Sunday, 8 December 2013

Roll on Spring!

LRF/Light game isn't the most popular fishing style where I live,  I do know of a few people from the Anglesey area and also Conwy who really enjoy this style, but for sometime I have been "the only gay in the village" as it goes down here.
Through posting a little more on the World Sea Fishing Forum of late, I did start reading the reports of another lrfer in the area. To cut a long (and boring) story short, PM's exchanged and we decided to meet up for a little session today.
We agreed to visit a pretty good and consistent mark on the Llyn peninsula, the mark usually affords some shelter regardless of the weather conditions and the usual quarry is pollock around three quarters of a pound, small Wrasse and some mini species.

On our wee journey up I had expectations of a good day with plenty of fish, yet it was probably the hardest lrf session I have fished all year!
The conditions were against us from the outset. Strong gusty winds changed frequently and made seeking shelter difficult, this coupled with cloudy water and a fair swell presented us with large hurdles indeed.

After a wee recce I managed to find a workable spot. Fishing OTD with a 1.8g jig head and a range of lures from Maria, Berkley and ima I managed a short succession of tiny Pollock.

Lrf Cymru

They were not the general size accustomed to at this mark and were really hugging the Kelp below, hardly surprising given the Gannets, Cormorants and Guillemots about. Trouble was as the tide rose I had to evacuate my spot and when at this time the larger fish usually show, they just did not!

My friend Jon also caught a few small Pollock before things went dead, even the mini species were proving impossible to locate. Neither of us could quite understand the absence of fish, difficult as the conditions were, I would still have expected more!

As we roamed about we exchanged fishing tales and a few laughs. Searching all the likely looking places things were bleak indeed though.

After a coffee we ended up fishing a bit of structure that offered us shelter from the biting wind, where we caught shore crabs!
I was however getting the odd bite on a piece of isome and stern determination I persevered until my prize was won;

The smallest Long Spined Sea Scorpion I have ever seen! 
I don't care much that it was so small though, Scorpion fish are cool!

A little while later I had another one, well I think it may have been the same greedy fish;

Light Game UK

Awesome as this little critter is, we decided enough was enough and departed for home and hot drinks.
I can't in all honesty say it was a bad day, it was great to fish with and meet Jon, it was also just good to be out on the shore and to get some fresh air. That being said, one thing myself and Jon agreed on; -Spring can't come soon enough!

Tight lines.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

A Difficult Day in December!

On Friday I checked Magicseaweed and Met office for weather and tide reports, I was hoping to get out on Saturday yet Met office said there would be strong winds and Magicseaweed said there would still be a residual swell running. I therefore opted for Sunday (today) as the winds were said to be low and the sea - flat.
Of course, these sites cannot get things right even within a 24 hour period! Saturday there was barely a wisp of wind and it was a glorious day, I had wasted a good day in some sense, I opted for a much needed lie in.
So I head up to Uwchmynedd today with Pollock in mind. Of course I was expecting no wind and calm seas, did I find this? Did I heck!
There was quite a stiff cross onshore and a pretty angry sea. I climbed down to my consistent marks and each were too unsafe to fish, especially on my own. The sea was the kind you'd dare not turn your back on, there were quite frequent growlers threatening to wash me off of the rocks.

Llyn Peninsula
This photo hardly does it justice!
I climbed up and down cliffs trying to find more placid water and fish, admiring these bright red toadstools as I went, its a good job the peninsula is such a beautiful place! 

I found it very hard to control my line and lures at times and I eventually opted for a cove I have fished before with very mixed results. Sometimes it can be really good and others - very poor, well today was the later!

I picked up small Pollock on Ecogearaqua Swim Shrimps trailed on a deep water carolina rig, they were not the size I had in mind for today and though disappointed, I was glad not to blank!

weedless rigging soft plastics

For a very short time the sea slackened off a bit and I got hit off of a different fish about 30 foot down and bought in a small Ballan Wrasse. I love catching Wrasse and the sight of this wee fella certainly brightened up my day and put a smile on my face.

Wrasse on OSP Dolive Stick

Lure fishing for Wrasse
Stunning fin colouration! 

"Well, where there's one, there's more" I thought to myself and I rigged up a Watermelon Yoshikawa Superworm on my Carolina rig. Casting out, retrieving with shakes and pauses things weren't epic, but I was getting the odd bite. I was nearing a subsurface ledge beneath my feet and I was getting small shy bites, when wallop! My Sakura Mazzera 742MH hooped over and I felt the weight of a decent fish. "Ah yes a PB Wrasse" I thought "easily 6lb". As I started pulling the thing from the bottom, I felt a sort of click, like you get when your weight hits granite, except my line had gone limp!
I had lost the fish and was completely shocked and bemused. I reeled in my line to find out my hook and lure had gone, my 20lb fluorocarbon looked as though it had been cut by pliers, a nice clean cut!
I was thoroughly pissed off, but surely this could not have been a Wrasse? It bit off a 4" lure and a 3/0 hook! The only thing I can think of is that there was a small wrasse biting my lure, which in turn got eaten by an eel, engulfing my lure and wrasse at once?
I guess I'll never know, but I would be interested to know any theories or hear of similar experiences, I was thoroughly confused by it.

Anyway, with that I decided enough was enough and headed home.
It was a disappointing,  difficult and a frustrating day, but a total loss? I'll let you decide.

Tight lines.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The End is Nigh

Waking up was difficult this morning, the cold air making it a struggle to get out from my warm duvet, signalling winter has arrived.
Upon leaving the house for work, the foothills near my house had a good dusting of snow on the tops, both the Snowdon range and the Rhinogs had the beginnings of a decent covering.
The trouble with this is; the foothills thaw quickly during the day and leak icy water into the estuary systems either side of where I live, this is likely to signal the end of the Bass season for me.

In all fairness things have been getting slow over the first half of November, where before I was catching multiple fish per session, the catches have gone down to sometimes just one fish.
I can't say I am not slightly disappointed, I set out this year wanting to both improve my catch rate on lures and to beat my personal best Bass, the former I have accomplished but the later is not so. That being said I have enjoyed my fishing for the most part this year and managed to catch with reasonable consistency.

In fact until now this is the first time I have continued to catch Bass on lures into November, that in itself is a personal accomplishment and a good reminder that as yet, I am still a relative beginner to Bass fishing with lures!
Admittedly I have been disappointed and a little bit discouraged with the size of the fish I have caught, especially as this time of year is known for the time of monster Bass, but I am learning and that is good!

Here are some photos of some November catches;

Savage Gear Sandeel

All my fish through November have been caught on the 125mm Savage Gear Sandeel and this lure is starting to grow on me a little better.

Sunday last, I fished a mark that has been fairly consistent for me this year, but yet again it threw up just one fish. About three hours before low tide I got a decent take and at first I genuinely thought "This is the fish I have been hoping for". The fish took line against a fairly tight drag, but it was only a few seconds before I realised it was not quite the fish I had been after. Still it was certainly a better size to that which I have become accustomed to this last while and she certainly cheered me up some.

61cm and a spirited fighter;

Apia Foojin'AD Flow Hunt 89ML

She put a properly nice bend in my Apia rod and its actually the first nice fish I have caught using it. Anyway, after taking the measurement I released her back to catch another day.

I shall be out again on Thursday and I do hope this is not my last report of 2013, but one thing is for sure - the end of 2013's Bass season is nigh!

Tight lines.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

A Break in the Rough.

The weather has been atrocious lately has it not?! Rain pouring down the estuaries and high winds mean my local shore is wild to say the least. I have gotten out twice lately and after blanking the first time I fully expected the same today. 
The shore was strewn with large amounts of rotting weed, some of the deposits were of bail like proportions. The sea was rough and very coloured from both churned up sand and loose weed. I honestly did not expect anything, yet the wind had dropped and the sun did come out to play, so off I went on one of my long walkabouts.

I fished the last four hours of ebb and it was bloody hard going, I was genuinely surprised when I saw a small Bass following my Savage Gear Sandeel at one point, however it raised my hopes of beating the dreaded blank. After a few knocks I eventually got a take after managing to hit a tide rip with my cast, nice!

Real Pearl

Believe it or not that is actually the first Bass I have ever landed on a Savage gear Sandeel! I truthfully am not the biggest fan of them. I do not find they suit my fishing; I find the eye on the head is too far back and it often causes the nose to dig into the sand when you pull into it for bouncing over shallow terrain. I also find I have to crank quite fast to keep the things off the bottom, so they rarely see much water time when I have them.
Anyways, I can't complain today as it saved me a blank.

The fishing didn't exactly switch on though and it remained slow. I changed to a 120mm Fiiish Black Minnow and fished a sink and draw type retrieve and caught two more schoolies.

Black Minnow 120

I lost another fish shortly after hooking these two, that was a bit of a bugger, but there was no major size to it, so I wasn't too bothered.
As the sun dropped a very stiff South Easterly blew up and killed my chances of any more fish.

So I am not going to make a specimen hunter any time soon it would seem, yet I was genuinely pleased to have caught anything given the conditions.

I made my arduous journey back home being sandblasted in the process, on reflection it was a nice way to spend a few hours on my day off work.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Still searching.....

Today was a day of mixed blessings I guess you could say. On checking the weather forecast during the week things were not looking great for today, Met office had predicted strong winds and rain arriving midday. I was determined to get out anyway and if I had to battle harsh conditions then so be it.
Met office was characteristically wrong again, yet thankfully this time it worked in my favour. The strong winds had dropped off and although the sea state was rough, it was a cracking day.

I didn't fish the shore though, I had decided to try my new Apia rod on an estuary mark, fishing the last three hours of the ebb. 
Previously I had used the rod with my Shimano Sustain reel, yet today I paired it with my larger Shimano Rarenium 4000 and it actually feels better all round.

Now being that time of year I had gone out planning to catch a lunker, yet prepared to blank. I have not really caught a Bass of note in a couple of years and the constant stream of school Bass is wearing thin.
I fished the water from top down, starting with a Xorus Patchinko and going through a range of lures until I got to my Fiiish Black Minnows. Drifting the lure in the current and then a sink and draw type retrieve, the Black minnows did the business.

The first was a chubby 45cm schoolie and the first fish to be caught on my new rod.

Bass North Wales

OK, well it wasn't my big girl but it beats a blank.

A couple of casts later resulted in a leaner fish of around the same length.


Things went quiet for a little and a couple of other anglers turned up to fish not so far away, I was actually disappointed because I rarely ever see other anglers at this mark and I rather like solitude. They were no bother though and didn't stick around too long.

Whilst they were there I did catch another greedy little fish.

The fishing remained tough going, I did get the occasional knock but it was maybe half an hour before low water that I got my last fish. It was quite strange actually, the first bite came as the lure was falling from the cast, but it failed to hookup. I left the lure to drift a little, bouncing the sea bed as it went, when all of a sudden my Fiiish Black Minnow started swimming up current!
I set the hook and realised it was a slightly better fish than its predecessors. It actually put up a half decent fight, managing to take a small amount of line even with my drag set for a lunker.

Fiiish Black Minnow 120
She measured in at 55cm

Fiiish Black Minnow 12g

Well my search for a big fish is still on and I was a tad disappointed not to find one again, but it was nice to get out and catch a few. It was also nice to break in the rod a little and gain a better understanding of how it performs, its starting to grow on me now.

Still time for a decent fish mind and I yet remain hopeful.

Tight lines.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Apia Foojin'AD Flow Hunt 89ML - First impressions

Well In my last post I said I had some Bass stuff to show off, well it mainly consists of soft lures and Jig heads, I've decided not to bore you with those for the time being.
The new rod however, I guess I should show off a little.

The Apia Foojin'AD Flow Hunt 89ML

Apia Flow Hunt

Now I have been waiting to get my hands on this rod for what seems like an age. I have been looking for a rod that would fish bigger lures, both hard and soft and is around 9' in length, this one seemed to fit the bill.
Well I finally received the rod on Friday after work and upon opening the tube I was impressed straight away. The rod comes in a nice neoprene type bag which is quite thick and cushioning, the bag has a simple velcro closure and separate pockets (front and rear) for the tip and but section respectively. I realise that no one catches fish on a rod sock, but a carefully designed package is something a lot of rod manufacturers could do with looking at!

Upon pulling the rod out of the bag and assembling it even my children exclaimed "wow, that is a nice rod!" and my children rarely get as excited as I do about fishing tackle.
It really is a nice build though with good attention to detail. 
The rod itself weighs in at an impressive 134g, will cast  a maximum of 34g and has an upper line rating  of 2.0 PE.
Now I am not going to pretend that I know anything about blank design, I know that Apia have employed their 4 way axis tech on this rod and that it features double cross wrap tech. Basically by laying the carbon horizontally, vertically and diagonally on the cloth the material eliminates "twist" which results in loss of power in the cast, yet still maintains integral strength in the blank. The design is to give the angler accuracy and distance (AD), sweet!

Incase you forget the name of the rod, Apia have decided to remind you of it in several places.
On the very strong looking joint;

And on the fore grip;

Shimano Sustain
Add caption

The grip and handle are lovely, I really like the mix of the AAA cork and Duplon/EVA, it looks posh and its incredibly comfortable to fish with.

The rod also features Titanium frame K guides which are also the smallest I have come across on a Bass rod, so small in fact that my JB clips that are said to "fit through the smallest of spinning rod guides", do not!

Well how does it fish? 
That is a difficult question to answer as yet as I have only used it once and despite expecting to catch, I did not!
I can say that, I wasn't expecting it to feel quite as stiff as it does and that will take a little getting used to, especially after using my lighter Megabass rod for so long. It does feel quite powerful though and is accurate for sure!
I used a range of lures on it from a 3.5g jigged and 3.5" soft plastic to the Xorus Patchinko II and Megabass 7"Dot Crawler. To my surprise it put out the 3.5g jig head softie combo a decent distance and I could feel what was going on subsurface very well, yet it also punched out the Patchinko II at 28g over the surf a respectable distance indeed. I found it very easy to work the Patchinko II on it which I have missed using somewhat.
I wouldn't say at this point that I like it as much as my lighter Megabass rod but, I have a feeling it will grow on me once I get into some fish. It certainly does what I want it to and that is to punch out some bigger lures in tough conditions. It did feel pretty good with the 25g Fiiish Black Minnow 120, but only OK with weightless soft plastics like the 6" OSP Dolive stick and the Megabass 7" Dot Crawler.

I am hoping the rain clears up soon so I can get onto one of my estuary marks to see how it fares there and hopefully find some fish to put a bend in it. 
As I've said though, these are just first impressions and I shall maybe do a more informed review after I have used it and caught on it for a decent length of time.

For now; Tight lines.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Light Lure Re-stock

A week or so ago I lost my Meiho reversible 85 lure box and it was full of all my light game hard baits, jigs and vibration baits. A small fortunes worth from brands like Ocean Ruler, DUO, Rapala and Sebile etc. I was truly gutted! Despite looking and re-looking on the beach, as well as my friends looking, it was not to be found. 
I have had to start replacing them recently. 

After seeing Scotts success with the Reins Palpuntin jigs, I decided to try some out. I also purchased some more Apia Seiryu mini jigs which have done well for me lately.

LRF Jigs

I'm going to put the Decoy DJ-91's on them to minimise losses of both the jig and the fish. The Reins jigs are not remotely cheap in Europe, they are half the price I payed in Japan, yet at either price I don't fancy looking any more gear!
The weight and patterns are as follows;
from the top; 5g in Shirasu pattern, 3.5g in shirasu,  3.5g in chartreuse/silver, 2g in shirasu and the Apia jig is 3g, in cotton candy. They should be enough to cover a range of situations for now.

Next up is a couple of hard baits.

Duo Tetraworks Bivi

The Duo Spearhead Ryuki 50S weighs in at 4.5g and this one is in Pearl Ayu. Really its a Trout lure ,but I shall see if I can catch another species or two with it.
The lower lure is the DUO Tetra works Bivi, 3.8g and in clear/red belly pattern. 
I actually preferred the pattern I had before which was a striped silver, but I got this one at a good price and will give it a bash.

I still have quite a way to go to replace all of my lures, I had the other Tetra Works stuff as well as my snazzy Ocean Ruler Ne'reid surface lures, but these are a start.

I also purchased some new braid to try out as my Sunline Small Game is done. I loved the Small game, but it wasn't the cheapest of braids and this one comes at a very decent price indeed from The Art Of Fishing.

LRF Braid line

120m should be just perfect on my Biomaster C2000S spool and I'm looking forward to trying this one out.

I have some new bits and bobs for Bass fishing to show off in the next couple of days, so stay tuned.

Tight lines.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Autumn Silvery Seas.

As much as I would have summer stick around a lot longer, Autumn is a special time of year. There are many species now close to shore, many of which I have never caught, there are also larger fish about.
I love the light and colour of the sea this time of year, it always looks kind of silvery  and somewhat secretive.

Now as much as I think I really should be trying to beat my personal best Bass, I can't help being attracted, or distracted by the multiple species available and just the sheer fun of fishing lures on ultralight tackle.
My wife has also been quite ill lately and the attraction of just catching quite easily when I do manage to get out is quite appealing.

I have to say though, the fishing hasn't been quite as easy as last year on my local patch. I cannot seem to catch the Turbot as readily as this time last year and I am finding that most peculiar!

Mackerel and Lesser Weever seem to be around in greater numbers though and I have been finding short flurries of Mackerel turning up along the shore line, the odd Weever mixed in too. 
With the sea temperature still being quite high they are still also readily taking jigs.

Apia Mini Jig

North Wales Fishing
6g Apia Seiryu jig with the assist tipped with isome.
Fishing North Wales
This Weever was 16cm and a PB
Today I have been out again after managing to free up a couple of hours and caught four species including one I have neglected to target this year until now.

More Mackerel caught on the Apia Seiryu Jig, this time un-tipped;

Bass on Marukyu Power Isome rigged on a 2.5g Decoy Delta Magic Jig head.
The Bass actually fought like a brute despite being only 43cm, they are so much fun on light game gear!

Yamaga Blanks BlueCurrent

A new PB Lesser Weever on the above method;

I also caught a Flounder on Marukyu Isome. Although looking at some of the other pictures I have, it is quite possible its a hybrid because it had plaice like characteristics, such as; a clear herringbone underside and a pronounced boney part behind the "top" eye. Either way I'm still happy!

North Wales Fishing

I still hope to get another couple of species before the year is out and I may try to get out again tomorrow. I haven't decided on the style of fishing, but I'll hopefully bring another report.

Tight lines.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Swanage Pier, Day 2

After a pretty decent nights sleep in Rivendell Hotel, Swanage, Scott and I headed down to the beach around 7ish. Scott wanted to see if he could tempt some curious looking fish that we spotted the night before. I think it was the fact it was dark that made the difference though as there was not much biting, I managed a tiny Pollock but that was it.

With that, we headed to the pier for a mini species foray again. The fishing was a little slower than the Tuesday and I started off fishing like a nob again, losing my first fish as it reefed me. To be fair I was fishing ultra light and I am pretty sure what I hooked was a large Ballan. I started off fishing on the drop too see if I could tempt the specie that I lost the day before, but soon gave in and targeted the mini's once more.

Corkwing and Pouting were ten to the penny and provided a good deal of fun. Scott was of course catching tons of fish and his bait rigs often yielded double hook ups, in fact at one point when I got busted up, Scott caught six fish in the time it took me to tie a new leader and rig! There really are just so many fish around that structure and I am just not quite used to that kind of fishing, well except from  when I used to coarse fish in my youth. I guess that is what it reminded me of, it was just rocking up for some chilled out fishing with plenty caught, proper nice!

We added a few more species to the mix too, I think being a sunnier day bought a few more out to play.

Scott caught the only Goldsinny Wrasse.

The Goldsinny is another specie that continues to elude me, I really love Wrasse and I want to catch them all!

I caught my first ever Dragonet with the Angleworm rigged on a 1.8 gram Decoy Rocket Plus Jig head #10 hook.

Beautifully posed by Scott.
Scott also caught some Dragonet and his first one spiked him in the finger, he made a bit of a song and dance about it and to be fair I did feel bad for telling him to man up while he was bleeding to death. The word of that day was "anti coagulant" I think ;-) 

The Dragonets were quite strange in the respect that I hadn't caught one before despite fishing places where they frequent, yet once I had caught that first one, I caught a few more. Here's another;

Long Spined Sea Scorpions were caught both by myself;

and Scott;

Scott had a number of Ballan Wrasse over the couple of days, sadly I only caught one, good job it was a monster.

Scott also added a Bass to his 2013 species tally.

Proper Bass angler pose!
Although a slower day than the day before, we still had countless fish and just reflecting on it makes me want to go back!

Before we headed home, we popped over to Weymouth for an hour or so to see if I could get that Goldsinney I so desperately wanted. The fishing in Weymouth was also unreal and I kid you not, we must have caught 30-40 outing each in the very short time we here there. In the Mix were also Pollock, Whiting, Black Goby, Ballan Wrasse and Tompot Blennies. The only thing is, I am still after a Goldsinny Wrasse!

My first ever lure caught Whiting.
Scott loves his Gobies and this Black Goby brings a beaming smile.
Pouting aren't a bad looking fish!
An unexpected Ballan Wrasse.

After a KFC we reluctantly headed off for the long journey back to my house. Scotts insane driving got us back in an impressive time ready for a celebratory Doom Bar.

I can't thank Scott enough for both taking me on one of his fishing adventures and putting me on to a ton of fish, some of which were firsts for me. It was a good laugh and a very memorable time, cheers Scott.

Oh and when Scott got home, I thought I had better inquire as to how his finger was after it was savagely attacked by that Dragonet and he graciously assured me" it's fine".

Thanks for reading and tight lines.