Sunday, 10 August 2014

Making a Coffee Packet Mackerel Rig

I think I had forgotten how far the Island of Mull is from those other places that seem a little crap by comparison. I am sat on rock, well a stack of rocks wondering if I will ever be able to leave and also sadly realising that when the week is over I will have to. Below is the only point that a good depth of water meets the rocky shore for a few miles of coastline and on either of it shallow reefs extend out. The water, Loch Scridain is a finger of the North Atlantic that cuts deep into the side of Mull. On its northern shore the cliffs of the Berg stand guard over its entrance; its layers of basalt from forgotten volcanoes create a layer cake in the landscape for the climate to pick away at. To the North West smaller islands in the chain break up the horizons like pieces of scattered shrapnel. And then to the north east, Mull’s central massif sits robbed in folds of mountain at the head of the loch. I have my back to the Ross of Mull the southern shore, which is a lower landscape that feels a little less dramatic, sat amongst such kin.

My set up is very basic if not a little wrong , I have 12ft carp rod designed to throw weights in ponds not the ocean, 50lb braided line on a medium sized fixed spool reel, a feather rig made from a coffee packet and lump of lead. To get some distance I have been making half-hearted pendulum casts rather than my usual off the ground casts which really wouldn't make sense amongst jagged rocks. I have two strategies on the go, the first is the simple chuck, let it sink a little and then retrieve in long pulls; this should find some mackerel that tend to run a little higher in the water column.

Plan b is to let the weight sink all the way to the bottom and then retrieve with jerks letting it drop back so it is never far from the coalfish and pollock that like it a little darker. So far this has landed me a good sized pollock and as I am not great at estimating weights I measure the fish on how many adult portions I could get out of it, and by looks of this one it may be six. The rest of the fish have been a little on the small size and have gone back but as yet the Mackerel have failed to show, well there is the rest of the week.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Making Pike leaders (traces) with crimps

The reason I began making my own pike leaders or traces as we call them in the uk, was the poor quality of those I found for sale in tackle shops. After losing a couple of lures though thankfully not fish to the shop bought variety I decided I could probably do better myself.
I have been making my own leaders for a few years now and I have yet to have a one fail on me although I do still manage to lose some lures to snags but it is always a snapped piece of line that comes back to me not half a broken leader. This particular leader is my standard bit of kit for middle weight lures and although it is not exactly a delicate thing it takes the abuse I tend to subject my tackle to in its stride. If I am stepping up a lure size to a glide bait I normally go down the much heavier solid wire route. But if I am perch fishing in water where pike may be present I tend to go with a light uncoated wire of about 12lb with twisted ends rather than crimps.

Although I own about six different sets of crimping pliers or crimpers I tend to stick with the Savage Gear ones because of the multi pressure points, these same plier or very similar are available from other makers like Fox and Greys. I have over time tried a number of different methods of crimping with different pliers and at this gauge of wire I really haven’t come to any conclusion as to which is best as none have failed. After doing a bit of vice testing of different methods I found the simple method I used in the video to be as good the more complex.

Length wise I tend to stay up over fourteen inches with about twelve inches being the minimum for use with a very short five foot rod I use for perch fishing. Sadly I have found a number of six inches leaders and lures stuck around the jaws of pike I have landed, these have obviously been bitten off from peoples line as they were a on the dangerously short side, but still six inch leaders are for sale in tackle shops.

See video descriptions for tools and materials list

Thursday, 12 June 2014

The Priest and the Postman

The guy is wearing a large electronic tag on his wrist; it almost looks like it has been saved from the set of an old sci- fi movie, one of those ridiculous visions of the future that came true. This is the new postman; we have two now, one who works for the queen or the royal mail and this guy who works for some company that I imagine operates out of grey clad buildings on grey industrial estates run by grey managers, who drive grey cars.

I am waiting for someone to answer the door as my family feel that even though I am a little over forty. I am not yet responsible enough to be trusted with keys. I ask the new postman what crime he has committed to be wearing a tag and he tells me that it is to scan the letters before he posts them and also give his global position to the base. I hold out my hand to take the post but he tells me he must post it through the letterbox as it is company policy. Then I wonder if this guy travels globally like Santa delivering letters, but I think I already know the answer to that question.

As if to restore my faith in humanity me wife opens the door while complaining loudly that my incessant bell ringing will not reduce the amount of stairs she has to descend to open the door.

Trout Priest Drawing of