Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Foraging and Fishing

Just a wee note to those of us who like a bit of foraging, or food for free. Now is the perfect time for wild roses of all kinds, I always try to collect some petals when in full bloom. Take about 8 petals in a mug and add hot water, add sugar or honey and leave for 5 minutes. You get a warm soothing and relaxing drink like no other herbal tea you can buy. They can also be dried for use later in the year if stored in airtight jars. Then there are Elder flowers, these can be made into a cordial which is a nice addition to Gin or as a non alcoholic drink with fizzy water. You can also make Elderflower Champagne, a very easy lightly alcoholic wine with a nice fizz. Recipes for these ideas are widely available on the Internet.

N.B. Collecting in the wild requires some common sense, so not roadside where fumes taint, shop bought flowers or any that may have had pesticides sprayed upon them.

Roach in the Mist

Went out around nine last night. It didn't look too promising, as the mist was rolling along the water dampening out the usual sounds of nature and making it quite eerie. Had a few tentative nibbles in the first half hour before I caught my first Roach, 2-3oz. Exchanged some pleasantries with a few passers by then things went even quieter, the mist became fog and even difficult to see float at 11m. Then all hell broke loose with a serious Roach that was doing a good impression of a leaping salmon. Turned out to be about 6oz and just very lively, lovely fish. Caught one more fish at 10.30pm and decided it was time to call it a night. A much more successful session than I expected.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Seven Little Ducklings

Had a nice start to the day today. It was damp and misty but not cold when I left, around half ten. Water still looking murky but I'd seen some movement on my way along so not discouraged. Missed the first gentle take but was soon into a fine specimen of a Roach. Ducked and dived and put up a good fight, around six ounces and good fins. The morning went in fits and starts thereafter, but was regularly into catches till one o'clock I'd landed five Roach and lost two. Nipped off home for a while, had some things to catch up on, then went back out around eight tonight. Nothing moving until i threw a few sprinkles of casters in, then caught a small Roach on the drop. Then nothing for another hour when i caught second Roach of the evening around 10pm. Had a nice wee visit from a mother duck and her young who weren't shy so took a short video clip before packing up

Friday, 26 June 2009

Muddy Water!

Thursday night saw me start fishing about half eight, but things didn't feel promising. A random wind was blowing, quite cool, cloudy overhead and you couldn't see even an inch into the water. It was even cloudier in the water than the sky! Anyway got set up, met another local angler fishing not far from me and shared some recon :) Nothing was moving, no fish rising, flies emerging or any signs of life. Started to think tonight would have been better spent online or watching telly, when float disappeared! A small Roach around 10cm, photo taken then put back. Not a catch to brag about but at least I woke up a bit with the little adrenaline rush it gave me seeing the float go under. Carried on a while longer and though I was into a better fish around ten, which got off the hook I was cold and things were really bleak so called it a night.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Waste Fishing Line

On a serious note. Our sport harms no one but our carelessness can, Please dispose of safely, or wind up and take home you waste or tangled line. This by product of our hobby does kill harmless birds and wildlife every year and gives us as fishers a bad name. I often have a drink in a can which I then use to stuff any line in then pop it in nearest bin on way home. Be responsible and Tight Lines!

Late Session

Decided to start a bit later tonight , so left about 9.30 pm, to an open swim I hadn't fished before. Warm night, slight breeze, great panoramic view and midges everywhere! Shipped out my rig and whilst doing so saw a good few rises that looked promising. Twenty minutes in I landed my first Roach. The fish were feeding just below the surface and had more than one try to catch my bait as I was lifting off. Just after ten my float started to move opposite the drift, I thought maybe a bigger fish dragging line but no it was a small Perch taking my maggot for a walk. Landed and put back, I shipped out again and almost immediately caught a very splashy Roach who leapt from my hand once I was putting it back. Called it a night as the swans and thier families were coming along.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Bigger Fish?

Well I decided to aim for bigger specimens tonight so went out a bit later, around nine, to an area I got my best Perch previously. Shipped out larger rig, hook and bait and waited. Not surprisingly there were small Roach leaping at flies occasionally but sure of my no small fish setup I carried on. Twenty minutes in I get a positively aggressive take and I'm sadly disappointed to lift my quarry straight from the water when setting the hook. Yes all three inches of Perch shot straight up in the air, till I settled and released it. What shouldn't have been even capable of getting the size 16 hook and two maggots in its mouth proved me wrong. Well and hour and a half later the same had happened another three times, all four fish under four inches and each sank the float as if it were some leviathan. Oh well so much for the bigger fish :)

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Double Up!

After yesterdays success, I decided to be a bit more selective and try to target bigger fish. Used a slightly beefier float rig ending in a size 16 with doubled up maggots, bigger the bait and hook harder it is to end up with small fish. Went out a bit later around 8.30 and after a few small knocks took my first Roach about 9.15. Nice fish, lively and about 6 ounces. Things went pretty quiet for a while then on the drop, at 10pm, I got my second fish. Bigger about 8 ounces and a nice end to the night.

Monday, 22 June 2009

My How To and Why?

I’ve already covered tackle and setup in earlier posts so here are some other questions I am asked regularly whilst fishing.
Why am I using a Pole? (This appears to be unheard of in Scotland) because when I fish the Pole I lower my rig into the water without splashing or disturbing, also alerting, the fish. This means I usually get interest on the drop or soon after.
How long do I leave my bait in position? I move my rig every five minutes max, enabling me to find the fish without waiting on them to find my bait. Using this method of lowering the rig allows me to keep searching the swim without spooking the fish and allowing me to cover the area thoroughly. Also if you leave your bait in the same spot much longer you don’t know if it is in a visible area for the fish to find, or if covered in weed.
How long to fish a swim? This is a bit more hit and miss really, I usually move if I’ve had no nibbles or interest within thirty minutes. Could be the fish just aren’t feeding but equally there could be Jack Pike or full grown Pike sitting where you are keeping the wise away. All in all I keep looking both up and down the swim to see if there’s movement anywhere near and move accordingly. Now the problem with this is when shoals are moving up and down patrolling in which case you might be better staying put, but I stick to my method. If the grass looks greener further along I move.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

What a day, continued!

In 26 years of fishing, I've never had a day like this. Nipped back out this afternoon for an hour and a half, before dinner, and caught another five Roach. No monsters of the deep but each one exciting and fun to catch. Came home, dished up dinner to my boys, ate and watched a bit of telly. Then thought, only 8pm, I could get another couple of hours in so off I went. Well 9.40 saw me bag my last of five fish for the session, making it 17 for the day. All Roach today but great sport and each one a pleasure to see.
This truly is a great venue for people to discover, and definitely underestimated by most.

Well what a day so far!

Well what a day so far! Left this morning to a lovely sunny day, contrary to weather forecast. Within 20 minutes was into my first sparkling little Roach, promptly returned I carried on. Moved along a little and was into a stunning fish who had no intention of letting me land it easily. Heavier than my light elastic could take, I dismantled pole and hand lined a nice 11 inch Roach around the 11 to 12 ounce mark. Morning carried on nicely till too hot, about half 12, so I went home for a break after a respectable seven fish catch for the morning.

About Worms

I've been asked a couple of times this week about worms as bait, they're great too. Just not whole, you need to pinch of about a 1cm piece and use that on your hook. Two reasons for that firstly most of the fish wont be able to get a big juicy worm (as someone described their bait to me) in their small mouth. Second good reason is that fish have a good sense of smell and by breaking the worm you allow it to release its scent into the water attracting fish.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Roach Trio

Looked lovely outside tonight, sunshine and just a little cloud. Looks can be deceiving, left home at half eight to find a constant breeze and a bit chillier than I'd hoped. Wanted to fish a swim I've not fished for a while and was setup about 8.45pm. Wind is a pain when pole fishing for presentation and controlling the ever flexing pole. Anyway five to nine saw my first Roach positively sink my float and put up a nice wee fight till netted just as a friend was coming over to say hello. For the next while had a few wee tugs of interest then a nice definite pull from my second fish in twenty minutes. No sooner had I taken its photo, settled it back in the water and shipped my pole out again I caught and landed yet another. All three were six to seven inches, bright and healthy. Not wanting to push my luck, three fish in half an hour, and getting a bit nippy out I called it a day.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Be kind, use a net.

Sadly no fishing tonight. Home late from work, then cook tea for kids and some other stuff to do. Long story short no time for fishing. Anyway last nights catch brought about a change in my setup, first thing this morning I was off to Country Life for a Fox Match Fish Safe Drip Dry Spoon landing net. I fish light tackle as I enjoy catching fish. Most of my canal catches are small fish, I use light No.4 Preston Elastic which is fine for lifting most straight from the water without harming the fish. Unexpectedly though I seem to be getting my fare share of better fish and feel trying to lift them is more likely to harm them, hence I am now armed with a suitable method of landing my catch without damage. I feel this is important as it satisfies my conscience and ensures my future sport.

Children Safety

This is just a wee note to Mums and Dads, the canal is a great place for your children to see and experience wildlife and nature right in the centre of town. They will learn and be entertained by so many activities around this beautiful resource. Water is always a danger, so some respect for the risks must be observed. Here is a fun game you can play about water safety, also there is the Wild Over Waterways site with lots of information and activities.
Have fun and take care!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Time for a quickie!

Well after taking my own advice about Tackle Maintenance it was getting on twenty past nine. A bit late to go out but seeing I'd just renewed my two favourite rigs I thought a wee hour of fresh air wouldn't go amiss. So just nipped across the road, didn't want to go far, and was fishing by half past. Placed my float gently with full 11m of pole and within a few moments of drifting my float disappeared completely. Elastic shot from my pole tip and no sign of fish for a good five minutes of fight. Guiding away from floating reeds and other obstacles, I finally saw my adversary, a Roach but heaviest yet. Played out I had to dismantle rod, no lifting out of water as elastic seemed at limit, and lift by hand and line. A beautiful specimen about 12oz and 11 inches long, in perfect condition and not taking long to revive, shot off after only a few seconds cradled in the water. What a great night!

Tackle Maintenance

While having rigs (line with float, weights and hook attached) already made up makes life much easier in the great outdoors, where wind and weather make it difficult to tie up, they must be maintained. This means checking for wind knots, tangles and the like when you’re in the comfort of your home. Wind knots, or unintentional casting failure knots, are a real pain as the line must be replaced as each creates a serious weakness in your line. You wouldn’t want to be about to land your personal best fish, having seen it, then your line snaps where you felt a tiny wee knot earlier but thought it not that important. Look after your tools and they’ll look after you!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Fishing in the rain...

Well what started as a lovely warm sunny day, changed drastically to heavy rain and electric storm! Had one small perch just before 12pm then all went quiet. Very warm in midday sun so decided to come back later. Started up again around quarter past three and by half past was into a fighting Roach. Exciting to play, land and over the half pound at 10 inches. Took another nice one twenty minutes later. Thunder and lightning had started so not wanting to hold on to an eleven metre conductor too much, not a lot of fishing done till it passed. Had one more fish after five when lightning started again and rather than tempt fate I went home happy with another successful day.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Groundbait or not?

While I think groundbaiting may help out of town, in the Edinburgh centre area where I fish I wouldn't bother. There is so much food in the water already both natural and for the birds it doesn't seem to help. The only thing I do use is a handful of fine breadcrumbs to attract some small fish in to the swim, bound to interest some bigger fish too without spooking anything.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Lowland Canal Angling Partnership

No fishing today as on split shift today. Thought I'd take a mo to advise on how and where to get a Permit for The Union Canal.
The Permit fees are:
Adult Annual Membership - £15
OAP/Disabled annual membership - £10
Adult Day membership (all categories) - £3
Junior day/annual membership - £2
Available from The Lowland Canals Office, Canal House, 1 Applecross Street, Glasgow, G4 9SP. Telephone: 0141 332 6936; fax: 0141 331 1688

I purchased my permit, as I enjoy supporting this venue and in return they ensure the quality of the fishing and upkeep.
Note after speaking to various anglers and locals, no one has heard of permits being enforced, but seeing it costs so little compared to other fishing venues and there is no close season I found it hard not to support it.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Flying Perch

Been a late one again tonight. Started raining as I left my house and kept going on and off all night, but not too cold and little wind. Hooked my first Perch under a bridge I was using for cover. Bolted off then started tail dancing! Long story short I lost it, to make matters worse lost another two in the following hour. Each a little better in size than recent Perch but so lively and jumping like salmon.
Confidence knocked I carried on. All of a sudden I was in to a Perch and landed this one. No sign of Roach tonight, I carried on till nearly 10pm when I got a lovely 7-8oz Roach matching my previous best. Packed up around 10.30pm after I caught one more Roach, sated for the evening :)

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Unplanned late night

Went out around 8pm, not far as weather didn't look too promising. Anyway thought my luck had finally run out, after seven days and thirty one fish, nothing was moving tonight. No twitches, splashes or interest of any kind. Until about pack up time, 9.30pm I noticed further down the stretch some movement at last. Pole down, box up I was on the unsuspecting as fast as was possible. Reward? my best Roach to date, around 8 ounces and very healthy specimen. Follow up was a nice wee Perch at 10pm. Well you know how it goes, hard to pack up when things get going. Hooked another Perch around 10.30 but lost it, took the hint and went home happy after another enjoyable day.


Let me take a moment to explain my recommended setup. This can be for any pole, from a 2m whip to an 11m pole or even a long enough stick! The main item is the Rig, a 5-foot (1.5m) length of 3lb line starting with a figure of eight loop to attach to the pole tip. To this put on a light weight pole float, enough shot weights to set the float at a height so you can clearly see the tip then finish with another figure of eight loop but a little smaller than pole end. To this end I join a Drennan size 18 Barbless hook, I get these from Country Life which comes on a 2lb piece of nylon with loop already to loop to loop connect. I start with float about 2 foot (0.5m) from rod tip and adjust down if fish surface feeding. Favourite bait seems to be Pink Maggot more than any other colour.

Short Session

Well another great evening on the canal. Didn't get started till after 8pm tonight but weather was pleasant if not a bit chilly. Not much in the way of movement, plenty of natural flies emerging but nights have been getting colder the last three days.
All was not lost though, first fish was an energetic Perch, small but determined and a joy to see and put back. Things went a bit slow for a while, plenty of twitching float but nothing really hungry till after nine. Then three Roach one after another. The last one, pictured, around 9.45pm was nice size, condition and lively.
Nice end to a short evening session.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Opening Blog

Welcome and thanks for visiting my Blog.
I've been fishing in the Lothians and surrounding areas for the past 25 years and while trying course fishing a few times have always gone back to fly fishing.
So recently, while waiting for a bus, I couldn't help noticing some fish rising in the canal opposite my house. Interest spiked I nipped down to Country Life bought myself a 2XL 5m telescopic whip, a couple of rigs and off I went.
That was two weeks ago, in which time I've had the best fishing and most successful in my entire angling career.
So my blog will be to keep a track of my trips to this exciting and accessible venue right on my doorstep.