Friday, 23 December 2011

Sunday 18th December....not quite over yet!

Well I had pretty much accepted the end of the season, but a mate of mine down in Devon was still catching well so last Sunday we arranged to meet up on his local mark.

Clear water and shelter has been hard to come by of late so it was nice to arrive with the sun setting, the tide steaming through and perfect conditions. Soft plastics were the order of the day, or savagear sandeels to be precise, bounced along the bottom in the current.

Pete was in immediately, with a nice fish of just over 4lb. He then bagged another and lost one more before I finally hit one and after a few good runs I had a nice fish of 3lb 10oz on the shore. My best fish for a few months so I was well happy. The tide had dropped off now and with a leaky pair of waders making fishing pretty chilly I decided to call it a day.

No picture unfortunately as my camera died just as I was trying to take the shot.

Back down for another try in the morning so hopefully a christmas eve bass to report on...that would be something!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

It's looking like that time again....

Well I think it's time to hang up the lure gear for another year, a blank yesterday has sealed it. Living an hour away from the nearest mark, it's getting harder to time my fishing with the few windows in the weather and turning up to find dirty water on the marks I want to fish is getting depressing, I may make it out again but I'm not banking on it.

Still it's been a good season that extended well into November, my last fish was on the 18th when I picked up a couple down in Dorset.

So time to file my end of season report, first up lures. The graph below shows what lures have worked for me, top of the tree are zonks in various guises but the best single lure has been the fabulas komomo II in Joker Flashing Plate. This has been my "after dark" lure. I think it's dark belly and ability to work when retrieved really slowly make it a real killer after dark.

Earlier in the year I put up a graph showing the state of tide I'd been catching on, well the theme of the ebb being better than the flood continued right through the year, although I started to time my trips more to fish the ebb  which is definately better on my ususal marks, so one of next years objectives is to find some productive areas for the flood.

Sub surface hards have done most of the damage this year, another objective for next year, more fish on SP's

So what to do now winter's here? Well's theres plenty of cod coming out of the Bristol Channel, which should be around right through the winter, unlike a lot of areas the BC fishes well pretty much all through winter so there's still plenty of time for me to get on the act and my mountain bike is feeling very neglected so it's definately time to break that out for a few jaunts around the quantocks. MBing is definately a winter sport for me, apart from the fact I prefer fishing in summer mountain biking is about get down and dirty and covered in roll on next weekend.

I'll keep posting up details of any bait trips I have though, just to fill the pages over the winter, Santa's bringing me a new camera, waterproof and shock proof so expect plenty of shots when I get my first cod of 2012!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Dorset 12th November

Headed down to Dorset again yesterday morning, although winds were lightish all week, the wave bouys were giving some pretty big seas so wasn't sure what to expect.

Mark one saw the water far too coloured for my liking so headed off the Portland. I stopped in the car park and peered off the cliff, the sea was lively but looked bassy so I decided to give it a go and wandered along the path to my chosen spot. By now I was having second thoughts about the sea state so I stopped on the cliff to smoke a fag and watch the water. It soon became clear that it far too dangerous, with a big powerful groundswell rolling in and the rock I looking at fishing getting regularly swamped by big waves, so onwards to mark three......

I'd never fished here before but I happily found clear water and shelter, and bass first cast! Taken on a zonk in crusing blue, two casts later I hooked into a better fish but it snagged me round a post, I tried to to wade and free it but it was just to deep so I tied it off and carried on fishing.

As the tide ebbed I landed another fish, a smaller one this time and had a follow from a couple of lunker fish.

Finally as I packed up, I went back to my tied off line, managed to retrieve my lure and found the fish had freed itself in the mean time so a happy ending for all concerned...all in all not a bad session to end up with a couple of fish from a new mark when conditions were tough elsewhere. It's good that the fishing is continuing well into November.

Monday, 7 November 2011

7th November...A new rod and a tough session

Ok, where to start? New rod I think. Last week I walked into Veals in Bristol for a lunchtime browse, when I spotted something new among the lure rods....I wandered over...can it be? yes it is! The Diawa Branzino range had hit town!

To be honest I was perfectly happy with my current rods, but when I picked one of these up I knew I was holding something a little bit light, so slim, so had to have one...I resisted for a few days but by the weekend I was back, and walked out with this, the 80ml Seabass Quest Custom.

Now I know I truely am a tackle tart, I know this won't catch me one fish more that my previous gear, but I will get lots of pleasure out of simply owning and using it...a bit sad perhaps but there you go.

Veals also had in the Japan range of Shoreliner plugs, there are some nice ones in there but I was dissappointed to see the 140 size are identical to the Saltiga Minnows which have been around for a while. No great problem there perhaps except these are £19.99 and you can pick up a Saltiga for £13 if you shop around (although for how much longer now I don't know). I guess that's the price you pay, it's great that we are getting so much more choice of gear these days but with the high demand for branded jap gear (fueled by tackle tarts like me) there is going to be some commercial opportunitism going on!

So yesterday I went down to Dorset for the afternoon...conditions were not good with a strong offshore wind, the remnents of a big sea still rolling in and still some colour left in the water. Plenty of people around hoping for a cod and I thought they had a better chance of success than me. Still I did my ususal walk, heading along the beach for a couple of miles, the water got clearer the further east you went and eventually I was rewarded with this to save a blank and "christen" the new rod.

Its nice to get a fish in November, I've set my self the objective of getting a bass as late as December this year and as early as April next year...that way it will feel like the "off season" is only three months long!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Dorset 15th Oct

My first trip out for a while last Saturday, recovering from my knee injury, busy at work and family duties have all been conspiring against me for a few weeks, so Saturday afternoon was some welcome relief and on a warm bright sunny Autumn afternoon and I headed down to Dorset.

I couldn't make up my mind where to go to be honest, so I let fate decide and the toss of coin landed on heads and I headed east.

I arrived a low water, there were a few others in the area which is unusual to be honest, as I rarely see other anglers at this mark (is that a bad sign?!) but with a mile or so of rocks and boulders there was plenty of room for all.

Today was about relaxing and getting out, as with the weather as lovely as it was, it did not look condusive for great bass I was pleasently pleased when this hit my feed shallow after an hour or so.....

I fished on after this, full of renewed confidence but only managed a couple of small pollack so with the light fading, I packed up and headed for a welcome pint in the pub by the beach rather than carry on into darkess.....Fishing in such fantastic Autumn weather made this one of my most enjoyable trips of the year. Sometimes it's just about getting out....not catching lots of fish

Sunday, 25 September 2011

24th / 25th September

Well bad weather and a bout of decorating has put paid to any fishing for a couple of weeks, so I was pleased to be heading off down to Dorset at 5am on Saturday morning....

Now some trips just don't go as planned, I was full of confidence, with a decent forecast and good tide for the mark. I'd taken my ESG and had planned to concentrate on soft plastics. I arrived and as soon as I started fishing I started doubting what I was doing. I has a couple of pollack pretty quickly and saw someone nearby land a small bass, but this did not help me...I was just fishing badly and I knew it...I wished I'd gone somewhere else, I was swapping between hards and softs every few casts and before I knew it, time and tide had run out on me with just a couple of wrasse more to show. To top it off, as I was packing up, I took a tumble and twisted my knee aggravating an old rugby injury...I manage to do this every couple of years and the pain for a couple of minutes is excrutating. It took me a little while and a couple of fags to get myself together afterwards but it left me limping and with a knee swollen like a balloon. So after hauling myself up the cliff I drove home in pain and dispondent from making a mess of what should have been a good session.

So today, I needed to get this trip out of my system, but with rock hopping not on the cards for a couple of weeks now whilst my knee recovers, I opted for a couple of hours down at Chesil. A nice clean weed free sea was running and it looked promising, but as ever with me and Chesil looks were deceiving and I only managed one schooly on a zonk, Still I fished a lot better than yesterday and I drove home much happier and looking forward to the next session.

I've still not got a decent sized bass yet this year though, so hopefully the weather will smile for the next couple of months and I can have a productive Autumn.

Here's a couple of fish from the weekend....

Sunday, 4 September 2011

A couple of trips...

I started off with a blank on Tuesday night. I went down to east Dorset with a view of plugging into the night but when I got to my mark my heart sank when I saw the colour of the water. I'd forgotton about the massive tides which had the water lapping around the edge of the Jurrasic coast cliffs and turning a nice muddy grey colour. Visibility ranged from 0 to 18' at best but there was a bit of surface activity going on so I gave it a go for an hour or so, I lost something small and had a few bumps from Gars but once it got dark I lost all confidence in fishing such coloured water so I packed up headed home.

Yesterday saw me take a gamble that the water would not yet have weeded up with the Sou'westerlies and I headed down to Chesil. Conditions were great with a lively see rolling in but still clear water and reletively weed free.

The session started well enough, I quickly had a small fish on the beach and lost another of similar size (on a chartruse Zonk), so I had high hopes for a really good session, but it didn't turn out that way and I fished on into darkness with only one more fish to show for my efforts, taken on Zonk in Crusing Blue, the last fish took right at my feet in only a couple of inches of backwash, I guess bass are used to chasing their prey right up onto the beach here. I was slightly dissappointed to only end up with two fish after sucg a promising start but still double my last trip here so I am improving!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Dorset 26th August 2011

Back down to Dorset this afternoon, I arrived around 4:30 ish, smack on HW. Fishing was hard at first although I did have a really decent fish follow on two occasions. This was quite weird, I'm sure it was the same fish as it looked around 6/7lb and had a distinctive white mark on its back, perhaps a scar or something but the follows were about 2 hours and 100 yards apart!

With no fish landed though I decided to stay on into darkness and just as the last of the light had gone, the fish switched on and I had 4 bass, losts a couple of others and a few pollack all in the space of 30 mins. No great size though, all around the 3lb mark. All the fish came on a Komomo II in Joker Flashing Plate. I would have liked to have stayed on but I'd told the wife I'd be home around 10:30ish and with no signel on the mark I couldn't txt to say I was going to be later so had to pack up while the fishing was still hot.

Thats the first time I've seriously plugged into darkness, and like getting there before dawn in the mornings, it is plain to see how much difference it can make at times. I'm on holiday next week so will plan another trip only this time I will fish on into the night and hopefully bag a decent one.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Plugging Chesil - 20th August 2011

When it comes to bait fishing, Dorset's Chesil beach is by far and away my favorite place to fish. Its 18 miles of shingle is one of the country's most famous venues, it provides easy fishing  for 10 months of the year with a numerous array of species that can be realistically targeted with the bonus of knowing virtually anything may swim by!

But when it comes to plugging, where do you start on a place like this.....

I have to admit its a mystery to me, I know some regulars do really very well plugging here, but I am not one of them. I have caught a couple of lunker bass on plugs from here (including the one pictured on the right of this blog), but in reality both were just lucky fish, as I was just throwing a plug to pass the time whilst bait fishing with the beachcasters. Whenever I come down specifically to lure fish, I inevitably blank!

So onto todays trip, I arrived just after daybreak, and conditions were perfect (or at least how I imagine perfect shoud be for here). There was a lightish SW breeze, enough to kick up some chop but the water was still clear and weed free, the tide was just starting to flood.

I worked my way eastward along the shingle for a couple of mile, casting as I went. I started full of confidence but after a while of no activity this started to wane, there was no sign of any fish, no mackerel activity which is unusual and it started to feel like another chesil blank was looming. Then finally, when I had nearly worked my way back to the carpark area where the feather chuckers were gathered, this little fella took pity on my fishless state and nailed my zonk to save the day!

So I got a fish, but feel no closer to unravelling the mystery of chesil plugging....

Monday, 15 August 2011

Dorset 14th August

Yesterday morning I headed down to Dorset again, for the first weekend for a little while I gave myself a lie in and missed first light, arriving at my mark aound 8am....I paid for such laziness! When I got there it was pretty much HW, as I'd timed my trip to fish the ebb, which based on recent experience has been better. It was very bright and breezy though, never my favorite conditions and it was consequently hard work.

I started off well, landing a fish around 2lbs pretty quickly, taken on a mullet Feed Shallow, and lost a slightly better fish in close. The fish I lost was one of those annoying fish that refuses to fight properly, it took the lure right at my feet and then just flopped around on the surface. I could see it was lightly hooked and I just knew it was going to come off!

After that it dried up though and I fished on for three more hours without a sign of another fish.

No pics from yesterday, as the bass I caught was bleeding prefusely and didnt survive the experience, I don't mind taking the odd fish for the pot (I do a mean baked Thai style bass) but I dont think putting up pictures of dead or bleeding bass looks particularly good.

So here's a picture of a nice plaice instead! I caught this from Chesil the year before last, 4lb 2oz and my PB plaice. The reason I put it up as it's just feeling a bit autumnal today, and it got me thinking of plaice fishing. After lure fishing, plaice are my favorite target, I'm not sure why, waiting by a beachcaster for a plaice to hang itself and be winched in sounds kind of dull now, but for some reason I love catching them, so I'm starting to look forward to calm sunny October afternoons when I can dust off the zzippies and have a crack for a spotty....and if I get a fish near the size of the one below I'll be very happy!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Dorset - 6th August

I had a horrendously early start this morning, and arrived at my mark at around 04:15. Conditions were lovely with a light W wind and cloud cover holding back the day break...I started off working surface lures and it felt like I had a couple of enquiries (it was too dark to see!) but no real positive takes so I switched over to a Komomo II in Joker Flashing Plate. I love this lure but until this point it was my favorate lure never to have a caught bass, but second cast changed that and I was in.....

This put up a really good fight for its size (around 3lb). I was using my 3-23g rated ESG II today, far more sporting that the Rod Bar!

As it got lighter I went back to the surface, with the Patchinko 100 which small pollack immediately took a liking to and I had half a dozen over the next hour and loads more "hits" before finally getting another bass, a smaller fish this time.....

He needed some recovery time so it was into a rockpool to get over its ordeal!

After this the fishing died off, as tends to after LW here, so after a couple of fruitless hours I decided to switch tactics and try for a wrasse...sure enough the Xlayer soon did what Xlayers do and out came this pretty fish....

I had one more of these and a half decent pollack (2lb ish) on a weightless senko before calling it a day and heading home.

1st impressions on the Rarenium? Really nice reel, I'm very pleased with it.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

On Tuesday I blanked,......

So I bought myself a new reel to cheer myself up!
Lets deal with the blank first, I fished E Devon Tuesday evening between 6 & 10pm…no takes and just a follow from a tiny basslet being the nearest I got to a fish. I’m a bit disappointed by this, I fished this mark a few times early this season for just a few wrasse but I put the lack of bass down to the time of year (late March / Early April) and resolved to come back on a nice warm summer evening with a flooding tide… much for that theory then and another failure for me on the flood….I’m really starting to prefer fishing the ebb tides now!
Anyway over to the reel, a Shimano Rarenium 4000, personally I think Shimano fixed spools in 4000 size rule the roost when it comes to lure fishing, at whatever price point you choose to go in at. I’ve wanted one of these for a while now, this is a slight upgrade on my Technium and pretty common fare across the UK plugging scene. Everyone seems to have one!
I’ll do a review at some point when I’ve abused it for a while but I don’t expect many negatives.

Whilst I was in the shop I also picked up this, a Duo Terriff DC90, in keeping with my current small lure fad, if anyone has used one of these I’d be interested on your views on it!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Cornwall - 30th July 2011

I just spent a lovely weekend down in Cornwall but with great weather family duties were the order of the day although I did manage to sneak out early Saturday morning to a mark on the Lizard for a couple of hours.

I arrived just as it was getting light, clipped on my new patchinko (see below post) and chucked it out. This plug really flies for such a light lure, I was useing my ESG 3-23g rod, not the best for casting hard plastic but with a light NW behind me it went a surprisingly good distance. Second cast, and just started working the lure when the rod bent round and soon had this schooly on the beach....(sorry about these early morning photos, my camera's flash has broken, time for new camera soon I think).

Its always nice to get off the mark quickly on a session (and on a new lure) and the next cast got some interest but no firm takes. Then for some unfathomable reason, I decided to move on from the beach and onto the rocks a few hundred yards to right (lesson learnt, dont move away from the fish!!). Anyway onto the rocks and no further activity for an hour or so before I hooked into what I thought was a decent fish (on a sardine Tide Minnow) but turned out to be another schooly foul hooked in the tail, they really go when they are hooked like that! This one made a cunning escape though, I popped it into a small rock pool while I dug out the camera and comtemplated an artistic "in water" shot, when a wave surged in and flooded the pool and off he went... Then a couple of casts later lost another small fish and that was it, and too soon it was time to pack up a resume family life.

Still, as ever it was great to fish the stunning Cornish coastline and with a nice forecast this week, may try and sneak out Tuesday evening for a quick sess somewhere....

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

New shineys part II

My other lures on order turned up today, a zonk getaride in hot shad and patchinko 100 in silver lemon.

Great looking lures both of them. There are quite a lot of lures appearing in my boxes with this chartruse colour in them now, I've done pretty well on lures with this color in the past and although i've never got on with the larger patchinko I have really high hopes for this little fella!

I've also reached my self inposed limit of around 50 plugs now, I try not to keep any more than that at any one time as I feel I really should be able to cover all bases with four boxes full (in reality I could quite happily survive with around 10!), so its time to sell off a few and make some more room.

I'm looking forward to the weekend, there's a good weather forecast and I'm heading down to cornwall to see the folks so hopefully there'll be a nice catch report to file next week......

Monday, 25 July 2011

New shineys!

I have to admit to being a bit of magpie when it comes to lures (I'm not alone in this!) so each pay day sees more stuff being added! I've got a bit of a thing for smaller lures at the moment, so I'm stocking up on these and my latest purchases arrived today, from top to bottom we have:

Daiwa Saltiga Minnow - 12cm in Blue/Black/Gold
Daiwa Saltiga Minnow - 12cm in Red/Gold
IMA Komomo II in Bora

I love the Saltiga minnows in 14cm but this is the first time i've bought the smaller ones. I've no doubt however these will prove to be just as effective and hopefull cast just as well as their bigger brothers. They're really good value to at around £12 each and nice to see such a good finish on sub £20 lures.

The Komomo II is already a classic lure, these run really shallow (on the surface with the tip up) and work with a dead slow retrive so they give a few different options and add something different to an anglers armoury than most sub surface lures... I've not tried this colour before but as ever with IMA the finish looks amazing...more stuff in the post to come!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Five'fer - 23rd July 2011

Planned an early start to Dorset this morning, left the house at 2:45 and arived at my mark with light just beginning to break. I started off with a feed shallow and had fish bump it on my first three casts but no solid takes. There was quite a bit of surface activity going on though so I clipped on a "Z Claw" in  blue mackerel and chucked it out.
First cast and a couple of spashes at it before a solid take and quickly had bass number one on the rocks....15 minutes later and a repeat performance, and then a third on the next cast. It was still only just getting light now as the pic below shows

Carried on for another half an hour but by now the tide had picked up, it does this over low on this mark and for an hour either side it really belts through, and i've noticed the fish go off at this point. So I moved on 100 yards or so, where the rip is a little further out working on the theory the fish may be in slack water inside. First cast here and in again, with the best fish of the day, around 2.5lb.

By now the sun was up and with 4 fish I chilled out for half an hour, watching the gannets diving a few hundred yards off and smoking a fag or two.

Time for change now so I started with the SP's, flicking an unweighted "Do Live Stick" into the tide and letting it swing around before twitching it back. These things are amazing, they flutter as they sink slowly then really dart around with the slightest twitch. I missed a couple of hits on this before landing another fish around 1.5lbs.

With the tide starting to flood and with the sun getting higher the fish switched off and that was that for the session...not exactly a red letter day but maybe a slight shade of pink by my standards..even if the fish were on the small side.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Time & tide......

This year I've been keeping a record of every bass I catch, including the time of day, state of tide and the day of cycle within the moon phase, whilst it's early days and I hardly have extensive catch data, some early patterns are beginning to emerge....

Now if I were to ask you to picture your perfect mark, with perfect conditions and perfect tides, I'd guess there is a good chance that you'd be picturing a shallow rock mark, with a flooding tides starting to creep in and fill the gullys, with the bass following in close behind. I know that's what I'd think of.
However, for me a least the truth is starting to look a little different. The graph below shows the state of tide when I have caught all my lure caught fish.

This shows, that my bass are all coming over the HW period, and on the ebb tides down to low. I think this is statistically significant as I spend at least 50% of my time fishing the flood, so I can't just put it down to when I fish.
This is definately food for thought, and showing me the value of keeping the data I do. I know now to try something different (or somewhere different!) on the flood tides.......

A sunday afternoon quickie - 10th July 2011

Went down to Dorset yesterday eve, the plan was to fish Chesil, so I stopped off at Abbottsbury to check out the conditions and found the water full of weed, I thought this may be the case so plan B was the Portland area...45 minutes (at around 6pm) later I arrived at my chosen spot.

It was bright sunny evening with a fresh SW wind. The tide was ebbing away with LW around due around 8pm

I started off with a mackerel (1st cast I think) and then had two small bass pretty quickly, both on Feed Shallows. Over the course of the next hour I then managed to lose another three with one being half decent. This is starting to frustrate me now, over the last year I must have lost nearly 50% of fish that I have hooked, I'm really not sure if my Rod Bar is not a little too stiff and is the cause of some of this (it's obviously not bad angling!) so it's maybe time to consider something just a little softer.