Tuesday, 28 February 2012

It's a long way to Lochaline!

It didn't look that far on the map, honest!

My cunning plan was to enjoy a trip through the magnificant scottish scenery culmulating in a few hours after a butterfish or yarrells blenny for the species hunt,

After a trip to Oban to purchase bait I travelled north through magnificent Scottish countryside. The journey took me up to Fort William around the perimeter of various sea lochs. Fort William is remote.

Lochaline is a really remote, it was about sixty miles from Fort William, of which thirty miles of the road is single track. What a journey, I stopped to admire red deer, buzzards and my first golden eagle which posed for me on a fence post.

The water off the Pier at Lochaline is deep, it took a minute and a half for four ounces of lead to hit bottom. The fishing was dire and all I caught was a solitary leopard spotted goby. I am sure if I had been able to source some ragworm things might have been different.

After my days fishing I got back in the car and realised that I had a one hundred and fifty mile drive ahead of me! I started to sing, it's a long way to Lochaline.....

Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Thames Smelt a bit Fishy!

A number of reports in scientific journals suggested that smelt gather in numbers in the tidal Thames at this time of year before migrating up river to spawn in freshwater.

The smelt is better known as that pike bait that smells of cucumber. Despite having used them on a number of occasions, I have only ever caught one pike on a smelt, albeit my personal best at twenty-four pounds.

Although we were still in the grip of cold weather I decided on an attempt on a Thames smelt as:

1. There was a spring tide with high tide at 4.11pm
2. There had been a report of a smelt caught at Erith Pier a couple of weeks earlier
3. I could not get back here for at least 3 weeks by which time my opportunity would be over.

To cut a long story short I failed to catch a smelt. Actually, no one on the pier caught a fish of any description! In fact no one fishing on the pier seemed to have heard of smelt being caught from the Thames.

Those scientific journals were begining to smell even fishier than a smelt!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Ice hole fishing for Trout!

When the water temperature drops below 40 degrees most coarse fish stop feeding. Rather than struggle away on the rivers I like to dust down the fly rod and have a relaxing days fishing for rainbow trout.

I like the fact that you can visit a new stillwater trout fishery with every expectation of catching a few fish on your maiden visit. My stillwater trouting falls into two camps, either fishing big fish waters that offer a chance of a double figure trout, or catch and release waters where I can enjoy a days fishing without  having to stop once the agreed bag limit is reached.

I decided to visit Withern Mill in Lincolnshire, a five lake complex which has the added bonus of half of mile of river holding grayling. I purchased a two fish ticket which enabled me to catch and release once my limit had been reached.

I arrived to find a hard frost and a dusting of snow.  Three of the five lakes were frozen solid and there was a small clear patch on the other two lakes around the inlet pipes. On lake two the ice hole was about twenty yards by ten and perhaps half that on lake five.

The morning was spent trying to catch a grayling on an upstream nymph. Every few casts I had to clear the ice from the rings of my little brook rod. Every time the line stopped I struck, three sticks, loads of weed and a foul hooked stickleback resulted!

After a warming cuppa in the "refreshments shed" I set up my heavier outfit with an intermediate line, tying a white nomad on the end of a twelve foot leader. First cast into lake two, the line tightened and I was into a fish of around two pounds. A couple of casts later I was into a second fish, which came off!

After another warming break in the "refreshments shed" I returned and again first cast everything went solid, I lifted into a powerful fish that went screaming off to my left under the ice. Eventually I managed to net the rainbow which went exactly 7lb on the fishery scales.

Over the next couple of hours I had some more fish in the two pound class before the pull of the river became to strong. I spent the last hour trying in vain for a grayling. The water did have a tinge of colour and maybe that was the reason for my lack of success.

I heard a high pitched peep which was swiftly followed by that sapphire blue flash as a kingfisher flew upstream past me, what a nice ending to the day. With the temperature falling fast I decided to set off for home so that I would be back on the A16 before it was dark. I suspect the ice will claim the rest of the lakes surface overnight and the fish will be left in peace for the next few days.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Plan B

I was supposed to be boat fishing out of Poole today, unfortunately my planned trip after blonde rays and spurdogs coincided with the belated start of winter. Freezing temperatures and a force 5 easterly wind mid channel meant that both days were cancelled.

After last year's plethora of cancelled boat trips it was a disappointing start to this year's boat fishing calendar. Shore fishing at this time of year is at a low ebb so it was no surprise when I failed to catch anything from Swanage Pier (my very poor Plan B).

If you regularly read this blog you may have noticed that I have had several wasted trips to the coast over the last couple of years. In future I am going to pack an emergency outfit into the car which will enable me to either fly fish or pursue estuary mullet. All the kit I need should fit into the pockets of a waistcoat.