May I begin this post by wishing you all a Happy New Year! I’ve had a nice relaxing start to 2020 with an hour of fishing on Mudwater River. It’s a very pleasant way to start the day 🙂

This was actually a continuation of a fishing visit that I started yesterday. I’m here for 2 reasons – 1, to make some money after I splashed out on a Kayak and 2, to try and catch a unique Spotted Gar and a trophy Freshwater Drum. Both rods are equipped with sinker tackle. The one on the left is set up for Drum with Nightcrawler (Earthworm) as bait on a 6lb line. I can’t be guaranteed Drum as the only catch on that rod – Nightcrawlers will attract small Bass and Catfish that feed on the bottom. I have cast the line to where that green and white marker is – a place I’ve marked as good for Drum after some trial and error fishing over several visits. The marker is only visible to me – other anglers in the same session won’t see it. The rod on the right is set up for Gar and baited with Medium Cutbait – basically chopped up bits of fish – on an 8lb line. I could use Minnows or Shiners as bait but then I’ll also be attracting the local Pickerel population and I specifically want Gar. The only other fish that might be interested is Bowfin but I normally find them in different parts of the river. I have cast to a place midway between the two closest dead branches. The river bed drops sharply there from 1ft to 3ft and predators like to hang around in the dip waiting for unsuspecting small fish to swim over the edge.

How did our fishing go? Well, I didn’t get the trophy or unique fish I was hoping for but I reeled in several nice examples of both Drum and Gar and some baby Bass and a couple of Catfish. Here I’m having a fight with a 5.5lb Catfish……which was successfully landed……and here’s an average sized Drum……The Gar were all average too which was disappointing as I have caught trophy examples here in the past – here’s a shot from a previous visit……In real world Gar fishing you have to use special line and mind your fingers when you catch one! You don’t have to use sinker tackle for either of these fish types, it just seems to be the most effective method for me. I have caught both types of fish using spinners in the past and I have also caught Drum using a float set-up and Red Worm – but that’s very hit or miss.

A couple of other recent purchases for me have been Topwater lures – I have used these in the free-to-play game before but have only recently reached the required skill level to be able to buy them in this version of the game. These are specifically aimed at catching predators and once you’ve mastered the technique for each type they’re very effective. Here’s a Popper resembling a Fish…..complete with hooked Chain Pickerel 🙂 And here’s some of the available Topwater Lures in the shop. I chose the Frog Walker on the left…… and it’s already paid for itself in Chain Pickerel, Grass Pickerel and Northern Pike 🙂

I’ll have to show some Kayak fishing in another post – till next time 🙂

It’s been a while since I last wrote a post in this series and today marks a change in the content. I decided that this periodical which has been based around The Hunter – Call of the Wild should also be about Fishing; More specifically, The Fisherman – Fishing Planet. I covered the free-to-play Fishing Planet game some time back and reported that it was very addictive. I then took a break as I tried out other games to report on. The Hunter – COTW was one of those. At this point, some history will be of use – The Hunter was originally a free-to-play title. Then, after raising enough money to proceed, the developers released the purchase up front version which I have been covering in the Birdshot series. Fishing Planet has now gone down that same route with ‘The Fisherman’.

Just like The Hunter, the changes made to The Fisherman – Fishing Planet are relatively minor. However, the effect is major in terms of playability for most people. One of the key improvements is in the changes to the cost of travelling to each fishing venue and the purchasing of licenses to fish. It was one of the key gripes about the free-to-play version that travelling to locations other than your home pond was very expensive and so were the licenses to fish. If you wanted a permanent license then you needed to buy one using the baitcoin currency which did cost actual money. From personal experience this constrained my ability to go fishing elsewhere a lot. Like other players I found that I needed to go ‘money’ hunting to get the cash needed to go to other venues and once I was there it was very important to make sure that I covered my costs by catching valuable fish. The effect was that no one could go to a higher level venue and try to catch smaller fish that might be less common but had little monetary value because of that need to cover expenses.

The developers have clearly listened to the complaints. In The Fisherman – Fishing Planet (which is a pay up front game), the travel fees are half what they were in the free-to-play game and full permanent licenses are bought with the in-game cash rather than baitcoins. The result is that, apart from having to achieve the required proficiency level to open a venue, you can now choose freely without real-world financial concerns which ones you buy those licenses for. And when you go to a venue, there is no longer that pressure to catch the ‘cash’ fish. I don’t think I’ve explained that as well as I would like but hopefully you’ve got the gist.

The other key change was a much more detailed set of tutorials than in the free-to-play version (although those are now being added to that game too which is a good thing). This makes the game much more accessible to non-anglers and those who may have limited fishing experience like me, to get a fuller understanding of the equipment and how best to use it.

So, the upshot is that I can now afford to choose specific venues that I couldn’t afford in the free-to-play game like The Tiber River where there is this intriguing remnant of a dam……which, drifting a float tackle past the end with a minnow as bait tends to result in a bite by one of the species of Trout to be found here. From a different viewpoint you can see……a monastery that sits on the hillside above the dam and perhaps explains its presence. Did the monks construct the dam in medieval times to make a pool in which they could catch fish for the abbot’s table? Certainly, the still waters beside the dam provide some very nice Carp if you have the patience to wait for a bite…..There are Crucian and Common……to be caught here. In other parts of the river where the flow is swifter you can get some very large Trout like this Marbled that I caught……that was a battle as I use quite light equipment and lines – I haven’t reached a level yet that allows me to buy the most powerful equipment. But, in many ways, I love using this lighter gear as you can have some real tussles with the fish and sometimes they get away – isn’t that how a sport should be? 🙂 Here’s a couple of my favourite rods and set-ups……The one above is a feeder style rod with a quiver tip to indicate when there’s a bite – I tend to use it in this weighted configuration to hunt for bottom feeding fish when the current is slow. A large fish that I hooked below the dam (probably a big Common Carp) stripped all the line off the reel on this one resulting in the leader line breaking. So I had to try my larger sinker rod with the 10lb line and that brought in the trophy Common Carp pictured above……Below is my lightweight spinning rod – dragging the lure through the water attracts predators to take a bite……I’ve caught some great fish with this rod and reel but I lost two large Trout while fishing on the Tiber because they were able to out-manouever me and slip the hook so I pulled out the Jester – which is my joker in the pack……the heavier set-up with 8lb line brought in that trophy Marble Trout although it was still a long fight.

I think the developers have made a great pay-up-front version of Fishing Planet and I’d recommend this game for anyone seeking a different challenge to shooting zombie hoards or driving fast. There is one other aspect of this game that I should also mention – it is so peaceful and relaxing when fishing for small fry. I’ve needed that sort of relaxation this week and the game has helped me de-stress 🙂