Monday, 1 July 2013

Bagging up with Captain Woodchucker (and Tike)

I've been lucky enough to go out a couple of times now with Neil and Woody on their boats and we've had some good days fishing. Even the ones which I'm told were very steady days were enjoyable for me since it was with a buddy or two, having a laugh and catching a few fish. I managed to get out again with Woody on his boat this weekend and it looked pretty promising for a few fish. Upon arrival the water was not too bad despite a bit of rain the day before. We reckoned the bit of rain would help more than hinder as it hadn't added much colour at all and since the rivers are so low, a bit of water pushing through might be good. Only one way to find out and in no time we were on the river. It's not the hardest job to get the boat sorted but now I know what my job is I can just go do it rather than be told everything by my captain, giving us a few extra minutes fishing time and that can only be good.

Ok, it didn't go quite to plan. As Woody reverses the car down the ramp to drop the boat in, my task is to simply walk along the jetty and hold on to the rope so the boat doesn't go sailing off down stream. As I made my way on to the jetty I nearly went arse over tit. My trainers skidded on something slippery and I only just managed to stay on my feet. Phew, I saved myself from embarrassment there. As Woody made his way down to the boat he asked "who's stood in the dog shit then?". Aww crap, I didn't quite get away with it did I? I've no idea if it was boat mascot and lucky omen Tike who had done the deed, but there was only two ducks in the area so If I was a betting man! Woody cranked up the engine and we were ready for off, apart from having to clear up a chunk of vomit on the boat carpet. Strike two to Tike! lol

So not the greatest start but we were now off and on to the water. Weapons of choice were the ultra light outfits which we would be doing the majority of fishing with though we did have the large lures just in case we felt the need/urge to use them. Clarity wasn't too bad, probably five feet of visibility which is good enough for the fish to hunt on sight and react to a lure flying past them and it wasn't long before we got in to the fish. We knocked up a couple of fish between us, small pike and perch and then Woody managed a clonking perch of two pound. Excellent start and things seemed promising for a good days sport. My captain proclaimed, "if we get ten fish before we clear this small stretch of water we'll be on for a good tally". We were about ten yards from leaving the little stretch when the tenth fish was bagged. A good day ahead was in store for us, but how good I couldn't possibly have imagined.

We continued along the river picking up fish after fish. A couple of nice perch around a pound sprinkled with some smaller perch and some small jacks. The weather was pleasant enough and it was great to be afloat on such a day. By the time we'd knocked up a few over twenty fish, it was still early morning and we had loads of water to cover. We were getting all the fish on jointed rapala shad raps in firetiger pattern but eventually we both switched around and were picking fish up on most lures we tried. We tried jigging kopytos in a couple of spots that looked fishy but didn't have any luck so it was back to trolling where we got in on the fish again. I couldn't take much more and had to dig in to my Ginsters steak pasty which was polished off by Tike who had been waiting patiently for some tit bits. He's a cracking little dog and makes me smile. A real character who seems at home on the boat. Switching from one end of the boat to the other, from one set of knees to the next. I can forgive this little lad for a bit of shite and a puke, he's ace.

It was starting to become difficult to remember how many of each and what lure we caught them on and even who had caught what so we just tried to keep a tally of fish to the boat. They kept coming and often a fish would be called by Woody as we passed a tree, snag, boat or feature. "5...4...3....2....1..." he would say and then fish on, right on time. "We're due a fish now" and then BANG, fish on! It really was like that. We passed a mark but didn't get a fish. A hundred metres up stream we switched to jerk baits and slowly floated back down river trying to entice a larger jack. It was slow though I did manage one jack on a squirrelly burt. We made the switch back to the light gear and slow trolled back up the same bit of river. We'd passed it once with the trolled lures, then drifted back with the jerk baits but this third pass produced fish. No idea why this time the fish started to hit the lures but we weren't complaining.

Approaching another feature I was told "I've had a few fish off this tree" and yep, we were in, double hook up. One of many this day. Going through a bridge we had a couple of knocks and then a perch was bagged followed by another at the same time we saw a massive ball of fish on the screen of the fish finder. We turned the boat around and came for a closer look. The spot was full of fish and we made the call to tie up and have a jig with the kopytos. The action was immediate and fish after fish came. A couple of nice pound, pound and a half perch. Some small pike and then Woody hooked into something which if it was a perch like it felt, it was a good one. As it came to the surface we both went in to panic mode as you seem to do when you see a nice perch thrashing around on the end of your line. It went 2lb 8oz on the scales. Aren't big perch awesome!

For some reason, Woody fishing on the left kept picking up perch while I kept getting pike on the right. We both swapped and fished both sides and picked up a few of each. Annoyingly I snagged up. I kept flicking the rod and yanking, hoping the lure would flick clear as it often does. Eventually it freed up and I flicked the lure clear and in an instant it was smashed by a pike of five or six pound. This spot was producing some great sport and it was fish after fish. I then got another knock and I was in to a fish again. Not quite sure at first what it was, we then got a quick glimpse of a decent pike. It then woke up and put a full on bend in to my rod. There wasn't much I could do but let it rip line off. It headed for the snags under the bridge and my rod was bent right under the boat. Wow this fish has some power. Finally I got it to the surface and was pleased to see a nice pike of eleven or twelve pound. May be I should have grabbed a quick photo thinking back, but at the time all we were thinking about was the fish getting back to rest and also about catching more fish. Not sure exactly but we probably picked up 25-30 fish this one spot.

The sport eventually eased up and we moved off for some more trolling, picking more fish up along the way. We still had a good amount of water in front of us but instead decided to turn back. If we kept up the catch rate all the way back to the boat launch that would take up the rest of the day, so we didn't have time to go much further upstream. We made it back to the spot where we'd had so much success and decided to test our luck, tied up again and started jigging the kopytos. I think Woody was in before I'd tied up the boat so at least some fish were back in the spot. My first cast, and after a few jigs I felt a good hit. As it came up I was thinking  a decent perch before finally it was panic stations again as we spotted the chunky stripy. Not quite as big as the one Woody had but it went two pound on the scales and I was very happy at that.

The troll back to the launch produced fish after fish. The tally kept going up and each target was met and a new target was aimed for. Forty fish, fifty fish, sixty fish it was bloody great sport. Every fish was welcome and each gave us as much pleasure as the last one. What a day, what a cracking bit of fun we had. We pulled the boat in, unpacked the gear, hauled her up on to the trailer and headed off home. The final tally of fish to the boat for the day ended at eighty seven. A mixture of pike and perch, probably 60% perch at a guess. They fell to multiple trolled lures, jerks baits and jigged soft plastics. I reckon Woody had a good few more fish than I did too, easily fifty fish I'd say though I don't think either of us cared who had what it was just great to be out on such a day. Cheers Woody.

By the way, sorry about the lack of photos. I managed to leave my camera in the boot of my car. Woody took a couple of photos so if I can grab those off him I'll add them later.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you had a cracking session Paul. Looking forward to seeing a few photo's.