Friday, 25 December 2015

21/12/15 Wild River Piking.

Strong winds and driving rain didn't make for easy pike fishing today but I am determined to take advantage of the good river conditions while they last especially as the pike seem to be in feeding mode.
Not wanting to waste too much time travelling, I ventured to an area just a mile or so from the mooring where bank side reeds help to shelter the boat when at anchor. Because I almost always fish  float paternoster rigs, whether using live or dead baits, It's not strictly necessary to keep the boat absolutely still. The line from rod tips to floats doesn't have to be kept tight which allows for a certain amount of boat movement without affecting bait presentation.
The floats I use are sliders, but fixed bottom end only 'waggler' fashion-an unusual style of pike float but very effective. By fishing over depth, though not excessively so, the current tensions the rig to the float and the slightest movement of the bait is difficult to miss. I've been using these floats for several years now and can highly recommend them.You'll find them here;
Today those floats were taking a beating from the wind but it didn't effect their sensitivity nor the pikes' willingness to feed.
 I'd fished about four different spots before the first take came to a sardine bait tucked close to the opposite bank. A scraper double came to the net and, in truth, I was very pleased with it considering the weather conditions which, as you can see, didn't help the photography.
My only other take came from a swim where I'd parked the boat deep in the mouth of a rife in an attempt to keep out of the wind - a small pike that dropped the bait (quite a sizable roach) but it was a spot noted for future reference. After that I decided to call it a day finishing earlier than usual about mid afternoon.
A day or two later , the rain has entered the river, causing high levels, and plenty of colour in the water but then again, the tides are also increasing in size which doesn't help matters. Timing is everything with tidal river piking.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

19/12/15 Another 'Twenty'

22lb 6oz
Three long years since I've caught a tidal twenty pound pike and what happens ......I catch two within a month. Fishing is indeed an unpredictable pastime.
My favourite small tides have come around once again so I was able to return to the general area of our( mine and Dave's) recent success.
 The river was in reasonable condition, far better in fact than last week when the combination of a big tide, plus the presence of some recent rain water, made piking almost a waste of time.However, the strong winds haven't abated and finding some shelter that would enable me to keep the boat relatively still was actually quite difficult today.
The bites  were slow in coming but, after a few moves downstream eventually, at about midday, my roach bait was attacked by a small pike which quite quickly let go.
 The bait remained in 'fishable' condition so I dropped it back in place and waited. The were obviously pike about.
It took a while and the next take, when it came, was delicate in the extreme. The  float twitched a little and slowly, very slowly , glided a few inches across the surface. Hardly a 'run'.
Not wanting to leave it too long and thinking that my diminutive friend was coming back for another go, I tightened up.
 At first the fish didn't feel that big, as I was easily able to 'lead' it towards the boat but suddenly, the pike woke up, and tore off like a 'mad thing'. Usually this isn't a problem but, in a boat, with ten feet of water all around the fish have far more room to 'play'. Pike don't usually 'fight' in the true sense of the word but, this one obviously didn't know that.
It dived deep, bending the rod double, stealing line , swam straight under the boat and I could feel that awful 'grating' sensation as the braid made contact with the rear anchor rope.
To make matters worse it managed to  swim around the rope , surface again on the other side of the boat and then had the audacity to 'tail walk'- the first time I've ever seen a pike this big do that-an impressive sight.
I'd managed to lift the anchor while all this was going on and , by now,had no control of the fish on the rod at all , it being left on a 'tight line' connected to the anchor rope. Thankfully, there was  enough slack so, grabbing the braid I just managed to 'hand line' the pike into the net before it decided to perform any more acrobatics.
Glancing in the mesh, I could see the trace in the pike's mouth, but no connection to the braid. It must have parted right at the last moment. It was my lucky day.
At first I thought it may be the same fish as my last ' twenty' ,which was caught nearby but , checking the markings, it is indeed a different pike .
Two new pieces of equipment have been added to the boat inventory of late both of which were used for the first time today on this pike and both performing faultlessly.
 Firstly, a 'Savage Gear Predator' landing net with a rubberised mesh and folding frame is literally a revelation in boat nets for pike, and secondly, an Eddie Turner's 'Sladle' which takes pike welfare when afloat to a new level. I would highly recommend checking both items out.
With all the disturbance caused by the capture its hardly surprising that very little happened in the swim afterwards so I decided to head upstream to a 'bay' where Dave and me had previously scored with pike in his 'tinny' (An aluminium boat)
Almost Immediately a pike of about 7lb snatched  one of my baits, but the wind made fishing very uncomfortable so I decided to abort, and return to a sheltered area known as the 'jungle,' and tuck the boat in amongst some thick trees , continuing to fish, unsuccessfully, until well after dark before returning to the mooring.

17/12/15 Perch

When the winds are blowing and the rivers are flooding something needs to be fished for and, In mine and Dave's case, It's perch.
We did have, until last year, a rather pleasant little lake on our club ticket which provided both of us with some modest specimens but unfortunately ownership changed and the fishing rights were lost.
Thankfully the club secured an alternative venue that has something of a reputation with big perch and Dave proved that they were still there by teasing out a monster last season.
Today was our first attempt of the winter season and bites were few and far between. Dave managed a very pretty fully scaled carp of around 5lb whilst I did actually hit our target specie with this plump 'stripey' of about a pound.
It's a start.

Monday, 14 December 2015

13/12/15 Cod n' Conger.

The winds forecasted for today were just light enough, though still double figure knots at times, to poke my nose out to sea for a spot of cod fishing.
A mere handful of other local boats had the same idea and it was extremely pleasing to see our charter fleet finally get out and earn some money-they've had a hard time of it of late.
After a bumpy ride out I settled on the 'half way' mark just as the flood tide was coming to an end and with these conditions, for convenience more than anything else, it was going to be a 'one mark' day.
I opted to fish whole baby cuttle on one rod, with a lug stuffed squid on the other -big baits to try and avoid the 'fodder' fish.
A couple of dogs, pin whiting and pout managed to hook themselves on the 6/0 pennels before the boat swung round with the ebb and into the breeze. Wind over tide made it quite 'lumpy' and some heavy swells were also pushing through but it was all very manageable.
A small conger of about 10lb came to the 'cuttle' rod and, seeing as I was also getting quite a bit of small stuff nipping at the baits I chose to switch the second rod to a live bait rig-a 1/0 hook directly below an 8/0 with just the small hook baited with a morsel of squid tipped lug.
The idea is that a small fish, whiting or pouting, hooks itself on the small hook and then prese3nts itself as a live bait.
In short,  it worked and, quite well.
A better fish hit the live bait rig and began to put up quite a fight in the increasing flow. Nearing the surface I could see that it was a conger well into double figures and just at that moment, the second rod bent over an almost leaped out of boat.
With a rod in each hand I was completely 'scuppered' but knowing that the first take was an eel, I opted to slacken the drag ,place that rod in a holder, and deal with the second take.
This turned out to be a very wise decision as what came up was a nice cod of 14lb-target hit.
No more cod showed but It would appear that I was sitting on a conger 'nest' because, three more eels showed up, all on the live bait rigs, one of them being a decent fish of about 35-40lb-excellent sport indeed.
One culprit even had the audacity to spit out the fat pout it had Intended to eat as it reached the surface. I doubt very much whether that eel had even been properly hooked.
Another that I'd brought on board for unhooking decided that it would go into reverse gear, and slither behind my fuel tanks in an attempt to hide-entertaining characters indeed.
Half a mile or so to the South of me Clive and Kim were also experiencing something of an 'eel fest' taking eleven conger in total along with a couple of cod.
We've experieced this situation with conger before, at this time of year, when it seems that they leave their lairs and hunt on open ground.
Listening to the radio it would appear that most boats managed to pick up a cod or two which was pleasing and some sizable fish to 20lb were taken on the 'skate marks' which is very encouraging indeed.
 Marina buddy Tony was also fishing my chosen mark and he'd managed to score a trio of cod including a new P.B of 13plus pounds-well done that man.
All in all, an excellent session afloat, and great to be able to finally get out to sea again.

11/12/15 Winter Roach

I had a couple of small jobs to carry out on the river boat this afternoon and managed to get them finished just as the light was fading so decided that a spot of fishing was in order.
With, a good bit of cloud cover, the tide ebbing nicely and wind dropping off , I opted to head a short distance downstream to an area that had produced some rather nice roach back in the summer to see if they were still about ,and to try a spot of night fishing- a classic time for winter roach.
 Approaching the swim as quietly as possible by cutting the engine and letting the boat drift before dropping the mud weights , I managed to anchor in the perfect position on the first attempt (more by luck than judgement it has to be said) at the head of the swim and just a rod length out from the bank.
Method of choice was  flake on the hook, a size 10, with liquidised bread squeezed on a frame feeder- typical mullet tactics actually. A 'starlight' chemical light stick was attached to the quiver tip and baiting up was carried out with the use of a red headlight to minimise disturbance. Everything inside the boat was as carefully organised as possible to make life easier.
 Fishing in about ten feet of water, all that was required was a gentle lob of a couple of rod lengths to get the bait in place directly down stream of the boat.
Very little happened until complete darkness and then a few tentative bites materialised which I assumed to be small fish pecking at the flake. Eventually I connected and a rather nice roach of about 12oz came to the net.
A few more 'pecks' followed until a very gentle bite connected with another nice fish-this time a pristine scale perfect roach of 1lb 1oz. Granted , hardly a specimen but,  a tidy fish nonetheless. If I could get one of double that weight from the river , I'd be a very happy man indeed though I suspect it might take some time,effort and a little luck.
Unfortunately I only had a couple of hours before having to leave for home as I was on 'dog' duty but, it was a pleasing start to my winter roach campaign and a successful first attempt at fishing from the boat in complete darkness.
The following day, flushed with our recent success, Dave and me attempted some more pike fishing , again afloat, but unfortunately suffered a 'biteless' day.
 I don't think the big 5.8m tide helped, nor the fact that the river was carrying quite a bit of rainwater and was therefore relatively coloured. It was however, quite interesting at high tide to be able to clearly see over the top of the flood banks and into the neighbouring fields and wetlands for the first time, and to be able to easily step off the boat back at the mooring rather than carry out our more usual , and sometimes precarious 'Spiderman' impersonations scaling the pontoon ladder.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

6/12/15 More Decent Pike

  18lb 12oz
Another session afloat and, once again,  those dull , mild conditions were present that 'our' pike seem to relish................... a lot.
 Three nice doubles today- the 'eighteen' above for me- a rather scruffy old girl with a huge head that would suggest that, in her prime, she would probably have been at least a mid 'twenty'..........and two for Dave a 'fourteen' and a  'sixteen'. An upper single each finished off the catch nicely.
My fish both came on a huge whole mackerel bait- a method I've not tried before but one I'll pursue inn the future particularly if the water clarity is poor.
 Big head

  Dave's 'Sixteen'
Dave's 'Fourteen'

Clive, one of my blog readers has informed me that he has finally been able to leave a 'comment'- something he's not been able to do for some time.
 I've not made any alterations to the settings on here so I've really no idea why he's suddenly been able to do this but, if any other readers feel like doing the same, go ahead. You don't need to have anything in particular to say, just a friendly 'hello' will do. At least then 'I'll know that there's someone other that Clive reading all this .

2-4/12/15 'Red Letter' Piking.

Very, very occasionally, particularly so with my own fishing, an angler will experience a 'red letter' day when everything seems to fall into place and a good, if not spectacular catch is made. Compared to other waters, and other anglers' results, my catch today could hardly be called 'spectacular' but, as I've already mentioned in previous entries, my local river doesn't give up its pike without considerable effort so, what would elsewhere probably be considered an 'above average' catch, was today, something a bit special.
To begin with, the tide was very small, which makes everything so much easier from anchoring the boat to setting the floats. Also, In my opinion, the weather conditions were absolutely perfect with mild temperatures, a cloud covered sky resulting in low light levels, and a slightly rising barometer.
I'm afraid I wholeheartedly disagree with the traditional train of thought that pike don't feed until it's 'cold enough' . It's an excuse I hear quite often and I think it's a load of old 'tosh'.
To cut a long story short, I fished in about four locations over the course of the day along a stretch of about half a mile and each 'spot' produced at least a couple of pike making eleven fish in total.
 Just two of the 'offenders' were 'jacks', six more fish were in the upper single figure range (7-9lb) two nice lower doubles but the crowning glory was a 21lb 4oz pike-my first 'twenty' from the river for almost exactly three years.
Bites  came very quickly in all the swims that I tried and,at one point I had a take whilst I still had a  fish recovering in the landing net ready to be returned. Luckily I managed to unhook the culprit at the side of the boat but things did get a bit hectic at times.
Pike fishing with baits can be a very slow sport sometimes but when its like this, you barely even have enough time to make a cuppa-very exciting stuff indeed.
By way of a contrast the two days either side of this session produced startlingly different results. The first day, although being a very short session produced just one small pike however, it was taken from a swim lower down the river than I've ever caught pike  before so has given me a bit of confidence to explore those areas more in the future.
The third day, although naturally returning to the general area of my success again produced just the one pike- a nine pounder to save an otherwise bite less session. The reason for this lack of action?? Well, I'm putting it down to clear skies and bright sunlight because, this sole fish turned up late in the  afternoon, and just as some extensive cloud cover had occurred.
Whatever the case I'm sure these tidal pike will continue to prove a challenge and test our patience to the full.

An upper single.

A 'twenty' -my first for three years.

Another nice double.



26/11/15 More Codding

The recent consistent strong winds have played havoc with our local inshore fishing in that we simply cannot get out to sea in our boats. For many of those that fish for fun, it can be slightly irritating especially if  paying to 'park' a boat .
From a personal perspective, being an 'all rounder', I love the vagaries of the British climate and  relish the chance to get out and play in the surf and chase bass, or switch location to the river and hunt pike.
However, spare a thought for the professionals -the charter angling fleet and small boat commercial fishermen in particular whose living can be severely affected by the weather and, at the best of times ,can be described as 'precarious'. At the moment, they're having a hard time of it and have my utmost sympathy.
Today a rare opportunity presented itself to get out in the boat as the winds had abated, at least for a short time.
With colour in the water , the option to fish lures for bass , which can be very productive at this time of year, was a non-starter so I decided instead to keep things very simple, head for just one mark ,drop the pick for few hours and fish baits.
The 'half way' mark was selected , the target was cod and the bait choice was whole baby cuttle mounted on a 6/0 pennel rig.
As well as the usual run of 'fodder' fish-pout, whiting and dogs , four codling to 7lb came to the boat and I was actually quite pleased with the result, especially as it stocked up my freezer with some fresh fillets of prime fish.
I did consider staying out over the low tide 'lock out' and fish into darkness but, unfortunately I hadn't brought enough bait with me so had to head for home after an all too brief, albeit productive, session.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

23/11/15 Cod(ling) On The Menu.

It been weeks since I've been out to sea due to the run of strong South Westerly winds that have kept the local boats well and truly 'welded' to their moorings..................Well, actually that's not entirely true as, whilst playing  'silly buggers' in the suds, I've seen some Intrepid (Insane) characters of the commercial fleet venturing out in some truly appalling conditions. I suppose they need to earn a crust.Today saw a brief window of opportunity and marina neighbour Tony joined me for a spot of bait fishing.
I desperately need to stock up the freezer with cod fillets so these 'gut buckets' were the intended target but they proved to be hard to find. Several spots were tried to no avail-just a run of pouting, the odd whiting, and of course dogfish hit our baits (baby cuttle or whole squid stuffed with lugworm) until at slack tide we found ourselves at 'Martin's mark' and this brace of five pounders 'hung up' on my cuttle to save the day.
Not exactly 'electric' fishing, it has to be said but at least the food 'issue' is solved for a couple of weeks.

21/11/15 Three Day's Piking

Following on from the bass capture, I fished three more consecutive tides with Simon but with little success. However, my beach partner did score a superb nine pounder on a subsequent tide, that I was unable to fish, to finish the flurry of almost perfect surf conditions that we've been experiencing.
The following week-end I nipped out in the river boat for a short pike session and managed one very skinny jack from a swim downstream of our mooring, on a paternostered sardine.
Surprisingly, despite some quite heavy rainfall , the river remains in reasonable condition, though I suspect that this will not last forever, and we do need to take advantage of this situation while we're able.
Dave has struggled of late with the pike fishing suffering a run of about half a dozen blank sessions so, It was high time that he caught a decent fish from the boat. Of course this is just  bad luck because, when we're fishing together, we're  using the same baits and rigs in  the same spots so if a pike is nearby, it's something of a random choice which bait it will pick up-if any.
The week-end of the 21st -22nd was set aside for the task at hand and the tide times allowed us to venture upstream to , hopefully, some productive areas.
On the Saturday we elected not to venture too far, as we were low on usable fuel (we forgot to stock up on two stroke oil) so we chose to target an area where we'd caught several years before in Dave's former craft- a 'tinny'.
Just one 'pike' run ensued and thankfully it was to my mate's rod- a very nice pike indeed of 16lb 6oz, and a splendid end to his run of blanks.

The fish fought extremely well testing Dave's ancient 'wooden' spinning rod and 'Gildex' reel, both of which handled the battle with ease. Actually, the rod is a rather special Hardy LRH which was a sort of 'Rolls Royce' stick of its era.
Shortly after , a rather odd thing happened. Dave's float started to move smoothly downstream so he tightened up to...................of all things ...............a bass! A fish of about 4-5lb and several miles from the sea. Although I've never seen this before myself, this is the third bass Dave has had take his pike baits well into fresh water over the years. The fish was a little the worse for wear but obviously feeding quite happily and was successfully returned.
The following day, with plentiful fuel stock on board, we ventured a few miles upstream to the scene of my recent success with that brace of doubles.
Minutes after my sardine had settled next to a sunken tree, I experienced a dropped run but the pike wasn't giving up and a few minutes later ,a second attempt resulted in a upper single to the boat to start the day.
Following a short move downstream a very delicate, slow take to Dave's rod resulted in a double of 18lb 4oz for my mate and before we'd had a chance to take the picture , my multiplier ratchet screamed signalling more pike action.
 Dave kept the big pike in the net whilst I unhooked mine, a smaller 'single', at the boat side and we managed to get our pics after all. Another very fine pike indeed.

But this wasn't the end of the feeding spell because minutes later, and before I'd even had a chance to re-bait my rod,my second outfit produced another single figure pike-my third of the day.
It's not unusual, in pike fishing, to experience a run of takes like this in a very short time and its  happened to both of us several times in the past. Quite what triggers individual pike to feed, sometimes a considerable distance apart, is one of fishing's great mysteries and long may it continue to be so.
So , two excellent day's pike fishing and, with enthusiasm now fully restored, lets hope we're able to get a few more trips in before the winter floods kick in. It's interesting to note that these past couple of days have seen the first frosts and 'cold snap' that we've experienced this winter and 'traditional pikers' (Dave and me do not consider ourselves of this ilk) usually wait until these conditions occur before starting their pike campaigns.
Personally and, as I've proved in the past, I think this theory is a load of 'hogwash' but, who knows.


Thursday, 12 November 2015

9/11/15 Surf's Up.

Once again, its the time of year to climb into the 'chesties,' and get out in the 'suds' .
This has to rate as one of my favourite forms of fishing. Simple , uncomplicated yet challenging in the extreme and so physically demanding that, at times, its only possible to endure a couple of hours fishing in a session.
Recent winds have been consistent, and strong with some heavy rainfall which means that both boats stay permanently parked on their moorings as its far too rough to go out to sea, and the river is 'up' and coloured so the pike will have their heads 'down'.
No matter. Its also the best time of year to hunt for big bass and, our local beaches have an excellent track record on this score.
Its been a few years since I pulled out that first double figure bass from the surf and each season I fish the odd trip and usually get one or two good bass for my efforts.
Tonight conditions were just perfect for one of my favourite hot spots and , true to form, it produced the goods at almost exactly the 'prescribed' time resulting in one of the most satisfying fish I've caught this year-the 72cm specimen pictured below.

Bait was a whole squid mounted on a 6/0 pennel rig and the bite was a firm , unmissable 'thump' followed by a dogged and thoroughly entertaining fight on my light 3oz 'estuary' outfit. Cleanly hooked, the  fish was led back through the waves and successfully released following our brief encounter. In a word........'superb'

2/11/15 Foiled Again

As a bass angler, I make a bloody good wrasse angler!
Whilst my boat angling mates, some of whom it has to be said are extremely proficient in the art of lure fishing , are literally 'avin it away', I'm yet again struggling to consistently catch our favourite 'spikey' fish.
Several good bass have recently fallen to their plastic imitations and it seems to me that I've still got a lot of learning and practicing to do before I can even approach their standards. Tony- a relative newcomer to the arena who has been fishing extremely proficiently of late, had the patience to persist on one mark today and scored a hat trick of very good bass towards the end of his session. Martin , one of the best bass anglers in our area, also succeeded in finding some good fish so the bass are about, which is reassuring .....
I will admit that I found today's fishing extremely frustrating . So much so, in fact, that I didn't really enjoy it.....and that, for me , Is a rare occurrence.
I searched and searched a series of reef marks that are known bass locations, yet all I could catch was wrasse, after wrasse , after wrasse.
I suppose the final tally must have approached thirty fish with some of a reasonable size approaching 4lb but, that's not the point. The target specie wasn't found and I went home disappointed.
Of course , I could have switched tactics and fished baits for other species as there are some very good plaice, and even decent autumn bream being caught by the charter fleet but, at the moment I'm concentrating on trying to improve my lure fishing.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

25/10/15, 27/10/15 More Pike Fishing

The river continues to challenge us on the pike front and today (25th)was no exception for me and Dave with just one pike, an upper single, to my mackerel bait.
Its slow fishing but I think one needs to be philosophical about the whole thing and adopt the mind set that if you catch a pike, any pike, then you're having a good day. If a 'double' turns up or you pick up a few pike, then its a very good day and a 'twenty' is indeed a 'red letter' day and one I haven't personally experienced for nearly three years!
I returned to the river two days later and headed back to the scene of last week's lost pike thinking that she might still be around. In short she wasn't there, or perhaps she didn't like sardines but a couple of small pike did so it wasn't a wasted journey.
The hunt continues................................

24/10/15 Wrasse No Bass

I took Simon out in the boat with me today for a 'bass hunt' that produced not one solitary bass but plenty of wrasse, in the 1-2lb bracket mostly, to our soft plastic lures.
Trying several of the better known reef marks we searched and searched all day but conclusively failed to locate the target 'silver' and even the ' experts' struggled too. Martin reported a similar situation which is highly unusual for him but perhaps a little encouraging for me in that at least I knew I was doing nothing drastically wrong although realistically, I'm no bass angler.
We also managed to fish some live baits which were constantly 'mullered' by persistent cuttle fish one of which I took home to eat that evening-delicious.
Whatever, its always an enjoyable day with Simon on board who seems to have a 'tenacity' for fishing similar to myself. He won't give up until the bitter end. The bass will return I'm sure of it.


22/10/15 A Move Upstream

The boat gives us unlimited access to the tidal reaches of our local river and, providing that we don't anchor above the high tide mark, we are able to fish without permission of the respective landowners. This opens up a great deal of water ,some of which would rarely see an angler's bait and, as every pike enthusiast knows, our favourite predator thrives on neglect.
However, lets not forget that pike fishing on tidal rivers is always going to be challenging and, in this respect, ours is no different.
Today I decided to head a few miles upstream and into territories that are not controlled by any of our local angling clubs at least, they haven't been for several years. Its a remote area that I've fished in the past and one that has produced fish,being loaded with bank side features. Water conditions are superb at the moment with the river running comparatively clear(for a tideway) and 'freshened' occasionally by the short periods of rain we've been experiencing of late. It really is a time to make the 'most of it' before the 'real' winter weather arrives to spoil it all.
Tucking in to the first swim at mid morning, and literally within minutes of dropping in my roach bait, the clicker on the multiplier sang its song. The run came so quickly that, foolishly, I hadn't even had a chance to assemble the landing net and I didn't even see the float disappear. I bent into a decent fish ( I would estimate it at a very good double) but the pike tore off so powerfully it snagged me in a sunken tree just a few feet from the take zone. I kept the tension on whilst I messed around trying to sort out the landing net but to no avail. The pike slipped the hooks and I wasn't best pleased although thankfully, I managed to successfully retrieve all my tackle.
Feeling slightly dejected I opted to stick it out in the same spot and, although the 'lost fish' swim didn't produce, the second rod, fished upstream of the boat. soon provided an eight pounder , again on a roach bait, to lift my spirits somewhat.
Proceedings went a little quiet following that so I elected to carry out a short hop, a few yards downstream and tuck the boat in some slack water among several overhanging trees. The river widens here and the flow becomes barely noticeable making for comfortable fishing conditions. The stretch ( I moved a couple of times) gave me a brace of low doubles (10 and 12lb) on the roach baits and a repeatedly dropped run , a lightly hooked jack pike, on a joey mackerel to make for some lively fishing before the light faded and I was forced to make tracks back to the mooring.
A good days piking.

Monday, 19 October 2015

18/10/15 Trashing Plastic

One of the biggest problems with the Fiiish Minnow soft plastic lure is that virtually every time you catch a ballan wrasse, you're a fiver out of pocket. These toothy marauders seem to trash every F.M body I throw in front of their noses and Simon and me had more than our fair share of them today.
The one above was a respectable 4lb 8oz and ,along with a solitary bass and a cod of about 5lb for Simon to take home for tea, made for an entertaining afternoon's drifting.

Not that far away from us was my good friend, talented photographer (see above) and bass guru Clive Hodges. We pulled over for a chat (as you do) and Clive complained to us that the bass had been extremely uncooperative  with just two fish caught all day. Clive who, it must be said, is a master of rhetoric, then casually informed us that one of the bass was 12lb 10oz!!! Gutted for ya mate!
I sincerely hope that Clive doesn't mind me publishing this truly impressive picture on here. What a fish!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

12/10/15 Cod On Plastic

At the moment we're experiencing a series of days with double figure (Knots) Northerly winds albeit  combined with a period of high pressure and relatively settled weather. From the shore, the sea state looks relatively calm however , five miles off it could be a different story although as can be seen in the picture, today wasn't actually too bad and definitely worth poking a nose out to have a look.
In the summer months  cod appeared to be very prolific on the middle distance wrecks in our area and we'd all hoped that they would appear inshore to entertain us during the colder months.
Early signs indicate that this could well be happening as  a few of us are starting to pick the odd fish from reef marks.
 I had three modest fish this afternoon on soft plastic lures and marina buddy, Tony also scored a hat trick of 'green backs' although of a much better size in a catch that also included some excellent bass. Well done mate.

I also found small bass on all three marks that I fished, along with plenty of wrasse and a pollack but, for the first time in quite a while I stumbled across a shoal of bass that showed clearly on the sounder and managed to extract a couple of 'easy fish' before having to 'high tail' it to cross the river bar before the tide ran off too much. I guess they'll have to wait for next time.
Marks #6,2,31

9/10/15 Wreck Madness

A last minute(literally) invite today to jump on board 'The Blueprint' with 'nippers' Martin and Pete for a spot of long distance wrecking.
Armed only with a 40g spinning rod, a box of Fiiish Minnow variants and a few hastily collected ball weights, as I'd only intended to quickly nip out to the  inshore reefs in my own boat, I did feel somewhat 'ill equipped' however, I needn't have worried.
Its amazing what you can do with such light kit even in 180ft of water.
The fish weren't exactly throwing themselves at our lures on every drift and Martin worked extremely hard to find them but, find them he did and over the course of the day  we built a respectable catch of pollack cod, and bass.
Prize of the day however must go to Martin who caught his first ever coalfish- a specie I'd never even seen before.
Pete gave me a quick ',master class' in using some 'slow jigs' that have recently become available on the market and these proved to be equally effective and, in the smaller versions, could prove useful on the inshore marks.
Somehow, I think that wrecking with the 'old school' methods using a flying collar rig and conventional boat gear will never be the same again. The light tackle approach, fishing the lure 'direct' with exceptionally thin PE braid and  a light spinning rod is definitely the way forward for me.