Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Education is the answer.

Because the weather has been so bad recently (snow and ice) I have not been fishing for several weeks. So it was great to get out today, and spend a few hours on the river. This time of the season between Christmas and New Year is synonymous with Pike fishing, and I still have my spinning head on. However the weather was so changed from just a week ago.

I set off from home at around 11am to a little spot a kind friend recently introduced me to. It's a place the fishing federation stock with pike from time to time. The Charente is such a huge river it's easily capable of producing pike of massive proportions, but because of the constant killing of the small 'jacks'' it's rare to find a better fish.

By midday the sun was out, and my coat had to some off. I'd been fishing for about an hour or so it was more like spring than late December with a temperature of 16 deg. So I sat with my back to a large tree that fronted the river, and just chilled. The valley was filled with rain clouds, and bright sun between the showers, then a rainbow it was just perfect.
I past two other guy's fishing for pike during the session, both spinning. Neither had a wire trace on their lines, and this seems to be a common practice in France. I expect this is another reason for so few big fish. Many are lost to incompetence and ignorance, and many fish face a grim death with UN-barbed treble hooks caught there throats, resulting in the fish being unable to feed and dying from starvation. I don't know if it's ignorance or plan stupidity, either way education is the answer if we want bigger pike in French rivers.

Friday, 18 December 2009

2010 the year of the dead minnow.

I'm going to do something different this coming season, and that's fishing with bait!http://www.vairon.com/
I know many old friends of mine it will say I'm selling out, but I bet more, and bigger fish in the coming season will find my net with this method?

To be honest, I have seen a real decline in Mayflies on the river over the last few seasons. This is due to several reasons, the main one being a sharp decline in water quality (as I have pointed out in earlier posts) and heavy silting in many places. Weed cutting would help cure this, but again the river in not managed? The caddis are still abundant but I fear not for long, as a fine alga is starting to cover many of the better caddis hot spots.

Without good hatches in the daytime, my fishing in past seasons has become more nocturnal waiting for the larger caddis that can stir the better fish. However more areas have large midge/buzzer hatches that have take over, especially below the fish farms. I dont mind evening fishing, but not all season. I like to go when it suits me, and the fish!

Fishing the 'Vairon Mort Maine' as the French say, is a much used technique for trout in France. That worms and spinning are the main ways French anglers take their fish. I used to think it was a very simple tactic with little skill. However after trying it last season, I know I have much to learn!

It has several real advantages over fly fishing. One is you can fish in many places not available to the fly caster. A good vairon mort fisher can put his minnow right under banks, over hanging trees, and can reach bottom much quicker than a fly fisher. Every season on my local river the bigger fish mainly fall to minnow, and Rapala.

As I mentioned in earlier post, I'm yet to catch a fish over 60cm on fly. I have seen them caught, and have seen them in the river while stalking. So next season I will give it a real go. I'm getting a new rod http://WWW.ARDENT-PECHE.COM, Shogun Z Vairon Maine canne, and gearing up with a home fish tank for keeping the minnows in good condition.
I'm told it's better to keep minnows in a large shallow tank, rather than a dustbin style one. It's all about surface area apparently? I know it will not be a problem in the spring, but the summers get very hot, so we will see!

Take a look at utube 'Pecher the vairon mort maine', there are some good videos to view.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Winter Spinning.

I have gotten into a little spinning for Perch and Chub this winter. It's like fly fishing in as much you don't need to take loads of gear, or take very long to get ready. In fact I leave all the spinning gear in the car, in the garage after each trip!

Being able to go on the spur of the moment, without any preparation is perfect for me in winter. It's always the weather that clinches the deal for me. I don't like fishing in rain much, so wont go if it's raining. but I will stay if it starts while I'm fishing.

I like those mild days (were getting a lot of them recently) with overcast skies. I find big Perch very susceptible to light values. You can guarantee if you have to take a picture of a big Perch, you will need fill in flash on the camera. The really bright, blue bird, but cold days we mostly get in this part of France in winter, are not so good.

In my youth when I fished almost every spare minute, I had a flirtation with big Perch, and took several fish over 2lb 8oz. ( a big fish 35 years ago) But during recent years I haven't caught any decent fish.

The little river in the picture is reputed to hold some nice fish, over 2lb. But today the river was too high, and too dirty to give me a realistic chance.

If we don't have any more rain, the coming days may be better, we will see.