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, 22 August 2016

A very fishy summer!

I'm not quite sure where this summer has gone so far - somehow, it feels like it's only just started but actually, we're just a week away from the August bank holiday weekend! The past few summers have been very busy ones for me as a Project Manager for Get Hooked on Fishing, with lots of coaching events and shows taking place, and this year has been especially busy. The first event was Fish'O'Mania back in mid-July, followed by a Family Fishing day at Suffolk Water Park, then over to Ragley Hall in Warwickshire for the new look Game Fair, and then, the packed out BBC Countryfile Live show at Blenheim Palace - by far the busiest event I've ever shown lure fishing at, with over 5000 signing in for the waterside activities!

At the Countryfile Live show, our lure tank was based so close to the river at Blenheim, that Dad and I couldn't help but have a few casts every now and then. The water was only inches deep - in fact, our lure tank was deeper! We caught around 40 Perch and a jack Pike over the course of the four show days, mainly on Berkley Shrug Minnows rigged on a 2.5g Rock Head. We also managed to squeeze in a couple of hours fishing after the second day of the show, on a small, picturesque estate lake a stone's throw away from where we were staying. Jonathan Fromant, a volunteer who has given up a lot of his spare time to help GHoF, Dad and I fished until it got dark and Dad caught four Pike, the biggest of which was probably getting on for 10lb, which he caught on a chatterbait, along with a nice Perch.

Most of my fishing over the past month took place before the Game Fair and Countryfile Live shows, on either Grafham, flyfishing, or on the Thames, lure fishing. I'd been looking forward to fishing the Thames for quite a few months, as we hadn't been down there since the winter, but we were a little concerned about the state our boat would be in after leaving it so long without visiting. Apart from a few cobwebs and spiders inside, it was surprisingly tidy!

My first fish of the season from the Thames turned out to be a lovely Perch, which took a white Berkley Havoc Rocket Craw, and a couple of weeks later ended up on the front cover of Angling Times!

The white Rocket Craw turned out to be our most successful lure on that trip, which stood out well in the coloured water we were fishing in and helped us catch plenty more Pike and Perch. Our next trip, about a week or so later, turned out to be even more action packed, especially when it came to Pike - at one point Dad caught four in four casts!

We fished through the night in the hope of Zander, and just before it got dark I managed to catch my first Thames Zander for quite a while, which took a Havoc Sick Fish Jr on a 10g 3/0 jighead.

It was great to catch the Zander under a full moon with a cloudless sky, and it never really got that dark - Dad took this photo of some houses as we were motoring downstream at 2.17am!

Hooking in to a fish on a lure in the dark under a full moon is a very eerie but exciting experience, not knowing whether you've hooked a Zander, Pike or even a Chub!

At around midnight, I shone my headtorch in to the water to see how the lure was swimming, and I spotted two elvers swimming just under the surface, which was interesting to watch. The river was a little less coloured and during the day, duller Rocket Craws and Pit Boss Jr's worked very well, helping us boat 26 Pike, 26 Perch, a Zander and a Chub.

On our most recent trip, Dad managed to catch two more Zander.

Whilst heading downstream, Dad and I spotted some fry scattering, thinking they were Perch. We cast our crankbaits to them and they turned out to be Chub!

This was the biggest of six we landed on 5cm Flicker Shads, and like me on the last trip, Dad managed to complete a Thames 'Super Slam' - Pike, Perch, Zander and Chub all in the same session!

Back to flyfishing, and I always enjoy flyfishing Grafham throughout the summer for Pike, Perch and Zander, and we had a couple of good trips towards the end of July, mainly targeting the Zander and Perch, although we have caught a couple of nice Pike recently, which have moved in to the slightly deeper water where we've been targeting the other species.

Dad's caught our biggest fly caught Zander this year so far - a chunky fish of 10lb 10oz caught on one of his 'Zander Lander' flies.

I also had a trip flyfishing for Trout practising for the Airflo International Midland Final - the trout team I fish for, the Pitsford Pirates, had qualified to fish this semi-final match. I fished with Bart Farmer and although it wasn't easy fishing, we found a method for the match day (which I couldn't make), and the team put in a brilliant performance and managed to finish second, qualifying for the final in October! Our captain Charlie Abrahams also won the match too! Well done to Charlie and the team!

The week before last, I fished some local gravel pits that are very shallow and weedy, targeting Pike on buzz baits with Mark Parker for a feature for Improve Your Coarse Fishing. They're one of my favourite surface lures and a favourite summer lure to fish, and even though the fishing was hard, the takes alone were well worth the wait - watching a Pike bow-wave behind your lure and then slam it off the surface is such an exciting way of targeting them! This was the biggest of four fish caught on the day.

We're now preparing for two more Family Fishing days this weekend - one at Rib Valley on Saturday 27th, and one at the Ealing project on Monday 29th. The long range weather forecast looks very good so fingers crossed it stays the same!

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