Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Let's twist again, like we did last summer

I was never 100pc happy with the crimped traces I made last winter. I didn't have one fail on me - possibly not surprising, bearing in mind my pitiful tally of bigger fish. I just couldn't find quite the right-sized crimps, it looked a mess passing the wire through three times, you need a sleeve, then you worry whether the wire's OK under the sleeve, etc.

Twisting had its drawbacks too. I know there are people in the Fens with 11 fingers, but most of us only have two pairs of hands.That means it's a faff trying to keep the turns neat as you twist and maintain the right tension in the wire to twist without unravelling or kinking it.

Easy answer..? Make a jig. I don't know why I didn't think of that years ago. It could be as simple as an anchorage point in a block of wood, which you clamp to a workbench or table top, or you could go for a full-on base, with different lengths marked on it.

The anchorage has to be secure. It also needs to turn under tension to get the twists right. Easy way of doing that..? Ball bearing swivel and an old coastlock. Screw it in as shown.

To start off, tie an overhand loop in the wire, cut to length and twist on the bottom hook. Do this by forming a lark's head hitch and heating the end of the wire to anneal (soften) it first.

Take the wire out of the coastlock, cut the loop off and tie the top hook in. Then stick the top hook in the coastlock, while you twist on the swivel at the other end.

Simple or what..?

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Some walk

I'd forgotten just how long it takes to cover the couple of miles from the harbour along the floodbank, onto the boardwalk to the bird reserve, then along the tops of the dunes to the harbour mouth. Must have been getting on for an hour - talk about a walk.

Good job I only brought a rod and a few lures today - along with plenty of water. Incredibly, when I get to the spot there's another guy there with rod, sitting admiring the view across the fast-filling bay.

I give it half an hour, rapidly discovering it's a lot shallower than it use to be. It's only a small tide today, but there used to be more than a couple of feet of water out in the middle. I guess lack of feeding birds means if there's any action happening, it's out to sea.

Maybe one to try on a bigger tide.

Monday, August 04, 2014


Today saw just a 6m tide on Mussel Bay, barely enough to cover the rocks on the foreshore at high water. There's worse to come, with heights dropping to 5.6m on Wednesday, before the sea starts to build again towards the end of the the week.

Some reckon the big tides, the sevens and eights are the ones to fish, with fives and sixes not worth bothering with. Others follow the you won't catch them sitting at home school of thought, and fish regardless. I've got a week off, so I'm not really bothered.

I may head for another beach I've been meaning to check out tomorrow to see what's what. It was nice today casting a new lure to see what it does - the lemony sandeel spoony thing. I've binned the packet and I can't remember what it was called. It looks nice and flashy in the water, like the wedge above it, but no cigar.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Snap up some of these

I'd never quite found the right thing for attaching lures to my leaders until I stumbled on these Tronix snaps.

They're just that bit stronger than some of the other clips I've used and much better than a cross-lock type connector.

Changing lures is a breeze, just snick it on or off. The eye's also just the right size for the 15lbs fluorocarbon I tie up bass traces with. The ones I use are Size 2, they're 99p for 10.

You could use them for freshwater lure fishing - just stick a split ring through the eye of the jighead/lure and off you go.

Shortage of Silverheads

I feel a twinge of guilt when Matt rocks up with Leanne. It's blowing a gale and worse still, the sea's full of weed. Three blokes were setting up as I got to the spot. They all sacked it after a few casts.

The wind's blowing north-westerly, blowing the braid into a great bow as the lure flies. I can more or less get the distance with the biggest Dexy in my box, but I can't control it on the retrieve. Go fast enough to feel it bite and it comes to the top, skimming the waves. Go slower and it dings the rocks, covering the hook with wrack.

Matt gets out his rod, Leanne gets out her Kindle. We know we're not going to catch, as we strip the lures of weed and cast into the teeth of it. I change to a Silverhead and lose it on a rock first cast. I'm down to three of the favoured 45g size which seem the best on the coast.

After adjourning for a latte at a cafe terrace, I head for the tackle shops. One has just one selection pack of Silvers - three I don't want, one of the size I do for £6.99. Mick doesn't have any in the last of his closing down sale stock.

Everyone's been buying them, both shops say. People swear by them. I'm going every day next week and I have just four of the go-to lures left. This doesn't bode well, bearing in mind you lose or damage at least one most trips.


Saturday, August 02, 2014

Back with a bang

There's a swirl over the rocks and a grey fin scythes through the sea. They're here.

I saw one five minutes after I got down to the beach, scrambling over the rocks until I hit the hotspot. There's a gap in the boulders big enough to drive a van through and today I'm right - it's where the bass are.

I see a few more swirls and a tail break surface. I'm not sure what they're after, as there are no birds diving which usually pinpoints a shoal of sandeel or some other fodder fish. The sea's flat calm as well, the same grey colour as the gathering storm overhead.

I can easily poke a lure out where the action is, whatever they're up to out there and jink it back through the gully.

The first one hammers into the spoon so hard I nearly jump out of my skin before it dives for the rocks. Nice fish, couple of pounds maybe. Pound for pound, these things scrap as hard as anything. Then again, I haven't caught one for so long I can't remember what the last one fought like.

Snick the hook out, three or four casts later I nail a smaller one. Two in a morning's not to be sneezed at, but 10 minutes later I make it three. Three bass - what a result.

Another angler appears as I'm beaching the fat keeper. Out comes the camera and the hook, back goes the bass.

"Don't you eat them?" asks the other guy. As I watch it recover its balance and shoot back out to sea, I wonder if I'm missing a trick here.