Sunday, 16 December 2012

Make Hay While The Sun Shines

What a mixed week of weather we are having, torrential rain, sub zero temperatures and high winds, could it get any worse...? Well they are saying that the world is going to end on the 21st of this month, be it a giant asteroid, solar flare, the beginning of a new ice age or some other apocalyptic event like Facebook crashing or Macdonalds running out of double cheese burgers, the one I’m looking forward to the most is the zombie apocalypse, yes Call Of Duty has been preparing us for this event for years now, and right now I’m watching a program on TV about preppers..  I’ve got my bug out bag sorted, worm weights check, hooks check, soft lures check, hard lures check, can of Redbull check, sorted! Right enough rambling or I might start sounding like Matt Jones, so how’s the fishing been...

Times have been tough the past week with the poor weather,  the shorter days mean I only get weekends to fish day light hours due to working Monday to Friday 7 till 4, which can see me forced to fish the sheltered harbours and beaches with the lighter gear rather than hunting down the winter wrasse which are still showing in good numberS. Fingers crossed for some decent weather over the xmas break, where I will be making good use of having 10 days off work! my last proper outing on the Portland rocks marks saw me give the Major Craft KGLights rod (rated 1-10g) an absolute spanking, the first few hours of fishing round Portland bill saw me land a handful of smaller wrasse on Marukyu Isome and small Grass Minnows.
It was only when I used a good old fashioned ragworm head hooked on a size 16 hook did the bigger fish show their faces, first few casts saw me bend the KGLights double, seriously this rod has a backbone and can put the pressure on a decent fish, watching the solid tip slowly bend with little resistance to the point you know the fish has the lure/bait in its mouth, but doesn’t realise its hooked is something I’ve never experienced with a tubular rod.

I was joined by Mr Craig Allington just in time before the fishing cooled down, we must have had four or five fish each, with a couple of decent sized 2-3LB wrasse, I had one fish that felt and ran like it was easily 4LB plus, but handed my back side to me on a plate. Both me an Craig were absolutely gutted that we didn’t get to see this fish because the 20 second or more fight it put up was epic.

I was lucky enough this past week to be invited to the Portland Sea Angling Group`s annual group meet as I have been asked by Mr Paul Burridge to help out with some LRF, HRF & plugging teach and show days for the club, which for the progression of the sport I’m happy to do so, the club has already been given so much support for Lure fishing by Chesil Bait n Tackle and major suppliers Tronix and Ecogear, there are plans ahead to get schools and youth clubs onboard and charity events throughout the year,  the one thing that stood out big time at this meet was the awareness of catch and release which is something I’m a firm believer in, yes there is a lot of politics revolving around scoring for comps and leagues etc, but for the future  of our sport, it`s a positive move that we may not see the benefits from but our children and grandchildren will.

The New Year will see me putting up a few different styles of blog posts, with guest writers and interviews with some of the top anglers who you hear about, so to kick things off I would like to introduce my partner in crime Lauryn AKA Lolly Pop.
Now looking back over this year, we have had our ups and down with health and life, but this girl has proven herself as an angler and has put more time in on the water than most of the guys I know, taking all the harsh conditions, slips and falls in her stride, there has been blood sweet and tears... literally! Having to deal with my style of teaching isn’t always the preferred style of many, but she has listened and learnt, picked up the books I’ve shown her, read the websites and links that I would email her and sourced much of her own reading material to learn from. Being a mother of 2 and holding down a fulltime job she makes me proud to fish alongside her... so here is Lollys story of her first Flounder which I am glad to say was caught on Lure.
You know sometimes you just get that 'fishy feeling' ? Well Sunday evening was a day for that feeling. I'd been determined not to end 2012 having not caught a lovely wonky faced flounder and with less than 3 weeks left of the year I was cutting it fine!

We headed down to weymouth harbour to a stretch of sand/mud bottomed sea where a good few flounder have been caught over the last few months.
Using my MajorCraft Solpara I set up with a size 10 hook on 3lb fluorocarbon and half an XL red Marukyu Isome with 2 AAA splitshot weights: one on the 'nose' of the lure and one 2/3 inches further up the line.

I fished the water within 20ft of where I was stood as if there is one thing i’ve learnt from watching others catch flounder its that they usually hang out within a few feet of the harbour wall.

Bopping the lure on the bottom in a similar way to wrasse fishing with the occasional more pronounced 'lift' to bring the lure a few feet off the sea bed seems a favoured method for catching the attention of flounder... presumably because of their upside down faces and because of their bottom dwelling nature they like to see their food swim above their heads!. Before long I felt the most bizarre bite ever... A strong distinct pull in place of the usual 'tap tap tap' I’ve become used to feeling. This initial pull was followed by further firm 'pulls'

 Bringing the fish gently to the surface and catching the first glimpse of what this ‘pulling’ thing was i was so excited when i saw it was the elusive flounder that i’d been chasing for what seemed like an eternity: and just in the nick of time!  I'd done it!! Nearly... Just had to land it now!

 As it came up to the surface, as seems characteristic of flat fish it shied from the street light and headed back down! Loosening my drag off in an attempt to prevent the hook from pulling or the light line from breaking I let the fish take line and eventually with a little coaxing i got it over to Will who was waiting with a net. This now leaves my species count for 2012 at a nice round 20 :-D Phew! Mission accomplished! Next please :-P
Hope you enjoyed that guys, something a little different than me waffling on, this last Tuesdays LRF meet saw us have some visitors from as far as Bath, Adam Venn, Steve Spencer, Tim Evans and this guy Jim who I bumped into a few months back and spoke about LRF and all things lure related.
Fishing was extremely tough, according to the weather man it was the coldest night of the year, I managed a few gobys on bait and lure and a few others on the LRF meet caught a couple Pollock and whiting using isome, fingers crossed these guys come back for another visit in the spring when conditions are a little warmer and the fishing is a darn sight better!
Hope you enjoyed the read folks, I’m hoping I shall be able to write another blog post between now and Xmas, but if I don’t I wish you all a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!
P.S. Here are a few gift ideas for anyone who hasn’t got me a present yet....


Saturday, 1 December 2012

Light Line Advice & Late Seasons Beginners Luck Portland

Something I keep hearing here and there, is that people are struggling with some of the lighter PE lines that they are investing into, be it wind knots, leader knots and general care, now there is no doubt that some of the PE lines that have been slowly entering the UK market from makers such as Sunline, Varivas and YGK are incredible, the day I started using the light game PE lines last year was a turning point for myself and in some cases took my fishing to new levels, but trust me it hasn’t been all plain sailing, I’ve had my fair share of bank account breaking wind knots that have put a session to an abrupt end, now I’ve heard and read so many different bits of advice about preventing wind knots like under filling your spool (which certainly helps) and wetting your new line before spooling up, but the biggest and most effective bit of advice that I came across was... After each cast check your spool and line lay, now to any armature anglers out there this could mean anything so I’m now going to try and kill two birds with one stone and explain this without going into two much detail.  
Check out the picture above where the arrow is pointing, this is damage from a fall, either by myself or when I’ve lent the reel to someone, it happens to all of us at some point while out fishing on slippery rocks or when trying to land a fish etc, I’m properly becoming one of the biggest self confessed  tackle tarts out there, but this is the reason I normally don’t buy into over expensive reels that in one season could end up worthless, this is just minor damage but can have an expensive knock on effect where expensive braids are concerned especially the lighter kind, this next picture high lights just what can happen.. The begging of a nightmare.
This situation normally occurs as soon as you flick the bale arm over after a cast or if you’re really unfortunate when using surface lures when there is repetitive slack in the line during the retrieve while using poppers, this however normally goes unnoticed and where under filling your spool greatly helps, if you were to carry on reeling in and filling your spool with your line like this than on your next few cast you are almost guaranteed an epic wind knot or a loop of knots that would either mean losing a casts worth of line or cutting out the knot and rejoining your mainline, which if you have OCD like me, will drive you wild knowing it’s there and could become week point while playing out a fish.
If you are having these troubles I suggest you have three options, one spend out on a new spool or two spend out on a new reel, which in some cases a spare spool can cost as much as £50 plus for the likes of Shimano Stella’s and Van Staal`s. OR option three which I have been doing now for a couple years, polish out the small dents and scratches, when using Light Game PE lines even small scratches across the spool lip can cause loss of casting distance and accuracy, increased line wear as the abrasive scratches on the spool will gradually cut the micro fibres that make up the line, I normally use a very fine grit wet and dry paper and gradually polish out the scratches taking away as little material as I can, getting carried away here and removing silly amounts of material can cause you even more trouble so a little common sense is required, if you have access to a lathe then a consistent amount of material can be removed and polished being as careful as possible, It may not look pretty and shiny but at least it will save you a small fortune.
The past few weeks here in the south west have seen some absolute dire weather, with major flooding being seen across the nation, the problem with the flooding is all that water inland will eventually head out to sea and in that process knocks out one of my favourite places to fish.. Weymouth harbour, if I was so some up what the harbour looked like earlier in the week I would say one word MUD, from past experiences I know it’s just not worth trying the harbour there is plenty more sport to be had by travelling out of town a little, as did the Tuesday night LRF crew, who ended up at Portland Bill for the evening.
To my surprise most of the small group that braved the weather brought the bigger bassing gear in hope of a late season silver bar or some bigger Pollock, but sadly nothing showed for the guys using larger plugs and even Bait which surprised me, the few that brought LRF gear won the day with a handful of hard earned Pollock, check out Mike and Lolly here with the fish that saved their day.
I feel sorry for the above fish!
Today I woke up bright an early to picked my old work colleague up Iain for a trip down the East side of Portland, after defrosting the car and putting on my thermal socks for the first time this year, I could tell this was going to be an awesome morning, there was little to no wind and the past few days have been very settled, so I was expecting some crystal clear waters and some perfect conditions for some wrasse action.
Sorry about the small smudge on the lenses.. So annoying
Iain’s fishing experience is very minimal and I had my fingers crossed for something decent to show, lending him the7.3 Century HPR I decide to keep the morning simple and get him used to bites, and fighting fish I decided to take some of Chesil Bait n Tackles awesome ragworm, soon enough Iain was smiling and pulling into a decent fish! Talk about beginner’s luck, that’s Iain’s first Ballan Wrasse!!
Seriously, well done Iain mate, well chuffed for you!
I was switching between ragworm, Marukyu Isome and Burkleys Gulp worms throughout the morning with mixed results, trying to distinguish which is better is a hard decision, as all three have their pros and cons, standard ragworm got a lot of attention from smaller fish and doesn’t last on the hook for long, isome singles out the slightly larger fish, yet struggles to stay on the hook due to its soft nature, Burkleys gulp worm stays on the hook a lot longer but gains less attention.
BUT its early days and making any final decisions will take a lot more time, I will properly find that each bait has a time and place where they will out fish each other, time will tell.
I managed a few half decent fish out of a small glory hole that seems to throw up fish every time I fish this area, accurate cast are required to run the edge of a submerged boulder just visible on a sunset, and nearly invisible on a sunrise due to the sun being too low.
Hope you enjoyed the read everyone, fingers crossed the good fishing will last through the winter and the settled weather continues, I had a small LRF session yesterday after work in the harbour, and conditions have defiantly improved with a few bites here and there, no Flounder this time round but plenty of larger scorpion fish and gobies to keep our selves occupied.

Friday, 16 November 2012


Well this has to be one of the best weeks I’ve ever had where my fishing is concerned, firstly I’ve had yet another new species to add to my 2012 LRF species count, which was certainly an amazing catch on LRF, but I’ll get to that later in the blog post, the local waters of Weymouth have really started to swing into winter action with species like whiting showing in good numbers now, The flounder fishing has been amazing the past week, check out this cracker I caught on the Tuesday night Weymouth LRF meet...

The Weymouth LRF scene is starting to take on a life of its own over the last few months, the small groups of friends that I’m meeting around the harbour most evenings is starting to grow, only last night I was walking along and saw a commotion, when I got there it was Bass man an LRF angler Craig Allington reeling in a prime looking Bass.. I believe that was his first LRF harbour bass, top skills mate, May it be the first of many!
We were also joined by Alan Banks the main man behind the site Lure Factors, this guy is one of the only guys out there supplying all you need to create your own lures in the UK, if your into the wrasse fishing game, and the fishing is hot you will soon start seeing how fast wrasse will chomp through lures creating a hole in your wallet in the process, I had a go at making lures back in the summer and it is dead simple, just watch some of the clued up videos on Youtube.
So at the beginning of this post I mentioned that I have had a new specie to add to my 2012 LRF species hunt, Now this fish came as a massive surprise while searching for my illusive dragonet that everyone seems to be able to catch but me, but this species I’m being told could be a first from Weymouth harbour let alone on lure tactics in the UK, it may be small but I am dead chuffed!!!!
Queue drumroll..... SOLE!!!!!!
Big thanks to Rob for the quality photos..
Quote Lolly; "This sole has more sole then a shoe shop"
To finish off the this blog post I’m going to leave you with a bunch of fun photos from the past few weeks, like Richard from Dorset Fishing Rods first Sand Smelt and Lollys first lesser spotted leaf fish!
For those of you that know about the Movember charity craze.. Check out the LRFer MoBro Iain.
Tight Lines!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Quick update.... Flounder and MC KG Lights Rod

Going to be a quick blog post to keep everyone up to date, A lot of the flounder marks around Weymouth have really started to heat up now, hitting them on lures is a challenge but once you nail it proves a huge amount of fun, I suggest for anyone looking to target these species to try with good old fashioned bait tactics until you have confidently found their feeding grounds. Check out Mr James Fulton Standley here with a healthy looking flounder he caught last week, I believe he was using his Major Craft Zalts LRF rod with a 3.5 cone weight with a small Aberdeen hook and ragworm, I turned up to watch the last 30 seconds of James battling out this flounder.


Something that I have been told in the past but only now starting to understand and have confidence in is that Flounder will stay close to structure and follow harbour walls and reef structures, obviously finding the sandy, silt ground is key basics for flounder, but casting up harbour walls and running the shadows of street lights has seen me finding more flounder, normally they will come out of nowhere and hit your lure or jigged bait super aggressively!

Shame about this next picture, but I was a  good 5 minutes walk away from where this fish was caught, I’ve been running a small comp for the Weymouth LRF meets for the first person to catch and land a flounder on any LRF tactic be it bait or lure, surprisingly a good few weeks have passed before anyone actually tried hard for it, and yet again Mr Simon Harris came up trumps and landed his first ever flounder on Isome, Simon went all out for this fish creating his own special receipt sauce and lure rigs. Big well done mate!

Soon after Simons Flounder I managed to hook up this stunning sand smelt another new LRF species to my 2012 list, Looking at this picture you can really see why so many of the mullet pattern lures work over sandy beaches like Weymouth and Ringstead, Just check out the reflective colours of this fish.

For the first time in ages I actually managed to fish in day light hours, wind an tide conditions were looking really good for some MuRFing fun along the Portland Bill rock marks, I could have easily of taken the HRF rods, but making the decision to go light from the start was the key to success, Both me an Lolly were into fish from the word go hitting wrasse an Pollock, Lolly even manage to pull out a Tompot Blenny out of some rougher than average conditions.


The Major Craft KGLights rod is proving one hell of a beast, with such a sensitive tip section and powerful midsection you would be surprised of what this rod can do just reading the numbers and descriptions in the catalogue, this rod has serious fish stopping power!

Due to the soft tip section at first I kept losing fish because myself and rod was allowing fish to get to ground before I pull that rod into its power curve, the trick to this rod is to have your clutch tight and slam the power down as soon as you know the fish is hooked, as soon as I realised this my catch rate went through the roof, the added sensitivity allows me to work 3g Texas rigs at range perfectly, as long as I slammed the hook home on a positive bite it was a 100% hit rate.


Here`s Lolly with the final fish of the day, a stunning typical Portland Wrasse, Both me an lolly have been using the New XL isome, which so far has been an absolute game changer of bait Lure hybrid! I can’t wait to see this stuff hit the shelves.

Until the next time...
Tight Lines!