Saturday, 31 October 2015

New Closed face reel on the market - Abu 507 MK II

Now this is something I am intrigued about, for various reasons. 

I've been using closed face reels on and off for years, since the old fella gave me his 1970's 506. As all of the original, Swedish built, Abu's this is a solid reel, built to last, and great for trotting a stick float. I still use it now. It's not perfect though - the drag / clutch system was useless, and most have had the anti reverse dog removed because of this. It's great for bagging up on dace, but quite often I would hook up on a decent chub and that's when difficulties arose. For some reason, I struggled to control them, couldn't back wind quickly enough or wasn't comfortable putting loads of strain on the reel. I usually landed them, but with difficulty. I've also tried a 501 which, for all intents and purposes is the same reel.

Abu then brought out a modern looking 706 - built quality was very plastic, but it performed, same issue with the drag though. The 506 MK II came out a couple of years ago, performs very well indeed, and incorporates a quarter turn mechanism to reduce the drag when playing a fish close in. The drag still wasn't up to scratch though. 

So today I noticed out of the corner of my eye when in the tackle shop, this 507 MK II. 

First thing I noticed was that's it's bigger than the 506 and felt more solid. Second thing is that it has a rotating drag on the bottom, that feels very smooth (when turning the spool by hand and altering the drag). You could feel the subtle increase in drag with each turn. I've not tried it yet, just bought it, but I think that the drag could, for the first time, be useable. When a fish takes line, the cup and pin remain stationary and the spool rotates, exactly how such a system should work. The older versions were just odd, the cup would rotate to give line, akin to back winding....

It comes with 3 shallow spools and 1 deep spool. I honestly believe that this well cover most of my river float fishing needs, perfect for trotting a float. The true test will be to see how it copes when dealing with a bag of chub on the river Swale, and I intend to try it out in the next week or two. 

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Pike fishing - River Swale

I started my main winter campaign earlier this week, which is to try for a big pike from the river Swale. I've had a few over the magic 20 mark from the tees, and want to try and broaden my horizons. 

The plan of attack is to cover as much water this winter as I can. I've got access to many miles of water through various clubs. I reckon about 20 morning trips should cover it with a roving approach. 

On Monday, the levels were good and I decided to give it a try at the upper limit of the Swale I'll be fishing. It's pretty wild water up here, Rapids, pools, as well as some nice eddies etc. There are good pike, and I've had them to 19.04lb previously. 

Tactics involved fishing a smelt and lamprey deadbaits, two rods, roving between swims. The second peg produced a run within minutes, and I was happy to avoid the spaniard they call el blanco, even though the fish only weighed 5lb 6oz (this one took the smelt). I covered about 1.5 miles of water, but didn't get any further activity. Well, we have to start somewhere! 

I'm out again tomorrow morning, however spate rivers being as they are, the Pennines have been hit by downpours and the river is filling up with warm water. The pike will have to wait another week whilst the barbel rods are dusted off again. 

Here's a pic of my Swale pb which in hoping to beat this year.....

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Barbel o clock

There was a lot of water in the rivers earlier this week, and one in particular was just fining down nicely but carrying a little water and flow still. Perfect conditions for a few hours barbel fishing into dark.

I'm experimenting with baits and flavouring at the moment, and had made some pretty potent boilies that i'd had recommended, which I wrapped in a similar flavoured paste. The first swim I got too had a tree overhanging on the near bank with the flow pushing out towards the far bank. A cast into the flow and letting it swing round seemed ideal, and I threw in a couple of samples (no mass baiting). Within 20 mins, the rod slammed round and I was into a hard fighting barbel; unfortunately the hooked pulled out as it was fighting near the bank.

After sitting it out for a short while, I decided a move was in order. Next swim I used paste only, direct to the hook, and within 10 mins later the rod stated  pulling round and I struck instantly into what was clearly another barbel. Happy when this one was finally landed...

I said it last week and i'll say it again - the lone angler landing net handle is brilliant. Very solid, and ideal for tricky swims where you need reach and strength. I had to land this fish between a bed of reeds that I couldn't get near because of the extra water and it was just what I needed.

I'm happy that I've found a bait flavour that seems to work very well. Two swims, two bites very quickly. That shows to me they are finding the nice scent trail in the dark and being drawn to it. I think I will keep on it!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Night time chub fishing

I had intended to go bass fishing this morning, however things changed and I ended up having a few spare night time hours by the river. With it being low, I decided to guarantee a couple of fish and target the chub (i'm after another 6lber this season).

Tactics involved using steak on the hook and mince in the feeder; a favourite tactic of mine and one that rarely fails me. A greys prodigy 1.5lb rod, 12lb line and shimano aero feeder reel finished the set up (there is no point in going light at night time).

It didn't take long to get the usual indications as a chub try to get the mince out, and not long after the the rod hooped over to a battling 4lber. This happened two more times in the next hour or so, and I ended up with three fish of 4lb 4oz, 4lb 7oz and 4lb 9oz. Happy with that.

I have just purchased a lone angler landing net pole. I have a drennan twistlock, which is good, but can be unreliable in muddy or freezing weather, as the locking mechanism can be temperamental. The lone angler one is a lot heavier, but built to last, with a much simpler locking mechanism. Tried it for the first time today and I was very impressed to say the least. Definitely not one to be holding often to land silverfish due to the weight, but as a pike / chub / barbel handle, it seems spot on.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Targets for this Autumn / Winter

Now that Autumn is upon us, I thought I would list my autumn / winter targets (my favourite fishing season), mainly for my own benefit and to focus my fishing.

- A 20lb pike from a different river - this would be a very good achievement from round here; so far one river has produced a few 20s for me, I want to try broaden my horizons. It's a tough old challenge this, and I imagine one I will fail for a number of years to come, but I'm going to have fun trying. 

- A 6lb Chub - caught my first late last winter, and want to keep going on from there. They are stunning fish!

- A 2.5lb perch - it's about time I had a big stripey under my hat!

- A 10oz dace - When they start to shoal up this winter, I do intend to try for them!

- A winter barbel - timing the conditions to a warm water influx in the middle of winter, I hope to get a decent barbel

- A 1.5lb grayling - they are there, and I have a few ideas up my sleeve for this one. 

- A couple of cod - not too much to ask...I hope! 

Best get to it then......................