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...

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!)