Rudd stalking with a new #4 rod

Whiling away time until the start of the new coarse fishing season was always one of the greatest frustrations in years gone past. When I was growing up in Somerset, pretty much all local waters observed the traditional closed season. Nowadays, especially since moving to Devon there seem to be opportunities aplenty for fishing all year round, be it ponds, or the local canals or the ubiquitous commercial carp lakes – and what better way to see out the last week before the start of the new season than by testing a new rod on one of the local canals?

I’d recently purchased a new #4 set up and desperately needed to christen it. Not being able to justify vast expense on another rod and reel, I settled on a Leeda Voltaire IV rod & Vision Keeper #2/4 Reel, coupled with an airlo floating line. Cheap, yet no doubt perfectly capable of catching fish – if only my ability can do it justice.

New rod in hand, I popped to the Grand Western Canal near Tiverton to try my luck for some of the big rudd that inhabit the canal. I took a stroll down the Greenway section of the the canal near Halberton but was disappointed to see it looking slightly more coloured than I’d expected. There weren’t the numerous and highly visible shoals of rudd apparent that I’ve seen in previous times, but there were several swims where tench were rolling on the surface. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a few casts for the tench but in the end it was the trusty rudd that christened the new rod. There were none of the big rudd that I know inhabit the canal to be seen, and only their little 3″ – 6″ brethern present, but still they all count. I couldn’t tempt anything to rise to a dry fly no matter which fly I tried or how carefully it was presented and in the end it was the a slowly sinking spider that proved effective fished on a long leader and fine tippet.

The new rod and reel proved a delight to fish with, well balanced and feather-weight. I think this may well become my rod of choice when fly fishing for coarse fish on my local canals and small rivers.

2015-06-03 Rudd on spider


Still no Pike?

The title of this post sums up todays efforts pretty well.

I popped down to Exeter Canal for an early morning session with high hopes as ever. Fished nearly down as far as Turf Locks and had the daybreak to myself. Overcast and still conditions, and a crack of dawn start helped raise my optimism. But any early feelings of hope were quickly dispelled when the first of 10 or so canoes came storming down the canal shattering the early morning tranquility. By the time they had all made their 3rd and in some cases 4th pass I decided that maybe Sunday mornings weren’t the best time to fish the venue. After an hour of perseverance I eventually decided I was flogging a dead horse and should leave the canal to the rowing club. Given my usual form with the fly rod I can hardly blame them for the ensuing blank… but it couldn’t of helped all the same. Still, I learnt a valuable lesson which was try to not coincide fishing trips with university rowing club training sessions.

One thing did brighten my day slightly though was the new Fulling Mill wire trace I was using – really supple and flexible. Shame it didn’t get a proper testing. Maybe next time.

Wire Trace - Fly FIshing for Pike

Fly fishing – so, where to start?

I’ve been sea and coarse fishing my whole life. I go out boat fishing around the south west coastline every month as well as exploring the rivers, canals and lakes that are on offer in Devon & Somerset whenever I have the opportunity. Now in my 40s I’d consider myself sufficiently skilled with a fishing rod to not embarrass myself in front of onlookers and fellow anglers – unless I’m trying to fly fish that is….

I recently bought myself a couple of fly rods and have been enthusiastically waving them round for the last few months. Enthusiastically is probably the most flattering thing I can say about my efforts as well. Alright, with a couple of young kids I can only sneak away every now and again, and haven’t been able to devote that much time to fly fishing, but still – I’ve come to realise I’ve got a long way to go to get to the level of accomplishment I’d like to attain. I won’t be concentrating solely on fly fishing either – I’m still out on the boats sea fishing every month, along with the odd bit of coarse fishing, and can’t see that changing in the near future. The fly fishing will have to fit in around everything else. Not ideal I know, but there’s just not enough hours in the day!

Having just starting out in fly fishing and not wanting to break the bank, I’ve got myself an Airflo Delta #5-6 rod for coarse fish and trout along with a Greys GS2 #8 rod for pike and saltwater. A couple of ‘economical’ reels loaded with weight forward line completes the selection. We’ll see how it goes and upgrade if & as necessary.

To date my fly fishing has mainly consisted of targeting coarse fish on ponds and canals to varying degrees of success, along with the occasional trip after stocked trout.. Again with limited success. I’ve had chub up to just under 3lb and carp around 9lb on the fly rod, along with a smattering of rudd, roach & perch so to my mind I’ve have been doing ok. Granted, as with all fishing, there’s the occasional blank but I have managed to catch fish every now and again!

One area I have completely and utterly failed at, is catching a pike on the fly. It’s not through lack of trying either sadly. I’ve caught plenty of pike over the years on dead baits, live baits, plugs and any manner of lures, but just cannot seem to do the business with a fly rod. In fact my Greys GS2 #8 fly rod I’ve been using on the local canals for pike has yet to be christened with any fish whatsoever! shocking really considering the number of times it’s been aired.

As for tackling the salt water with a fly – I’ve just not even tried yet but it is definitely on my ‘to do list’ for 2015 – although I’ll look to invest in a pair of waders before then.

Looking critically at my efforts to date, it’s easy to see a pattern – most my fishing is on small ponds and canals where there is no need to cast too far. Being self taught, I’ve no doubt picked up lots of bad habits that need ironing out at some stage. I can just about get by on these small venues where poor casting technique can get me by, but can definitely see the need for proper lessons in the very near future.

We all need something to aim for right? So, the immediate target – Get some casting lessons ASAP!

Target for end of 2014?  – Christen the #8 rod, preferably with a pike.

Target for 2015? –  get off the mark with some saltwater species. Bass, Pollack, Mackerel & Wrasse.

Coarse Fish on Fly