Euro Fishing: Clint Walker - New Toys
As family issues have taken over this week, time on the bank has been limited again to just a few hours, snatched between appointments with various people in the funereal and church businesses. Despite that, I still managed to get out on the bank, and this week, I’ve had a couple of new toys to play with!
Over the last twelve months, I’ve really enjoyed more and more time exploring urban waterways in search of predators, with light lure gear. It really has been a revelation just how much fun it is, especially with friends, and the best part is, it’s extremely easy to get into, and you only need a bare minimum of kit. In fact, much of what you need will fit in your pocket, so there is no need to lug around heavy bags, or any other bulky equipment… it really is that simple! Of course, as with any angling discipline, there are dozens of ‘internet experts’ who will tell you exactly what you MUST do to achieve their level of ‘success’ but listen to this; you don’t have to conform! You can do what you want, fish where you want, when you want, and for what you want! See, I told you it was an attractive alternative to sitting in the rain, waiting for your alarm to sound! It’s fun fishing, checking out unlikely holes and tiny hideaways, with a few surprises thrown in… above all, it’s EASY to start!
Don’t misunderstand me. There are several high profile anglers who are exceptionally good at lure fishing, and have shared that knowledge via the medium of Youtube, which means that you and I can more or less take them with us to the bank, and tap into the vast reservoir of knowledge that some of these guys have got. As a result, light lure fishing is an extremely accessible, reasonably priced sector and fun section of our hobby, and one which I have come to fall back on when a quick fix is needed. A couple of short rods, a tub of rubber lures, and a few jigheads, hooks and weights, and that’s about it. I keep a small bag with everything I need in the van, so I can just pick up a rod, and go and enjoy a couple of hours on a canal, river, or whatever, wherever I happen to be. Brilliant!
So, my new toys? I’ve taken delivery of a pair of Sonik Sports lure rods. The first is a four piece Magna travel rod, complete with hard tube, which when broken down fits snugly inside my suitcase! It’s seven feet long, rated for lures between 2-18g, and is definitely coming with me to Australia later in the year; see, I told you light lure fishing was a ‘go anywhere’ option! The second is a rod I’ve been looking forward to for a few months having seen them last year at a Sonik trade show. The Magna dropshot rod is an upgrade on the Sonik Light-Tec range which I’ve been using for the last two years. Designed to be used with lures between 2-8g, it will cover most of the waters I fish, and is superbly priced at just £49.99! Twin it with a small reel, (I use the Sonik AVX 3000 series) and you have a superb lightweight kit for around £100!
I’m not going to bang on the specifications, (although they are impressive, believe me) as like most anglers, I just need to know that it will do what ‘it says on the tin’, so I’ve used both this week. The problem hasn’t been the kit, it’s been finding the fish, which have been very reluctant to feed in changeable weather conditions…but you have to try! My first trip out, with the four piece travel spin rod, was to Rudyard Lake in Staffordshire. I got in the van, drove the short ten minute journey to the lake, pulled on to the car park, and then turned round and went elsewhere…frozen solid! The canal was the same, so my only option was to drop into a couple of swims on the tiny River Churnet and hope for a fish or two. I know that there are two swims, both less than thirty yards long, and around ten yards wide, where it is possible to slide through the undergrowth, and flick a lure out to see what resides within, where five minutes is usually enough to trigger a strike if the fish are hungry.
The first swim, the tail of a deep pool, was explored with a small rubber shad, attached via a wire trace, just in case one of the resident pike attacked. A couple of casts saw no action, but I did note a small pike follow the lure back under my feet… but it wouldn’t take it! I moved on to the next pool, slid and scrabbled my way to the water’s edge, bouncing between saplings, until I slithered to a halt at the head of the run. The lure was dropped under a tree root on the far side and allowed to swing around in the current… nothing. A second cast to the near margin, the lure slipping under a raft of flotsam saw no result, as did a third cast into the faster water…all to no avail. A tree restricted my backcast, so the lure was wound all the way to the rod tip and flicked downstream to bounce off the surface and skitter to a halt some yards further on. I let it sink, then started a slow, jerky retrieve… WHAM! I’d obviously hit the right spot as the lure was hit almost immediately, and the fish turned into the fast water in an attempt to escape. The Magna held it easily, and a lithe, out of season wild trout came to the net within a few seconds; my first fish on the new rod! As trout are currently out of season, it was returned quickly, and I opted to leave lest I catch any more…
The Magna dropshot rod got an outing too. It feels a little stiffer than the Light-Tec which preceded it, yet still sensitive enough to register any ‘wasp’ which took an interest in my tiny lure. A wander up a short stretch of the canal resulted in my first few small perch, and none of them bounced off or were missed, so it was a pleasing start. I then travelled once more to Rudyard, where a biting, blustery wind gusted across the surface, and made control of my thin braid tricky. Nonetheless, a few drops into fifteen feet of water saw a few more perch lifted from the depths, and again, I hadn’t missed any positive bites. After an hour of standing in a freezing wind, it was time to leave, but I was pleased to hook plenty of fish to around eight ounces when all around had nought, and it was a positive result for another new rod.
I’ve yet to put a ‘lump’ through either rod, but I don’t expect that it will cause any undue alarm when I do. For the last few seasons, I’ve used a Sonik SK4 lure rod for my heavier work, and, as mentioned, the Light-Tec for smaller fish, and they have always performed admirably. The Magna range are an upgrade on both, come in at a great price point, and I’m really looking forward to getting a lot more use out of them… I’ll keep you informed, but meanwhile, check them out at www.soniksports.com