Saturday, 27 July 2013

Carp-e Diem

The past month has seen me make some big life changes, one of the biggest being a change of job and a change of career, I've worked in the same company now for ten years as a CNC lathe  programmer setter and operator, for any man or women ten years is along time to stand at the same machines doing the same thing day in day out, I needed change big time. and the change came when I got the phone call for an inspection roll at one of the most advance aerospace companies in the south west, to say I was over the moon was an understatement, not only is this a new job and change of scenery this is a completely new roll all together, new challenges and a whole new roll to learn and sink my teeth into, Just like when I first read about LRF, HRF and plugging, making that first step is the biggest challenge and finding faith in your choices is the first reward, I've been working at the new company now for two weeks and already have that feeling of when I first caught that first bass, the moment you realise that all the research and blanks suddenly starts paying off. 

I owe a massive thank you to the those that have helped me over the past couple weeks get to grips with everything from software to equipment.. whether you guys ever read this or not, I'm truly thankful and one day I hope I can repay the favour. 

So hows the fishing been for me these past few weeks, the sessions I've managed to get out for have all be productive now the summer species have really kicked in to gear, I haven't managed to get up early like i used to to chase some of the bigger specimens, but it hasn't stopped me catching, Me and Lolly were joined by Andrew Mytton for a afternoon LRF session over Portland Bill and we had some great fun testing out some Berkley Gulp sandworms, strait from the word go.. Andrew was slamming fish on the Major Craft KG lights rod. 

Like me Andrew likes to mix it up and see what works best, we used all sorts of rigs from jig-heads to texsas rigging, we even had ragworm at hand, like always the ragworm found small fish strait away, but we lost tackle due not being able to effectively rig it weedless, soon as we used the Gulp sandworms we could fish effectively around the boulders and kelp without fear of snagging, thus finding some the bigger fish.. 

By the end of the evening I was surprised that Andy hadn't hooked a Pollock, right now over at Portland Bill the Pollock are crawling up the rocks, catching them on light gear like we were is awesome fun, I'm sure Andy would advise anyone to have a crack at it, I took Andy to a favourite rock perch of mine in search of that Pollock, determination was on our side, I'm sure it was one those moments when he said "right this is it, last cast" and sure enough, fish on!

Both me and Lolly have noticed a huge increase in the amount of anglers now fishing some of are favourite marks, now I don't believe this is because I have advertised them because some places I fish that I've been shown I wouldn't dare take a picture at, but its the shear growth in the sport, I remember only a few years back I wouldn't meet another guy with a lure rod in his hand, everyone used to fish bait and carry broom sticks around with them, so me and lolly brought a boat, not exactly a big boat but a half decent dingy with a outboard.. I've managed a couple trips out on it so far and already caught a new PB Mackerel, I swear when I hooked this fish I thought it was a bass on speed or something, it ripped the Sunline Rockfish PE off the spool like it was going out of fashion, if only every mackerel were this big in our waters.

(please excuse the picture quality, I'm not going to take £xxx DSLR out to sea with me on a dingy)

Also been catching plenty of Pollock out of Portland harbour, next investment for the dingy will be a fish finder, not necessarily to find fish but to find structure, when your out on the water looking down in to the depths you have no idea what's down there, if there's anything I've learnt over the years is that structure equals fish.

Me and Lolly also managed a quick trip to the lakes for a bit of LRF sporting fun, now we could have taken the easy route and used a pinch of bread on a size 14 hook, but that would just be to easy, we like challenges and when looking through the endless baits and artificials available to us at Revels fishery tackle shop we came across these little dynamite balls!

As you are already probably gathering, my faith in the Berkley Gulp range is growing by the day, not only does this stuff stay on the hook (hair rigged) it doesn't dissolve within five minutes. I managed to stalk the margins for over and hour in search of the bigger fish and still the bollie was as good as new, even after hooking this chunk.

This fish gave me an absolute blast of a fight on the Blue Current 80, this rod goes everywhere with me now, coupled with the shimmano 2500 C14 and Sunline Rockfish PE its an amazing set up, it would pay to say now that a lot of fisheries don't allow the use of braided mainlines, but after talking to the powers that be at the lake, we agreed that using 3ft or more 10LB mono or flouro leader would avoid any fin damage to fish. yes there are a lot of opinions on this subject, but fish safety comes first.

Today I was lucky enough to bump into a really nice chap called Graham Rainbow over at Portland bill, from what I gather he had been trying for a bass with not a lot of luck for a few hours, I decided to pitch a cast just in front of him, it wasn't long and the Blue Current 80 was bending into a small critter of a wrasse.

The fish wasn't of great size, but the chap soon came running over the rocks to investigate what I was doing differently, after a five minute chat and a quick demo about lures and weedless presentation the chap was hooked on the idea of nailing wrasse, I gave him a couple of old Ecogear jigheads I had in my bag along with some new lures I've been trying out for JacksLRF and left him to it, I didn't want to be one of those guys that come along and ruin some guys peaceful mornings fishing by blabbering on about fishing.

I soon saw him waving out to me from his rock and it was like magic to me, this guy had never before caught a wrasse let alone heard about catching them on soft plastics.. and this was his prize, again not a big fish.. but a wrasse all the same, and it was one of those stunning green ones that always look amazing for photos.

I hope he remembers the name of this blog so he gets to see the write up and pictures, I'm sure he's now got the soft plastic bug that's gripping the sea fishing scene here in the UK 

It wasn't long before the weather started to turn, the waves started building and the fish pushed off out of my casting range, my last fish of the day was this small ballan on one of the lures I'm testing out, doesn't seem to matter what colour I use at the moment the wrasse are loving them!

Hope you enjoyed the read and lets hope I can catch something a bit bigger for the next write up. 

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Time for sun cream...

The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the UK is about to have its first proper heatwave of the year, which might make day time fishing a little tougher from my experiences, but get your back side out of bed early enough or fish on through the evenings and results can prove to be outstanding, if you are fishing day light hours, make sure you are prepared, take that extra bottle of water, double check you have sun cream, sun glasses  and make sure someone knows where you are going and when you will be back, one trip in a remote location could spell disaster.. I  have had fishing sessions cut short before because I completely under estimated my water consumption while climbing up and down cliffs like the east side of Portland, when the rocks heat up and the sun hits its highest point, temperatures can sore, also add the fact that the water is reflecting a percentage of the sunlight your effectively getting a double dose.. so look after yourselves! 

So, what's been happening over the past weeks, fishing has picked up ten fold, and I'm hearing reports coming in now of some decent bass catches from all the local Dorset marks, I've said this before and I will happily say it again, around Weymouth and Portland I cant think of anywhere you couldn't cast and have chance of catching that silver bass, don't spend hours trolling the net in search of misleading answers that could be years out of date, get out there and find those fish! 

One of the biggest achievements for myself this month was to receive my certificate to be a level 1 Angling Coach, which with the help of that shark fanatic dude Mr Paul Burridge who encouraged me to do this course, I found simple enough and highly enjoyed the course, I learnt a huge amount, not necessarily fishing related, but coaching skills and people skills, anyone who has fished with me on a long term basis knows all to well that my patience can run thin at times, the course ironed out those creases an taught me coaching skills that aid me to work with individuals, small groups and cater for all situations including health and safety and risk assessments, trust me.. doing a mock up risk assessment to take an individual to a lake fishing for carp can be an eye opener, taking every risk in to considerations, from health of the individual, weather conditions, and terrain hazards such as slippery river banks, tackle being used such as sharp knifes or scissors, makes you think we live in a mine field!

I also met some really decent guys on the course, from novices to pros, salt and fresh water.. this course isn't just for the experienced anglers, but for those who want to help promote and support angling in the way it should be.. coaching, supporting and getting everyone involved from the youths to the elderly is what its all about.. I've seen many side of the angling industry good and bad that has left me bewildered at times, taking part in this course refuelled my enthusiasm and gave me faith that some anglers are not in it just for profile, but for the passion of angling. 

The course was held at Longham Lakes just outside Pool, the training facilities at the modern built cabin were fantastic and the grounds were stunning, check out the ramp and platform for wheelchair access on the lake. I wish I lived closer because seeing the pictures on the walls of the cabin of the fish caught there makes me want to dust off my course fishing gear and chase down some of those monster carp. 

I have been thinking a lot over the winter on where LRF  (light rock fishing) can be used more as a educational method, I know this all sounds strange, but hopefully it will make sense in the end.. I've been fishing LRF now for a good few years, and the knowledge gained not just as a fishing practice but the knowledge gained about species and habitats,  as a bass angler myself I know that sometimes the fish will not feed unless conditions are right, on top of that your lure or bait must be or represent what the bass are feeding upon to achieve the highest chance of catching your target fish. So using LRF and UL (ultra light) tactics to find out exactly what is there can provide you with knowledge that you might have just cast to one side.. I've lost count of how many times I've caught species from locations that for one I wouldn't  have put money on being there.. also we all know time of day effects what species are active, I know that searching for active Pollock at mid day around Portland bill can prove tough, BUT, try for those Corkwings and small Ballan wrasse and its easily fish a cast.. so why not use them as bait or match your lure as these are the prominent species active at thus given time of day, food for thought. 

With this theory in mind I have been keeping a small record of what I catch and where, already I've noticed patterns in bait fish behaviour like these sandsmelt that I caught on the outer wall of the stone pier.. again fish a cast, yet if I fished the opposite side it was micro Pollock and pout, yet at night these species seem to swap sides and the sand smelt spread out and became less abundant. working back into the harbour species such as seascorpions and blennys become more abundant alongside all the common gobys.. all bottom dwelling fish, I hope it all makes sense what I'm typing and that LRF as much as its a HUGE amount of fun to fish this style, it actuality will provide you with a equally huge amount of knowledge.

I've also managed a few very productive sessions with the delightful Lolly and good friend Mr Turner, after showing Lolly how to tie up and use the drop shot rig she ended up showing us lads how its done by pulling in a 17 fish form corkwings to pollock, most of the fish were caught using ragworm I believe, when she found that hole full of fish there was no stopping her!

It wasn't long and we got to hear her drag singing and her Major Craft Solpara bent double on this critter, before we started fishing I knew she wasn't happy and felt under gunned  using LRF gear off Portland as that's all we had in the car, with Lollys skilful playing skills and a high end decent Japanses rod, tackling this fish was no hassle what so ever, and I'm confident she could have beaten one twice the size.

I've been using the Burkley's Sandworms a lot this past week, and I've got to say that I'm well impressed, both on the mini species and the larger species, being a lot more tougher than the isome it lends its self a lot more to being used on Texas rigging with EWG hooks, there is no need to use a assist spring that I have pictured and mentioned in previous posts... 

Hope you enjoyed the read guys,  just like to thank Paul B again for encouraging me on the Coaching Course,  mate.. your an absolute star! and I cant wait for when you complete your level 2 and we can kick a lot of our ideas into touch..