The post I have been dreading as it will be so difficult to get this right!! But this is what we are all about here on the Rockfish Rookie, so Ill try my best to give you my interpretation of what it means to fish an LRF or HRF style. This is my thoughts combined with some info from those I have learnt from either personally or via blogs and reports. The main thing to remember is there are no rules. Any style can be tweaked and refined to fit many different situations. My advice.. experiment, fish and enjoy the journey!! Be your own innovator and fish what works for you. If it catches you fish can it be wrong?? I would say no.. how can it be wrong.
So LRF and HRF ... what is this?
LRF/HRF are fishing styles pioneered by the Japanese over the last 20 years and has been modified and adapted to suit the species of the UK in around 2009. So it is in very young stages in this country. It has been developed and shaped by our angling friends from Jersey and now features widely across the UK. My hometown of Plymouth can claim to be a jewel in the crown of LRF fishing in this country with so many LRF hot spots in accessible areas of the city. This is aided by rich HRF fishing grounds all along the South Devon coast, but a mere stone throw away from the city.
LRF is Light Rock Fishing. Fishing for multiple species on extremely light gear. LRF for me is hitting the harbours, marinas, piers and easily accessible coastline in my area. By light we are talking about rods rated from 0.5-7 or 8g maximum. Remember I said in an earlier post my rod rated up to 113g would be significant. Here is why :) We would be looking to use small lures averaging 1-3" and jigheads/weights from 0.8g to 2g in the main. It also means small metal lures in the 3.5-5g range with a few 7g exceptions. Looks to good to be true?? Wait till you get a decent sized Pollack fighting on the end of this gear... its amazing!!
HRF is Hard Rock Fishing. A broad generalised statement would be its fishing a smaller range of species than LRF. HRF for me is hitting the rocky weeded areas of the coast in my area hunting through the boulders, gullies and weed beds. The gear, seems heavy compared to our LRF arsenal but here we are talking rods rated mainly from 7-22or 28g. Using lures up to around 4.5", but bigger can be used. Here worm weights or jigs in the 3.5, 5, 7 and 10g range are common place, dependant on conditions. Although Wrasse is a common target species for this style of fishing, HRF does not mean exclusively Wrassing!! Wrasse for me is the main fish I look for when I HRF. An aggressive take and use of dirty evasion tactics is the way of this pig :)
Lets start at the bottom and work our way up. So LRF it is...
LRF - Light Rock Fishing
For the best read about this style of fishing I would thoroughly recommend you look up the ROCK FISH FILES #2 from the Jersey Bass Guides Keith and Kevin WHITE. These guys know fishing... seriously know fishing!! Keith and Kevin lay out the complex theory behind LRF in as simplistic a manner as possible for such an in depth subject. They explain methods of fishing like On The Drop (OTD) and I will leave you to visit the JBG forums and site to read up on a subject explained as good as it ever gets.
What LRF means to me is a style of fishing where I can ditch the waders, the wading boots and adopt what I would deem a more "urban" style of fishing. Now that might sound a bit odd but for me to go LRF I would usually be in my jeans and a hoody, in trainers or walking boots. My gear would be condensed into a small Hpa Trooper hip bag (more on that later) and I would have ultimate mobility. Now when I say urban I dont me in the city sewers ;p But im lucky to be living in a city where access to harbours, marinas and coastline is a matter of walking off the main city roads and being in these types of areas within seconds.
I also target a huge number of species from the ultimate in small fish right up to a crossover of smaller HRF species, although a 5lb Wrasse isnt an impossibility on LRF gear (just be careful not to pull it in using your rod). So what can we look at catching.. small pollack are a mainstay of LRF angling. But with this its not unusual to have scad, herring, mackeral, blenny, goby, wrasse, bass, scorpion fish, garfish, flounder, turbot.... if its small enough (with the occasional monster, in LRF terms) then it can be caught LRF style.
HRF - Hard Rock Fishing
Again I point you in the direction of the cracking Rock Fish Files #1 from the Jersey White brothers around HRF for Wrasse. Amazing read and a must for any potential HRF angler.
What HRF means to me is a more "recognisable" style of fishing to most. I would usually pull on the waders and the wading boots. Nice waterproof jacket and my RBB flotation vest (more on that later too). The reason for the change in attire?? Im heading out to the coast. I want rocky heavy weeded terrain. I want nice long gullies and protected pools amongst the rocks. I want swell, maybe some surf and I want it all now!! Again Im a lucky angler to be so close to terrain matching whichever conditions I need. From Basecamp Plymouth Im in striking distance of any number of varied and beautiful marks for this style of fishing.
Species of choice?? Well for me it has to be Wrasse. I love these guys on soft plastics! Aggressive takes and dirty tactics.. love it!! But as I said before HRF does not equal wrassing. So what other species can we expect... Bass and Pollack in the main.
So here we are a very summarised view of these two styles from my point of view with an injection of material and advice from some pro's. Im going to leave it here as this post is getting bigger by the second. I havent touched on the more technical side of these styles..mebaru vs aji rods, techniques and tackle. But I will leave you to do some digging yourselves.
Next post I cover my gear for both these styles and some advice for those starting out about quality versus affordability. In a later post we will look at some of the techniques using that gear to catch fish!!
Till then, tight lines and fish on!!