Hi! My name is Sam Edmonds. Those of you who know me are aware that I am just 'ever so slightly' keen on my fishing and the love of the outdoors.
Fishing has been a part of my life since the day I was born. I suppose it comes as no surprise when you have a Dad that's fishing crazy. We fish together literally all of the time and have had some fantastic times spent trying to catch all kinds of fish here in the UK and on holidays abroad. Along the way I have met some great fishermen and some of these have become really good friends.
The more I fish the more my fascination and appreciation for the sport grows and catching fish is just the start - there is so much more to angling: travelling, nature, wildlife and watching some spectacular sunrises and sunsets are just a few.
So I'd like to share in my blog some of my fishing experiences, captures and other related interests such as photography and writing. I hope you will enjoy reading it and find something that interests you too...

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Plugs and Jigs for Winter Perch

The cold months of November and December are one of my favourite times of the year for targeting big perch. At the beginning of November we continued jigging for zander on Grafham. In two trips we landed fourteen fish, mostly Zeds, plus the odd Pike and Perch too. However, as the month progressed, the sport got slower, so we decided to have a change of scenery and have a trip to the River Thames instead, all out lure fishing for Perch.

It was the first visit to our boat in over a month, and during that time plenty of rain had fallen. What with the leaves too, it was in quite a mess! After a thorough clean though it was ready to grace the water once again.

Trying a couple of weirs and other fishy-looking areas, Dad and I managed to boat four jack pike, but it was the perch we were really after. As the light began to fade, we moved on downstream near a couple of moored boats, an area where my Dad had caught his P.B 4lb 6oz perch in the past. Here we were lucky to encounter a huge shoal of silverfish, jumping and splashing - a sure sign that Perch were attacking them from beneath. Using a variety of jigs and plugs, between us we caught 120 by the time it was pitch black! Many of the fish were only small, between 6-12oz, with the odd 2lb'er to 2lb 11oz, but it was incredible sport!

Once it was dark and the sport had slowed up, both tired, we tied the boat up to the bank, got out some tomato soup and heated it up on the stove. Sausage rolls and Tomato soup - not quite a gourmet meal but it's amazing how nicer things taste when you're sitting on the bank! After warming ourselves up with our hot soup, we got our sleeping bags, laid them out in the boat and rested there through a fairly warm November night.

Up again at 5am, we returned to where we'd caught the perch just a few hours before. Unfortunately, it was pretty quiet, maybe we'd hammered it the day before. So we headed downstream to another stretch of river. After casting around for a good half an hour without a bite, I hooked a good fish which felt like a big Perch. Unfortunately it threw the hook - Damn! We decided to do a drift through the same spot, and this time Dad hooked up, which also felt like it could be a good fish. As Dad's fish approached, dark green stripes began to show in the crystal clear water. A 3lb 9oz perch had taken fancy to a 5.5 inch shad Dad was using! Maybe that was the perch I lost! Even in the net, the perch still kept kicking and flapping in the hope of escaping. As my Dad held the fish up for a picture it finally got it's way! It flipped out of his hands and back in the river! We didn't even get one shot on the camera.

Ignoring his moaning about not getting a picture of the Perch, I cast straight back out in the hope we'd bumped into a school of good fish. Instantly I had a bite on the drop and I was in! Please be a big Perch! However, it turned out to be a pike of around 8lb. About 20 minutes later, Dad followed me up with a Pike of a similar size. We'd fished really hard, and had a really good time, but feeling very tired, we decided to call it a day and head home.

Closer to our doorstep, we've had a couple of trips on our local River Lea, again with jigs, but from the bank instead. Not long ago we had an excellent day fishing. On his first cast, Dad landed a beauty of 3lb 11oz.

It gave me the chance to try out his new digital SLR camera, just a day after buying it! Trying different areas and covering as much water as we could, we caught a few more nice Perch, including four Pike. But, as the day was just about to end, I hooked into a real clonker. When we landed it, we thought it was 4lb+ but the scales read 3lb 14oz - what a stunner!

I wrote an article about the day which has been published in the Angling Times today (7/12/10). My Dad is on the front cover holding a fish of 2lb 9oz - which was a big surprise, that he caught during the snow. Hopefully, the fishing will 'hot' up, after a freeing cold spell throughout the festive season, and I hope you have a great Christmas and New Year!

Angling Times have kindly sent me the two pages which are pictured here...

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Reservoir Jigging for Pike, Perch and Zander

All across the country, trout reservoirs have opened their doors for predator fishing with lures and deadbaits. Although I flyfish reservoirs for Trout, Pike, Perch and Zander year round, once the predator fishing season starts I can't wait to give these vast waters a try with all kinds of lures. Since October 2006 my Dad and I have fished every opening day, and this year with no exception we had a boat booked for that magical time again.

These opening days have been very kind to us, we've had some great times - and some great fish too. One of our most prolific days was catching 27 fish on the opening day - my first 6 casts produced 6 Perch, which were all over 2lb 8oz! We went on to catch 7 more Perch to 3lb 1oz, 11 Zander to 11lb (which was my P.B at the time), and 3 double figure Pike. Last year, I caught a P.B Pike on the opening day at 29lb, which is one of my proudest fishing moments. I also had another of 12lb 8oz, and Dad had a nice Zander and a 3lb 1oz Perch.

Without a doubt, We were back again this year. Since June 16th we'd caught a good string of Zeds to 12lb 7oz and Perch to 3lb 9oz on the fly, plus some good Pike, I felt confident that we’d be in for some more sport. Armed with a jig, I cast out and had a bite within seconds. It felt a good fish but when I got it to the boat, I didn't expect to see a big Bream! It was hooked perfectly in the mouth and had taken my large shad! Not what I was expecting but a nice bonus! Soon after though, we found a shoal of Perch and boated 9 to 3lb exactly, plus 2 other crackers that both went 2lb 14oz and a nice Zander.

Trying a variety of different areas around the lake paid off too - I landed a cracking Brownie of 6lb 4oz, which is my second biggest from the venue.

Dad also landed another nice Perch. Unfortunately, the day flew by and it was soon time for the boats to head back in. Although 15mph winds had made fishing uncomfortable, it had been another great opening day, boating 14 fish in all - five different species!

After fishing it on the opening day we planned to return the following Sunday and at 8am the door of the pontoon was opened to the awaiting anglers. The boats were soon heading off in all directions in the hope of that special fish.

After a fifteen minute boat ride I cast out my jigged shad and on my very first cast caught a lovely 2lb 13oz perch. Unfortunately, every year the venue gets a lot of pressure on the first week and the fishing had become a lot tougher since the previous weekend, so we decided to move. Drifting and casting in search of fish, it wasn’t long before my Dad landed his first Pike of the day - a jack of around 6lb. Another half an hour later, as he held his big shad under the boat, whilst straightening up his cap, a fish took the lure and a quick jolt of the rod saw him in to a good fish, which we netted at 17lb 2oz.

Not long after, his rod was bent again, but when we came to net it, expecting a jack Pike or big Perch, a 5lb Roach Bream Hybrid had somehow eaten a 7 inch shad! It seemed so strange as I had boated a Bream on our last trip on a lure - now Dad had done the same, only this was a Hybrid!

Five minutes later, Dad was in again! This fish felt much bigger than the previous one, and after a good fight, a beautifully marked 21lb 8oz Pike was in front of the camera. By midday Dad was giving me a thrashing and I was in need of a little bit of a comeback!

After a couple of hours of Pike fishing, we began to focus our attention on the Zander - the main reason why we’d returned that day. Moving on to another part of the reservoir, we quickly boated two Zander, one of 7lb 6oz, and a baby of 2lb. As the breeze began to pick up slightly, we decided to start fishing our jigs vertically from the boat instead of casting. Within 5 minutes of lowering my jig in to the depths, I felt a sudden tug through the braid, and hooked up. The fish gave me a bullish, head-thrashing fight on it's way up to the boat. It felt heavy and I began to worry it would throw the hook. Dad soon came to the rescue and scooped up my Zander, an immaculate 11lb 4oz fish.

Trying a variety of shads and split tails in various colours, two hours of vertical jigging quickly passed with no bites, so after a slight relocation, we began casting our jigs instead. Dad accidentally cast over my braid, and we both got tangled up. Both frustrated, he tried to untangle the mess whilst the jig was still dragging along the bottom. Still untangling his braid, he felt a heavy weight on the end of my braid. It was certainly heavier than a jig head. It then began to thump! He quickly passed the braid to me, and after giving a short pull to set the hook, I carefully played the fish by hand from 40ft of water up to the boat.

Sliding the fish in to the back of the net we weighed it to be 12lb 8oz - a new P.B by an ounce! I can’t imagine many 12lb Zander that have been handlined from 40ft of water!

After another move I cast out again, but before the jig hit the bottom... BANG! I had another solid take. After getting ourselves out of a huge mess and releasing a great Zed back to it’s underwater home, I found myself in another fish battle. It was safely netted and in the boat within minutes. The scales read 10lb - my third double of the day! It had been a great comeback from the morning, and I had evened up the scores between us both. Another great day on the water!

Less than a week later, this time flyfishing for Trout, I fished in the England Youth Flyfishers Association's Captain's Match. Unfotunately, I had a bit of a stinker as I lost both of the fish I hooked. It was a tough match and the heavy rain and strong winds didn't help either. Well done to the anglers that did manage to catch fish! Despite the weather, it had been a great day meeting the other team members, which I'll be fishing with in the International matches next year.

Just two days later, we were back for more predators as we couldn't resist giving it another go. There had been a hard frost the night before and it was very cold, but at least it was sunny and the wind was fairly calm. Despite the weather, the fishing got off to a slow start, and it wasn't until around 10.30am that I got my first bite of the day. I hooked it whilst drifting and casting jigs. The bite was from a cracking 3lb 5oz Perch - a fish that would make any angler's day, certainly mine. Trying here and there we began to find the odd Zander. I landed a nice fish of 9lb 1oz and my Dad followed with two 8lb+ fish. Time was running out so we made a last minute dash to another spot where we'd caught fish in the past, and in a hectic last 15 minutes, we landed four Zander of 9lb 12oz, 8lb 10oz, 8lb 2oz and 2lb - awesome fishing! - what a shame we'd run out of time and had to go back to the lodge. - I'm sure we could have caught a couple more!

I can't wait for our next trip - not quite sure where though, maybe to the Thames for some big Perch?!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Autumn Predators

Autumn is well and truly here - virtually all the conkers have fallen from our tree, and the days are getting shorter. Since my last blog, our trips have been varied at many different types of venues, ranging from Fenland Drains and local rivers to gravel pits and large reservoirs. There was one outing we had on the drains but when we arrived we found the river was very coloured, not what we were expecting - so on went some Spinnerbaits which we find are good in these situations. We walked around 8 miles of riverbank, covering as many fishy looking spots as we could. It wasn't easy but we ended up with 8 Pike to about 7lb, and 11 small Perch. Whilst fishing, we had an audience of about 50 cows and bulls, which surrounded our swim! We were stuck there for about half an hour waiting for them to go - they were so curious about what we were doing and wouldn't go away - one even came behind me whilst I'd cast out and licked the rucksack I was wearing, before making a sudden dash as I turned round to see what was going on.

On October 1st, a local coarse fishing lake, which I can almost see from my bedroom window, opened for Predator fishing. Last year we fished the opening day with lures and had a great session, catching 15 Pike including 3 doubles to 16lb and a 3lb 2oz Perch. This year we hoped that we could repeat that success. Arriving before sunrise, we began fishing when the dawn was breaking, and by 9am I'd caught 6 Pike to 12lb 12oz, and my Dad had caught 2, and 3 nice Perch to 2lb 8oz, all on a variety of artificials. In such a short space of time we'd done well - but for me it was all about to end. I had to go to school as it was Friday, so my Mum came to pick me up from the lake and I was gone! My Dad however, stayed and continued to fish (lucky, eh?!), but he had to face the elements - it rained - and it was far from drizzle - it poured it down! Despite the weather, it didn't put him off and he carried on catching. Around 4pm, I returned with my mate, Will, to fish the last couple of hours after school. As we rushed back to the lake we found a soaking wet Dad, who had added another 7 Pike to his tally since I left in the morning. We all kept fishing in the pouring rain which seemed to be getting heavier by the minute and managed to land another three (one each). The fishing had got tougher as it had become busier during the day, which added to the pressure. In total we banked 19 Pike, 1 nice double and 3 Perch, all on lures - the weather was terrible but the fishing was great!

The next day's forecast looked much more promising and despite getting up at 4.30am the morning before, we were up again at 6am the very next, instead this time we were geared up with fly tackle, and made the most of our weekend by heading to a reservoir where we were to target more predators. We were hoping to catch some big Pike, but although we only landed one jack of around 6lb, we did boat 3 nice Zander to 9lb 11oz, and 4 2lb+ Perch, and at the very last knockings, I had one just shy of 3lbs.

As we packed the gear in to the car, the rain began to fall, but at least it hadn't caught us out this time after the previous day whilst we were fishing. As soon as we got home, tired and drained of energy, we were fast asleep, both whacked from our 2 day's fishing on the trot, as we'd given it our all - but it had been an enjoyable and productive couple of days, and well worth all the effort - if you're fishing mad!

During the following week, after school we also had another trip back to the lake where we'd done well on the predator opening day. On his third cast Dad landed a very lean fish of 17lb, and we also went on to bank another four before dark.

Until next time - Tightlines!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Predator Fishing in the Summer Holidays

I’m now back at school, and the last six weeks have flown by. Once again, my summer holidays have been spent fishing - and even more fishing! As always, the weather has played a part in our decisions of where and when to fish, or even worse, not going at all. August seems to be the rainy season nowadays, and if it’s not raining it’s been very windy, which makes flyfishing and going afloat in a boat tricky and uncomfortable - so the BBC and other weather forecast websites have been vital in our decision making! Getting too carried away on fishing has also put me behind on my blog, so I’ve now got some catching up to do! To make it easier, I’ve tried to sum up the past few sessions in to one write up.

We were hoping to do a few trips on our boat on the Thames, but due to wet weather we were restricted by the conditions. There was only one short period where the forecast looked just right for what we wanted to do, so we decided to really go for it in the time we had. We spent 2 days and a night on the trot on the river; roughly 27 hours of non stop lure fishing, with just 4 hours of sleep in between! Ever so ‘slightly’ mad - but that’s what we are I suppose! - Or as our great mate, Paul, would say "you've got to suffer for your fish!"

It was a good idea that we did go for it, as the weather only got worse after the trip, and we had some great sport, exploring and trying different areas of the lower Thames. We landed 19 Pike, the biggest 13lb 1oz, which fell to a surface plug - and what a take! Using a variety of jigs, plugs and spinnerbaits, we also managed to boat 90 odd Perch, 8 of which were over 2lb, a small Zander and a 3lb 14oz Chub in one of the weirs, which I caught again on a surface plug. It was extremely tiring, but tremendous fun!

So, the rest of our time has been mainly spent fishing midlands reservoirs, either lure fishing or fly fishing for Pike, Perch and Zander. Over the past few trips, we’ve battled heavy rain, thunderstorms, massive gales and on the odd occasion - had some nice calm, sunny days! It’s been worth hacking the elements though, as we’ve caught a good number of Zander, plus a few good fish, including a new PB for myself - a stunner weighing 12lb 7oz, which took my fly on the drop!

We’ve also had some nice Pike during the summer. Recently, we fished a new water with large lures and had an awesome day, catching two twenties, plus a few smaller fish. My Dad was the first to land his - a cracker of 20lb 12oz, which fell to a spoon.

A couple of hours later (not to be out done!) I also managed to tempt one to take a big Kuusamo spoon fished about a foot under the surface over massive weed beds. It turned out to be exactly 20lb, and when you see a fish that big charge at a spoon near the surface it’s very exhilarating! We’ve had quite a few others on flies too.

Some large Perch have also taken our flies, and one evening, in the space of about half an hour, we both had a good fish - mine was 3lb 8oz, and my Dad’s was 3lb 6oz. They are great fun to catch on fly gear.

If we haven’t been fishing a full day, we’ve tried to grab a few hours before dark, and normally going local, fishing lures, mainly on gravel pits. We caught a few Pike and some nice Perch, and as one of our evenings was coming to an end, we came face to face with a Barn Owl, swooping right in front of us, without a care in the world behind the pit - no more than 8 yards away from where we were standing. I’ve seen plenty of Barn Owls in the past fishing, but never as close as this, you could see every detail in its face.

I’ve noticed that whilst fishing on the reservoirs, the boats are being called in earlier and earlier every time we go, and it’s getting dark sooner - unfortunately the weather will soon be getting colder as well, but cooler water temperatures should get the predators really going, so there’s plenty to look forward to, especially fishing for some fry feeding trout, using minkies and floating fry patterns - which I can’t wait for.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Flyfishing for Predators

Although the forecast was set to be heavy rain and even a risk of thunderstorms, it didn't put me and my Dad off going afloat on one of our favourite venues in search of Pike, Perch and Zander on the fly.

We set off in to this vast reservoir, where fish of monstrous proportions lurk. The reason I love coming here so much is because you never know what you're going to hook next - it could be an 8oz Perch, or a 15lb+ Zed - who knows? In the past, we've had some great sport targeting predators on fly gear, landing up to 30 fish in a day. Some of these have been large fish - Zander to nearly 15lb and Perch to 3lb 9oz have all fallen to our fly patterns. My Dad has even had two Pike of 28lb and 28lb 14oz in two casts which was amazing!

After a 15 minute boat drive, we arrived at our first destination. As I lowered the anchor, Dad cast out. The anchor hit the bottom and I tied the rope off. I then looked round and he already had a fish on! Soon, a Zed of 9lb 12oz had been boated. Suprisingly, it was hooked in about 15ft of water, when we were anchored over 25ft, so obviously the fish were chasing our home-tied baitfish imitations from the bottom. The next cast for Dad also produced a Perch of 2lb 3oz. Not a bad start!

Half hour passed with no more action and, normally, if we don't have any pulls after about half an hour, we usually move, so the time had come to search for more fish. Next stop was in one of the many bays that fringe this huge expanse of water. After spending just a few minutes here I had a sudden thump, which also turned out to be a Perch of about a pound and a quarter - a sure sign there could be more. Literally seconds later, my Dad landed another nice Zed of 7lb 13oz, and soon the sport began to come thick and fast. Six more perch to nearly 2lb graced our net, as well as another Zander I caught of about 5lb. As I was playing the Zed, a Pike came up right next to the boat, totally unaware of our presence, took a gulp of air, and calmly descended in to the depths. It looked about 18lb! Both my Dad and I gazed at it in amazement, whilst I still played the fish I had on - I was suprised it didn't whack my Zander! As soon as we landed it, my Dad changed to a large, deceiver type fly to see if he could tempt that Pike to take.

Two casts later and sure enough, he did, and after a nerve racking battle, we had a stunning fish in the net. It was much smaller than we anticipated - but still a beautiful fish of 12lb 14oz.

Once the bite switched off about an hour later, we were back on our travels down the reservoir. We tried some more bays, which produced for me a 7lb 9oz Zed in an area more renowned for it's trout fishing, and Dad also lost one. It was now time to try some deeper areas. The water temperature was very warm, so, like trout, many predators retreat to the cooler depths of the reservoir in the summer months.

It turned out that we'd made a good move. After finding the fish, we landed another 5 Zander of 7lb 13oz, 7lb 13oz again(!), 7lb 1oz, 5lb 13oz and 5lb 4oz, which fell to streamer-like flies fished deep, at about 40 feet.

Unfortunately though, by about 7pm, dark, black clouds with heavy rain and lightning began to loom over the reservoir. They'd been circling us all day, but this storm looked very threatening. The wind suddenly got up and it was soon too uncomfortable to fish, so, like all the other boats, we made a frantic dash back to the harbour. We just managed to take shelter by the lodge and watched a very violent and wet electrical storm drift over us.

Our fishing had come to an unexpected end, and we'd missed our favourite time, but we still managed to boat 20 fish. It had been another great day on one of our favourite venues, and well worth braving the weather.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Fishing with Drennan Team England

Last October, whilst lure fishing a Midlands reservoir, I caught my largest ever UK fish - a pike of 29lbs exactly, pictured above. We entered this fish into the Young Angler of the Month competition on Keith Arthur's Tightlines show, broadcast on Sky Sports. The fish won me the competition and yesterday I was invited, along with the other 11 YAOTM winners for 2009, to fish with the Drennan Team England at Barston Lake near Solihull. The team recently won the World Championship. We began our day with a full English breakfast in the restaurant of Barston Lakes before a greeting from Keith who paired us up with our coach for the day.

There were many other angling stars there other than Keith and the Team. Keith had brought his Sky TV crew along with him to film the event, which we think will be broadcast in the evening of Friday 13th August on Tightlines, Sky Sports 3. Nigel Botherway, Martin Bowler and Dave Elliott fished and Gary Barclay from Drennan did a fantastic job on the event management. They all made us feel very welcome. I've been very privileged to meet Keith four or five times now and we've become good friends with him. I can't believe his knowledge, he is like a walking fishing encyclopaedia.

I was teamed up with Will Raison who is the current World Champion at Match fishing and we were soon fishing at peg 118 (not easy to forget, although none of us had a moustache!) We fished the day with the pole, something I have done very little of - probably the closest I've done to this type of fishing is with a whip for Roach, Dace and Bleak on the River Lea. However, it didn't take me long to pick up and soon we were catching a steady amount of Bream, Roach, Carp and F1's some to about 3lbs plus a nice rudd too. (After lunch my Dad could resist it no longer so I had to pass him the pole to fish with whilst I went and fished with Martin Bowler. I got it back later though!) All the other winners were catching fish too. One of the other winners who was carp fishing with Nigel Botherway and Dave Elliott had carp up to 19lbs. Everybody was having a great day.

Will gave me tips on how he fishes pellets (what we were using as bait), other aspects of match fishing and using the pole. Although I'm quite shy, Keith interviewed me, Will and the other winners with the Sky TV camera which was a great experience. My Mum, Dad and I also had a good conversation with Martin Bowler who was targeting the carp in the lake. Martin is a really nice guy and as I'm really interested in taking pictures and writing articles he also gave me great advice - he was the perfect guy to talk to and very informative.

By the end of the day we'd caught a great bag of fish. Will reckoned the bag was getting on for 90 - 100lbs. Thanks for a great day Will!

I also would like to thank the rest of the England Team, Keith, Martin, Nigel Botherway, Nigel from Barston Lakes and the Sky Team too, who made it a fantastic day out and one I certainly won't ever forget!
Below is a picture of my Mum with her favourite man (after me and my Dad of course!)

Friday, 30 July 2010

Fishing the Fenland Drains

Hooray! The summer holidays have finally arrived! It's now time for my Dad and I to get down to some serious fishing! Our first couple of trips this week have been based in the Cambridgeshire fens, fishing the drains in the hope of some good Rudd, Bream, Tench, and other silverfish sport.

Most of the fishing we’ve done has been a combination of float fishing and leger fishing, with a variety of different baits - maggots, bread, worms, pellet, paste, boilies - we’ve just been chopping and changing. Our main target has been a 2lb+ Rudd, which we’ve caught to nearly 3lb in this area in the past. So far, our first couple of trips have brought us a right mixture of species - Roach, Rudd, Bream, Perch, some nice Silver Bream, Bleak, Carp, Tench, Gudgeon, even small Bitterling, and my Dad caught a Ruffe!

Our biggest Rudd in the last week has only been about a pound, but unfortunately I lost one yesterday that I saw, which could have nudged 2lb. Still, I had a nice Tench of 5lb 8oz that fought like mad on my float rod, plus a good Bream of 5lb 4oz too. By far the biggest fish we’ve caught so far is a 20lb 13oz Mirror Carp I caught yesterday. It took me all over the small drain we fished - in the lillies, through the reeds, up, down, round the other rod - it took me about 10 minutes to land, bear in mind this drain is only about 4 or 5 metres wide! My Dad had gone to help some boys that had trouble landing a Pike, as it had snagged in the reeds, but not wanting to disturb his rods, he asked me to reel in my float rod and watch over his bite alarms. I had to literally dive through the reeds to net it - it only just fitted in! The rig, designed for Rudd, with a small size 12 hook had been totally straightened out. I was very lucky to land it! However, soon after it graced the net, my Dad returned to see what should have been his fish in MY net. After weighing the fish, we then took some pictures, and returned it safely back.

Later on, whilst float fishing, I felt something crawling up my trouser leg, which I thought was an insect. Instead it turned out to be a small Lizard!

As I mentioned before, we’ve had some good Tench, Bream and Rudd from here in the past. As you can imagine, there are so many small fish here, it’s a haven for some nice Pike, Perch and Zander, which we sometimes fly fish for in the winter. Pike to 16lb, Perch to 3lb 4oz, and Zander to nearly 10lb have fallen for our flies when we target them in the colder months.

So far, we’ve had a pretty good start up in the Fens, but it would be nice if we could catch another really big Rudd some day soon. We’re planning to return in the next few days, so hopefully we’ll be in for some more good sport, and a shot at that lunker Rudd!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Back on the Thames last weekend

What with practising for the EYFA National Finals, we had missed out on those magical first few days of the river season. The last time we visited the Thames was back in March, on the last day of the season, and we fished it only a couple of times during last winter’s ‘big freeze’, so we were pleased to be going back.

We had also been worrying what condition our 12ft Sea Nymph Boat would be in since we last saw it in March, or whether it would still be there(!) Thankfully it was, and after a quick clean, we loaded the boat with our lure gear and headed off to our first spot.

It was going to be a relaxing day’s fishing as my Mum had tagged along with us to watch and we planned to stop off at a pub along the river for some lunch, so fishing wasn’t going to be taken so seriously. YEAH RIGHT!!

We arrived a bit later than we normally would, and we had missed out on the first couple of hours of daylight, sometimes being the best time for fishing so we’d just have to give it our best shot. The river looked great, but it was well down and, putting my hand in the river, the water felt very warm, so we anticipated it could be a difficult day. The spots we’d chosen to try first normally produce some action pretty quickly but, after an hour or so, nothing was happening. My Dad did eventually hook into a Pike on a plug, but unfortunately it let go almost straight away. I told him to put some hooks on his plug! We knew our best chance would be in the faster, more oxygenated water around the weirs, so that is where we headed next.

Sure enough, at the weir, I latched in to an acrobatic 10lb’er, which fell again to a plug fished tight to the bottom. I was bouncing it over rocks and boulders where Pike lie in wait, sheltered from the fast current. Minutes later, my Dad also boated one of 10lb 8oz on a spinnerbait.

After about an hour and a half of trying various spots around the weir and missing a couple of takes, we decided to move on into a smaller backstream, no more than about 8m wide with a small weir at the top, hoping for a chance of some more action, and maybe even a chub. Sadly, no chub took fancy to our lures, but I did catch 3 small jacks and a couple of perch to about a pound and a quarter. All feeling hungry we decided it was time to motor on down to the pub for some fish and chips and a drink. After this we then headed to another weir on the main river, which we’d saved for the last few hours.

It didn’t take long before we were hooked up, in fact, we even had a double hook up at one point. In the space of about an hour and a half we boated 7 pike up to about 9lbs on a variety of plugs, jigs and spinnerbaits. We also had a couple of perch to about a pound and a half and it really was great sport. By the end of our day we’d caught 11 pike, 2 of which were doubles, and 16 perch. It had been great fishing and much better than we’d originally expected.

Since buying the boat in 2007 from our good friend, Andrew Maryniak, we’ve had some great times on the river. Our main target has been trying to catch big Perch on lures, but along the way we’ve landed Pike to 20lbs, Chub to 6lb 2oz and a few nice Zander and Perch. My Dad caught his first 4lb’er last year at 4lb 6oz on a jig - a real cracker!
There have been days where we’ve caught over 140 fish between us - a mixture of Pike, Perch, Zander and the odd chub, mostly small but brilliant fun. Last year we spent a couple of nights on the boat which was chilly but really interesting. One night I had 8 Zander in the space of about 30 minutes! Not one was over a pound and a half! - so it just goes to show they’re breeding well. One day, fishing mainly surface lures produced 17 pike for us, and 3 good doubles.
In the short time I’ve fished the Thames I’ve realised what an awesome river it truly is. It has just about every feature or structure you could hope to fish. It all looks really fishy but it doesn’t always mean there are fish in those spots. It can often be the not so interesting looking places you’d probably pass by that can produce the fish. It will probably take a lifetime of fishing to really get to know the river so I’ve got a long way to go. One thing is for sure though, I’m going to try my hardest to learn about this vast fishy waterway.
Last weekend’s trip was a great start to our season on the Thames, and I’m really looking forward to my summer holidays, where I can get out on the boat a bit more - in the hope of some real Thames monsters!