Sunday, 24 April 2011

One hit One miss

Two return visits could not have been more different for me. The first was on the Fly, whilst my friends opted for the Soft Plastics again. I fished hard, fighting a south easterly breeze which was blowing from right to left forcing me to use the reverse cast, ( being right handed ). I tried a few different patterns, but to no avail. As darkness fell I switched to a large black number that I had tied up that day and continued to thrash the water. Alas I failed to muster a single bite. My friends however had managed to knock out a handful of small Schoolies and Pollock on the Plastics along with one better Bass of 3lb or so. I was quite disappointed at not having caught on the Fly, as a fish from this venue, on fly gear would be awsome.

The next night was supposed to be a 'night off'...but unable to help ourselves arrangements were made for 'one last tide'. ( It's so addictive this stuff ). It would be a late one too, getting there for sunset and the start of the flood.
A few missed hits from small Pollock gave us the confidence that our large Plastics would be taken by any Bass feeding on the Pollock. Darkness came fast but with a clear sky, we worked the water, each focusing on slightly different areas, working together to find the fish, we work like this a lot and then share the glory if and when we find them.
I was the first to find some fish, and missed the first bite, before connecting fully with my first fish.
The Bass, on feeling the hook tore off on a long run, peeling line from the spool and gaining twenty yards or more. We tussled for a few more moments and finally I was holding a fish of around two and a half pounds. The next two fish were a repeat of the first, with the added twist of them shaking themselves off the hook just as I was about to bring them to hand...they were both in the same size bracket as the first.
The last fish stayed on and was around a pound and a half. Then as abruptly as the action had started, it finished and all went quiet. We continued on for a while, trying different spots here and there, getting a few small hits from the Pollock that were fry feeding, but the Bass seemed to have done a disappearing act, but at least I had managed a few reasonable fish. My friends unfortunately were not so lucky and whatever it was I was doing, it was the right thing as they faied to catch despite us all using virtually the same rigs and lures. Probably I got lucky and found a small pocket of fish and managed to snatch a few before they moved on. Whatever it was I'll take it as you never know quite where and when the next fish will come from! 

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Last night...

....Something came right!

I don't make New Year resolutions because for one thing I'm hopeless at keeping them, and for another, you shouldn't have to! This year however, my friends and I resolved to explore further afield in our fishing and rather than stick to our 'comfort zone' venues, we would explore strange new worlds. and boldly go....well, you get the drift.

Lots of Bass have been caught recently between us, and I mean lots, but nothing of any real note size wise. It was time to get adventurous and so new spots were identified and explorations began. I missed out on one particular foray through sheer laziness, and rather than hike a long way I stayed in  familiar spot while my mates went in search of Nirvana..Of course it was inevitable that they should return with reports of big Bass landed and Monsters lost...Bottom!! Serves me right and so I joined them the very next night wanting and expecting a piece of this amazing action....I blanked and they caught! What was going on? two blank nights for me while my friends were filling their boots?? Confidence started to dip so a couple of sessions at a reliable venue were sought, I caught plenty, including a good fish for this particular area and confidence was suitably restored.

So onto last night, and yet another new mark was visited. Now let me tell you, this place has all the hallmarks of great Bass ground. With some big spring tides at the moment, the full extent of the underwater topography was revealed in breathtaking  splendour. Like excited school boys we began to explore. Within a few casts I had a small Pollock, and a short time later another small hit which was missed, and was most likely another Pollock. As the tide flooded in other areas began to show promise, so a short move to another likely looking spot. Again within a few casts my lure was taken by a small Schoolie, followed by a couple more slightly better fish apiece to my friend and I. Then it went quiet
Another move was in order. By this time it was getting dark, so we had to be careful wading about on unfamiliar territory in the dark, but we had some sightlines already noted during the daylight that we would be able make out in the dark.
First or second cast my lure was again hit straight away but I missed it so hopes were high.
What followed was probably THE most amazing and surreal nights Bass fishing I have ever had...

Again and again our lures were taken by good fish, reels screamed as the fish powered away in the darkness...the stamp of fish was excellent compared to our other familiar venues, with a couple of really good fish to my mate, I was expecting it to be my turn any minute for one of the biggies, not that I was complaining about the stamp of fish I had been catching so far, but it was obvious that there were good numbers of large fish around...
Then it happened..I thought I'd hit weed and the lure didn't want to come out...the weed started to pull back...hard. The braid was torn from the reel as the fish powered off on a thirty yard run, the rod bent hard over. Moments passed as the fish tried to escape, making several more runs. After a while it came around in front of me, and thrashed hard on the surface, then it began another run....and then the line parted. My heart sank and I almost screamed long and hard into the dark night. My friend couldn't believe my luck, and on closer inspection it appeared that the Flourocarbon leader had been cut through right on the eye of the hook. A badly finished hook eye had cost me a good fish.

Things quietened down shortly after that so we called it a night, though we would happily have carried on had it not been a week night.It had been an exciting, enthralling evening and a fabulous start on a new venue, not to mention a true reward for our efforts.Naturally we will be returning to this one throughout the season, hopefully the fish will be there again. We shall see.
Here's one that I did land.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

More Soft Plastic success

This morning was meant to be a session on the Fly, but having checked the forecast it looked like an easterly wind was trying to scupper our plans. A quick consultation with my mate and we opted for light Soft Plastic tactics instead. Upon arrival it was immediately apparent that we could have easily fished the Fly as the promised wind was non existent! Never mind it would be a good test of the Plastic's abilities during a bright, hot, virtually windless day when the Fly would have been the obvious winner. Things started off slow and it was a while before my mate landed a small Schoolie. One fish was at least present and willing to attack a rubber worm!
It was a considerable time later, and we were beginning to feel the weight of our possible mistake, when things began to pick up and a few bites began coming our way, though still the action was intermitent. Altogether we managed five fish apiece, and a few more missed. Not too bad for conditions that I am not normally confident in and a second choice of tactic, the Plastics actually did us quite well considering. I'm really liking this way of fishing, though for me the Fly is still king for sport and sheer thrill value.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Soft Plastics HRF and LRF

As much as my friends and I love fishing the Fly, and we will fish it as often as humanly possible, sometimes the weather conditions are just not conducive to persisting with the method, and so we look to alternative methods or other types of fishing in order to continue catching. For a while now I have been keeping in touch with the latest developments in fishing soft plastics, particularly those that are finding their way here via Japan and America, I am talking of course about HRF and LRF, ( Hard rock Fishing and Light Rock Fishing ). Both these methods facilitate fishing for many Saltwater species with light tackle using soft plastic lures and jig heads. At first glance both methods seem to indicate a fairly specific way of fishing, particularly as they both specify Rock Fishing in their title. The casual enquirer might take it as read that these methods are suitable solely for, Rock Fishing, but look beyond this, and with a little imagination the same methods can be used just about anywhere. This is the conclusion that Myself and my friends have come to and we have looked at ways we can adapt the tactic to suit our own fishing and available types of venue. Utilising this way of fishing will not only allow us to continue fishing for our favourite species when Fly fishing is not possible but also opens up a whole new world of possibilities regarding targetable species, whilst still maintaining the light sporting element that we have come to appreciate from the Fly fishing. We have much to learn and I forsee a new and steep learning curve ahead, a challenge that we relish. There is much more to say about the method, and there will be much more to report in the coming months, but this evening we took our first steps towards getting to grips with this new and exciting method.

With one last small window in the tide and conditions being really not Fly fishing friendly, a last minute decision was made to have a dabble with the soft plastics. The venue would be the same one that was the scene of our success yesterday evening on the Fly, as it is a reliable testing ground due to the numbers of fish that are normally present. Not really knowing what to expect we began fishing, and to our relative surprise the fish immediately showed an interest in our offerings. We had many seemingly tentative bites on our lures but nothing positive that we could connect with, so we began to chop and change and experiment with different patterns in an effort to find exactly what they wanted. Eventually we settled on a worm imitation and immediately found success as we began connecting with some more postitive bites. By this time the light was fading fast, but we continued on in to dark to test the 'into darkness' capabilities of the method. I am pleased to say that the fish continued to show interest in the baits until well into dark, and seemingly had no trouble in detecting and attacking out lures despite the apparent, ( to us ), darkness. All very interesting and exciting and a great result for a first outing on a new method. I have to say we are really buzzing about the potential of the soft palstics after this and we cannot wait to see exactly where we go from here. In the meantime heres a pic of the proof of the pudding....

Only a little chap, but we did have fish to around a pound as well to the same lure setup, and in almost complete darkness.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

My Turn!

The season has indeed kicked off now, and tonight it was my turn to bag some fish! A switch to a floating line made all the difference and I caught fish almost from the off. Only small school Bass, but six fish came my way, and a total of fifteen between three of us was a good result for early April. This is the earliest I have caught any fish on the Fly, and I feel sure that the steadier sea temperatures of the last few days have aided this. The wind this evening was a little more cooperative direction wise coming from the south west, though a little stronger than yesterday. Traditional charteruese and white Clousers were the mainstay lure, with a switch to a black version at dusk producing two fish as well. It was great to feel that tightening of the line as the first fish took the Fly and the satisfying bend in the rod as the fish made a bid for freedom, there really is no feeling like it in angling, especially after along winters rest!
Hopefully things will get better and better now, and there wil be many more fish coming this way over the next few weeks and months. Bring on the Bass!

April arrival

The Bass are arriving!

An impromptu session with the Fly yesterday evening paid off, but not for me, well not directly anyway. The day had brightened from it's earlier overcast state and the wind seemed to be lessening. A quick look at the tides indicated that there was a window for a particular venue and so I text my friend and asked him if he was up for a quick session, to which the reply was most definitely yes!

The Fly hadn't been my first consideration due to the wind being slightly south easterly which wasn't ideal for this venue, ( right to left ), and soft plastics were going to be my line of attack. However, my friend had decided to be brave and take his Fly gear and so I threw mine in as well, just in case.
Upon arrival, the wind did seem to be dropping off more and more so the Fly it was.
Geared up and walking towards the water we found the wind to be manageable though still a in a slightly awkward direction, a chance to practise 'reverse casting' then, releasing the line on the back cast to shoot, compensating for the uncooperative breeze. We soon had the hang of it and 20yds plus was no problem. The evening felt 'fishy', though after an hour or so and the arrival of the 'bite time' state of tide came and went. Just when I was beginning to think we were in for another blank a shout went up from my mate who reported having had a possible hit from a fish. His next cast was the one we had been waiting for, and his Fly was repeatedly hit several times as he retrieved before finally connecting fully with the first Bass of the season!
The fish had absolutely inhaled the Fly showing that they were hungry and actively hunting prey.
The steadier water temperatures of the past few days may well have had something to do with this, and perhaps the more comfortable conditions were the trigger. Whatever the triggers, it's a good result for the 1st of April and possibly a week or two earlier than the first capture last year, which incidentaly also went to my golden sphered friend....
Spirits raised I upped my game and resolved to fish harder now, having seen that there were indeed fish to be caught, I thrashed the water to a foam but sadly my own spherical objects are clearly not the right colour as I failed to connect with a fish. My friend however made it a double and bagged a second, and well deserved fish, before tide and light got the better of us.
Luck of the draw, or the fact that we were both using different lines and flies, me on an intermediate, my friend on a floating line? It doesn't matter, the fact is there are now fish about to be caught and that means the season has started, not yet in earnest but it's all downhill from here, thank goodness!