Thursday, 15 November 2012

A second recce.

Last Sunday I had a little afternoon recce on my local mark to see if there are still any fish about. Last year the fishing was pretty dead by this time and that certainly was the case Sunday.
Today I decided to try a mark up on the peninsula, I was thinking I might be able to snag another species before the year is done. I was also wondering whether to leave out the gulp and just use regular and unscented lures, to sort of prove to myself that I can catch without it.

Well upon arriving, It was clear I was going to be putting myself at a considerable disadvantage by not using scented lures. Due to the amount of rainfall this year, there had been a small landslide and the tide was washing mud into the water clouding it up. Even away from the mud, the water was still fairly cloudy for some reason.
It was a really nice day though, the sun was shining and the water was fairly calm.

I tried some Ecogear Straw tails, some Jackall lures and some ima Trilobites, but I was not getting any bites. I caved in and put on a gulp sand worm. Even then the bites were not exactly thick and fast as I would expect in summer months and it was maybe half an hour before I got my first fish. No messing either, it just took and ran, giving me a nice scrap for a short time.

Well I was quite pleased with that and although I reverted back to using the gulp, at the end of the day I go fishing to catch fish and not to prove anything.

Moving to a different spot I downscaled my hook size and jig weight due to the dropping tide picking up a few small Ballans.

Nice markings on this little fella.
Reminds me of strawberries and cream. 

There were a few rock pools near by and I couldn't resist a dangle, I have said before that Goby fishing is not my thing and its really not, I do however find it irresistible not to just see whats there. I didn't spend long at it and didn't get any Gobies, I did get a Blenny or two though.

I quite like blennies, at least they'll bite you and as hard as they possibly can too!
These areas are stuffed with fish during summer months!
Twitching my lures around the boulders and along gullies I picked up the odd small Ballan and caught a Corking too. I was surprised to not catch a Scorpion fish, they are usually more than willing to take an isome or sandworm lure. Likewise, I was also quite surprised not to have had any Pollock, they are usually the first fish I catch on these marks.

It was near time to leave for home and before I did, I had some fun fishing on the drop with 0.5g jig heads for Pollock. When I say Pollock, they were in fact "micro Pollock"!

Not exactly hard fighting at this size.

It was only a few hours fishing and I really didn't want to come away, but then I hardly ever do. You have to be grateful for every opportunity out though and it was an enjoyable session.

I am starting to review the year in my mind now and am looking at things differently. I am trying to understand where I have been going wrong in some circumstances, trying to figure out what I need to do, to improve and progress. Well I will maybe share on that in another post at another time.

Thanks for reading and tight lines.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Under the weather in Jersey.

Myself and Ross finally set sail for Jersey at 05:30 2nd November and were both relieved the ferry was good to cross. Now I have never had issues with boats before (well except for one fishing trip when I was much younger), this trip however saw me being as sick as a dog. Three hours of sickness and Costa Coffee coming out of my nose, saw me absolutely beat when I arrived at Jersey.

Upon arrival myself and Ross had a "quick" stop at Micks, aka Mr Fish Jersey. We received a warm welcome and a hot drink. It was great to finally meet Mick, Bob, Mike Hayes and Lee Birch. We also stocked up on Jigheads and a few other bits when Steve Mullins walked in, our quick stop turned into a two hour chat. After tips and advice from the knowledgable people at Mr Fish, we finally headed to Gorey to meet up with Scott and check in at the Hostel.
There was one target I just had to make whilst in Jersey, a Giant Goby was on my mind. I am not really into Goby fishing as such, but this fish is non existent to my knowledge in Wales, so it just had to be done. 
After a shower and quick catch up, Ross took myself and Scott to a place he knew that was full of Giant Gobies and we went off searching the Rock pools. Ross was first to get one, Scott got two before I eventually tempted one to my lure, mission accomplished.

Usually they are dead aggressive, but for some reason they were a little reticent this day and we could only speculate it was the weather or water temperature this time of year.
After our Goby bashing session we all headed down to Micks again for another coffee and long chat. We had a good time chatting and inspecting Micks awesome range of rods, my favourite being the Armageddon one piece rods and the Tenryu Injection Long Cast and NO! I didn't buy either.
After an enjoyable chat we  picked up some bait for our planned Ray fishing session that night.

Again relying on Ross's previous knowledge of the Island, we headed off to a mark that produces Undulate Ray. I have been wanting to catch a Ray for some time and after setup, we baited up our pulley pennel rigs with Sandeel Squid wraps, as advised by Ross.
Now at this point I guess it seems strange talking about bait on a lure fishing blog, but its fishing and I don't do enough of it to warrant a separate blog or change of name.

Anyway, after Ross gave us a low down of the terrain, where to and where not to cast we got on with the fishing. The bites were pretty instantaneous, but the fish were not the target species.

Dogfish! I hadn't caught one for years, so this one wasn't that unwelcome but soon they became a pain in the arse. Scott on the other hand quite likes them.

Unfortunately, myself and Ross would only have Dogfish and Pout that night however Scott landed a beautiful Undulate Ray, leaving me a little jealous yet very pleased for him.

Very striking markings and a really nice fish!

Stunning fish and well deserved.
When reeling in the Ray, Scott had managed to pull the line and bait from his second rod against a rock. Noticing bites quickly after releasing the Ray, Scott reeled in a really nice bonus catch. To our   amazement it had swallowed the whole Sandeel Squid wrap!

A nice sized Topknot, the jammy sod! It was another new species for Scott and he was well congratulated.

Saturday Morning, we headed into St Helier for a short lrf session on the Victoria Pier, before meeting up with Andy Marquis.
If I am brutally honest, I did not enjoy this session because while Scott and Ross were managing a few species, I kept hooking up on Sand Gobies. I do not mind catching a Goby or two a session, but it really isn't my thing and find it quite tedious catching tiny fish. With the depth of the water I had hoped for something to put a bend in my rod, but that didn't happen. I amused Scott with my tantrums, but fear I annoyed Ross. Still, the guys enjoyed their fishing. I was still really feeling under the weather and very tired, so I was noticeably grumpy.
After the guys bagged up on Gobies and the occasional Wrasse, we headed off to meet Andy at Mr Fish. Coffee, cake and free hoodies were received and we enjoyed good company once more. I was super chuffed with my Mr Fish Jersey hoody and it will be staple fishing wear for some time!

The four of us then decided on a lrf session in Gorey harbour, as well as digging some bait for a Red Mullet hunt. Unfortunately on the way back I came down with the mother of all migraines and retreated back to the hostel for a sleep, leaving the others to their fishing. I was disappointed to be missing out on time with the lads, but knew I would be in a better condition after a load of pain killers and a bit of shut eye.
I was slightly pleased to hear upon their return, that they had only caught a Sand Goby between them (mean I know!).

Saturday night we decided to split up. Ross went solo on his Red Mullet hunt and myself, Scott and Andy went on a lrf mission. 
We started off in St Helier, but the conditions rendered it unfishable with the light gear, we saw a huge shoal of fish like I have never seen, but it was in a private part of the marina. I did consider a break and enter, but my fellow, wiser anglers talked sense into me and we headed off for the shelter of Bouley Bay. The air was cold but we soldiered on and I scored a small Pollock pretty quickly, next I had some really good bites and a hookup. A fairly good scrap ensued, I had thought it was a better Pollock but upon getting it to the surface I realised I had a Topknot on. What happened next I still an't get over, the moment I got it to the surface, the fish got free, I was instantly pissed and so was my Topknot!
I tried in vain to get it to take again, but in the end kept myself busy with small Pollock.

Scott demonstrated his species hunting dedication and skill by scaling down to size 26 hooks and tiny segments of Isome, bagging up on tiny Sand Smelt and scoring himself another species.

Maybe I should have done the same, as a Sand Smelt would have been a new species for me also, but I have an aversion to such small fish and can maybe get a larger one locally.
Another session done in quite tough weather conditions.

Sunday and we had a bit of a lay in, Andy unfortunately had to depart home early to Guernsey and myself, Scott and Ross headed of on a Wrasse and Bass hunt at White Rock. Again the weather conditions were tough, there was quite a wind blowing, a reasonable swell and coloured seas. Again we soldiered on.
We started off Wrasse fishing but was only getting shy bites off what felt like small fish, Ross changed to Bass tactics and after a wander he landed two Bass in quick succession. Ross asked us to join him, but on doing so we soon realised the Bass had buggered off. The only other fish landed was a small Ballan caught by myself, before we headed back to Gorey to dig bait. Even though there were few fish, I still enjoyed the session, there is something so nice about wrasse fishing and using your gear to feel out the bottom structure.

At Gorey, I briefly met Dan ferguson who I know is a very talented angler, We was also joined by Roger Mortimer and Steve Mullins. I felt a little out of my depth amongst such accomplished fishermen and quite humbled. After digging some Lugworm, Steve took us to some marks and we fished in the hope of Red Mullet, it was great to get some tips off of the guys before they left us to our fishing. Once again  the Red Mullet were not to be and we caught a lot of Dogfish and Pout.

Monday was mine and Ross's last day on the Island and it started with meeting with Roj for breakfast baps, coffee and fishing tales. I would give my eye teeth for some of Roj's experience and he amazed me with how he had memorised catches and trips over many years. Roj's complete lack of ego and willingness to share was inspiring, he was very enjoyable company.
We went to a nice rock mark and myself and Scott opted for lure gear, whilst Ross and Roj were on the bait. Roj landed a nice little Bream as well as the obligatory Dogfish, a little later Ross had his day and quite possibly his trip made up with a small but rare catch.

A Bailons Wrasse and a very nice capture indeed! I was so chuffed for him and still can't believe he was considering leaving his bait gear behind. Apart from a missed bite from myself and a few small Pollock for Scott, the lure gear did little damage. In fact bait did more damage over the whole trip, but most of that was down to the horrendous weather conditions and clouded seas. Even this day saw us standing in hail and rain trying to make the best of it. During one clear spell Roj photographed us in our Mr Fish hoodies.

Team Mr Fish.
Before departing Jersey, we had another lrf session in St Helier and another session at Bouley Bay where we met with Dan again. Dan is a cracking bloke and he made an instant impression, he is my sort of person I think, being self confessed mischievous! I think we could have some fun next time we meet.
I tried for another Topknot and also for some Scad, but it was not meant to be. The other guys caught Doggies, Pout and painted Gobies before we said our farewells, when Ross and I departed for the mainland. A much easier crossing this time and some much needed sleep on the overnight ferry.

Last but not least, on the way home we stopped at Portishead to meet with Steve Richardson, another fellow Lure Forum Member. Though we tried for Goldsinney and Flounder our session was to be another Goby filled one, but it was nice to meet up and fish together.

Bloody Gobies!
From my perspective, I was somewhat disappointed with the fishing in Jersey, but I have to remind myself that the weather conditions were really against us. It was however really great to meet with such good, helpful and welcoming people. For me that really was the highlight of the trip and is worth a return trip alone. Next time I am in Jersey though, I am going to smash it up and achieve some of my  unaccomplished targets! It won't be for a good while yet but am looking forward to it.

Tight lines all and thanks for reading.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Poole and Weymouth.

For a few months now myself, Ross Johnson and Scott Hutchinson have had a trip to Jersey planned and I had been looking forward to it for ages. A species hunt was the idea and we had decided to use all methods, including bait to achieve our targets.

After a few months of excitement and anticipation the day had finally arrived to depart. On the 31st of October I headed up to Ross's after work. I was half ready for a kip before we made the long drive down south to catch the ferry. Upon arrival in Bangor I saw Ross was watching football, but the poor lad could not watch the game for all my fishing talk, so we decided on a quick session on the Menai Straits with the lrf gear.
Upon arriving at the mark we tackled up and got straight into some fish. Drifting soft plastics in the current, Pollock were the sport. Nothing large apart from the one that snapped me off (to both of our amazement) but great fun all the same. After two hours and about 25 fish we headed back to Ross's to get our heads down and after about two hours sleep we headed off for Poole. Good fishing convo on the way down and a plan hatched to lrf in Poole harbour to start the day.

Upon arrival at Poole it was not long at all before we started getting bites and landing a few fish and I had my first two new species, in the form of Rock Gobies and Black Gobies.

Ross was also getting into the fish whilst entertaining a local and gaining insight into the areas fishing prospects.
After an hour we got back in the car ready for boarding when the unthinkable happened, Ross checked his phone and had received a text from Condor Ferries informing us of our ferries cancellation, due to adverse weather conditions.
The text had been sent at 09:30 and we were due to board at 11:30! To say we were fuming was probably an understatement. After talking to the ladies at the booking office we booked in on the 05:30 fast ferry the next day, but now had a fair few hours to kill and therefore decided to go to Weymouth for a fish.
Knowing that the guys down there regularly catch a few species on the pier, we headed off to see what we could pick up.
Ross was getting into loads of fish, including a few species I needed. Poor Cod, Pout and Tompots as well as a few others I have, such as Scorpions, Ballans and Corkwings. I was struggling to know why he was getting so many and I could not hook up on my bites. At first I thought it was the Isome he was using, but after using some I got nothing still. Second I thought it was due to the fact he was using a solid tipped rod and I a tube. Fact was Ross was out fishing me big style and maybe its just the fact I am not as good.
I did eventually land a Corking and some Pout, which made another new species for me.

The fish were all mini aside form Ross's Ballan Wrasse, which put a nice enough bend in his rod.

Its the hat that gives him power!

After a couple of hours the freezing cold conditions finally got the better of us and we headed for a KFC before heading back to Poole. I felt we had turned a bad day into a good one and we certainly had fun!
I really liked Weymouth and would like to return there next summer to see what else I can get from the area, next time I am taking a solid tipped rod though.

Well we were a little beat and we had to sleep in the car until we finally caught our ferry, it wasn't the best nights sleep I've ever had and the accommodation was less than comfortable.

Poole was very cold and the dock area felt very bleak at night.

03:30ish I managed to snap a photo of Ross without his lucky hat on and I doubt he will thank me for publishing this. Still smiling too! and excited about making our ferry.

It was an unplanned for day, but I really think it was a good one. Admittedly I would have rather been in Jersey meeting up with Scott, who was already there waiting for us but three new species was sitting quite well with me and providing the ferry was all OK we would only miss a nights fishing there.
Of course we did catch the 05:30 ferry, but that's for another report.

Cheers for reading and tight lines.

Monday, 22 October 2012

What a difference a night can make!

Well after having quite a bit of fun yesterday and with having another day off today, I decided to head out and try the same tactics today.
I was considering taking out the regular Bass gear out as I knew it was going to be overcast and to be honest I wish I had.

I arrived at the beach around 10am, the water was noticeably more coloured and there was a swell building. I was also fishing a different stage of the tide to yesterday and sort of wanted to prove that flattie fishing is better around low water, that is certainly what I have found in the past.
Anyway, I was using the same setup as yesterday and fishing the same places, as well as some other spots along the beach. After about ten minutes I had a strong bite and a run, I knew it wasn't a Turbot, rather it was a Bass. Only a small one but put up a respectable fight for its size.

I fished the same area for a while, but strangely I was not getting anymore bites and therefore moved along a little. Well I had a cracker of a hit on my second spot and my reel was screaming. It was another Bass and I had a big smile knowing it was a good one. I then made a silly error and tried to turn the Bass to quickly into the run and ping, the Bass was gone! I was gutted, I had that feeling of both an adrenaline rush and deep frustration.
I cast out to the same area a few times but was getting nothing, I was really disappointed. I thought I would text Scott and tell him about my lost fish. I cast out and let the lure sit and got my phone out, as the lure was deadsticking, a fish hit the lure with an aggressive take. A bit of a consolation prize though, as it was just a small one.

A few casts later and I had the telltale thump of a small flattie, as usual I let the bite develop and set the hook after a few seconds. A wee fight ensued before I had another Turbot landed.

At this point the day was looking ok, but shortly afterwards, a cold North East wind blew up and the swell grew. Things became very tough, I lost a Turbot and despite the odd small pluck did not get another fish before the tide started to ebb and again, and that was in the form of a small Bass.

Despite trying a variety of lures and tactics, all my fish fell to the 4 inch natural Gulp Sandworm rigged on an ima turtlehead. Can't beat the Gulp in my opinion, It tends to be a more consistent lure type than any of my other baits.
I realise I can't complain too much about the fishing, at least I didn't blank! With the hours I was out and with the overcast sky, I did expect more. Oh well I guess that's just fishing and it still certainly beats a day at work.
I am also learning quite a lot about what I can pick up, when and where, on marks I had not fished a great deal until this year. Those things are only things you can learn by putting in the time and hard work and are part of the joy of fishing.

I am off to Jersey on the 1st of November and that will probably be my next outing. I'm very much looking forward to being there and seeing what Jersey has to offer. I'm also looking forward to fishing  with friends and meeting a few people from the Lure Forum for the first time. I will hopefully bring a good report.

'Til then, tight lines and thanks for reading.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Turbo tactics.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend who has been trying to catch Turbot with his mate, it's actually the two that got me into fishing light Schogsky and Hutch. They hadn't had any success but had a great time on the Bass and Gobies instead.

Anyway, today was a really nice day and the wind was light, so I decided to fish light and go Turbot hunting and prove my advice to Scott. 
I arrived on an ebbing tide and rigged up a Gulp Sandworm on a 2.5g Decoy head. There was a fair bit of movement in the water and this is the reason I was fishing with quite a heavy jig head. For Turbot I have found that you do want your lure to make good contact with the bottom at times.
I headed up the beach to a couple of places I have had success with Turbot before, but wasn't getting any bites, I therefore headed up to an area where I could wade past some rocks and fish the sand behind.
I know full well there are Turbot here, although they are rarely of any size. There was quite a bit of loose weed floating around and I knew it was going to be tough. I wasn't getting anything on the sandworm so changed to a 2" Gulp fish fry in Pearl rigged on a 3g ima Turtlehead and on about the third cast I had a hit on the drop. I allowed the bite to develop for a couple of seconds before setting the hook and I had a small fish on, after a short time I reeled in a small Turbot and a clump of weed.

Flatfish lrf

I carried on in this area for a while and was getting the occasional bite but the weed was becoming unbearable, I made the decision to head back down the beach and try for flounder.

I fished where there is a storm drain leaking fresh water into the sea, these areas are often productive for flatfish. I stayed with the ima head but rigged up a natural coloured sandworm. Again, on about my third cast I had a bite and again let it develop while keeping minimal tension, I set the hook and had another fish. I could tell it was a little bigger than the last, but not much and after a wee fight I was a little surprised when I pulled out another Turbot.

lrf Flatfish

Light Game Turbot

Very shortly after I had another one that took the lure after a short retrieve and dead stick.

Upon looking at the pictures I am not 100% certain it's not the same fish, what do you think? This one put up a slightly better fight and on unhooking it regurgitated a small sandeel, which was a bit of a surprise. 

The sun was now setting and at this time the Sand Eel bury themselves and the Turbot action tends to die off. It was a beautiful sunset too.

Just at this time I caught two species of by-catch in the form of a Weever (which I did not take a picture of but shook off the hook) and a Bass, which put up a spirited fight.

Bass Lures

A very enjoyable afternoons fishing with a couple of surprises, the main one being the Turbot on a sandworm as I haven't caught one on those before.
Another satisfying session though and was content enough as I made my walk home.

Tight lines all and thanks for reading.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

A Thought Too Soon

I don't know what you're like but I tend to get mighty despondent after a run of blanks, this has been the case for me lately. I have been out after Bass and Flatfish on a few occasions and despite the odd bite and lost fish, I have not landed a thing.
I could hardly muster the energy to go out today and had a defeatist attitude for the morning. I finally managed to get my backside into gear and go to my local for low tide. It was a lovely day even if another blank was in store, it is nice just to be outside.

I walked along the beach and tried various places for flatfish. It's quite easy to spot fishy features along the low tide mark and on one of the gullies I spooked a small Flatfish, Initially I was a bit peeved but stayed for a while. I saw the fish return to where I was standing and spook again. On this I moved backwards and continued working the area twitching my Gulp! Sandworm up and letting it fall, then deadstick. Eventually I got a bite but missed the hookup, I quickly cast to the same place and repeated my retrieve. I got a positive bite and just let it develop for around twenty seconds before setting the hook, a relatively decent fight ensued. Before very long I had landed a Flounder and was quite pleased, I had beaten the dreaded blank!
Flounder Lure

I walked along the shore trying a few more features before heading to my Turbot spot. Sadly I didn't get a Turbot but I did get a good little scrap off a Bass that inhaled my lure off the bottom.

LRF Bass

The tide now really started to push and was picking up all the washed up weed on the shore line, it became impossible to fish this section of the beach again. I started to get a little grumpy as I was thinking to myself "I haven't had a really good session with more than two fish for some time", anybody who knows me, knows I am a miserable ol' sod though.

I had decided to accept my lot though and wandered along the beach in a homeward direction. I saw three Razorbills in the water occasionally diving under, I thought "well nothing to loose" and started casting near where they were. The odd bite but nothing much really, when all of a sudden the sea just erupted! I was soon standing amid a cloud of tiny Smelt with fish hitting the surface, the Razorbills started going berserk and were catching fish. It was just an awesome sight, the sea looked like it was boiling. The next hour and a half I was practically getting a fish a cast, mostly small Mackeral but with the odd Schoolie thrown in the mix.

I stopped taking photos and just got on with the fishing, franticly changing my Gulp! Fish Fry as they  got totally mullered. The fish were just hitting them on the drop nearly every cast, it was epic and such good fun!
I couldn't believe a short while ago I was so pessimistic, yet was now in my element.

Strange though how as dusk approached it was like someone flipped a switch and the action just died. On the return home I was thinking about those Razorbills, I hardly ever see them on my local and wondered if they just knew what was going to ensue and where, amazing things!

Tight lines Peeps.