Thursday, 24 January 2013

Better out than in?

I have again been going stir crazy lately, you know what they say about all work and no play!
Well indeed I've been a miserable sod since I last got out. Online activity and the stuff on Facebook has just been making me a bit cynical and a little agitated lately and I was really getting sick of this side of fishing.
Nothing for it then, day off and I really needed to go fishing!

I must admit I was in two minds whether or not to go out today, it's really cold and the tides are lame.
The way I figured it though, if I don't go out, I will be sitting at home frustrated about what might have been.
So with that I decided to fish the deep water at the end of the peninsula in search of Pollock, Wrasse and whatever else might turn up

Upon arrival at my mark it became clear that it was going to be a cold session. The wind was whipping around the coast and it was biting, the water clarity was not quite as good as I had hoped but not to bad as to quit.
I therefore tackled up my recently purchased Savagegear Salt rod rated 25-85g with a 160mm Savagegear slug rigged on a 30g Cannelle  articulated jig head and 3/0 weedless hook. In total the lure  weighed about 42g and is just over the minimum needed to get down at this mark.
Fanning out my casts I soon realised this was going to be a difficult day, as I was getting no bites at all. I did get one follow off a Razorbill which was pretty cool to see, they are amazingly hydrodynamic! But a Razorbill would have done nothing to my species count if hooked. 

I changed to a 30g Jika rig with a Wave Grass Craw and slowly bumped the bottom. This method seems to suit deep marks very well and caught me my first fish of the day.

There's a quite common theme to my reports and that is; I never seem to catch the size of fish I would like! This small offering was no exception, though better than a blank I guess.

Hoping it had now switched on I released the fish pronto and carried on, yet I had no more bites. I lost my Jika rig to the snaggy bottom and therefore I decided to have a little rest and warm up my hands. 
The wind was getting unbearable and made tying another leader very hard, I had barely any sensation left in my finger tips. 

After a wee rest I tied on my 30g jig head and decided on a smaller lure (a 2.8" Illex Method Shad) as it seemed the Pollock down there were probably going to be small, I was right too.

After this fish I decided on a move as my hands could not take anymore. I took shelter in a cove where I do ok in the summer and upped the sizes of my lures in hope of a better fish, but despite a few more bites I caught nothing else.

I can't say it was the best session I have ever had and I was unsure I should have bothered. I'm still a miserable fart, but I guess better out than in.
Maybe I should be thankful I caught anything at all, given the time of year and conditions? I don't know,  I do know that I can't friggin' wait for everything to heat up and for other species to arrive.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

A day with Ross.

For some time now I have jested about our friend Ross Johnson and have often said that his now famous ima hat has magical powers. I have said his hat is the reason he is such a successful angler, but truth is Ross is just an outstanding and naturally talented fisherman.
I have met up with him on a few occasions now and only a few times have I managed to hold my own against his fish catching, machine like skills. Today was not one of those days!

For a little while now I have been badgering Ross to meet up for a session again. Originally we were going to go Pike fishing, but for a while we have also been talking about going down the Llyn Peninsula, to target some decent Pollock.
So watching the weather forecast we saw a break to go today and with a quick reshuffle at work, I managed to swing a day off. Setting out this morning at 6:30 I arranged to meet Ross in Pwllheli for 8:00 and I arrived with good time for a much needed bacon sandwich before we headed off for Pen Llyn.

The sun was on the rise and though a little brisk it was a beautiful morning as we hit our mark. We were fishing into deep water and were therefore using heavy Jig heads and bombs to get us down.
Things started off a little concerning as we were getting no bites and we both became reminiscent of a previous yet unmentioned trip, where we ended up hitting none of our chosen targets.
I tried to stay optimistic and  just as Ross said "maybe they've just not turned on yet" I had a fish on. After a brief but spirited fight I landed a small Pollock caught on a 160mm Savage gear Slug, rigged on a Sakura Makaira Jig-head and I was pleased a blank had been avoided!

Aberdaron Fishing

As I was photographing and unhooking the fish Ross was into a fish and soon landed one of similar size. Photo's were taken and fish released before we carried on to catch a couple more apiece.

We were really hoping for some better fish and I therefore decided to try some bigger lures and sort  out some bigger fish. I went through lures like the 42g Savage Gear Sandeel and Giant Xlayers, but I didn't get a sniff. Ross was also going through his lure collection with similar results. Things just seemed to have switched off.
After a while Ross switched back to his small red gill rig, trailed behind a 2oz bomb and was soon into fish again.

I didn't have any such lure with me and despite having plenty of Pollock on the lures I was using before, I had no more action from them. Ross on the other hand caught 26 Pollock over the next couple of hours and was proper rubbing it in with every one he landed. He even started making videos of himself as he caught his fish.

But the fact is, Ross is a proper angler and clearly has a natural talent for catching a lot of fish!
I do ok as an angler and wouldn't say I was rubbish or anything, there are however some who just have something that I do not. Sometimes I would say I am a bit jealous, but at the end of the day myself and Ross enjoyed ourselves today and we both enjoy our fishing. Anyway I still caught the first one!

During the time Ross was making his videos and catching all his fish, I was experimenting with different tactics which was proving frustrating because I kept loosing gear. I was fishing some Jika rigs and was getting the odd bite, in fact at one point I lost two fish and one was a reasonable size.
I did persist and kept on tying leaders and as I got down to my last Jika, I finally got a secure hookup!

I had in the back of my mind a Wrasse, but thought it couldn't be, I have never heard of them caught in January in North Wales. Yet when the fish surfaced it was surely a nice little Ballan Wrasse!

Aberdaron Fishing

I perked up quite a bit and I was happy I persisted. I really like catching Wrasse and suddenly the gear losses felt somewhat worth while. It was to be my last fish before we called it a day and headed for home.
I did feel a little peeved about some of my losses and at the fact I got my arse kicked numbers wise by Ross, but all in all it was an enjoyable day in the company of a good mate and a fella I am going to miss when he moves away. I do hope one day I will kick his butt though!

Thanks for reading and til next time, tight lines!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Going back to my roots...... yeah

Firstly, I trust you all had a great Christmas and New Year!
During December I have been climbing the walls, due to one thing or another I was not able to get out fishing at all. However 2013 is here and I would say its been an enjoyable start to the years fishing.

Myself and my family travelled down to Suffolk on the 30th December to see our extended family and I had it in my mind to visit at least one mark I used to fish as a child, whilst I was there. Knowing I wasn't going to be able to spend much time at it, I had just packed my Blue Current, Biomaster, a few spinnerbaits, shads, traces, net and tools.

My lure fishing started back in Suffolk, where I learned to target Pike and Perch and for sometime I have felt quite nostalgic about those days. I have often wanted to visit and turn my hand to a bit of freshwater fishing again.
Sadly I have no proof of my childhood fishing aside from the following image;

Even that is not proof enough, as it is a picture of a dead pike I lifted out of the water in order to fool my Dad and prove I was better than him (which of course I am!).

It wasn't until the 2nd of January that I did get out and it would only be a four hour session max, I think it actually turned out about three and a half hours.
My chosen venue was a drainage system surrounding a country estate in Long Melford, a mark I last fished about 20 years ago and had some nice Pike out of there indeed.

Snag fest!

The area is quite snaggy and the branches were dotted with lost lures, something I did not quite expect as it was rarely fished when I was a child.
Anyway I tackled up using a 2.8" Illex Method Shad with a 2g Jighead at the business end. I began to fan out my casts, working up against reeds and under overhanging branches. Within minutes I had a rise from a fish, I started to get ever so excited and about 15 minutes later I banked a small Jack Pike,  my first Pike in near 20 years!

Very shortly after it was followed by another that took the lure on the drop! Surprising how fish react similarly at times, be it a fresh or salt species!

Yamaga Blanks Bluecurrent 74

I was really hoping for bigger fish and know that the area holds them as I've caught them before, albeit a long time ago.
I tried some spinnerbaits and some ultralight plugs but I could not find the bigger fish, in fact with those lures I couldn't induce a take of another Jack either!
Switching back to the Method Shad I caught three more Jacks and lost another three.

Yamaga Blanks Blue Current 74

The action strangely died off as the rain started to fall heavier and though I fished on for an hour or so I had no more bites or follows. I decided to accept my lot and head back to meet the family.
So I didn't quite get the size I was after, but I felt it was a pretty enjoyable way to start the years fishing and a nice way to kind of reconnect with my Childhood. I think I would like to catch some more Pike this year and shall hopefully visit some of the reservoirs in North Wales, I will have to stop being such a tight arse and fork out the dosh for day tickets though.

It was the first time I had used the Illex Method Shads too and I was suitably impressed with them. I did leave a couple in the overhanging branches to accompany the other lures, but guess thats par for the course.

Illex Shad

So with that report my fishing for 2013 commences and I hope its a big year for us all!

Thanks for reading and tight lines.