Monday, 30 August 2010

30/8/10 A Gleaming Bar of Silver.

Many people regard bass as the most handsome of fish.I'll admit,they are indeed pretty spectacular looking,but Thick Lipped mullet can be equally stunning,especially when their flanks are reflecting strong sun light.Just look at this scale perfect beauty from the Arun.

I needed to get back on the fish.Following the last few 'experimental' sessions targetting bass etc it was time I to do some 'proper' fishing,and this morning provided me with the opportunity.After finishing work I just had enough time to fish the end of the ebb,but had to venture upstream to the lower flats to do so.Bright skies and a cold northerly wind combined with  heavily coloured water, due to the recent rain finally affecting the lower reaches of the river.

I wasn't too concerned.Plenty of fish were showing,as usual,on the walk down.I started at the top of the lower reach and although it was a bit slow at first,and the local swan population were descending in numbers on MY chosen spot,a bite ensued, and the result was this gleaming 4-00 in stunning condition.Great to feel the power of a mullet again-it seems like ages but it's actually only twelve days.

No further action ,or signs of fish were forthcoming so,after a quick glance at the lower sluice,which appeared 'dead', I moved up to the 'drop off' before the rising water level could cut me off.On dead slack,I had the second bite of the session and another fish came to the net at 2-14.The fight provided some entertainment for some onlookers on the opposite bank,though I'm convinced that they were confused by my careful weighing and return of the fish to the river.

So,that was that. Roughly 2 hours fishing,2 bites and 2 fish,Great.

This takes my season's tally so far to 26 , which is an improvement on the last three seasons, and past the half way mark to my target of 50 mullet for this season.I've only ever exceeded this total once,with 63 fish in 2006.Realistically,i've got two months to go, however,i'm away to France in mid September,so it could be a close run thing.The numbers game Is just a personal thing that I play, probably because I seem unable to actually catch mullet of specimen size .My p.b Arun fish is 6-00, and a 5-00 is,for me , an 'event',though I do know of four more six plussers that have been caught over the years-the biggest at 7-00.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

27/8/10 Going for gold(ies).

I returned to L.A east beach this evening, with Andy, for a couple of hours and this time with maddies.Far fewer goldies than last night were showing,  as we waded out into the shallow ,calm water until we were about knee depth.We cast our light float tackle around until darkness made fishing nigh on impossible and had no action at all until last knockings when ,unable to actually see my float,i felt my line momentarily tighten and then wound in to find my line had parted just above the hook.I suspect that the line had been damaged earlier by crabs,but feel sure that the take was from a G.G and in literally six inches of water.Another painful blank.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

26/8/10 Bassquest #3 Wrong bait.

Tried again at L.A east beach this evening-another low water session.Unfortunately the surf had pretty much blown out and we had no takes on our big squid baits however,if we'd had maddies,it may have been a different story.There were loads of golden grey mullet moving about in the calm shallows sometimes' betweeen us,and the shoreline.Very frustrating indeed.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

24/8/10 Bassquest #2 L.A east beach

The wind was 'a howlin' and despite my Initial reluctance, Andy persuaded me to try a low water evening surf session on the East beach adjacent to the river mouth to try and progress 'bassquest'.Again,it's something I'd been meaning to do for a long time,but never got around to,and even if the trip hadn't produced,just being out there in the wild conditions was fun.
I tackled up with the 11ft estuary rod,6501 and a 4/0 pennel baited with a whole squid in a Dvice.We waded out some distance before gently lobbing the baits no more than 50yds into the surf ,moving back with the making tide and holding the rod to feel for bites.My thigh waders were nowhere near good enough and I soon had a wet patch in the nether region.
2nd or 3rd cast I had, what I thought, was a bite and then a slackliner but, I missed it anyway.Next cast, a more positive nod,a weighty pull down and I was In.It came in quite easily,just a few head shakes and a bit of kiting, but looked very handsome in the water as I led it the 100yds or so inshore to dry land,all the time feeling a little nervous that it would slip the hook.
Andy measured it at 55cm with a 30cm girth so we settled on 4-08- a modest fish by most standards but my second biggest caught by design(the biggest at 4-12 and caught on a spinner in the river in 2000)and I was chuffed to bits, as was Andy.
Fine looking fish bass- I can understand why some are so passionate about them.After the pic I released her in the shallows and followed her out for about 50yds into the sea which was a thrill in itself.
I had one more tentative bite(struck too early) which left the squid a bit tatty and that was it.We'd been fishing for just over a couple of hours and stopped as darkness fell, and the tide was approaching the bottom of the shingle bank.
A few thing of note;  I do need to learn to delay the strike a bit and even give a bit of slack line as recommended by the late ,great J.D. The Dvice is unnecessary in these conditions,especially when using squid.Andy actually had a non-release on one cast.3-4oz breakaway would be fine maybe with a clipped running paternoster rig to cut through the wind.In the future,I'll probably measure bass rather than try to weigh them,particularly in surf conditions,and finally ,most fish of this size and over, are GIRLS.
So, a bit of success on the bass front and a good start to the campaign.Must do more of this.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

20/8/10 Bassquest #1 Arun

I've had a long standing ambition to catch a decent bass from the Arun and preferably from my boat.Tales of BIG Arun bass have been around for ages.The Arundel crew get a fair few on livebait and prawn methods and Tony Lee in his article in 'B.A.S.S on bass' did very well some years back using big squid and mackerel baits in the lower river.

Smaller fish tend to be caught quite regularly on lure methods,with the occasional good fish on shads, but that's not really my bag so I'll be mostly concentrating on big bait methods aiming for the bigger fish.

I don't expect instant results .It's going to be a challenge and take some time and effort with a lot of luck thrown in,but I'm sure with patience,eventually It'll pay off.

I'd promised Andy a trip out in the boat for ages so after I'd finished work we set off from the slipway at about 7 p.m with the intent of fishing around the top of the tide which was nice and small at 4.5m H.W 2240.

.I wanted to show Andy how the boat handled ,and also the huge holes under the various bridges on the fish finder so we motored up to Ford.Our big squid,sardine and mackerel baits were hammered by eels from the off, and eventually i did hook one at about a pound and a half on my 4/0 pennel.

As the tide was beginning to get slack we relocated downstream,under the A259 bridge anchoring next to one of the buttresses, and casting our baits into the deep mid river depression but, only eel and crabs made themselves present.Finally we tried under the red bridge in mid channel,with Andy chucking around a surface lure but,again no luck,so we pulled off the river at about mid night.

 Despite really enjoying ourselves out in the boat in the eerie darkness for the first time,on this occasion we had no bass  but, we learned an awful lot.Smaller tides are going to be essential so we can anchor up close enough to those holes and have a reasonable time to fish.The crabs and eels are going to be a constant issue but it may work in our favour by creating a ground bait effect.T.L felt this to be quite important although it does consume a lot of bait.I'm going to work on a sunken float pat rig for next time as maybe this will help keep the bait out of their reach.Andy reckons he can score some live smelt so perhaps this could also give us an advantage but we'll see. If a five plus comes aboard this season,I'll be happy man.


Wednesday, 18 August 2010

18/8/10 A fish hard won.

Bit of a last minute trip this as I'd intended to do a recce boat trip on the Adur as the tide times were favourable but.........I'd been called in to work to do an extra shift last night and that scuppered plans of an early enough start.The Adur will have to wait for the time being.

Instead,as the boat was ready anyway, I quickly made the decision to launch on the Arun before the tide dropped off too much, and chose to head up to 'carp straight' and give it some serious time.The weather on the way up was fine and clear and there were plenty of fish showing in the road bridge area,but i chose to ignore these and press on upstream.Perhaps a costly mistake, but this was a trip for experimenting,and not necessarily selecting the easy option.

The straight produced a couple of missed bites,and so did 'barnard's bend' but the wind was starting to hamper my fishing and I finally sought out calm water alongside the lower mud flats.This is an area i could have easily bank fished,and it did feel slightly odd being moored ten ft out in the river and trotting along such a familiar stretch of bankside. Eventually, I scored here,with a stubborn 3-00,and experienced a great sense of relief NOT to have blanked.Hard won fish that one.

Had a cursory look at a couple of other marks,and some half hearted attempts at fishing them, but the wind got the better of me and I gave in around mid afternoon a little frustrated.

I'm actually beginning to think that surface wind disturbance puts the mullet down in the water.It certainly makes them very difficult to locate.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

17/8/10 Bad Day At Burton Mill

Well not so much a bad day as an unproductive one.No such thing as a bad day's fishing!Once again B.M proves that it's fish do not give up easily whatever the weather conditions.

Today looked on paper,to be perfect for tench.Classic overcast skies and a bit muggy.Ed and myself arrived at around 6-00a.m just as it was getting light and took a punt out into the middle of the lake fishing two different spots. The only action was a lost tench each.

We packed up at around lunchtime having had a pleasent session punctuated by fish swimming through our swim,but not stopping to snack.To rub salt in our wounds,at the end of the morning we checked back on our first swim, where we'd left a carpet of untouched ground bait,and the crafty blighters had snaffed the lot in our absence.

Monday, 16 August 2010

15/8/10 Blown away

It probably wasn't the best day to take the boat on the river but Dave has been busy arresting 'nasty people',and wanted to get out fishing,and I was pretty sure I could put us on to some mullet despite the tide being huge,and Inconveniently timed.

We had to start quite late (9a.m) as I'd just finished a night shift.The tide was still ebbing hard and rather than fight our way upstream,and waste time, I opted first to try the lower reaches opposite the slipway and just below the Arun yacht club.The previous morning,I'd stopped for a gander on the east works, and spied several mullet moving about along the stretch close to the moored boats which sealed the deal to try there.It's actually against the harbour rules to anchor up and fish in this area but ,being low tide,the river was completely devoid of traffic,and I didn't think the new (more sensible) harbour master would bother too much anyway.

We anchored up at the foot of the ferry jetty in inches of water and,as soon as the mash swirled its way down stream the fish showed themselves.On my first trot down I had one follow my bait as I slowly reeled it back....and then....literally on the next trot down, the float sank and I was in.I deliberately kept the fish deep to avoid to much disturbance, and guided it upstream of the boat,on the river side, before surfacing it ,so it swept into Dave's waiting net.It played out like clockwork-nifty bit of net handling on Dave's part.I couldn't have done it solo.Good pot bellied fish at 4-12 and although barely noticeable in the picture,covered in pale yellow markings.We'd not even been out for ten minutes.

The initial success was however, short lived.We were literally battered by the strong northerly wind for the remainder of the day and, although we stuck it out,and tried several marks on the flood tide all the way up to the flats,that was the only take .I was bitterly disappointed for Dave.


Wednesday, 11 August 2010

10/8/10 Not quite so good.

I've had a run of good luck recently but,nothing lasts forever,and my last three outings have been,to say the least,a bit 'naff'.Two evening sessions out back after smoothounds produced one tiny schoolie,although a couple of pups were caught by Andy and Lib who were fishing with me.

This evening after work i decided to have a quick session for 2 hours on the A 259 west bank after mullet.It was nearing the bottom of a very big tide-not ideal .A few fish were showing and I did bump one off in a back eddy a few yards upstream of the bridge,but that was it.I'd missed my chance.At least I'd had some action.As darkness fell,everything seemed to go 'dead'.Can't win 'em all I suppose.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

5/8/10 Arun Afloat and an Unexpected Visitor

Dave was meant to join me for today's boat trip on the Arun but unfortunately his leave was cancelled, so it was left for me to go solo.I can't actually ever remember doing a solo boat trip on the Arun before.
I set off at HW 0700 and first stop was at the top of the Ford straight on the west bank.VERY few fish were showing in the clear water which didn't give me a lot to aim for, in fact, I can't remember why I selected the first port of call.Things were slow at first but,after sometime a whelm appeared,followed by a bite, and the first fish at 2-14 was boated.A similar sized fish threw the hook  in the same swim so a move was in order. An hour later ,the east bank in the same general area produced a 3-03.Things were going  well.
I then decided to attempt to get up to the Windmill straight above the mud flats where I'm always seeing fish whilst walking the banks .By now the ebb was in full flow,and reluctant to waste too much time struggling against the tide,  I abandoned my idea after noticing a nice calm stretch, with an ideal pace for trotting, a few hundred yards before the mud flats.A couple of possible bites ensued,then a slow drag under and I was hooked into a good sized mullet.The fish took a while to subdue and I was relieved to boat my best of the season so far at 5-00 on the nose-very satisfying fish indeed.
A couple of casts later, and something very odd happened.The float buried itself and I hit into something very solid.At first it felt like another strong mullet but then,surfacing In the centre of the river,I spied a golden fin.It seemed to take a very long time indeed to coerce the fish close enough to the boat to have a peep,especially on the light float rod,but eventually she appeared-a beautiful common carp of around 12lb -a rarity indeed this close to the sea.
Sadly I never boated her.I managed to play her alongside the hull,then fluffed up with the landing net, and she broke off just above the hook.Thankfully I got a real eyeful- a cracking looking clean fish.Usually coarse fish in the lower tidal are a bit 'tatty'.Slightly disappointed not to get a picture but,If it HAD been a mullet I would have felt a lot worse.
I finished with my fourth mullet of the session, a 2-08, at the top of the A259 straight on the west bank at LW slack, and then called it a day,arriving back at the slip at 3-00 p.m.Some very exciting fishing, and certainly one of my better mullet days in the boat.Launching and recovering solo was a breeze,helped no doubt,by the convenience of being able to park the van right next to the 'Look and See'.
Unusually for this time of year,there was little boat traffic on the river.However there were a couple of guys trolling for,and catching bass between Ford and the A259 at slack low.Something to bear in mind.

Monday, 2 August 2010

2/8/10 L.A boating

I've had some pretty Impressive boat trips this year aboard my mate Rusty's Orkney 'The Sea Fairy' moored at Littlehampton marina.I'm very much a tyro, when it comes to inshore boat angling but, I'm eager to learn the ropes and perhaps, one day,I'll run my own open sea boat.There's certainly more to it than first meets the eye.
A Bit of an experimental trip this one,spending an afternoon trying to catch bass,our nemesis, from the Kingmere on drifted live mackerel .At first it seemed that the mackerel would oblige as I'd had two on my first drop down but,after that things became a little more difficult.Eventually we had a few bait and began our drifts over the mark but to no avail-not a sniff.I did pick up a small pollack,and a scad(my first) on the feathers but that was that and we moved over to Russell's favourite Ray mark for some general bottom fishing.Unfortunately,I couldn't buy a fish over here,but Russ caught a hound on a peeler, and a fair sized undulate ray on a mackerel flapper.The wind kicked up in the early evening and we called it a day with me rather annoyingly, feeling slightly seasick.You can't win 'em all.
The picture is of Phil's similar Orkney running out to the Kingmere with us.Check out that sea/sky scape.Pretty spectacular stuff.