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, 21 November 2013

Ballan Wrasse - my 119th species on a lure!

Before heading out to Ireland for the World Championships last month, my Mum, Dad and I had planned to stay in Enniskillen for an extra couple of days after the event had finished. I don't often fish in the sea around the UK, so we thought it would be a nice change to fit in a few hours lure fishing along some of Northern Ireland's rocky coastline.

As it was our first time to Northern Ireland, before we crossed the Irish Sea I asked Mike Thrussell for some recommendations on where to fish, and he very kindly pointed us to an area around an hour's drive from Enniskillen, near Ballyshannon. To say it looked fishy was an understatement! Using Texas rigged and drop-shotted twitchtails and beetle grubs (similar to what we use for targeting Perch), we caught quite a few Wrasse and Pollack, nothing huge, in just a couple of hours. What was great was catching Ballan Wrasse, bumping my species tally caught on lures up to 119.

Some of the takes were really savage and I lost what I think was a nice Pollack, maybe 6lbs or so, which buried itself in the kelp and came off! It was great fun and we didn't want it to end - but luckily we had some good news on the way back to the car. I had a text from Irish Ferries saying that our ferry from Dublin to Holyhead the following day had been cancelled!  So we booked another night at the hotel.

The rain was very heavy and persisted for most of the following day, until around 3pm, so when the rain started to ease off my Dad and I grabbed the gear and thought we'd make the most of our last couple of hours in Ireland, and headed back to the same area. We experimented with lots of different baits that we normally use for Perch, and found the Berkley Havoc Grass Pig Jr worked really well, rigged on a 3/0 offset hook and fished Texas style, and we caught even more (and bigger, though not huge) Wrasse and Pollack.

The sea was so clear we were watching some of the fish fly out from the rocks and kelp and annihilate our lures! I'm really looking forward to spending some more time lure fishing along the coast. I'd certainly like to go back to Ireland again!

Since returning from the Emerald Isle, everywhere I've fished has been hard! I've had a few trips along my local rivers and on some local gravel pits, but they've all been slow, until the past week. I'm not sure why - it could be down to the milder than average temperatures we've had this Autumn, plus pressure, as everybody likes to get out and lure fish at this time of year, before it gets really cold.

On a recent outing to a local lake, targeting Pike, I only had one 'bite' all day. It wasn't a fish though - I reeled in my 7.5" Sébile Koolie Minnow to find a Crayfish wrapped around the crankbait! It was still trying to eat it even when I was holding it up for the camera! Both my Dad and I have caught Crayfish on small 2-4" jigs intended for Perch, and my Dad has even caught Mitten Crabs on the fly in the past from Walthamstow, but I'm not quite sure why this one decided to grab hold of something considerably larger than itself! It just goes to how big a fish they will attack.

Dad and I have had a couple of trips to Grafham targeting Zander, which has also not been easy! Normally after a few weeks of opening to lure fishing, it does start to fish harder after the fish have seen so many lures. We've caught a few Zander up to around 9lbs, along with some Perch, plus my Dad landed a cracking Brownie!

All of the fish we've caught recently from Grafham, including the Brownie, have fallen to drop-shotted Sébile Magic Swimmer Softs. I've been using these soft baits on a variation of the drop-shot rig that my Dad came up with a while ago, which has a stinger - it allows you to fish big baits without the fear of missing small 'plucks' or 'nips' from finicky fish, or Zander trying to stun their prey before they realise it's actually soft plastic. Saying that, all of the fish we've caught on the Magic Swimmer Softs recently have completely engulfed them, despite their size! They seem to work really well on a drop-shot rig.

Back in May, I was approached by Sean Eliis, the Essex R.O for the Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain, to see whether I'd be interested in giving a talk. I'd never given a talk before, apart from at school or college, and I was a bit apprehensive at first because I haven't caught many anywhere near the size of what many seasoned Pike anglers catch, plus I'm more of an all round lure angler than a Pike specialist. Sean managed to sway me and 2 weeks ago I was at the Noak Bridge Inn near Basildon giving a talk! I really enjoyed it, and thanks to all of those who turned up, and I'd like to thank Sean for giving me the confidence to do it!

It was a good warm up, because 9 days later I was a guest on Keith Arthur's show, 'Tightlines', on Sky Sports! I've been watching the show for years, so to be asked on as a guest was a huge honour. To be honest, the hour went so quickly I didn't get through half of the gear I'd bought in to show. It was an amazing experience - a massive thank you to Keith, and Mick Brais, the producer!

Over the weekend we had some very cloudy, dull weather conditions, and the low light levels were perfectly suited for targeting Perch. We hadn't planned to fish over the weekend so it was a spur of the moment decision to head out on Sunday morning! I started with a Texas rigged Ripple Shad, which has been one of my favourite soft baits this year whilst Dad tried a Sébile A.T Minnow, which has only just come out in the past few weeks. On my very first cast I had a Perch of around 2lbs, which was quickly followed by another of 2lb 10oz.

As the day progressed though, Dad started getting more and more bites using the A.T Minnow, so I put one on. To cut a long story short, we ended up going back for a few more hours on the Monday and over two short afternoons, we ended up with 23 Perch, many of those weighing over 2lb 8oz, to a best of 3lb 9oz, and nearly all of the fish fell for Texas rigged A.T Minnows, with the exception of a couple of fish on small crankbaits.

I think the A.T Minnow could well become a new favourite!

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