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...

Thursday, 18 April 2013

As one season ends, another begins!

As one season ends, another begins - around mid-March marks the opening of many trout reservoirs. Rainbows and Browns that have been returned last season, or escaped capture, have been able to overwinter and grow on. The prospect of hooking one of these fish, in amongst the stockies, is always exciting. Many competitions also start at this time of year, although my first wasn't on a reservoir - it was on a small stillwater I'd never fished before - Blackdyke. It was one of the many fisheries where you could qualify for the Airflo World Bank Masters. Some of my team-mates from the Sonik Pitsford Pirates had given me an insight on what methods and flies work well there, and as I hadn't practised, I was hoping that they'd put me in the right direction!

I set up with a midge tip and a team of 3 flies, fishing the washing line with two nymphs on the droppers and a booby on the point. For the morning session I'd drawn the bank that was facing the chilly wind - not really ideal when there were gusts of up to 20mph, which made casting an 18ft leader difficult! I had to make short casts, making sure the leader landed straight and the flies didn't fall in a heap. In the morning session I managed to land 7 fish - the trick is to try and land a fish from every peg, as this will give you bonus points, and by lunchtime I'd caught from every peg.

The opposite bank, that was sheltered, had fished extremely well in the morning, with lots of fish caught and as it was my turn to fish the pegs along that bank in the afternoon session, I just hoped that it would continue to fish well. Luckily, it did and by the end of the match I'd caught 19 fish, at least one from every single peg, bar the last one! Fishing the washing line method had worked really well, and I won the match, qualifying for the final on Elinor on April 28th.

A few days later we'd planned a trip to Grafham, but the night before we'd made a long drive to Redditch and back, and we were so tired we slept through the alarm clock! Still wanting to go fishing, instead of travelling up to Grafham, we prepared ourselves for an afternoon lure fishing on a local lake. In fact, it's so close I can see it from my house!

It was an incredibly cold afternoon, with temperatures struggling to get above freezing - there was still snow on the ground, and with the wind it felt more like -10°C! Even trying to slide a soft bait on to a jighead was difficult, my hands were so cold! The fishing seemed to be as bleak as the weather conditions - I'd been watching a pair of Grebes searching for much of the time, and even they weren't catching. Despite moving several times around the lake and trying 3 or 4 softbaits of different colours, profiles and actions, we hadn't had a bite all afternoon.

I was starting to wonder whether we should have stuck to our original plan and gone flyfishing, when suddenly, my shad was hit on the drop around 30 yards from the bank. At first I thought it was going to be a Pike, as the fish had some weight to it, but as it was getting closer I started to feel some headshaking - tell tale signs it could be big stripey. When it boiled on the surface 3-4 yards out, I was amazed to see it was a clonking Perch. Thankfully, I managed to get it safely in the net!

My Dad and I were certain that it was over 4lbs, and sure enough, on the scales it revealed a weight of 4lb 5oz. I was a bit gobsmacked and not really expecting to catch a fish like that. We fished on until dark, but that was the only bite we had between us - a tough afternoon, but well worth enduring the freezing cold!

However, the lure fishing at Rib Valley closes on March 31st, so with just a couple of days to go, we had 2 more short sessions there, catching a few small Pike, and around 10 more Perch to 2lb 12oz jigging and drop shotting.

My next trip was practising for another qualifier - the Lexus Team Championships, this time fishing with the Sonik Pitsford Pirates. The first day I practised with my Dad and we caught plenty of fish between us, mostly on Boobies and Blobs fished on a Di7. In the afternoon I switched over to a midge tip and caught a few fish on buzzers and crunchers too.

The following day I practised with the team, and we found quite a few areas that all held fish - some held slightly bigger fish than others.

On the morning of the match I drew Andy Taylor from the 'Second String' team as my boat partner. We both had the same game plan, so we headed off to Sykes Lane. I had a dreadful start, losing my first 3 fish, landing one, then - disaster! As I was hanging my flies after finishing my retrieve, I had a good take, set the hook, and somehow my 3 piece rod exploded in to a 5 piece! It's the first time I've ever had a rod break on me, so I was a bit shell shocked at first. Thankfully, I had a backup rod and managed to get my act together, and it wasn't too long before I was in to fish again.

Our morning then became even more action packed when Andy hooked in to a fantastic Pike, right by the boat, on an Orange blob! It was one of the best looking Pike I think I've ever seen - it reminded me of some of the Italian Pike you see in the magazines with the beautiful markings. I'm guessing it was getting on for 23lbs!

Not long after that, we both bagged up literally at the same time and it was time to go in. Many others had caught their limits too, and by around 4.30pm everyone had bagged up!  The Seighford Sharks, pipped us by two points to third place, so we finished fourth and only the top 3 qualify. Everybody had done well but sometimes you need just that little bit of luck! Our team were gutted - but well done to those teams that did make it through and I wish them all the best in the final.


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