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...

Monday, 12 September 2011

A day flyfishing with Keith Arthur

This August, I had a big surprise - an e-mail from Keith Arthur, the presenter of Sky Sports' Tightlines and Talk Sport's, Fisherman's Blues, asking whether I would be interested in taking part in a video clip about flyfishing for Trout and maybe Zander, to be broadcast on Tightlines. Without hesitation, I said yes, and soon a date was pencilled in the diary to meet him at Grafham. My Dad also agreed to drive the boat for the camera crew!

We arrived at the lodge early so we could all have a chat about the day over breakfast. The conditions were looking well suited for Trout fishing - overcast with a slight chop on the water. We were both raring to get out there and fish - all I hoped was one of us would catch for the cameras!

Before we could leave the harbour, Keith and I were rigged up with our microphones, and after tackling up with a slow glass line and Keith with a floater, I motored us both out to Deep Water Point where my Dad and I had caught some Trout a few days before. On my very first cast I hooked up to a nice stocky rainbow, which had taken my blob tied to my top dropper, and soon had my first fish in the boat - phew! Minutes later, it was Keith's turn to hook up and he also had his first rainbow of the day, caught on a big buzzer at the other end (on the point) - what a great start!

We repeated the same drift but this time a little closer to the bank on the edge of a drop-off, and again, it didn't take long before we both had bites - and a double hookup!

Whilst fishing we chatted about everything, including Arsenal - who we both support! Keith is a living encyclopedia - not just about fishing either. He blew me away with what he knows.

After catching about 10 Trout between us, Keith and the camera crew felt that they'd taken enough footage of us Trout fishing, and would like to see if we could catch some Zander. Unfortunately, the wind had strengthened considerably as the day had gone on and it would make holding anchor over various spots quite tricky, also casting fairly heavy flies would be difficult!

The zander sport had been slower in the past few weeks and it took a good hour and a bit before I had the first solid whack, which the fish had taken on the drop whilst the fly was falling through the water. It was only a small fish of around 5lbs, but it was great to get one in the boat and on camera! I was still confident we were going to get some more though.

Shortly after catching that fish I decided that we should move to another area. Keith lowered the anchor down and we both cast out in hope of a bite. On my first cast everything locked up and I found myself playing what felt like a good fish. Keith, with the net on the ready, did the honours and scooped up our biggest Zander of the day, which we estimated was about 10lbs.

Unfortunately, no more bites came from that spot so we decided to move. The zander fishing was proving much tougher than I expected. We tried numerous different areas of the reservoir before managing my third of around 6lb 8oz, and what would be our last Zed of the day. Although I'd caught three Zander, I was pretty upset that Keith was unlucky and didn't get one. We both decided to call it a day with the Zeds and switch back to Trout fishing, and hopefully enjoy some action similar to what we'd had earlier. By the end of the day we'd added another 5 or 6 between us to our tally of the day, caught mainly on Diawl bachs, Crunchers, Buzzers and 'The Thing'. My Dad also managed to have the last couple of hours fishing, and caught 3 including a nice Brownie of about 3lb 12oz.

It had been a brilliant day's fishing on Grafham - the Trout especially, but apart from fluffing up my words whilst talking in to the camera, I think it went quite well. It had been a real privilege to fish with Keith. He is a true professional at his job, presenting and catching fish! Thanks to John Mees also for making sure that it all went well. By the end of the day we were all very tired. What a great day it had been though, fishing with a 'minefield of information'! Now I'm looking forward to seeing it on Tightlines on Friday night.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

A Few Surprises

On our first trip after returning from Scotland, we fished a half day on Grafham fishing for zander. It was a difficult afternoon but we did land 2 Zander each. With only an hour to go, my Dad hooked in to something substantial though. It was giving him a hell of a scrap - which gave us the impression he may have hooked in to a nice Pike, and we were proved right. The scales tipped round to 20lb 13oz - an immaculate fish and our first 20 of the year.

We had another 2 half day trips after this and together, we landed 14 more Zander to 11lb 8oz, plus 4 nice Pike.

Before returning again, I'd been invited to fish with my mate, Ashley Gillies, who also fishes for the England Youth Team. He wanted to take me to Elinor, a venue I'd never fished before, to trout fish from the bank. Ed Foster, the fishery manager, also an England International for the men's team, suggested that we start at the North end of the lake. So with Ash guiding the way, we walked round to find a weed-clogged bay that was rammed with trout! There were fish jumping everywhere and shoals of 10 or more would swim past you as you fished - but it wasn't easy. By the end of the day I'd caught 8 rainbows up to around 3lb, many of which were caught just a rodlength or two out, fishing a floating line. The most successful patterns were Diawl Bachs, Hares Ears and 'The Thing'.

The next day Ash and I fished Grafham, and whilst we waited for my Dad to arrive so that he could be boatman, we fished from the harbour arms. Ash fished a Di7 with a booby and a blob whilst I opted for a midge tip and a team of nymphs. After half an hour of fishing I had a delicate bite. It felt much smaller than the average trout - when I got it in it turned out to be a Pike about the length of my hand hanging on to my size 12 Diawl Bach!

Not long after, my Dad arrived so we quickly loaded our gear in to the boat for an afternoon afloat. It wasn't easy but we landed 3 trout each - I caught a good one of 4lb 10oz from Pylon Point.

Ash had never caught a Zander before, so at around 5pm we decided to take him to a few spots where he'd have a good chance of catching one. At our first spot, Ash soon had a bite but unfortunately missed it. After no more bites in that area, we moved on. At our next spot I managed to catch a small one but they were proving difficult, so we kept searching. I was still confident he could catch one, and in our next area he hooked in to his first Zander. He was well happy with his fish, which weighed around 7 and a half pounds. As he was playing it he said it was the best fight he'd ever had - but it would be nothing compared to what he was about to hook next!...

About an hour later Ash hooked in to a much heftier fish - at first, my Dad and I thought he'd foul hooked a big Bream as he could hardly move it and I'd just bumped out of one and there were a few rolling around us. We were both proved wrong as a huge Pike eventually boiled on the surface - but that was only half the battle because it plunged straight back down to the depths. After an amazing fight, which went on for quite some time, we netted a real monster!

My Dad and I fish Grafham a fair bit for predators, and we've only ever caught 5 over 25lbs from there, but on his first ever trip fly-fishing for predators, Ash had landed a fish of a lifetime weighing 27lb 11oz - Wow! I wasn't really jealous...! We took a couple of quick pics and then raced back to the harbour as it was getting late. What a great couple of days Ash and I had - I know I'll never forget that fish - I can still see Ashley's grin now, and who can blame him? Well done mate!

Our next fishing trip was to be on Coleman's Cottage lakes. A good fishing friend of ours, Paul Henson, who works for Rackhams Carpet Company, had organised and invited us to help out and fish at a corporate day for Rackhams there. It was a match consisting of about 60 anglers. After a good breakfast at the lodge everyone began fishing at 10am. My Dad and I took it in turns fishing. Whilst my Dad fished first I tried to help a few people out with my limited knowledge of coarse/match fishing. Some anglers were catching really well including Paul and his boss Ian. We had some nasty rain, but it didn't seem to put the fish off as anglers were consistently catching. At 4pm the horn sounded and the match had come to a close. There had been some big bags caught and the heaviest was 176lb 4oz by Richard Richman. Paul and his boss were also up there with a big bag too, plus Paul also caught the biggest fish - a nice mirror around 15lbs. My Dad and I only managed an average bag of 40lbs exactly. It had been a great day - everyone had caught and after a nice buffet the trophies were given out to the worthy anglers.

A few days later, we returned to Grafham for a couple of half days practising for Trout, as we had had a surprise email from Keith Arthur of Tightlines and Fisherman's Blues. Keith had kindly invited me to fish with him at Grafham for Trout, filming for Tightlines and, if we had time leftover, maybe try and catch a few Zander. To get an idea of how it was fishing, I fished a midge tip with nymphs whilst my Dad pulled with a Di5. Together, after two afternoon's fishing, we managed to catch 21 trout, plus a couple of Zander. Both methods seemed to work and most of our fish came from along the North shore.

The practising went well and leads to my next blog of the actual day fishing with Keith...