Sunday, 13 April 2014

Fishing On The Cheap!

A while ago I posted a video on my youtube channel about an alternative to EZ Keepers which are used by tenkara anglers for line storage. It was cheekily suggested that I might be a cheap Scot and while I prefer to think of it as thrift there may be something in it.

I also posted to this blog how to go fly fishing for less than a fiver, of course for this you require a venue that's free to fish. Basically for this I went fixed line fly fishing with a cheap pole from the pound shop and while it wasn't as nice as fishing a tenkara rod it was effective and since then I've fished this way successfully on a few occasions.

As a kid I didn't have a lot in the way of spare cash so most of what I came by was through wily negotiation with other kids in my neck of the woods. It was possible to swap your way through a few friends and end up with what you wanted, sometimes I would come off worse but generally I did quite well out if these swaps. Not having much cash meant being inventive about my fishing tackle and I guess some of that thrift stayed with me. I remember ledgering with a hookles spoon as a weight then putting the hook back on to do a bit of spinning. Our street looked like it had a mole infestation during the trout season as we dug up anywhere in search of worms. I also remember using wine corks as floats or plastic bottle tops, in those days anything that wouldn't sink was a float and if it would sink it was a weight. I remember catching mackerel hand-lining tin foil on a hook and being amazed at how any fish could be fooled by such a tactic.

I thought it might be fun this year to experiment with fishing on the cheap and the best way to do this is with a fixed line, I plan to fish the fly, bait and lures for as many species as I can using the cheapest setup I can. This will challenge me to think about how to reduce the cost of everything and will probably lead to me making as much of my own tackle as possible.

It's in fly fishing probably this is easiest to achieve as the same fly can be used over and over again and if dry fly was the method losing that fly becomes less likely. For bait fishing I will need to make some floats which should be fun to experiment with and lures will also be a challenge. I have some ideas already for this and I've made some lures before but I dont hafe much experience in this area.

My shopping list for this wee project:

3m telescopic pole rod suitable for all styles and waters.
Hi-vis main line
Packet of hooks (mixed sizes)
Shot weight

Everything else I'll try to make from common houshold stuff, of course my household stuff may be different from yours but my aim will be to keep it simple. 

My species target list:

Trout, Roach, Perch, Pike, Minnow, and any sea dwelling critter I can hook.

I'd like to add Grayling to this list but if I'm honest I rarely have the opportunity to target them.

My techniques list:

Dry, Wet & Nymph fly fishing, 
Float, Ledger & Free line bait fishing, 
Soft & Hard lure fishing.

My water list:

Rivers & burns
Canals & ponds

Along with my posts I'll be trying to include a bit of video and images to show the tackle and techniques I'm using for "fishing on the cheap".

Monday, 20 January 2014

First Cast Of The Year

This blog has been a little quiet lately but hopefully that's about to change just as the weather is beginning to do. I managed out for a couple of hours on the canal last week and it was great to finally be casting again. My original plan was to go after some perch but after a quick visit to the tackle shop and a long gaze at some savage fourplay softbaits I switched to pike. Perhaps not the best idea as it's been a while since I've had a pike from the stretch of canal I was going to be fishing but what the hell. These lures are very good for perch also but the size of perch I usually catch from the canal rarely exceeds 1/2lb so I wasn't thinking of perch when purchasing these.

I learned of the sad news that my local tackle shop is closing down. Country Life in Balgreen has been around for about as long as I can remember but I guess all things come to an end and it seems that there just isn't enough profit in bricks and mortar any more. So it joins the ever growing list of quality tackle shops that are shutting shop, fortunately living in Edinburgh there's still options but there's really only one other shop I frequent and that's the Orvis shop, it's still possible to pop in, have a chat and pick up a few bargains for the tying bench. So, farewell to Country Life!

4 PLay Softbait 5g Jig

I arrived at the canal in a bit of a funny mood after my visit to the tackle shop and not really feeling the usual buzz when I approach a session. My head was still full of questions about the demise of fly fishing, why aren't kids fishing, has online really killed the high street, will we continue to lose smaller shops replaced by megastores and so on...

Well, I set up my tackle and started searching, I really searched every area I could even putting my lures in real peril but after about an hour I had nothing to show for it. I decided to move along the canal a bit further heading back into the city and then I found a couple of cormorants feeding on roach. Try as I did I couldn't get a photo of one with a fish in it's gob, I think they were a little spooked by my presence and after a short while they scampered.

Cormorant on the move

I fished on and was soon on a stretch of the canal that used to produce good numbers of pike for me but I fished every corner without success. I've heard of dwindling stocks in these parts but it could just have been a poor session, maybe the wrong bait for the day or I just wasn't hitting it right somehow. I'm looking forward to fishing a few more waters with these lures for pike and I have a few in mind that I know have plenty of pike so it'll be interesting to see if I can hook into a few on those waters.

I had a great time catching perch on the canal and burns last year using smaller softbaits so I'll probably do a bit more of that but for now I'm looking forward to just getting some fishing in where I can, the trout season gets ever closer but this year I expect I'll be doing a little less trouting and exploring other opportunities, more species, more waters and hopefully more fun.

I think I blanked my first cat of last year too and it turned out OK so fingers crossed, the sun will come and the fishes will feed.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Tenkara Line Extension

I've seen a lot of discussion about how to fish a variable length of line when tenkara fishing for those situations that demand a little extra reach. Fixed line fishing generally doesn't make changing the length of line quick or easy and switching lines isn't the best as it's time consuming.

One of the best solutions I found was this: but I thought this could be improved on a little by adding an additional component.

I haven't tried this yet but I'll be sure to give it a go next time I'm out fishing and I'll try to explain it as best I can here.

The Versa line by Teton Tenkara which is the best line mod I've seen uses a seamless ring and a slip knot to extend the line from a few feet to a few yards however the extension is attached at the rod tip meaning you would you have to remove the line from the rod and I'd like to avoid that.

The idea I have is to use seamless rings combined with snap hooks. below I'll try to do a rough diagram until I get some images:

Line Set Up:

                           Main Line                                                  Tippet
Rod Tip---------------------------Snap Hook/Seamless Ring----------------------Snap Hook/Fly


                                            Extension Line
Seamless Ring--------------------------------------------Snap Hook

This system allows the extension of the line quickly and the use of a snap hook will also allow the fly to be changed quickly if you fancy that. The tippet only needs to be unhooked from the main line and onto the extension and then the extension onto the main line without any need for knots or removal of the main line from the rod tip. you could carry a couple of extensions i.e one long and one short allowing you to switch from a standard line length to a loner line and even a very long line should you wish to do that. The weight of the seamless rings and snap hooks is minimal and I don't see it affecting the casting of the line however until I have a chance to put this to the test it remains only an idea. Both snap hooks and seamless rings are widely available and inexpensive to buy, in tenkara we generally use the same main line over and over so this would only need set up once and then it's ready to go each time you go fishing until your main line needs replaced. The times you need or wish to extend your line may be few depending on the waters you fish but this could become and invaluable tool.

Seamless Rings

Snap Hooks

I hope some of you will give this a try, I'd love to get some feedback on your experiences using this system or if you think it could be improved upon I'd be happy to receive your imput.