Sunday, November 17, 2013

Caught on the hop again

Grey skies and drizzle never particularly inspire me and I nearly didn't bother when I took furry chops for a walk on the beach first thing and saw the mist rolling off the flat calm sea.

But the temperature climbed a couple of degrees as I drove down the coast road towards the big bayou and it was nudging double figures by the time I got to the drain around lunchtime. There was another car in the lay-by and when I looked off the bridge, I saw three other guys lure fishing in the spot I fancied.

One of them hooked into one as I watched, his mate netting it off the high banking. I got the gear out, walked down the bank and as we were exchanging hellos, he had another one. A couple of them were eastern Europeans, using what most locals would regard as inadequate gear - spinning with feeder rods, one small landing net between the three of them.

But the fish was unhooked, another lure someone else had left in its gob removed as well and it was back in the drain and off. I didn't really pay any attention to how they were fishing other than they were using small shads on feeder rods.

Each to his own, I thought, as I wandered up and down the same side of the drain, eventually catching a jack on a small shad. One of the other guys had caught four or five by this point, including a couple from swims I'd fished without a hit.

As I passed them on the way back to the bridge, to try down the other side, I clocked how he was fishing. Chuck it out, let it sink and tap it along. It might not be the ideal set-up on a drain that's thrown up the odd big fish in recent seasons, but you can't get much more sensitive than a quivertip when it comes to showing takes.

I hoofed it round the other side, lobbed out a Kopyto and let it hit the bottom. Tap, tap, tap on the rod; hop, hop, hop the lure. After a couple of casts, there's a rattle on the end and I'm into a jack. The take was pretty gentle, but the fish had the lure well in its gob.

I try the same, hop, hop, hop and catch another one around the same size. Again, it's completely engulfed the lure. I try the same with a bigger shad and the same thing happens a couple of times. The fish are all like peas in a pod, fat jacks.

A couple hit the lure and come off, so now I'm watching the line as I twitch the lure back and striking when I see it tighten or feel a bump on the end. I catch more jacks doing this. I haven't caught anything over 4lbs but by now I've lost count.

They're obviously packed into a fairly short stretch of the drain, because the guys on the other bank are catching as well. More eastern Europeans arrive, hit the far bank and start catching. The new arrivals don't have a landing net, so the pike are all grabbed and fumbled up the bank.

I hook into a slightly bigger fish, which comes rearing out of the water in a tail-walk as soon as I strike into it. One of the guys on the far bank bank comes round for a chat. Up from London, never been here before, lovely place.

He starts fishing down the bank, no landing net. I catch another fat jack and I'm bored.  As I'm breaking down the rods, the chap down the bank hooks into what's obviously a much bigger fish. He's still playing it, or it's still playing him, wallowing just out of reach, as I catch up with him.

It throws the lure and disappears. We have a conversation along the lines of if you'd had a landing net, you'd have caught that.


  1. Just wondering how you're finding the spinflex rods??

  2. Hi Daz, quite like them. The heavier one is the one I use most of the time, it'll chuck a shad with a 15g head around nicely. Bit more of a through action than you'd expect when you hook into anything bigger than a jack.

    My one gripe is the single-legged rings. I also think the butt ring's a bit small as the line knocks in it as you retrieve.