Sunday, 13 April 2014

Chocolate ankles to cocolate brownies

When me and Woody get out fishing together it is often a search for lots of fish, big fish or something along those lines. Woody gets one day to fish so usually we want to have a good day. It doesn't always happen as that's fishing, but often we have to do a bit of homework, get it right and then go for it big style. No holding back, we throw everything at it and it's serious fishing from early until late for that day. Hard work if you are not catching but if the fish are on it the day can be fantastic. My own fishing is often the opposite with me just doing something local for an hour or two and I'm happy with a few fish, though this method can also throw up some good fish. However as the weekend approached a few obstacles were thrown in. Woody had been away with work all week and wasn't sure he would get a pass out but then late on Friday night I received a text to say he could make one in.

Unfortunately I'd had my own little set back. Due to too many football injuries, my ankles are now made of chocolate and every now and again I am laid up when one suddenly decides to twist in a way it never should. I'd like to tell a spectacular story of how I end up this way, but usually it's something insignificant that causes me to be laid up. This time I tripped over the dirty washing pile that the missus was sorting out in the bedroom, falling flat on my face only just managing to avoid going head first through the huge wardrobe mirror. Fecking great big egg on the side of my ankle, just what I needed.

So when Woody sent me the good news he could get out, I returned saying I was struggling. So a quick chat and it was agreed to have a steady day. Woody was to catch up on some sleep and we would meet up about 9am not too far from each others house and just get out on some local canals. Places we'd never really fished at all and so we wasn't sure what to expect. From what we knew there would be fish in but not many people fished them for pike or perch with the lures. Jumping in and out of the car to fish new stretches or features if it wasn't working at one spot. We planned to just have a laugh, hopefully a few fish and then be home early evening.

We did the usual leap frogging of each other. Casting around with cranks and shads where we felt the fish would be, switching to work the depths or the shallows. Sometimes you want the shad so you can drop it down a canal wall and other times you want the crank to work the shallows. The canal wasn't too deep so Woody went with his Rapala husky jerk and I went with one of Mark Houghtons crank n shad lures. The same lures we'd bagged up with a few weeks earlier on some other random stretch of canal, so we knew the lures caught fish and when you are confident of that you know that you will catch on any water so long as it is similar. No point chucking a shallow tiny crank on a massive glacial lake though. Leap frogging each other up the canal, we're like a well oiled machine. We cover every bit of water and in very little time. We don't see the point in staying in one spot for too long. If the fish are not pressured, the perch harass in numbers any lure and a pike will crash up from it's hiding spot at the first thing that flashes past. Even with my dodgy ankle we can cover a good 100m stretch in less than ten minutes.

The tactic worked and we were picking up small jacks. Good fun, nothing spectacular but we only had the ultra light gear and weren't in big fish hunting mode. Sometimes it's just nice to be out after a week of work, taking the piss, having a laugh and catching a few fish. There's one thing about pike that we love. No matter the size, the takes are something special.

A few times we went back to the car and set off for another stretch of canal. Doing a bit of groundwork, finding fish and seeing what is about and where has potential. We covered stacks of water, even with my chocolate ankles but we saw no one else fishing until eventually we spotted some lads around a bridge in the distance. We worked our way up to them before realising these lads weren't the best equipped and the closer we got the greater the chance these lads weren't British. One guy was throwing lures in a pretty effortless fashion, one guy was sat on a box with a small bobber float and the other was stood up, probably twenty pound line wrapped twice around the end of his rod and again a tiny bobber float in the edge. They hadn't a clue it seemed but when Woody chatted to them as we past, one lad was proud to show off his keep net of about ten perch. "Are you putting them back?" asked Woody. Typically when you speak to a foreigner you raise your voice, miss out words and add a bit of an accent. It was funny watching Woody give them a roasting in this manner.

We carried on up the canal, both knowing deep down that these lads weren't going to be putting the fish back at all, most probably they were for the table. The fishing on this bit of canal wasn't anything spectacular so we headed back to the car after half an hour. As we got within sight of the bridge the lads had already packed up and gone, but as we marched on we spotted them in the distance. Keeping an eye on them and trying to gain on them with me and my ankle wouldn't be easy. We lost sight of them but when we finally did see them again we knew where they were heading, the river! We now knew what those perch were for, they wouldn't be eating them at all.

The first guy was spotted just sorting his lure rod out. He was on his own and as Woody barked at him he was a caught out a little. He hadn't seen us at all and he was given a stern warning that if he didn't go, the police would be called. We marched on and the other two were already fishing. Again Woody barked at them and they didn't know what to do. Woody explained the reasons why, the rules and then when we spotted the livebait bucket they got an even bigger roasting. The first guy was now with us and we had three unhappy, slightly dodgy looking lads. I know plenty of readers might have already met Woody and he has a bit of a gift of the gab. He's a salesman for a living and is used to talking, in fact I reckon he'd even give our lass a good game at that. He explained the laws of the land and when one guy pulled out a plastic bag full of local fishing club books he'd bought, and then another pulled out his EA rod license we could see they had at least made some effort. "£100 on club books just to eat a few fish. Feck me mate you could buy enough fish to feed all your families for that from the local market" he explained. "What strength line is this?" to which the guy said it was four. four what? It turned out to be .004 diameter, which isn't strong at all most probably less than ten pounds, certainly not live bait tackle though we were particularly impressed with the Kinder egg float he was using. One guy, the lure chap, had what looked to be 18-20 mono and a decent wire trace so that wasn't too bad, though paired with his Fladen 10ft rod, he wouldn't have the best lure fishing experience of his life.

We continued to rip them to bits and try our best with the language barrier to put across what they needed to be doing to keep to British law and also to get the best of their fishing. Eventually Woody beckoned them to his car where we could show them more gear that they should be using. When Woody pulled out his pike net they were amazed and couldn't understand the need for such a big net. So we had to get out the cameras and show them what fish are like if you put them back and let them grow. One lad was from Pakistan and the other two were from Hungary. The two Hungarians explained they could catch pike to about four kilos, which we worked out to about nine pounds. When we showed them fish of ten plus kilos they were shocked. We pulled out big perch photos, huge carp and explained more about sport fishing in Britain. We had a good half hour chat trying to show them our ways. After we eventually parted company, all we could do is hope that some of that stuck. We can only hope these lads took on board some of what we said.

We had another couple of hours fishing left and again moved on to a new spot. This spot produced loads of pike but none were of any size. Still great fun watching the follows, hits and misses and that's why we go lure fishing. On our way back to the car we were chatting and Woody told me about a small bit of water that had some brownies in and so we went for a peak. The water was tiny and not somewhere I normally would fish, though I know my mate Matt over on Fooling Fish has waters out his way that he gets great results from. Woody needed to be home but we figured we could have a quick couple of last casts.

MH Custom Lures Crank N Shad
We crept through the undergrowth, possibly crashed through the under growth though we'd like to think we were stealthy. Woody cast out one way and I cast the other. As my crank n shad came in a shadow appeared, danced around like a lunatic and then turned away. There was a half decent sized brownie and two more smaller ones hanging off it. "Woody, trout! I've just had a follow". Woody grabbed the net and put it in a position where if we had a fish on we could heave it up the bank and then I cast out again. As the lure came to the same spot it was nailed instantly and all hell broke loose. Woody scooped the net under it and we were laughing. Twenty pound braid and a wire trace, no flurocarbon in sight! lol The swim was no doubt destroyed now so Woody crept around the back of another bush and chucked in. A few follows and then a big fish turned away before finally Woody bagged a smaller trout. One each now and time to head off home. No idea the number of fish in total between us, over forty at a guess. Not bad for a steady few hours on waters no one seems to fish. May be we will be back for some trout fun though.


  1. Another great session there lads!

    Well done on teaching some of our less informed foreign friends, the right way to go about things. Lets just hope they have taken on board some of what was said to them.

    1. Yeah good sport Glen. We can only hope they learn from Woody and his teachings. lol