Catch Fish with
For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over four years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff so if you are new to fly fishing or spinning these are the ones for you).
19 August 2009.
More jiggery pokery.
I KNOW that I can catch perch on worms, on small livebaits, on plugs and on spinners and spoons but none of these tactics are particularly selective. In other words if you use these methods you will also catch a number of other species (chub, trout, pike, eels, etc. etc.). I've always been interested in any approach that will allow anglers to catch only their target species. To give one or two examples - baited spoons fished in particular ways, times and places can be used to select for flounders, eels or thinlipped mullet - surface poppers will pick out bass and big livebaits will tempt pike. Of course you will always get the odd 'byecatch' with any of these methods but on the whole you will hook what you are after.
My recent attempt to use plastic jigs in a local river seemed to have the potential to select for the perch that I wanted to catch. Since my last (and first) session using this method I have tried twice more. I went to the same places at roughly the same times of day so that I could eliminate the complication of where and when I was fishing. Even so the river levels had changed a couple of feet and the water varied in colour a bit but that's how it is.
On my second trip it had rained and the water was up a bit. I tied on a short wire trace with a smallish red and yellow curly tail and began to fish. The weir pool that had produced perch before seemed empty, at least I couldn't buy a bite. I moved on down casting and twitching the lure back across the bottom as I went. I had a few smallish perch and at one point, after I'd landed two or three from the same spot, a small pike took the lure. After a bit of a tussle it surfaced, shook its head and came unstuck.
My third trip found the river well down and pretty clear (it always has a bit of a 'tea stain'). This time I tried the white, fork tailed lure. First cast to the weir sill and a fish was on - it was a nice one of over a pound. The second and third casts to the same area produced two more decent perch. Then I dropped one and the bites stopped. Presumably the fish took its pals away with it. I went on downstream and landed one or two more smaller fish. Many of the usual places were now so shallow that I could see that there were no perch in them. I went back up to the weir pool and whanged the lure right across to the slack on the far side. Wallop! Clearly I had hooked a pike and it was a decent size. The fish took line in a couple of runs but eventually I had it close enough to me to get a view. I reached for the camera and the fish came to the surface and (as they do) violently shook its head. The heavy leaded lure flew out of its mouth.
Clearly that's jigging! I'm learning all the time. Obviously pike will sometimes take the lures so a wire trace is still essential, nevertheless the soft plastics will catch plenty of perch of all sizes. A bit of jiggery pokery obviously has potential.