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...

Friday, 7 October 2016

It's that time of the year again!

September and October are months that I always look forward to, not only because the drop in temperatures can really switch predatory fish on, but because many reservoirs open up for lure anglers to try their hand at targeting big Pike, Perch and Zander. Since I was 11 my Dad and I have always fished Grafham on the first day of the lure fishing season, and it's almost become a tradition now, since this would be our tenth year on the trot that we'd be fishing the opening day. This year's opener turned out to be action-packed, boating plenty of fish of all species (Pike, Perch and Zander), although nothing really big. The Pike seemed particularly fired up though, and we decided on our second day we had booked to target these.

Unfortunately, our game plan didn't really pay off and although we caught a couple of Pike, they were not the big'uns we were hoping for. We did catch some nice Perch though on some surprisingly big lures!

Since then, we've had a few trips back specifically for the Perch and Zander. It seemed as if we were going through a spell where we were catching lots of fish, but nothing of any size, but thankfully, on our third trip of the season so far, Dad managed to catch this fantastic 48.5cm stripey, drop-shotting a Berkley Pro Twitchtail Minnow - one of around 60 Perch, 14 Zander and two Pike caught between us that day.

Our best session so far this season came on the fourth trip, although we had a bit of a nightmare start to the day. Dad lost two good fish in the first hour, and I also lost a nice fish, and we thought it was going to turn in to 'one of those days' after the wind got up and it started to get really rough (despite the forecast saying the wind speed wouldn't be more than 11mph). Our luck changed for the good though and it wasn't long before Dad had a nice Zander of around 7lb, which was quickly followed with a fish I caught of around 9lb.

Over the course of the day we managed two more nice Zander, with plenty of Perch in between to 2lb 8oz, but the best fish were yet to come...

With about 15 minutes before the boats had to be back in, my drop-shotted Sébile Magic Swimmer Soft was slammed by a hard fighting fish, which felt like a very good Perch - I was just hoping it wasn't a jack in disguise! It turned out to be a beautiful looking fish of 4lb 1oz (48cm), which equalled my biggest Grafham Perch to date!

After releasing the fish, there were literally about five minutes to spare before we needed to head back in, so we dropped our drop-shot rigs back down again and almost instantly I had another hit, which I missed, then another hit - which I hooked! It was another great Perch, weighing just 3oz smaller than the last, at 3lb 14oz (47cm)! It's my biggest brace of Perch from Grafham, so the day ended on a high!

Apart from fishing Grafham, I haven't done that much lure fishing over the past month, as I've had a lot going on, with just a trip to the Thames and a couple of short afternoons on my local rivers. We fished the night on the Thames on our boat, mainly targeting Pike, Perch and Chub during the day, then when it got dark it was the Zander that we were really hoping for. I always enjoy lure fishing in the dark - there is an eeriness to it that I find fascinating, especially not knowing what species you may hook next.

At about 9pm, I hooked in to what felt like a very good fish, which had taken a Ripple Shad hopped along the bottom in 25ft of water. It felt very heavy on my relatively light set-up - a 7' Abu Villain and Revo STX20 loaded with 0.12mm Nanofil, and it was fighting quite unusually, which began to make me wonder if I'd hooked one of the Thames' elusive Catfish. Whatever it was, I didn't want to lose it, as it felt big!

Instead of a Zander (which is what I was really hoping for) or a Catfish, it turned out to be a Pike of 105cm! We've caught quite a few Pike in the dark on the Thames, but this was certainly the biggest - in fact it's my second biggest Thames Pike to date!

That turned out to be the best fish of the trip, and unfortunately, we didn't catch any Zander, but we had plenty of action from jacks, Perch and Chub.

This year my Dad and I were hoping to spend a bit more time lure fishing around the coast to try and bump up our species list, but it's been such a busy year for us both that unfortunately, we never got round to it this summer. A few weeks ago though, Dad and I had to go to Harwich for a meeting and literally, as we were walking out of our front door, we decided to take an LRF rod just in case we had time for a couple of hours fishing on the sea front. It turned out to be a good decision!

We did manage to get a couple of hours to fish, but unfortunately it wasn't at a great time as the tide was out, but we still managed to catch a few fish, including a new species for Dad, which was a Sand Smelt, and a new species for me, which was a Black Goby, caught on Gulp! Sandworm. I also managed to catch a small Ballan Wrasse and lose a couple of half decent fish too. Although I know both species are pretty common around the UK, it was still nice to add them to our lists!

The weekend before last I headed up to Scotland for Glasgow Angling Centre's Autumn Open Weekend. It was a very successful weekend and, as always, great to catch up with some good friends, some that I hadn't seen for a while too. I also caught up with my good mate Ali Edgar, and it was also great to meet Roy Vanstreels, Fox's Media Manager, who had travelled from Belgium.

A couple of months ago, my Dad and I were contacted by Mark Lloyd, the Chief Executive of the Angling Trust, asking whether we'd like to become ambassadors for angling's national governing body. It was a massive surprise and we're still shocked that we were even considered, let alone asked, and it is a massive honour for us both. The Angling Trust represents all game, coarse and sea anglers and angling in England. They lobby government, campaign on environmental and angling issues and run national and international competitions. They fight pollution, commercial over-fishing at sea, over-abstraction, poaching, unlawful navigation, local bans and a host of other threats to angling. If you love your fishing and want to help protect it, we would both highly recommend joining if you aren't a member already: http://www.anglingtrust.net/page.asp?section=32&sectionTitle=Join+the+Angling+Trust+or+Renew+Online 

Lastly, I still really enjoy competition flyfishing for Trout, but unfortunately, in between my lure fishing, coaching and other work, finding the time to trout fish has become harder and harder over the last two or three years. I'm very lucky, though, to be part of a great team, most of which have or are currently fishing for England.

The Pitsford Pirates qualified for the Airflo International Final earlier this year, which may sound quite easy, but it's not when you're up against some of the top loch-style anglers in Europe and have to get through two qualifiers to reach the final, which was held this week on Rutland. Although I've fished a lot of flyfishing competitions, including two internationals, this was certainly the biggest I'd fished, with 23 six man teams, so 138 anglers in total. It was a great match and very well organised, but unfortunately, we didn't do too well. Congratulations to Change Flyfishers A team for winning the title!

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