Sunday, 23 August 2015

Our take on wire traces!

Photo 01 - apparently it's a path next to our boathouse!

Our take on wire traces!

Over the years we have noticed some Pike anglers setting up with wire traces of questionable construction, quality and suitability for purpose. Everyone knows or should know the purpose of a suitable trace is to prevent the Pikes razor sharp teeth from slicing through the main line be it monofilament or braid and leaving a trace in one of our Pike which is a dire situation for any Pike so affected!

The first thing we would say is that the Trace must be of a suitable breaking strain for the job in hand and I always go for 7 strand 28lbs BS wire. The important thing here is that under no circumstances do you want to leave a trace or part of one in a fish’s mouth! Always err on the side of a higher breaking strain wire. You will find speaking to experienced Pike anglers that increasing the BS of the trace does not put them off from taking the bait.

Similarly with the make up of the wire common formulations are mild steel, plastic coated mild steel, stainless steel and titanium. Titanium wire is expensive but has less tendency to kink  it is also very resistant to attack by hydrochloric acid produced in a Pike’s stomach which means that if a catastrophic deep hooking scenario develops and you have to leave it in a pikes stomach it will be very resistant to degradation!

With regard to the above it has been said that it does not really matter as the steel hooks will corrode which indeed they may do if the Pike does not die beforehand, the salient point however is that a length of stiff wire will remain in situ. It may also travel further down the intestinal system by peristaltic action  and the risk of intestinal perforation is great and this is a very bad thing for a Pike!

Plastic coated wire can lead to problems similar to the titanium variety in that the steel underneath will not be subject to attack by hydrochloric acid in the same manner that mild steel traces would. Stainless steel will degrade but it takes a while. By far the best option in my opinion is ordinary mild steel which can degrade quickly in the acids produced by the Pike’s stomach.

Of course the aim must always be not to leave a trace in a Pike but with even the most meticulously planned expedition accidents can and will happen so it is best to engineer your terminal tackle with this in mind! I have only used mild steel and titanium and can’t really say that I found the titanium to be any better than steel other than in the respect it’s tendency to kink is much less.

Some shopkeepers sell very short traces indeed which may be completely engulfed by a feeding Pike leaving the mainline in the Pikes mouth just waiting to be severed! I always go for 18 - 24 inches and no Pike I have ever caught could engulf that length! In fact I find most of the shop bought ready made variety to be unsuitable for several reasons. Length, type and mode of construction to name some of the shortcomings!

Making your own traces is simple and the following link will show you how to do this. there are many different ways to do this but the above method using crimps gives a good solid trace. There is further information here regarding brands of wire, swivels and hooks but I will restrict myself from commenting other than to say I find the barbless variety of hooks to be best!

So there you go a wee treatise on traces, they are much better made by yourself and of course it’s just like catching a Trout on a fly you made yourself you get a great feeling having done more to catch your fish. Do not be under any illusion that a Pike will easily recover from a deep hooking event by corroding the trace and hooks, such an occurrence is a catastrophe for the Pike and invariably it is a death sentence as peritonitis develops rapidly!

From our long term Pike tagging project out of 7 Pike that were caught with deep seated traces in situ only one made a re-appearance and that was 3 days later from the initial capture and over the following years none of the rest were ever caught again suggesting the outcome was grave! Make returning you’re Pike safely your motto and you will have a good Piking career, tight lines!

Pike on the fly!
We occasionally get anglers coming to fish for Pike on the fly and results are mixed as you would expect them to be. Today members Fraser Patterson and Steven Hodge ventured out to try and tempt a few using flies made by themselves and had some really good sport.

Over their ten hour session on the boat they accounted for 5 Pike one at 13lbs 8oz, one at 10lbs 10oz, two Pike between 6-8lbs and one about 0.75-1.00 lbs the smallest Pike Fraser has ever caught! They were using size 9 fly lines with sink tips and on a strong 9ft fly rod had some tremendous sport! Several dead baiters around the loch turned up blanks, it just shows sometimes instead of waiting for a Pike sometimes it is better to get afloat and search for them! Well done lads, a great days sport!

Photo 02 - Fraser & Steven on the loch.

Ring o the loch path, not coming back!

Well I said last week the aftermath of this path would continue and so it has been! Four walkers came down our walkway which actually looks like a walkway and through our new boat repair area before they were turned back and directed along the grass verge to the path down to the loch side behind our boathouse walking south to north! One of the problems seems to be that the walkway is coined as a lochside path which it is not, most of the path is a hillside walk. Clearly some more imposing signage is required to steer walkers along the grass verge away from our boathouse and I will see what we can come up with later in the week!

On speaking to some of the walkers they are singularly unimpressed by the new “construction” on the west side of the loch, one having asked when the “bottoming” and hand rails on the steep climb up to the verge were being installed! I myself travelled the path from the lochside on to the roadside verge and believe me this will be a dangerous climb when the really wet weather comes and erosion takes place if that is it is not completely washed away beforehand!

Now I know it is not easy to undertake such work, but by any standards this has been an utter fiasco. There have been feasibility studies and apparently consultation yet it still tops conversation as the joke subject of 2015. Yes the walk will attract ramblers, but only once, for as one of the chaps walking today said “I won’t be back”!

Note – I gather there is still a feeling among those busybodies who seek to interfere in loch matters to come up with plans for a public jetty on St Mary’s loch. I am filled with horror just thinking about it and if the plans ever do come to light expect some fireworks!

The wider world in my view!

The re vitalisation of the Borders!

It’s just a couple of weeks now until the railway transforms the Borders into the land of milk and honey! Let’s get the situation straight, the railway is welcome but its half a job! If it had been double tracked to Carlisle and carried goods as well as passengers then it would have been welcomed by all and sundry like the old Waverly line which should never have been closed in the first place!

Those who think our lives will be hugely transformed by its arrival will end up disappointed, oh it will have a novelty value for a time and I have no doubt will take a deal of passengers entering Midlothian. Similarly with the High street farce of giving shopkeepers our money to have their shop fronts revitalised is an absolutely disgraceful waste of our money! If they cannot afford to refurbish then they should be left in their current shabby state a condition they have been in for years!

All this tosh about asking estate agents to take down the “for sale” and “to let” signs is simply papering over the cracks. Do these people think we are all stupid? If we look into an empty shop front that has a few dresses designed by students at the local college, will we think that shop is open for business!
Do these people think importing a few court jesters into the main street will bring crowds from afar? Not on you Nellie! Do they think the queen if she decides to walk round the town will be impressed by the large number of empty shops filled with non descript items behind a locked door?

All this faffing around will make not the slightest difference? The council’s great hope is that the much talked about and increasingly hated (because of the money it will cost us!) tapestry at Tweedbank will act as a huge electromagnet and draw in crowds from all over the world – it will not, in fact it will be a catastrophic failure that will cost each and every one of us dear!

Visitors would be happier seeing weeds emanating between pavements and roads treated, holes in roads filled in, litter picked up, the dandelion grass verges replaced by grass, cemeteries nicely mown with headstones put back in the vertical stance, libraries stocking up on new books, money invested in social care, in youth projects, in charities forced to the wall by Tory cuts I could go on for hours!

All this superfluous nonsense will enrich our lives not one iota! I am fed up of hearing of one dopey scheme after the other to no benefit! Look at every town in the country they are all disappearing there is no going back! Numerous shops in the town are on their last legs clinging on by their fingertips. The internet and superstores have vanquished all before them and their slice of the market will continue to grow!

So please stop all this claptrap about re vitalising the High Street, it is dead! Instead concentrate on some of the things above, things that can enrich our lives!

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