I always find myself trying to catch up in the New year with my blog. What with working in an industry that relies on the holiday season and having a large family, my time becomes rather constrained over the holidays. As I am a true angling addict and cannot not go fishing it's all other non necessary time consuming actives that pay the price and blogging is in there with them.
Anyway the holiday season has finally passed away into the memories along with 2016. Looking back through last year's posts I quickly concluded that I had a decent year all things considered and judging from the photos I caught a lot more pike, zander and perch than I can remember doing. In catching all those predators my affinity and love of lure fishing has grown along with my knowledge and ability. Literally ten years ago I would have never conceived becoming such an avid fake flinger. A year of repetitive casting though has been peppered by a few memorable sessions using other techniques that have paid dividends in years gone by, inspiring me for the coming year. Carp of both the crucian and king varieties weigh heavy on my mind in these young cold months when so many plans are conceived and so ideas that have been shelved away for too long will get dusted off later in the year.
Back to catching up and I did actually do some fishing over the holidays. From what I remember the first was a relatively successful micro-fishing session on the Coventry canal. It was successful as all I caught were micro fish and quite a lot of them. The whole idea of using these tiny lures to search out every nook and cranny on a canal is novel enough, but seeing how deadly the method is proves exactly why this is such a fast growing fun area of fishing in the UK.
I absolutely love these tiny Allure creature baits by Crazy fish. Through the session I fished both drop shot and on jig heads all around any structure I could find and they always seem to find small pods of fish and persuade them into attacking.
My next outing I went chub fishing... Yes you heard that right I went chub fishing, quiver tip rod, bread and all chub fishing. With only a few hours of daylight left one spare afternoon I grabbed my newly assembled short session kit and nipped to an old stomping ground high up the Warks Avon where literally you could jump the river should you be brave enough to try.
It was great to be back creeping around in the under growth, well I thought I was creeping anyway. The reality is that with spending so much time on the civilised banks of canals I had forgotten how much harder it is to move round through banks lined with old reeds and six foot high nettles blown down by the wind. My techniques for traversing barbed wire fences could do with some polishing given that I nearly hung my family jewels up like washing on a line on a couple of crossings. It was all worth it though when you get a view of sections of river that is hidden from view for most of the year and only reveals itself for a few short months at the point when the year's growth has died away and is still waiting to renew again.
My fish location proved a bit rusty as well, and it took me a couple of clumsily wasted swims to finally get that quiver tip to rattle round, before a small but very clean chub grabbed my nugget of bread as it skipped under a raft of rubbish collected round the branch of a tree.
Both previous sessions had been relatively short and sweet as they were mere stolen hours here or there. It wasn't until right at the end of the holidays when I finally got my act together enough as to spend an entire morning out fishing. Getting out on this morning wasn't the only problem though. The night before the sky had cleared and the temperature dropped drastically. With a heavy frost and frozen puddles lining the city roads I felt it was a safe bet that both the canals and the commercial pool where I wanted to try my luck for a new perch PB would topped with a thin layer of cat ice. So I switched kits, grabbed a lure rucksack and a light/medium weight lure rod and nipped of over to Leamington to target the sluggish waters of the river Leam.
I'd heard from a friend of mine, Dave Cook, that there was quite a few prey fish shoaled up in the sheltered stretches around Victoria park, and if I know anything it's that the resident pike will not be far away from those smaller fish.
My tactics were quite simple in truth. On previous visits I had formed a mental map of the depths and summer time features of the stretch. Using that knowledge and a few select lures I felt were suitable, I worked my way up through the park targeting the shallow margins where the dead lily pads were, using shallow diving hard baits like the storm ghost minnow and the deeper centre of the river using medium sized fox spiky shads on 10 gram jig heads.
It took most of the morning and a lot of casting before I located the prey fish holding just in the deeper water behind a shallow area at the top of the park. After arriving and making only a few casts, I spotted fish topping and new this would be the area to concentrate on. After eventually dropping the weight of jig head to 5 grams to slow the lure movement down, I cracked the code and got a couple of slashed takes before hooking a micro jack pike. From then I just concentrated on the area; repeated casting and a few lure changes routed out two more tiny pike and one slightly better one which I was very happy to finish with.