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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wind chill

I didn't fancy another session on the river with strong winds forecast for Thursday. A day sat under a brolly with the kettle by my side seemed like a much better option. I was sure to get plenty of action on the commercial - even if it was from small carp.

Cosy, cosy

It certainly was windy. Although the air temp was over eight degrees the chill factor was considerable. The wind was also blowing from an awkward direction for the swim I wanted to fish. So strong was it that the only way I could catapult maggots out was by doing it from the peg upwind!

Things started off well with a sucked maggot on the first cast. I didn't get another bite for almost four hours. This was from a small roach. Coincidence or not, the bite came after the heavy cloud cover had thinned and the day brightened. In fact bites started to come at intervals of fifteen minutes to half an hour during the afternoon. Maybe fish had just found the bait. Surprisingly none of the bites resulted in carp. It was mainly small roach, plus one rudd that had a much more orangey hue to its back than usual - like a goldfish. I've heard of 'golden' rudd, so I guess that's what it was. The photograph doesn't paint an accurate picture.

Not your average rudd

I'd been hoping for perch and a couple did come along, but not as big as I would have liked. One took the bait when I'd dropped the rig in the margin, and was so small it would have done for a livebait if it hadn't fallen off. The other wasn't much bigger.

Four sessions this week should help me bear the stress of building up of the batch of blanks that arrived yesterday. The weather prospects for the next few days look unsettled so the rivers might, or might not, be worth a try. It's the subzero night time temperatures that put me off - and that white stuff coming out of the clouds.


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Monday, August 04, 2008

Review - Okuma Epix Pro EPB30 Baitfeeder

You may have seen a small black reel in a few of my perch fishing posts. That is the Epix Pro EPB30.

What really bugs me about some reel manufacturers is their insistence on using one reel body for three or more different 'sizes' of reel. I put 'sizes' in inverted commas because all they do is change the rotor and spool. I realise this is done on economic grounds, but if I want a reel with a small spool it is to use with fine lines on a light rod. So I don't want a large and heavy reel!

Okuma have understood that a reel should match the sort of rod it is to be used with and the 30 size Epix Pro Baitfeeder is perfectly proportioned. Even if you don't need the 'baitfeeder' feature this is a superb little reel for fishing with lines up to 0.25mm/8lb. I guess you could go heavier, the gearing and drag is up to the task of playing large fish, but the spool size is too small for smooth casting with a thicker line in my opinion. I have two of these reels loaded with 0.20/5lb mono and find long (comparatively) casting is a doddle. I've even used one for a spot of float fishing.

The reel is supplied with two graphite spools, one of which is a shallow 'match' spool, and one a deep aluminium spool. The line lay is possibly not as good as on some reels, but is perfectly adequate. Not only do you get three spools, there are two handles supplied as well - a double and a single (my preference).

Internally there are some ten bearings, and it feels like there are, being as smooth as silk to wind and reassuringly 'solid'. Everything operates as it should and the clutch is smooth enough for anyone - although I still prefer to backwind when using light mono.

Initially I was a little sceptical about some of the plastic parts, but they have proved tough enough (although some of the chrome has worn off) as have the reels overall. For some reason line can, very occasionally, wrap around the drag knob on the front of the spool. But that is my only, very minor, niggle.

I like these reels so much that after a couple of seasons' use I have added a third EPB30 to my collection. Given the current price is well under £60 they are excellent value for money.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ravening ruddy hordes

First cast with a couple of maggots on the hook and the float sank. A tiny rudd was the cause. Second cast, third cast, fourth cast all the same. After I don't know how many tiny rudd from just a couple of inches long to a bit bigger I was getting fed up of rebaiting so stuck an imitation maggot on the hook. It took a few seconds before the float sank this time, but the rudd was a little larger.

The average stamp of rudd

I don't know how long this went on for, but soon a jack pike decided it would come out to play. Now I was losing fake maggots at a rate of knots as the greedy little beggar stole rudd from the end of the line. The colour of 'maggot' didn't seem to make much difference, although the red ones did take a little longer to get noticed. Or so it seemed. Getting a bite a chuck was fun for a while but when the fish are like peas in a bag from Birds Eye it soon becomes tedious. How people can get a kick out of it is beyond me.

Eventually I struck into something heavier. At first I though the jack was back in action, but a large flash of brassy scales just before the fish buried itself in the marginal pondweed - and the float flew up a tree - told the true story. I'd hooked what I was after and blown it. That was the biggest fish I hooked all day.

The evening saw me fishing corn on the hook and the average size of the rudd increased to what you might call 'bait-sized'.

Pass the bucket!

How many fish I caught during the day I really don't know, but it was a lot! In amongst the rudd were a couple of perch (one taking a fake maggot), some roach (a couple nudging the pound mark) and a few hybrids (of varying degrees of rudd and roach).

It was nice to do some float fishing (that wasn't for the sole purpose of providing pike baits) for a change. It quite took me back to my younger days fishing on the canal and local ponds, but one or two bigger fish would have made a pleasant day in the sun not just enjoyable but really satisfying. One thing's for sure, I'll never make a match angler. I don't think size fourteen hooks tied direct to five pound line would see me frame too often!


Sunday, July 06, 2008

All good things...

As the sun sinks slowly in the west I'm amazed that I've managed to keep this blog going as long as I have on a fairly regular basis. In my early twenties I kept a diary where I wrote each trip up in detail when I got home. That lasted a couple of years before dying the death, and it looks like this blog might be going the same way. I have an inherent loathing of routine and 'having' to do things. That's why I stopped pike fishing and writing articles - neither are compulsory activities, and neither is writing this blog.

There may be a few rig thoughts to come, probably some tackle reviews, and possibly a tale or two if anything really interesting happens. But but for now, that's about it.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Trial and error

British Summer Time arrived on Sunday, and with it came a light wind and sunshine. Needless to say this brought the masses out and I was hard pressed to find a swim when I turned up at the lake in the afternoon. In a way this was good as it more or less forced me to fish an area that I have meant to fish in the past, and where I usually see small fish topping when it is calm.

The plan (notice how I always have a plan) was to fish two worm rods and a mini-bolt rig with a single maggot - all in conjunction with 40g Black Cap feeders. I know there are roach and perch to be caught, although not to what size they grow. So, having my perch head on the worms got priority. It only took a couple of small roach, after an hour of recasting the feeders to see one of the worm rods swapped to fish two maggots.

This was only a short session, but bites increased in frequency to the point I was expecting big things to happen as darkness approached with the day being bright. However, the opposite occurred and bites dried up altogether. I ended up with nine or ten fish, all small. Mostly roach but a skimmer, a tiny perch (maybe they are all tiny in here) and a surprise rudd. Even though it was minuscule it reminded me how pretty rudd are, not having seen one for a long time.

Wednesday came round and I decided to spend a little longer on the lake. The reason behind this session was to decide, or try to decide, which rods would be best for some 'proper' roach fishing. The Interceptor I had been using was a bit stiff in the tip, as it is for perch fishing. Yet the Avon Specialists that are so good for perching feel a bit lacking in oomph for punching the feeders out. They coped okay with no wind to contend with, but if there had been anything stronger I reckon it would have been a struggle, and they won't cope with heavier feeders either. Rummaging around I found a Chimera Specialist 1 that felt like it might be nearer the mark. It was duly rigged with 'the rig' (which I intend to devote a blog to when I get time - there's a clue in the top photo here) and stuck in the quiver.

The swim I fished on Sunday was taken, in fact the lake was almost as packed as it had been then. I set up a couple of pegs away and started casting two feeder rigs, both fishing a single maggot, using the Interceptor and the Chimera 1. The third rod fished a worm with a maggot feeder. It took a couple of hours before an indication of fishy activity, and another hour before the first small roach was landed. As before, bites increase in frequency as the afternoon wore on. This time it was roach all the way, all small, with the biggest (which might have pushed six ounces) coming to the worm rod!

I gave it until half seven before packing up as I wanted to compare the casting potential of the rods. Although the Chimera 1 does have a slightly more forgiving tip than the Interceptor (the 1lb 10oz model) the distances I achieved with an empty feeder were pretty much identical - gauged by counting the handle turns on the retrieve. For the time being the Chimeras will be my distance roach rods, despite them being a rather heavy blank. But what I really want is a 12ft version of the Avon Specialist. I reckon that would be bob on. Lengthening the tip section at the spigot end would force the butt section to be thicker, and so stiffer giving it the additional beef for casting the feeders. As the rig is a self hooker striking power at range is immaterial with fish playing capability the overarching requirement.

I also took time to play with the underwater function on my Olympus compact. I think more practice is required!

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