Saturday, 10 May 2014

Down with Abu

I am suffering from a deep need to fish, I have boot full of tackle, I am less than few miles from the lake and the traffic is not moving. Ahead a helicopter is trying to land and I am guessing it is an air ambulance. When the lights change I cut across behind the stationary traffic and do a U-turn and briefly enjoy the empty lanes before turning on to a small road and heading across the countryside.

Even away from the main road the traffic is backed up through villages not used to dealing Friday evening’s commuters. It is slow going; each junction holds its own torture. When I finally inch my way into the lake car park it is empty, although the line of traffic I had escaped from is moving slow enough to be considered for parking tickets.

It is not long before I am stood in some water and the traffic is forgotten. I am here to fish and work out some filming ideas; two things that I find seldom go well together. I have found a fish but it hasn’t found the hooks, there is always a chance if I set the camera going and recast it will make another appearance. After half a dozen badly aimed casts the pike finally makes contact with some metal and I am in, the only pressure now is to land it for the camera.

When It is back in the water and I have had chance to get myself together and check the camera was actually recording I spot crack in the handle of the rod. The carbon fibre that runs beneath the handle has split; this is not the first problem I have with this rod. Part of the reel seat broke on its first outing, I should of sent it back but I am a tinkerer and I added a brass ring from an old rod and re-whipped the reinforcement at the joint with some Kevlar thread and epoxy That re-whipping is now holding the handle together well enough for me to continue fishing. I could just blame myself for buying cheap fishing tackle but I do not believe spending another hundred pounds will make me a better fisherman or bring home anymore fish.

The reel I am using is also a cheap Chinese import, a copy of an earlier abu bait caster. The reason I bought it was as a spare to and Abu pro-max reel but to be honest the Abu is a piece of crap and I have stayed with the import. The Abu cost over a hundred pounds and I also should of sent it back after a couple of months, it never really performed; too much plastic and too little engineering and quality. I have older Abu boat reels (7000i, seven) which I used to use almost daily boat fishing in the Atlantic, and to be honest these are a tools that just work without any questions, a little rinse after use, some oil some grease and I have friends for life.

The truth is that high prices these days only guarantee that a lot of money has been spent on advertising and sadly Abu seem to heading down that route. Will I buy another Abu Reel, probably but it will have to be old school and pre-owned. The rod handle will be repaired but I do need to build my own rod.

I pick up another three small pike and miss some in equal measure before my camera battery dies and I think about going home on some empty roads.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Fits, jerks and bad advice

Why is it always the guy who hasn’t got a fishing rod in hands or looks like he has ever owned one that is willing to give you the benefit of his advice when you’re fishing? This evening I was given a list of things by one kind passer-by that I was doing wrong, including using the wrong lure, wrong rod and wrong spot. When he finally pissed off I went back catching pike.

It was not the greatest of evenings and I had hoped to do a bit of filming with a glide bait, but despite the forecast for a rain free couple of hours it was chucking it down and blowing a gale. I had taken four jacks and the rain and wind had only eased long enough for me to actually get a small amount of video of me releasing one little fella while stood in the water.

I am beginning to like jerk baits but I have no natural rhythm when it comes to the retrieve. I can only dream of walking the dog or even getting some kind of steady glide going for more than half a dozen jerks. Instead I manage to get them to dance something like my father at a family wedding which the pike are rather keen on.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Everything all at once

My life at the moment is getting in the way of making videos. I am part way through half a dozen projects for other people that range from building an articulated two man dog puppet, a rostrum camera for animation and photographing plants for a book on herbal remedies amongst other things. Today looking for a break from the jumble of things to do, I went out with various bits of tackle, some lures from the part 2 of the bullet proof lure vid and three self-cocking floats for another project.

To be honest it was not float fishing weather; a warm almost summer gale made casting a very random affair and getting pellets out with a catapult almost like crop spreading. I settled in until most of the bank holiday anglers had packed up and I even manage to catch a couple average sized bream despite having no idea what my float was doing between the peaks and toughs.

I almost had the lake to myself save for a couple of dirty faced kids who didn’t look like they would be missed at home anytime soon. To amuse themselves they had found a small dead carp which they had hooked on one of their lines and were pretending to catch it every time a new dog walker passed.

I packed up my float fishing kit and got my little jerk bait rod out and clipped on a bullet proof bait and slung it across the lake. Within a few jerks the water erupted and then a few second later came another lunge but no hook up. I casted again and after a few retrieves I briefly felt tug but no prize.

I walked the banks and began stacking up a tally of missed pike, one almost tail walking as it breached for the lure. I have never been so happy and disappointed with a new lure. After a long bank holiday weekend of overfishing at the lake it had become a little soupy and visibility was had dropped to a couple of feet, they pike obviously could feel the lure pushing water but probably lacked the accuracy without proper vision.

After finding some more blind pike and swearing a lot I backtracked a little and finally hooked up with an average sized jack . In the panic I realised I left my unhooking mat hidden in a bush with my chair and was about to step into the lake when I realised I wasn’t wearing wellingtons either. I got the pike into the net and with quick flick the hook came out and he was back in the water kicking up some more mud as he darted off.

Happy days, just got to finish the video