11 November, 2020 |1 Comments
The Modern Day Angler – Archie Braddock
Top specimen angler Archie, reflects on the differences between the modern day and traditional angler..
With seventy odd years of angling under my belt I can go back to a time when fishing was quite simple. One rod and reel, float fishing generally, with worms and bread as bait. No cars for teenagers in those days, adults couldn’t afford them either, so it was bicycles for us young anglers.
That dictated local waters only; ponds, lakes, canals, rivers if they were close enough. My local Trent was very polluted at the time but really good catches of roach could be taken occasionally, using a cheap bait, stewed wheat. My generation fished when we could, bearing in mind that 45 -50 hour working weeks was the norm, even for teenagers.
The fishing tackle available back then was pretty poor: line and hooks were often unreliable, cane rods were heavy and prone to warping. Not much fishing took place in the winter months; we had neither the expertise or the clothing for it, although I do remember the odd occasion when I cycled through falling snow to blank on some local pond.
Prepping for a session
But look at us now. Any angler with access to the internet can gain a huge head start before even leaving home. This is what I now regularly do, usually the day before setting off to fish.
First the Weather. Incidentally, I have a short-cut on the computer for all the various services I use, so one click gets me started. I can now see how cold or otherwise, it’s likely to be, whether it will rain or not, and in particular how strong the wind is and what direction it’s coming from.
This site also gives you maximum and minimum air temperatures daily, and a likely estimate covering the next seven days. If the water is going to be cold, clear, and with a falling temperature, it has a great bearing on how much feed to use and what will be the best bait for the conditions.
I do a lot of stickfloat fishing, and a downstream or facing wind can ruin the presentation. If I’m feeder fishing, or legering in the dark for barbel or chub, a brolly sorts things out; which becomes useless if a strong facing breeze brings rain straight in your face. So, what’s the chance of fishing the opposite bank of your river or lake, to put that wind on your back?
So, next click – Google Earth. It’s hard to believe that such a programme can be loaded for free. A few clicks, and I can zoom in on anywhere in the world. The Eiffel Tower? The Taj Mahal? The White House? No problem, but of course my needs come down to finding a swim with the wind on my back, and perhaps a large willow tree one side of the swim or the other for even more protection.
There’s a compass superimposed in a corner of the screen at all times, so it’s easy to work out wind direction, and calculate what the effects of an increase in speed might have on your days angling; or what problems a change of direction might bring.
Therefore, next click is River Levels. This gives me the water level in my area covering the last five days, plus the outlook for the next thirty six hours. It’s an invaluable tool for choosing what species to go for. Low and clear can be good for roach, perch, and dace, on the Trent. A rising river can ruin the chances of catching these species but it can turn the barbel on.
Pike will feed in such conditions, and zander can be caught in really extreme conditions. I’ve even caught them in an icy cold river rapidly rising from melted snow. The ability to go back a few days and see when it started rising, or to find it’s already falling, is a great help in choosing your quarry.
There are measuring stations along all our British rivers and it’s possible to work your way upstream to find out it your river is perhaps rising in the higher reaches; telling you that your local patch will be on the rise also within the next 24 hours.
My last click is on the Moon Times, Rise and Set. This is highly specialised, and for me applies only to barbel: I’ve been collating moon records for above 20 years now. Many people don’t believe in moon chart readings, but I have spoken to some top class anglers who are convinced it has a bearing on pike and carp catches, as well as barbel.
Without getting too technical you could just note the moon phase for the days you fish: i.e. two days before full moon, three days after new moon, etc etc. Over time patterns will emerge. All this pre-supposes you keep a diary, which all anglers ought to do.
Finally there’s bait and groundbait, dependent on your chosen species, and this is where Dynamite Baits come in. Yes, I’m one of their consultants, but no, I won’t recommend anything unless I know it works. The choice is huge. pellets, boilies, meats, pastes, (which I covered in a previous article), bait dips and glugs.
There is always something to help boost catches, no matter what you fish for. No, I haven’t tried them all, but here is list of those items I’ve had success with. Source Boilies, Robin Red Pellets, Halibut Pellets, Trout Pellets, Frenzied Hemp, Frenzied Sweetcorn, and Crushed Hemp.
For groundbaits, the following have worked for me: Silver X, Red Krill, Hemp and Hallibut, Robin Red, Halibut, Hemp, Hemp and Caster, Hemp and Worms. There are several others, so you are sure to find something to help boost your catches.
As anglers, we’ve never had it so good.