Reaching the Fish

After last week’s Pollack and Scad bonanza, this Tuesday evening I went back for a bit of the same. I wanted to try a few new tackle bits and also play about with some existing ideas. I wasn’t species hunting but really just wanted to catch a few fish. In hindsight I’m really glad that we hadn’t organised an evening like this for a Species Hunt comp as it turned out the weather was absolutely horrific!

My chances to fish are generally so few that I’ve given up even looking at tides or weather forecasts before planning trips. Bit stupid really. Last week the tide caught me out (although I still bagged a load of fish) and this week, after a dreary day sat in the shop the wind really seemed to get up in the evening. On getting down to Fowey it turned out to be the roughest conditions I’ve ever attempted to fish there. Most of the town stretches were completely unfishable in all but the very occasional corner where you may have managed a chuck with the wind at your back. So I had very few options.

I started out on one of our favourite walls casting under the lights. Always good for a few Pollack, I had about 15 feet of extra water here than last week thanks to the high tide. With the same Fish Arrow Flash J 1″ lure that I had on last week on a 1.8g head this time because of the wind I actually had a fish first cast. A Pollack (as expected) of about 8oz or so. I had a few more of these on the same lure before the rain really started blasting at me. I’d foolishly left the car coatless to beat a very quick retreat to a close by shelter. From here I could still just about fish but knowing where the fish were lying it would be a pretty long chuck across the wind. It was pretty much the only option I had though.

Pollack

Ultimately, it ended being a lesson in presentation – or at least doing what you’ve got to do if you actually want to catch a few… The other option was to change nothing, fish easy and catch nothing.

I already knew that fishing light and small was the way to catch as many of these fish as possible. I also knew where they were hiding – in the shadows at the end of the wall – just out of the lights. Fishing closer to me or in the shallower, sheltered waters to my left may have been easier but I wasn’t going to catch much (if anything) there from experience.

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It was also my first time out with a new rod and reel combo. The rod being a new Gamakatsu AJ Master 76 I’ve claimed as my own! The specs just match exactly what I wanted, but being rated to only 5g I was aware I might need more weight than this in the wind! I only had three lure options with me that would be heavy enough to reach the distance and be heavy enough to keep me in control of the lure in the crosswind on the retrieve.

1) Xesta After Burner Mini 7g.
2) Spro Teppan 7g vibration bait.
3) A mix of 3g+ jigheads.

I wasn’t expecting to have been using any of these options at this time of year as I reserve most for the summer months when the fish are more active and aggressive and the top two options are obviously well above the maximum casting weight on the rod. They were only really in my bag as left-overs. That said, the Xesta jig was first on to cut across the wind. Surprisingly to me the rod handled it and the lure very easily hit the mark. With a straight retrieve I was chuffed to catch another fish first cast. Following that they weren’t having it every time and I wasn’t feeling any indications from the fish as soon as I got past the mark (so 80% of the retrieve was a waste) but considering the conditions it was better to be catching t
han not! I also tried the vibe bait and heavier jigheads with a couple of 2″ softies but didn’t catch a fish on either. The Afterburner was the way.

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For next time I will have to get back in to the Caro tackle again. In hindsight this would have been absolutely perfect for this session (as a way of presenting a small lure at distance) and I think I could have retrieve this more slowly than the casting jig as well – which I’m sure would have caught me more.

Towards the end of the session the rain subsided a little and I ventured (slightly precariously – getting blown off my feet) on to the end of the wall where I started. There were obviously a lot of fish there to be honest and I’d not been able to make the most of them from my far off position. It goes to show what a difference good presentation can make. There were a lot of fish there all along but I wasn’t catching every cast from my far off position on the heavier jigs. From here I could fish lighter, slower and more easily and was having at least an indication every cast, if not a fish. It didn’t take long to put another half a dozen fish back but being so windy I decided I’d head home and warm up.

pollack

A real shame overall about the wind and rain but, regardless, I ended up with probably 15 fish or so in a couple of hours. Lovely playing about with new rods and reels (super impressed).

Old Skool LRF!

I don’t mind confessing that it’s been quite a while since I’ve had chance to get out and have a proper evening’s fishing. With opportunities generally slim, rather than winding myself up about those times coinciding with bad tides or rough weather I pretty much just told myself that I wasn’t going to fish at all in any real capacity for most of the past 6 months or so. However, with that sabbatical now over, I’m starting to get out a lot more regularly from now on.

While LRF has become very much about the species hunting aspect over the past few years, back in the old days (5 or 6 years ago) when we were really only just finding our feet with it, it was more about casting away from the walls and picking up Pollack, Mackerel, Bass, Scad and the like. We hadn’t really figured that we’d end up catching so much variety under our feet. I’ve fond memories of those early days, and it was very much a winter thing at the time – something to do when the bass weren’t feeding.

When the water cools the fish obviously slow down, and unlike the summer months when you’re better off fishing heavier and more aggressively, even simple fish like the Pollack are massively easier to catch by stepping your tackle right down and fishing as light as you can get away with. Last night was a prime example and a really fun couple of hours.

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With the shop being closed on Wednesdays through the winter, Tuesday evening gives me a chance to get out late and have a go. After closing I headed down to Fowey. Stupidly I’d not even bothered checking the tides, so was a bit grumpy when I got there to find hardly any water. I had no plans for this session other than to catch a few fish, so although I parked at the ferry end of the town, it wasn’t long before I’d headed all the way through to the other side.

There seems little point down here in targeting the pitch blackness after dark as all the fish seem to head for the lights, so that’s what I did too.

Finding a favoured spot, from the very first class I was catching – even with there being a lot less water than normal in front of me. There was quite a lot of fresh water coming down the river with the tide as it ebbed so I was a bit surprised at the number of fish there to be honest. I caught pretty much every cast for the first 90 minutes (mostly Pollack up to around 1lb and a couple of Scad). Interestingly as soon as the tide reached its lowest point at about 9pm, I hardly saw another fish so I didn’t stick around for too much longer.

LRF Pollack

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It was a nice chance to play around with some lures though. I caught on most things I tried, but definitely the smaller the better was lesson of the day. In fact, on the largest lures I tried I caught the smallest fish. For consistently larger fish – and more of them – lures like the Fish Arrow Flash J 1″ SW were the best. The Reins Rockvibe Shad 1.2″ and Tict Brilliant 1.2″ also caught a stack of fish.

Reins Rockvibe Shad

Fish Arrow Flash J 1" SW

Although we sell a lot of the Fish Arrow lures, I must admit that this is the first time I’d fished the 1″ size myself. While I expected good results, I didn’t actually realise how durable they’d be. The Reins and Tict caught me loads of fish too and I can strongly recommend them, but the two Flash J lures I used caught me 20 fish between them, and the last is still rigged on the rod now, ready to go next time! I’ll sound biased but it’s definitely a new favourite.

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Overall I was really happy with the setup I took with me. For this style of fishing it was perfect. The solid tipped Slash Vision Blood 732 was absolutely perfect for this slow, straight retrieve style of fishing. This is EXACTLY the type of fishing that solid tipped LRF rods are made for (along with one or two other specialist applications). #0.25PE Tict Ash braid, a 5lb fluoro leader and 0.9g Reins Aji-Meba head was all I needed. I did mess about with some heavier jigheads and larger lures for a bit but they were completely ineffective all bar the two smallest Pollack I caught all night – even though the bigger fish were there. You could easily have missed them if you’d gone in with a bigger lure or heavier jig. This has tended to be the way at this time of year for me, all the way through the years that I’ve done this kind of thing.

Anyway, all in all a nice night to get out and catch a few. Now I have that one out the way I’ll start getting a bit more specific about trying different things in future sessions. There are a couple of things I’ve been working on that I want to share.

Over n out.

Rivalley RBB Light Fishing Bag – Preview

Rivalley are one of those Japanese companies that makes the highest quality items for very unique purposes and in unique time scales. The work on a seasonal basis, which means that some times they create products in just single production runs and when they’re gone, they’re gone! It’s brilliant, but also super annoying! Their last series of hip bags naturally gained themselves a quick reputation as the ultimate saltwater piece of luggage. And they no longer make them…

In to the latter part of 2015 and their Autumn/Winter range of products, they’ve released an equally high quality alternative. Typically well built (designed to last) and incredibly well thought out in terms of layout and features, this is their new “Light Fishing Bag” (code 8676).

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Unlike the previous hip bag, this one is mostly for the LRF or perch anglers out there who want the best! They’re not cheap (circa £54.99) for a small bag, but anybody familiar with quality luggage from Simms, Fishpond or Patagonia won’t find it excessive when they understand the quality. If you want build quality it generally needs to be paid for.

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The front compartment has a hard case cover. Since they came in to the shop a week or so ago I’ve been eyeing them up numerous times, trying to figure out firstly what I’d use them for (naturally they’ll make superb bass bags too if you don’t want to carry much – for those short sessions) and then where I would put what! So many options with that hardcase front and foam board insert.

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The fact they’re available in 3 colours too will naturally appeal to any proper tarts out there that need their luggage to match their rod, reel, jacket etc!

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Anyway, you can see more info HERE.

Winter greyness and big seas!

This year has really flown by. We’ve had a few weeks of it now, but it’s evident from being in the shop and talking to anglers that the blowy conditions we’ve been having of late have really put a dampner on the last part of the bass season for us.

I’m sure our catching season has changed over the decade or so that I’ve been lure fishing. While I used to start going out in March and winding things down by the end of November, it’s very much a May to December/early January season for us (from the shore) these days in North Cornwall. To back that up it is evident that there are still plenty of fish to be caught out there – while the water temperature hold itself up – but howling winds and big seas have hampered the efforts of many anglers. Although I bet the bass are loving it!

This week I popped out for a little look just down the road from home. An incredibly grey day to be taking any photos on, but it gives you an idea. Defin
itely a day for wrapping up warm, holding on to your hat and getting your best pout on!

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And this is actually one of the more sheltered bays locally…

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It’s not often I get scared when creeping right to the edge of sheer cliffs to have a peak over (always on the lookout for fishing spots), but the wind was blowing to the degree that I had to stand back a bit to ensure I wasn’t taken over the edge! A lovely days for a walk though and at times I wished I had a rod with me, but any time a set wave came through I know I’d have been a gonna!

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It’s a real shame that it has been so rough – from a fishing point of view. That said, there is one bay locally where it may be just about fishable when the sea gets big, but even that would be a 10′ rod and 42g Savage Eel type of session. Could be fun though, and this is the time of year to snag one of those big fish that may be poking around so maybe over the next couple of Sunday’s I’ll get out to have a go for a couple of hours!