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USA Bass Wins Gold at Bass World Championships
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (November 11, 2018): USA Bass brings anglers together from FLW, B.A.S.S. and MLF to win the Gold medal at Bass World Championships in Mexico. The USA Bass team competed against a record 15 nations at the Black Bass World Championships on Mexico’s famed Lake Cuchillo on October 29th thru November 3rd. The team of anglers included top pros from all three of America’s premier fishing tours. Scott Martin, David Dudley and Terry Bolton – FLW, Scott Canterbury and David Fritts - B.A.S.S., Fred Roumbanis and James Watson – MLF. The team dominated the international field in the weather shortened event to bring home the Gold medal. USA Bass’ two day total was 135# 6 oz, followed by Mexico 95# 10 oz and Italy 75# 12 oz. Defending champion South Africa finished in 4th place and Canada made the top five in their first World Championship. Dramatic changes happened to the professional bass fishing landscape with the addition of the MLF tour and now include the FLW Tour, B.A.S.S. Elite Series and MLF’s Bass Pro Tour. Anglers now had more choices than ever before to advance their career. “It was exciting to see anglers from all three circuits come together for our USA Bass Team” says USA Bass President Tony Forte. There is tremendous energy in bass fishing right now in the three tours and the international arena. We celebrate the diversity of this USA Bass team and applaud their Gold medal performance”. Team captain Scott Martin was delighted with the team work and camaraderie of the USA Bass team. “The entire USA Bass organization helped us win the Gold”, said Martin “Industry supporters, staff and every team angler. Lessons learned from our Silver medal last year in South Africa led to a solid game plan for Mexico. The team worked together to find the fish in practice, establish the pattern and communicate on the water during the tournament. It all came together to win the World Championship and bring home the Gold. It is a great honor to fish for the United States.”
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Clint Walker - Mixed Results
A mixed week this time, with a couple of different targets sought, but with only limited success. My first visit of the week was to the new water I briefly mentioned earlier this month. It’s a weedy, overgrown, neglected pit, with crystal clear water, and a bad reputation, but it holds some hefty tench, and it was tinca on my mind when I turned up in the (very) early morning hours to try and plot a capture. It’s a city park lake, and with that the usual hazards must be considered, so I took only a bare minimum of kit, and kept a wary eye around me! I wanted to fish the ‘lift method’, a classic way to catch June tench, and as the mist burned off the water, I was set up, my float semi-cocked by a BB shot on the bottom. A trio of red maggots adorned the hook, and a small number of their compatriots had been tossed over the red tip of the quill to settle on the bottom for added interest. I was ready for a proper lump! After an hour without so much as a flicker of interest, the float suddenly staggered in the water, then slowly rose up to lay flat! I struck into solid resistance, and a nicely conditioned tench of around 4lb soon lay on the mat, glistening in the morning sun; perfect! Another hour passed, and despite a good number of plump tench rolling in the swim, I had no further interest, so opted to change things. I pieced together the feeder rod, slid a small method feeder up the line, and attached a short hook link. Wrapped in Spotted Fin Classic Corn feeder mix, with more gentles on the hook, the tempter was lobbed out to where the fish had been rolling and left to settle. Within a minute, the tip started quivering as the groundbait was investigated by something; seconds later, the tip pulled slowly around, and I struck into thin air! An unmissable bite missed! I reset the rig, and the same thing happened again, but this time, the strike was met with a solid thump as a bigger tench moved off quickly. It took a bit to tame this one, and when I eventually got it to the net and lifted it from the water, I immediately put it back down again, the net and fish suspended in the margins, because this one was worth a photograph! I love big tench, and consider anything over 5lb to be a specimen, and so was extremely pleased to weigh my prize at exactly 7lb. It was an immaculate fish too, with a dark patch on the tail to add character, but in pristine condition with a tubby belly which almost matched my own! After a quick snap for posterity, the fish was lowered into the margin to recover, and it soon swam away with a defiant flick of the tail! One smaller tench followed, but as the sun rose higher, the activity stopped, and it was time to pack up. I was happy with three plump tench on my first visit, but now my appetite has been whetted, I’m after a bigger one… they are reputed to reach double figures! A second session saw me crossing fields at 5am, heading for the canal to try and catch perch by ‘droplobbing’. It’s the same as ‘dropshotting’ but instead of a plastic bait, a real worm is used. I’m still surprised by the amount of dropshot anglers who have never thought of using a real worm (or even maggots for that matter) on the hook, but in my opinion, a worm should out fish any imitation surely? It’s one of my favourite methods, and after an hour ‘worm charming’ the night before, I had enough worms for a couple of hours fun… Except it wasn’t. Unusually, I couldn’t buy a bite on worm, and gave up after an hour of fruitless twitching, instead changing to a small white lure from the Rapture stable and moving venues. First drop in, and my first fish, a feisty perch came kicked from the depths… and that was it. I walked the whole perimeter of the lake, and never had another bite! It was time to move on for the third time, and I set off for a rapidly drying River Churnet, of which only two small pools were fishable. No matter, I love small river lure fishing, and I was determined to catch! I’d changed my lure once more for a bigger paddletail and flicked it forwards into the flow to allow it to be dragged downstream before steadily retrieving it. Wham! I’d just about tightened the braid when I felt an almighty wallop on the lure, but it was so fast I missed it! After a morning struggling for bites, this was a setback indeed, as one chance is normally all you get in these tiny swims, but I cast out again hoping for another attack. I watched the lure move back towards and espied a dark shadow beneath! It was a trout, a fairly hefty one at that, and as it snatched at the lure, I missed it again! I know, if you are reading this, that no doubt you have advice aplenty, but it was just one of those days… I moved upstream to a swim that I know has some considerable depth as in my days as a firefighter, I once conducted a rescue from the very same place! Again, the big paddletail was cast across the flow, and once again, unbelievably, I missed the bite which almost instantly followed! Enough was enough, so I fined right down to a 2g jighead, loaded with a microfry lure, and flicked it along the margin. Whilst I experimented with my retrieve, seeing how the tiny lure behaved in the barely perceptible flow, a flash of gold and a jerk at the rod tip saw me finally hook into a perch! At around 6oz, it certainly wasn’t big, but on an ultralight Sonik Magna rod, it was good fun. Others followed as I discovered a nest of perch to plunder right beneath my feet, the undercut bank providing great cover for hungry predators, and for the next twenty minutes, a string of river perch came to hand; great fun! The sun was high in the sky, and I could feel sweat beginning to prickle my neck, so I decided to have ‘one last cast’ and deftly dropped the lure right by the sedges on the far bank. The tiny paddler was eased back towards me without result, but as I prepared to lift the rod, a small pike hit the lure with some force, right under my feet, and gave a superb account of itself as the last fish of the morning. Once again, it wasn’t big, a couple of pounds at most, but having struggled all morning, finding a throng of perch and finishing with an angry jack pike meant that I could return home happy. I’ve got a bit of preparation to do, as I’m spending all weekend at the Carp in the Park extravaganza in Northamptonshire. Hopefully I might just meet one or two fellow anglers there, and I’ll be able to talk fishing, even if I have to wait until next week before I can go again! Tight lines!
9 days ago
Clint Walker - Fishing in the River Churnet
A joyous week this week, I’ve been on the river, used some new bait, and visited a new venue… but I might leave details of that one until next time… My first session this week saw me don the waders (and hope the mice hadn’t put a hole in them) and slide carefully into the River Churnet in hope of dace and grayling. It’s important to point out that entering any watercourse should be done with utmost care, and I was careful to use a wading staff (landing net pole) to carefully check the riverbed before moving. Although I know the river well, I’m also aware that floods may have changed the contours of the riverbed, and that submerged obstacles may not have been there before; always check, never think “it won’t happen to me” because every year, unsuspecting anglers are drowned… No-one ever wakes up in the morning and thinks that it will happen to them, just like no-one expects a house fire or car accident either, but someone has them; be careful, it’s your life at stake! As it turned out, low water levels put the water barely above my knees, and I was able to select a fairly light float to trot down the steady glide in front of me. Luckily, I’d recently happened upon some old Ivan Marks stick floats at a local car boot sale, battered and chipped, but still classics, and I couldn’t wait to watch one dance downstream. Attached ‘top and bottom’ with float rubbers, I put the bulk of my split shot half way down the line and added a No.6 a few inches from the hook, just to keep the maggots down in the flow. By shotting like this, the float semi-cocked instantly, so I didn’t miss any quick bites, and then settled nicely, but still allowed me to check the float to let the bait rise up over any streamer weed beds of which there were plenty! The sun shone warmly as I flicked a few maggots ahead of me, then lowered the float in behind to move through the swirling cloud of bait, and I couldn’t have been happier; it was indeed a blissful way to get back onto moving water! The red tip of the float moved away from me, carefully controlled by gently thumbing the centrepin to keep pace, and then disappeared! A bite on the first trot through! A deft flick of the wrist resulted in a series of rapid thumps at the other end of the line, and a plump dace was bought to hand… perfect! As I unhooked the silver shimmer, and held it in the flow to recover, a pinch of maggots was sent twirling downstream to keep fish interested, and I dropped the float in once more. Once again, at exactly the same place, it shot out of sight, but this time, the culprit has a beautiful lilac grayling, and the sunlight revealed a myriad of pale hues as it shone through an angrily lifted dorsal fin as it sought to escape… to no avail; it came to hand and was held upstream to get its energy back before swimming away. Throughout the next hour, I plundered a steady stream of beautiful silvery fish as I enjoyed the sunshine. I caught nothing over a pound in weight, but I don’t think I’ve had a more enjoyable hour so far this year! As the sun rose higher though, the bites petered out, so I clambered from the river, and moved to the lake next door to try out some new goodies! I mentioned the new Spotted Fin feeder packs last week, so I was keen to see if the products lived up to expectations. A small flat method feeder was quickly loaded with Sweetmeat method mix, a matching wafter banded onto the hair, and it was gently lobbed out a couple of rod lengths to see what happened. The lake has been fishing poorly, with several anglers commenting on a lack of action, so I was delighted when the ‘tip pulled around and a feisty double figure carp fought hard to the net; first cast, first fish! George, sitting a few pegs below me, soon packed up after only three fish in three hours, as did another angler who hadn’t even had a bite, whilst I quickly hooked a second carp and landed that one too. I heard on the bankside grapevine (Mick the bailiff!) that Derek at the other end of the lake had had several carp and some bream, and another angler even further away had also caught well, but it appeared that at my chosen corner of the lake, things were a little slower, with other anglers eventually departing too… I stuck it out. I’m convinced by the quality of the bait, and after a couple of hours, I’d amassed ten carp, all doubles, whilst others had struggled. Did the new Sweetmeat make the difference? I’d like to think so, as I know many anglers know much more about the lake than I, but they had found fish hard to come by. Recent matches had been won with less than I’d caught, whilst I was pleased to catch steadily and enjoy good sport in fantastic sunshine. I’m pleased with the new products, they are easy to mix properly, smell great and stick to the feeder well, so should be simple to use by all. I’m yet to try the new Classic Corn mix, but as I’ve found a new tench venue, it will be getting put to good use on there, and it will be a proper test too as the water is packed with weed and has probably never seen Spotted Fin baits either! Wish me luck!
15 days ago
Clint Walker - Back at Home
I've returned from Australia, and for the first time in a month, I'm currently sitting on the bank back home in the UK. In truth, I’ve been looking forward to returning to what I know, Australia has some fabulous fish to target, but some are also deadly, so to the uneducated (me!) I’m now far safer! This time of year is also one of my favourite periods to target tench, so with that in mind, I packed my van, set the alarm, and groggily got up at 3.30am to drive to my preferred tinca water... Rode Pool, on the Stoke-on-Trent Angling Society card is a simply gorgeous estate lake, shallow, silty, and with some superb tench to target. I parked up to find that I was the first angler of the day to arrive, and quickly barrowed my kit through the gate, pushed through the undergrowth, and settled down to watch the water for a while. I wasn’t too pleased to find the wind pushing down the lake away from my usual peg as I seem to do better when it pushes into the shallows, but with the whole lake to choose from, it wasn’t going to cause an issue. After thirty minutes, I hadn’t seen much aside from hordes of insects flitting over the rippled surface, but was delighted to watch bats hunting them in the morning gloom as the sky lightened. I walked the banks hoping to spot fish, and finally, just off the peg I like, I saw a dark back roll; it looked like a tench, and was all the encouragement I needed to drop my kit, mix my groundbait, and start to set up. I’ve ‘upscaled' my rods on here this season, moving to the 2.75lb test curve Sonik Vader X just to allow me to cast a little bit further as a lot of fish tend to patrol the far bank reed line, and I’ve been dropping short. The Vader X is still soft enough to enjoy a scrap with feisty tench, and if one of the resident carp interrupts, I’ll have a chance of landing that too. Twinned with the matching Vader X reel, it’s a great set up for general fishing, and won’t break the bank either! I love to fish The Method here, so a sticky mix of Spotted Fin Betafin pellets and Super Sweet groundbait was wetted with lake water and left to stew. I know it will cling to a method feeder and withstand an 80 yard cast, and it’s always a great attack on what is renowned as a tricky water. On the hook, a Catalyst 8mm dumbbell from the same company was banded on and pushed into the method ball...perfect! Both feeders splashed down about 25 yards apart, a rod length off the inaccessible far bank and I sank both lines before adding a backlead. As I’ve mentioned, it’s a shallow venue, with a lot of backside vegetation, so I didn't want to risk crossing the lines with a fish! Bobbins set, it was time to relax and absorb the English countryside. I’ve enjoyed my time in Australia, but the greenery of England is always missed, and I love to sit beneath the established oaks and sycamore which border the lake. Nestled away from the rest of the lake, my first brew was interrupted by a rattling take which saw the first dark green tench of the day safely netted. At about 4lb, it wasn't the biggest in the lake, but just 5 minutes into my session, it was a good start! Quickly returned, it was followed a few minutes later by another of similar proportions on the other rod as the Catalyst bait lived up to its name and started a feeding spell! After recasting, I pinched the line to hook up the back lead, and was amazed to feel resistance on the other end! The ripples hadn't subsided before I was into another fish! I lifted into the third fish and started to move it away from the distant cover, before easing it into the waiting net. As it was enveloped in the mesh, astonishingly, my other alarm sounded, and I quickly swept that one aloft too to connect with a fourth tench! Madness! Less than an hour in, and four glistening tincas had seen the bank! My brew was going cold... The fifth fish was a slab sided bream, a chunky fish of around 6lb, then more tench, then another bream; by 9am, after fishing for about 3 hours, I’d landed 10 tench, and 4 good bream, all of them tempted by the Spotted Fin baits during a bumper morning session. I do know that things usually slow around 10am, and so prepared a carp rig; I still haven't caught a carp here yet, so one rod has now been swapped to pop up boilies whilst on the other, the method feeder continues to pick off fish with frightening regularity every half an hour! So, this week for a change, I’m writing from the bank, and as I sit and wait for the next fish, I’m already planning to visit a carp water later in the week to try and rack up some images for sponsors and clients as part of my freelance writing employ. Although I’m enjoying myself today, I’m conscious that one of my clients, Carp-talk magazine, have decided to close down after 24 years, of which I’ve been part of the team for the last 9 seasons, leaving me with a gap in my schedule when it ceases the final print run at the end of June. As a result, I’m hoping to pick up another slot somewhere else (get in touch if you need a copywriter!) but if not, then I may just have to do a bit more fishing, and see what turns up... Either way, when I'm lucky enough to be sitting here, shaded by woodland, watching the waterfowl and waiting for the alarm to go again, I can’t really complain can I, even I have just missed another run! Ahhh!
18 days ago
Clint Walker - Fishing in Australia
After a week of champing at the bit, waiting to get out fishing in Australia between family engagements, I finally managed to get my feet wet with a boat trip with my brother-in-law, who fortuitously owns his own boat! It’s a cracker of a vessel too, well equipped, with a powerful 115hp Evinrude motor which propels the hull nicely at over 35 knots, which meant that we got to our intended spot quickly and safely, dropped anchor, and prepared to fish… but what would we catch? In truth, neither Mick nor I had much idea what might lurk beneath us (except Great White Sharks obviously) and we went with light tackle intending to have some fun. I took a Sonik Sports Magna 4 piece travel rod, designed to be used with small lures, and Mick tackled up with slightly heavier gear, just in case! My AVX reel was loaded with 30b braid, a 10lb fluorocarbon leader added, and I flung lures for a while whilst my compatriot offered slivers of fish and shrimp hook baits to see what happened. In my ignorance, I’d selected lures which I just couldn’t fish effectively in over 40 feet of water, and as Mick had detected bites on ‘proper’ bait, I opted to switch tactics. Although designed primarily as a lure rod, needs must, and I swapped the lure for a simple paternoster rig, slipped on a sinker, and baited the hook with a shrimp. It was easy to drop over the side of the boat, control the braid with my thumb as the lead descended, then carefully feel for any piscine attention. I didn’t have to wait long before I felt something nibbling at the other end, and as the rod tip bounced downwards, I struck into a tiddler which was quickly hoisted aboard. Even though we were both unsure about what we might catch, I’d done enough reading prior to travelling, and easily recognised the intruder as a small reef fish similar in body shape to the black bream found in UK waters, but much more brightly attired in a coat of bold stripes, yellows, and blues which shone beautifully in the early morning sun. I’d caught my first Australian fish! Mick then caught a Spanish Mackerel, bigger than my bream, but equally feisty, providing great sport as it fought from the depths. I could feel huge fronds of kelp wafting across the braid, and as the tip flexed, I quickly settled into a rhythm of spotting the long, slow pulls of kelp, and the much faster yank of an actual bite; great fun! I caught a Tailor fish, so did Mick, and we matched each other fish for fish as the morning progressed. On leaving the harbour, we’d already spotted dolphins cavorting across the surface of the ocean, but the next thing I witnessed was a much bigger surprise. My hearing isn’t too good, but I distinctly heard a whooshing noise behind us, and Mick pointed out a huge swirl around 30 yards from the boat as something slipped away; “whale” he exclaimed! I couldn’t believe this, I’m around a mile out at sea, in Australia, we’re catching fish, the sun was shining, and now we had a humpback whale for company! Brilliant! It was indeed a humpback, on her way to breeding grounds further north, and she offered one more glimpse of her huge back, shining black and barnacle clad, as she slowly moved away from us. I have to say that as fishing trips go, this was getting better and better! Both Mick and I continued catching a myriad of (mostly unidentified) species, all of which were safely returned, before I felt a surprising wrench on the rod tip which saw the rod hoop right over as a fish felt the hook. This one stayed deep, straining against my rod as it fought to reach the safety of the kelp below. I held the pressure, and as I pumped the fish upwards, saw a flash of brilliant red as the first of a trio of Eastern Red Scorpion fish broke the surface. Clad in fearsome red armour, and protected with an array of venomous spines, we both knew this was a fish not to be trifled with, so it was netted, rested on the mat, and the hook removed with long nosed pliers before it was hoisted aloft still in the net for a picture, then lowered back into the sea; another species to add to the tally. The action slowed, so we decided to move, and jetted off to find another spot. We noted that most boats had moved further away but opted to give the new mark an hour to see what would happen. Nothing did. We enjoyed the sun and the gentle ocean, but couldn’t get a bite, and soon moved again to a third mark, dropped the anchor, and spooled the lines into the depths. For the next 15 minutes, things were quiet, but then a series of brightly coloured wrasse were boated, Morwongs followed, juvenile snappers were caught, more tailors, more mackerel, and more fish we couldn’t identify all came to the surface in a steady stream of bites which saw us both having fun. As an added bonus, we also enjoyed a few minutes watching a huge seal playfully tossing some flotsam on the surface of the waves in the sun. We probably caught around 80 odd fish between us before deciding to head back and trailer the boat, so enjoyed a fast ride back to the harbour as the sun started to set. We’d both had a fantastic day, and as the sun started to sink, and the smooth ride back was a blissful way to finish things off. At the jetty, I got out to fetch the pickup and back the trailer down the ramp into the sea so that Mick could drive the boat aboard. As I crossed the gunwale, leaping to the jetty, I glanced down to see a huge ray glide beneath us! It was massive, and a wonderful way to finish the day…yet another treat to see in Australian waters! We’ve made a decision to go again soon, but this time we may have a crack at bigger fish; I’ll let you know how we get on…
18 days ago
Clint Walker - Deeper Sonar Fishing
I’ve been out using my Deeper ™ sonar this week. “Real anglers don’t need it, it’s just cheating!” I hear you say? Really? It’s certainly got a place in my fishing, and here’s why. I’m time limited, I don’t get to camp out for days at a time, watching the water, or studying Facebook to see who is on the same lake and catching so I can poach their swim, nor do I fish the same water every time I go out. I hate the thought of thrashing the water to a foam with a marker float and lead, and more’s the point, I don’t have hours to do it either, preferring a quick chuck about with Deeper™ to find exactly what I’m fishing over, and then let the swim settle. Ten minutes with a Deeper™ rather than hours with a lead and marker, can save valuable fishing time, so I’m all for it, especially when I’m on a job for a client! Don’t take it the wrong way though, I’m not saying I’m right and you’re wrong, (angling shouldn’t be like that) I’m just saying that I’ve got another tool in the box when it comes to a tough session, and if you haven’t used one yet, then you may be pleasantly surprised when you do. I get that it might not be your cup of tea, and I fully respect that, but if you’re ‘on the fence’, then maybe I can sway your thoughts… Technology needn’t take the fun out of fishing; we all (the vast majority) use bite alarms at some point during our fishing, some use bait boats, underwater cameras, others use drones, and my point is, that things move on, technology and advancement can help us get more enjoyment from our fishing, and like you, I go fishing to catch fish, not try and appear ‘carpy’ by spending hours sitting by the lake catching nothing whilst telling all on social media that “…it’s a proper tough nut”. Well, make it easier then! No-one likes blanking, admittedly some can use it as a learning experience, but a pound to a penny, most anglers would much rather catch something, and Deeper™ can make all the difference on those really tricky sessions. It’s not bias, it’s fact, and I really believe that…Although I use it predominantly to feature find, on occasions, when times are tough, I’ll use it to locate fish too, and recently, I had cause to do just that. This week. I’ve been back on the banks at a local club water, one which I would describe as ‘fish soup’ and one I return to when I need images for whichever client needs them at short notice… it’s a ‘banker’ water! On arriving at the car park, I found one of the bailiffs, Mick, unloading his car too. I like Mick, he’s a good chap, with a finger on the pulse at the fishery, and when he told me that it had been “…fishing c**p” then I knew I was on for a long day... We both left the car park together, walking down the path and watching the water; nothing showed. Normally, it’s like a jacuzzi, especially early in the morning, but not today, not a thing! Both perplexed, we settled into swims a few yards apart, and tackled up. I usually fish close in, under the rod tips, with either a method feeder packed with goodies, or a straight lead with a small wafter and tiny pva bag of boilies on the hook. Choosing the wafter option, I lowered the rig, shovelled in a load of Spotted Fin particle, and sat back to wait for the inevitable run. It came within five minutes, a chunky scraper double hitting the net, and then the rig was reset for the next unlucky carp. Bang! The bobbin flew up and smashed against the rod blank, and another double figure fish soon lay on the mat; easy! Mick seemed less confident however; his rod tip hadn’t quivered, and within an hour, he moved swims, hoping to find the elusive fish… After an early hit, things went quiet in my swim too, with only odd fish slipping up over the next few hours. Normally, I expect a fish (or at least a run) every thirty minutes or so, with the culprit usually a carp of between 10-20lb, but for some reason, it just wasn’t happening. Mick walked back towards me, crestfallen as he explained that he hadn’t had a bite, never mind a fish, and he was going home. Another angler took his place nearby, and I watched as he scored with a quick hit of five fish, then his swim too went very quiet. Where were all the fish? It’s usual to catch close in during the early part of the day, with fish moving out into deeper water as the hours progressed, before returning to mop up match anglers cast off bait in the margins at around 4pm. I’d followed that pattern, chasing the chunks into open water at range, but aside from losing two fish, I hadn’t caught any more. Time for action! I rigged another rod, twinned with a big fixed spool reel loaded with 50lb braid, and tied on my Deeper ™ Pro+ before lowering it into the water to initiate the battery and connect the Deeper ™ to the app on my smartphone. Within seconds, the devices paired, and I cast out the sonar to about seventy yards. With the early Deeper ™ some anglers had perhaps suspected connectivity issues at long range, but with the Pro+; the team have really got the technology right now, and this model is effective to over one hundred metres, giving accurate real-time information to the angler instantly, and it’s so simple to use! I let the sonar stabilise and waited for the colourful screen to light up and show me exactly where the fish were… It didn’t… the area I’d been fishing was flat, and almost completely devoid of fish, which was unexpected to say the least, and I wasn’t sure why… The water level was down considerably, and the wind was coming from the north which is not ideal on this lake, but it didn’t usually have such an adverse effect on the inhabitants. The other angler wandered over to me to say that he too was struggling in his usual spots, so we both watched the screen as the sonar was slowly retrieved (every angler is interested!) and we watched the lake bed begin to climb up as the Deeper™ passed over the marginal shelf, and there they were! A series of fish icons pinged into view as we noted the fish stacked up along the base of the shelf, and it became apparent that for some reason, whether shadow, water temperature, or undertow, they were hovering close in, not at range as expected! One or two casts with the device, and the secret was revealed! Changing tactics, we both caught fish almost immediately. Careful feeding kept fish in the swim, and by the end of the day, I’d picked off more than a dozen carp, almost all in double figures, to post a respectable tally, whilst my compatriot had equalled my score, and added a bonus barbel too. Did the Deeper™ make a difference? Of course it did, we found fish within a minute, and dropped baits on them immediately to resume catching. One thing that Deeper™ can’t do is make the fish take the bait; that bit is still down to you, but if you can’t find them, then you can’t catch them can you?
18 days ago
Clint Walker - Carp-talk and Australia
Well, since getting on the plane at Manchester, I’ve had an unpleasant surprise. Carp-Talk magazine, a staple of many carp anglers for the last 24 years, and a publication I’ve written for for over 9 years, is to close. After initially sending a cheeky email to Editor Simon Crow which basically stated ‘gissa job’ and subsequently being given the opportunity of a 3 month temporary slot, I’ve gone on to write not just the northwest column, but after a reshuffle, the north and west area catches which covered around two thirds of the UK. In total, I reckon I’ve written about 650 weekly reports, each of at least 750 words, sometimes double that, so at a conservative estimate, I’d guess close to 700,000 words over the years! Almost all have come from my readers, sharing their reports, and all I’ve really had to do is edit into readable format, add the picture, and submit for deadline. As a result, I’d like to thank each and every angler who has submitted catch reports and read my columns, I couldn’t have done it without you! Rising print costs and an increase in spending on online advertising have no doubt contributed to a difficult decision for the owners, but I’d also like to place on record my gratitude to them, for giving me a chance to write in the first place… I’ll miss it! Having covered that, I mentioned recently that I’m currently in Australia, and well, things are a little bit different here! I haven’t had time to go fishing yet, but I have had the chance to visit a couple of tackle shops to see how things vary from back home. I wandered into popular chain store BCF to be met with a vast array of tackle, much of it similar to UK stock, but with the addition of plenty of other things too. Lure fishing is huge in Australia, and the shops are really geared up to offer the imitation angler an overwhelming amount of choice, but bait fishing is also catered for too… I haven’t seen a boilie yet though, and when I explained what they were, I’m sure the staff thought I was quite mad! In truth, carp are viewed as little more than a pest in Australian waters, and I’ve already spoken to anglers who thought nothing of throwing a 20lb fish ‘up the bank’! When I revealed that in the UK, a specially reared carp of particular strain could fetch large sums of money if you wanted to buy it, I wasn’t too surprised when Australian anglers offered to post some over for free! There are even plans in place by Government to introduce KHV to supress the amount of ‘invaders’ in local waters it’s got that bad! Imagine not being able to catch your target fish without hooking carp? I know some UK anglers who can only dream of such things! Back in the tackle shop though, it’s easy to recognise many of the brands on show, with Savage Gear, Rapala, ZMan, Ecogear and many others represented, but also dozens of smaller lines I’ve never heard of. I was surprised at the pricing of many ‘known’ brands, most coming in at around half of UK prices. I’ve never seen so many varieties of lure either, whether soft or hard body, there were aisles stacked floor to ceiling with thousands of tempters, and I did struggle to keep my wallet in my pocket! Rod and reel combinations were superbly priced too, with a Shimano beach rod and matching fixed spool reel available for as little as £50, and hooks were a real bargain. I picked up 60 Gamatsu circle hooks to allow me to present pike deadbaits later in the year for just a few dollars… Some of the reels would not have looked amiss on a crane, with big game fishing, although expensive, a real attraction for many anglers, who could also pick up foot long marlin lures, spearguns, and shark hooks off the shelf! It’s not often I can use the phrase ‘like a kid in a sweet shop’ but I was. It was astonishing! The staff were on the ball too; I visited a shop around 10 miles from where I’m staying (which is classed as ‘close’ over here) and they were able to tell me what I could expect to catch in the tiny local creek, and how best to do it, right down to the best time of day… I know shops in the UK where I wouldn’t get that kind of information. Eventually, I had a day to myself, so struck out for the town beach and harbour to see what the locals were catching. I spoke to a beach angler, casting small fish tails for bream, whiting and flatheads (no, I don’t know either) who described dislocating his shoulder whilst returning a shark he had caught which flipped and caught him by surprise. I asked what kind of shark, and he just winked at me, and said “…what sort do you think?” Apparently, the Great White can be caught just a few metres from shore, so I’ll have to ask the wife to check… I then moved on to the harbour and chatted with a trio of locals who were targeting similar species, again with small baited hooks and tiny leads but unfortunately without much success. I stared deep into the clear blue waters, and spied some big bream, hordes of tiny fish in midwater, but then glimpsed a dark shadow glide across the ocean floor… It took a second or two to realise that I was staring at a stingray, and a big one too. It was at least four feet across, and it stopped directly below to inhale the remains of the filleted fish in use by the anglers next to me. I was less than a rod length away from it and hadn’t bought one with me! There was no point in the Australian anglers having a go either, as their 15lb braid and tiny hooks would have been no match for it, but what a treat to see! After having a beer, comparing notes with my Aussie compatriots, and sharing catch pictures, I’ve now found a few spots to fish; I’ll have to return to the tackle shop just to pick up a few extra bits, but then I’m good to go. I have no idea what I’ll catch, but then I’m in Australia, so who really cares? For the angler, this country is perfect… unless you’re a carper, then I probably wouldn’t recommend it! Tight lines!
18 days ago
Clint Walker - A Wander Up The Canal
This week, I fully intended to have one last carp session before jumping on an aeroplane to travel across to the other side of the world, but wouldn’t you know it, a short spell of hot weather, and love takes over! On most of the waters I fish, the carp are either fully engaged in spawning, or very close to it, so I’ll have to wait as I don’t believe in fishing for them at this time. Hopefully, by the time I get back, it will all be over and done with, and I can get the boilies out to try and bag a whacker! In light of events, and with extremely limited time, I grabbed the lure rod, and set off for a wander up the canal… A stretch of water that I love, and fish regularly, has recently been taken over by a club… bad news. Previously, it was free to fish (subject to waterways wanderer permit which covers all unmanaged canals where fishing is permissible, but unadopted) and I enjoyed many hours flicking lures around in pursuit of perch and pike. It’s not all bad news though, as the club which has taken it on, well, I’m already a member! Excellent! I was keen to enjoy an hour in the sunshine, so took my new Sonik Magna dropshot rod, a handful of tiny lures, and marched across the field to the water’s edge to try and catch something worth photographing. Although marketed as a dropshot rod, it’s obviously easy to rig up a light jighead too, and as my jig was firmly nestled in the retaining eye after my last session, I started off by twitching a tiny shad along the nearside of the canal in likely spots beneath a bridge, and in the shadow of overhanging trees. Not a tap. Not a flicker of interest… I spent the best part of twenty minutes slowly flicking the lure up in the water and allowing it settle before I felt a tentative pluck, and although I left the bait for a second or two, nothing happened, so decided to change to dropshot… A size 10 Fox dropshot hook was quickly threaded up the line and secured, with a Dinsmores bulb weight added below, and I selected my first lure. I have a dwindling stock of tiny orange imitation fish, in fact after desperately searching through my tackle bag, I found I was down to my last one! The water was coloured, the result of a couple of narrowboats passing through, and I think an orange lure stands out really well in murky water, although many other anglers will also have their favourites, so I carefully slid it around the point of the hook, and swung it out to the base of the nearside shelf. As I delicately tapped my rod butt to impart movement, I noted a scattering of fry to my right as a predator struck from below; a good sign. I moved position, dropping the lure in the midst of the expanding ripples, and continued to watch the braid hoping for a quick strike. It wasn’t to be… I stayed for around fifteen minutes, constantly moving the lure, but couldn’t entice a bite. I tried changing the lure, and the depth at which it ‘swam’, but to no avail. I had also spotted carp rooting up the reeds, and was confident that I wouldn’t hook one using a lure, so opted to cross the bridge, and move to the other side of the waterway to search for a predator. Pushing carefully through the undergrowth, I spied fish moving along the edge of the weedy margin so plinked my lure in carefully and left it flutter in the shallow water. I lost a perch. A small fish, but at least it was interest, so I spent the next five minutes carefully lowering the orange tempter between reed stems and overhanging twigs trying to find a ‘nest’ of perch. As I moved the lure towards me I hooked the bottom… A fraction of a second trying to release the lure, and both the pike and I realised what had happened! The predator had obviously turned on the lure, and sat there chewing, and when I moved it, the hook point pricked in, and the pike exploded out of the shallows and steamed out into the canal! Yes!
2 months ago
Lake Boulder and Bass Cat Boats
This week’s theme for Fishing Sim World is all about one of our US venues – Lake Boulder and the boats you’ll need to be able to explore this huge venue. Lake Boulder is a fictional venue based in upstate New York and is over 2000 acres in size! Using Lake Champlain as inspiration, Lake Boulder is naturally formed from a moving glacier and features a variety of habitats for both largemouth and smallmouth bass. With giant rock faces, steep drop offs, deep trenches and lots of reed and lily patches there are plenty of different spots around the lake to target and you will need all the different lures in your tackle box for success! In Lake Boulder, as well as targeting the largemouth and smallmouth bass, you can also expect to find black crappie, yellow perch, chain pickerel and norther pike. There are some serious fish to be caught across all species as well with highlights including largemouth to over 11lbs and smallmouth to over 7lbs as well as northern pike in excess of 30lbs! Due to the sheer size of the venue, there are three different areas around the lake for you to start from and these are boat ramps. A venue this big needs a boat to be able to get around it and we’re delighted to say that not only does Fishing Sim World feature boats but we feature boats from Bass Cat Boats, one of the leading manufacturers in the industry. You will start off with the Haichou Odyssey which isn’t the most luxurious or fastest boat on the market but will be perfect for you as an introduction to fishing from a boat. Once you have become more experienced and earnt enough tackle points in game, it will be time to purchase your Bass Cat! We are launching with two options – the mid-range but packed full of features Pantera Classic or the top end Lynx that comes complete with a 250 HP engine that will allow you to get across the lake quickly and in style! []
3 months ago
Fitzgerald in Focus
We are proud to be able to include Fitzgerald Fishing as one of our partners in Fishing Sim World and will feature a variety of their rods and lines at launch of the game. Here we look at Fitzgerald Fishing in focus and see how quickly this young company are growing… Fitzgerald Fishing was founded in 2010 by Trevor and Sonia Fitzgerald, as Fitzgerald Rods and quickly became the preferred rod for frogging and flipping. The brand quickly became recognised as the rods to use that could withstand heavy duty use and abuse. Trevor Fitzgerald won the Bassmaster Open on Lake Seminole in 2010 and Rich Howes won the Bassmaster Open in 2013 ON Lake Toho using Fitzgerald rods and both using the flipping technique to prove the brand wasn’t just another rod offered on the market. In 2014, Fitzgerald Fishing LLC was born and that is when things started getting serious! Soon after, FLW Tour Pro, Bryan Thrift joined the Fitzgerald Team and the Bryan Thrift Signature Series of rods came to life. After months of designing and testing, this series of rods were perfected and brought to market for consumers to purchase. Unlike many signature series rods, these are the actual rods that Bryan Thrift uses while competing at the highest level of bass fishing. Around this time frame, the Titan HD Series of rods hit the market and still to this day is a standalone flipping and pitching rod with nothing else like it on the market. In 2015, Fitzgerald Fishing ventured into the saltwater market and teamed up with Aqua Dream Living and Captain Mike Hakala to design and build The Aqua Dream series of rods. Currently Fitzgerald Fishing not only offers high quality professionally designed rods but they also offer the best braided line on the market (Vursa) which is featured in game. They also offer high quality weigh in bags, jigs, specially treated tungsten weights, fishing accessories, hats and shirts. At ICAST 2018 Fitzgerald Fishing released the Stunner reel as well as Vursa Flurocarbon and both products are already going down a storm. The sky is the limit for what Fitzgerald can and plan to do and having already established themselves firmly in the industry so quickly, keep an eye out for big things to keep on coming! We can’t wait for you to be able to use a selection of Fitzgerald rods and Vursa Braid at the launch of Fishing Sim World and there will be further products such as the Stunner reels to follow in due course! In the meantime, make sure you head over to all of the Fitzgerald Fishing social media pages to keep up to date with all their latest news. Website [] Facebook [] Youtube [] Instagram []
3 months ago
Sonik in Focus
We are proud that Sonik Sports will feature a range of their rods and reels in Fishing Sim World. As well as featuring rods and reels that can handle the biggest carp in the game, Sonik’s specialist Magna Travel spinning rods that will cope with the aggressive predators in our 7 venues. This article looks at the history of Sonik Sports, how far they have come and where they may go! Sonik Sports was formed in 2008 and are based in Northumberland in the North East of England. The company launched with 34 rods, targeting the UK fly, carp and sea angling market. The Sonik brand position is to offer superior quality, latest technology fishing tackle at value for money price points. Since launch, the company gradually moved its focus into the carp market which now accounts for over 75% of turnover. Sea, coarse and lure fishing markets represent future growth opportunities for the business and will see many new products launched over the next few years. Sonik is currently enjoying a record turnover and growth in sales across UK and Europe, with the focus being VaderX, DominatorX and GravityX carp rod, Tournos, DominatorX and VaderX carp reels. In addition, Sonik now has a full range of SK-TEK bivvies, bedchairs, chairs, luggage, nets, alarms and apparel! Sea fishing has also been an important category for Sonik, with various ranges of shore and boat rods accounting for a significant share of the UK market. In addition, the company now has a full range of SKSC Commercial rods, reels and nets available at affordable price points. This will be a focus area for growth in the future years. There are now over 300 separate items of equipment available to purchase with sales being received from all over Europe! The Magna travel spin rod was launched in 2017 and really are the next step up in serious spinning rods. They are built with a 1K carbon weave on the butt section for durability the rods are also finished in a stylish matte black to reduce any flash and an anodised red for eye catching good looks. The future looks exciting for Sonik as well with further products in the pipeline. In the lure market, there are plans to continue to improve and push the boundaries of rod production as well as start offering specific reels for the discipline. Make sure you look for the Sonik products in game when you go carp fishing or spinning for pike on the Grand Union Canal at launch of Fishing Sim World as well as further equipment in the future. In the meantime, head over to their social media channels to keep up to date on all their latest news; Website [] Facebook [] Instagram [] Twitter [] YouTube []
4 months ago
The Pike
Each week will see us focus on a different theme as we build up to the launch of Fishing Sim World and this week sees us look in depth at the predators in our venues. Fishing Sim World will launch with 18 different species of fish and included amongst them are the fearsome northern pike or just pike as they are known as in Britain. These prehistoric looking fish are sometimes referred to as ‘crocs’ due to their characteristics making themselves look like the fish equivalent of crocodile! Pike are commonly found across Europe and the majority of the United States and Canada. They can grow to a very large size with the maximum recorded length of up to 150 cm and the largest accepted weight being 55lbs caught in Germany in 1986. However, northern pike in North America rarely reach the same average weights of those in Europe but one of the largest recorded catches was a 46lb monster from New York in 1940. Pike are most often olive green with yellow to white shading along the belly. Their flanks are marked with light bar-like spots and their fins are sometimes reddish. They are an aggressive species especially when feeding where they can suspend themselves motionless in wait for prey before a sudden burst of speed to capture their prey. Unlike some of the other species you may find in the European venues they share with, Pike are least active at night. Fishing for pike is very popular in Europe where specific tactics are used to target them whereas in North America, they are seen as more of a hindrance to bass anglers although targeting them specifically is still a possibility. They are popular for their determined fighting and power when hooked. However, once landed, you need specialist equipment to handle them due to the number and sharpness of their teeth! Another species in Fishing Sim World is the chain pickerel which is a member of the pike family. However, chain pickerel grow much smaller with the average weight being around 2lbs and unlike the pike, is only found in certain regions of the United States and Canada. In Fishing Sim World, you can expect to find the Northern Pike in all 5 of our European venues as well as Lake Boulder in upstate New York whereas the Chain Pickerel is found in both of our US venues, Lake Boulder and Lake Johnson (Florida). There are specimens of over 30lbs to target and using the different lures on offer will give you the best chance of successfully hooking into these species but try scaling down to specifically target the Chain Pickerel. When you hook into one, be prepared for an explosive fight and use your skill and patience to successfully land one! []
4 months ago
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