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, 14 February 2015

On the search for big winter Perch!

This past month has been, without a doubt, one of the toughest my Dad and I have experienced lure fishing on local venues. Apart from two full days fishing, the rest of our trips have been short afternoons, concentrating our efforts on trying to catch big winter stripeys.

Most of the rivers around our way have only recently started to look really good, after rain and snowmelt from January filled them with cold, muddy water. This, along with salt mixing with the ice and snowmelt, causes fish to become very lethargic. Lakes that were frozen over have now thawed and are very cold too, and the testing conditions have meant that we've had to experiment and try many different lure fishing tactics, in order to find out where the fish are, what's working best, and help us get some fish in the net!

One of the most successful techniques has been searching with lures that create a lot of movement and vibration, that will make the fish react and trigger them in to taking the lure, then using finesse tactics in the areas we locate Perch. A small 1/4oz (7g) chatterbait with a Berkley Pit Boss trailer has worked well as a search bait, and my Dad has caught some good stripeys on these recently. A good colour chatterbait that has worked well has been a reddy brown, which looks very much like a small Signal Crayfish.

On a session last weekend along the River Lea, my Dad was crawling and bumping a chatterbait along the bottom before hooking in to a snag. He tried to shake it off for quite a while, before deciding to go for a break, but luckily he didn't lose it, and a split second after it had pulled out of the snag he had a good whack, which turned out to be a Perch of 3lb 5oz!

The other tactic we've been using to search for fish has been a shakey head. A shakey head is a type of jighead that enables you to rig a soft plastic Texas style. They come in lots of different styles, but they're purposely designed for fishing straight-tail soft plastic worms and 'shaking' or 'wiggling' them along the bottom. However, I've found they also work equally well with all kinds of soft baits, especially shads.

Berkley Ripple Shads, Gotam Shads and Sébile A.T Minnows have been some of our most successful recently, and on one afternoon trip, Dad caught two cracking 3lber's in two casts - the first on a Ripple Shad, and the second on an A.T Minnow.

I also caught a lovely Brown Trout on a twin tail rigged on an Owner Ultrahead Finesse Ball head - one of my favourite shakey heads.

Another successful method that has worked really well this past month has been drop-shotting, and one of the top soft baits has been a Berkley Twitchtail Minnow. I first came across the twitchtail in the US a couple of years ago, and although it was designed intentionally for Bass, it works equally well for big Perch, as the tiniest of movements in the rod tip brings it to life. A couple of weeks ago, Dad and I were fishing a local stretch of river and a good Perch followed my jigged shad in, after casting to a slack area behind an overhanging bush - it even nosed the shad lying on the bottom, but refused to take it and turned away. Instead of re-casting my shad, I switched tactics and presented a drop-shot rig. Barely moving the twitchtail, after 2-3 minutes of holding the bait in the same position, I had a savage take and caught the Perch that refused my first offering! It was one of five over 2lb, plus a micro jack, caught in a couple of hours.

Over the past month, drop-shotting has helped me fool Perch of 3lb 4oz, 3lb 1oz and numerous stripeys over 2lb. Although some of the bites I've had have been aggressive, most of the takes have been quite subtle, often thinking you've hooked a snag at first, but then realising there's a fish on the end!

I've also caught some nice Pike drop-shotting - you can just about make out the twitchtail hanging out of this Pike's mouth!

Drop-shotting has also been very successful on a local gravel pit targeting Perch, but we've had to really scale down to get bites, using size 14 sedge hooks with chopped pieces of Berkley Gulp! Sandworm or Gulp! Earthworm. On one trip, we caught quite a few small Perch, but the biggest surprise of the day was when Dad caught a lovely Roach of around 1lb!

Last month I was asked to give two talks - one to the Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain's Suffolk Region near Ipswich, and the other for Get Hooked on Fishing at GHoF Ealing. I'd just like to say a big thank you to all the people who came along and gave their support, and to Jason Skilton from the PAC and my colleagues James Thornhill and Charlie Moore from GHoF Ealing for inviting me along!

Four weeks today will be March 14th and the last day of the river season. The last few weeks of the season always seem to fly by, so I just hope I can make the most of it!

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