Something I have come to realise about lure fishing is that is not as easy as some people would have you believe. It is often billed as a simple and fun method where you simply rock up at a bit of water and start firing your brand new lure around and massive predators crawl up your line. In response to that I wonder how many not very old lure outfits end up forgotten under a pile of other rods after their owner has concluded that "they ain't no preds in my local bit of cut, otters probably et em all" and this why I am sure that a lot of the lure rods sold in the last few years are probably state of the art garden canes right now..
Like all aspects of angling the most vital weapon in your arsenal is knowledge, be it learnt or gathered. This is something I have been spending a bit of time on myself lately. Firstly by going to few new stretches, having a go and taking the outcome on the nose be it good or bad, and secondly going back to old venues where I know there used to be good fish and plying my new methods there.
It was on an old venue where I met Mick off of Piscatorial Quagswagging. We had been had trying to get together for a session for a little while to go to a bit of cut which I hold in very high esteem. The bit of canal in question through what I suspect is largely neglect, grows most species quite large and as yet had only received minimal attention on my part with regards to lure fishing.
At first I thought it was going to be a real go'er when whilst waiting for Mick to arrive I had a quick chuck under the bridge near the car park and hooked a nice looking perch first run through with a brown paddler grub. After that I got even more attention working the lure close the concrete edges of the bridge. Beyond that though the sport was a little less than spectacular as we worked our way along the canal. Usual hot spots seemed either devoid of fish or their occupants were reluctant to have a go.
We fished a few different spots before we finally got some interest. The first fish to show was a small zander which found the dead bait I was fishing right in the centre of the channel on my sleeper rod. Then a short while later a second slightly bigger small zander lashed out at my savage gear clown cannibal shad as I hopped up the marginal shelf.
The highlight of the morning came a little later when I received the single hardest hit I have ever had on a lure. Not long after changing over to a 3" white curly tail grub I got the almighty smack as the lure passed the half way point of the canal. It was one of those hits when there seems to be no time between the first moment when you realise something has taken the lure and the rod being bent double, clutch screaming.
Honestly I thought I had latched into a big pike that was soon going to give me a right old turning over, but with the rod bent low I realised this was not the immovable force I first thought it was. Yes, the fish was giving me some stick but it certainly wasn't a massive weight. Then all too soon a familiar sensation came vibrating up the rod and I realised what it might be. Moments later it surfaced and I was proved right! It was an eel and my lure was hanging out its mouth, bold as brass.
This wasn't the end of it as the eel soon dived again and found a snag on the bottom to curl around. Steady resistance put pay to that escape. The second time it dived though I could feel it writhing back up the line as all little eels do and that's when the fight changed. By now Mick was ready with his net (thanks Mick for taking that slimy net).As it went in the net it looked a bit odd and we saw why the fight had changed. The little sod had only managed to unhook itself as it rolled around the snag and in doing so do had forced the hook into its own tail.
I don't think I have ever been so happy to catch a little eel before. But happy as I was with the capture, I wasn't about to get in a right old state trying to get a picture of me and it together so instead opted for a sedate net shot.
Mick though had other ideas and inclined me to make a tit of myself trying to wrangle an angry slimy eel for a couple of trophy shots. I have a bit of form in regards to hilarious eel photos and these ones didn't disappoint. So here I am totally owning the eel trophy shot and showing exactly how to be the boss of eel handling.
The reason though that I am so chuffed with this capture is that it adds another species to the list of fish I have had on a lure this year. Along with all the normal suspects like pike, perch and zander, I have also had bream, chub, roach, flounder, smelt and now an eel. Although not set in stone this is kind of developing in a bit of a personal challenge to see how many species I can rack up before the end of the year. I reckon all I need to do is put the lures in the right places and I think I could provoke some very interesting battles.