Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ever caught one of these on a lure..?

As I bounced the rubber worm back towards me, I felt a sharp pluck on the end. I paused and it went again, bend in with the rod and yes - I'm into something. Something that didn't quite feel like a fish as it kited off in the flow, but didn't quite feel like weed or the disposable nappy (used...) I pulled out a couple of weeks back.

As I pumped it back towards me, a claw broke the surface, followed by a hand-sized shore crab. When I lowered the rod to remove the hook nicked in one of its pincers, it made a run for it, still clutching the lure.

When I got the pliers to the hook and turned it out, the crustacean turned and waved its claws at my trainers, before it sprinted off.

While this clearly underlines the versatility of saltwater lure fishing, it wasn't quite what I was after. After taking the rods along when I went to recce the spot at low tide yesterday, I'd seen fish swirling where two creeks meet. Terns were diving and coming up with small fry and sandeels, so maybe the swirls were bass or mullet feeding on same.

I had a few chucks and thought I felt a tap or two on the end. After striking at one or two and failing to connect, I wondered if it was just the lure bumping the odd stone or patch of shingle. Turned out it was probably Mr Crab.

Seeing as there's obviously plenty to eat around there, I decided to go back all the same and give it a go at high tide.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Berkley Ripple Shads

These come in a Berkley Power kit with five shads in a couple of sizes and a pair of jig heads for £7.99.

Not sure the hooks are long enough in the shank to guarantee nailing a fish but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt before I start worrying about adding stingers.

They seem to fish quite nicely hopped along the bottom - hence the bashed jig head on the smaller one. The shads are quite robust. If the bass like 'em, I'll probably fork out on some more.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

New patterned Rapala J13

Splashed out on one of these to see if the bass fall for it. Bet the pike will if they don't.

J13s have been around for years but you can only get them in a handfull of colours, despite the fact you can get things like Shad Raps in dozens of patterns.

If I had Paul Adams's DIY skills, I'd probably try re-decorating some of the well-bashed bashed older ones I've got knocking around somewhere.

Monday, June 10, 2013

How to make a lure out of a paint brush handle

Here's another of those amazing lure making videos from Paul at homeluremaking - how to make a lure out of a paint brush handle:

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Must-have wind forecast info site

Found a top website which offers wind predictions for the next seven days.  You can tap in just about any location for a forecast of how the wind's going to blow during the day.

Click here for a gander.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

The grass is always greener

This morning's tide brought a grey lumpy sea, that couldn't be bothered to make more than a half-heated swell. The lures were going out well, I was fishing them how I wanted, where I wanted. But half an hour either side of the top and I'd had enough.

Tonight's tide brought a grey lumpy sea that sloshed half-heartedly around the rocks, like it didn't really mean it, before it retreated back into the cloudy gloom. The lures were going out well, I was fishing them how I wanted, but by now it had sunk in that whatever I did with them, there were probably no bass about.

I can just about fish both tides on either side of a day's work for the next few days, but the sea needs a break from the constant easterlies. When the wind finally turns, as it's forecast Monday into Tuesday, it might just come to life at last.

People who know far more about this kind of thing than I do reckon we should be on for some fish when it does. If the weather breaks and stays warmer for another week or so, there are big spring tides around the corner, so the bass fishing might properly kick off.

One guy sitting behind a pair of battered beachcasters even pulled a dog-eared set of tide times out of his pocket, to prove the point, with the big 7m tides ringed in biro. That's when you want to be here, bud, he said.

Most of the people I've chatted to on the beach over the last couple of days have probably never picked up a pike rod. Yet they're just like some of my pike fishing mates, who dine out on their predictions of why things can only get better as we shoot the breeze on the bank.

Should be good on the drains Wednesday, there's a front coming. Can you get Thursday off - have you seen what the pressure's doing..? They'll be well up for it on the pits.

There's always jam tomorrow, it can't be this bad much longer. Fishing would be pretty dull if the grass wasn't always greener.  

Thursday, June 06, 2013

So near, yet so far

I actually came close to catching one tonight. A bloke fishing 50 yards up the beach came even closer, nailing a schoolie on a lure.

The wind wasn't too bad once I got down to the water. As high tide approached, there was a gentle swell.

There was the odd bit of weed about - say every fourth or fifth cast lost to a lump of it around the hook. I went through the different lures, different depths routine as the tide topped.

The first other lure angler I've seen this summer walked past after a brief chat. I noticed he was fishing a fair way out, with what looked like a wedge of some kind.

Next time I turned around, he was playing what looked like a smallish-schoolie. Still a bass, obviously. As in one more than my total so far this summer.

I clip on one of those nameless silver spoons you can cast for miles. I catch weed a couple of times - line gradually tightens, weight on the end, reel in lure covered in weed.

Then BANG, a sharp rap on the rod, which kicks three or four times as I bend into it. It's a bass. Definitely a bass. There's a big splash and the line goes slack and it's off. Life, gentlemen, can be a bitch.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

That's hooge, that's bigger than a bus, that is

The main talking point on the coast today is the giant thing that's washed up at Thornham Harbour, which turns out to be a 40ft long fender from a supertanker or a harbour somewhere. In fact it's considerably larger than a double decker bus. In other words, that's hooge, as the person who rang about it yesterday put it.

Apols for quality - pics are pulled up a bit. Click here for a few better pictures my mates have taken of it - check out Willy's one of the Coastguard truck parked next to it. See what I mean about hooge..?

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Roll on summer

Too windy to stand any chance of lure fishing where Matty caught his bass yesterday. The wind was still in the north and slightly stronger. I could see the white horses every time I glimpsed the sea from the coast road that winds through the chalk and carrstone villages.

On impulse I decided to go and have a bash around the new harbour, near where what I assumed was a mullet followed my lure in the other day. Maybe that's where it came from, I know there are stacks of mullet in the main harbour a mile or so inland.

Someone's already fishing the bit I fancy, working strings of mackerel feathers. There are grockles everywhere, screaming kids running around, hordes of sunbathers, water skiers and a sailing regatta in progress. Just about the only quiet bit of shoreline is by the harbour entrance, so I chuck a few around in there.

It's out of the wind, which is whipping the sea beyond the bay into a big rolling surf, so I can make the lures do what I want them to, instead of having them thrown around by the sea. I'm not sure what lures mullet like, so work my way through different-sized flashy spoons, rubber sandeels and shads.

With a bit of trial and error, I can hop a shad on a jig head along the bottom, so I decide to just practice doing that until my ticket runs out in the car park. There are sandwich terns and gulls nesting on a headland at the mouth of the harbour. Every now and then, a tern flies in with a sandeel in its beak.

One of those catamarans which service the offshore wind farms comes past. It's barely moving at a walking pace, but it leaves a foaming wake behind and the water boils and colours up after it's gone. I guess that's it for any chance of catching anything here, with the tide dropping visibly.

That's assuming there was anything to be caught out there. I start wondering whether the mullet are more likely to be under the moored boats in the basin, but can't be bothered to walk back to the car park and put another three quid in the machine to find out.

Things might look up towards the end of the week, when the wind's forecast to finally move round from the north, where it appears to have been stuck for weeks.  A southerly makes me fancy the shingle for later in the week, as it should spell calmer seas as well as the wind off your back on the ridge.

I'm pleased with how the last few trips have gone, despite not catching anything. The main thing is I've arrived at a set-up which feels just about right, from the lures to the rod and reel. So roll on summer.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

I so, so want to catch one of these

Fancy going tomorrow..? Matt texts me a picture of the bass I missed seeing by just 10 minutes, shining like a bar of silver on the shingle.

I so, so want to catch one of these, I tell myself, as I return to messing about with my lures, fixing up the ones that took a beating today, changing hooks, tying up a couple of new leaders.

I keep looking at the picture. I so, so want to catch one of these, I explain to the wife.  That's nice, she says. Aren't you meant to be painting the bathroom tomorrow..?

Matt nails one in a big old blow

The northerly wind's got up and the surf's building, sending big, grey breakers crashing up the shingle. Spray flys in a salty mist. I'm struggling to get the lures out or control them.

Matt's got two bait rods out, lug and peeler offered on two clipped-down rigs that seem to fly half way to Norway compared to how far I can heave a Dexter into the blow.

Around high water, his rod top bounces and he reels in a dab. This is the first fish I've seen anyone catch in the sea this summer. Not exactly summery, my hands are so cold I can barely feel the braid to feather it.

I know there are meant to be bass coming out along this part of the coast, but I can't see it happening today. There must be 30 other people fishing up and down the strip and most are sitting snug inside those beach buddy things.

I'm the only idiot lure fishing. By 10 to two, I've had enough. The lures are getting bashed to bits in the shingle. I make my excuses and trudge back to the car.

When I pull into the supermarket half an hour later, I notice I've had a text. Just had one, 44cms, says the text from Matt. I look at the time he texted me - five past two, as in barely 10 minutes after I left.

Guess where I'll be fishing tomorrow, I text back. And well done.