Friday, 14 December 2012

Predictable blank......

I managed to fit in a short session on the river yesterday with first cast being around 1315hrs. I wasn't overly confident as I usually struggle when there is extra colour in the water. I decided on a 2 rod approach with various dead's, first rod was a large section of lamprey ledgered mid river, second rod was popped up pollan at the bottom of the near shelf.

Baits were moved every 30 minutes or so, trout and mackerel were also used but nothing happened. A couple of moves further upstream with the same tactics also failed to produce any takes. Hopefully the colour will continue to drop as this area usually produces in weather conditions similar to this.

Hungry horses
Highlight of the afternoon was the visit of some local gypsy horses, which seemed to take a liking to my lunch.

I finally packed up at around 1700hrs and after a 5 minute walk back to the jeep, I realised I had left the lights on and the battery had died ! About a 40 minute wait later my brother in law turned up to give me a jump start. A bit of a disappointing session really, but despite the weather (-2 C when I arrived) and the lack of action it was good to get out. I am hoping to get a session or 2 in next week, I will possibly look to fish further upstream next time round. I might also sneak a short lure session over the weekend, although this will be hangover dependant!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

River recce

I am still waiting for my first session this season, and with the weather we have had recently I decided to do a bit of a recce before committing to a session. My local river is still carrying some extra water, which isn't much of an issue normally, but the water is still quite coloured.

Local river - still a bit high and coloured.
I decided to have a look at a local pond which has a decent head of jacks. The pond is normally hammered during the warmer months and unfortunately the pike are often knocked on the head.
I had a feeling that the pond could be frozen and I was right, completely frozen over. The ice wasn't very thick so hopefully it should thaw with the coming warmer days we are due.

Local pond - frozen.
I don't really have the time to go further afield tomorrow so I will possibly try the river. Hopefully lamprey or another smelly dead bait will do the trick. I did also find a new launching point for the portabote, which should cut 10 minutes or so of travel time to get to the areas I like to fish.

Tackle failure

Whilst sorting my tackle box out I found a broken trace from the end of last season, it is a lure trace made with AFW 100lb single strand titanium. I had saved the trace because the wire had broken on a snag, losing a 10" replicant in the process! The wire seemed to break in 2 places, just after the crimp and at the bend. This was the first time I had used this brand of wire, and the will be the last. I had read good reviews on the AFW wire before buying it, but I will stick to what I know in future.

13ft of AFW free of charge, send me a SAE and I will forward it.
Break just above the crimp and at the bend.
Also today whilst making a few traces my crimping pliers decided to give way, both handles snapped at the same time resulting in 1 x broken finger......

Not the best of mornings really......

Monday, 3 December 2012

Eels as bait ?

On a number of forums that I read the use of eels as a bait often comes up, more so over last month. It is a very interesting and controversial subject with many arguments both for and against.

From what I have briefly read on the subject it appears to be a well publicised fact that the number of eels in our waters has been declining for a number of years. Over the last 15 years or so this has been apparent (to me anyway) on some of the waters I fish. There are many thoughts/theories explaining this decline, such as- commercial overfishing, parasites/diseases, pollution, predation, barriers preventing migration to spawning grounds, climate change etc.... but even the experts cannot agree on an exact cause. I believe that it is probably a combination of many factors but I feel that commercial fishing has probably had the largest human influence on the declining numbers.

Eels are on the critically endangered species list and fishing for eels in Scotland (without a commercial license) has been banned since 2009. Will stopping pleasure fishing for eels have any effect on future numbers? Only time will tell but I highly doubt it will have any effect at all. I feel the only way to protect the eel would be a complete ban on the commercial fishing/netting of these creatures?

A lot of the controversy in regards to using eels as bait lies with the bait suppliers, should a company be allowed sell a species which is on the critically endangered list? The bait supplier I mainly use utilises dead left over eels from the commercial netting programs. These eels would probably end up as fertiliser or pet food if not used within the angling industry, which seems like a waste so why not use them as bait? Another large bait supplier states that 'all of our eels come into us live so we can assure the angler of the highest quality' whilst a relatively new bait supplier Gadda Baits do not supply eels at all. Whilst not illegal to supply eels as bait I believe that selling eels is morally wrong, but I understand that these suppliers have a business to run and where there is a demand, someone will always be there to supply that demand.

I am a pike angler first and foremost but also have an interest in fishing for eels during the summer. Personally I do not use eels as bait, as I am not comfortable using a fish for bait that is critically endangered. Do I think that pleasure fishing for eels or even using them as bait has any real effect on the total numbers of eels? Probably not as I feel that commercial netting is the biggest culprit to their decline and any ill effects from pleasure angling is negligible.

Personally I believe that we as anglers have to be careful in what we wish for, having a hard stance on using eels as bait could possibly start the ball rolling on a similar ban to the one in Scotland being enforced. This could lead to other restrictive bans being enforced eg, live baiting.

However I do feel that something needs to be done to protect these magnificent creatures, ensuring stocks are available for future generations, but surely this should be done on a commercial scale and not aimed at the pleasure angler?

Steve Ricketts with an amazing 9lb + eel, surely these are worth protecting ?