GRAEME PULLEN: 

At last ! A Catfish !

                     At last ! A Catfish !

Here we are in September, and for me it managed to go out with not a “bang”, but more of a “pop”….. I have never been one to set my sights too high when fishing, and always try to get a positive from whatever comes along. I feel it’s important, especially with younger anglers that they don’t get sucked into the hype of big fish too quickly,(if at all) and then come away from the sport disappointed . Carp fishing has probably been the major demise of all-round angling ,and while I have done it for about 50 years, it does mean there is a generation (or two) that seem to have no idea how to tackle other species unless it includes a 3lb test curve rod and a boilie. Of course I have used boilies, buzzers and bolt rigs, but only this past year. In fact, prior to 2014 I don’t think I have ever used a boilie, favouring paste baits and particles. But it’s highly effective, without a doubt, so what did I get recently the gave me that “pop” to the closeout of August ? Well, everyone likes to crack a P.B (personal best) of some sort, and on a last minute hunch (it was mow the large lawn, or go fishing) I made a quick call to Finch Farm in Berkshire, to see if I could drop in and finish a bit of filming there. Obviously there would be 2/3 hours of fishing involved, and having thrown in a couple of blanks looking for a catfish there using chunks of Mackerel, I decided to try some large trout pellets. Being no expert I thought I would just drill them out to take a hair, but using two drills and fine drill bits each pellet would split apart at the last moment. So I devised a way to elasticate them on using shore fishing thread, and I even made up a longer trace of GR500 braid, which I like for sea fishing, thinking if a larger Cat came along I would stand a better chance of staying attached. I had been told by several people that the bait either had to be freelined, or the reel bale arm open with the line in a run clip. Let them take it before setting the hook. Well I sat thinking about it, and as Finch Farm is not a big water, and being day ticket it gets quite a bit of attention, I decided to opt for the old school, watch-the-bobbin tactics. I had a couple of bite alarms, and in the rain (again!) a bobbin rose up so I slammed it immediately. End result was my P.B. English Catfish at….about 7lbs. OK, so no monster, but my previous best English Cat was about 8/12 ounces, so this was a vast improvement. My only other experience with Cats was when we went over to the Ebro at Caspe and in just 3 days we caught them to 180lbs. Check out our DVD on the trip with all the tips (Giant Catfish of Caspe) so while it was well under my personal PB it was still a P.B. of sorts and that made it sweeter. Thinking I might be on a roll I then had a Carp off the surface on breadcrust, then put in some more 4mm pellets and the free offerings of trout pellets. Same baits were refreshed, and cast to the same spot. An hour later, up went the bobbin, and I whacked it straight away. Another Catfish, this time bordering double figures. I’m guessing somewhere between 9 and 11lbs. With the scales in the car, a rain soaking was not in order but I was well pleased to get my UK Catfish “skunk”, out of the way. Now I could move on to other species.

I had trailed the “Drifter” Caravan down to Falmouth for Mike and Emmy to use for a week, and the first 1 hour session on Mylor Marina quay saw us get Mackerel, Scad, Whiting, Corkwing and Ballan Wrasse, plus some Goby weird thing that Emmy caught. Mike stayed on and will doubtless report of his humungous shore spinning catch in his own section. It was quite impressive spinning, for sure. We do have a couple more trips planned before Mike goes back to teaching. One will be an all-nighter for a Carp film, and I am going back down to Falmouth to fire out some big fish baits as I read up that there have been some really big fish lost in that area by shore anglers. It would be tempting to go light tackle fishing with lures, but that method does not get the lunkers of the deep, which are invariably snuffling along the seabed.

On the film front, to be honest, we don’t know what is going on with the numbers. We put up Patricia Gannon’s “How to cook Sea Bass “ as one of Mike’s Midweek Madness films and the numbers go berserk, setting us a new weekly record. The following Weds we put up “How to catch Mackerel” and it simply took off, breaking the previous week’s record.!!! It seems our site is almost growing on a daily basis, and if we put up a new film every single night it would be visually devoured by all our loyal YouTube followers. September can be a superb month for freshwater fishing, but more important the sea guys, as both shore and boat catches can really take off, but of course we have to suffer the vagaries of the great British weather. With August being such a naff month I am rather hoping that September will be better. You have the rarer species like the Bluefin Tuna running past the south coast and up round Ireland, plus the more familiar catches of Autumn like the occasional Stone Bass or Wreck Fish, one of which turned up off Courtmacsherry recently. It was all supposed to be “secret squirrel” stuff, but of course we all heard about it. It would be great to see a picture report of Albacore (Longfin Tuna) that used to regularly run past Wolf Rock in the western approaches, or even something like the European Barracuda which I saw once while sharking out of Falmouth. At present this year seems a bit quiet for ocean oddities, though we still have the best of the fishing to come, and with the sea at its warmest, it could run well into October.

 

Sidewinder Silk - Strong braid

         Sidewinder Silk – great for Pike fishing

Mike is getting a lot of enquiries from the Perch and Pike anglers, wondering what they should set up with as the autumn starts to poke its head over the horizon. Well, if you are a Pike or Perch lure angler you might want to try some of the Sidewinder Silk braid which keeps you in constant contact with the action of your lure. Perch guys might like the 16lb spool which has 250 yards on it and is just 0.15mm diameter. The Pike lure and deadbait guys should try it in the 30lb test which is 0.23mm diameter. If you have two reels just remove enough of your nylon to take 125 yards of braid and you get to “top –off” two reels from the one purchase. “Money saved is money earned “my old Grandad used to say. Check with Mike if you want a spool.

 

Represent THE AWESOME ARMY!

Represent THE AWESOME ARMY!

Also, we are now getting low on the tackle box “Bling-your-box” stickers, in which we are offering a free Tokushima sticker while stocks last. It shows you are a T/A supporter, and easily identifies your tackle or lure box from others. Perch enthusiasts also have the legendary “Attractor Shads” which are basically selling themselves, and just as a point of interest for the fly-casting people, Sid Knight has been tying up some Carp flies for the massive increase in anglers (trouties among them) who are turning to catching Carp on a regular fly rod.

Some effective Carp Flies

                 Some effective Carp Flies

I’ve seen a couple of day ticket waters allowing it, where floater baits are not allowed but you can fish with a fly rod. At this time of year you can often clean up on the surface, taking fish that are never going to feed on the lake bed until dark. It’s mobile, light tackle carrying stuff and it surely works. I was talking to one Carp-on-fly man and he told me he knew of another angler who had taken 20 Carp over 20lbs in a season, all on a fly rod. Having done a bit myself I can honestly say it is entertaining. Now don’t get it into your head that you are some sort of superior angling being by taking them out on a flyrod. It’s just a different method. I know from experience that a lot of saltwater fly anglers feel they are a little above the rest of the anglers as they only use a fly. Well, most of the Carp flies were not hatched out in some ecological underworld but in the minds of anglers, constantly searching for ways to improve the surface hookup rate. Top pointer in that respect is the foam sight indicators that many anglers are now tying into their dressings. In a surface glare or a ripple, this can make a huge difference in setting the hook up on a big Carp. I have done it many, many years ago but now I can see it is going to a whole new level. Some people have taken 30-pounders out, and I have heard of a 42 on a flyrod. What I like about it is the fact I don’t have to die of boredom in a bivvy all day. Some places offer an evening ticket, and that is the time to be out flailing that flyline!!! Check out some of Sid’s colours and patterns if you are interested in this form of fishing.

That’s about it for now. Fingers crossed on the weather, and look out for new films going up. We have loads of brand new ones all lined up in a scheduling system…..but we need more….I’m hooked on filming, so spread the “Awesome Army” word and send film links to others who might not know we exist. Have a good one…..I’m off to try these new Carp flies….

Graeme

MIKE PULLEN:

Garfish They scrap well on light gear!

        Garfish – They scrap well on light gear!

The time has come 🙁 the beginning of the school year has ambushed me like a Pike in slack water! I can’t say that I haven’t made the most of a long summer though. With a great fishing trip to Ireland, a holiday to Barcelona with Emmy, a festival and lots of fishing in between. It has been enjoyable to have a (moderately) dry summer and it has really helped us with the filming side of things. Editing wise I have been grafting away. Getting as many videos done as I can. I think I am a week ahead of myself at the moment. However, that all slows down now that the new school term is starting. Much of what little free time I get during the school term is taken up by video editing! But, it’s all worthwhile when we receive such awesome feedback from you guys and the viewing figures speak for themselves. Currently hitting a record high of well over half a million views a month! Now I am not sure if you have heard this but the recently I found out that TV viewing figures are actually multiplied by 4, as they assume that there might be 4 people in the house watching that program at the time.

The deadly mackerel jig...

               The deadly mackerel jig…

Which I find a little odd really. However, many of you have said “why aren’t you guys on TV?” Well here’s the thing, if a TV series hit a million views a month, technically, to get a more realistic viewing figure, you would need to divide that total viewing figure by 4 which would mean that it may only really be hitting 250,000 views a month. That’s a quarter of a million a month, and we’re hitting over 500,000 views a month……..just let that settle a while…… YouTube IS our TV. We not only can control whatever content and length of program we want to put up, but we also upload brand new episodes every week! Which means not just a 12 episode TV series, but 52 episodes a year! And that’s not including the midweek videos that we put up…

Anyway, that’s enough maths for me today, I’ve never been a fan of the subject. Mainly due to some of the outrageously boring, monotonous, droning maths teachers that I had when I was younger. The key to being a good teacher: Be enthusiastic and make people laugh.

Now on to the fishing. I recently got back from a short stay down on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall with Emmy. Thankfully, Graeme had already towed the caravan down there a day or so before, so we had a base to stay. Having never fished the area before, I was looking forward to exploring some new rock marks and trying some different techniques. Being that it was late summer and the weather was still warm, I knew the mackerel would be about, so I opted for some light tackle spinning and jigging. My chosen jig was a small 7g single hook mackerel jig. Now many mackerel jigs have treble hooks. Having fished with both treble and single hook I can safely say that not only is the single hook much safer, but it is also so much more enjoyable to fish with. Not to mention the vast improvement in unhooking qualities on a single hook. At the back of the jig was a short 1 inch section of material to give it extra movement. Using a 10-35g 7ft spinning rod and 16lb braid, with a short 4 foot 10lb fluorocarbon leader,  I was surprised at how far I could chuck the jig. After testing some different movements, I found one retrieve that worked an absolute dream! It turned in to a fish a chuck it was that deadly. Mind you, conditions were perfect, a rising tide (an hour before high tide), very little wind and good clarity in the water. In just an hour and a half I had 5 mackerel, 5 garfish and 18 Pollock to 4lbs! It really was “Totally Awesome” and I even managed to get lots of it on film to make an episode for you guys and give you the tips that might help you catch that extra fish! Emmy had some great fish on the float too.

On the Attractor Shad DS front (my favourite lure for dropshotting!) They are flying off the shelves. As I type this I have completely sold out of white pearl, got two pepper moka’s left, 13 silver left, 5 watermelon left and just 7 green available. They really do go quick and late September/beginning of October is when you can catch Perch in numbers and in my opinion there is no better lure to catch numbers of Perch than the 3″ Attractor Shad DS. Get them while you can!!

As for September, well the first few weeks will certainly be taken up by school work commitments. However, I am now in the process of planning Episode 3 of Dropshot Diaries which I know you have all been waiting so long for! Don’t worry folks, I am working on it.

We also have another big surprise coming your way soon, which will be announced in the next few weeks!

Best of luck to anyone out fishing next week, don’t forget to represent The Awesome Army on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Tight lines,

Mike

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