Friday, 6 September 2013

2-4/9/13 Autumn Blues

It's officially autumn , the days are noticeably drawing in and time is running out for targeting Cornish blue sharks.
I had a free week before my annual holiday to France and with decent weather forecast, decided to treat myself to a few days after the toothy critters and towed the Warrior down to Falmouth for the second time this year. Joining me on this trip was piking buddy and shark virgin-Dave Wilkins.Regular sharking partner Wayne Comben was too knackered after battling with his monster Hampshire thresher.
I'd already prepared 75 litres of salted chum for this one and it proved to be a wise move indeed as the mackerel were extremely difficult to locate.
Day one saw flat calm conditions and was, to be honest, quite slow going. Three shark were brought to the boat (Dave popped his cherry) one of which was in the 70lb bracket.However, we were kept occupied by catching some huge garfish(superb shark bait)on mullet float tackle and being entertained by a variety of interesting wildlife. Two large sunfish also took a shine to our chum trail coming right up to the boat and proceeded to give us a very interesting display at close quarters by allowing gulls to pick them clean of lice. Some curious looking mackerel sized shoals of 'something' were regularly seen leaping clear of water obviously being harassed by a predator of some form, and what looked to me like barracuda, could occasionally be seen breaching. On the run home a minke whale was spotted and, highlight of the trip, a massive pod of dolphins was located and , as I slowed down to about 12kts, decided to join us for a mile or so playing in the boat wake and putting on a fine show.
Day two was in similar low wind conditions but still produced four shark-the smallest at about 40lb and again, one nice fish in the 70lb bracket.
Day three dawned with cloudy skies, some rain and up to 10kts of wind forecast to assist our drift and spread the chum trail more effectively. As on previous days, we spent some time trying to locate mackerel and although we picked some up, it was hard work and their absence is slightly worrying. Lucklily i'd taken a few frozen baits from home and, along with the excellent half garfish baits,both scad and frozen mackerel proved to be successful.
 This last day's drift took us almost 10 miles but, the chum trail didn't start to work until well into the afternoon with a good stamp of shark showing. Seven was the tally with a 70 and an 80 included,until on the very last garfish bait of the day ,a cracking of female, of over the 'ton' ,showed at the surface and then proceeded to take the closest bait and provide a fitting finale to the trip.
I've recently been using 14/0 circle hooks for these blues having got a little fed up with having to cut traces when using 'J' hooks in the past. With the barbs completely flattened, they proved to be a great success with an almost 100% hook up rate and similar results with clean lip hooking. Also,contrary to popular belief, they proved to be easily removed with a decent sized T bar at the side of the boat so I can highly recommend them for this type of small boat sharking.
On the first day at the slipway it was great to meet up with fellow WSF member Andy (Ork 520 ) who runs a charter business in his Warrior 165 'Obsession' covering the local area. We remained in contact on the 'wireless' over the three days and, if anyone fancies trying for these shark from a small boat I'd highly recommend his services as he was on the shark too. He's here; Boat Fishing in Cornwall | Specialised Charters - Tel: 07779 999125
With Dave having to leave for home I had planned to tow the Warrior up to the North coast and have another go at the porbeagles but the weather conspired against me and it wasn't going to happen.....maybe next time.

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30/8/13 A Pike Angler's Bait

My friend and fellow Sussex river pike enthusiast Lionel Mills had been on my case for a while to take him out in the boat in order to stock up his freezer with mackerel for pike bait.This evening we gave it a go but our tally of mackerel fell a long way short of Lionel's target of 100 baits. I think we managed about 10 between us although I was able to find him plenty of good sized pouting on the reefs for him to experiment with this winter.Hopefully, they'll be to the pikes' liking. By way of a consolation, this little fellah took a shine to my stinger lure-the first I've ever captured in this way. In spite of the general lack success, my crew commented that he'd really enjoyed the outing and we both enjoyed the stimulating conservation about our favourite freshwater quarry.

23/8/13 Fishing With Clive

A rare trip out with Clive who is a neighbour at the marina, and seasoned boat angler. We began our conquest vertical lure fishing on # but with little to show for our efforts.A couple of smallish bass and wrasse fell to our soft plastics but it was hard going and, as the tide turned to a favourable direction, we feathered up some mackerel for the live bait tank and headed to # with our float gear. Fish were showing on the reef and Clive did have a scorching take but sadly, it didn't produce the desired result and proved to be our only chance of the session. A difficult time of year for these bass.