Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The new Season

It's March 2010, and I'm looking forward to the coming season, a few exploratory forays have yet to produce a Bar of Silver, but I'm confident that we must be close. Water Temps are on the rise, likewise the Air Temps are regularly breaking double figures now and buds are developing on the trees and shrubs. Winter 2009 was the coldest recorded for something like 30 yrs, and Spring seemed like a distant dream during those long dark nights.
I did keep Angling though, but in Freshwater, filling my time chasing a Personal Best Perch, which I achieved with a magnificent 3lb 9oz specimen, and catching my first Grayling from the River Itchen in Hampshire!

Naturally after the wonderful summer of last year getting to know the intracasies of Fly Fishing for Bass from the shore, this was always on my mind, and talk with friends always turned to this subject, despite the targets we had set ourselves for the winter.

This leads me onto this years Targets from the Salt. Although we, (myself and my Angling partner), did very well for numbers of Bass last year, bagging probably in the region of 500 apiece, we struggled to get among any of the bigger fish, most of what we caught were from a few ounces up to around 3lb. The shoals of fish we targeted were vast and always of a similar year class. I feel that because we were enjoying the learning curve so much and catching so many fish, that we really didn't mind what we caught size wise. This year though things will be a bit different. Most of the venues we frequented last year were what you might call 'easy access', this means they were shallow easily wadeable venues visited by large numbers of juvenile fish, that swept inshore on the flooding tide in the vast shoals described above.
What became apparent during our time at these venues was that any bigger fish in evidence were often further out in slightly deeper water or were following their smaller bretheren inshore slightly later in the tide after we had been forced to retreat back due to the advancing tide.
Another observation was that the larger fish were present in much lesser numbers than the smaller fish, and the very biggest fish were almost certainly more indiviualistic in their nature.

So how to catch these more elusive larger specimens?, well as part of my Armoury for Saltwater Fly Fishing, I have recently purchased a Kayak!
The frustration of having to retreat away from those larger specimens became too much to bear last year, and it was obvious we needed to get afloat in order to maximise on these opportunities.
A 'proper' boat was just out of the question, running costs would just be too high, and Storage was out of the question, so a Kayak it was to be.

Kayak fishing like Saltwater Fly Fishing is growing in popularity year on year, as Anglers realise the benefits that are to be had from getting afloat. mobility and the ease of which you can cover a lot of ground in search of fish are the two main advantages. Access to previously unaccessable areas is another.

So i'm all rigged up,and ready to go, an army of flies has been tied, all the Kayak clothing and equipment is bought and of course safety kit is on standby too, though we will only be venturing a few hundred yards from shore most of the time, we still have to be safe. All we need now is the first run of fish and we'll be off! Cant wait!

I don't intend to fish from the Kayak all the time, there will still be plenty to do from the shore during the weekday evenings, but weekends will see us afloat if the weather and tides are conducive to such activity!

Something else I'd like to experiment with this year is trying for alternative species on the Fly.
Mullet, Wrasse, pollock, Mackerel and numerous other species can all be caught on the Fly as well as Bass. I managed to fluke a Garfish on a clouser last year so maybe there will be some more of those as well.

So thats my agenda for this season, wonder how much of it will be achieved and how much will be held over to next year?! Time will tell.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Casting for Silver, bathed in a Golden Glow

The above photo depicts a typical Summer evenings Fly fishing for Bass, knee deep in a flooding tide as the sun slowly disappears on the horizon.
We had many evenings like this in 2009, but we also had many where the weather was a little more inclement. Sometimes we would be fishing in dull showery conditions, with a bit of swell whipped up by a freshing wind, almost too brisk for casting a fly rod, but still we caught fish.

Of course there are many times during the season when the weather is just not conducive to Fly fishing in the Salt, and either alternative methods may have to be employed or when it's really bad there's always the Fly tying Vice to fall back on!

A new Beginning

2009 was a great year for me, for in April this year I began my Saltwater Fly Fishing Adventure!

I have been an angler for over 30 years, and I have sampled many different aspects of our sport, both Coarse and Sea. I have had many happy and exciting times whilst partaking in this wonderful and fulfilling pastime. I have made many friends, (and the odd enemy!), through Angling, and it has now become almost a way of life for me. I am introducing my children to the joys of Fishing now and i can see it having a beneficial influence on their whole outlook on life, as it has for me.

I've always been passionate about My Fishing, but a while ago circumstances dictated that a change was required, I had grown stale in my fishing and needed some new direction and new challenges. A seed of an idea began to form and then grow in my mind. I had always flirted with the idea of fishing for Bass on the Fly, I'd done a bit of spinning and caught Bass and Mackerel this way, but always felt that a more stealthy approach would be much more successfull and rewarding, often getting very close to my quarry but the tackle seemed too crude for the situation, resulting in refusals at times, when really they were sitting targets.

I began to research into the possibilities, and fortunately the wonder of the internet was able to provide me with all i needed to know and more.... the possibilities were about to become realities!

Living on an Island, (The Isle Of Wight), as I do, we are blessed with some fantastic coastal waters, and there are some huge rewards there for the Angler willing to put in some time and effort researching the vast and varied grounds that surround the Island. We have Rock marks, Estuaries, shallow sandy beaches, deep snaggy beaches. On one side we have the English channel, with some fantastic deep water shingle shorelines that produce numerous specimen fish of all species, and on the other side we have The Solent, that separates us from Mainland Britain, with its strong tidal waters squashed through the narrow channel, that during the summer is the scene of some epic Smoothhound and Bass sport to rival any venue in the country!

A view of one of My Favourite 'Back of the Wight' Bass Beaches.

Of course it's the sport to be had on the fly that is the focus of this Blog, but from time to time it will digress into other types of fishing as I progress through my Angling year. Unfortunately the Fly fishing season for Bass and other species is realistically only around 7-8 months and I can't not fish for 4-5 months of the year! I'd go mad!!

Through this Blog I hope to entertain the reader with witty tales of mine and my friends adventures in pursuit of our obsession, as well as relate some useful information regarding the tackle and tactics we employ along the way!

If your just beginning or thinking of getting into Saltwater fly fishing then be aware the learning curve is steep. There are many considerations surrounding this branch of the sport, from choosing the right lines, to Casting, learning to tie Flies, (if you are so inclined), locating suitable venues, to safety when wading, and much more. This is a sport not for the casual angler, it requires focus and dedication if you are to be able to put yourself on fish on a regular basis.
Hopefully this Blog will be useful to anyone with an interest in Saltwater Fly Fishing, whether beginner or seasoned angler looking for inspiration in their own Angling Adventures! I will certainly enjoy researching the material for it!!