Lure Blog #20

Dog days of summer

As a fly fisherman and lure angler summer offers up the worst conditions for my fishing. Trout and Pike both thrive in highly oxygenated water, so when the mercury rises and the water warms the oxygen content decreases, making the predators seek deeper, cooler water.

Finding their “comfort zone” is what it’s all about during the summer. The brief “heat wave” in early July saw the Trout disappeared into the depths, up to 30ft down. The Pike pretty well shut up shop and developed “lock jaw” disappearing for weeks on end! Fortunately Perch, although less enthusiastic, are not as badly affected by the warm water. No the problem with catching Perch has been that, the summer is the season of plenty. By this I mean that they can choose from a veritable smorgasbord of foods, crayfish, fry, daphnia, shrimps, and flies in all their stages from larvae, pupae to emerging adults.

As my results have waned over the last few weeks I’ve started to get itchy feet, trying other venues, methods and species. Trips to Grafham Water in search of Zander on the fly, a visit to Hanningfield Reservoir to scope out its Perch potential, I even managed a morning’s Bass fishing with my good mate Mark Bryant out of Newhaven to try and blow away the summer blues.

Andy with a stunning Bass

Andy with a stunning Bass

Boy’s day out

Another year older and my nephew’s two boys, Bobby and George, were buzzing with excitement ready for this year’s, boy’s day out, fishing with “Uncle Andrew”, respect at last!

The weather was fine and bright which made the fishing difficult but the boy’s didn’t seem to mind. Their dad, Peter Baldock, took Bobby for the morning, anchoring his boat in my “hot spot” from the previous week, while George and I drifted through the same area in an attempt to locate “active” fish. We were all using a variety of soft plastic Shads and Crayfish.

By lunch time, despite our best efforts we were all fishless! A change in boat partners for the afternoon session saw Bobby join me. I elected to troll crankbaits, having fished close to the bottom all morning; my new tactic was to fish mid-water or shallower hoping that the Perch were feeding on the huge shoals of baitfish I’d seen on my sounder. This change of tactic saw an immediate result with a nice 2lb Perch on a Rapala DT10. This early success inspired us to continue trolling with renewed enthusiasm, two small Pike and another larger fish lost, mid battle, made Bobby more determined than ever. Alas the fish turned off again leaving us wondering how we could have caught more.

Bobby fingers Baldock with a 2lb Perch

Bobby "fingers" Baldock with a 2lb Perch

George with a nice Pike

George with a nice Pike

They don't have to be big to be beautiful

They don’t have to be big to be beautiful

Peter and George continued jigging, catching a few small Perch and a nice Pike to complete another successful day on the water.

The boys are growing up so fast and gaining new skills all the time, George by the end of this day had mastered his casting technique. “See you next year boys”, if you can wait that long?

So what next’s?

Looking ahead I’m about to start my Zander campaign earlier than normal this year with a two day event on Grafham Water, the ‘WPC’ England qualifier. This competition sees the winning pair qualify for the main event, the World Predator Classic in Holland next June. I’ve been invited by Ian Crook, captor of last season’s monster Grafham Zander [19lb 14oz], to join him for this inaugural event. Shortly after this it’s “all systems go” with Anglian Waters Predator season opening in September. Their reservoirs Rutland, Grafham, Pitsford and Ravensthorpe contain specimen Pike, Perch and Zander* and can all be fished on a day ticket basis from boats. So if you want a chance to tangle with 4lb Perch, 10lb Zander or 30lb Pike, now’s the time to make your plans.

For more details visit

*Rutland & Grafham only.

Tight lines.
Andy Lush

Andy owns The Friendly Fisherman in Tunbridge Wells [TN1 2PS]. His shop, as you would expect, is full of the latest lures and lure tackle, in fact everything a lure angler needs. With over 40 years’ lure fishing Andy is available to offer valuable advice on all things lure fishing and fly fishing related.