Monday, 30 April 2012

30/4/12 You Little Tinca!

 Dave and me had another unsuccessful day last week chasing the tench at Chichester Pits' 'Boat Lake'.It rained ALL day long, was very cold, and we didn't get a touch between us.Not good.
Its still April (just), and the temperatures haven't exactly been soaring of late, which would probably switch the tench on, but today, there was a little  glimmer of hope with a dry, and mostly bright day with air temperatures hovering around 15deg-I fancied my chances.
I started around midday and , selected a smaller, and more sheltered pit to target-'Deep Lake'. Swim choice was dictated more by the direction of the chilly Easterly wind and my own comfort, than anything else and I picked a shallow corner with a sunken tree, and the beginnings of a lily bed to target.
Rigs were semi-fixed  maggot feeder with a size 12 on a 10cm hook length. Baited with one floating imitation maggot and two real maggots giving  the rig neutral buoyancy.Apparently, this makes a difference. Proper hi tech stuff!!
A pair of 'mullet' rods were paired with my 'new' Okuma Salina (saltwater) mini baitrunners.Carp fishing in miniature.
First impression of the new reels is very favourable but, they've got a lot to live up to.My last 'mullet' fixed spools -a pair of Shimanos are nine years old and only just beginning to show some wear.Hopefully, I'll be sixty before i need to buy any more.
The feeders were refilled every 30 minutes and cast to exactly the same spots to try and build up each swim.Dave and me have both wondered why the maggot rigs don't attract more attention from silver fish-if indeed there are any present.Well, it would appear that there are at least some as a small roach was soon to be found attached to one of my hooks.
Throughout the session, there were short bursts of, what I can only assume, were 'liners' and eventually a proper take materialised resulting in this rather nice male weighing in at 5-01-a result at last.
There were a few more tentative line bites but no more fish materialised and,by about 5-00 p.m the temperature had dropped, and the sky was looking decidedly 'ominous' so i called it a day.A very pleasant afternoons' fishing in the sunshine and finally,a start to the tench campaign.


Monday, 16 April 2012

16/4/12 Kingmere Bream

Brian is my new neighbour at the marina and today's trip was all his doing. I was at the boat yesterday afternoon 'tinkering' and 'gassing' ,as all fishing boat owners seem to do when they're not actually fishing, when Brian proclaimed that he was 'out tomorrow after the bream' and that the weather was looking fine.That got me thinking.
I had planned to do a bit of work in the morning and then go tench fishing for a couple of hours in the afternoon at the pits but, at 7-00 a.m this morning , I was leaving the harbour on my way out to the Kingmere in my boat. Sometimes it's just the way things pan out.
When i arrived , the only boat on the 'West End' was 'Lynander' and he seemed somewhat surprised when I called him up on the radio and politely asked If I might join him.' Go where you like mate'...........My idea of 'joining him' was to park up a few hundred yards away but still on the 'rough stuff'!

The tide was already ebbing quite nicely ,despite being a 'tiny' 4.5 m, and bites came from the off with my first bream, caught by design, of the new season.Sport was steady and,In the end I had about 25 -the majority females around a pound , with the best, a male of 2lb 14oz which , because of deep hooking, I took to eat, and which subsequently lost all his bold markings for the self take.In fact the colour went out of him within minutes of being dispatched-rather a shame as he was a fine looking fellah.
It was pleasent fishing with, at most, only four ounces of lead needed to hold bottom in the small tide. I experimented with a size 4 aberdeen on one rod, and size 1 viking on the other.It was far more productive to wait, and allow the bream to hook themselves rather than try to 'strike' at bites. The larger hook was the better choice and, when stuffed with squid, seemed have a more successful  hook-up rate, result in less deep hooked fish and this is the way I'll go with bream hooks in the future.The far stronger hook will also give me a fighting chance when those big undulates start turning up.
Bites seemed to come in waves with obviously, shoals of fish moving through, however the short period that was fished on the flood, at the end of the day, produced only a couple of fish. .
As well as the bream, i had a couple of  nice pollack 2-3lb on drifted feathers over slack water, and also tried a spot of float fishing , unsuccessfully, at the same time.Worth another crack at this in the future though.
Brian joined me on the mark in his 'Fastliner', along with 'Pinchers' in his 'Longliner' for a bit of a social and an 'Orkney' owners club gathering, whilst the 'big charter' boys were represented by Neil in 'Spirit' and Steve' on Jennifer's pride to keep 'Legs'-Dick Leggett skipper of 'Lynander' esteemed gathering indeed.
As usual it was entertaining and educating listening to their 'banter' and watch their moves..I wonder if they realise that I hang off their every word.LOL
From my own experiences, and what I've gleaned from others,It's probably a good idea to hit the reef bass on the bigger tides, and go for more general fishing on the lesser.Tactics that will also keep me' fresh' this spring.
Good fishing, good company, and a cracking day to be out.....and it's still only April!
Dave N-get ready mate. Your turn next.
HW 0845 L.A  4.5m

Saturday, 14 April 2012

13/4/12 More Bassing


I started the day by heading over to mark #6 just in time to catch enough water at the entrance at 9-00, and with a view to progress the live bait method   for bass. The mark was deserted which meant that I could drift away to my heart’s content, and give the area a thoroughly good ‘sounding ‘in the process.
The smallish tide, at the time slacking off towards LW    didn’t make accurate, and repetitive drifts very easy and I was also surprised by the SSW direction of the flow over the mark  .
Bait fish ( I was after herring) were proving to be elusive so, I decided to hedge my bets a little by attaching a ‘Norden’ instead of a weight at the end of the Sabikis.
The first take, however, was not from a bait fish, but instead a good bass hit the lure .I managed to get her to the surface and get a really good look but unfortunately, the inevitable happened. Just as I was reaching for the net, she decided to take a strong dive and the rig parted just above the lure.
I was devastated. I’m not saying the fish was a double because that would just upset me more so, let’s just say it was a goodly bass.
I can only blame myself. Sabiki rigs are not tied up with very strong line even in the main rig, and in future, i should really make up my own from something like 20lb amnesia. I’m sure it wouldn’t affect their ability to catch.Luckily the ‘Norden’ was only fitted with  a single circle hook .
Very little happened , as usual on the slack, but as the flood picked up speed(relatively) I managed to catch a small pouting and out went the live bait float rig .It took a few drifts before a take eventually came and really, the taker matched the sized of bait it was presented with- a modest fish of 3-04 which was taken for the pot. At least the method worked once again and this time gave me a chance to try out the camera’s self timer.
A few more fruitless drifts were  attempted , apart from some more pouting and a whiting on the feathers, and then I decided to move over to mark#5 for a few equally uneventful passes before calling it a day.
On reflection, I’m actually quite pleased that I managed to trap some bass on what was not ideal tide timing, and it was certainly useful to thoroughly map mark 6, and get a better idea of what is on the sea bed at 5-knowledge is everything.
It would have been easy to give up and wander over to #12 where several charters were picking up bream which seem to be showing up in good numbers now.
More experience and know how might also have sent me in the direction of mark 4( good on smaller tides) for some turbot , brill and big mackerel baits, stopping off at #6 on the way home when the tide would have been ebbing nicely to pick up a double figure bass!
HW 1729 4.9m
0900 - 1600

7/4/12 Too Cold For Tench.

Had a day with Dave at Chichester pits (boating lake) in search of an early tench but, I think it's still a little too cold, and we both blanked. However, it was entertaining to chat with a carp angler at the pit who was in the middle of a four day session, and get an insight into the psyche of that strange breed.
The session also reminded me how relaxed and hassle free coarse fishing can be, and when the weather perks up a bit, we're planning a few return trips until the mid summer when the fishing apparently slows down.
Couldn't really get any slower than it was today!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

6/4/12 When A Plan................


Having just finished a night shift , my time was limited but,the plan was to attempt to pick up some live bait and try out  a float rig, falling back on some lures if necessary.
As I closed in on the intended mark, I could see that Clive was in attendance, and not wishing to disturb his fishing, chose to give him a wide berth and just explore the ground south of the 'numbers' with the sonar to see what was there.
Nothing of interest showed, so i decided to leave Clive in peace, and head off half a mile to my own mark, noticing that he was weighing a fish just as i left. Hopefully I thought..a bass.
When i arrived at mark 36, no other boats were about in the area, which suited me fine as I'd intended to scan the area thoroughly as i searched for bait, noting any interesting features. Down went a shrimp/feather rig, but it took some time before anything showed any interest apart from some aborted follows up to the surface by garfish-spring has arrived.
Eventually, after dropping off what i suspect was a herring, a fat pout showed, followed by a rather nice early bream, both of which were too big to use on the float rig.Eventually, a half pound whiting came up which was deemed perfect for the job and consigned to the temporary bait tank-a water filled bucket.
The kit comprised a four ounce weighted portland rig, suspended under a huge 10x2" cigar slider,and a 6/0 circle hook on a six foot trace which appears to look ridiculously small when attached to the bait.The float is capable of freely supporting the whole set up with the aim being to 'work' the bait within the bottom 10ft of water.
I'd come across a couple of big  'peaks' whilst scanning the mark, and decided to fish my live bait as accurately as possible over these.By now the ebbing tide had eased, and a building SW breeze slowed down the 250 deg drift to about a knot- a nice manageable speed which allowed the boat to be positioned relatively easily.I repeat, 'relatively'
I had a few  false alarms on the first couple of passes as I adjusted the depth of the bait, but duly managed to get the rig working effectively and about 20yds away from the boat.Watching the big red marker like a hawk on the third or fourth pass, i soon noticed a sharp 'jag', followed by the float gliding away to the depths and line spilling steadily off the little Avet spool held under ratchet tension.
After a few seconds I decided that something more interesting than the sea bed had connected with my set up and, remembering NOT to strike,I gently tightened down to set the circle hook.I immediately felt something heavy, but moving, and recognised that characteristic 'head banging' signalling the take of a good bass.The fish fought strongly,but i was still taken aback when she finally appeared on the surface, and it was clear that a double figure bass was within my grasp, with my circle hook neatly embedded in her upper lip.
After a bit of fumbling with the landing net, and a couple of nail biting moments when the fish made some last thwarted escape bids by diving hard under the boat, she( a cracking looking fish like this must be a female)finally slid into the mesh, and was mine.
Having brought her up from nearly 50ft, my immediate priority was to get her back in ASAP so , thinking I'd left my scales at home, I took an accurate nose to fork flat measurement with the B.A.S.S tape and, not wanting to waste further time setting up a self take photo-snapped a couple of 'deck' shots before sliding her back over the side.
I must have held on to her in the flow ,with my thumb locked over her bottom lip, for about three minutes before I could feel her strength return, .It was a fantastic sight seeing her finally 'kick off' down into the depths of the gin clear water, obviously fully recovered.
Punching the sky a couple of times as you do(Thankfully nobody else was about for miles)I settled down to tidy up the boat and duly found my scales-bugger!
The B.A.S.S tape showed a measurement of 80cm and a weight of 11lb 8oz. Because she was a heavily built fish, I'm more than happy to settle for this.The exact weight is really not that important. She was a fine double figured fish, and an amazingly fortunate start with a new method-my first bass on live bait and confirmation indeed that the method would sort out the better fish.
After consulting the plotter and following the drift trace, it would appear that the take came only yards away from the spot where last August's twelve pounder was caught.Mark 36 now takes pride of place at the head of my waypoint list, and will be surveyed more thoroughly on my next visit.
The whiting had survived the ordeal relatively unharmed so was sent down again for another pass but, I was running out of time and shortly had to leave the mark in order to safely make it over the bar at the harbour entrance. Naturally, I was grinning like a Cheshire cat all the way home.
So a good start with a new method and I'm sure, If I'd had more time, I could have put a bigger catch,numbers wise , together.The bigger tides do indeed seem to be the key,and if I can hone my feature finding, and boat positioning skills , and also return to marks and their features with some accuracy , I'm sure more big bass will show up.
Clive did extremely well, although obviously getting out quite some time ahead of me, and fishing both lures and lives at the same time, he still put together a mightily impressive catch of ten bass, from a pound, to ten pound and an ounce.I think I've got a way to go before I can match these sort of figures.


11-00 - 1415 hrs
HW 1038  5.9m