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.