I like these little LRF competitions. Chatting with Paul Godwin while we were down at Hayle this Wednesday, we agreed that organised evenings like this are just the motivation you need sometimes to drag yourself away from the rest of life and whatever it entails.
Going against nearly all of my own advice after struggling in round one, I just couldn’t find the time or motivation to pop down there for a practice beforehand. It’s just too tricky sometimes. Or at least too easy to make excuses not to. Although I organised the event and was here last year, I didn’t fish and hadn’t done so before – bar a little bit of exploration with Ben Tregonning (now at Farlows in London) about 5 years ago. Things were very much more basic then from an LRF point of view and I believe we were there solely for a go at the Gilthead Bream so ignored everything else.
So, this round was to be an adventure. I found a little time in the shop during the afternoon to sort through a few pieces of kit (and cut things back quite a bit actually) and felt happy enough that I’d got everything I might need.
Species Hunter’s Checklist
- Split shot – check.
- Small hooks – check.
- Heavy dropshot weights – check.
- Marukyu Isome………. ermmmmm…….. (more on that in a bit).
Hayle is a weird kind of place to fish. In the mouth of the estuary, you have to contend with absolutely insane amounts of current as the water gushes through a couple of bridged archways as it fills up the large saltmarsh type pools behind you. The Mullet love it here, as do the Gilts. Almost anything seems to turn up though. It is just so different fishing in such amounts of current.
From a competitive point of view, I think it became evident that you just need to get your timings right to make the most of the potential species present. Obviously you have the rising tide, the slack bit in the middle, and then the dropping tide (if you’re fishing over high). During the rise and fall you need to be picking your target areas carefully. Slack water is a chance to explore some of the previously unfishable bits (when the water is just gushing too fast). Some of the more difficult species need to be targeted at the right times too. For example, Luke Fox caught the only Ballan Wrasse this week (three actually!) over slack water in one particular spot that was unfishable with either a fast flooding or ebbing tide. Will Pender knew exactly what he was doing when he charged straight down to the sandier parts of the estuary mouth while the tide was flooding to quickly nab not just the Weaverfish he was after, but also a bonus Dragonette! This kind of foresight and experience is what separates the likes of Will from the rest of us on venues that they know well. Incidentally, I used Will’s example from last year; Not knowing how to fish the place, when we left the Asda carpark I headed straight to the spot that I’d watched him start in last year. Aaron and Simon were right behind me so although we missed Will’s memo about starting further out, Aaron assured me we were in the right place. Three of us standing shoulder to shoulder on one 6 foot section of concrete gives you an idea of how cosy this LRF malarkey can be.
I wish I’d taken more photos to give you a better idea of the venue, but it was definitely one of the more fun evenings we’ve had at this kind of thing. The fishing was a challenge but I really enjoyed trying to figure out at the start how best to catch numerous Blennies against the wall in such a current. I’ll write specifically about what I worked out with this later as it’s as relevant for windy days as it was in the current). Apart from Will who’d jumped on to a four species total a
fter about the first hour, the rest of us were incredibly close for most of the first two hours with a variety of species being caught but none of us tallying any more than about two unique ones each.
Despite the closeness of it all, I had a moment of temporary joy after listening to Will turn the air blue for fifteen minutes trying to catch one of the smelt he was following around the walls. I wandered over and had one first cast….. IN YOUR FACE PENDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
On to three species by now – adding the smelt to the Blenny (50 of) and Goby I’d caught – Luke and Bruce were over on the pool side of the arch fishing the slacker water. Luke had just had his third Ballan as was mid-explaining to Bruce how it was all about the way he wiggles his willy (or something like that) when I got there. As a prime example of how my luck was very obviously in on this night, I dropped straight down next to Luke and pulled up a Corkwing Wrasse. I’m absolutely rubbish with the Wrasse species normally so this one was a nice relief. I was doing pretty well.
Oh, I should get back to my Isome mishap. Anybody who knows anything about these kinds of competitions – or just LRF in general – knows that pretty much the only lure/bait you need is Marukyu Isome. It catches everything. Well, it turns out that while I was sorting my stuff in the shop earlier I’d forgotten to put mine back in my bag! So I made it to Hayle without the one confidence booster that I really needed. I’d even left my big Ecogearaqua tub at home – full of all sorts of smelly goodness. It wasn’t ideal, but the one thing I had remembered to take with me was a pot of old Ecogearaqua Straw Tails and a fresh pack of the red Katsu Aji Straights. It wasn’t a complete disaster because I could split and create some fishable little pieces with both of these , but I would have felt initially more confident with the old faithful’s on the hook. Alas, evidently no need to grumble in the end. I caught numerous Tompot Blennies to add a fifth species and finish second overall! Like I said in the first blog post I wrote about round one, this type of fishing isn’t something I have much experience in really so by aiming for fourth overall in each round, the hope is that I’ll be disappointed less times than I’m happy.
Will did the business again (like in round one) and had seven species for the win. Then me on five, followed by Aaron on four. Everybody caught and thanks to the lack of wind and comfortable temperatures it was the perfect evening for it.
As it stands, by some miracle I’m actually leading the league points table! It doesn’t really mean much at this point in time as bad results are dropped after round 5, but I’m glad I have two good results in the bank already to buy myself some breathing space and cushion the i
nevitably less lucky evenings I’ll have through at least a few rounds still to come.
The next one is at Mevagissey on Wednesday, June 22 from 6.30pm and all are welcome! I should have no excuses for that one since I’m pretty sure that Meva was the location of my first ever LRF session in what must have been 2009.