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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 several 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. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. 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).
More single hooks.
I'm continuing with my tests of single hooks on my plugs. The other afternoon I decided to try and catch a sea trout (always a good test for hooks). The salmon season finished on the last day of August but sea trout continue until the end of October in our area. Anyway, I tied on my little Rapala and set off for the river. It was hot and sunny but I've caught plenty of fish in similar conditions so I was reasonably optimistic. For the first time in months the river had dropped to a fairly low level and was gin clear, so with my polaroids I could see every pebble and strand of weed on the bottom. The nettles are now head high so it you have to wear anti-nettle gear unless you want to be covered in stings and this can make it a warm, sweaty experience.
It was slow and for an hour or more I trudged on casting across every five yards or so. Nothing showed or moved. Eventually I came to a long riffle with water only a foot or eighteen inches in depth and well covered with patches of Ranunculus weed. On about my third cast across the shallows I had a good bite and saw a trout of five or six pounds take the lure. It wagged its body from side to side twice before coming unstuck. "Buns!" I said. Thinking that it might be my first and last bite of the session and adding another tiny doubt about the wisdom of using single hooks (it's so easy to be influenced by odd events). I continued on and, blow me down, half-a-dozen casts later I had another take and this time the fish was on. It was clearly bigger than the first one and it made the water boil as it thrashed in the shallows. After a few seconds the fish rushed over towards my bank and hurled itself into the air. It was a salmon which, to judge from its colour, had been in the river for some weeks. As it jumped it completely cleared the water before falling back into a great raft of loose floating weed. The line was now round the weed and and the fish was off again to the other side of the river. Would the hooks hold?
I hung on and tried to flick the line clear of the mass of weed. Eventually it was free and I was in direct contact to the fish again. By now it was back near my bank and in a deep slack. The bank was high and the water was six or eight feet in depth so there was no chance of unhooking the salmon just there. I quickly took a couple of pictures while I was contemplating my next move. The best bet seemed to be to lead it upstream until I could get to a place where I could reach the lure with my hand and release the fish. I beat down the nettles and began the slow march upstream, rod held well out and salmon sliding along after it. After about thirty yards I got to a place where I felt safe to slither down the bank and stand in the water (not much more than ankle deep here). I drew the fish towards me, it was neatly hooked in the scissors on the mid-body single. I reached down and took the hook shank in my pliers, the salmon gave a kick and swam away. Phew! By then I'd had enough so I packed in and went for my tea.
On the following day I tried again. I decided that a small silver Toby, with a bit of glitter on its single hook, might get down a bit better than the Rapala. All I managed was another salmon, although a couple of decent sea trout had a good look at it. Later on I switched back to the Rapala and caught a tiny pike which was easily unhooked from the mid body single.
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