Saturday, 27 July 2013

Go small or go home.

Just before the Cornish Lure Festival I had a call from a mate who was coming up from Sunderland to do some bass fishing, so I managed to get down to meet him for a fish. The tide was just starting to flood when we started fishing and I went with my tried and trusted 4.5" Arkansas Shiner Slug-Go mounted on a 10g #2/0 jighead. I fished the lure with various retrieves, bouncing across the bottom, darted mid water, slow sink and draw, but there were no takers. I swapped over to a Ribster in the same colours but despite working both lures for over an hour I still had no bites. I then put on a Swimmin Ribster and about ten minutes later I finally manged to hook and land a small bass of about 35cm, which was quickly photographed before being released.

Lunker City Swimmin Ribster strikes again.

I went straight back to the same spot and began working the lure again but I could only get a couple of small bumps and no hook ups, the bass just didn't want to commit to taking the lure. This was very similar to the last time I fished this mark and it would seem that the bass were only interested in taking the tiny sandeels which were shoaling in numbers.

This gave me the excuse I needed to grab my LRF gear and rig up a 5g Mini Jackson Mameta casting jig. I already had a dropshot rig on so I just tied the jig on in place of a dropshot weight and rigged a small teaser on the hook above the lure. It only took a couple of casts before the rod was nearly wrenched out of my hand as a good bass seized the lure and tore off in the current. I began to play the fish back towards me letting the rod do the work when I noticed my mate cast over my line. To my horror he snagged my line then became convinced he had hooked a bass too. He only seemed to become aware of what was happening when he caught sight of my fish with his lure attached to the teaser hook. I tried to shout at him to wait and take it easy so we could land the fish, however he didn't hear and tried to dead lift the fish ( which was about 3lb), without the help of a wave, and the inevitable happened snapping my 8lb leader on the razor sharp barnacle encrusted rocks and the bass was gone. Rather annoyed I rigged up another leader and tied on a 7g IMA Gun casting jig and began to work it back in the top couple of feet of water. After about five minutes a bass grabbed the lure and made a hell of a run before I manged to play it back. After a nice fight a smaller bass of 41cm was landed.

A swap to a 7g IMA Gun soon fooled this nice Bass

I quickly got back to fishing and the very next cast I hooked another fish and this one tried to bore down deep with a powerful dive. If it was a bass it was a good one but because he kept trying to dive I didn't think it was one. As I played the fish up it became apparent that it was a rather chunky coalfish, something which is pretty rare from this mark. A quick measure put it at 39cm, my biggest coalie this year, great fun on my ultra light tackle.

This 39cm Coalie also couldn't resist!

I released the fish and caught another couple of coalies before landing another couple of small bass. It was approaching my kids teatime so I had to call it a day, something that was very hard to do with the bass on the feed. Still it was great to get into some fish I was glad I worked out it was only small lures that they were interested in.

Tight lines, Schogsky.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

A quick perch pick me up.

Work has been pretty dull since I returned from my ten day trip down south and whilst I've certainly been enjoying the hot weather during the day when I'm not there the last few nights it's been awfully hard trying to get to sleep. This meant I was in two minds about going fishing yesterday evening with Jake as I had a few things to do as well as feeling pretty tired. Despite this I decided to go anyway and after picking up Jake and driving west we were soon on the shore of Loch Lubnaig, our favourite perch venue and perhaps one of my favourite places to fish due to the stunning surroundings. We fished for a few hours and had a great time as usual catching lots of beautiful perch in the process.

I had a couple of perch from the weeds in front of these rocks on my go to Lake Fork Live Baby Shad in Golden Shiner fished on a 3.5g #4 jighead.
Jake was fishing a bigger Lunker City Swimmin Ribster on a 10g #2/0 football jighead in the hope of singling out some larger specimens. He also brought an unhooking mat. We talked about using them more often, even for saltwater species, as we believe fish care is important if you practice catch and release.
With the unhooking mat beneath me I figured out a good way to present my catch to the camera safe in the knowledge that should the fish fall it wasn't landing on rocks. Another good reason to use one.
Jake admires another beautiful Loch Lubnaig perch.
I prepare to land another feisty fish.
I figure out a one handed way to hold a perch to show it off in all its glory.
We released a few of our fish via a small stream that ran into the loch. This gave us the opportunity to take some cool "Jaws" shots. This one shows the power of the fish as with one swish of its tail it creates a wake and heads at speed back towards the loch.
Jake managed to resist the temptation to go smaller and lighter for a change.
No need really as the perch were loving his Lunker City Swimmin Ribster.
When he wasn't looking I stole a Fish Arrow Flash J lure in Black Gold out of Jake's bag. Cool lures that look like minnows and sit horizontally when fished on a drop shot rig due to an air pocket inside. That's exactly how I caught this perch.
Drop shotting a Lake Fork Live Baby Shad in Sun Perch also proved irresistable. You can just about see it in the back of this perch's mouth!
Catching a load of these pristine perch is hard to beat and to be honest we weren't even really trying that hard!
Jake got the heaviest catch of the night after bullying this lump up from the depths.
I caught this little chap on a Live Baby Shad in Pink & Pearl, again stolen from Jake, and whilst experimenting with a retrieve twitching pattern I'm calling "The Pink Panther". He bought these pink ones due to all the fish he's had with his Jackson Cymo in pink. The success of my new twitching pattern caused me to go a bit "Kenneth Williams".
As darkness fell and the moon shone in the sky we reluctantly headed home rather pleased with the evenings exploits.

It was really good to fish with Jake again as apart from briefly meeting up for an hour or two down in Cornwall it's been a over a month since we have fished together and I must say I had a nice relaxing time fishing, enjoyed a good chat about what we'd both been up to recently and it was just what I needed really. I was glad I'd made the choice to go.

Tight lines, Hutch.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Perch perfection.

If a picture paints a thousand words then this post may be the equivalent of Tolstoy's epic novel "War and Peace". I managed to get back to our perch loch the other week and this time I was determined to fish some dropshot techniques. My normal approach for fishing this loch has been to use a small Jackson Cymo vibe lure. This has proved really effective in the past with trout and char also keen to take it. However as effective as it is I have been thinking that I need to fish slower and deeper If I was hoping to get a better perch.

I must have got to the loch by 11:30 and it was a stunner of a day, warm with patchy cloud and a slight breeze, just enough to keep the midges at bay. Although I had been telling myself that I would be using my heavier set up and larger lures, I had to start with my LRF gear. The main reason was that it was already rigged with a light dropshot rig. An 8lb fluorocarbon leader #8 offset worm hook and a 7g dropshot weight, I rigged this with a Watermelon Pearl Lake Fork Live Baby Shad. I always like to have a play with the lures in the shallows so I can see how they are working and I was amazed at how the little lure reacted to twitches and lifts of the rod. Now it was time to see what the perch thought!

Two or three casts later I had my answer as I felt a couple of sharp pecks on the lure before the fish grabbed it, hooking itself in the process. I managed to play the fish through a couple of weed patches and quickly landed my first perch of the day.

A lovely fish and was the picture of health.
It was just over 26cm on The Lure Forum ruler.
I released it back to the gin clear water and managed to get a nice shot of it gliding back towards the weed beds.

The fishing continued in this vein with lots of perch gleefully attacking the lure and fighting hard for the weeds once they were hooked, I was in heaven!

Another pristine perch.
Spot the perch.

As I moved up the loch I had a nice fish of around a pound in weight and full of confidence I started to take pics one handed as I played the fish in. The perch took full advantage of my lack of concentration and quickly threw the hook, leaving me cursing my snap happy approach although I did get a couple of nice shots of it in the water!

Now you see me... you don't!

Every now and then I would swap over to my heavier set up with a Lunker City Swimmin Ribster mounted on a 7g #2/0 football jighead. I worked this back with a sink and draw retrieve but it only resulted in one fish  (which got off) after an hour of working it. I went back to my LRF set up and results were instantaneous with more perch greedily attacking the lure. I was really having fun with them but I was still hoping for a big one but time was running out.

Perch love these little minnow like lures.
Another lovely bronze coloured perch. Must be the slightly peaty loch water that makes them this shade.

I was concentrating on working the lure along a drop off when I felt a couple of little taps, these didn't develop into anything so I cast again to the same area. Again I felt a couple of little taps but the fish didn't seem to want to commit. I decided to rig up a fresh Lake Fork Live Baby Shad as I hoped the strong garlic scent may help. I recast and brought the lure into the same area where again there were a couple of taps before the tip of my rod lunged down as a good fish grabbed the lure. The fish bore down into deeper water taking line in small bursts before pausing to shake its head violently. My heart was in my mouth as I knew it was a bigger perch, as it rose up from the depths I could see it was a lunker! I had waded about ten foot from the shore and I had left the net back on dry land, so offering the mantra "don'tcomeoffdon'tcomeoffdon'tcomeoff" I walked backwards trying to reach my net. The fish shot off again back down over the drop off but I had my net now and I played it back towards me. It broke the surface and seemed to take an age to drift across the top of the water and into the landing net and as it nestled safely in it I let out a squeal of delight! Words can hardly describe the relief and sheer excitement at this hard won awesome fish. It was in absolutely perfect condition, a big and lean muscled perfect wild perch.

The fish measured 37cm on The Lure Forum Ruler.
Weighing 1lb 10oz it was my biggest perch for a few years.

I took my pictures in a daze surrounded by awesome scenery and holding this magnificent fish in the water, It was hard to say goodbye but as she gave a kick it was time. I watched her swim strongly back through the clear shallows and disappear into the deep black water of the drop off an image that will be with me for a very long time!

Time to go.
Splosh and away.

I was elated, so much so that for about ten minutes I just sat in the sun, grinning and drinking in all that had happened, it really was that perfect moment.

I only had about twenty minutes of fishing time left and manged to winkle out a couple more perch around 25cm before I packed up and headed back to Edinburgh.

Spot the Live Baby Shad. Now I know why they are Scott's favourite perch lure.
Stunning scenery. A great place to fish indeed.

For some time I have been hoping to get a bigger perch so to catch such a beautiful, wild, perfect specimen was an absolute joy and with the new approach working well I am hopeful of catching an even bigger one.

Tight lines, Schogsky.