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, 30 November 2015

Reaping havoc with the Rocket Craw!

November can be a funny month for fishing - sometimes it can be really good for freshwater predators, and then on other years it can be really tough. It was definitely the latter for me and my Dad last year and the year before, and the way our fishing was going at the beginning of the month, it looked like this November would be a repeat of the previous two.

However, this month has turned in to a really good one, especially for Perch, and I think it was helped by the sudden drop in temperature just over a week ago that I think triggered fish in to going on the feed, after an unseasonably warm month.

Most of our trips at the beginning of the month were on reservoirs such as Pitsford, Farmoor and Grafham, before the windy conditions moved in - I wish it would calm down soon! We targeted the Pike on Pitsford and had a very tough day - we actually caught more Perch than Pike, despite mainly using lures over 5" in length (and some nice ones too, up to 2lb 10oz), but our only Pike, which Dad caught and was probably around 7lb, was the only one caught on the reservoir all day, between 5 boats!

A few weeks ago, I took a volunteer helper at Get Hooked on Fishing, Harry Theobald, to Grafham. I've been meaning to fish with Harry for months, and this was his first time fishing from a boat on a reservoir. Harry, along with his mate Luca Castello, are both really starting to get in to their lure fishing, which is great to see. We really wanted to help Harry catch his first Zander, and we thought we were going to have no problems catching one as Dad hooked and lost a very good fish right at the start of the day, but unfortunately, it turned in to a very hard trip for the Zeds, but we caught plenty of Perch up to 2lb 4oz.

Right at the death, Dad caught our only Zander of the day, which was around 3-4lbs. We all had an enjoyable day, but Dad and I were a bit upset we couldn't help Harry catch his first Zed.

We had another trip back there, but despite catching nearly 50 fish, not one of them was a Zander! I've never known Grafham to produce so many Perch - even the stripeys we were catching were coughing up smaller Perch in the 3"-4" range. Many of the Perch I caught drop-shotting a 105mm Sébile Magic Swimmer Soft in Perch.

A couple of weeks later we met up with Harry again at the Uxbridge Rovers Lure Day on their section of the River Colne, Grand Union Canal and their lake at Batchworth. This is the second lure day Dad and I have kindly been invited to by organiser Kevin O'Shaughnessy, but unfortunately, on each occasion, we've had heavy rain either on the day or the day before, which has coloured up the river, as well as the canal and lake! We still had an enjoyable afternoon though, catching 2 Pike to around 6lbs and 3 Perch, mostly on the white Berkley Havoc Rocket Craw. A big thanks to Kevin and the rest of the Uxbridge Rovers for inviting us along!

The Uxbridge Rovers are also fantastic supporters of Get Hooked on Fishing, and keeping on the subject of the charity, at the end of last month we held 'have a go' sessions at the GHoF/Walthamstow Academy for two days. Crystal clear water and two cold nights before the sessions made the fishing difficult, but every family, bar one, caught at least one fish, including the Furne family, who caught the most species - and Mum Michelle caught the biggest fish of the two days! A massive thank you to Jonathan Fromant, Ben Bradley, Cliff Cardy and Dad for giving up their time and volunteering to help out!

On the same week as the Uxbridge Rovers Lure Day, Dad and I fished Rib Valley targeting Pike for a feature for LURE magazine, with editor Steve Phillips. It was one of those days when you're grateful for having good waterproofs, as it was raining quite heavily when we started at 7am, and didn't stop until 2pm! There was one short spell where I caught a Pike and a Perch in the morning, then we went around 3-4 hours without a bite. However, when the rain did stop, the whole lake switched on - Carp started boshing and bubbling up, silverfish started topping and the Pike woke up too. We were hoping for a few more fish, but we caught on a variety of different types of lures and Dad ended the day with a 13lb 6oz. The next issue, LURE 5, is out tomorrow, and contains the feature - you can find it by clicking here.

Since then, the fishing seems to have picked up wherever we've been, and one of the lures that worked that day was the Berkley Havoc Rocket Craw, and it has probably been my most successful soft bait this past month. It worked well on a trip to the River Thames on our boat, helping us catch over 70 fish - a mixture of mostly Perch, but a few Pike too. Dad unfortunately lost two big fish that day, one of which he hooked around an hour in to dark in one of the big weir pools on a chatterbait - it was quite a sizeable fish and we think it was either a big Zander, or possibly even a Catfish!

As the month has progressed, we've caught some nice Perch from our local rivers, although the last fortnight has been especially good. It started after a tough day fishing one weekend, but right at the end of the day I managed to land a 3lb 4oz stripey on the Rocket Craw.

It was almost pitch black by the time I'd caught this fish and we didn't get time to really fish the area I caught it properly, so a couple of days later, we returned to the same area for the last two hours of light. The fishing was quite tough - it was very windy and it was hard to feel what was going on, but as the light faded Dad picked up a nice Perch of 2lb 5oz. About 15 minutes later Dad struck in to something, which at first he thought was a snag, as it was so windy, but then it started head shaking and gave him a good fight! It turned out to be an immaculate looking Perch, which was very lightly hooked, and the lure he caught it on - a chatterbait, rigged with a Havoc Pit Boss trailer, fell out in the net just after we landed it. It weighed 3lb 15oz (46cm), which is the fourth different Perch weighing 1oz under 4lb we've caught this year, and Dad's 100th Perch weighing over 3lb!

Three days later we returned to a different area of the river, again for the last couple of hours. My first fish of the day was a 2lb 10oz stripey, and using the Rocket Craw rigged on a Shaky Head, I managed to catch another 4 Perch, with the biggest weighing 3lb 12oz (48cm).

We kept a close eye on the weather that week, and with temperatures forecast to drop 10°C in the coming days (with snow even predicted!) we decided to have one last trip to another stretch of river, this time for a few hours in the morning, before the cold weather kicked in. Almost as soon as we started, Dad, who was about 30m upstream of me, had a huge Trout follow his crankbait in. When I went over to see how he was getting on, he told me he reckoned it was 8lb. To be honest, I found this hard to believe, but as I stood talking to him, the fish followed him in again, and I could see what he meant - it was certainly big!

After a few more casts in this swim with no luck, Dad moved upstream whilst I moved in to his swim to try the Rocket Craw. Moments later I heard commotion and splashing, as Dad had hooked the Trout - the fish had followed him in again and took the crankbait right at his feet!

It turned out we'd both underestimated the size of the fish - it was 65cm long and very deep, and when put on the scales it weighed a whopping 8lb 10oz!

About an hour later, he then caught another, this time weighing 4lb 15oz! It's amazing how different each Brownie looked - the first was silvery, almost like a Sea Trout, whereas the colours on this one were very vivid.

I persisted with the Rocket Craw hoping it would produce some Perch, and thankfully I didn't have to wait too long before I found some fish, landing Perch of 2lb, 2lb 1oz and 3lb 1oz - not a bad way to end the morning and be home by 10.30am!

Whenever I go fishing on my birthday, I have a horrible knack of blanking! In fact, the only fish I'd ever caught on my birthday was a Sturgeon when I was 8! Last Monday was my 21st birthday and although I couldn't fish all day due to work (and opening cards and presents!), I did manage to get out for the last couple of hours to try and put my run of birthday blanks to bed!

The cold weather forecast had kicked in though and the fishing was very different to our last trip, and we hadn't had a bite after two hours of fishing - maybe it was because the fish knew it was my birthday! Anyway, I thought I would be doomed for another year, but on my very last cast of the day, the Rocket Craw came to the rescue and I hooked in to a fish, which turned out to be a good Perch. I thought it may break the 3lb mark, but coincidentally, it weighed 2lb 11oz - containing both numbers of my birthday, so I was more than chuffed!

That fish rounded off a fantastic and special three days, celebrating with friends and family. I still haven't cut the cake though yet, and I'm not sure if I want to!

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