Monday, 17 September 2012

Catch Report 17/09/12.. More species and a disaster!!

Headed out to a new mark with Mike Sullivan from The Rockfishing Revolution today with expectations of a full on session! I wasn't dissappointed.

Getting home from work at 0730 and it wasnt long before Mike was at the door to get on the road. We hit the mark an hour before low tide and intended to fish the flood. On arriving my eyes just lit up. This was screaming HRF fishing!! The structure and cover here was shouting Wrasse and Bass. And we were here for the Wrasse! Swell was non existent and the weather seemed to be holding up so it was a session with much promise.

To start off I adopted LRF mode and while Mike went off to get his new baitcaster setup working some likely gullies, more on that later, I had a hunt around the deeper rock pools for some small species. Lure Heaven's Species Hunt has a lot of local anglers doing some very strange things to get a few more species on the tally. Its now got me rock pooling ;)

After a few pools I saw some gobies hiding in the flora of a pool so dropped in some red Power isome on a size 14 hook and waited for the show to start. It wasnt long before two gobies were fighting over the Isome and it was soon converted into a landed fish. This fella didnt even manage to register on my rule.

LRF Black Goby at 6cm
So the species hunt was off to a good start again. But it was time to stop playing in the rock pools and get to some serious Wrasse hunting. Decided to give the new mark a good testing and go with the bigger lures. Started with a Tikki Stick in Mulberry Swirl. Rigged on a size 1 RockFish hook with a 10g cone and 2 jingle bells. The weight was up as the swell was starting to build on the flood and needed that extra to get the lure down through the water column.

After a few knocks but nothing committing decided to turn to a new favourite in the form of a 5 inch Paramax from Ecogear. This lure took a bashing. Bite after bite was coming thick and fast but nothing converting into hook ups. This was probably due to the hook being too small and I should have upgraded to a 1/0 or 2/0 for this lure. However on a steady retrieve with sink and draw action the lure was hit hard with a small tail nip and a solid thump. The fish ran straight under a ledge and would not budge. Trying to reposition to no avail it was time to resort to straight out and out bullying to get the fish out. However on this occasion the war was lost. Resigning to the fact that the bigger lures really weren't working I swapped over to a daiwa Tournament D'tail. This lure has performed well for me and straight away, after relocating to a nice sized pool of calmer water, the lure was getting hit hard. Wrasse like but not as frantic and I soon pulled a Giant Goby out from under a shelf. This is my first lure caught Giant Goby so very pleased with this catch. I went to add him to my species hunt and placed the laminate next to the fish on my tape. Reaching for my camera disaster struck. As I looked down to my belt to retrieve the trusty camera a gust of wind blew through the gully I was in lifting the card up off the rock and into the pool behind me :( No problem Ill just scoop it out. Ah this card sinks!! Unfortunately I wasn't prepared to drop 12ft into the pool to retrieve said laminate from the sea floor, so if anyone sees Davy Jones using my card please feel free to nobble him :) Frustrating to have a good catch like the giant goby and now no card. Still photographed and returned and hopefully the guys at Lure Heaven will still let me count it.

HRF Giant Goby at 18cm
Agonising over whether to try retrieve my card or not I had to move on and hit a new gully to tally a Wrasse to the trip. A likely mark was soon found and on the second cast a famililar feel of Wrasse taps were felt followed but the bend in my HPR. Although the Wrasse tried to run I had the drag screwed down tight and soon landed a beautiful fish, Again photographed minus my scuba diving laminate but Ballan Wrasse was soon added to the species list.

HRF Ballan Wrasse at 35.5 cm
Pleased to fianlly hit into the Wrasse as Mike had landed 4 by this point on his Slicer and Baitcaster :) Just shy of the 2 lb mark and measured at 35.5cm not a monster by any stretch but a welcome addition to the species hunt.

The weather finally decided to beat us to it and end the session as the swell was more in keeping with a bit of Bass angling and the weather decided to turn to rain whilst the wind picked up. I was pleased to see how well the baitcasting setup was working for Mike and we discussed its benefits for use in HRF. Could it go further... it can and I have decided I will look at some Baitcast Finesse over the coming year. Not fully up to speed with it at this time so will update more once I have decided on a setup and fished it. We also discussed another project Im currently working on. More on this when its fit to be revealed ;) Finally decided to finish with the braid for my HRF fishing for the meantime and experiment using a decent Flourocarbon throughout. The Sunline range will be my first port of call to see what they can offer by way of a good 12lb FC for HRF tactics.

Lots to consider and think over. Was brilliant to get back out with Mike once more. We always have an idea storming session each time we do finally manage to arrange a session out on the rocks. It usually ends up costing a bit more money too ;) Lots to look to the future and contnue to develop my sport.

On a last note I should hopefully receive a GOPRO HERO2 HD camera for use on my trips in the next couple of days. This will enable me to show you the mayhem both above and below the surface of the water so I look forward to adding some vids of RockFish Rookie antics very soon.

Till then Tight Lines!!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Catch report 14/09/12 - Species hunt well underway...

Well my laminated entry card for the Lure heaven Species Hunt arrived in the mail this morning and was waiting for me when I got home. Can only mean one then. Time to crack on!!

Decided to have a short blast of a session out with Paul SMITH and our mascot, Rocky! We headed out to a busy mark early evening and dodged a few nearby anglers to get stuck in. I opted for a quick dropshot session to start and using Jacks LRF dropshot hooks, again with red Power Isome, was quickly into a fiesty little Corkwing Wrasse. Great start and I quickly went to unhook the lil fella and made a grab for my species card. Unfortunately I believe this fella must have seen "Finding Nemo" as he soon flipped and tumbled himself to the edge of the wall I was fishing and back into the blue before I could record him :(

Still onward and I decided to continue on the dropshot and hope to hook up again with my movie buff friend. Another tap and I was soon back on with another fish. On the retrieve I had a lovely little pollack who only just made it on the measure :) Cracking little fish and finally my species hunt was on.

LRF Pollack at 11cm

Still using the dropshot technique with a little pink Power isome another species arrived in the form of a Smelt.

LRF Smelt at 17 cm

Switching tactics I dropped to an old favourite, metals. Using the Jackall Mameta, which seems to be going under a new name in the uk as the Jackall Aji Mame Special Jig, I started to cast out. Using the 4.5g in a bright yellow/green Midnight Banana colour I had six Pollack in succession, one fish on each and every cast. These were quite healthy specimens and of a better stamp than Im used to at this mark. The better of the fish was this 32cm fella. Paul seems to think I had a better one and they were putting a cracking bend in the Major Craft Zaltz ZAT, my LRF go to rod. 

LRF Pollack at 32cm
I was really pleased with the return on the fishing tonight. Slightly gutted about losing the wrasse but they're always around so I will chase another soon. Paul had some cracking Pollack too and had a crazy foul hooked Pollack on, aptly named, a crazy lure!! We both had a cracking hour and a half out on the lures. Planning some adventures for later on the way home I'm well and truely on the species hunt trail.... get involved!!

Finally, hoping to catch up with my old HRF mentor, Mike SULLIVAN, from Rockfishing Revolution this coming Monday. If our meet ups go anything like usual I should have a cracking post to report on our antics and maybe even a glimpse at the future of our angling pursuit and a real life comparison of old and new ideas ;) Till then tight lines....

Dont forget to check my updated species count on the species post at this blog :)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Night Time Wrasse and a must enter comp....

Popped out last night with usual LRF amigo Paul SMITH but felt like something different. Paul had made some attempt to explore a new mark very close to where we fish LRF. This mark was to hunt some more pigs thou and so with both HRF and LRF packed we headed out.

I havent been to this mark before and exploring a new mark at late evening with the light almost gone wasn't the ideal situation but on arrival I could see why Paul had started to have a sniff around the area. Rocky shelf shore line with a heavy weeded blanket across the stretch of coastline. It was looking healthy for some Wrasse action and we know a local bait angler has had 4-5lb fish somewhere in the area.

Weapon of choice for the evening. 7'3" Century HPR with a Caldia 3000. Stepped up to 20lb Sunline Castaway braid and a good 2 foot of Sunline Siglon FC leader in 18lb. Have moved to a heavier braid and leader recently as the areas I have been exploring have gotten a lot rougher and snap offs have been occurring. I have avoided going to heavy as it can cause the braid to "hinge" as it breaks into the water and the lure swims differently. So far so good. This outfit was tipped with a size 1 Rockfish worm hook, 2 jingle bells ;) and a 5g conehead. Lure for today was the Diawa Tournament D'tail in Ayu.

With the rig ready to go I started to cast close to where we first arrived. The lure was dragging through the weed and the conditions were not ideal. Fishing 3-4 hours into the ebb probably isnt the best time to hunt Wrasse  but you sometimes have to just push on whatever your faced with. I quickly changed position to hit a spot on the corner of a rocky outcrop. The lure hit open water and a very slow retrieve with a twitch here and there to get the fish interested. 15 minutes into casting and the HPR bent into a strong bite and immediately I had a scrap on my hands. The power in the fish was awesome and I was sure it was going to be a good sized fish. Took some dragging through the heavy weed but was soon landed. A lot smaller than I thought it would be at just shy of 2lb. Must have been the extra pressure caused by the heavy weed that caused the feel of a much bigger Wrasse.

I love the spotted pattern on this one. Was a lovely colour too. Whilst at the mark we met with a fella from South Wales who was working with the Royal Marines. He was using small plugs but we soon converted him over to weighted weedless presentation. Im sure he will be buying some gear to carry on this style which he found helpful. Best of luck Gethin and I hope the fish abroad bite for you :) The tide had dropped to a height that made it impossible to pursue anymore Wrasse so we headed to one of our usual LRF spots to see Andy Younger, Sam Clarke, Frankie Costello, Mark Power and Dean Pilgrim all into some cracking fish on the light gear. Cuttlefish still causing issues but Andy, Sam and Frankie had some lovely Scad. Poor cod and gobies were also being caught. Nice job guys!

Finally Lure Heaven is running a species hunt over the autumn/winter. It started on 1st September 2012 and runs until december so plenty of time to get involved and catch some good species. It covers both salt and fresh water species so expect some future posts on some freshwater adventures :) Check the Facebook page for entry details but I believe you share/like the facebook advert and then send in your contact details to receive your card that will be required to be included in all catch photos.

Hope your catches are plentiful if you enter the comp and tight lines..

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Catch reports... A catch up!!

Having been a bit rushed off one's feet for a few weeks the blog has unfortunately had to take a back seat.. as has the fishing :(

However have managed to make up for lost time the past few days and so I will condense what has been a few good fishing trips :0

First up was the Art of Fishing Wrasse comp. I had been trying some new areas for Wrasse recently and in company with Paul SMITH and Frankie COSTELLO. We headed out to the mark shortly after a quick sign in at the PLYMOUTH BARBICAN shop. After a small chat in the parking area we headed out to see what we could winkle out. Conditions have not been best for Wrasse recently and any fish were going to be hard fought.

Frankie and Paul with our mascot, Rocky!
We quickly got stuck in off the rocks but it was soon panning out to be a very hard session indeed. I had a mare of a day having some incredible bites but I didnt manage to hook a single fish!! One take had me look over at Frankie who commented on how much of a bend the fish had put on my 7'3" HPR. Hoping for a big donkey all I ended up with was a hook fly out the water with no lure :(( ... and they didnt even leave a tip!

So an infuriating day for me turned into a cracker for Frankie. Still having to land a HRF Wrasse he soon winkled out his first from under a ledge we were fishing. This continued to be the best spot of the day and we got hammered for bites! Frankie converted another bite into a landed fish and the best of the day.. really chuffed for him to have two Wrasse on his first HRF session with fish landed. Cracking work!

Nice deep coloured rock pig at 35cm
A great day to be had by all and the competition was won in the end by a 51cm fish I believe which is a cracking effort considering how bad things have been.

This past Thursday I hit the LRF with the usual crew and it panned out to be an unusual night. Back using the metals I tested the Jackall Mameta in a bright pink. First part of the evening was the return of the living cuttlefish! Obviously attracted by the vibrant pink on the lure I had no less than three cuttlefish with yet a sniff from a fish. However the first fish soon came and I had this little pollock attack the lure on a straight retrieve.

Moving to a new pool and continuing on with the same metal I had a quick tap of a bite transmit down the MC Zaltz and converted into this fella coming out of the water.

A fine looking Sand Goby who thought that the Mameta was certainly a tasty treat. After a few more gobies the light was dropping away so i decided to go to a bit more dropshotting. Using a 5g dropshot with a new size 14 LRF dropshot hook, both from Andy KENDRICK at the awesome Jack's LRF. These dropshot hooks are the business. Easily threaded the doubled Sunline flourocarcbon through the eye and tied with a Palomar knot, all in the dark :) I use flourocarbon throughout for dropshot as I find it just makes sense. The Palomar knot is the best way to secure a decent dropshot rig and once you try it a few times its a relatively easy knot to tie.

Popping a very small section of Pink Power Isome on the hook I dropped it tight to the wall I was fishing along. Bites started almost instantaneously. This is normally the way with the dropshot. I really must try it in an HRF environment. Soon a small Pollock was retrieved. Re rigged with fresh Isome and back in the water. This time the bites came thick and fast. As I retrieved what appeared to be a small pollock I saw a larger dark figure make a beeline for my catch. Not sure what it was but very nearly ended up with a surprise on the hook :) However on the retrieve an even bigger suprise.. a small pouting. My first on the light gear and a real sign that winter is on the way :(

The evening was closing in and time to finish up on the light gear for another evening. A great night and some odd goings on with the cuttlefish and some signs that the season is drawing to a close with the sign of pouting in the water.

My final session came yesterday when I returned to a new and unknown mark which is begging to be expored. Joined by Frankie again for this trip there was a bit of a hike down to the mark. This mark is a beautiful strip of coastline and Im rapidly coming to enjoy being there. However the fish have not been kind so time to prove that the Wrasse were in.. After fishing some likely areas on at the start of the flood we moved across the gullies testing the water at every stage with no bites. Standing at the end of a gully I dropped a Snowbee Stinger Slider right at my feet down into deeper water and in front of what appeared to be a rocky ledge. A few tell tale nibbles started on the lure and the 7'3" HPR bent over. Fish on! It returned to its home under the ledge and took some coaxing out only to run for a heavy weeded area. With the drag now screwed down hard a quick bully away from the weed stopped the Wrasse in its tracks and soon landed. A cracking fight and a healthy fish just under the 2 1/2 lb mark was released after photos.

Rock hopping again another good network of gullies were soon found and these ran to meet each other in a large pool. Taking position over a rocky ledge there had to be fish somewhere in the area. The ground was boulders and weed lining the edges of some deep water gullies. Optimistic I cast the lure searching for some tell tale signs of Wrasse. After little reply from the water I again dropped the lure at my feet to sink just in front of the ledge I was stood over. Whilst admiring the sun, which was on the way to setting, I had an almighty thump on the lure and this fish peeled away some line from the Cladia 3000. Unfortunately it was to retreat back under its ledge. I soon realised that there was no way to bully this one out of its hole. Slacking off some line I repositioned myself at a better angle and started to slowly retrieve on the Caldia. After some coaxing the fish finally moved and ran across the gully to avoid being landed. There was a tremendous amount of power from the fish. I would soon see why. The fish gave a cracking account for itself and was finally landed. It was soon apparent where the power came from as the paddle on this fella was a sight. Weighing in over 2 1/2 pound I was pleased with the scrap this fish put up. Reminds me why I love Wrasse fishing over any other.

Nice paddle on the back end of this pig!
All in all a good day fishing and I really have fallen in love with this mark. Still needs to throw up some bigger fish mind :) More return visits will be had. The walk up was a bit of an epic climb but the views were second to none.

Tough life all this fishing malarky!! Tight lines all...