Sunday, 13 December 2015

Thanks for the reminder

Jim occasionally drops in for a look at my blog and I met him for the first time in the summer for a short session fishing for Wrasse. I had an email from him on Saturday which prompted me to think about opportunities that are still some way off at the minute. It was also a reminder that I should consider spending a little more time chasing Sea Trout in the year ahead. The last two seasons I’ve not put much effort in at all. The weather was poor last spring and I seemed to run out of time. Being back out on the coast making casts is always good for the spirit and it’s something to look forward to.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Back on the GUC

I was travelling to the midlands for a meeting on Tuesday so this presented me with an opportunity to have a catch up with my mates Stef & Kerry who stay in Warwick. The GUC is right on their doorstep so I made the arrangements and took Monday off. Travelling down from Scotland on Sunday afternoon the weather was horrendous, five overturned lorries and numerous trees were downed on the hard shoulder. I lost count of the adverse weather warning signs so the conditions on the canal on Monday wouldn’t be great.

I got off to a good start and had a Zed shortly after starting on a pearl dying minnow. The hook came out the second the net touched it, good start, I was pleased to get a fish on the bank.

Things were very quiet despite me covering a lot of ground. I tried various approaches but the fishing was slow. I went back to using the drop shot and got a hook up straight away but the Zed came off as I reached behind me for the net. The conditions were poor with strong gusts and showers so having had enough it was time for a change of scenery and a coffee on the way. The next spot always delivers something but I never leave here with any of the rigs I arrive with. Today was no different.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Swinging 60

Scott’s been closing in on his Jan-Dec stretch target of 60 Scottish saltwater species for a few weeks now. I’ve had a few texts from him in the evenings telling me where he is and what he’s been targeting to hit this number. I’ve been watching the TV with the rain bouncing off the windows. He’s been creeping about rocks and docks, at some points questioning his sanity no doubt.

We got together on Sunday to hit the SW in search of two species, Conger and Three Bearded Rockling. The forecast was good considering the weather we’ve been experiencing and on the drive down we had a catch up and talked fishing till we arrived at our untested mark. We negotiated electric fences and fields with Bulls eventually arriving at a decent spot as the tide was on the flood. Scott didn’t waste any time in getting a bait in the water while I put a plain lead on and made a few casts to suss out what the bottom was like around the spot I had chosen. Two rods were deployed by both of us, one for Conger and another for TBR. We picked up some small Coalfish and Pollack waiting for darkness to fall. These kept my rod tip nodding and held my interest till the main event got underway in darkness.

Expectations are always high as the sun dips over the horizon

Scott picked up an odd double shot of a Mackerel and a Shore Rockling. He commented at the time that fresh bait might just be what was required. This is always a boost to confidence when using frozen bait and it was to prove crucial. Scott had a bite which sounded very Eel like to me. I probably shouldn’t have told him as I’m sure it added a little bit of pressure as he excitedly picked the rod up and hit it. We could both see there wasn’t much weight to it but with two headlights focused on the water a small Conger appeared. I made ready to hand line it up the rocks but Scott decided he would just swing it  up due to its size. My fingers were crossed for him as when you need a fish the most errors can sometimes be forced.

A very happy chap and I was delighted I was there with him when he caught it. Well done mate, fantastic effort you’ve put in to get there.
Having done the same challenge a few years back I know how it can get. I won’t be doing it again, Scott probably won’t. He does however have a short Scottish hit list remaining. I’m sure I’ll get a few more texts when the rains bouncing off the windows and I’m watching TV.

Scott's species hunting madness can be found here Here


Sunday, 15 November 2015

Fantasy Pike

I’ve never really targeted Pike, any I’ve caught in the last few years have been while targeting Perch. Living in Scotland and having access to some quality Pike fishing I’ll be having a look at this in the future. Over the winter and into next year I would like to make more use of my Outback. I’ve not even touched on the potential I have with it so far. Anyway, while looking at some gear I came across this video. This anglers day started with a mild hangover and poor conditions in February, three things that would probably have had me still in my bed. Quality fish don't catch themselves, instead of hibernating we should be out there, you just never know.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Perch on a dour day

I had a half day on the kayak a week past on Monday. The dog had his surgery and was making a decent recovery so I caught a break from dog sitting to head off into the fog and rain. The fishing was pretty difficult and while my usual spots seemed to be holding fishing they proved difficult to tempt. I found more snags than fish in this session losing a number of rigs. Even with the gusting wind I felt I was fishing the snags effectively using the directional guide on the Lowrance to sit just off them peddling slowly to stay stationary and making casts around the target areas. This usually works but various drop shot lures and shads went unnoticed. I did however manage three nice Perch just as the light started fade whilst fishing along the shallow end of a drop off that went from 3ft to 15ft. Bouncing an orange/motoroil Kopyto along the top of the drop off did the trick and the best Perch went about 2.8 pounds. The weather pattern we’re stuck in at the minute sucks!

Perch on dour day from Martin A on Vimeo.

The battle scarred mutt was also neutered, all things being equal he's probably doing better than you or I would be.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Skye diving Pollack video

The second day of my trip didn’t go exactly to plan. The idea was to launch at dawn and catch the light and the period leading up to HT. When I went out to the car I couldn’t believe I had a flat tyre. I had gone down a pothole on my way up from the slip but thought I had got away without any damage. It was Sunday on Skye and my options were somewhat limited. I really didn’t fancy a 6 hour drive all the way home on a space saver and I needed to be fully mobile early Monday morning. When business opened up I made a few calls and organised to meet a mobile fitter in Fort William. This meant I would start late and finish early and not get all the way down to visit Kilt Rock. Poor show given I was all the way up here and the fishing was so good. I made the best of my options and had a few hours on the water. Here’s the video of my trip.

Skye diving Pollack from Martin A on Vimeo.

This cost me what would probably would have been three hours productive fishing!
The Outback’s heel protection has taken a beating but that’s what it’s there for. I’ll replace this in the months ahead and add a few more pieces here and there. There are one or two places I'll need to drag it next year.
Staffin slipway, nice spot to launch but the road down here is littered with potholes if you find yourself here.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Long road to Skye

It occurred to me that most of my fellow bloggers had made this trip already this year and with the favourable weather it seemed like too good an opportunity for me to pass up. 6 hours of driving later, most of which was like gorillas in the mist, without the gorillas. These were substituted by a variety of slow moving vehicles (even when it was safe to go faster than 25mph) Some of the views on the drive up were truly uplifting. The mist and sunlight mixed together layering the landscape so you could never tell what the next summit or bend would deliver as a view, awesome. I’ve got some video but it won’t do it justice. By the time I got to my B&B and then on the water it was 1pm. The fishing was good as well….. Poor Cod, Ballan, Cuckoo Wrasse and Coalies. When the tide turned and the angle of the sunlight changed a little it was time for the Pollack as they weren’t cooperating till then. It was good right up till my GPS ran out of juice and the light was almost gone. No 4am start on Sunday, only 5 minutes to the slip, good news!
Having got ready in a hurry last night I forgot a few items, leader for one, small hooks another. I also only had one Redgill Evo in pearl with me( I have at least four) This is usually a winner in this sort of light and so it proved today. I put a ball weight above it to get it down but eventually lost it to a snag. The Bass Assassin Sea Shad 6 inch in firetail/chart filled its boots. I'm Looking forward to my Sunday session.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Pessimistic optimist

Stewart and I haven’t fished together for a while so we hired a boat and had a day afloat making the most of the unseasonably nice weather. We didn’t have the best start, problems with his fish finder, problems with my back up GPS, I thumped the jetty full on with boat within the first 10 seconds, oh how we laughed. Could it get better? Maybe yes, maybe no, that’s fishing some days; there are worse things to be dealing with on a sunny Friday in October, it’s only fishing at the end of the day.

The first 2 spots were unusually devoid and despite deploying some nice baits and lures which I know should work we didn’t have a fish by 1pm which was odd. On the third move, I was surprised when I hooked a big stripey on my first cast. I was hedging my bets and was already using a lure as the bait settled. At this point I felt we needed as many options as we could muster. I had to drop the lure rod to pick up the other one which was just about over the side of the boat. This ended in a mess as it tangled both lines and I ended up pulling the hook when the fish went between the transom and the engine; enter stage left, the circus theme tune…

Thankfully from here on in it was all action, lots of small Perch but with a handful of nice fish split 50/50 between lures and bait. I’m sure the Perch were using the shade of the boat as cover in these conditions so when it turned with the breeze I followed the shadow dropping down a bunch of worms which resulted in the best fish of the day.
Stewart setting a variety of traps. I'm just glad there was no lightning in the forecast.
Anyone lost a worm?
We were both surprised no Bream showed as we were looking forward to catching a few.  To be fair at one point a bite was a surprise. For a pessimistic optimist I thought it ended well.



Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Good times on the Ebro movie

Good times on the Ebro from Martin A on Vimeo.
I’ve eventually got around to finishing this. 7 hours of video from two cameras reduced to 6 minutes. I dropped the GoPro editing software due to various the problems which I encountered so it unfortunately took me longer than normal. It’s the first video I’ve done for a year so I was also a little rusty. Losing good fish is never easy, when this happens on the last day and the fishing’s already rock hard, well…those damn Zander! Apologies in advance for the language.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Mission accomplished! 4 pound Perch

I intended to catch some big Perch this year and set myself a fairly steep target of a 4 pound fish. I’ve not been out as much as I would have wished, mainly due to the weather. When I have got afloat I’ve enjoyed myself learning the ropes on the kayak, made decent progress and caught some nice Perch.

I’m delighted with this fish. My little Fox drop shot rod was buried to the tip when I hooked it as I peddled away from the snag I was targeting. I was desperate to catch a glimpse of it in the bright sunlight. When I did get my eyes on it I knew it would go close to my target so carefully picked my moment with the net. When the scales settled they were bang on the money, 4 pounds on the nose.

It’s been a great end to a really emotional week, this one’s for you Rodney, rest in peace bro.

Time to go home early- no need to be greedy

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Jigging when you’re winning

Light winds, high pressure, decent prospects and a late start saw me back on Ken again for 12pm. Rather than an early start after a strange week I decided to fish through till dusk. I was here last weekend under extremely sad circumstances. The Perch fishing was good, equalled my PB Perch in the wind and rain, my head was somewhere else though and I don’t remember too much about most of the day.

Today  I was in better form.  I managed a nice Perch on my first drop after marking some fish on solid structure that seems to have appeared from nowhere. I’m sure I’ve been over this spot numerous times and not noticed any features. Two rigs and four Perch later it was time to move on.
As I left the busier part of the loch behind me it felt and looked like a much friendlier place than my last visit, lots of people making the most of weather. Kids in kayaks being coached under the watchful eye of their parents and a birthday party was being planned on the shore. There was bunting being hung up, a sound system and beer being put in  cool boxes for the evening ahead, it was nice to see.
I was caught out by this Pike while taking the hook out and was badly gashed between the thumb and forefinger due to a bad grip on my part.  But you have to except it’s intimate in the kayak.


I picked off some Perch here and there on the marks I’ve plotted but they seemed to be wary of me being on top of them in 10ft-15ft of water as the loch is quite low just now. A Kopyto dropped from 20 yards on to the fishy areas got a better response and I couldn’t see the jig head on the next three fish that I caught.

The best Perch today went 2.9
I worked my way along my usual route switching between  rods, casting a shad and then getting closer to the fish holding areas and then using the drop shot rod I picked up the odd fish before I lost what felt like a lump of a Perch.I suppose it might have been a Pike but one of those it was difficult to tell. I was then led a merry dance  on my little Fox drop shot rod, around in circles, back and forth on a 6cm lure and fluro leader. I could see a couple anglers in a boat about 100 yards, seems they were watching me through their bino’s. We exchanged a few words and I walked the fish towards them, my little net wasn't cutting it. The hook was clear but had the potential to break off if I pushed for a grip. It was better than walking the dug at tea time and the fish went in first time when I got there.
My pic from the yak
Thanks for your help
One for the road
I was met with a party when I got back ashore. This included pipers and a DJ. I had to move a few people to get past after listening to a few tunes out of courtesy. Not my style of music but you can always jig when you're winning



Monday, 31 August 2015

Summer Wrasse wrestling

Summer has come and almost gone and not having caught a Wrasse it was about time to put this right. I had arranged to meet Gordon and Jim at our chosen venue. When Gordon called to tell me he had just arrived I had already lost three Wrasse, one of my first cast. I was hoping it wasn’t going to turn in to one of those days. I had started with a Lunker City Ribster on 7g weedless jig head which is a fairly successful Wrasse set up for me. After covering a few other likely looking areas without another bite I tried a different presentation moving on to a drop shot rig. I went through a few different coloured shads then moved on to Carolina rig with the Ribster. I was sure this would work but it proved to be fruitless. I dug out the jig head I had started with and put on the Ribster, having just started to slowly work it back towards me I felt a tap and connected to a nice fish, it too came off. Each of the fish seemed to have been well hooked, the hook point while not like new was ok, probably just more bad angling from me. Gordon, where’s the ragworm?

I went back to the Carolina rig, changed hooks and it was all business. The rod was nearly pulled from my hands on a few occasions.

A nice Ballan

The first of the Corkwings. Probably the smallest of them here, some of these were knocking on for 5oz+
As Gordon and I extracted Wrasse "words of encouragement" were directed at Jim who had stuck to plastics.
I changed over to using the ragworm  on a drop shot rig which improved my numbers of fish landed.

Jim made a few changes trying some different lures and was rewarded for his perseverance with a run of fish.
Gordon also managed a little Pollack
We had a visit from some Kayakers. Jim asked them get a snagged fish out for him on the way past. Just at that, Gordon hooked up again.
The forecast had rain in it. Thankfully this never came to anything.
Another chunky Corkwing
A great days fishing with a some laughs thrown in. Summer Wrasse fishing at its best.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Ebro Trip-coastal sessions

When we arrived in Barcelona we didn’t waste any time driving straight to Salou to try a likely looking spot Scott had checked out on Google. We spent a few hours on the rocks with me opting to try some small metals and Scott going for  Angleworm on a drop shot rig. Scott started getting a few taps here and there and caught the first fish of the trip, a Ringneck Blenny. Scott landed a few more but I blanked and we decided to hit the road for the next leg of our journey in-land to Caspe.
We hit the coast again mid trip. After an early morning session we finished up at 4pm and drove to L’Ametlla de Mar which was about two hours from Caspe. The venue was a commercial breakwater which looked to host a fleet of seine netting pairs. It said no fishing on the gate but we entered anyway and made our way to end, away from the boats. It had been a long day at that point and I wasn’t feeling particularly positive. Scott however was in his element handing me a rig and directing me to the tub of Angleworm. I had attached the rig to lightest set up I had with me which was my little Ultron drop-shot rod. Scott was still setting his own gear up when my rig hit the bottom, the rod hooped over in a nice curve and the first of few new species for me made its way up the harbour wall. This LRF malarkey in the evening sunshine in Spain was all right!
The bream we were catching pulled hard for their size and when I hooked this I knew it was something different. I had to walk this along the wall and down to the rocks. A smashing looking little fish with copper and purple colours. Scott reckons its a Brown Meagre but he's not 100%
So a nice evening was had before we hit the road yet again. Scott confirmed the ID's of my new captures, Saddled Seabream, Annular Seabream, Black Scorpionfish, Common Two Banded Seabream and what he thinks is a Brown Meagre.
Scott had the above as well as Striped Red Mullet, Damselfish and East Atlantic Peacock Wrasse.



Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Ebro trip- Wels Catfish, Zander, Largemouth Bass and Perch

Well, we're back from a week of sunshine on the Ebro. First off, thanks to Lee Carpenter at Propredator for looking after us. He’s one of the good guys you meet in fishing now and then. He didn’t sugar coat the prospects in terms of how the fishing was, particularly for Zander. He gave us sound advice and worked at getting us on the fish. In a system full of predators and stacks of baitfish it was never easy but we stuck at it with artificials. At times it sapped my confidence and it was hard to work out a pattern on any given day as to what the right approach might be. The fish we were after were there in numbers, we could see Bass, marked countless shoals of Zander and vertical jigged on Cats. On the last afternoon I felt I was just getting to grips with the Zander fishing, typical. I have some good video which will take me while to sort through. Some lost opportunities caught on camera, laughs, a few tantrums and of course the fish we caught. I’ll be back to fish with Lee, there’s a lump of a Zed that nearly gave me a last day meltdown. It’s waiting, somewhere, probably under a bridge grinning. Scott will probably do a more detailed report. I'll put a link on here when he has it written up. Here are some images from our Ebro tour.

Scott's first cat
My first cat
Me playing a cat on my Zander gear. The fish is visible on the screen.
The LMB were skittish.You only had a few casts at them before they went down.
When we found them the Perch were nice to catch in the sun
A Zed on a jika rigged crayfish plastic
Ooofff, pussy power!
They seemed to like a little Berkley Ripple Shad in red/white ripped past them
Scott with a nice one of 82 pounds on one of Lee's Spro lures..He somehow seemed to be cleaner than me after this picture was taken.
Handy for getting to the front of a busy checkout quickly when you visit the supermarket.
My 108 pound Wels caught vertical jigging. "fishing like a dick" was the catch phrase day to day when it was really hot. Now and then we both retained a wee bit of focus.
I caught this on a 6 inch Gary Yamamoto shad in white. Good advice from Lee.
My last Ebro fish. I lost two fish prior to this. One was a lump that I'm still thinking about.