December Update

December 31, 2015

Sorry for the late update but I did manage another trip out this month on the 13th. Really interesting session not just because I caught something (!) but more for the venue and method.

My old hunting ground had proved fishless this year and although I should really keep revisiting; when there are beaches more local it’s difficult. My original choice was out-of-bounds due to some MOD activity so plan B was hatched rather quickly. I arrived and was soon set up as I am now down to one rod, an extended freshwater rod rest and a small rucksack.

Now this was a higher than normal tide and the venue is known for its run and weed during such times, so it took a bit of searching before I could find a spot where a 2 1/2 oz lead could hold bottom and keep out of the weed. But that’s the beauty of this set-up as you can up sticks in an instant. To be honest, until I found a spot I thought it was going to be a wasted trip as the weed was proving very difficult, as the rod was almost parallel to the beach due to the small rod rest, allowing the line to pick up every bit of passing weed.

Fishing in close with a large lump of mackerel, laying down next to the rod I was soon enjoying the conditions. After a couple of hours I was becoming resigned to another blank when for the first time this year the rod took a savage knock. In an instant I was up by its side, but as time passed I started to convince myself that maybe it was a larger wave that caused it when the baitrunner screamed as the line was taken viciously to the right. The bass ploughed up and down parallel to the shore line before eventually allowing itself to be beached helped by an oncoming wave.

It was in fantastic condition and measured 24 1/2″ (between 6 to 6 1\2lb) and I was very happy to see it swim away strongly. However I was not so happy when I discovered that the two pictures I’d taken had failed to save to the memory card as I’ve never had a bass in December before. That will teach me to not check the camera before setting off!

Well I got one in the end and will continue to try this winter if the weather holds out and will keep you updated. May I wish everyone a Happy New Year and a fished filled 2016

Fresh water is calling…

November 11, 2015

Well that was rubbish, 4 trips and not a touch, and I used up a weeks holiday to boot. Last week I was bemoaning my lack of success on a local fishing forum and they suggested that as the bait fish are still hanging around the harbours, that’s where the bass are likely to be.

So I’ve ignored that advice and continued to fish from the shore! In my defense we’ve experienced some great onshore winds this week and very mild conditions, so I’ve sneaked out a couple of trips before work, but once again not a touch, unless you count a snatched run from a schoolie. Give it its due though it had a good go considering the size of the mackerel I was using as bait.

Not giving up on this year just yet, but 2016 could well see my attention return to freshwater. At least I know they are there even if I’m not catching!

What a load of rubbish. Most years, I start early full of enthusiasm and flog the waters for an early bass, but as that has produced next to nothing for the last couple of summers, I’ve decided to play it cool and wait for the bigger girls to arrive. So far that hasn’t worked either.

During the down time the plan was to stock up with fresh mackerel for later in the year, but apart from two trips when they magically appeared – that hasn’t worked either. Last year I didn’t catch any so I should be pleased with the six I caught this year (yes, that’s right just six) but they’ve already been used up in my attempts for the bigger bass.

Looking back at earlier blog entries, I decided to also look back at old tide times and realised there was a pattern emerging over the years, so it was with real, genuine excitement I fished a few trips at the right spot and at the right time at the beginning of this month – surely lightening couldn’t strike three times? No it couldn’t.

The only thing that may have stopped all the planets from aligning was the Easterly wind, but I’m not sure. However the times are all queuing up again at the end of the month, so I have taken a week off work to give it my best, and even after all these years it feels like I’m waiting for Christmas to arrive.

My very good fishing companion has also disappeared like the bass and the mackerel, and I do hope all is ok. Although we very rarely fish together, we fish the same spots and give each other on-line encouragement in our pursuits, but perhaps his own bass mania has run its natural course. I hope not.

I’m off now to count the days to Christmas and will of course report back later, that’s if I don’t sneak open a present early.

Mad for it…

August 23, 2015

A beautiful morning although the sea was strangely moody considering their wasn’t a breath of wind. I was after mackerel again.

Earlier I had walked past 3 lads who were still enjoying a night out. Two of them were new age hippies with the third just hanging on to the thin line of normality and I imagined him struggling with the 9 to 5 grind stone as I walked past.

Couldn’t get out last night due to forgetting that we were taking Thomas out for a meal to say well done for his exam results but in the space of 24 hours it all felt very different, frustratingly so.

Working along the shore line for no reward I happen to come across the 3 lads swimming in the sea. Earlier my mind was wandering and I was thinking about my friends who also like to share the good times and it crossed my mind that after a good night we could also watch the sun rise from this point on the beach – but the thought of skinny dipping has changed my mind somewhat!

The weather changed, the wind picked up and there was more than a hint of rain in the air. As I was leaving I once again came across the group of friends, one of them who appeared least affected by the nights activities asked how I had done to which I gave the usual reply. I then suggested they were very brave to have had an early morning swim,

‘Brave! Fucking mad more like…’

A scattering of Mackerel

August 22, 2015

Typing this annoyed as I should have returned from another trip this morning, but woke up and then fell asleep dreaming that I was up and getting ready to go. The reason for the planned early trip was that I went out last evening for another attempt and managed to bag a few Mackerel.

But it was a frustrating trip as when they appeared they were very few in number, almost an apology for a shoal, and the weed made any form of presentation impossible. Eventually I found an area that was free of weed and managed to hook up a further two to join my earlier catch and a Scad also joined the bait bag.

I’m hoping to go back out tonight but the weather is already looking doubtful and if I do I will revert back to the small 8ft bushwacker and braid set-up as I’m not enjoying the sponginess of mono and my wrists are killing me this morning!

Hope and expectation

August 18, 2015

Been waiting for a break from this constant wind and hoping that a couple days of settled weather would bring the mackerel out from where they’ve been hiding for the last couple of years. Well it finally arrived, and with a set of decent tides as a bonus I trotted off hoping to stock up for bass later this year.

Conditions were if anything better than expected when I arrived and I was soon making my way along the shore full of expectation and hope (in that order). Casting out a set of feathers, working an area, then moving on 20 paces was the well worked routine but nothing was showing by the time I reached a resting point, in fact it was all looking pretty bleak as I sat down with a resigned thud of disappointment on the shingle.

While having a bite to eat, I notice to my left a small boat not much bigger than a dingy approaching and it was soon anchoring up about 10 yards off shore. He had a look of an old hand despite his casual attire as he was waiting for his anchor to take hold and everything on board looked right, in fact everything said to me he was a commercial.

A couple of days ago a freak gust of wind lifted my glasses from a pub table and dropped them on the floor in the process smashing them, so my vision was slightly blurred as I observed from my vantage point. Two rod were quickly deployed with what looked like sand eels or small live baits and sent out to their chosen spots. Rods were then recast after a maximum of 10 minutes and held every time a bite was evident, if it failed to develop it was then left to rest but not before mending the line to take the bait further out. All the while looking over his shoulder in case some one was approaching

In quick succession he bagged 5 bass most undersize, with only one returned with no respect for its well being or for the future of our sport. I can only assume it was chucked behind the boat in the hope that it wouldn’t return to the shoal. One bass needed the use of a landing net which from my vantage point I would estimate at around 4lb

I made my way back casting here and there more in hope than expectation (in that order) before making my way back home. It was good to know that there are some bass around this particular patch but I very much doubt they will be around for much longer…

A lone cormorant flew past less than a foot above the soft waves and settled on a spot that I assume was gained from years of experience. The morning was mild and calm and the tide had just reached low giving me a couple of hours before I would be forced to return home. In the distance another hunter was working the sea bed back and forth but appeared to be getting very little return for their efforts reflecting mine, although I was just sitting allowing a crab bait to gently roam in the slowly turning tide.

Looking at the entries I can’t understand how I have missed half a year – but I have. I’ve had a few trips out for the smooth hounds and that’s about it really with only a couple of pups to report. The usual summer species seem to get later and later every year and we are still waiting for mackerel to make an appearance, which does help to explain my lack of reports.

With no action on the baited rod I used my second to cast around a weedless lure among the now rising kelp beds and soon found myself competing for territory with the earlier cormorant. But it all felt a bit lifeless, so with no further activity I had one last cast deciding my time was up before I was pushed off my mark by the incoming tide.

Pre-Christmas trip

December 29, 2014

Must have read the tide time wrong again and after a hurried phone call to confirm my mistake made a quick walk to a mark that was no where near where I was intending to fish. I had been waiting for these conditions and times to come together for a while now and to get it wrong was very frustrating.

Although I had missed the magic hour I quickly set up in double quick time and soon sat back looking at the conditions that would have been great 2 hours ago, although in truth a decent bass at this time of year is a bit like finding a needle in a haystack.

Two and half hours later I am on my way. I will definitely need to get my act together if I wish to be successful this winter, so I gave myself a bit of a talking to on the way home.

Just a small milestone

December 27, 2014

In the scheme of things not particularly impressive and from a blogging point of view not a great milestone… but today I have just recorded 5000 views on my site. When I started 4 years ago I soon realised that far from being a record that everyone would want to read and share, it was to become more of a personal diary for me to look on back with a warm heart, and maybe remember events and emotions that I had forgotten.

To everyone who has contributed to my small milestone and for those who continue to re-visit these pages thank you, this fool really appreciates it.

Every cast a coconut…

December 6, 2014

Three young lads, I’m guessing two friends and a brother that had to come along, trudged past me on a deserted beach. There seems to be an unwritten rule in angling that says no matter how many miles of beach there is you must fish as close to anyone who is fishing, so it was no surprise when they set up camp next to me.

I will give them there due though, it was a respectful distance. As my fishing was poor I was able to observe them getting along and it was great to see them working together and helping each other out. One of the pack was the expert, although his freshwater rod bag gave the impression that sea angling was still relatively new to him and it also looked like all the equipment was new, so I could just imagine the earlier excitement of the trip.

They were soon set up and casting out as far as they could however the younger brother had to be given tuition in the art of distance casting. He took the instructions well, learnt quickly and it wasn’t long before they started to see a steady stream of whiting hit the beach. Although there fish handling will improve over time it was great to note the fish being returned, however most floated past me, belly up. But what a contrast to when I was younger when every thing was kept regardless of size.

Is this a sign of a significant step change in attitudes or because of their freshwater back ground? I hope its the former. As time progressed the chilly easterly grew colder and out came there bags of food lovingly prepared by their Mums, it was then becoming noticeable who was really enjoying their day. Two of the lads started to talk and play with each other while one turned his back and rod to the others and fished with real enthusiasm for the task and got his just rewards.

He discovered a band of whiting about 50yards out and just couldn’t go wrong for they were there in plague numbers, every cast a coconut. I packed up before dark wondering how long the band of brothers were to continue with their quest and pretty certain that at least one of the lads would be back.