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...

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

My first 4lb Perch on the Fly

Just after we arrived back from Ireland, John Rochester, a friend of my Dad's ever since they were at school together, came to stay. They'd not seen each other in years. The two of them used to fish together when they were young all the time, so my Dad suggested a couple of hours one evening introducing him to jig fishing. Lure fishing has changed considerably since they last fished together - back then spinners, spoons and plugs were the order of the day. Now there's a huge array of new tackle and tactics, especially with the use of soft plastics.

A cloudless sky made for some difficult fishing, with just one follow from a Pike of around 8lb to start with. As the sun set and the light diminished we were hopeful that the fish would switch on. It wasn't until the last half hour before dark that we had any action when I managed to land a small jack. Very soon after, my yellow twintail was taken on the drop and resulted in a lovely perch of 3lb 4oz.

John had taken to the jigging technique quickly but unfortunately, along with my Dad, lost a fish each. We were all a bit frustrated that we hadn't banked more as those two fish I caught were in an area that held a big shoal of small silverfish, which the perch had obviously been feasting on. However, by the time we'd found the baitfish it was almost dark and we'd run out of time. So an early morning session a couple of days later was on the cards.

Two days later, we were up at first light without John this time, but this didn't prove to be that much better. We did catch a couple of pike each though and Dad landed 2 beautiful Perch of 2lb 9oz and 2lb 10oz, most of our fish falling for crankbaits.

A few days later we had a trip to Grafham flyfishing for trout. In all the years we have fished the reservoir we have never seen so many pinfry. Almost everywhere you looked there were huge shoals of fry and the trout were making the most of it - it was just like watching schools of tuna smashing baitfish and the sport was fantastic at times. On our first trip we caught 27 fish, and on another trip there caught 15. The best methods and flies seemed to be floating or midge tip lines fished with an 18ft leader and 3 flies - either diawl bachs, hares ears, corixa or pheasant tail nymphs. A Woofta or Cat Booby on the point proved very successful when pulled through the surface.

One of the reasons for going to Grafham was to practise for a match the following weekend, organised by the England Youth Flyfishing Team. 'Captains Day' is held every year on Grafham as a friendly get together and farewell to that years Captain of the team and any members that are leaving - this years captain was Kieran Bonas.

The match was well attended with around 50 anglers taking part, half of which were adults. With temperatures on match day exceeding 32°C and the lake being flat calm made fishing difficult. My boat partner was Mick Whittle. Mick started with a Di5 line pulling blobs and I started off fishing a Midge Tip line with a Diawl Bach on the top dropper, a Corixa in the Middle and a Cat Booby on the point. I caught my first and biggest fish in Gaynes before relocating to the bowl of the Dam where I'd found a few fish in practice. This is where I caught the rest of my fish, as well as a Perch around 1lb 12oz! I managed to land 5 fish for 13lb on the dot, with the biggest fish weighing 4lb 7oz. It earned me 4th place, but well done to Adam Worker for winning the match with 7 fish, and for also landing the biggest fish of the day too.

For a while, my Dad had fancied a trip float fishing on our local River Lea, so we dug out some old gear including a whip and fished for a few hours between Ware and St. Margarets. On my Dad's first cast he lost a good double figure carp on his whip using a single caster - although he didn't have much chance of landing it on 2lb line as he was hoping for roach! It was a lovely sunny evening spent watching the float and we both ended up with a mixed bag of fish including some nice roach up to around 10oz and I also had a good bream weighing 5lb 1oz. Both of our bags probably weighed around 10 - 12lbs.

A couple of mornings later I had a phone call from Chris Vaughan, my tutor from college, asking whether I could help out teaching some children how to fish at a park lake in Potters Bar. It was a great chance to put my ADB qualification in to use. So, 2 hours later, I was at the lake with Richard Allen, another one of my mates at college, and Claire Baker, a tutor at Shuttleworth College. Using simple float gear on a whip, each child had around 15 minutes fishing - some were only as young as 3 or 4 years old! Although it was quite hectic, everyone caught a fish and it was great to see so many happy faces - they all really enjoyed it and didn't want to stop. It was amazing to see so many girls wanted to try it as well, and were not frightened to hold the fish, like some of the boys!

Before heading off to the World Carp Classics in Italy, which my next blog will be about, we managed to fit in one last outing on Grafham flyfishing for predators. My first cast of the day resulted in a Zander of 9lb 2oz, then, on my fourth cast I hooked in to something very special. I knew straight away it was a good Perch, as I could feel the typical head shaking of a big stripey. Minutes later I was holding my first 4lb Perch on the fly! As any angler could imagine I was over the moon, and so was my Dad. It had taken one of my Dad's patterns, our top predator fly I nicknamed 'The Zander Lander', and it was probably one of the most fantastic looking stripeys I've ever caught.

Moments later, whilst my Dad was playing another Zander, Bob Church and Mike Green came over to see how we were getting on. After a quick chat we all got back to our fishing, then it was Bob's turn to get in on the action, landing a cracking Pike and a Zander on the following cast. It had been a lively couple of hours fishing, but the action soon dried up, so we had to keep on the move, looking for more fish. By the end of the day we'd netted 8 Zander and the one Perch.

Forty eight hours later I was on a plane heading for Italy with the Shuttleworth and Sparsholt lads to marshal the World Carp Classics, which I'll write about in the next few days.

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