Monday, 29 November 2010

29/11/10 Streatham

At the end of our last session together I vowed to Andy that we'd get him a double, so today I took him to the tidal stretch just upstream of Streatham Bridge for a three hour stint.
Things were a bit slow and my goodness it was very cold but, nearing the end of the session Andy's white and red float was attacked by a small pike as it waved in the current and shortly after as he was retrieving his sardine bait to pack up, a bigger pike decided to have a go at it......and missed.
Quickly returning the bait to the water it wasn't long before the same pike decided that she'd have another crack, and out she came- a nice fish at 10-03 and Andy first double for some time.Great when a plan comes together!

28/11/10 Washingham

I was supposed to meet Dave but, when i arrived at his house this morning I thought that ,because his blinds were still closed, he'd still be asleep. I headed for Washingham, but he was already out on the upper Greatham stretch and had a take from an upper single early on.

Unfortunately Washingham didn't produce for me in the cold weather , and I packed up Just before midday. can't win em all.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

25/11/10 Ham Corner.....Back In Action.

After the disastrous trip to the Broads(I'm still reeling in pain) it was high time to get back into the fish, and get busy on the Sussex rivers, where the pike are unlikely to have ever seen a bait, let alone been caught.,...........and the closest angler(apart from your mate) is likely to be miles away. I like that!
I had set aside this morning for a possible trip out in the boat after cod, but the winds were strengthening from the north, and acting on Rusty's advice to pick the best times ,weather wise,to venture out at this time of year,I decided to cancel and instead, head up the river after pike.
Having returned home this lunchtime, I think it was, with hindsight, a wise decision, as the sea looks decidedly lumpy a few miles out. However, Rusty's been doing extremely well lately with cod, and i'm eager to follow in his footsteps and get my first fish aboard.There has also been some bass action drifting over the Kingmere to whet my appetite but, for the moment, i'll just have to be patient, and wait for a suitable window of opportunity.
Seeing as I was due to take Andy out, I let him decide on a venue for the morning's fishing and, rather pleasingly, he chose Ham Corner.This remote stretch of the river has produced a double figure pike for me in the past, albeit from a boat,and I've been meaning to return for a couple of years. It's also the lowest point on the tideway at which I personally have taken pike .
We parked the truck up at about half seven,but rather disappointingly, the gate to the long chalk track leading close to the river was locked, and I was unable to play silly buggers with the 4WD lever.She's still a 'mud' virgin in my hands.
 Shanks' pony was the only option, and we were fishing before eight-two rods out both on trusty float legered sardine for me, and Andy fishing one rod for the pike, and a bread feeder for whatever might pop along.The water conditions couldn't be better. The colour had dropped right out after the past few days of cold, dry weather and the level was spot on. Tide was ebbing strongly and there were plenty of small fish topping-in fact the place seemed quite 'alive'.I must admit, despite the bitingly cold northerly wind, I felt quietly confident.
 We worked our way downstream from the culvert entrance, hopping the rods every half hour or so and fishing in an average of ten feet of water, a couple of rod lengths out.
Dead on slack LW at 1130, one of my floats juddered.... then a bob.... then it lay flat....stood up ... then bobbed again......a very, very gentle take indeed.I tightened up within seconds, felt  the weight of a good fish,played it deep for a few more seconds and Andy wielded the net for me with his usual skill.The whole thing was over in a minute.....and then the pike woke up!....but it was too late.
Thankfully, I'd just reacted in time, as the bottom treble was an inch or so from the stomach entrance and , although  easily removed with the 'long noses', goes to show that It pays to be 'on the ball' when it comes to bite detection .I've never yet had a deep hooked pike that i've not been able to successfully retrieve my gear from.....and I'd like to keep it that way.After the pic(looks better blown up) she went back with no trouble at all and probably sat sulking in the margins for a while before sliding back down to the depths.
13lb 12oz, fit and fat, and my first double of the season-let's hope there are a few more.
An hour or so later, Andy and me were making our way back to the truck already planning a return trip.

Monday, 22 November 2010

15-19/11/10 Back to Reality.....with a crash!

It would seem that my bubble has finally burst. I had been wondering of late when it would happen.

FIVE days solid in the boat pike fishing on the Broads at Horning. Net result............nil............................... Not a sniff! ...............................Couldn't even buy a bite, while others around me were catching !  BUGGER!. i've said before ,It's a rare occasion that i go fishing without learning something, and lesson for this trip was the effectiveness of big live baits on the Broads, and especially when they are trolled slowly. Joining Dave and me for this trip was Jon Cook and his skill at tempting esox with the above method( he took at least nine fish ) was admirable.Jon's belief in the effectiveness of a live bait was concrete...and it was interesting to discuss the issue in depth, and get an insight into the 'psyche'  of an experienced 'circuit' piker for the first time, and find out that they're perhaps not all the 'rogues' that they're perceived to be.

Sadly,and rather hypocritically,It's likely that the method's days are numbered, and that it will be banned completely in the near future.

 Unfortunately my own attempts at 'dragging' lives were pitiful, not helped by being nabbed by a narky local 'jobsworth' for breaking the rules and trolling on an electric motor, as well as being told off for speeding, and not displaying my licence(it disintegrated in the rain) by the Broads Authority.All in all things went pretty well considering.

Dave did bring one beautifully marked pike aboard, to christen the boat,on a mackerel, but, for the majority of the time,unlike in Sussex, it just felt to me like we were 'drowning' our dead baits.

The wildlife(huge otter and marsh harrier among others), beer, food and company were, as always, it wasn't all bad, although, I don't think I'll be returning in a hurry, despite Jon's success.

Friday, 12 November 2010

12/11/10 Bassquest #13 More Fun In The Surf

Andy and me were out again tonight,joined by Andy's mate Baz, grabbing another opportunity to chase spikeys.
 We'd decided to try opposite the swimming pool to see how far these fish were spread along the L.A coastline.Compared to the turmoil we experienced last night, conditions tonight were far more manageable-in fact I'd go as far as to say that the surf was near perfect-for Sussex.Evenly breaking waves with nice flat tables of water separating them-standing in the surf it was easy to imagine that we were fishing a classic Cornish or Irish strand at times.
 The tide was relatively small and most of the areas where we've been catching of late would not have been accessible.The southerly winds and low pressure had also contributed to restricting the tide range which we realised, but it still looked quite odd at low tide seeing so little of the beach exposed.
Fishing from LW up, the flood was well underway before we had any bites and the first of these came to Andy who , after a few finicky missed takes, landed one of 2 1/2 lb.I too was getting definite bites but was failing to follow through until a steady pull resulted in this one at 4lb(55cm).
We could have had half a dozen out between us had we connected with the bites, but we felt that they were probably just schoolies hitting our big squid baits. It'll be interesting to see how long this continues but, all the time this weather is kicking up a surf, it's gotta be worth having a go at them.
These past few trips out after bass have been immensely enjoyable.Just being out there in the wild surf is an experience itself but the run of luck i've had with the catches has just put the Icing on the cake.Once again I say to myself 'what a season'

Thursday, 11 November 2010

11/11/10 Extreme Bassing....Bassquest #12

We're not sure how long these bass are going to be around so, taking advantage of the rough weather, Andy and me headed to west beach, for a change, this evening for another surf bass session.Conditions were extreme with wind speeds gusting to 45mph , that's force 8, according to Windguru.It certainly felt like it and we had to stand with our backs into the wind to avoid being blown off our feet,and keep an close eye on the incoming waves.

One cast at West Beach, which we'd both agreed would be worth a shot,and we were dragged along the shore by weed.It took seconds to decide to jump back in the truck, and relocate to the east side of the river, where we might at least get a little shelter and the weed would not be such an issue.

This indeed proved to be the case but, although fishable, it was right on the limit , our rods being thrown all over the place.

However, despite the presumed difficulties in bite detection, when the take came, it was unmistakable, and unmissable- a solid thump felt through the rod.. The fish did however, decide to run towards me  quite quickly, and when I eventually caught up with it,it was virtually at my feet.A nice little specimen at 3-08 that was returned safely .The bass came right on moonset which apparently, according to Drew's theory,is a 'hot time'.The man is full of priceless little gems like this which make fishing with him extremely interesting and entertaining.I'm not quite so scientific in my approach and feel that the little bass, rather than gazing up at the fading moon and thinking it must be teatime, just happened upon my juicy squid and fancied a munch.

Unfortunately that was the only bite of the session, but I feel we did well not to blank. We left the beach feeling rather exhilarated, if not a little exhausted, by our little adventure, both agreeing that it would've been quite dicey to attempt it alone, and both looking forward to getting home to a nice hot cuppa.

Monday, 8 November 2010

8/11/10 Bassquest #11 - My First Double

 I was disappointed not to have been with my mate Andy last week to photograph his double figure bass for him, having not, at that point in time, caught or even seen one myself............
Yesterday morning we experienced the heaviest storm of the winter so far which was accompanied by some seriously spectacular seas around HW .I'd been out cruising along the sea front in the 'firm's car' using the company's time wisely,by checking out the conditions, when It dawned on me that, with all this bass food being stirred up, I should phone Drew and arrange a session at L.W for tonight. It turned out that he'd been thinking the same. Great minds...........
The wind had steadily tailed off throughout the afternoon but, when I arrived home from work in the evening,I could still hear a decent surf rolling in at the back of the house, though of course,in the darkness, I couldn't see it.I picked Andy up at about 6-30p.m, we headed out west, and were in place by about 7-00.Today's L.W was at 1816.Conditions were just perfect.The wind had dropped to a mere 'breath' but, there was indeed still enough movement in the water, and the sea and air temperatures felt warm enough to Instill confidence.
My chosen rig was a whole squid on a 6/0-4/0 pennel(I don't take prisoners) on a running paternoster, and Andy had a mackerel strip on a 3/0(a more delicate approach) for the first chuck, but was to switch to squid for the remainder of the fishing.
Within minutes of starting, and both on our first casts, Andy signalled that he'd had a bite.....and was in......Just seconds after, I had a strong thump and I was In too.......... and..........., it felt like a good fish.Two good bass on at the same time.....this would be fun!
Our baits had been quite close together, the idea being to concentrate a scent in the water(teamwork), and it soon became apparent that Andy's fish had kited over my line(the cheek of it !).Things did get a bit confused at this point as it seemed, in a bit of a 'comedy' moment, that we were possibly fighting the same fish.My line was still out, but looped round Andy's, and as he'd played his fish in to our feet,and could see that it was a good'n, we both decided to start the 150yd 'wade' back to shore together, without untangling my line first, as we didn't want to lose Andy's fish.
As we moved back a few yards the weight on my line still seemed heavy. I thought that perhaps I was just dragging weed or the lead was snagging...but I wasn't entirely sure.I suggested to Andy that we free my line and, as soon as we'd done so, I was back into fighting my fish...I've made worse decisions.
The bass came in relatively easily, though feeling quite heavy on the light estuary rod, and as she appeared out of the darkness, we could both see she was something special.......'You've got a double there mate'.... P.P exclaimed.
Finally reaching 'dry' land ,we laid both bass down together on the sand and, as you can see , it was a splendid sight.What a brace. Quickly weighing and individually photographing each fish, we were both keen to get them back unharmed, and this indeed was successfully achieved. I must have followed mine out for 75yds or so to see it safely back.
P.P had forgotten his beloved tape measure, but luckily, I'd remembered to pack my scales.Andy's fish weighed 7-04 and mine 10-10, both fantastic fish, my first ever double figure bass and 'catch of the year' without a doubt.I was over the moon.
Second cast produced another lesser bass for me at 3-12 and my third cast gave me a dropped fish, both takes being preceded by the slightest of knocks.As the tide flooded,and the depth increased, we both felt that the surf conditions were deteriorating but, there were still fish feeding and Andy concluded the session, and balanced the numbers, with another nice bass of 4-12 taken home for a well deserved meal.
We did have an additional 'comedy' moment during the sesh' when Andy's hands had become too cold to delicately thread a frozen squid on to his fine wire 3/0.Gallantly, I offered my assistance, only to remember that my eyesight at closer than a yard, is total pants-hence the reason for my use of giant viking hooks.
I doubt whether we had half a dozen casts each, and were fishing for just a couple of hours, but it was a truly memorable session and one of many that Andy and me have had this year.What with last month's success on lures....Lady Luck has definitely been on my side this season.

Friday, 5 November 2010

5/11/10 Rustington Surf

Back out again this afternoon for another crack at bass, but this time fishing the beach at the back of the house.Conditions were similar to yesterday, although the wind was a little lighter . We started by scouting the area at LW to select likely looking spots and began fishing directly on to rough ground, using the same tactics and bait .

After a while a drop back signified some action to my rod but, it turned out to be a dogfish, quickly followed by a similar fish to Andy's rod, so we decided to move along the beach.Some more dogfish 'action' ensued but unfortunately no bass showed, although we did identify some sand bars that will be targeted on future tides if there is surf about.

The big question is; Are the bass more concentrated near the river? Who knows.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

4/11/10 Bassquest #9 L.A Surf

The surf conditions have been very favourable of late and P.P's been getting quite a few decent bass out culminating in a superb 77cm P.B specimen in the early hours of this morning.With the time and effort he puts in to his fishing, he really does deserve a fish of this calibre, and I personally am chuffed to bits for the man.Andy, when you read this-big well done mate!
 What I'm also very excited about,as results this season have confirmed, is the fact that bass of this stamp can be caught from our local venues, given the appropriate conditions, and although it's fun to travel 'out east' to try for bass, it's not strictly necessary.
Having been unable to join in on the fest over the past few days, I finally hooked up with Andy today for a low tide session just east of the river mouth for a couple of hours.The southerly was blowing quite hard (F5-6), whipping up a nice surf, and the temperature, despite the wind chill factor, was still reasonably high for the time of year.
Whole squid on a 6/0 -4/0 pennel were my tactics wading probably 100 plus yards out into the sea and chucking out a further 30yds into the strong headwind.
 I love this sort of fishing for it's sheer simplicity.Just a light rod and reel (AFAW 11ft estuary rod and a 6501), chest waders and a small shoulder bag with bait, scales and a few bits of spare end gear is all you need to carry. Anything else just becomes a hindrance.
Our first casts were into what looked like a slight depression adjacent to a sandbank and after about ten minutes i had the first bite- a solid unmissable thump, which even Andy noticed,was easily struck home and a very strong battle ensued.So unusually fierce was the fight that we both thought that it would turn out to be a very big fish,but instead a modest sized bass came in through the waves and although fairly hooked in the mouth by the pennel hook, the bottom hook had snagged a gill plate which may account for the tussle.
After walking her in to 'dry' land for the 'weights and measures' (4-08- 58cm) and trophy shot ,she went back in none the worse for her ordeal, and we made our way out again for Andy to get his turn.
It didn't take long, a couple of casts later and this time a more subtle bite ended in my mate beaching a 50cm fish to balance the session out nicely.
We had a few more casts as the big tide progressed up the beach, but the light was fading fast , and we were both a bit 'winded' by the 'wild' weather, so we called a halt to yet another success for the 'team'.
When the conditions are right, we could be in with a chance of a few more fish like this before the end of the year.Only time will tell.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

1/11/10 Fishing's Fickle Fortunes.

I'll make this entry short and sweet because I'm still reeling in pain over it's outcome.LOL

Rusty took me out in the 'Sea Fairy' today to one of his favourite marks and despite the skipper having a spectacular session with three superb cod to 12lb, plus a variety of rays, bream, gurnard, dogs and small hounds, my only contributuion to the days catch, apart from being brilliant with the net and camera, was a solitary dogfish and two small bream.I can't quite seem to get the hang of this boat fishing lark.Sometimes, that's the way it goes...................................Bugger!