Friday, 30 September 2011

Carved with a 99e Stanley Knife


Image above: A fishing lure carved with a 99e Stanley knife

There was an art teacher at the school I attended as a child, I never knew who she taught or when, she was as all art teachers should be a little vague. The vagueness was also touched with a peculiar random quality. I once came across her lifting a giant abstract canvas through the vestibule at the front of the building, a place seldom visited by anyone as it opened onto a main road. Then one afternoon at a park near a friend’s house she was setting up an old bellows type camera on a giant tripod as we cycled past.

We arrived for our own art lesson one afternoon to find a roughly hewn shape of a dear or antelope clamped to one of the tables, it was hers. Every cut left by the chisel or knife was still visible and raw giving the figure a sense of animation as if the weight of its body was swinging under motion. It stayed in the art room for a week or two in this state and then she came back to it and smoothed out the cuts until the rounded flanks of an antelope emerged. It was perfect but perfect in a way that Tupperware is; the life had gone out of the piece and the sculpture was lost to bric-a-brac.

I am conscious of that antelope when making lures. Part of me wants to set up a jig for the router and turn out precision machined pieces and then there is the whittler in me that needs to feel the magic of form in the formless. So I sat down last night with a pencil, a template, cabinet scraper, piece of old pine bed and a Stanley 99e utility knife. It’s not perfect.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

I suppose I should rename this, ‘the homemade float blog’ as it seems to be my latest preoccupation. I went back to my favourite rock this afternoon just before high tide with my float rig(see previous post) and a spinning rod to test some lures. The lures drew a blank but I landed a couple of decent mackerel on the float rig using strips of mackerel for bait. So I made a short video on filleting mackerel and saving the flanks for bait strips.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Sliding float rigs

Image Above: A couple of home made floats and old bubble float

Taking up float fishing again is little like returning home after a long absence; after all it was an afternoon staring at a float rigged for me by grandfather on a local park lake that first drew me in. The sea is a different matter; there is the depth of water and the small problem of waves but still to watch a float in water is meditation of sorts and one that is often only disturbed by the prospect of a fish.

I came back to float fishing for two reasons, one was to have some bait in the water while I was spinning from the rocks and the other because I began experimenting with making floats from corks and cane. The floats are of the sliding variety and large enough to seen amongst the wave crests without prohibiting a fish pulling them under.

Below are illustrations of two sliding float rigs, the first is pretty much a standard rig and I have had some success with this but on the downside it does have a habit tangling mid cast. The second is an improved rig which with a second stop knot keeps the float and the baited hook apart a little more successfully. The stop knots I generally tie with thin elastic or a short piece of the main line.

For bait I use mackerel strips, sand eels, worms or whatever I can get my hands on. As there isn`t much depth of water around the island’s shores I often limit myself to fishing around the top of the tide, letting the float drift with the wind or the currents. I suppose you can pretty much catch anything on a float rig but it is probably best for mid-water species like mackerel, garfish, sea trout, pollock and saithe.

Image below: Sliding float rigs