Monday, 30 May 2016

Watching and waiting

I had a few options today and decided to fish for Sea Trout again following on from Friday night’s success. The forecast and tide times suggested I would be better off making an early start, it would be pretty difficult conditions from mid-morning onwards. For once, really nice bank holiday weather.

I’ve started to fish a stretch of coast which is new to me, the only way to get to know it is be there. I’ll probably take a few hits along the way but there are few shortcuts.
Sea Trout soup! 150 yards of weed and small marine life.  There were Terns, Cormorants and a few other birds having breakfast as I sat and watched for signs of life. I saw a couple of fish moving around but it was impossible to fish of course and too deep to wade to the far side of the weed line. It didn’t stop me trying right enough.  The ebbing tide sucks these sands dry and the fish are there hoovering up whatever they come across.
There were lots of sand eel around, as many as I’ve seen in this part of the world. The Sea Trout weren’t short of food items today. I managed a couple of fish and lost another one deep wading in the tidal flow. By late morning I didn’t feel there was much point in hanging around but I did anyway. Sometimes it’s just useful to observe, something I'm not particularly good at a lot of the time.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Keep making the casts

Sometimes it just feels and looks kind of fishy despite the barren hours you invest in a day. Keep thinking, moving and making the casts, you might just come across an opportunity.
The fish gave itself away and I was lucky enough to be in a position to cover it. What a cracking Sea Trout. One I shall remember for a long time.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

The Godfather v The Godmother

I’ve been lucky many times over the years, the hooks hold, the knots stay tight and I’ve found myself in the right place at the right time either by luck or some knowledge. From time to time, like everyone else I pick up a few accidental captures along the way.
Some you win- some you lose from Martin A on Vimeo.
I was genuinely surprised by the size of this Pike. It was hooked on heavy drop shot gear while fishing for Perch, Spro Godfather 3, 5-28g and 8 pound Suffix 832. I took my time and let the gear do the work. It was hooked right in the centre of the top lip. In the end, the hook must have worn a hole and popped out just when I got to a boat with a net big enough for the job. I took this option as I didn’t want to risk breaking the fish off handling it on this gear.

No shortage of bait around
My new rod is a little long in the butt section. I'll probably take something off this as it was pretty awkward at times. One of these things when you buy blind, there were no dimensions on this element of the rod published.
I kind of regret not having this with me. Space is limited and it would have been overkill on a Perch session. I hope I get a shot at a fish like that again when I actually start targeting them. The Perch fishing on Saturday was average and the fish were small, early days though, a big stripey will come along soon.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Shadered-new place, new species

Myself and Scott hit the road last week in search of Twaite Shad on the River Barrow at St Mullins. Having spoken about this trip last year we didn’t get around to it. So we made the late evening crossing to Belfast and drove down to the Republic during the night. It seems the fish arrived on the Wednesday, we got there at 5.45am on the Friday morning. The timing in this respect was just about right. Scott had his first fish at about 6am, I blanked after losing 5 in our first session.
I picked up some sound advice from a fella called Jay at the start of our first evening session that proved useful. I broke my duck and ended up having a great trip with 48 Shad from Friday evening to Sunday evening.
I didn’t manage a Shad on the fly but I did spend some time trying. For the most part the fish were deep and either near the far bank or mid channel. If I had dedicated a full session to this method I would probably have got a few, they would have gone well on the fly gear. A lot of the bank is not suitable for fly fishing  but it is certainly possible on some sections.
The river is tidal for about 40 miles and the transformation over the course of the larger tides is something else. The first set of big tides in May heralds the start of the Shad run. More general information about the species can be found here.
It is not advisable to park your car at most spots along the path over the top of the tide
The end of the road for the Shad as they are not able to pass this weir
I can’t say I liked the Tasmanian Devil to start with but it was certainly effective when I found out how to work with it. The most used lure on the river and I don’t suppose it pays to ignore local advice.
Never leave your waders in the digs!
Sometimes the spots on the fish were clearly defined
What you catching in there Scott?
It’s an interesting species, scenic venue and it was a sociable trip in terms of the people we met. 
40 hours with no sleep at the start of the trip, a minor car accident( sorry Scott) and 3 countries in a pair of slippers as a result of wet boots. We should be back next year for another crack at the Shad run. I'll  drive the next time, it's the least I can do. Thanks to Scott for some of these images.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Windy and weedy

I was back in the salt today, thankfully it didn’t rain much. It was however the kind of day that would have many an unhinged windsurfer frothing at the mouth and polishing their board till midnight in anticipation of the day ahead (do they even do that?)

Almost despite myself I found a couple of Sea Trout. The phrase “fishing like a dick” hasn’t been used for a while on here but it applied today. Sometimes the fish come easy, sometimes not and today made me even more appreciative of the guys and girls who choose a fly rod as their weapon of choice 100% of the time.

As I picked hooks out of a variety of objects in between various tangles I was reminded of a recent re- tweet I spotted on a well-known Bass guide site. Said slightly tongue in cheek I would I imagine.

“Saltwater Fly fishing is for people who think they are so clever that they have to make it hard for themselves!”
I’m not that smart but I’m daft enough to have a go, even today.
I had a decent line out and had just pulled it straight, the fly was sinking and was taken on the drop. The fish then went on a nice little run taking the few remaining feet of line out the basket and I was straight on the reel. Satisfying....

I had to literally dig this one out of the weed with the net followed by tying yet another leader.
With some luck the next blog post should include some of these. I might even use the fly rod ( for a little while at least)
Twaite Shad


Sunday, 1 May 2016

Afloat at last

My first launch of the year has been well overdue for some time now. I put the roof bars on the car on Friday night so I had no excuse. Two minutes from home it was nearly all over as a deer leapt over a hedge, had a refusal at the next hurdle and cut back in front of me. After two heavy applications of the brakes in quick succession I stopped to check the load straps before getting underway again.

When I arrived I bumped into to Derek who I’ve not met since we were in Norway together a few years back. It was good to see him again. We had a laugh and wondered what would go wrong as he too was launching ,in his case his Warrior boat for the first time this year.

I got myself afloat and played around with the Lowrance, looked for my first waypoint and peddled off. After having a look over the first spot I dropped in the H Blok marker float, drifted back from the feature and got in position making a few casts.
The first Perch of the year, what a nice one to start with as well. I was using a Berkley drop shot minnow for the first time, quite like the action and the little foil strip in the centre of the lure.

Last year I became frustrated with GPS lag when targeting what are relatively small features.  It’s amazing how far out your judgment is on open water, even in light winds. This will be invaluable, drop it on the feature and fish around it. I even switched the fish finder off the conserve power.

The size of Pike that gets you hoping your 2.5 inch lure has been snaffled by a really big Perch.

During one of the many squalls passing through I became snagged in the feature I was targeting. As I manoeuvred the kayak around trying to work the lure free I drifted directly over the snag. The angle became too much for the rod and with a loud pop I now find myself in the market for a new drop shot rod.

The loch was pretty busy today and one spot go a lot of attention from three boats. On the face of it I think they seemed to do better than me. I could have gone home after 1pm. I can’t complain really, ten Perch including a solid 2 pounder and a Pike isn’t the worst start I could have had. I also get to buy a nice new rod J