Friday, 27 September 2013

Floundering around Weymouth and West Bay Harbour.

Well the past few weeks have been a blessing with North East winds, so many people love the SW winds due to the bass fishing off Chesil, but I am growing fonder and fonder of the North Easterly winds due to the amount of species that creep in under most peoples radars, think about it.. what is happening when those waters are calm and clear for days on end? the mini species creep in and start setting up camp right under our noses, most traditional anglers who like sending the six ounce leads to the horizon with hooks the size of my palms will more often than not miss the species available to them within 20 yards.

From the title you might have guessed it, the epic Weymouth flounder have returned and if you target them early you will be in with a good chance of a big female who's come in to drop off her young. I was shocked when the first flounder session saw me catch three decent size fish from the western harbour walls, finding the right place to put your bait or lure was key, the flounder seem to follow a particular path around the harbour, find that path and there's not a lot of waiting around for them, best time to target them is low water and the first two hours of the flood.

Now, many might raise their eye brow at this, but LRF isn't all about lures, we use bait all the time to mix it up and when lures just aren't cutting it, prime example is when the water is mud, a strip of mackerel or small rag will find fish, its also a way to find those fish before you target them on lure, "hot spotting" I like to call it, take a walk round the harbour and drop a bait in likely areas until you find the fish you are looking form, then switch over to lure and let the fun begin, the positive point to this method is you will find species kicking round in areas that you wouldn't have thought would be there.

Small red Grub tails like these from JACKS LRF are devastating, keep hook and jig sizes small, 2-3g size 14 are perfect, I wrote a article for PlanetSeaFishing last year so follow this link and have a go at it.

So back to this "Hot Spotting", This past week I followed up on a bit of advice from a chap I regularly bump into at the tackle shop called Ben, now this chap is most likely one of the best anglers around, and when he gives you advice you had better listen up and learn, now the times I have tried fishing West Bay Harbour all I have pulled out of there is mackerel and the odd Goby, now what Ben told me was that there are more flatfish in that harbour then you would ever imagine, you just have to find them. West Bay harbour isn't a big harbour by any means, but it has taken me over a year to clue it up and find them.. well I didn't find them, Lolly's girls did!!

That afternoon saw us pulling out flatfish like no tomorrow! two hours fishing and mostly likely 20 plus flat-fish, I would like to add Dab and Plaice to my species list from this session, but getting a positive ID on the pictures we took on our phones is proving a nightmare, But I will leave you guys to guess and speculate.



Flounder for sure!

I also managed this little critter, which is a new species to the LRF list, Rockling!! how cute and small is that!

 Me and Lolly had a quick session before tea one evening in Chesil cove and managed to find some impressive Ballans, Corkwings, Pollock and a little surprise for Lolly.. her first silver eel! 

Now tensions were growing as this few hours of the session dragged on, Lolly wasn't having a huge amount of luck to start, and there was a very blunt reason for this that I will discuss in the next blog post regarding solid tip and tubular rods, but as soon as she saw this slime monster come from the deeps she was over the moon, the eel population across the UK is dwindling away slowly due to the development and construction of urban life, the more roads and highways we build the more boundaries we are placing in the way of eels travelling out to sea to breed, take care and respect these creatures guys because they are slowly becoming a rare sight in some parts.

I managed a productive session with Andrew Mytton last weekend, where the truths of using a tubular and solid tip rod showed through, again.. I will cover this in the next blog post.

We managed 3 nice bass and a stonking flounder on a 5g running ledger using ragworm, seems strange catching bass on bait after years of lure fishing, but using a balanced set up like this and the results speak for them selves. Trust me guys, start using light rigs and LRF rods etc and you might just surprise yourselves, most of us seasoned LRF anglers are now fishing PE mainlines, the sensitivity and casting range benefits from these mainlines is incredible, coupled with the KG - Lights rod  and presenting a small modest bait at range and  its a whole new side of LRF/UL fishing.  

Don't leave home without the lures though! Andy decided he would have a smash at the Pollock as the evening drew in, easy fishing from the stone pier. 

Lolly with her second squid from the stone pier, we learnt a lot this night about our inky friends the squid, full-moon killed our fishing out right, the high the moon got the worse the fishing became, its like the bright moon light throws them out of sink and they don't shoal up. I'm hoping as the years role on and I can gather some information and catch reports etc, I might be able to start profiling them like I did the bass and flounder, Sure is a strange species to understand.

Hope you enjoyed the read guys, keep your eye on the blog, as the next post I will expand on the use of solid tips and tubular, especial where bait fishing is concerned as it becomes a lot more apparent..

Tight Lines 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Release The Kraken!

Why ho why do we get such a buzz out of fishing for these messy dudes, there's no frantic take, no frantic adrenalin fuelled fight, for some I know its how good they taste (not for me) maybe its the mythological element that makes this species somewhat a novelty, I don't know.. but I'm well and truly hooked on catching anything that has tentacles and squirts ink everywhere. 

A lot of people here in the UK have no idea how popular EGI fishing is abroad in places like Japan and Australia, the techniques those guys have developed are insane. just like LRF/HRF and a lot of the modern Bass techniques we have adopted from the US its fair to say we have a lot to learn, and this is side of angling I love.. Learning. 

Is it as simple as cast out a lure and retrieve or drop a lure off the side of the boat and jig it? some would argue that it is and that we lure fishermen like to over complicate things, yet those that argue the point praps don't realise that we are only trying to explore new methods and to become more efficient at our sport. check out the above video, these guys are pros and from the little research I have done are only scratching the surface of the knowledge they hold, the key element in this video that I learnt was how they retrieve the lure.. does it work here and did it make my catch rate increase.. you bet your ass it did!

Since I posted a bunch of pictures on the social media site Facebook I've had a whole bunch of messages asking what why how and when.. and I shall be honest, I'm no expert and I'm not going to pretend I am, to many people out there pretending these days, Egi fishing abroad is an art, and we should respect that, what little knowledge I've learnt and gained is freely available to anyone on line, a few hours research on water craft, lures and retrievals and your adding strings to your bow before you even hit the water. 

So to help those that have messaged me and to help point them in the right direction, here is my top five UK Egi tips.

1) Find Crystal clear, calm waters that have been settled for a few days, Squid will populate shallow waters, but find areas like piers where there is 3 meters or more and your in the ball park, some of the Squid we have been catching have been from Chesil Beach.. so don't rule out your local beaches, just make sure the waters are calm and clear.

2) Habitat.. Squid don't like harsh conditions, they aren't built like a bass or wrasse who have a body and scales like body armour. squid like to stalk and ambush their prey, holding up in sea-grass and kelp beds normally found in the lower shore line,( REF; Natural History Museum

 It also will pay to mention now that squid hunt in numbers.. where there is one there is normally a dozen. if your fishing with a mate and you hook one, bring it to the surface gently and get your friend to drop a lure underneath it, more often than not the Kraken has a mate swimming underneath waiting to take a lure. 

3) Light.. unlike when bass fishing at night when there is a no light such as head lamps rule, Squid are attracted to light.. find bright street lights that cast light on the water or create your own light reef with a Tilley lamp lowered down to the water on a rope.. the best time to fish for squid is late evening and through the hours of darkness, and early morning. I haven't mastered the day light hours like those abroad.. again the challenges and learning continue. Also for those who aren't after Squid, Light reefing can draw in many other species such as monster Pollock.

4) Lures, if your starting out, there isn't a lot of point in spending a wedge on squid jigs, Tronixpro lures are cheap at £2.50 from Chesil Bait n Tackle, cast like bullets and catch like crazy and glow in the dark (very important!). The small group of us that have been targeting them have all found the 70mm 9.6g to be outstanding, genuinely awesome value for money.

Those who fish hard for Bass and even Wrasse know that spending a little more and getting something that has been developed for purpose can be the key to a catch, such as bass lures which are designed to swim at a depth with a designed action with magnetic casting aid built inside.. all that development costs money as well as most of those lures have been imported and carry a haulage cost.. they aren't always cheap. BUT if you warrant the money they are worth it. just like the Tebco lures and FishLeague Dartmax the latter being hard to get your hands on.. they cast like missiles and do what they say on the tin. I'm still learning about the sink rates etc (hang time) so I'm not going to discuss it here in till I can shed more accurate light on the subject.

Also, anyone who can point me in the right direction for squid hooks for my old bassing plugs I would be hugely grateful, I have a shed load that just don't get used much these days. 

5) Catch and Release, This is Lolly's tip after catching her First Squid with me last night.

When returning them.. make sure you return them cone point first, so that the tentacles are facing you when returning the squid to the depths, reason being when you have taken them out and took a couple photos, the hood of the squid fills with air and  acts like arm bands leaving the squid bobbing on the surface awaiting a cruel death by the seagulls. not funny. we had to scoop this squid out with the landing net and re-release it, again lesson learned. 

Right that's the squid covered, what else have we been up to the past few weeks, a few months back I did a talk on lures for the Wool angling club, lets admit it, most if not all of us are jealous of the grounds those guys have on their door steps, the Purbeck's.. Kimmerridge, swanage, Lulworth! that's where the book was written back in the days when I wasn't even born, yet so very few actually target these grounds using lures these days. so decided it was time to hammer Kimmeridge using the LRF gear, and I have to admit its been wrasse central!! 

On one session both me and Rob decided to use nothing but the Ghost Shrimp from JacksLRF, which proved a smart move, as soon as we got down the steps and started casting around the first ledge we started hitting fish. game on!

I'd like to invite a new contender to the Rockfishing scene here in Dorset, Mr Andrew Mytton.. Hailing from a Course Fishing background where Pike, Zander and perch have been his Lure fishing targets, I've got to say that he has taking to salt water lure angling like a duck to water. After a few sessions showing him a few marks etc he's been none stop bashing out the fish.

Powers of the Ghost Shrimp! 

We took a trip over to Kimmeridge, where for the first time I've got to say it.. I had my ass handed to me on plate, LRF tackle just didn't man up to some of the fish that were taking our lures at range, it wasn't the light rods etc, but the smaller gauge hooks we were using, kept bending out and losing fish.. some might say loosen that drag off etc, but when wrasse fishing.. you cant give them a inch or they bust you up.. next time I hit those ledges.. things will be different, I just received an order from AGM Products that was some perfect hooks for the job. 

I even managed to hand line myself a new species while at kimmeridge , while unhooking a Corkwing iI could see in the shallows some fish lined up and what looked like Tompot Blennys, but I knew there wasn't a chance they would be swimming in the open, so grabbing a spool of 4LB leader and loading up a size 18 hook with some isome I managed hook this bad ass little monster.. a Shanny!!

I've been searching for a Shanny for well over a year now, I wouldn't say its a hard species to find by any counts, but has managed to stay off my radar for a long time. 

A few nights back I met up with Mark Talmage a local angler who just wanted to have a crack at some fish on LRF, we up at Portland Bill car park and hit the rocks, fishing started slow while mark got used to the light gear, we soon realised he was fishing to heavy at 3.5g and dropped the cone weight to 2g, instantly the results were noticeable, Mark wasn't snagging as much and the Pollock started coming in, he also managed to nail this stunning wrasse on Berkley Gulp sandworms.

Well, hope you enjoyed the read guys, Fishing is insane at the moment along the Dorset coast, and keeping up with the happenings is a nightmare, my current hard drive count on fishy photos is up to 1800, not of different fish, but just fishing photos and goings on, some of it will most likely never see the light of day, some of the places we fish no photo could do justice, its up to us anglers to get out find and see these places for ourselves.  

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The Adventures Of Portland Bill...

Firstly before I write this blog post, I want to say how sad I am to have lost a friend and fellow fishermen, not to mention incredible musician and person, Lolly and I only new you for a short time, in which we shared a few drinks and got to see you play a few of your favourite songs at the Wellington, the song you played touched us both... we will never know what was wrong but only wish we were there for you, god bless you, your family and girlfriend... your going to be missed Rob.

Thank you Mr Weather man for some amazing weather that we have been having these past few weeks, its been a good few years since Britain can say we had a decent summer, to top it off having a new job and change in career is making this summer one for me to remember, on that note.. for those interested the job is going amazing, its been years since I can say I'm looking forward to starting work on a Monday morning, its amazing what positive change can do for someone, I've also had some great evenings fishing with some old and new friends over the past few weeks, most of my time has been spent over at Portland Bill due to its easy access and I can use what little time I have efficiently.. oh and the fishing has been amazing!!

For all those who have a special place in their hearts for Portland Bill and fishing, you have to watch this.. I love the fact even back in the days when this was made people were bleeting on about new and old tackle.. I fall on both sides of the fence where modern tackle is concerned.. a self confessed tackle tart with contemporary antique taste. 

How good is that! 

I've had many sessions at the Bill over the past few weeks and its been fantastic, watching shoals of Pollock and Mackerel smashing bait fish on the surface within a couple feet of your feet is a sight not many get to see, Lolly didn't believe me when I said the Pollock had been launching themselves out of the water and hitting lures just as your lifting the lure out of the water, until she got in on the action... fish on for Lolly!

Most of the fish we hit this evening were using the Ghost Minnows and Ghost shrimps from Jacks LRF, genuinely these lures may not last a dozen fish, but they find bites fast and are super soft allowing you to hook up with most if not all positive bites. 

Strange as it may sound to some, we found using darker nearly jet black lures found us bigger fish.. nothing new to the experienced lure anglers out there, but for anyone picking up the sport, don't shy away from the darker lures, these Ghost Minnows in the purple shades were devastating!

Its strange how sometimes you can be fishing for hours and not get a bite, then out of  nowhere all hell can break lose and fish start going nuts! this was the case one evening when a nice chap called Andy came along and joined me on my fishing perch, I'm sure his wife was happy with what he brought home for tea as he had a right mixed bag of fish.. you could tell Andy was a die hard fishermen by the state of his rod, absolutely hammered and still going strong, gotta love a Tenryu. 

How greedy is this mackerel...!

I decided to treat myself to a St. Croix from the Dorset Fishing Rods camp, I shall say no more in this blog post until I've hit up some more fish on the rod, so far though; I cant find the words to describe how good the rod is, genuinely I feel like I'm fishing with something I want to call Excalibur, these rods, these blanks the workmanship is seriously something special. 

I also had the pleasure in being joined by a family friend; Kev Collins and his son Tarron. Now these guys weren't looking for monster fish, they just wanted good old fashion fishing fun. They left it up to me to decide on what to do and where to go, after my recent luck across the rocks of Portland there was only one thing for it; Portland Bill the one place that keeps on giving, easy access and plenty of average size fish.

It didn't take Kev long to tune in to using lighter gear, which is a massive change considering he's only used to using beach casters, as soon as he hooked this wrasse you could see the lure faith creeping in, I was so chuffed that it was his first fish on lure with this balanced tackle, the smiles in the above picture says it all.. I have to say this is most likely the best photo I have ever taken, (personal opinion). there's something about it that sums up fishing in my eyes. 

I'm really hoping I passed enough knowledge on to both Kev and Tarron and they take up the Rock fishing lure fun that's sweeping the UK now, this short session really opened my eyes on where I want my fishing journey to go, passing what little I knowledge on to the future anglers young and old is something I never really appreciated until seeing these guys having such a great time.. there's lots of ideas in the pipe line at the moment, and fingers crossed these pipe dreams become a reality.