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.