch it, even if you are a non-shooter, it’s an interesting 5-minute film.
We also filmed some dog work, and general Hampshire woodland material, but could also see the large number of “Widow Maker” trees which had been partially blown over in the high winds a couple of weeks ago. One was about 60 feet tall, and was resting against another by a branch that couldn’t have been more than two inches across. Trying to cut a tree down with a chain saw would be a nightmare, hence the name of “Widow Maker”. I also learned that what I thought was a Rook’s nest was actually a Squirrel’s nest, which is called a “Dray”. All this interesting information will be lost within a generation unless we preserve it in the shape of film footage. Plus it might encourage others to get out into what must be the last of the English countryside, before it’s all concreted and housed over to take even MORE people. I feel bad when I think of two generations of our countrymen that gave their lives in two World Wars to keep this Island free, and now we seem hell bent on getting as many people in as we can. Has anyone thought where all the extra sewage is going? Where the extra fresh water is going to come from? But it’s all OK if you are the one doing the building as you can bet your last lugworm the developers or politicians won’t be living in the same area. Gripe over. Well, for this E-News anyway.
While most of the rivers are blown out, we might be forced to try a Stillwater for a few coarse fish. I am not a lover of stillwaters in the winter, and prefer moving water and readable features of a river, plus the extra activity of working a swim with a float. I realise legering big baits get most of the bigger fish, but for me it is pretty boring, and I have a short attention span if I’m not sure I am in the right swim. I quite fancy lobworm fishing on the stillwaters, maybe doubling it with a variation of a beach fishing rig. I do like a bit of experimentation with baits and rigs, so it will be a case of perseverance if I want to get something in the net. I’m hoping the current narrow band of jet stream that is firing all these low pressure systems at us over the Atlantic, will eventually alter ,and the rivers start to drop and clear. Current forecasts say it won’t be any time soon though.
Have a good one.
Finally, I managed to get out fishing! We took a short drive on saturday to a stillwater that has produced good sized Perch in the past. The plan of attack was a simple link-leger rig, an ssg shot, size 6 or 4 hook and prawn bait. Prawn is an incredibly good bait for Perch. I tried a different angle of approach to normal, adopting my LRF rods for the task, just to get a better bend in the rod when fighting the fish. The fishing was slow to begin with. We had sunshine and a cold wind, usually the kiss of death for Perch fishing. Dad had a few beeps on his rods in the swim next to me but after about two hours of nothing we decided to move to one of the other lakes on the complex. We had fished this lake previously and decided to set up underneath some overhanging trees. I’ve noticed that when Perch fishing on stillwaters that you get more bites the closer you cast your bait to the snags. This is an obvious place for Perch to be as they stay well hidden and this is where the bait fish will find sanctuary. So, casting just a rod length out and almost lowering my bait in front of the snags it wasn’t long until the fish were biting. I managed to get one over 1lb which made me more confident knowing they were there. I then opted to throw a few loose prawns in the swim to get them feeding more. However, I missed a number of bites because the line on my reel was so twisted that the bite alarms couldn’t detect what was a bite! So I changed tactics a bit and went for something completely different. I decided to try some touch-legering. This involves casting your bait out and holding the line over your index finger to ‘feel’ the bite. When you feel the bite, you strike into the fish. I gave it a go….and it was devastating! I could feel the short bumps on the line where the Perch had picked up the bait, only allowing one or two taps on the line, I struck into it and got a fish a chuck! This sort of fishing gives you a real adrenaline rush and I was amazed at how successful it was, I will certainly be doing it again! At this time of year the Perch begin to fatten up ready for spawning, they will also shoal up. If you can find these shoals and you have a bag of prawns with you, then get ready for some Totally Awesome Perch Fishing! The video will be out soon.
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Have a great week.
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