Sunday, 18 April 2010

A Move to Mecca, Rutland Water.

Well my dear friend's a lot has happened since my last post. I have sold my house here in France, and shall be making a move back to England. I will be less than 30 minutes from my old home water Rutland.

I have no regrets about giving France a try, but to be really honest the fishing has been a great disapointment. You can see by my past post's the problem's France has with it's culture of killing fish, and the fight we have had to get catch-and-release accepted. It's a sad fact the revolution is just too slow.

Anyway by the start of June, I hope to be settled in my new house, and have a catch-and -release season ticket for Rutland. I will continue with this blog, and keep you all up to date with my fishing progress.

Bye for now, so you all soon.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Vairon (Minnow) fishing equipment.

I've been out in the garden with the new rod practicing casting the small weights required for Vairon fishing. Why you may ask?

Well a vital part of fishing the dead minnow, is being able to place the Vairon in exactly the right spot. This may be a whole in the weed just a foot square. Or under a bank side under-water tree root, an ideal spot for big trout!

Mostly this is done with just an under hand flick of the rod tip, sending the 4 gram minnow and rig on it's way. But sometimes an over head or side cast is required.

Fishing with a fixed spool reel is much easier than making a fly rod work, and you don't require as much space to cast, but it still requires skill, if you want accuracy, so hence the practice. I'm casting into a small bucket placed at various distances, and it's coming on. I have seen some real expect (Vairon) casters on my local river, but they are few and far between. The ones that ARE really good, catch a lot of big fish every season.

The pictures with today's blog are of the new rod and reel, some cracking trout lures (including a new Bullhead lure) and the frames needed to hold the Minnow in place.

The ones in the picture with a small disc at the top (Godille) are the most used in this region. And they are the most easy to use, as the disc works the water. But they are fiddly to make up, as you have to thread the line through the Minnow every time you want to bait up.

The other in the picture with the hooks on are called (clou) or nails in English. These are much quicker to attach, but the animation of the bait has to come from the angler. I'm giving both a try this season.
In my next blog, I will explain how I am going to keep the Minnows during the summer months, and how I will keep them fresh on the river bank!?

Friday, 8 January 2010

The Big Freeze.

When I first moved to France some 7 years ago, it was fairly rare to get snow. If we did it was just a flurry, and gone the next day. However this year not only have we had a large amount, but it has settled. So right now we are in the depths of a big freeze, and from the forecasts have more to come.
Clearly fishing is out right now, as it's more important to keep a good supply of wood cut, for my ever hungry wood burner. Most people in rural France use wood as a major fuel source, and it's normally available it a price comparative with oil, or electric. However in my view its far better, as it's green, and very efficient. We use between 6-10 sq-cubic meters each winter, 90% is oak.

I have a good friend who works in the Forestry business. He informs me that even though all this wood is used for heating every year, France is planting more than enough to replace it every year, I feel very good about this!

About this time of year, many of the trout in my local river move upstream to spawn. Some stay in the main river and spawn there, and those seem to be the later spawners. But those that run the mini cascade in the little river might spawn earlier, I just dont know?
What I do know is all this cold weather does more good that harm. It's only with harsh winters like this that many of the bugs unliked by farmers get killed off. But I will be happy when it's all gone, and I can get back to my rivers.

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!
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.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Winter is still around the corner.

It's been some time since my last blog, but I haven't been idol, I've been learning to play the guitar!!

Winter is still not upon us, and yet it's nearly December. It must be the mildest autumn I can remember, with daytime temperatures in the upper teens, and no frost to date! The other good news is we are having some decent rain that is getting the rivers in good condition, but for how long no one knows?

The water authorities have this action they take, when we have any amount of excess water. It's to open all the flood gates leading to the sea. This has the effect of flushing everything downstream, including fish fry. It's done for ease, rather than any thought for environmental issues. There are several barrages on the Charente, but they are not used with any thought to fishing matters!
Plus it's not a really effective use of excess water, when so much needed in the summer months for the farmers crops!.? What we need is a series of good reservoirs in the region, that all concerned can call on in times of feast and famine.

The local news papers this back end, were full of news about thousands of tons of fish lost (carp, pike, zander etc) when central lakes had there water abstracted. Anglers were furious, but nothing has been done to prevent it happening again in future years?

I gather we (our fly fishing club) have lost out fight to have the trout season opening put back a month, on our local river Touvre. So just like last year, female trout will be caught, and killed during their reproductive period. It seems the local fishing association just cannot get change done, even when everyone agrees it's for the best! But that's France for you.