Friday, 25 February 2011

Slowly Slowly, Catchy Fishy

It's been a slow week for me, with numbers of fish way down on usual totals per session. I've tried everything in my box, managing to get very little interest. The saving grace though, in my opinion, is that the average fish(Pollack) size has been up on previous weeks.

Wednesday saw me meet up with local boys Steve Arries and Mike Sullivan. Action was slow off the mark, so Steve and I moved to a dark and deep corner, just outside of the main Harbour. It didn't take to long for us to find the bites and landed a few Pollack and the 8-10oz class. I hooked and quickly lost a good fish while trying out a creature bait. The take was OTD and I think it may of been down to me striking into it too quickly, the bait was a bit of a mouth full and incidentally, the fish may never of really found the hook. After this, the bites dried up completely.

We moved back to our original mark and fished on. There were a lot of Smelt in the upper layer of the water and to be honest, I was expecting to see a Bass gorging itself, among all this food. No such luck though. For Mike however, lady luck was shining. I was 40 yards away and I heard his drag singing before I spotted where he was stood - Rod arched over and the tip lunging toward the water. Obviously he was in to a good fish, so I made my way over to him to assist with the landing, half expecting to see a Bass in the 2lb class - I was surprised to see a nice Flounder come to the surface. Mike managed to steer it toward a set of steps and I duly landed it for him. It was a notably 'chunky' (pre-spawn?)fish, with plenty of fight in it. We didn't measure it, but it comfortably made 2lb class. A nice fish by any standard.
There have been a few Flounder caught on Light Game tackle in this spot, so they are definitely becoming a realistic LRF target species. Difficult to make out a pattern yet, as they've taken all manor of soft bait's, with all manor of retrieves. This particular fish came to an EcoGear Grass Minnow.

I've had a similar sized fish on a drifted, Giant Xlayer - a world apart from a 1.5'' shad. The aggressive nature of these fish is pretty awesome, know to chase down crab and fish, a spirited fighter on standard lure gear. I can't wait to grab one LRF.
I was lucky to get out last night as well, with the Mrs pre-occupied with Wedding stuff. Joined by Steve and Mike, but also Andrew Younger and Danny Welch. Always good to get out in a group and they're all thoroughly decent guys - which makes it all the better. Things started slow for me(again!), so after a chat with Mike, we decided to expand the field and move on to another mark. This saw us hitting a mark inside of the Tamar river estuary system, fishing in to deep and flowing water over broken ground. Sport was pretty instant for a couple of the group, taking me a while to find the fish and pattern. My final tally was 5 fish, including the Pollack(OTD) above - possibly my best one LRF to date. I'll definitely be visiting this mark again, it seems like it has the potential to hold some fish of a better stamp.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Great British Weather

I've not had chance to get out for the last few days and typically, now that I have a few evenings free for some Light Game - The weather has turned snotty. It doesn't surprise me, I have lived in Britain all of my life. We can have 4 seasons in a day over here. I'll still get out though, got to preserve my sanity somehow... My head is swimming with work and wedding stuff...

Anyhow, thought I'd add a few photo's from last week's Plymouth LRF meet. This time though, taken by local lure fisherman Andrew Younger.

Andrew is a pro photographer, and the shots he took are(as you can see) awesome! By shooting on high ISO with no flash, he was able to capture the mood with the photo's he took. Hats of to the man, he's a keen fisherman and it takes a lot to tear yourself from your rod while others are laying into fish.
The urban setting and lighting make for some pretty special photo's in my opinion. A totally different feel to the wild coastal scenery that you'd usually see while out after Bass.
This week I've spent a lot(and I mean A LOT!) of time selecting a new rod for the season ahead. It'll be coming over from Japan and hopefully be something quite special. This one will be my Bass rod, with a Rockfish rod on the way before Summer fully hits.

I've also been busy planning something pretty special for a few local lure boys and myself. I've not revealed anything about it yet, but I'll be getting emails out this week. Should be pretty special!

Friday, 18 February 2011

This week's light game review....

It's definitely been a week of two half's for me. A session on Tuesday night saw me hit good numbers of  fish on the light gear, with the added bonus being that we were doing a little filming at the time. Nothing serious just yet, but more of a chance to document a part of what's going on.

Name and Shame! Stevie Quinton can't hide the fact that he fished and caught LRF
I think I owe it to my good friend Steve Quinton, to name and shame him as a new LRF recruit, and subsequently drop-out. Although, according to him 'it was rubbish and made him forget how to cast a plug'. That'll be the first person to my knowledge, to state that LRF had a negative effect on his fishing. I guess it's never going to be for everyone, or maybe just not yet.

Scorpion Fish - EcoGear Paramax
Last night was the fortnightly Plymouth meet. I usually nail a good number of fish at this regular session, but last night proved very difficult(for me) with only 4 or 5 fish. I did nail a nice Scorpion fish though. On the whole, it was a very good night, with others hitting in to some nice fish - Including yet another new species for Paul 'Gunship' Gunning, and Ben Field winkling out a nice little Flounder on a top secret Japanese bait.

It's only a matter of weeks now until the next issue of 'The Rockfish Files' is released by the guys behind The new issue is dedicated to Light Rock Fish(LRF) and should make for excellent reading, with contributions coming from some very interesting places.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

No rest for the wicked

Finally managed to get out LRF last night, has been a busy week finishing off Wedding preparations and work is really picking up - for those of you that don't know, my day job is a Recruitment Consultant, supplying labour force to the Construction Industry. It's looking like we're finally heading out of recession now, with plenty of new construction projects surfacing almost weekly in the region.

Anyhow, back to the important stuff. A couple of hours free time saw me heading straight down to a favored LRF mark. This particular mark always holds good numbers of fish, and for that reason has become the home of the now regular Plymouth LRF meet. Spurred on by reports that a couple of local guys had caught Bass and Flounder on the light stuff only the night before, I began fishing with a definite confidence.

I've been fishing this mark a while now and headed straight to a spot that I knew should hold fish, first cast was into a shadow created by a walkway linking the water taxi pontoon to Terra Firma. I let the lure settle, a couple of twitches and was straight in to a decent Pollack. It was well over the 1lb mark, unfortunately a pass of poor judgment on my part saw it shake the hook as I was about to hand line it up the wall - I really must get a net soon.
1st bass of 2011
 During a brief spell, whilst being plagued by Smelt almost every cast, I saw a few fish cruising the surface. My initial thought was Mullet. That is until I cast and saw a single fish swim across the surface and then disappear into the ripples left by the lure's splash down. Twitch...Pause... Twitch... Solid.... Fish on. Even though it had been a while, instantly I recognized the tell tale energetic fight of a Bass, ripping line from the drag effortlessly. An excellent fight that warmed me inside - I could of been out on the rocks, mid summer in a t-shirt.
Bass, Plymouth - EcoGear Straw Tail Grub
Not a big fish by any standard, probably making 35cm class. On the correct tackle though, very good fun. It was also my first chance to try the Rivally RBB floatation vest. Very comfortable, providing unrestricted movement and easy access to lures and tools. Ben @ Art Of Fishing is now selling these vests, but branded with IMA logo's. Not cheap, but I'd definitely recommend one.

While fishing a couple guys from the Lure Forum turned up to fish LRF. Was great to have a bit of company and we discussed that LRF is a much more sociable way of lure fishing. With the concentrations of fish in front of you, there is not much need for rock hopping and yomping the coastline - Although I absolutely love that aspect of lure fishing.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

My Inner Magpie

I guess that in some ways, you really can compare a modern Lure Angler and a Magpie. Both are attracted, quite uncontrollably to shiny, flashy objects. The Magpie has it easy though, he'll never pay £20.00 for a lure!

Yo-Zuri EBA Shad 50mm 4g
I've been looking at lots of smaller hardbody's, primarily used for Bream in Australia and Japan, although there is a big crossover with the Trout market as well.

Bassday Umibaku Shad 40mm 2.6g
Most of these mini wonders are rated under 7g, so can be used with your tube tip Light Game rod. I'm thinking Mackerel, Garfish and Bass this summer on the light gear. I've always been fascinated with Garfish and the way they tailwalk and leap dramatically during the fight, a real Summer light game fighter.
Jackson RA POP 70mm 7g
We're well into February now, the light of evening is slowly, but surely extending its reach. It's always a nice feeling, knowing the Spring and Summer are around the corner. With any luck, we've had our freeze for the winter and the sea temps will creep up a little earlier this year. Was a late start to the Bass season for most people last year, with local sea temps staying under 10c until mid May.

It's a been a very good week so far. Work is busy, Wedding preparations are almost finished and I've had a bit of awesome news from elsewhere. Hope fully I'll be able to expand on that soon, but suffice to say I'm a very happy Matt!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Lighten up, it's just better that way

The Plymouth LRF scene is growing very rapidly, with this week's meet showing around 15 anglers. unfortunately the conditions were set against us, with gusty winds making it very difficult to keep in contact with your jig. I started off the night with 4 fish including a good Pollack in quick succession but was missing loads of bites as I was using a 2.5g head with a #5 hook. Most caught fish in the testing conditions, always great to see the smile on peoples faces even when catching fingerling size fish. Of course though, they aren't all small.
Pollack, Plymouth - Straw Tail Grub
If this light approach to lure fishing keeps growing, we're going to have something massive on our hands. Obviously this Japanese import has been going on for a couple years in the UK , with it's roots firmly set in the Channel Islands. The seeds were sewn, now the growth is steady - How many will we be in 5 years time? How many of the UK's summer visitors will be 'proper' lure fishing targets?
Specimen Sea Scorpion, Plymouth Meet - Paul Gunning
 If the terrain allows, there is no reason why we shouldn't be targeting Bass and Wrasse on this tackle. Obviously I'm not going to be taking 6lb braid out on barnacle covered reefs in windy conditions, but if I know I can 'play' a fish out, then I'm going to take advantage and have some fun. 
Pollack, Plymouth - Spro Trout Sbiro
Had a nice package arrive from Japan yesterday. I used the online shop Rakuten to get my mitts on a Rivally floatation vest. Very nice bit of kit, large pockets will take double sided lure trays and there are d-rings especially placed for your Boga's. There is a small, zipped pouch on the back - probably just large enough to take a small amount of food(I eat too much when I go out fishing anyway!) and a handily placed, insulated drinks bottle holder.
Rivally RBB BV-10
 Obviously the fact that it is built on a buoyancy aid is a huge advantage over other chest packs available in the UK. I do consider myself a capable swimmer, but there are some marks I fish that would involve a lengthy swim if I were to fall in. With 50nm of buoyancy, it wouldn't keep me alive if I were unconscious - but that isn't why I bought it. It is simply there for assistance, should the worst happen. Plus, I think it looks damn cool!
Giant Goby, Plymouth - EcoGear Aqua  Straw Tail Grub

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Straw Tail Grub

EcoGear 2" straw tail grub & 1.8g shirasu fine head #8
A great Light Rock Fish combination lure for sure, catching me plenty of fish whenever used. Excellent using a very slow twitchy retrieve, with lots of pauses. Also very effective OTD and jigged vertical.