I’ve managed a few sessions of late. I’ve split my time between jig & lure fishing with my growing barbel addiction.
It’s been tough, really tough. I’ve banked a total of 10 fish in 5 sessions. Not exactly prolific.
Let’s look at the barbel first, I’ve been out twice for them of late putting in around 5 hours each time. The first session I was on a nice spot out to open river not far from where two bodies of water meet. I was hopeful on setting out but when I got there the river was moving at such a pace it was, for me unfishable. I stuck a 5oz feeder out and my rod was still being pulled in. So I tried to fish tight to the bank but still had trouble with the flow, so after much frustration I decided to pack up.
My next trip saw my in a swim that is facing the end of an island, on one side there’s a weir on the other a lock. I was on the side of the lock so I was casting towards the crease where the two flows meet. Ideal I thought, 5 hours later and no bites; maybe not.
The first session I’m putting down to the pace the second session I’m puzzled over. On arrival I saw lots of fish but they were not interested. I think I might go back early in the morning armed with maggots. That I think will bag me a few.
So onto the lure fishing. It’s been slow, a heron flew into my usual spot the other day and since then it’s gone quiet and most other parts of the canal have been fishing rather hard as well.
So on a recent trip I decided to change things up. I put a much larger bait and jig head on and I changed up my retrieve. Up to now I’ve been using lures 2.5cm up to 5cm; these had been doing me really well, using a jerky, mixed pace retrieve. I changed this up to an 8cm stick worm with a jig head probably 4-5g and went for a much slower retrieve.
So I cast out and allowed the jig to hit the bottom, when I was happy it was on the bottom I wound the line tight, I lifted the rod tip lightly to bring the lure up in the water and reeled in the excess line, as I reeled in I lowered the rod tip to allow the jig to settle again before again lightly lifting the rod tip and repeating the process. What I was trying to achieve was the lure coming off the bottom and then fluttering and stuttering back down; I didn’t want the lure to come too far off the bottom, say about 10cm. Basically I was trying to replicate an injured fish trying to swim off the bottom and failing and failing back down before trying again. The theory for the changes was this, it’s getting colder so the fish are looking for more efficient food intake. That should mean larger meals that take less energy to get hold of; so that means to me a bigger lure with a slower action that works near the bottom or on bottom because as it gets colder the fish will most likely find deeper water/the bottom.
First cast a bigger than normal perch graced my net so I had a few more casts at the same spot and nothing, not a great start but not the worst. So I moved on; I was under a bridge which is also a main road when out of no where my rod doubled over. A flash of bronze shone through the water and I was greeted by the snarling beautiful face of a pike.
By no means my best photo, I know. He fought but not that much so still had a lot of fight left in him when he came to the net. As the bank where I caught him is made up of sharp stones and really is not too fish friendly I unhooked him in the water save him coming off the mat and hurting himself. So that and combined with him taking a chunk out of my thumb I thought it best to snap one quick photo of the fish in the net so I could get him straight back in the water.
You can see near the tail a scar, this was one of two large scars that to me looked like they may have been made by a large Zander.
The only downside to catching this amazing fish was the fact that I now needed to go home and patch myself up. Still I can’t complain as that is the first Pike I’ve landed in over 10 years.
It was really nice to land this fish for many reasons. I had been told that there were no Pike in this section so this was a shock to both me and others and I was very pleased to land a fish that was not meant to be there. The other reason is that I made a tactical change based on a gut feeling and it paid off. It’s always nice to when you make a change based on you’re own knowledge and intuition and have it pay off in style as it’s a bit of validation of your theories and who doesn’t like that!
I’m finally getting myself geared up for some deadbaiting and will hopefully be going out over the weekend to try and track down some more pike and hopefully I’ll be able to land another barbel soon!!
That’s it from me folks; hope you’ve had better luck than me of late.
So yesterday saw the misses off to work in the afternoon for a couple of hours leaving me at a lose end. That means only one thing to me; fishing time.
Only having a bit of time I opted to get the lure rod out. Also is there anything better than a walk on an autumn afternoon? The leaves turning, bit of a chill in the air but nothing too cold and being a Monday afternoon the chance of throngs of people being around was very unlikely. That’s one of the great thing about lure fishing, the walking. It’s not for everyone but for me I love a good walk and with the added bonus of possibly catching a fish; well count me in!
The stretch of canal by me is lovely, it goes from relatively urban to relatively picturesque in a short distance. Offering a wonderful array of swims and challenges. I had forgotten though that there had been a match held on the stretch I was tackling the day before.
This did I think have an impact on the standard of the fishing, I only managed to bag one on my long walk.
The fish that graced my net was a lovely Chub, it was my first lure caught Chub and a PB as well so I was a very, very happy man. It went off like a train so after a good two hours of no bites I was getting a bit tired and to be totally honest I wasn’t expecting the bite so when it came and the rod bent over like it did I was taken completely by surprise. The fight didn’t last that long and it was great to see it come into the net.
After catching the Chub I decided it was time to head home, the light was fading and I know of a spot that I can more than often get a Perch or two in the fading light close to my home.
Sure enough on my first cast at the secret spot I got a fish, followed by another then another and then another!! Over 30 casts I caught 25 fish, all small Perch; nothing larger than a quarter of a pound but after the massive walk and not a lot of action I was more than happy with that. After about 40 minutes of action I started putting my casts in trees and lost two hooks and a couple of lures so I thought it best time to go home.
To add to my ever growing collection of lures (really when is too many too many?) I got some lures, cheburashka weights & hooks from the folks at Realistic Shad on Facebook. Mainly because some of their larger lures for Zander and Pike look so realistic I really thought they were deadbaits and I’ve wanted to try some cheburahka rigs out for a while.
The whole process was very simple and pain free. I simply sent them a message on Facebook and went through with them my normal size lures etc and they advised me which rigs to get, I added the lures on as a slight after thought. They offered me a choice of different lures but there were so many to choose from I asked for a random selection. Delivery was very fast and the overall price is competitive. I haven’t tried them out yet but I will be before the weekend and I will let you know how I get on.
I’ve not had much time to fish the last couple of weeks.
Tonight though I got out with my jig rod and hit the canal. A couple of hours led to thirty perch.
This type of fishing really is fun and rewarding. You don’t need to carry a lot, rod, net, lures, hooks, leader line and you’re good to go. Also you don’t need a lot of time either to be able to bag up.
I am new myself to this type of fishing, so while I have learnt a lot in my initial foray into this form of fishing I by no means know it all or even half of it, I probably don’t know anything but I’d like to share with you what I have learnt. Please comment with what you’ve found works and lets get to grips with this brilliant method of fishing.
What is it?
This method is broken down into two separate techniques; both have similarities but are used in different situations. Within these two techniques there are different types of rigs that can be used etc; I have not used anything but basic rigs. So while they exist I have too little knowledge at this point to discuss them. My intention is to try them out and then create a post to discuss how I got on with them etc as I think that will be much more valuable than just regurgitating information off the internet.
This method involves nothing more than a weighted hook known as a jig head and a small rubber lure. Jig heads come in various hook and weight sizes. The lures used come in all colours and in a wide variety of styles inc shads, worms all the way to crayfish type patterns, that is by no means all that are available there are literally thousands to choose from.
When using the jigging method the objective is to lift the lure and allow it to drop while slowly retrieving the lure; this method is all about finesse. The small lures react to the slightest movement of the rod tip so there is no need for huge heavy pulls on the rod or fast reeling retrievals. Due to the small and delicate nature of the lures I would imagine doing this would actually stop the lure from doing its job.
Once I’ve found a spot I cast, allowing the lure to sink. Depending on the rod, weight of the lure and the make up of the bottom you may even feel the lure hit the bottom. Once the lure is a depth I lift the rod tip slowly and then lower the rod tip, this vertically lifts the lure through the water and then allows it to flutter to the bottom. This gives a wonderful action to the lure creating the feel of an injured fry or larvae. Once I have lowered the rod I slowly reel in a bit of slack line, I then repeat the lift and drop technique. I do this until the lure is almost out of the water (don’t forget the fish at your feet!).
As mentioned this method is about finesse, you want to maximise the time the fish will be seeing your lure as well as making it look as natural as possible. A small fry or grub simply can’t move that fast, so why reel it in fast or yank the rod tip with maximum force? I have found most of my bites have come as the lure is on the way back down (on the drop); I believe this is because it is when the lure looks most distressed.
As far a I can tell that is the basics of jigging. There may be better way of using the lure etc, as I’ve said I am new to this so if you’ve got a technique that works well please share.
Drop shot fishing is similar to jigging but it is more of a static method of presenting the lure. The method is fairly simple to set up; you have a normal hook (a wipe gape might be advisable when after larger fish) with a length of line below it, at the end of this line is a weight. Click here for information on how to set up a rig —> LINK
So how does this help you catch fish then? It is all about keeping the lure where the fish are. When you lower the rig into the water the weight hits the bottom first; that helps to suspend the lure at your desired depth.. The depth that the lure sits from the bottom is determined by the distance of the weight from the lure, so have the weight 10cms from the hook, then you’re 10cms off the bottom. Weights made specifically for drop shot fishing come with a swivel that allows you to clip the weight onto the line, this allows you to move the weight and try different depths.
This method is brilliant for fishing tight against features, of which the canal is full of. Say you have a bridge with a nice bit of shade, drop this in tight against the bank, you will feel the weight hit the bottom. Once the weight is on the bottom, simply lightly lift the rod tip and then lower it again. The objective isn’t to lift the weight off the bottom. It is simply to lift the lure while the weight keeps it where needed a lot of the weights made are long bars allowing them to be lifted and pivoted. Even more so than Jigging this method is about finesse, I have not seen this method used while retrieving the lure like in jigging. I have seen and only used it as a static method to cover areas of tight cover etc.
As mentioned with jigging I am new to this method, I may be wrong in some of what I have said; if I am please let me know.
What do I need?
You want something very light, something that can deal with weights from 0.5g to 10g this is for small jigging of course if you’re using heavier weighted lures then you need a rod that can handle the weight. This is needed to allow you to be able to feel the movement of the lure. I first started with a 9-28g lure rod using 2-5g jigs and I had no idea what was happening, I caught 2 fish but I had no idea I had a bite until the rod bent over.
I personally opted for a Shakespeare Agility LRF Rod, it is rated for weights of .5g to 7g. It’s light as a feather but you can feel the strength in the lower section of the rod. It is only 6’7” so very easy to manoeuvre on the bank. The reason I went for this rod was the feel of it and also the price, I got mine from Droitwich Angling Centre for £32 not a bad price for an entry rod.
There are of course many options out there for you to choose from, what I would advise if at all possible is go to a tackle shop to get your rod. This rod will be in your hand all day, not like carp fishing where you put the rod down and wait; you will be walking and casting all day. So you need something that you feel comfortable with. So while the internet is great, if it’s your first rod like this go and at least test a few out.
The reel needed for this is something small and light, a spinning reel in a 1000 series will be just fine. The rule is the same as the rod, you want it to be light as you’ll be holding it all day so you don’t want a large heavy piece of kit. I’m not going to cover reels to much as really I don’t know too much about which one is better than another etc so if you’re reading this and you do please share!!
Line for the reel; this needs to be braid. The main reason for this is that braid lets you feel every bump and knock as it doesn’t stretch like mono does. If you’re going for perch then you will only need something around 6llb to 8llb. If you’re not used to using braid (I wasn’t and I’m glad people told me the following) then there are a few things to do before spooling the line on:
Braid needs to go on the spool as tight as you can get it, this will help avoid tangles at a later date.
I was advised that before putting the line on the reel to soak it for a minimum of 8 hours; from all accounts this helps in getting the line on the spool as tight as possible.
There are two things you can do once the line has soaked and they depend on the amount of braided line you have. If you have a lot of braid you can put just braid on and fill the spool if you don’t have enough to do that then you will need to put mono backing onto the spool. If you are filling the spool with just braid it is very important that you put some tape on the spool first (something like masking tape) this will stop the braid slipping when its on the spool.
Lastly as mentioned to begin with the braid needs to go on tight as you can get it. So when spooling the line get someone to hold the line spool and get them to apply pressure to it. You need to feel like you’re reeling in a large log!!!
This is very simple!!
Fluorocarbon line for a leader, this gives the lure a more realistic feel than the braid main line. One thing to note is if there might be pike around put a wire trace on; if you’re doing this there is no need for a fluorocarbon leader.
Jig heads in various sizes, I have them ranging from .8g to 10g with various size hooks.
Normal hooks from size 12 up to 8; these are for drop shot rigs
Drop shot weights, as mentioned you can get weights made for this purpose but SSG weights would work as well. I am using weights from 4g to 7g
Lures, what you get is really down to you. There are various theories about colour etc which I’ll touch on further down. I have found that experimentation is key, if it’s not working after a few casts swap it.
What else do you need?
So you’ve got your terminal tackle, what else is needed?
A net with a short handle; yes you might be getting small fish in the main but you don’t want to be caught short. This method can catch all manner of fish and all manner of size. So if you don’t have a net how will you land that 20llb pike?
Unhooking mat, this depends on where you’re fishing. If there is no soft ground and you know that you might be getting larger fish then this really is needed for the well being of the fish.
A small bag; how small is down to your personal preference. I use a normal backpack at the moment but I am also looking into the smaller purpose built bags that are out there. I guess it depends how long and how far you’re going. Do you need to carry a large bottle of water and some food as well as your gear?
Comfortable shoes and clothes; you will be walking a lot so you need to be comfortable.
I always carry a number of unhooking tools, a normal disgorger in a couple of sizes, a pair of long forceps and also some pliers. Again you don’t want to be caught out by a perch wolfing down your lure and have nothing to get it out with.
Where to fish
So we’ve covered what it is and what you need to do it so finally where to fish. At the moment I have only used this method to fish canals but I am sure these basic ideas apply to all waters.
With the canal you’re looking for structures and shade; perch, pike and zander all like to hide in wait for their prey. So what you’re looking for is bridges, overhanging trees, overhanging banks and boats so basically anything that one of these fish can hide in to pounce on it’s prey.
Time of day can be important as well; myself personally I find just before and just after dusk to be the best time. Although I have heard that early morning is also good as well but I have yet to test that theory yet. I know from recent experience (30.5.16) that fishing in very sunny conditions can be difficult, as I had two bites all day however the second bite did bring this beauty to the bank.
What lure to use?
Well that’s a big debate! I have caught on both bright and dark colours and that is in fairly coloured water.
I have been told bright and natural colours work best in clearer water while dark colours work well in coloured water. I am still testing this theory and I’m going to try and do some experiments to see if there is any weight to this.
What I can say is that I seem to be getting more bites on darker colours at the moment.
The lures available come in all shapes and sizes, from fish shapes to crabs critter type profiles. What I have found so far is that experimentation is key. If it’s not working change it, it’s a simple thing to do and who knows; there might be monster waiting for that bright pink critter lure you’ve never used!
So folks that’s what I know about Jig and Drop Shot fishing, I have lots to learn and have found the following Facebook groups to be a great help: LINK1LINK2
What I do know for certain is that this type of fishing is one of the most fun forms of fishing I have ever done. If you’ve ever caught a carp off the surface with bread you’ll understand that heart stopping moment of a carp coming up to suck in the bread; well this method is like that with every bump and bite. The tell tale bump on the line is like a shudder going through you, you let the lure drop again and bang you’re in with the light rod bending and bucking. There really is no other feeling like it, so why not give it a go!!
So that’s it from me for now. Comments are always welcome along with any questions, advice or constructive criticism.
I’m starting this blog to document my fishing adventures and to hopefully learn some new stuff and possibly help some of you out there who might not know too much about fishing but want to get into it.
A bit about me; I’m 29 and live in Worcester which is a wonderful part of the world to live if you love fishing. We have two wonderful canals, the river Seven and the Theme near by and loads of wonderful lakes close to hand. I have been fishing since I was five. I fell in love with fishing the very first time I went, catching a tiny perch on the float with 2 red maggots; I’ve been hooked ever since!
I find that fishing is a wonderful way to relax, enjoy the beauty of nature and also I found it a brilliant way to teach myself patience. You can’t make a fish bite, all you can do is keep experimenting and trying until you find something that works; if you don’t catch just sit back and enjoy your surroundings.
I’m coming back to fishing after a break of about two years; before then I went fishing regularly. Mainly course and mainly float fishing for carp, roach, perch the basics really. I have dabbled in carp fishing and predator fishing but never too much. Well lately that has all changed. I’m back into fishing big time and I’m going to share what I’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks and going forward I will be covering different methods I’m trying out and keeping a record of what I do. Hopefully over time it will allow those near by to get an idea of how the area fishes, help those wanting to try something new and overall just be a fun way to keep a track of what I’m doing.
I’m lucky to live about 30 seconds from the Birmingham to Worcester canal, so that’s where I started my new fishing adventure. I’ve got pretty much a rod for all seasons; so what rod to use? The canal by me isn’t that wide, so I wanted something quite short, also something that has good casting accuracy and enough back bone to deal with anything big that might be lurking in the depths. So I settled on my Berkley Cherrywood medium to heavy lure rod. This rod has been great in this role so far, at 9ft it’s short enough to handle in tight spaces and has been really fun to play small fish on. I’m also confident that should I hook up into a bigger fish it will have enough power to handle them.
So on the 26.5.16 I set out to see what was about.The tactics were simple, an insert waggler needing 4 no 6 weights to get down to just an orange spec on the water, a size 16 hook and red maggots with the idea to build up to worm as the fish grew in confidence on the lose feed. Feeding lose pellets every other cast with maggots here and there the scene was set. Starting at 1430 and fishing for around 4 hours it was an amazing first session with over 20 fish and multiple lost. I had bleak, gudgeon and perch on the bank; nothing of note but a great taster session!!
So with my first session complete my love of fishing was burning as bright as ever. This quickly lead to me searching the internet for other ways to fish on the canal; that is how I discovered Drop Shot and Jig fishing. For those not in the know Drop Shot and Jig fishing is the practice of using small plastic lures for a variety of fish but mainly perch, zander and pike but you never know I’ve seen tench, crucians and roach caught on this method!! Jigging is using a weighted hook to slowly draw the lure vertically through the water allowing it drop and then making it rise. Drop Shot fishing is where you have a small weight suspended below the hook and lure; this keeps the lure off the bottom and (hopefully) at the depth the fish are at; allowing you to lift and drop the lure to entice a bite. I intend to cover this in much more depth in my next blog so stay tuned.
On the 27.5.16 armed with a new Shakespeare Agility rod and rovex 1000 series reel I was back to find me some perch using the Jigging method (I’ll cover the rod and reel in my Jig & Drop Shot blog)!!! I started at 3pm for 3 hours and managed 5 in total, nothing too big but on a new method that I’d not tried before I was very happy.
This type of fishing is amazing, addictive; being for the most part simple and most importantly it’s fun. It takes minimal tackle and is easy for anyone to get to grips with once you know the basics.
My final entry on my first blog post is something I am very proud of. Armed with my new confidence in the jig and drop shot method I set off on the 30.5.16 to find a monster perch. I choose the wrong day to be honest, so many boats and too much sun meant I only had two bites in 6 hours of walking and fishing (my feet hurt a lot by the end of it). However there was to be a silver lining. I caught my new PB PERCH!!!!!!!!!! I didn’t have scales but I make it between 1 1/2 to 1 1/4 pound. Taken just below the surface it was all splash and dash and here it is folks my new PB!!! After a very hard day this was a very welcome sight to say the least. Perseverance and experimentation won the day as I went through nearly all my lures before landing this beauty.
So that’s it for now folks, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my first ever blog post. Any questions, advice or constructive criticism is more than welcome!!