Sunday, 4 December 2011

What a year!!

You know, this year I have enjoyed my fishing probably more than any other. I have certainly had the best years fishing in terms of numbers and average size of fish in the Salt.
So why is that? Well a major component has been the adaptation of HRF and LRF fishing methods, they are just so effective. I have so enjoyed learning the basic techniques this year, which of course you have to be able to do for them to be so effective, if you are unable to understand the fundamental reasons for fishing lures in specific ways, then they will be no more useful than any other method of fishing. I have to thank the guys over at Jersey Bass Guides for bringing HRF and LRF to the mainstream, they certainly captured my own imagination, and that of my two friends. For many years I had been in a sort of void with my fishing, due both to my personal situation, and that my fishing had grown stale and unimaginative, most of the time I would just be going through the motions. I would go so far as to say that my rejuvenated enthusiasm for fishing has also had a marked effect on my personal life as well, because now I have much to look forward to when not combatting the day to day mundane which enables me to cope better, be more organised and more confident in myself.
The Saltwater fishing has come to a temporary halt for now, for no other reason than, as an allrounder I have set myself the target of catching myself a big Roach this winter, and yes it's probably a little more comfortable to sit inland at this time of year rather than out on the coast...MEOW!
But seriously in previous years I would not have had the enthusiasm for this task that I find myself with at the moment, again much to do with my new found drive. LRF techniques have opened my mind to appreciate fishing delicately for smaller species, and this has spilled over to the coarse fishing, I can once again appreciate an 8oz Roach for what it is and not just another nuisance silver fish. 
Back to the Salt... I'm really excited at what next year might bring in the Saltwater, all the new marks we discovered this year ( driven by HRF and LRF ), hold so much potential and promise, we still have an awful lot of learning and perfecting to do, merely scratching the surface of the possibilities this year. Returning to the Kayak fishing, again driven by HRF and LRF, also holds many possible scenarios for some great fishing. The Fly fishing for Bass was more or less put on hold this year while we learnt a new craft, but learning what we have has really put it back in the picture for next year as a viable way of catching some big Bass and some brilliant sport!
I really can't wait, so much to do and learn and so many good times ahead, those lovely sunsets, superb atmospheric evenings and nights, days out afloat on the kayaks and good company, and of course a rod in your hand, bent at full curve, reel screaming as a good Bass tries to regain it's freedom....who could ask for more?

As this will probably be my last blog entry on this side of things for this year, I would like to wish all who visit this blog either regularly or occasionally, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, and fish filled, New Year!

Please don't forget to visit my Coarse fishing Blog to see how I am progressing over the Winter!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Wrasse-ville, Lrf !

Lrf techniques never fail to surprise me about just when and where fish can be caught. Last weekend I fished a new spot with my eldest son and we had a good little session in the time we were there. My mate had tried it the day before and had come away with 40 odd fish so credit to him for having a go here. My son and I came away with nearly 40 fish between us so it is a very prolific spot. Most of the fish are Wrasse, a large percentage being Corkwings but a few Ballans thrown in too, also there are Pollock here too and we had a few in our tally.
Another thing that surprised me is that we caught the majority of the fish no more than a few feet out into the water, and its only really a normal beach to all intents and puposes, though there is deep water close by. It was great fun especially for my lad, so I now have a couple of places I can take the children where they can catch in relative safety and enjoy the joys of lrf. My boy remarked how he could really feel the bites through the rod and braid as I had recently passed my old Sakura Shinjin lrf rod onto him as I had upgraded to a Graphite Leader Calzante. He certainly had no trouble connecting with the bites and was putting me to shame in the early stages! I blame it on my reactions being slower as im a lot
Looks like the Whiting have arrived here now as there have been a few reports of them here and there, so we will be targeting these as soon as we can find a viable venue from which to catch them, another species to add to the diverse list of captures on Lrf, including Crabs that seem to have a liking for Gulp Sandworms!

A pretty little Corkwing Wrasse.

Monday, 17 October 2011

One more..

...Session last night resulted in another four fish for me, the biggest this time going 4lb 4oz. Thats 15 Bass from this spot for me this week in four 3 hr sessions, a very nice result in less than ideal conditions with the bright moon and I look forward to seeing what this venue has to offer when it all comes together properly!

4lb 4oz

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Moonlight Battle

Like a great searchlight, the not quite full Moon glowered in the night sky just over my right shoulder, illuminating the back of my right arm and hand, and extending it’s ethereal glow along the blank of my rod. Lights on the mainland and further along the coast peppered the dark shadows of distant as well as not so far away civilisation. All was still and calm save for the slightest hint of cool breath from the south east. Waist deep now, the water pushed past my companion and I, left to right as the tide flooded inwards. Standing a yard or two apart, my partner and I covered two slightly different areas of the black liquid salt that we hoped would yield the silver prizes we coveted. No words were exchanged at this point as we were both lost in deep concentration, extending our senses out into the night, from our fingertips, along the rods and down through the braid to the soft lures being carried along by the current, feeling for our chance to make contact with our quarry. A cast had been made and now I was feeling my lure along the drift line, whilst slowly turning the reel handle to keep a balanced contact, My soft plastic swung across in front of me two thirds through its trajectory, when I sensed a changed in the weight of the rod tip, followed by the gentlest of taps, and by another, and then a second slight weight shift, then the rod tip slowly began to tilt downwards ever so lightly. This was it, a fish had picked up my offering and was making ready to swallow its meal. With my grip on the rod being light I allowed the tip to tilt further down towards the water all the while preparing to set the hook. All this happening in just a few seconds, waiting for absolutely the right moment to make my play. With a tightening of my grip and a turn of the reel handle, I uttered quietly, “ I’m in..” to my companion, who turned to watch just as I made a sweeping strike, setting the hook. The rod buckled over and on feeling the resistance, an unseen beast set about making the reel concede line, tearing off on a powerful run, I braced against the forceful pull, praying the hook had set properly. Bass had been hard to come by this night, compared to previous forays, the bright lunar lamp in the sky keeping them out in the deeper un wadeable water, only the odd braver fish venturing into the shallows to hunt for prey, whereupon this one had encountered what it thought looked a suitable victim, but by the time it realised it’s mistake it was too late, and now, here we were, immutably tethered in battle, two warriors clashing swords by the light of the moon….

Inspired late season Bass session.

An inspired suggestion by Mr B had us heading to a new mark a couple of nights ago, in search of some Bass. On arrival it was clear that it had all the necessary hallmarks of good Bass ground, structure, Current and shallow enough for us to wade. Dusk was setting in fast due to the cloud cover that evening, and the timing felt just right as it was the tide had just started to push in creating a nice rip line around the feature we had chosen to begin on. First cast, a few turns of the reel handle and bang I'm in straight away! Like I said, Inspired Mr B ;). It had been a while and we had struggled to find any good Bass fishing since earlier in the year, our early season mark had been seemingly deviod of fish save for a few small schoolies here and there in recent times, and the weather had been too rough to target the areas 'out back' where we knew the bigger fish were. It looked like things were possibly about to take a turn for the better as I landed a fish of around a pound. Successive casts produced a couple more fish of the same stamp, and then there was a little lull. As darkness fell, I hit into something that felt a bit better as it tore off with several yards of line, Oh how I had missed that feeling, and without even realising it! Moments later a half decent fish came into view and I handed out a fish of around three and a half pounds. A while later another decent fight resulted in another fish of slightly lesser proportions probably an upper two pounder. A few more smaller fish and my tally stood at six Bass and Mr B had managed one, ( due to some 'technical issues'!). Things seemed to go quiet after that and with just the odd tap from small fish, possibly Pollock, we opted to try another spot for half an hour and then call it a night. The new spot produced some bites, but again seemingly not from Bass, so we toddled off home very pleased with our new venue.
Of course we had to have another go the next night, ( last night ), this time we were joined by Mr H. No two nights are ever the same and tonight was definitely a different night, the sea was very calm and the tinge of colour of the previous evening had dropped out and the water was quite clear. With it being a big moon phase I prayed for some cloud cover, as to date I have never done particularly well on bright clear nights in the salt. Well I got my wish as darkness fell and a bank of cloud covered the sky overhead, obscuring the bright moon. No first cast fish this time and after a while I began to feel that it wasn't going to happen. Now we had been wading fairly far out up to this point and had heard the odd fish splash behind us in some much shallower water. Yet again in another inspired move a cast behind us by Mr B had him engaged in battle with a good fish, and clearly not the Mullet we assumed they were! The fish charged around in the shallow water creating a lot of commotion. Eventually it was in the net and a fish in the upper three's was being admired. We continued for a while but I wasn't feeling it so went off to investigate another spot for a while, but returned still biteless to find Mr H had bagged a fish of a couple of pounds and Mr B also had taken another couple of fish, so it looked like I had missed out by not sticking around.
Some time later it seemed that things had definitely quietened down and a move was in order for the last hour of our session, my two companions focused on one spot and I opted to try another, as yet unfished one. Cutting a long story short I saved a blank by bagging three Bass in the new spot to around two and a half pounds, but my companions failed to catch in their area but Mr B did lose a good fish. And that was that...
Only it wasn't! Third night and we were faced this time with clear skies and a very bright Moon..would they still play ball?
In short, they did for a very short while, and the two fish that came to me and the one to Mr B all came from maximum range and the deeper water as opposed to the close in shallow areas we had caught in the nights before. They were obviously reluctant to come in too close at this stage, perhaps later on in the tide they would briefly venture in, but the cold was getting the better of us this night so we called time and took away some new information from this session. Traditionally we  had never done at all well on a full moon phase and clear conditions, but it seemed tonight we had proved that it was possible to catch in the bright conditions but that cloud cover during such phases is preferable. 11 Bass  in three sessions is a good result, factor in Mr B's 5 fish and Mr H's 1 fish and we have 17 fish of good average size in the 3 sessions, each lasting around three hours. Pretty good fishing in my book, in probably less than ideal conditions,  I feel that this venue has much more to give, how much more this year I do'nt know, the weather is closing in and temperatures are set to drop this week, but if at all possible we will do our best to keep trying for as long as we can...

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Hot October action on the Pier!

Phew! that was a hot day, 1st of October and Temperatures in the high twenties! Bizzare but beneficial to the fishing, especially the species hunt contest between my mates and I...
Two of us fished today, we started off on the front of the Pier and bagged a couple of Bream and Gobies, but it seemed slow and so we moved to another spot on one side where it is a bit shallower and there is a weed bed to attract the fish. It turned out to be a good move because he action was fast and furious from the start. First up were the Wrasse, that seemed almost suicidal, as I caught fish after fish, and in the end lost count how many I had, but it must have been around twenty. There were plenty of predators around as well, including Garfish of which I managed to catch one to add to my species hunt list. Small pollock were also putting in the odd appearance and my mate also had a couple of Mackeral. Late in the session we had an unexpected capture in the form of some Smelt, a welcome surprise addition to the species list, and a nice change from the expected captures.
A great day out during which we chopped and changed methods regularly to search out the various species that were present and maximise on the sport. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

100th Post, and a nice little session..

This will be my 100th post since beginning this Blog, so thankyou to all those that visit for taking the time to read of my adventures in angling!

Had a nice little LRF session the other night on which I was accompanied by my ten year old son. Now it's not very often I can take the kids Saltwater fishing due to the nature of what I do most of the time, but this time we were fishing a spot that is plenty safe enough for them to fish and enjoy themselves. It's a fairly new venue and one we have fished only once or twice before, with little success, but this was the first time we had fished it after dark, and what a difference! The place was alive with fish that night, Bass, Scad, and Pollock were all caught in fair numbers and between three of us, ( the third being my mate ), we had over twenty fish in a couple of hours fishing. I showed my youngster the ropes and left him more or less to his own devices and he manged four fish off his own back, one Scad and three Pollock, making mr very proud! Sadly I had forgotten the camera so there are no piccies, ( idiot!), but we had a great time thanks to the obliging fish. Whether this venue will prove to be a consistent one is yet to be seen, but no doubt we shall be visiting it again sometime over the next few weeks and months.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Back at last and into the LRF!

Wow! thats probably the longest break I have had this year in the Salt, what atrocious weather we've been experiencing in britain! I have been fishing but in freshwater with my children, as you can see over on the other Blog. Finally though we managed to find some windows in the weather and have been making hay and doing some LRF sessions, and we're seriously getting into this side of things now! The little species hunt competition between my friends and I has been hotting up a bit and it's a close run thing at the moment! Loads of Wrasse have been coming ashore along with Bass, Pollock, mackerel, Scad, Bream, Gobies, Scorpions, Blennies...and several more, in fact the more we practice the techniques of OTD, swinging, twitching, dead stick, the more we are realising which methods will produce what species and are able to taget them specifically. Of course the more we practice the better we get at them as well. Whats more apparent is that seemingly there may be no fish on a given mark, yet if you fish the correct techniques and baits, magically the fish will suddenly appear!
With the onset of autumn I had envisaged an early switch to Coarse fishing, but it looks like that has changed a bit, with the results we have been getting in the last few sessions in the salt. Make hay while the sun shines, or while the fish are there is the order of the day! I do love the Saltwater fishing now since adopting LRF and HRF, it's hard not to when you are catching fish session after session while the bait anglers are struggling even though the fish are there. Patterning is key, and giving the fish what they want in the way they want makes the difference to catching and blanking. There's still a lot of learning to do, and still a fair bit of fishing left this year so I'll keep fishing and reporting as long as possible from the Salt until such times as a full switch to coarse fishing for a while is necessary.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Big Pig!

We've been waiting for another opportunity to venture out on the Kayaks my friends and I, and yesterday morning we took a chance on the weather and got afloat again. We were a duo for this trip, myself and Mr B, and the target was Wrasse, hopefully as big as possible !
Upon arrival conditions didn't look too bad in the bay we were launching from, but once afloat and reaching the boundaries of the bay we were met with some swell. It didn't seem too bad so we made our way towards the area we intended to fish. As the tide pushed in, it brought with it some larger swells, sometimes probably topping four foot, which  made the fishing quite difficult, but despite this we carried on. Persistance paid off and eventually I managed to land a small Pollock, not the target species but a result never the less, next I hooked a small Wrasse, of which bites from these were plentiful but with only the one hook up, so they were playing hardball and using the conditions to spite us eh? Again perserverance rewarded me with a better and harder fighting fish. At first I thought I had a good wrasse but it turned out to be  Bass of around 2lbs. All the fish falling to a gold legend Rockvibe fished on a Carolina rig.

My companion and I had all the while been targeting different areas to one another, with Mr B focusing on some deeper water. I had just taken a break to re tackle after a loss and turned around to see My friend well and truly bent into a serious fish. His HPR was doing battle with an unseen monster so I turned my boat around and began to paddle over to him to lend a hand. Now let me tell you, this fish was doing some seious crash diving in it's attempts to reach sanctuary back on the bottom, some 30ft below! Just before I reached him, which took a few minutes, I watched him net a good fish, not sure if it was a Pollock or a Wrasse, I called and asked what it was? "A Wrasse" he stated with a big grin on his face!
I pulled alongside and stared unbelievingly at the net, and laying in the bottom was a very big Pig!
The fish was accurately weighed and after the net was deducted  weighed in at 4lb 6oz and was an absolute beast of a fish! Now Mr B is six foot two, ( and eyes of blue! ) with hands like clubs, but this fish still looks big in the pictures despite the ample frame of my friend, so you can see it is a genuinely big fish...It doesn't look like it but we were riding some good swells while trying to get the pictures of this magnificent creature, so getting reasonable photo's was a result in itself here.
Well done to my good friend and well deserved, ( even if it was caught on a metal ;) ! ) and it also means we have actually managed to pin down an area where we might get some more fish of this stamp or bigger, it comes as no surprise though really as we thought this spot had all the hallmarks of a big Pig producing area. All thats left is to work on achieving the target of presenting the lures effectively to them and catching them consistently if possible...
Not long after this conditions became too much and so it was time to call it a day, just riding the swell to dismount on the shore was a trick in itself but we manged it with no mis haps thankfully!

4lb 6oz, A genuine big Rockfish

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Sakura Stingray SGS 702 M

I've been meaning to review this rod for a while now, I took a punt in buying it when I first started fishing with the soft plastics at the beginning of the year, and Im pleased to say it is serving me very well.
At seven feet in length and built on a nice slim dark blue and grey blank, when coupled with a 2500 or 3000 sized reel it feels light and well balanced in the hand. The balance point when set up with a reel is just in the centre of the front screw down winch grip. The taper on the 5-21 gram rated blank is super fast and initially the rod feels very stiff and capable of working hard lures effectively. Despite the stiff feel, the tip bends very nicely and progressively through to the middle of the rod where the super stiff butt takes over and gives the rod some real power for dealing with bigger fish. Feedback when working both hard and soft lures is good, the tip, although stiff, is sensitive and when fishing for Bass there are no issues with feeling exactly what is going on at the other end as the the fish bites the lure, I can most of the time, tell exactly when to strike. The rod works very well with soft plastics fished Texas and Carolina styles and plenty of feedback can be felt when making bottom contact. I must admit to having some issues when fishing for Wrasse in the beginning, I just did not seem to be able to read the Wrasse bites and failed miserably to hook up. Of course at first I thought perhaps the rod wasn't right for the job and that the tip may be too stiff, but eventually and predictably it turned out to be my lack of experience in fishing for the species that was the problem, and I have now taken a good few Wrasse on this rod and in fact I would say it is ideal as it has plenty of stopping power for when they are diving hard towards any structure. You cannot use too soft a rod for these fish and truthfully I would not want to go any lighter than this rod for fish of even half a pound as they would easily get the upper hand on any lesser tool!
So onto the build and finish of the Stingray.
Understated it is not! it has quite a 'blingey' finish compared to some other models on the market but it is quite tasteful and I like it, I've always had a thing for slightly overstated rods and I like contrasting whippings like the gold and silver ones that are featured throughout on the Stingray. The EVA handle is of the Fuji IPS type but used in reverse here with a matching winch down reel fixing finished with an aluminium ( i think ) collar as is the EVA butt.
Rings are Fuji SIC single leg throughout and each ring whipping is finished in black thread with the silver and gold tipping. There is also a nice ( and blingey!) woven carbon effect feature on the butt section next to the reel seat, this contrasts nicely with the metallic blue finish on this section of the rod, the tip section being in plain un-ground grey carbon. 
Thats it really, there's not much more to say about the rod except that as a tool to do a job it does it well, and at a reasonable price too. I am extremely pleased with mine and have caught many many fish on it this year so far and I have no designs on changing it at the moment. I am not known for my ability to look after my equipment and so far it's standing up well to the abuse I give it, having had a few knocks in my clumsy hands! To summarise I would say this is a great HRF rod, especially for the newcomer, it's well finished, durable and does the job perfectly well.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Uncharted Territory.

August..., this time last year things were looking a bit gloomy on the coast, we were still Fly fishing then, but the fish and the weather were just not playing ball, and so we went and did some Coarse fishing instead to fill the time until we could get back out in the salt again.
The trouble was that the freshwater fishing became rather absorbing and we kind of forgot about the Bass and the Saltwater fishing. I did have one or two more goes in mid October with a couple of pleasing results on the Fly, but that was it for the year. This year, we are endeavouring to pursue the Saltwater fishing for as long as possible. Things are tough at the moment, We are still catching Bass on the soft plastics, but the catches are dwindling numbers wise as well as in size. This may be for many reasons, one of which is the heavy netting that the Island has suffered this year, there seems to be nets everywhere, and many Anglers have commented on local forums on this. The other reason may well be that we are just targeting the wrong marks at the moment. We have of course been spoilt by the soft plastics, they have been so effective as to be unreal at times, and naturally when this happens you begin to take it for granted that it will always be like that on every session. Of course without trying to sound conceited, we have to fish them in the correct way on any given venue depending on what is demanded from it, and we have to find the venues and the fish in the first place, so there is still a lot of hard work before we can reap the rewards. When all that comes together it can be almost spectacular, not to mention addictive. The Wrasse have been an added bonus, the fact that they will aggressively hit and take lures, far more so than passively fishing bait for them is not only a tremendous eye opener but it adds another dimension to the lure fishing. Then there is a whole world of mini species to go at, from Scorpions to small wrasse and Pollock, Bream and Garfish, much fun to be had. The fishing really has been non stop this year, but at some point it must come to an end, either of it's own natural accord or when I decide that it's time. My mind is beginning to drift, as it so often does..! I still look forward to doing some Coarse fishing during the Autumn and Winter, and having pushed the boundaries of the sea fishing so hard this year in all honesty I am almost ready for a change...but not quite yet.
There are still a good few weeks left yet to finish off the year in the salt, the rest of this month and probably all of next. As I said this period will be new and uncharted territory, and talk is of another run of good Bass during this period, but we shall wait and see what happens....
Until then, thanks for reading.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Time to Teach!

It's the summer holidays and the kids have broken up from school....what a nightmare! Lucky old Teachers eh? Now it's my turn to become a Teacher, because my kids want to go fishing and good old Dad has been promising them that he will take them during the holidays, so it's time to make good on my promise and do just that. The trouble is that a lot of what I do in my 'normal' fishing these days really is just not suitable for me to include them in at the moment. Often I am either climbing down cliffs, deep wading, or out in the Kayak in pursuit of my quarry, not really the sort of thing that young children want to be doing! I'm sure they would love it really but obviously their safety as well as enjoyment is of paramount importance, and for that reason I will be changing tack a little and I am going to take them Coarse fishing instead. A lot safer, a lot more comfortable and a darn site easier for them to learn the ropes and enjoy what they are doing, and of course a change for me is as good as a rest! I'm looking forward to it, I love the Coarse fishing but prefer to pursue it in the winter months when things are looking rather more bleak out on the coast, and turning out to fish on a cold dark winters night isn't so appealing as it is during the lovely long, light, warm days of summer. Call me a coward, put me in the MEOW (making excuses or whining) club, but honestly and truthfully I want to still enjoy my fishing so the arrangement suits me just fine. I will still be challenging myself by setting myself some targets for the winter, just the same as I do in the summer. This year I really want to concentrate on the Rivers, for Chub and Roach, but more on that later ad nearer the time. At the moment it's all about the kids and securing their future as Anglers, not that I would force them to follow after me, but one of my boys is already a reasonably accomplished angler and keen as mustard and the other is also looking like joining his brother, their two sisters are also happy to go fishing whenever Dad can take them as well so it all works out nicely and it's their choice. My job is to make sure they enjoy the experience, and naturally myself and their Mum are proud to see them doing well and enjoying themselves, what more could you ask?
So expect a little bit of a mixed Blog for a while, because I will still be doing my own stuff on the coast in between when I can, but obviously not quite as much, and I hope those who read or follow my witterings enjoy reading the Coarse stuff as much as the Saltwater.
In the meantime here's a pic of a Bass I took the other night, along with a Wrasse and Mackerel and a lost Bass as well, Hrf certainly served up some variety that evening and it goes to show that not just Wrasse are on the menu...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

'Quick' Kayak session

Another quick session, this time on the Kayak at a venue I have been keen to fish for a while to explore the Wrasse potential. Initial results were very promising with plenty of bites despite a difficult drift, resulting in 3 Wrasse boated along with a School Bass all in about an hour and a half. Lots of ground to go at and I would be staggered if there were'nt some biggies lurking down in the depths...
Also first time I have caught on paddle tails, Reins Rockvibes seem to work well here.

First LRF Corkwing

First Lrf Corkwing Wrasse, caught along with a Ballan, a Scorpion and around 10 Mackerel.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

July catch up.

Okay, quick catch up . So we've been out, my friends and I, we have caught some fish, but it's been a bit of a struggle, Bass, Wrasse have been targeted from both shore and Kayak. My best Bass of late was a fish of around 2 1/2lb the other evening, and my friend was lucky enough to land a clonker of 5lb 3oz while out with his new Century HPR lure rod on it's maiden mission, a very nice way to christen such a prestigious rod. My other mate bagged a 4lb plus. A blank on the local pier, which hurt, I hate piers...while fish were clearly and visually in evidence, but we couldn't catch one. Been out on the Kayak this morning, conditions started off ok but started to deteriorate making presenting to the targeted Wrasse very awkward and I managed only one small Ballan. Not very good is it? so what am I doing wrong? The answer i think is not much, you can only catch what is there, and if the fish or the weather or tides or any of the other pieces of the puzzle aren't in place then it's not going to happen either way. I don't like to make excuses, and often I will over analyze a session if it hasn't gone well, but when you look at the dismal weather we have had for July...lets hope August and September make up for it!

Mr B's 5lb 3oz and New Century HPR lure rod

Friday, 15 July 2011

'Quick' LRF

Had hoped to do another Yak session yesterday evening, but the wind had other ideas and did a one eighty later in the day scuppering my plans. So it was a quickie session at a little LRF venue we have discovered, where a few species are on offer to the light gear. I think we were only there about an hour and a half but I managed 7 or eight of these little fella's and missed a whole lot more.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Afloat again!

Well, it's certainly been a year for mixing it up, new methods new techniques, some old style fishing and a return to the water, on, not in! I'm talking about a return to kayak fishing. The new HRF and LRF techniques I have been using this year lend themselves very well to fishing from a plastic tub, access from the shore to prime ground for Bass and Wrasse and all the other species available on these methods is sometimes difficult if not frustratingly impossible. We tried the kayak fishing last year but with normal spinning and fly fishing techniques, but I personally didn't get on with it, and so I sold my kayak. Since using the new methods however, I realised just how much more effective they could be if I were to get afloat again, and so I began to reconsider. The truth was that the one I bought last year was totally unsuitable for the job. Too big for me personally to handle, both on and off the water and totally the wrong shape with very limited room making it very uncomfortable to spend long periods in. What I needed was a smaller lighter craft, built specifically for fishing, and easy for me to handle.
I began to research and looked at all the usual suspects including Ocean Kayak, and Wilderness kayaks. I paid careful attention to the details and assessed which had the best features to suit my needs. The Tarpon range by Wilderness seemed to be exactly what I needed, and the smallest craft in the range at 10 feet seemed ideal. After a lot more looking around and some emails and phone calls I eventually found and ex demo model at a very good price...

The day after I collected it from the dealer my friends and I went out to try our luck at our favoured spot, but, due to the conditions it was apparent that we would not be able to fish so we took to some sheltered inshore estuary water to just have a paddle and get used to the kayaks once again, ( my other mate had just bought himself a kayak too ). We spent a nice couple of hours paddling around the estuary looking at the wildlife and dodging the small sailing craft whizzing backwards and forwards across the water!
Suitably re aquainted with the vessels the next day came with better and calmer conditions with the sea being a lot more settled so we were able to take to the water at our venue of choice.
Wrasse were the target over some very rough and broken bouldery ground. My friend had managed a good session there the weekend before so we hoped for more of the same but it seemed the fish were in contrary mood and bites were infrequent and difficult to hit. trying different lures and rigs I eventually managed to connect with a Wrasse, the only one of the evening and very welcome it was too! Only a small fish but proof and justification that getting afloat could and will pay dividends when the fish are in a feeding mood. Hopefully there is more to come and we shall have access now to the prime ground and be able to capitalise on our opportunities. I am very pleased so far with the Tarpon, it is everything I wanted, light, easy to manouvre and very comfortable thanks to the seating system, and it has lots of storage options and room to work from as a fishing platform.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Lrf weekend

A last minute decision to fish a pier again last night, the wind had dropped which gave us a window to fish through dusk and into dark for some Pollock. I must admit the Pier fishing has been a bit of a mystery to me so far. They hold plenty of fish to target with Lrf gear but, finding the right way to present a lure to them is crucial. The fishing position is awkward at best, and not the most comfortable fishing I have ever done, i.e hanging over the side of a Pier!
Anyway after some huffing and puffing and a few tips from my friend who seems to have the knack, I began to get the hang, ( no pun intended ), of it. Several Pollock were landed in quick succession by me and between us we probably managed a dozen or so before they seemed to go off the feed. Lure choice was crucial, I tried all the usual suspects to no avail, before, once again, my friend came to the rescue with the required choice. Thanks J.
So that was that, and today was centered around finding some Wrasse to fish for. The first venue, was out of sorts, though we tried for a while and found a few bites none of them converted in to fish. Our fishing position was beginning to get a bit uncomfortable due to swell so we retreated to another venue where we hoped things might be a bit calmer. On arrival things looked good, still plenty of tide to go at and the water was crystal clear, and the wind was practically non existent, ( makes a change ).
First cast and I'm into a hard fighting fish looking to get into any little bit of structure it can, the shinjin is bent double but I keep the pressure on and in comes a decent Wrasse. Good start!
Another three followed over the next hour or so, all around the same size, all fought hard and were a better stamp than I have had before. No monsters, I left that to my mate who landed a clonker ! ( well done J ), along with a few other smaller fish as well. The Lrf techniques are certainly proving their worth at the moment, and done properly it's immensley enjoyable. Light lines, tiny lures and a 0.5-7grm rod equals lots of fun!
There is a promise of some warmer weather this week, along with a lot less wind, fingers crossed that this will be the case and that it will bring the Bass back in, much as I'm enjoying myself Lrf'ing, the lure of some big Bass is calling.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Pier palaver!

Another trip to the pier, well a different one actually, last night. This one fishes well on the ebb for School Bass, Pollock and Mackerel, normally, and on arrival we saw one or two Bass being lifted onto the Pier. Great! or so we be honest it turned out to be a bit of a struggle. Despite the great number of fish that were obviously present, and we could see them darting about in the current, for some reason they seemed reluctant to take our offerings. Trying many different lures and techniques of presenting it to them, OTD, Swinging, drifting..a few bangs and taps, and I managed one reasonable, Pollock ( for the venue ), but the promise wasn't fulfilled, and it turned out to be rather a stuggle. It was busy with Anglers all trying similar things, so maybe that was spooking them, and plus the wind was horrendous yet again, making presentation difficult to say the least. Excuses..
One of my mates did a bit better with a 3 species slam, Mackerel, Pollock, and Bass, so well done to him. The wind is still blowing, strongly, it's June for goodness sake!! Still I suppose it makes it all the more rewarding when we do catch in spite of the conditions, but it's nice to have things easy once in a while!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Second place in the Scorpion race!

A little fun on the local Pier last night with my mates, Lrf stylee, targeting Pollock, Bass, Wrasse and Scorpions. The Pollock didn't show and nor did the Wrasse, but we managed a couple of small school Bass and my first Scorpion fish, using the Lrf which gave me second place for these in our species hunt this year! Ugly little critters aren't they?!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Rough with the Smooth..

Just had to have another crack at it while the tides were right, so off we toddled again to the same venue. It looked good, wind had dropped, sea was calm, confidence was high. First cast..and the lead broke out almost straight away. Apparently there was quite a lot of weed around and with the strong flooding tide here, holding bottom was impossible, the only chance we had was to wait until it slackened off towards the top of the tide. We messed around for a while and found a spot further along the beach where the tide and weed were negligible, but it just didn't feel right here, we are so used to fishing in current and finding the fish there that to fish slack water now seems pointless. We waited some more, finally I could stand it no longer, we were approaching the top of the tide now, so I whacked a Crab out and waited to see what would happen. Still weed was collecting on the line, but by slowly paying out line and creating a bow I was able to hold fast in the tide for a few minutes. Watching the rod tip carefully, I saw it tap quite hard like a fish had hit the bait, then a moment later the line seemed to slacken, so I wound down to see if there was anything on there. Difficult to tell at first, then as the bundle of weed neard the shore I saw a tail wag behind it, Fish on! It was only a small one of about 1-2lb but it was a start. We all cast out again and it seemed that the tide and the weed was indeed slackening. Mr B was the next to connect, again only a small fish but at least we were getting bites. A short time later I was stood watching my rod tip when I had an almighty whack on it, I grabbed the rod, wound down and hit it, I was almost dragged into the water as the fish powered off on a tight clutch! Frantically I slackened the drag so the fish could take line, it was clearly of a good size. It fought hard in the flow and really pulled hard, Smoothound really do fight, and on the light Bass rods it really doesn't get much better! A few minutes later the fish was tailed by Mr H and I at last had a good Hound, which turned out to be a new personal best of 8lb 4oz. To say I was pleased was an understatement, and I smiled smugly as the pictures were taken. ( as you can see! ). One more fish was landed by Mr B, again a smallish one, before the tide once again began to run and the weed came back, but it didn't matter, time was up, some fish had been caught and fun had been had despite the hard work with the weed and tide.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Not so smooth operater..

Owing to the constant and wearing wind, and the fact that we like to diversify from time to time, some bait fishing was scheduled...Target this time was Smoothounds which we get a great run of every summer. It's been a good few years since we last fished for the 'Smuts', and I was very much looking forward to the fight you get from these powerhouse fish. Now, in keeping with the way we have been doing things lately, we wanted to fish as sportingly as possible, not that they are'nt sporting on standard beach gear, but we wanted to really make it fun! Bass rods in the 1-4 oz would be the choice of weapon, along with fixed spool reels loaded with strong braid. Good quality Crab was sourced as this is the Smoothound bait par excellence, and off we went to our chosen mark last night. Things were looking good and I felt confident as we tackled up the rods. All the rods signalled some interest in the baits right from the first cast, but were more like Dogfish bites than Smoothie bites, just small taps, rather than the rod wrenching over and the reel screaming! It wasn't long however before Mr H was the first to wallop into the target species, and after a few minutes of playing a good strong fish a nice size Smut was landed. The excitement rose as we congratulated him on a nice specimen, and we turned our attention back to our own rods in anticipation of some further action, because when the Hounds are on the hunt they normally do so in packs and the sport can be fast and furious! Mr B was the next to recieve a good bite, though he wasn't paying attention at that moment and he missed the bite when I yelled at him that his rod was bouncing about in the rest! Anyway, jammy so and so that he is the same thing happened again a few minutes later and once again I had to shout at him that his rod was doing the fandango! This time luckily the fish was already on and so it was his turn to do battle with an angry mini shark. Once again the fish tussled for several minutes, with his Bass rod displaying a serious bend, I grabbed some action shots while he played the fish, and Mr H waded out to grab it as it came to shore. Photo's done, I turned my attention back to my own rod and wacked out another Crab bait, but something was wrong, the 4oz lead was bouncing merrily along in the tide, strange I thought, but it turned out that the tide was slightly earlier than we had anticipated, DOH! 
That was it for that spot as when the tide runs here there is nothing to do but pack up and go home as the strength of the flow is tremendous and even 8oz would stuggle to hold in the flow, and besides that the weed that collects on the line will break the lead out.
I felt a bit dejected, and I think my friends were sympathetic as they suggested fishing a bay around the corner out of the main flow, chances of a decent Smut were thin here but there are normally some school Bass about willing to take a bait. Not long after casting out I recieved quite a sharp tap on the rod tip, winding down I hooked into what we thought would be a little schoolie, but in fact it turned out to be a Smoothound...probably the smallest one in the area and couldn't have weighed more than half a pound or so!! We all laughed but at least I hadn't blanked and had caught the target species, I mean you can't always odds the size of fish can you?! Maybe we should target these babies on the LRF that would turn a few heads!

Mr H's Zziplex bends into an angry Hound

Mr B taking the strain with a glorious sunset adding to the atmosphere

The end result, a good few pounds of sheer muscle and attitude!,( and the fish aint bad either!! ).

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Lessons in LRF

Took my two boys LRF'ing yesterday for small Wrasse. Both caught their first Rockfish, to add to their already impressive tally of fish. They are spoilt really as they have had it easy with me to teach them, and sometimes they take it for granted. They are learning that Sea fishing is a lot harder than coarse fishing however, and that is a good thing as they will begin to appreciate their catches that little bit more. The oldest one is already doing that, as he is a very keen angler and has had some frustrating moments since he started coming Sea fishing with me, so even the tiny Wrasse that he caught yesterday had him beaming from ear to ear as I took the picture.
Mind you I know how he feels, because despite my success with the Bass fishing this year, the Wrasse still remain a bit of a nemesis for me, certainly the larger specimens. I have never really struggled that much when targeting particular species of any kind, especially in recent years, so my lack of consistency with this species is coming hard. Having said that I did do reasonably well yesterday, even though the fish were only small I began to get a feel for how they wanted the lure fished, and when the bites dried up, ringing the changes with lure colour seemed to spark their interest again. Something to carry over when attempting to fool their larger bretheren. Lure wise smaller definitely seems to be better, and is something I think I need to get right in relation to the size of fish to be expected at any given venue. It seems they will attack almost anything of any size but to get the hook ups the lure needs to be of the right proprtions. Still a long way to go yet but the five or six fish I had yesterday have boosted my confidence and given me a better idea from now on. Anyway we all enjoyed ourselves despite the unrelenting wind yet again, ( when will it ever end?? ), and we are coming into some nice evening floods again this week so hopefully some windows will open up and some fish will be caught.

A selection from yesterday:

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Metal Mayhem!

Had a couple of hectic evening sessions lately, daylight leading into dusk. First evening my friends and I turned up at a regular venue where I managed to spot some birds working several hundred yards down the beach, my mates thought I was seeing things as they couldn't see them, but I have bionic long distance sight, and knew I wasn't imagining it! We set off and as we got closer my companions began to realise I wasn't losing the plot after all!

The activity was still out quite a long way even though we were able to wade out from the shore about 70 yds, and so the old Dexter wedges came out to enable us to reach the fish. From the first cast it was obvious there were a lot of fish here, nothing big, mostly small schoolies but it was hectic fun and we regularly had multiple hook ups at the same time. Didn't last long but we had near on 30 fish between us. Then we moved along to another spot where we took a few more slightly better fish before the light went and we headed home with aching arms!

Last evening visited another venue with just one of my mates, first tried for Wrasse and despite a few bites, no hook ups for me, but my mate had a small one. With the light failing, we decided to focus on an area of current, again at range with the Dexters. Bites were forthcoming almost straight away, and despite no obvious signs of fish, we had most definitely dropped in on yet another good shoal of fish, they fought very hard in the current and their strength belied their size, most were around the pound mark but they fought like twice or three times that! We took about 8 apiece before the light failed and the fish moved off. A good couple of sporting evenings fishing, but the wind is back today having calmed down a lot for the last 48 hrs, so once again we will be back to struggling with the conditions! Sorry no pics as didn't have time during the action. lol.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Wind-ows of my mind..

Boy have we had some wind here in recent times, it's just incessant, I can't remember the last calm period we had. Frankly it's baking my noodle a bit at the moment, as trying to fish any sense  when it's constantly blowing a minimum force four and gusting to five or six all the time, is nigh on impossible! There have been a couple of times when it has just about dropped to an only just manageable level towards dusk, once the other evening when I managed a single Bass of around a pound and a half, and this evening, when my friends and I put a few fish together between us, though the window for the action was very small. Still a few fish is a few fish even though they were below par for the size that we had previously caught from the same venue. Some more settled warmer weather is whats needed to bring the shoals of baitfish back inshore I feel, and then hopefully things will start to pick up again.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

First LRF Wrasse!

A small window in the weather allowed us to have a dabble with some LRF tactics for Wrasse this evening. The session took place across high tide and and hour or so of the ebb. I had previously been struggling with finding the right approach when targeting the Rockfish, plenty of bites had been forthcoming from them but I had failed to hook up during several attempts.
This evenings session changed all that and at last I managed not one but two fish! ok they weren't the biggest Wrasse in the world but it's a start and a confidence booster now that I have an idea of what i'm doing and what the fish want. All thats needed now is to find a few venues capable of producing a reasonable stamp of fish on a regular basis. There is plenty of promising looking ground to go at locally, that is almost completely untapped as far as Wrasse go, it just needs exploring, and thats exactly what we intend to do over the coming weeks as often as possible. There is definitely a certain appeal in fishing for Wrasse, particularly with these methods, and the fish themselves can be stunning to look at with their much and varied colourings and patterns, part of the thrill of hooking one is wondering what colour it's going to turn out to be! The other of course is their fighting prowess, and I'm looking forward to making contact with some of the more serious specimens to experience this. There's a lot of work to be done yet, but if the progress with the Bass fishing so far this year is anything to go by, there's an awful lot to look forward too!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Patchy Sport

As the Title suggests, things have been somewhat patchier than a couple of weeks ago. Winds haven't helped as they have been brisk enough to make things awkward at best, plus they have been quite cool temperature wise so we haven't had those classic warm still muggy evenings that seem to be spot on for the Bass to hunt shoals of baitfish. We have caught a few fish despite the conditions, though nothing of the size bracket of before. Some of the time has been spent pursuing Wrasse as well, but despite plenty of bites from them I am still waiting to hook my first one on the soft lures. In spite the lull we are still driving forward with the new methods, and are learning all the time. This drive is also inspiring us to search out new venues and we fished one of these a few nights ago. A tricky one this, mind you all the best one's are!, bites were forthcoming from the Rockfish again and one in particular put a good bend in my rod before letting go, ( teeth marks in the tail of the lure ). Plenty of scope here too, we only covered one small area and there are many others within the mark to go at, during various stages of the tide. Yesterday we returned to one of our other virgin venues for a daylight Wrasse mission, the one where I had an anomalous Bass a week or so ago. Again bites were forthcoming, though   nothing was hooked. Very frustrating all in all, admittedly we would expect the Bass sport to be intermittent, however, the Wrasse fishing has the potential not only to fill in the time between good Bass catches, but be very exceptional in it's own right. I am sure it will be once we fit all the pieces of the puzzle into place, the spots, the lures, the moods of the fish at the given time, it's all part of the learning curve, and a steep one at that.

This year has been the best Sea angling year of my life, not just for numbers of fish, though I have had seasons fishing bait in years gone by when we have been able to capitalise on sport when it has been there to be had, but not in the way that we are able to using these methods. I am also talking about  the sporting aspect of the way we are fishing. Never would I have dreamed of fishing as light in the sea as I did in freshwater, but oh how I yearned to! Having a fair size Bass tear 30 or 40 yards of braid off the reel is one of those feelings I live for now, rather than just hauling it up the beach on a heavy beachcaster. Between the 8wt Fly rod and the 5-21gram HRF rod and the 0.5-7gram LRF rod, there is enough light sport to last me the rest of my life! It can sometimes take your breath away as  first the Fish bolts off on feeling the hook, ripping braid from the reel, then they stop and violently shake their heads trying to rid themselves of the offending item embedded in their lips. It's not all about big fish either, using the ultra light rods allows us to have fun with the smaller schoolies and other mini species when the big fish angling is out of sorts. The sheer effectiveness of these methods over other forms of sea angling cannot be overstated, of course it's not just a case of buying the gear and catching fish, you have to learn the how, when's and where's of it, but once this is in place, even the basics will have you catching more fish. I can see us going from strength to strength judging by the first few weeks of us using this approach, truly awe inspiring is what it is!

Sadly the wind is back with us for a while now, so it'll be time to tidy and clean the gear, recharge the batteries, and re ignite the fire for when conditions come good again, in the meantime thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Bonus Bass

A short recce of a potential new venue for HRF Bass and Wrasse showed promise with the capture of this fine specimen after just a couple of casts. Conditions seemed less than favourable, or were they? Time will tell, but we were only there about half an hour! Very excitied about this one and can't wait to get stuck into it.