Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Kindness of Strangers - Slow Death, Bottom Bouncers and Circle Hooks

I've received two parcels through the post in the last week from two new friends of mine made through the power of blogging. Steve Dedrick (Steve in Colorado) kindly offered to send over a pack of Gamkatsu circle hooks in a pattern that his friend, a fanatical walleye angler, swears by and Pete (coelecanth from Fishing Magic Forum) offered to send out one of his 'bottom bouncers' for me to try.

The bottom bouncer, which is a lead of about an ounce and a half moulded around a cunningly formed bent bit of wire with a svivel dangling off one end, turned up first and I have been considering how to use it ever since...

...and this morning the circle hooks turned up too - three packs of them! plus some of the strange looking 'slow death' hooks by Mustad that American walleye anglers use for trolling worms in conjunction with a bottom bouncer...

All I can say is, thanks gents, for your generosity and kindness. I'll one day be able to repay you both in some small way, I hope, but till then, may the angling gods smile favourably upon your endeavours!

The circle hooks are very wide gape objects that could accommodate a large bait without point masking but are without the sharp right-angled beak point that some of the more extreme circle hooks have. They are heavy in the wire and short shanked as a circle hook must be. These I will start to trial on the canal next week when I have completed one more full excursion with the Mustad Ultimate Bass hooks that I have been gathering data from over the last three zander trips.

The 'Slow Death' hooks are really fine wire aberdeens that have been bent in such a way as to make a threaded lobworm (or nightcrawler if you're an American) move through the water in a hypnotic spiral fashion that apparently walleye, and thus zander, find irresistible.

This coming Sunday Danny and I are going zandering on the Avon down at Stratford, where, if I can make it happen and not lose the entire rig first or second cast to some unseen underwater snag, I will be running trials on the bottom bouncer and slow death hooks...

The bottom bouncer must, by its very nature, be suspended from above and pulled along quite slowly. I'm banking that a large float will do the job - I can even see how you could allow the current to do the hard work for you, a kind of heavy duty trotting. The trace is attached to the swivel dangling off the end off the boom arm and the worm threaded up the oddly bent shank of the hook where it is secured in place by a couple of bait retaining barbs cut on the upper shank.

I can see this being very effective with not only zander but pike and perch too, both being fish that love a worm, especially one that moves! I wouldn't be at all surprised that this technique adapted and refined for British conditions and for casting, could be a winner.

Once again, Steve, Pete, thanks a million.


  1. Just arrived back from the US with the more extreme Gamakatsu Octopus Circle Hooks for a perch fishing experiment... I'll be very interested to see how you get on.

  2. Steve in Colorado20 October 2010 at 15:25

    That was fast- the steamer must've burned a lot of coal moving those hooks across The Pond!
    As to the bottom bouncers; I've never tried them but just this weekend salvaged a bucket load of them from the exposed western shore of Carter Reservoir. Carter is draining down far lower than normally for the Fall- it's about 100' lower than normal, exposing perhaps 1/4 mile of very rocky shoreline which hasn't seen the sun for many years.
    I went shore-combing, as those angling gods seemed otherwise occupied...
    I shall keep the several dozen spoons, spinners, and plugs I found- also the Shimano rod and reel and the landing net- but fob off the bouncers, two boat anchors, and kilo or so of various sized lead weights on whoever next crosses my path ;).
    Keep us posted, eh?

  3. Hi Jeff, I spoke to Danny today and I have asked to join you on Subday. I hope you do not mind..I am also looking into single hooks for the predators. Will be very interested in you results.That bottom bouncer Does it work like a tangle free ledger system? With the boom keep the bait slightly off the bottom? Theory sounds great for a slow retrieve?
    Looking forward to the a.m session. Andy

  4. No problem Andy, see you there. I'll be bringing it along to try. At the moment I know just as much about bottom bouncers as you!

    Steve, I think the only place in the British Isles that contains waters that sound anything like the kind of waters you get to fish is the English Lake District, which is as you might know, full of big, dark and very deep lakes, some of which are flooded valleys - now reservoirs - that in drought conditions can shrink considerably.

    But not by 100' !

    Brian, the shark, sting ray, barracuda trip looked and came across as fantastic. Jealous? Oh yes! I had a small tope a few months back and now want more sharks!

  5. Jeff, Carter is 3 miles long by 1 one, and at capacity holds 112,000 acre feet - about 36.5 billion gallons of H2O. It's a flooded valley located 1000 feet higher than the plains, so it's quite easy to drain when needed!
    It's the second largest in this area...
    But personally I prefer to fish the streams and small rivers; about the width of a two-lane road is about right!

  6. That's about the average width of the canal where all this zandering takes place. It's unique place to fish, not a river, not a lake, but something else entirely. I think it would drive you nuts too! But there's fish in it, so it has to be fished.