Friday, 27 July 2012

And now for something completely different....

Right really need to get back to a few more posts so here we go. Angling time has been a little light of late with a sporadic quick session with Mike SULLIVAN when and where I can. Hope to rectify that this weekend. Looking forward to it and trying a new mark I discovered from a recent activity that has had me side tracked ... I'm doing a bit of Geo caching and boy it's superb! Now not going to turn this post into a geo caching update as there has been a simply unforgettable trip that today's post really about. However if any of you haven't heard of geocaching before or done it then I would recommend it and you can find out all about it at . Just tell em TheSeryph sent you ;p

Anyhow the geo caching has been fun and I have managed to tie it into a spot of mark hunting for my Wrasse fishing but this week I had the most amazing fishing experience to date. Monday I went out on the Crusader out of Plymouth Harbour for a spot of Blue Shark fishing!!

Now although we did do a lot of lure fishing for Whiting and Mackerel the sharks were on bait which is the first time I have bait fished in an age. Amazing how all the new techniques I have learnt over the past year and so have dislodged the old bait techniques. Luckily I had my old fishing partner in crime Nik MORTIMORE along on the trip and work buddy Nick BLOOM to help me through the boat fishing again!!

We were greeted by a glorious sunny day at 0700 in the morning as we headed off shore some 25 miles or so and commenced our day out to find the sharks. After a tremendous amount of mackerel and whiting coming up on the lures, a fin!! Everyone became really animated as we saw our first signs of shark activity. We had been waiting hours to see the sharks come in but this one was very cautious and just played with some of the baited rigs we had out in the water. Then all quiet.

We continued to wait out the sharks when more fins approached our rigs area!! Then a sight to behold as two dolphin leapt from the water and arched their way across the open water to the side of the boat! I have seen dolphins in warmer waters abroad and they never fail to really touch a spot somewhere deep in your soul that really moves you. And so the wait continued... we had a take on a lighter rig which failed and so it came to me to take the next rod. One of our floats disappeared into the deep and line started to peel off the reel. Silence..... whizz.... off the line peeled OMG BIG FISH ON!! I took over the rod and the force pulling on the rod was something unlike I have ever experienced in my time fishing. The float was still under the water and not visible until..pop.. it arrived on the surface and moved toward the boat. It was soon that a dark shape could be seen and we sighted the beautiful form of what we found out was a female Blue Shark. Now this is THE biggest fish I have ever had hooked and the pressure was on to land this fish with all the boys watching... no pressure then :))

This is a short vid clip courtesy of Nik MORTIMORE... Thanks mate :)

The Shark circled the boat some 4 or 5 times during a session of over 35 minutes to get it close to landing on the boat. Its a rare thing to actually land one of these fish and this was one of the fewer occasions the Crusader skipper allowed the landing of the shark. I was going to actually handle this thing!!

Finally aboard the Crusader it was time to water the shark down.

Hose down to keep her watered while I try to settle her for photos.
Steady girl I'll need that hand later.

Quick photos before returning it to the water to fight another day. 95lb Female Blue Shark.. boy what a beauty! Big thanks to the Skipper Rick and his crew

I cant describe how amazing this experience was. To be hands on with such a powerful and beautiful fish goes beyond words. Certainly a high point for my fishing times and one I hope to repeat at some point as it was an experience like no other. I hope to finish this post with a vid of the Sharks release and will add it as soon as I can get hold of it.

Till then all.. I have some Wrasse to hunt so tight lines!!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Testing Testing... Vibe (Blade) lures!!

So to another post covering ongoing testing of new gear. This one carries on from the  original testing testing post on metal lures. However I decided to be more specific as I have been exclusively using vibe (or blade) metal lures and had some great results. Its definitely a lure I'm using a lot more on my LRF runs and it's producing well. The weather prompted the return to metal as the wind and rain has been terrible and really left me with little choice!

Firstly the lures. I have been testing some old favourites and a new find, thanks to LRF amigo Tony TOLLER.

First the old favourite, the Ecogear VX35. I have to admit I have been dubious about the use of Vibe lures and the VX35 has been sat in the tackle bag for some months. But as I say the weather has been most unkind to my LRF band of brothers and metal seemed the way forward. The VX35 is a 3.5g sinking vibe lure from the great Ecogear stable. It has a choice of 2 anchor points. A forward point for straight retrieves and a rear point for a more vertical style of angling.

Second was a new find. I have managed to get hold of some JAXON Switch Blade Holo Reflex and Merla Holo Reflex lures. This was packaged with some SPINMAD Amazonka lures.

Top to Bottom - Amazonka, Merla Holo and Switchblade Holo

The Jaxon switch blade lures come in at 4g and are similar to the VX35 other than the switch blade has a third anchor point. The Merla lure came in at 4.5g and with a very triangular head cuts through the water very well. This also has the similar 3 anchor point design of the switch blade. The Amazonka lure came in dead on 5g so was the heaviest of all the lures. It had a simple blade design with most of the weight to the front and bottom of the lure. Again it had the 3 anchor point design.

So to the test. First up to bat was the VX35 which I have in a Ltd Edition colour. I wasn't sure if this brown colour would do much but after moving around at a usual mark I was soon into a hard fighting Mackerel. The VX35 transmits the vibration really well and using the front anchor on a straight retrieve I wasn't surprised the Mackerel homed in on the lure in the water.

So already into fish I cast out around the same area to see if the mackerel were schooling. Shortly after I start the retrieve.. fish on but a weak take. Definitely a smaller fish but I was very surprised when this little fella popped up.

LRF Rock Goby on an Ecogear VX35

This lil fellas must have been hungry as it shoot out to take the lure on the retrieve, first time I have watched a goby take a lure in such a manner. He was very quick to give credit where its due and soon back in the water.

So the VX35 was producing the goods and I cast out again to see what else I could find. Unfortunately the wind blew the lure in a cross wind and landing in a thick off shore weed bed the VX35 was MIA!! Still time to try a session with the new lures from JAXON.

I started with the Jaxon Switchblade holo in the pinky/bronze colour. Casting from a prominent spot at the usual mark for LRF I w3as into a fish on the second cast. Using the Switchblade in a similar manner to the VX35 I used the first of the three anchor points on a straight retrieve with a couple of twitches. This lure didn't seem to transmit the same level of vibration that the VX35 did but it still landed a good Mackerel.

LRF Mackerel on the Jaxon Switchblade Holo

Back to casting and a lighter take. On the retrieve I had the smallest Pollack I have ever taken from any mark. This little fish was not much bigger than the lure which is less than 5 cm in length. This lure was producing as well as the VX35 but a slight change in anchor point, using the middle one, gave better vibration transmission resulting in this fish.

LRF Pollack on the Jaxon Switchblade Holo

This was the last Blade lure catch of the session so as a side line I rigged a 3.5g dropshot weight with a size 14 hook and a 2cm piece of pink Power Isome. Dropping it off the hard standing I was on, close into the wall, immediately bites were felt. Soon the Zaltz tip was tapping and bending well. On the retrieve a Blenny was hanging on to its kill with a vice like grip.

So to the lures. Of the two tested they work in a very similar way, give similar results and fish well! The main difference.. the cost! The VX35 is a very well made lure, which is to be expected from Ecogear. The material is pristine and the craftsmanship, well you can see and feel its quality. The Jaxon is a little bit more rustic in its build. It doesn't have the same quality "feel" of the ecogear but then I can buy 4 Jaxon lures for the price of 1 VX35.... and with them fishing in a similar manner with both producing good catches it isn't hard to love the Jaxon Switchblade Holo. In my opinion having some competition on the market is good for all of us. It promotes development into better lures and also introduces a competitive market. Something that we, as the angler, can only benefit more from. Not to say I wont replace my VX35 in the future but at this time I'm happy continuing with the Jaxon lures as my metal vibe lures!!

next post will probably be generated by the use of some eagerly awaited Tict product. Soon as its been tested it'll be up here for your reading. Till then Tight Lines!!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Catch report 09/07/12... For whom the bell tolls!!

Sound.... does it affect lure fishing. It's something I have been thinking over for some time. Why do we have companies spending time and money in producing sound making devices such as glass rattles for our lure fishing? Why do some soft baits already come with rattles as part of the design of the lure, Megabass xlayer for example. Does it make a difference?!

Well only one way to find out and this recent experimentation was fueled by a rather interesting article written by Del THOMPSON over at Scilly Lure Addicts. Del was obviously looking at sound as well and found a small 6mm metal bell on ebay. His findings were that the sound made  HRF fished Wrasse more aggressive and really attack the lure! Time to test this theory for myself.

I managed to purchase a stock of 6mm jingle bells. Linking up with Paul SMITH, we headed out to a mark which I have only fished on the ebb and so was interested to see how it does on the flood. However on arrival it was a disaster. The weather had been particularly awful the previous days with weather warnings across the county. The water was horrendous. Imagine leaving a teabag in a mug of hot water for a few hours then add the smallest drop of milk. You now can see what I saw off the coast at our mark.

Still we had taken the time to travel so fish on we did! I Texas rigged a few different soft plastics during the session but in place of the usual bead I rigged a pair of jingle bells! The sound was very subtle. Casting throughout the morning I had a few bites but no real dedicated takes. The fish were being fussy all through the flood which wasn't helped by the non existent visibility in the water.

However as soon as the tide was high Paul said he thought he had a knock but was now getting nothing... time to bring in the bells! Casting in roughly the same area I went for a quick straight retrieve with a couple of twitches. Primarily due to the fact is was relatively open water and Paul had thought he had seen silver!! Within 8 or 10 feet of where I was stood... Bam!! Strong attack on the lure but no take. Cast and repeat..... Bam!! Every cast was receiving a strong attack but not a hook up. Something was not happy with my lure. With the visibility so poor was the sound making the difference? This continued for some minutes until the HPR bent over quickly but shortly after locked up. No not snagged.... must be a Wrasse!! Giving a bit of line I then saw the most amazing sight. The Wrasse was running with the lure across open water doing its best impression of a Bass! I have never seen Wrasse run like this and this fella was not giving up. The fish was landed after the longest scrap I have had with a Wrasse and this fella, just over the 3lb mark, was photographed and released.

The lure was utterly decimated. I have not experienced aggression like this in any Wrasse I have previously landed. It was a cracking experience and echoes the findings of the Scilly Lure Addict Mr T ;) that the sound seems to provoke an aggressive response from the fish. So sound may actually make a difference. This was the last fish of the day so I dont have any further takes to compare but this will be an ongoing test now to see how much sound affects my fishing.

Here is the lure, well what was left of it. My beloved Snowbee Stinger Slider with a third of the back end missing and teeth marks all over. Never have I had a lure returned in such a state following one single fish. He was the Hulk of the Wrasse world :)

Friday, 6 July 2012

Catch report 05/07/12 - Pushing the light game boundary...

Weather and work are really messing with my fishing karma at the moment. But with an eagerness to push the limits of my sport I have managed a couple of shorter LRF sessions recently with local LRF amigo, Mike SULLIVAN hailing from The Rockfish Revolution.

We have discussed LRF a lot recently and having broken a few of those "you can't do" scenarios over the past months (4-5lb Bass on 5g rods!! on more than one occasion..since when!) we have decided to see how far the LRF wagon will take us. LRF has been, till now, predominately Harbour/Marina fishing close to civilisation. Now LRF is fun fishing!! It can be unlikely that you will blank a session [although some starting out will do, even some of the more seasoned members of our group still do ;)] and this in turn keeps people interested in this style of fishing as well as the pure variety of species and accessiblility of marks that comes hand in hand with LRF style angling.

But is this the limit of LRF style fishing or can we take it a few stages further? Well of course the answer is always going to be onward and upward :) and this has been the mission for the past couple of sessions. So where to start. Well both being avid HRF anglers as well as having the prime rough ground marks of our coastline it's a natural place to start. No!! I dont mean rock pool LRF, although it will have to be done ;) I mean back to my favourite of all species and lets push the LRF limits on wrasse.

First session took me back to the mark which started my journey into angling. It's as good a place as any to look at LRF wrasse with it's heavily weeded and rocky terrain. It was a cracking session with Mike clearly taking the better fish, mine coming on the last cast before giving up :) but left me with some observations on how I am limiting my angling by forcing myself into catagories when I fish. To explain, I turned up to the mark for an "LRF" session. As I have previously explained here this means a more "urban" approach to my fishing in this style. However, this was no longer harbour LRF style fishing this was coastal LRF style which brings into play all the usual coastal angling factors. I had no waders with me, well that ended up with wet feet. I was fishing heavy weeded and rough terrain. Even the smaller jigs and lures got snagged very easy and I had no light weedless tackle!! I lost the most end gear I have in any session since I learnt Texas rigging was the way forward.

So by pigeon holing my fishing styles into prescribed and immovable "templates" I had probably one of the worst sessions in terms of fish for quite some time. But there was a blank saving wrasse hiding in a hole who was more than happy to try and stuff an Ecogear Bug Ant 2" in white. My first fish on the bug ants which haven't overly produced for me in the past.

LRF Ballan Wrasse

Pause for thought and a quick login to Jacks LRF shop. Size 6 and 8 weedless hooks on the way. I didn't imagine for a second that texas rigging would come into play with my LRF angling but this last session supplied more than enough evidence that marks such as this will produce fish if you have the right gear.

In our second session we hit a place I have thought about trying for some time. Again back to the coastal shore on the rocks but taking the weed out of the equation. The tide was high and with it brought waves hitting the rocks which is unusual for this mark. Not the best day to start on a new venue but we fished on. As with any new area it takes a while to seek the holding areas for fish and it was sometime into the session before we hit the right spot. Wrasse for both myself and Mike, who also picked up a quick take OTD from a pollack.

My wrasse come from a break in the rock which went down through to the main body of water. The tide was pushing a column of water into this area and the wrasse was waiting for food, taking the white Paramax as the  water level dropped.

LRF Ballan Wrasse

All in all some interesting angling over these sessions. I will be keen to return to the weed once I sort out a weighting system between 1-2g for the weedless rigging of the lures. Now that I thought about it a visit to some local marks filled with rock pools could be in order to see what they throw up. Can't believe Im ending a post and leaving you on that thought :)

And to all those attending this weekends Cornish Lure Festival, Good Luck and enjoy!

Till next one, tight lines!