Sunday, 26 May 2013

Big Tide, One Fish

I popped out to meet my friend Tim tonight, I was only able to fish for three hours and we fished the three hours before high water.
I arrived actually an hour before Tim and on my third cast I caught a small Bass on the Megabass Cutter 90.

Fishing North Wales

Moving along the reef a bit I lost two fish using the DUO Tide Minnow Lipless.
The tide rose fast  and the fish just seemed to go off the boil, myself and Tim just couldn't find them. I went through nearly every lure I had with me, but there is nothing else to report. I am a little disappointed, as I was hoping to get a big fish for my Lure Forum team. It was nice to see Tim though and I guess there is always another day.

Tight lines

Friday, 24 May 2013

Essential preparation!

Whether we are freshwater or saltwater anglers there are inherent risks involved in spending time around water. It could be a swollen river, a dodgy bank or a fast flowing tidal system, water deserves our respect.
Saltwater lure fishing in particular is growing very fast and there is a serious amount of newcomers to the sport. One can go on to forums and social networking sites to view promotional and attractive pictures of fishing spots every day. One can view pages and pages of discussion about lures, rods, reels and other pieces of tackle, but when did you last see something about water  safety? One can view pages and blogs showcasing dangerous spots and the at times extreme nature of fishing on the rocky coastlines, but when did you last see a clause about safety? About getting the appropriate training to use ropes, kayaks, etc?
So I am told, in the UK last year there have been at least nine deaths of anglers, that with a little more preparation and understanding, their deaths could have easily been avoided.

I see companies and magazines advising that we wear a floatation vest of some sort and indeed this is good advice. I personally wear the Ima RBB vest for my angling, it is truly an excellent piece of kit which could aid in self rescue should the worst happen. However a floatation device should never be the first and only approach to water safety, should it?
I wonder how many new coming anglers actually understand tides and current systems relative to their chosen marks? Do they factor in to their preparation a simple risk assessment and have in their minds a plan of escape should the worst happen?

When planning your trip do you seek to understand what the tide shall be doing at various points during your session? Do you understand that when fishing an estuary there will be a time difference in high water specific to your location, compared to the location where your chart data is gathered? Learning a little about tides can go a long way to making your angling risks calculable and manageable. In all honesty safety it is of far more importance to your fishing and enjoyment than the lure choices you have made for your day.

If you do not understand about tides here's two videos I found on youtube recently and they are a great start to understanding your surroundings when out fishing rocky headlands, sand bars and really any other situation in the saltwater environment.

Paying particular attention to the rule of twelfths and the 50/90 rule, how would you factor this into your preparation? Will you know what is going to happen to that gully which you need to cross on your return in the third or fourth hour? Will you know how long you can safely stay on that sand bar during your angling time? Do you understand the difference in what your favourite rock will look like on neap tides compared to spring tides?

What about if you find yourself in the water on a headland point, do you know what to do in that current? Will you exhaust yourself fighting against it or drift with it, understanding that it will slow down when past the obstacle?

Whether you are a newcomer of a seasoned angler we can all know what it is like to get caught out and hopefully we can all understand how this could potentially turn tragic.
Please, make safety a priority in your preparation, tell someone where you are going to be and give an E.T.A. of your return. If you are visiting an area, get a guide who knows the area well and where applicable get the appropriate training for your activity. Remember, no fish is worth risking your life for, or the potential lives of your rescuers. Do not become a statistic!

Stay safe and tight lines.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Summer Has Arrived!

I have had some truly awful sessions of late. Fairly recently I went out after some Turbot and despite seeing them mouth my lures and spit them out I could not catch one. It was a very frustrating session and I was surprised to see them so reticent, this has never been the case before.
On Thursday last, I went out to a mark I have only ever had any success with on bait, its one heck of a walk and again it was an epic fail. I actually hooked two fish which I am pretty sure were Mullet and lost them both! I was so tired under the sun and so fed up with the fishing that I went to sleep on the shore before returning home, it was possibly my worst session ever.

I guess thats just fishing though, you win some, you lose some. I am not deterred quite so easily either, so I went for a return visit to my Turbot mark on Saturday evening after work. I arrived at low water and the sea was full of loose floating weed. The weed made things very hard going and for an hour or so I was just pulling weed off of my line and out of my tip ring. I moved along the shore a little and cast my Berkley Gulp Sandworm, rigged on a 2.5g Sakura Makaira jig head parallel to the waves and bumped the bottom. Shortly after I had a bite and thankfully it was a decent and positive one! My first Turbot of 2013 and my first fish on the Yamaga Blanks BLC-80.

Flatfish on Lures

Lure Turbot

Today (Sunday), I decided to make the long walk to the mark where I lost the Mullet on Thursday. The walk was a bit of a killer as it was a very hot day, though there was a stiff breeze blowing in from the West which helped a little. After an hour and a half I reached my mark, I set up my BLC-80 with a 2" Gulp Fish Fry rigged on a Sakura Makaira jig head and waded out over a sand bar. I was casting up current and letting my lure drift before bouncing the bottom on the retrieve. I was getting bites off of small fish and I assumed they were Sand Gobies, but before long I realised they were Weever which are also a pest at times.

Well I didn't really want to catch any more Weever so I decided to try some other lures and eventually opted for a 7g Yoshikawa jig. I purchased this jig off of eBay for the princely sum of £2.60.

Wow this thing really casts and I was easily able to reach the deeper water over a drop off and straight into a fish. Well I lost the first two hits, but third time lucky, I was in!

Porthmadog Fishing

Bass this size may not be the most amazing fun on your regular Bass gear, but using light game tackle they are awesome fun indeed and I was very pleased!
I repeated the process for a while, yet to my surprise I wasn't getting anymore hits. I moved along the shore a little and after a while changed my lure to a Gulp Sandworm, again on the Sakura Jig head and sure enough got another fish after drifting with the current.  

Again I cast up current and allowed the lure to drift, when I got an almighty take. I struck and a fish literally left the water, jumping in the air several times I realised this was a decent Garfish. The thing was going ballistic and flaming characteristically the thing threw the hook, leaving my jig whizzing past my ear, breaking the sound barrier as it went. I was a bit annoyed and hoped for another, yet it was not to be. 
Changing to a Gulp fish Fry, I did have plenty more Weevers and a couple more School Bass.

Again wanting to escape the Weever fish I clipped on my metal jig, yet this time even the Weever wanted it and I precariously unhooked a fair few of them from my cheap bar of metal. I had never caught a Weever on a Metal before!

Yoshikawa jig

Before I made the arduous journey home, I had one last Bass, which was a nice way to end the session and day. 

Porthmadog Fishing

I will feel possibly happier at work tomorrow now, yet I cannot wait for my next session. It was proper nice to see how the BLC-80 performs and to break it in with a few fish. It was also nice to finally catch a few on lures at this mark and it was a good day in my book!

Till next time, tight lines!