Wednesday, 21 November 2012

An XLNT afternoon.

The other week I made a trip to Stirling to check out Angling Active, a large tackle shop that I had never visited before. My main reason to visit was to get my hands on a new Savage Gear XLNT dropshot rod. I have grown tired of poor customer service and the lack of a warranty on Japanese rods so when I saw this rod at 9' with a casting range of 7-25g that perfectly fits my requirements for fishing soft plastics for a multitude of species I had to have one! With a reputation for quality and good customer service in the event of any problems with the rod and a bargain at £60 it represents excellent value!

I was desperate to go and play with my new toy so the following day I grabbed Scott and we headed down the coast to our usual bass mark to give it a run through. Scott also had a new rod to play with, his second in the Nories Rockfish Bottom series, this time the slightly heavier light version casting 7-15g. I tackled up with a 4.5" Slug-Go in Arkansas Shiner and mounted it on a 10.5g #2/0 AGM football jighead. Scott rigged up a dropshot rig with a Jackall Clone Fry and we began to work the fast current of the mark. It wasn't long before I got some interest, all be it from mullet, I watched in surprise as a small one of about a pound charged after the slug and started nipping at the tail! Scott too had been getting some attention from the mullet and we tried a multitude of different lures to tempt them. Scott came closest with a small metal tipped with a small piece of Isome which a mullet had a good bite at but he couldn't hook up.

Soon the mullet drifted away and we got back to targeting the resident bass. Sticking with the Slug-Go I began to work the lure deep, little lifts of the rod tip allowed it to hop along the bottom in the fast current. This is where the solid carbon tip was very helpful transmitting the feel of the bottom down the rod to my hand. It was brilliantly sensitive and I could differentiate between kelp and softer weed as well as feel the sharp taps as it bounced over boulders. It didn't take long before I felt a fish tapping at the lure before seizing it causing the rod to arch over into the fish. Bass on and the rod came into its own with the soft tip cushioning its head shakes and the powerful butt section allowing me to apply pressure. Soon a nice bass of 43cm was landed and the rod well and truly christened.

They don't half swallow the lure sometimes!

The fish had totally swallowed the slug with just the tip of the jighead poking out a sure sign that the soft tip also allows the fish to inhale the lure with little resistance. Quick pic and back she went to be followed a few minutes later by another  bass, again with the lure right down its mouth.

Slug-Go wielding Ninja?
It's just me with another bass!

I had just released the fish when Scott came over to try his hand. He rigged up a new 7g IMA Gun in silver and began to effortlessly cast the little metal a country mile before working it back slowly with the odd pause to let it flutter in the current. Pretty soon I watched his rod bend into a fish and soon he had played a small bass into the net. Scott had a big grin on his face and was obviously very pleased at christening his new rod and the lure as well. As he can't help himself he then headed off to the rock pools to find some other species!

Small metals are great sandeel imitations.

I stuck with the bass and had soon landed a few more all taken on the trusty Slug-Go. Scott meanwhile had managed to winkle out a few blennies and a rather chunky sea scorpion that had a partially digested small blenny in it's mouth!

Not satisfied with gobbling blennies this little brute wanted a bit of Gulp! too.

By now light was fading and we had to go and whilst it was a fairly short session it was very productive and packed full of fish, so we both left satisfied at our new rods performance and I for one can't wait to get back and try it again! We'll also be back to target the mullet too no doubt.

Tight lines, Schogsky.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Metal Rocks!

Yesterday, after a night of being shouted at by my nine month old daughter Eva, I found myself in the car at 7am clutching a mug of tea with one thought on my mind, bass! After scraping the ice off the windscreen I had another thought on my mind, gloves, or rather my inability to locate a pair when I needed them. Heaters on full I headed down the A1 blasting myself awake with some nice, loud Fishbone and by the time I arrived at the mark my tiredness had been overtaken by the anxious excitement I always feel before I fish. I loaded my self up with my bass gear and my LRF gear and forgoing an extra jacket headed down to the mark.

It was cold but calm with a slight offshore wind and I went straight for my go to lure, a Lunker City Ribster in Arkansas Shiner mounted on a 10.5g #2/0 Football jighead. I began working the lure around the reef, bouncing  it along the sea bed as well as jigging and twitching it through open water. After about 45 minutes I swapped over to my LRF kit and rigged up a Lunker City Swimmin' Ribster on a 3g #2/0 jighead, to see if the added vibration of the paddle tail would illicit a response. I spent about half an hour working the lure through the current, allowing it to sink nose down waggling its tail before jigging it back up again to repeat the process, I had a couple of tentative bumps but nothing I could actually strike into. I then decided to try at range with a 30g Bombarda with an eight foot trace, rigged with a tiny pearl redgill. This was launched out a considerable distance then really slowly retrieved allowing the little weightless eel to flutter provocatively in the tide. I worked this set up for a while before I switched over to a silver Toby to see if some flash would work on the bass. Sure enough as I worked the lure back in the surface layers with a medium retrieve a bass hit the lure hard and everything went solid. The fish fought well for its size and kited about a bit as well as doing the usual bass surface splashing before it was landed! I was pleased with this bass as it had been frankly quite hard work to catch, especially as all my usual methods weren't doing the job.

Old school lures still rock!

A quick picture and I slipped the 41cm of silver back to the sea. I noticed that when it was landed it coughed up a tiny sandeeel of about 1" which would be perfectly matched by a Gulp! 1" Minnow.  I quickly reached into the rod holdall to grab the LRF gear in order to cash in on the feeding bass. It was at this point that disaster struck, in my haste to get the rod I had forgotten that it still had a lure attached and as I lifted it quickly out the hook found a juice box in the bag. I watched in a sort of dumb horror as the tip folded double then with a sad little crack parted company with the rest of the rod.


After 5 minutes of mourning I packed up and headed back as I was keen to order another tip section from Ben at Art of Fishing, which I hope will arrive soon as I am keen to get back to some LRF bass!

Tight lines, Schogsky.