Thursday, 29 April 2010

And they're off !!

At last! The Season begins, as if by magic, last night, some Bass appeared!

Deep down I knew it was going to happen, the weekend had conjoured up absolutely zilch from the Kayaks despite our best efforts, but that wind was still in the East.
Come Monday and it was all change, the wind began to turn, clawing it's way round to a Southerly direction, by Tuesday, It was warm and muggy, and Wednesday was even more so. The tides were perfect and I had commented only a few days ago that the Fish may well turn up on these end of Month Springs. All day yesterday I was on edge, trying not to allow my confidence to crank up too far in case I was utterly wrong. But how could I be?, every Angling instinct was trying to scream at me that this was it, this was the day we would start catching in earnest. And so it came to pass...

The evening was very warm and incredibly humid, barely a breath of wind was stirring the trees and flags as we made our way across the exposed mud flats toward the receded channel that remained at low tide. On the other side opposite us was the Sand flats that had rewarded us so richly last year with so many Bass. Its still a little early to be venturing over there, but as soon as we see the first Gulls following the shoals of Baitfish driven across the flats by the Bass, we'll be over there.
For now we were content to target the narrow stretch of water left at low tide, knowing that the less water, the more concentrated the Fish would be as they began to run in on the Flooding tide, if they were here....
Our first casts were across the bottom of the tide, with no response, no surprise there, then, as the water began to make it's way from left to right, flooding inwards at a fair pace, my Fly was hit by a solid resistance, had I tripped a bit of weed?, then the weed began to try and swim away from me, jagging and darting in a desperate bid for freedom, a Bass was on!!
Oh how I whooped for joy as I steered My prize toward Me, Only a Schoolie of barely a few ounces, but at that moment it was the best Fish I'd ever caught, It was the first of a new season and a welcome relief after all the long cold winter months spent day dreaming of the time I could return to the Sea and catch these silvery bars of attitude and pure aggression on Fly tackle, and after weeks of worrying that we may not see any Bass for fear that the cold winter or commercial fishing had taken it's toll on their numbers.

My friend and I went on to take over twenty fish between us, confirming that they were indeed resident in large numbers, and although we didn't take anything larger than 10oz's or so, it was a superb evening and akin to the many similar evenings of last season. I'm looking forward to many, many more...Hooray for the Bass!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

April Drought

My good friend and Angling Partner informed me the other day of how many blank sessions I had so far endured since we recommenced Fishing in the Salt. I say 'I', because My friend has managed to catch on two occasions recently! Once on The Fly, and once on a Lure. The Lure caught Fish was a good 3lb'er and was caught from one of our 'Back of the Island' marks. Although they were good captures and well done, they have been slighlty disappointing in that there have been no follow-ups or multiple captures, just two odd fish out of the blue. This shows that they are not present in any significant numbers.

It's been really frustrating as despite the bright sunny weather We have been experiencing lately over here, the Easterly winds that have been blowing for the last few weeks have really kept the Temperatures much lower than they should have been. This time last year things were well under way, and the Fish were already about in considerable numbers, the bizarre thing is that the average Sea surface Temperatures are actually slightly higher than the corresponding time last year.

I keep asking myself if We started too early this year, but to be honest, you have to start somewhen and We could only make a judgement based on last years results. Luckily the Weather forecasters are predicting a change for this coming weekend, with the Wind switching around to a Southerly direction and a significant rise in Temperature. Could this be the trigger to bring the Bass inshore in good numbers? I hope so, because at the moment I'm going a bit stir crazy!

I have a number of Fly patterns that I'm raring to try out this year, and some new materials as well. Nothing fancy, most of My patterns are derived from classic one's and adapted to My own Ideas and findings. Thats the great thing about tying your own Flies, once you are proficient, you can customise to suit your own findings or certain situations and scenario's.
Rest assured I will be reporting back on how they perform plus any tweaks or twists if necessary. One Fly that was very successful for us last season, was a small white one based on a Glass Minnow pattern. It proved to be very effective in the shallow water over some Sand Flats where we discovered vast numbers of Fish chasing Fry inshore on virtually every Tide we fished there.
We tried some of the other usual patterns, but this little one was by far the best for two reasons, firstly, they fished very high in the water, probably no more than a few inches below the surface which was where the Bass were striking, and secondly they were a good imitation of the type of Whitebait being predated on. None of the Fish caught at this venue were big by any stretch of the imagination, but they were fantastic and frantic sport, and each one was handled and returned with as much care and respect as possible.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

More practise..

Another Kayak practise session took place yesterday. Myself and two friends took to the water to hone our 'Yakking' skills ready for the coming season! ( which, as I write has yet to materialise!). Everything went rather more smoothly than the last time, and now I think I'm starting to get a 'feel' for it. There are definitely advantages to be had using a Kayak to access areas previously unreachable from the shore. Hopefully I'll be able to better illustrate those in due course, once we start catching some Fish on a regular basis.

For now though it was concentrating on paddle technique, manouvering and self rescue, ( that, Im pleased to say, I'm getting the hang of now! ), that was the order of the day. I did take a rod on board this time as well just to have a few experimental casts to get an idea of how it would feel actually fishing from the Kayak. It was apparent from the experiment that I will need to be able to Anchor up in order to maximise on any sport and avoid constantly having to re-position Myself, due to Tidal drift.

The conditions We were paddling in were actually quite choppy. An easterly wind was pushing against the tide making plenty of swell and small waves. The Kayaks coped well, and We felt totally safe knowing they would perform so well in such a situation.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Any signs?

Well, we've just tripped over the month end and into April. It was about this week last year when the first Fish were caught within my group of friends. By the end of the month we were regularly taking Fish just about every session. Maybe we will have a slightly later start this year due to the colder Winter we have experienced? A few rumours of Fish to Bait Anglers are beginning to filter through so it can't be that long before I set my Hook into a Fish...
The weather is looking up for the next couple of weeks, warmer brighter days are forecast for this area so lets hope it brings some Fish with it eh?!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Easter Kayak Launch

I mentioned earlier that I had invested in a kayak for getting afloat in pursuit of Fly caught Bass this year, and Easter weekend had been penned in as the inaugural launch date.
Leading up to the weekend, the weather hadn't been looking too promising, with high winds and heavy showers forecast. It looked like we might only have a small window in which to get out and have a bit of practice, learning to paddle efficiently and control the Kayaks before attempting to fish from them.
A couple of days before, the forecast showed a slight improvement, still with brisk winds but not so much in the way of rain or showers. A plan was quickly formulated.
Easter Sunday was the day, and the Kayaks were loaded onto the roofracks and off we went to our chosen launch site. There was plenty of other watersport activity when we arrived so we guessed we had picked a good day. Suited and Booted, we launched, with more than a little apprehension i can tell you!
The practice session went without too much of a hitch and we got our first taste of what the Kayaks had to offer and how they were going to perform in the future. As well as working on our paddle technique, we experimented with manouvering the Kayaks, and turning them. We also tried re entry into the Kayaks after falling out, as this is quite a difficult manouvre to attempt, but is very important in the event of a capsize. Our technique needs a little work but im sure it will come with time and practice!
Fitness is definately an issue, as i certainly haven't done any meaningful physical avtivity for many years now, and it will take time for me to achieve any sort of fitness level, and after the days paddling i had more than a few aches and pains!

A couple more practice sessions will follow, and then i think we'll be ready to begin Fishing from the Kayaks. Hopefully by then the Bass will be about in reasonable numbers as well!