Saturday, 30 August 2014

A more pike friendly dyson rig

I have never had a bite off while pike fishing but during an eel session earlier in the season, I was bitten off whilst using a deadbait on a dyson rig. I was bitten off just above the short wire trace. I was annoyed it had happened as I don't like leaving tackle in fish and it made me think twice about using the dyson rig again.

After some thought and a bit of messing around, I came up with a simple 'all-in-one' trace to use with the dyson rig. The 'all-in-one' trace incorporates a hook length, buffer bead and up trace. It is basically an extra long trace with a moveable buffer bead.

I tried a few different methods of attaching the bead to the trace but these either didn't work how I wanted them too, were too bulky or they damaged the trace. I remembered reading about a rig on Dave Lumbs blog, which used float stops on the trace to hold a ledger bead in place. This seemed like a good solution so I 'borrowed' the idea and used it on this trace.

I use around 24" of wire, which allows for a 6-8" trace and sufficient for an up trace. The hook is attached in my normal way (3 turn half blood knot), a large float stop is slid onto the wire, followed by a John Roberts buffer bead then a loop is tied at the end of the wire. The trace is threaded through the run ring and attached to the main line via a sleeved quick link swivel.

1. Mainline 2. Quick link swivel and rubber sleeve 3. Wire trace 4. Buffer bead/Float stop 5. Run ring 6. Hook
7. Mainline 8. Sunken float 9. Swivel 10. Mono weak link 11. Lead

The float stop is usually enough to stop the buffer bead from slipping, but on finer diameter wire I hold it in place with a bit of super glue. Slightly melting the float stop with a lighter also worked very well but when testing the trace snapped, so I stick to the super glue. After gluing the float stop it can be moved if required, however some care is needed to avoid kinking the trace. I usually change the height of the bait by adjusting the length of weak link between the sunken float and lead.

A dab of glue prevents the float stop slipping
I have used the rig and it works fine, during a recent session I caught my modest p.b eel on it and I am confident that it will continue to catch. The rig is very simple to make and it also removes the need for additional swivels/links which reduces the number of knots on the rig (which can only be a good thing in my book) and with the up trace it is obviously more pike friendly/safe.

My p.b eel caught on a dyson rig with my modified 'all-in-one' trace
The trace isn't by any means revolutionary but it helps simplify an existing rig and I feel it makes it safer. I am also working on a bottom/ledger rig that could be used as an alternative to the J.S rig. I want to catch a few fish on it before posting it on here, which will probably be next season now.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Back for barbel

After my latest failed barbel attempt I was planning on concentrating on the eels, however I decided to give the barbel another go. The plan for the session was to use a simple running ledger rig with a small pva bag or stringer.

Tackle used

Rod - 1.75lb Series 7 Avon
Reel - Shimano 5010 baitrunner
Line - 12lb sensor
Hook length - 10lb ESP Ghost Fluro or 10lb Super Specialist Sink Braid
Hook - size 8 or 10 Super Specialist Barbel

For bait I had boilies, garlic spam and a mix of pellets. I had my first cast by 0615hrs and for the first hour the tip remained motionless. At 0715hrs the tip went round and the baitrunner started spinning, a small barbel was hooked. It didn't take long to land, weigh and take a quick photo, the barbel was held in the margin to recover and shortly after it swam off strongly.

2lb 6oz
It took another 2 hours for the tip to go round again and when it did it felt like a better fish. After a 3 minute fight I had another barbel in the net and it was a definite p.b. The barbel went 5lb 1oz and beats my previous best by around 2lb.

5lb 1oz - a new p.b

At roughly 1000hrs the sun came out and the bites dried up, despite trying different baits, hook length material, hook sizes, longer hook lengths  etc... I couldn't tempt another fish. The rain clouds returned by 1500hrs and almost instantly I had another take, the fish felt a decent size but after a minute it managed to find some weed and the hook pulled ! I took my time packing up, hoping for another chance but it never came.

All takes came to a hair rigged boilie on the braid hook length, it was the first time I'd used the Drennan Sink Braid and it seems to do the job well.

Boilie/stringer combo 
My next session should be on Tuesday, possibly another attempt for the barbel or a stick float session for chub and perch. I'm also aiming to be out on Thursday night for the eels....

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A short early morning barbel session

I rarely target barbel and I haven't caught one from running water in years, so when a mate suggested a session at a spot he had recently caught a few, I jumped at the chance. After a very early start we were at the river by 5am and we quickly baited an area running alongside some over hanging bushes. The plan was to use heavy float gear and trot caster as close to the bushes as we could.

I was assured that the barbel would be there but after 15 minutes of running the float through, confidence was starting to fade. I added another foot on the rig and on the next cast I held the float against the flow, the float buried and I had a fish on, nothing too exciting, a perch of half a pound or so but it was a start. Another hour past with no other fish being landed so I decided to sit it out on the straight lead down stream of the bushes.


I started off using boilies with a small bag of mixed pellets and after 15 minutes I started getting indications. The knocks were most probably from chub and weren't really positive enough to strike at. I changed the hook length to a lower diameter and smaller hook and used a super glued pellet on the hook. Ten minutes after my next cast I had a positive wrap around but for some reason I didn't strike! I was waiting for the bait to be taken again but nothing else happened. We had to pack up at 1030hrs as we both had things to do in the afternoon.

A blank saving perch
The session was a disappointment but still it was good to be out. Barbel aren't usually a target of mine but next year I'm joining a club with some decent stretches so I'll probably spent some time on them next season. I'm planning on a couple more eel sessions before I start going for the pike again, with the aim of beating my p.b before the end of the year....

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Latest eel session

My latest attempt for eels was on a similar stretch as my last session. I arrived at the river for about half 7ish but as I rushed organising my gear I'd forgotten a few bits so had to quickly head back home and pick them up. Eventually by about 2100hrs I was setup and had 4 rods in the river, 1 rod for the pike and 3 for the eels.

Fishing wise things were very slow, a few fish topping but no indications on any of the rods. I noticed a large flash across the sky and straight away thought it was a meteor/shooting star, after a quick check on google confirmed that it was the tail end of the Perseid meteor shower that has been going on for the last few days. Shortly after the meteor a very large bevy of swans (had to look that up as well) went by.

Just before midnight I had my first take on an eel rod. The rod was setup with a 'modified' dyson rig and I was using a small roach head for bait. As soon as I struck I knew it was an eel, it gave a short but very aggressive fight and I could see that it was lip hooked, I managed to net the eel at the first attempt and the hook fell out in the net.

A new p.b - 2lb 15oz
I thought the eel was over 3lb but after a quick weigh the avons fell just short and settled at 2lb 15oz,  a new p.b. I sacked the eel until the morning and whilst I was sorting out the rig I had a take on a JS rigged worm, however the run was missed and I struck into thin air. I had another take on the same rod 15 minutes later and this was also missed. Things went quiet until just after 0300hrs when again I had 3 takes in a half an hour period but again these were all missed. Just after first light I reweighed the eel and managed a couple of photos, the photos didn't turn out that great as I had been playing with the settings on the camera and the eel was very active, twice nearly making it back to the water before I could get a photo.


After I finally managed a self take the eel was returned and it swam off strongly. This eel measured approximately 32" x 7.5".

Time of takes -

2353hrs - eel 2lb 15oz, Dyson rig, roach head
0007hrs - missed run, JS rig, worm
0033hrs - missed run, JS rig, worm

0307hrs - missed run, JS rig, worm
0327hrs - missed run, Dyson rig, roach head
0341hrs - missed run, JS rig, worm

There were two definite feeding spells both lasting half an hour or so each, I am going to keep a record of these and hopefully a pattern will emerge over the coming seasons.

I'm aiming to fit in a couple more eel sessions over the next couple of weeks before concentrating on the pike again.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Angling Trust membership / Short video

I've been planning to join the Angling Trust for a while but I always seem to forget. I finally got around to joining last month and have decided to setup a direct debit so my membership will automatically renew.

With fishing being under constant pressure from many sources; illegal fishing, invasive species, and predation to name a few, I strongly believe that anglers need a 'voice'. The Angling Trust provides that voice and also provides its members with many other benefits.

For less than the price of a pint of beer (or maggots!) a month it has to be worth joining to help safeguard the future of angling ?

Arrived today - Angling Trust membership pack
 Video

Towards the end of a recent stick float session bites had started to dry up so I had a play with my camera.



The footage isn't great (but neither is the camera) and the perch was only small, but it's my first attempt at catching a fish for the camera so it will do for now. After seeing some excellent footage on other blogs I'm tempted to get a GoPro and try to get some pike footage over the winter.....

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

One of those days

This morning I headed to a new stretch of river with the aim of tempting a decent chub to test my new rod. This stretch of river isn't known for being very prolific, but the chub tend to average around 4lb and can reach up to 6lb at the right time of year. The river level seemed spot on and the weather was favourable with plenty of cloud cover.

I spent the first hour walking the banks finding a few suitable swims, before settling for an area with a crease around a rod length out, running parallel to the near bank. I fed hemp and maggots whilst setting up and shortly after 0600hrs I had my first cast. It took around 45 minutes of steady feeding to get a first bite, I hooked into what seemed like a reasonable fish but after my initial optimism it turned out to be a trout.

A beautifully marked trout which was safely returned
Despite continuous feeding I couldn't buy another bite from the swim so after an hour I moved to an area of deeper/faster water. I changed the float to a 'chubber' style effort which was more suited to this pacier water. The feed was kept the same as the previous swim and again I was struggling, no bites, not even from minnows. After 2 hours in this swim I had caught a tiny minnow sized chub so I moved further downstream to an area of similar depth but a lot less flow.

The 3rd unsuccessful swim of the day
I decided to scale my tackle down to the lightest I had with me, 3.3lb mainline, 2.6lb hook length and a size 20 hook. I fed the swim with caster and hemp for around 20 minutes before casting. The first trot down with caster on the hook and the float buried, a minnow! The next cast resulted in a similar bite which was from a chub smaller than the minnow. The next 40 minutes went by without a bite so I called it a day before lunch. Even though conditions seemed spot on I had a feeling I was going to struggle, one of those days when nothing really goes wrong, but nothing seems to go as planned either.

On my journey home I took a detour to my syndicate water to see if anyone was fishing, which they weren't. I had a bit of a walk around and raked the weed from some pegs in case I can get on there later in the week for an eel session.

Wormery

Looking ok after a week
Last summer I set up a small wormery in one of those purpose built bins, however after some initial success all the worms had died after a couple of months. I most probably put too much kitchen waste in and everything went mouldy. I had about a 1/4 kilo of dendras left from my last eel outing so I set it up again, hopefully I'll have more success this time around.