Sunday, 30 October 2011

30/10/11 Ole' Snaggletooth....The Return.

After a couple of false starts, the Arun pike season got well and truly under way today. Dave joined me on P #1 for a 7-30am start at the bottom end. We found the river at half ebb and, despite the recent rain and the poor conditions downstream, it was in good health showing ideal colour. The mild, low pressure conditions led me to leave my coarse baits at home reserved for harder times, and I decided to go with sardines.
In stark contrast to last week's trip, the river seemed alive throughout the session with plenty of bream topping and, not uncommon for this time of year, endless eel  activity on the baits.
My first pike(of the season), a lively fish of 15-08 came minutes after plonking my bait within inches of a sunken tree 'banker' and before Dave had even finished setting up his rods.

 My second, at the top of the stretch and after a couple of hours, a long, lean, tail walking single, and I think from memory, the first pike that I've ever caught that performed these aerobatics .
Both pike were boldly marked by Arun standards almost certainly because of the generally clear water conditions experienced over the spring and summer period. Undoubtedly, the pike will lose their markings as the season progresses and adopt that electric blue hue so commonly seen on our fish.
We rod hopped for 200yds until the light began to fade, and the flood, on still quite a big tide, made effective fishing impossible, but had no more action. A good start to what I'm sure will prove a challenging season as usual .

Saturday, 29 October 2011

28/10/11 Another Fine Bass.....But No Cod!

HW 1250 6.4m  1030-1430hrs  BT36
On the 24th I made another attempt to winkle a bass from some ideal surf at the secret mark but to no avail. In fact, I found it a little uncomfortable standing in the sea for two biteless hours. Simon has fared similarly, although he did spook some bass whilst wading in the shallows on west beach. They're proving difficult this year although a few are being caught locally including a recently reported 'seven' from Felpham .
  On the 27th I had a short pike session behind Dave's and again, with no success at all. I didn't feel too bad however, as fishing the same bank was my old mate Martin Ayres ,one of the first Arun pikers that I'd met in 2005 on the Watersfield stretch, and indeed possibly the only regular piking face I've ever seen on the river.
Martin has 'defected' over to P.A.S waters possibly due to P&B losing the Hardham stretch and with it, 'the jungle'- Martin's favourite beat and the scene of a few of my own successes. It's unlikely to be available in the near future as the farmer is adamant that, following the completion of the reservoir, he doesn't want people on his land.
  It was interesting to compare our results with pike on the river( I would imagine we both put in a similar amount of effort) and to discover that he finds it just a difficult as I do. He'd blanked that morning as well.
  And so to today's little outing. I'd contacted Neil with a question about the likelihood of the conditions being favourable for reef bass due to colour in the water after recent rough weather. Here's his fascinating reply;
  'I reckon the water will be dirty, it pushes the Bass inshore, they feed heavily on ragworm, which are in their spawning cycle now, the ragworm come out of the sand at night in the dirty water, the drift nets < twin sisters>and <voyager> hit them hard but they have to get the fish to market quickly as they are stuffed with ragworm and spoil quickly, the price drops dramatically very quickly as the market gets flooded with fish, I spoke to Paul on voyager   yesterday and he has already started netting with some success , our turn comes as the water clears, and the fish move back to the rock,where they concentrate on spratt, which is why i favour the fladen 60 gm stingers, as they are a good representation. Cod are now showing heavily in the nets, especially around the weather station, but i personally haven't caught any there despite several attempts, ive had about a dozen Cod now to 15 lbs, all on squid baits, ive had them at the fishtail, west ditch, kingmere, Black ledge, and the dutchess, so well spread out,,,, hope to see u out there over the weekend weather permitting, let me know how you get on, all the best.'
   Being in between night shifts and taking advantage of the one day window in the weather, I decided to head straight for #28 and fish squid baits at anchor until about 2-30p.m.The water wasn't actually that coloured but boats on the radio reported a barren Kingmere, so it was the correct decision.
  Bites came from the off with an endless stream of pout and dogs as the massive 6.4 m tide flooded. The boat turned quickly at slack, but the 'nuisance' species seem to shut off as the ebb picked up and I hoped that my squid baits would be left alone for something bigger to find.It didn't take long for a screaming run to materialise on the light outfit(yes i can now hear the Avet's clicker)and up came this cracking bass(yet another 6 1/2 pounder) which shouldn't have really been there..........or should it?
  A few more dogs and pout showed and then the big baits were getting mullered by 'snappers' so, on with a small hook, and up came a nice bream to take home for tomorrow's tea. Eventually the strength of the tide and huge clumps of weed, proved to be too much so it was time to call it. 
A couple of cod did come up to boats in the area-Russ who'd anchored a few yards uptide on #23 got a 15lb fish for his boat partner, Alan(Walrus) on #2 reported a 'Greenback' (cod) and I think two clonkers also came up on #2 also, but I can't confirm it.
  So, I didn't get a cod but know roughly their whereabouts but was i disappointed with the day's fishing?........................ I don't think so.
Back at the marina and mullet are still in evidence, and in numbers. The water is very murky due to both upstream rain(it's running like tea at Arundel)and rough seas, but the temperature hasn't dropped yet this year. In the past we always thought they left the river with the first of the heavy autumn rain and It's been a real rarity to catch a November fish but, how much of that is because we've been unable to see them? I'll keep a close eye out for them in the coming weeks.
   How did the new kit check out? 
I 've used the Avets a few times now and despite it being quite difficult to be objective about something that you just spent a few hundred quid on, I really cannot fault them. Quite simply, they are both superb, and even the clicker on the Sx has improved volume wise, since I removed some of the grease from the mechanism. 
The Kenzaki 12/20 was my light outfit today and whilst it is a very good rod, and I can see why it's so highly regarded, I still think the Sk is a better tool for various reasons. What i will try Is rigging the Daiwa with mono and using it as an uptide outfit as a full-on uptide rod is far too cumbersome in the confines of my small cockpit. 

Friday, 21 October 2011

21/10/11 First outing After Pike.

Not good news i'm afraid. Initially I'd intended to go out again in the boat but this time after plaice. I've got some marks to try fairly close to the port and the winds did look marginal when i looked at Windguru last night. This morning, they'd increased slightly with gusts of 15mph forecast for the 'shut out' so those marks will have to wait for the next set of tiddler tides.
Instead i headed up to Pulborough #1 in search of pike and failed...................miserably. Not one take in six hours despite good river conditions. Never mind. There are five months of the season still left.
 On the 'tackle tart' front, the first of the Kenzakis has arrived(the 12/20) and initial impressions are mixed. The reel's set much higher than on the Soniks which makes the rod 'feel' lighter and will be better for casting but may not be so comfortable when playing a decent fish, especially when seated. A critism raised in a review of the rods.
It's certainly very convenient having two equal sections and storing the rod fully made up, and tucked under the cuddy will be useful but, after rigging the Kenzaki ,I found it softer and less powerful than the Sks which have a sweet tippy action with more power under load. The Soniks have a slimmer, more modern feel but I'll know more when I fish them both alongside each other. I'm sure the Kenzakis will make a suitable second set of rods which is what I'm after.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

20/10/11 More Bass.....and A Full Landing Net.

There was quite a heavy frost on the pontoons this morning when I arrived at the boat about 8-00a.m. The intention was to try again for bass and after a brief chat with Clive, who gave me a great tip to 'stick a bend in the lure', I headed out to #31 on a pretty calm sea.
  The small tide meant that other boats were trying for different species(Clive was after plaice) and I had the mark to myself which didn't initially fill me with confidence. Beginning my drifts in the middle of the reef I soon had a small bass on board which was enough confirmation for me to stay and give it a good go. They weren't easy to find(more on the southern edge which appears to be more rocky) but I managed to catch four, plus a bonus mackerel and garfish, the best being pictured above, pushing five, complete with the newly white painted, and bent, Norden.
  The standard lures don't last longer than one session before the paint drops off leaving them a dull grey colour and useless.I decided to dip my duff lures in white gloss, and spray some new lures with acrylic lacquer-both of which seem to make the lures more durable.
Interestingly the sounder regularly showed what I think, are the bait fish-in this case sprats. I'll have to confirm this with Neil or Alex which is why I've included the picture of the screen.
Towards the back end of the flood the fishing slowed considerably and I fancied a change of scene so moved the boat and anchored at #13.I'm really not sure of the bottom make up here but, for the second time I've lost anchorage using the grapnel so perhaps the ground is cleaner than I suspect and the mark is not quite so close to the reef edge as i had originally suspected. Eventually she held and i had instant action with nice bream, the Inevitable dogfish and this male undulate ray which filled my net completely. I'm sure it was the biggest undulate, dimensionally, that I've caught so far but, it was also very thin indeed(time of year perhaps?) and surprisingly it only weighed in at 12lb. Nevertheless, it was a fine fish to catch on the light outfit and ended another successful day afloat.
  I was doubly pleased with the bass as Clive had mentioned that I'd done well to find them on such a short tide but it did take no end of patience to track them down, and even then, they were solitary fish. It looks as though they haven't really arrived yet on the reefs in any significant numbers so it will be interesting to see what happens on the next few trips out.


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

18/10/11 Justice Is Served.

After yesterday's tribulations(just kidding-you know I enjoyed myself really) it was time to seek revenge, square up with the mullet gods, and redress the balance.
Confident of success, I was already writing this blog entry, in my head, on the drive to west bank. Low tide again, nice murky water and , on a day when I noticed the first hint of winter's 'nip' in the air, a nice bit of bright sunshine to warm their backs and get them into snacking mood. Perfect conditions to do battle.
I didn't have to walk more than a hundred yards to find the first group of mullet although, there were noticeably less fish showing in the river than yesterday possibly due to the drop in temperature. Slight alteration of tactics today in order to combat the finicky bites of the day before.-a change of float to and old favourite quill avon of my own concoction with a thin tip and shotted to almost neutral buoyancy. This ploy would make a huge difference.
Tide was still just running off when i took my first cast and it was literally a bite a trot from the off. Still a little tentative in nature but at least this time around, the float, with less resistance, was submerging properly and the mullet were hanging on to the bait just a fraction longer....long enough to soon connect and successfully land a fish of about 2 1/2lb . Job done.
Roger just happened to be standing behind me exercising his mutts, as I landed the fish and was glad to take a snap for me.Pity I couldn't have held on to the fish properly but it decided to continue its fight on the bank.
I could have packed up there and then but decided to hang on for another, but in a different swim-in fact the scene of yesterday's lost fish. Again, once the ground bait had gone in it didn't take long for the first tentative nibbles which eventually turned into a hit and another slightly smaller mullet of about 2lb. No.2
I decided to remain in the same swim and try for the hat-trick, as the last capture hadn't caused too much commotion, and it wasn't long before mullet no.3 was in the net- a slightly larger fish of 3lb and probably, i thought, the end for that swim.
By now the flood had set in but, being a moderate 5.1 m tide, which I prefer, the push of water wasn't too violent. Leisurely strolling back downstream, half intending to call it a day, I caught a glimpse of a flash and decided to give it a try. Mullet no.4 was a better fish again, in the 3-4lb bracket and concluded one of my best sessions of the season all in the space of two hours fishing. Not quite the stamp of fish I tangled with yesterday but very satifying fishing and,compensation enough for the torment they put me through. Justice was done. Harmony restored.
In fact I've decided that it will probably be my last mullet session this year as my thoughts are now turning to other ,predatory species in both fresh and salt water, when the weather's too rough for the boat. It's always a good thing to end a season on a high note, and I've no doubt we'll get together again in the spring.
Changing tack slightly and some news for all budding tackle tarts-Avet No.2 has turned up from 'Longfintuna' in New Jersey.Don't you just love the Americans! Slightly bigger version this time(still pretty tiny) but just as sexy as her silver sister and already set up on the heavy outfit for a possible cod. Watch this space.

Monday, 17 October 2011

17/10/11 Arghhhhhhhhhhh!!! Two Lost Mullet!

Pure frustration this one and, it goes to show what a fine line there is between success and failure when targeting mullet. I fancied getting just one more before the end , which is nigh. West bank was the choice of venue-the tide was slack low , the water nicely coloured and there were plenty of mullet showing if you looked carefully. I didn't have a lot of time and just wanted to catch one fish, and then I'd pack up and get on with my work.
Mash in the swim, and literally first cast, I had a very delicate bite in the still water conditions. These finicky bites continued constantly and I just could not hit the buggers. I've seen this so many times before. They've got time to play with the bait and for no reason that's exactly what they do. You'd be forgiven for thinking that they were small fish but I knew otherwise and this would soon prove to be the case.
Eventually I took a gamble on a bite where the float was just gently gliding along the surface and , thank goodness, finally connected. A very powerful fight from, what looked like when it surfaced, a really good fish..............and then it was gone. Slipped the bloody hook. I was shattered but there was worse to come.
Ten minutes later, and still in the same swim, I connected again with another really powerful fish which tore off 30-40yds up river before I could even slow it down.......and all went slack.
I could have cried, and indeed would have if I hadn't just smiled knowingly to myself and considered how many times this has happened to me with these fish in the past, especially at this time of year.
I don't like to estimate the size of lost fish as invariably they are bigger than those landed, but let's just say that they're likely to have been a half decent size. Arghhhhhhhhhhh!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

16/10/11 A Fine Day Out #31

6 1/2 lb bass.

With weather conditions looking even more favourable for today, I simply had to take advantage and get another trip out.Yesterday Neil and others were doing well on #12 with bream, so I decided to start the day with some fishing at anchor In my own little space on the 'edge'.Squid for bait and the bites kicked off straight away with some decent  bream, undulate and spotted ray and a smoothound along with the inevitable doggie. Quality fishing with a bite on every drop.
As the tide went slack, and with a good catch already ,under my belt, I changed tactics and motored over to the east side where, following up on a tip from Alex,I drifted the boat,spinning with a pinky white, heavily weighted shad that Dave had donated to my meagre lure collection a couple of years back. Yesterday's big bass follow was the inspiration but it was a method that was suited only to the slack water period.It took a bit of time and a few drifts but eventually my lure was hit and this lovely bass of 6 1/2lb(returned of course) was the result...and what a result. I was over the moon to get a bass like this on a 'new' trick.Sadly the lure got snagged on a subsequent cast and was lost.
  Once the ebb had settled in , I changed to 'Norden' tactics roughly drifting the mid section of the reef.A couple of colourful wrasse showed ,but I couldn't find any more bass which was a disappointment after yesterday. With an hour or so to go Neil , who had spent most of the day on the bream on the west end, showed up with his crew to show me the way.His drift was on the southern edge and that proved to be the winning line. On heading for home he let me know of the six fish that he'd had which was invaluable information and noted for the future.

14/10/11 Abort!

Took a bit of a gamble on the winds today in my enthusiasm to get out in the boat. Managed to get about half a mile outside the harbour entrance heading out into a rather uncomfortable easterly,and decided that , at my age, I should be more sensible, so turned back with my tail between my legs.On the way out I stopped for a chat with Ted , who was cleaning 'Wicken Lady'. On the way back there was a knowing look on his face.

Instead I chose to get a quick lure session in up at the Ford bend.Missed a follow, and a definite take from bass , both on shads but that was all. Roger was also up there occupying the lower sluice and managed two small schoolies on popper and shad.Also passing by was Barrie out for a stroll.Nice little gathering of regulars we've got going up there.Barrie reported having a good fish the day before, but still reckoned it was a struggle.Taking account of my lure fishing results on the river this year, I'm inclined to agree.

15/10/11 Bassing With Alex #31

A Cracking day out with Alex aboard his very fine Day Angler 'Samax' hunting bass on #31 with lures.
They weren't easy to locate but we had some grand sport with Alex taking the best of the day which was 'ghosted' by a couple of accomplices to the surface., Nuisance pout , wrasse and a squid which took a fancy to Alex's Norden, also made an appearance
On one occasion a very large bass followed Alex's lure to the the surface only to shy away at the last moment-an event that would have implications on my next trip out.
Great day, great fishing and great company. Thanks mate.

12/10/11 Some Lovely Roach

Right then. Bit of a lean time lately on the fishing front and....the weather's pants so i can't get out in the boat. Not too interested in the mullet although it would be nice to get just one more but it can wait so, time for a bit of light relief and a session at the farm pond.
Usual tactics-pole snatching gear , a pint of maggots and an afternoon of fun. Actually, I really should borrow Dave's proper pole complete with that elastic stuff because some of the fish caught today were of quite a decent stamp and I hate to admit it, but I got snapped off a couple of times which is unforgiveable.
I would resort to conventional rod and reel , which would be fine for the perch and small carp which bite so boldly, they would probably sink a pike float but, every single roach caught, and there were three of around a pound or so, gave the most delicate of bites even on a bristle float which would barely support a fly.
I reckon I had fifty odd fish , mostly perch , a couple of lively common carp of a pound, and twenty or so pristine roach  with not a tiddler among them. Great fun.

10/10/11 River and Surf

Oh dear another blank I'm afraid. Actually a double blank as i'd had a quick river session with lures up on the Ford bend meeting Barrie in the process.He'd not had a good season with  the bass in the river though I suspect that there may still be a chance of a late fish. This time last year we did so well.
Surf still looked good so trundled up to the the secret mark only to find two 'poachers' in my swim. LOL  Luckily it was Andy along with his mate Simon so I wasn't too disgruntled.Despite perfect conditions all three of us drew a blank and again, compared to last year.........................It's still a bit early to be fair.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

9/10/11-L.A Surf

The boat went back to the marina this morning having been anti-fouled, polished up and the engine serviced. She looked pretty smart and it was a satisfying task to complete. Hopefully, a few more trips out will be forthcoming but at the moment the wind is howlin'.
With the boat finished it was time to do a bit of fishing.
I considered going mulleting, but the surf at the back of the house looked so good and the low water was at an almost ideal time, so at the last minute, I decided to have a first crack at the  bass.
.Reaching the mark about an hour after low the conditions did look right and I was brimming with confidence. I fished for about 2 1/2 hours moving up with the tide until it was just lapping the the foot of the shingle bank but unfortunately, I didn't get a touch.
At least the new Avet reel proved its worth as a beach reel as well as a light boat tool. Super piece of kit.
These surf bass take patience and it was just fun being out there wading up to my thighs and soaking up the atmosphere.

Winds look good again for tomorrow, and the tide is slightly better giving me more prime time in darkness, so I'll probably give it another go.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

2/10/11 No Conger Here. #7

Took Andy out for a night time  session at #7 with the intention of repeating the success with last month's conger. Andy had plenty of action with dogs and pout on a light spinning rod whilst I stuck it out for the big snakes........ that never showed.
Great fun being out there in the dark, especially in the mirror calm conditions, and certainly something I'd like to try again especially as this mark has good pedigree for the specie.
With the boat virtually grinding to a halt with the weed issue, the following day we hauled her out for a look and it was pretty scummy. I've just spent half a day with some nasty acidic hull cleaner and the pressure washer getting rid of it and she's now ready for a couple of coats of anti foul and a service. Not too much of a chore as the weather has deteriorated and the winds are a howlin'. I do hope, however, to get it all done fairly sharpish and get her back 'parked' in her rightful place.

30/9/11 S-L-O-W fishing.

   #5 was the location in stunning weather conditions for the time of year, but a big 6.4 m tide. Very little showed up apart from a few pouting and mackerel and indeed little else was caught by other boats in the vicinity, including Alex who was out with a neighbour. Decided on a move but stalled a bit when I noticed some drifting going on in a 'pack' of boats on the middle ditch, Alex among them. A bass had been caught but alas, no more came along for any of us.
The only boat who did well today was Neil, who had a couple of really good bass and cod on a mark beyond Kingmere, although Russ reported some good bream and other bits off of Bognor.
Bit of a disappointment really and the boat is now crawling along under what I assume is some heavy weed growth on the hull.She'll not only have to come out for a clean, but also an anti foul.