Thursday 23 October 2014

Good News Day!

Hi Folks, well I am pleased to say that I have teamed up with Sea Angler Magazine as one of thier LRF / Light Game contributors! I am very pleased about it all and today is the day my first article is published.
Entitled "Just grab and go!" its a piece about short session success.  I haven't made it out to the newsagents yet but I can't wait to see what the magazine have done with my first article!
Tight Lines

Wednesday 8 October 2014

LRF + Wrasse = Awesome!

I had a couple of fantastic sessions with Ritchie and Rory on the east coast rocks, with all of us getting a great variety of species and specimens. Ritchie had learnt wrasse whispering and he was winkling wrasse out all over the place! Rory had just got hold of a new LRF rod , the rather sublime Graphiteleader Corto and he was keen to add to his LRF species tally. So we spent a couple of sessions playing with good size pollock, wrasse, scorpions, Flounders, Codling and some huge mackerel made an appearance too. The most successful technique was dropshotting 4" Gulp sandworm a nice slow twitchy retrieve seemed to attract all species bar the mackerel which really wanted 4 inch jig head mounted sluggos!

After these two fun filled sessions I was keen to go back for more, but with Rory and Ritchie both busy with work it was time for a solo session. The weather was playing ball and it was a pleasantly warm day with the sea state nice and calm, perfect for wrasse!

After a short drive I grabbed my bags and hurried down to the mark, a quick scramble and climb later and I was there for slack water at low tide. I quickly rigged up my LRF gear which comprised of my new HTO Rockfish 73 1-8g rod, 3000 size reel, PE0.6 braid and 8lb YGK Flurocarbon leader.
I went with my "go to" dropshot rig with a # 6 slim offset worm hook, tied via a palomar knot with a 30cm drop. The hook is very important for fishing on such a kelpy and rough mark and the offset worm hook gives me the ability to rig my lure in a weedless fashion. 4" Gulp sandworm in natural colour was duly rigged on the hook and I began to explore the kelp forest that surrounds the rocks I was on.

I was full of hope and excitement there there is nothing like the prospect of wrasse to get me all a flutter! I began by concentrating on the rocky kelpy fringe that surrounds the rock mark I was standing on. As I worked my way along the rocks I came across a ledge of rock with an overhang into quite deep water. This looked very wrassey so I perched myself right on the edge of it and dropped my rig straight down into about 20ft of water. When the lead hit the bottom  I started adding a few twitches , tapping the weight on the rocky sea bed and dropping the rod tip to allow the lure to flutter down in a seductively weightless fashion. It only took seconds before I felt a sharp tap on the lure, the unmistakable bite of a wrasse! Tap....Tap , the bites felt like electric shocks running down my arm and the super sensitive rod only intensified the bites. I allowed the bites to develop as wrasse have a weird habit of plucking at the lure .Next bite I felt a bit of weight so I struck and all hell broke loose. The wrasse dived towards the kelp wall I was standing on boring hard for cover, then suddenly all went slack! The air turned blue with some choice curses as I reeled in, but the wrasse had gone and it felt like a good one too.

 My rig was still intact so it was just a case of re-rigging  some more Gulp sandworm on the hook and dropping back down. One of the many fascinating things about the wrasse is that they seem to come back for a second go even if they have felt the hook. This time the lead dropped to the bottom, I tightened up and instantly felt weight on the line. I struck and my rod lunged over as a wrasse took off for the kelp!
I wasn't gonna lose this one and a short brutal fight commenced, with my drag cranked up I quickly lifted the rod above my head to get the fish clear of the kelp. Then I had to hold my nerve as the fish dived for cover, the rod hooped alarmingly but this wee rod is deceptively strong and as I cranked up the pressure the fish started to come up in the water. The rod quickly sapped the strength of the fish and soon it was sliding over the rim of my landing net. A really nice fish too which weighed in at 3lb 2oz, I took some pics and then returned the fish back to the kelp forest.

I rigged up another Gulp sandworm and repeated the process , dropping down next to the ledge I was standing on. The lead hit the bottom and again tap, tap then I felt weight so I struck into a big fish!
More brutality was heaped upon the rod as at hooped over. Again I cranked the fish away from the kelp as quickly as possible by lifting the rod above my head. It was a tough fight the wrasse doing its best to stay deep and thumping the rod down at an alarming angle. But I gave no quarter, allowing the rod to tire the fish and soon I had colour as a pig of a wrasse came to the surface. As it slipped into my landing net I began to laugh, I couldn't believe it! It was most certainly a new PB and it measured a whopping 49cm and weighed 4lb 1oz. What an amazing fish and to catch such a beautiful yet brutal fighting fish on LRF gear was a fantastic challenge.

I was fish drunk by this stage and after taking pics and releasing my wonderful prize I got back to looking for more! More fish followed ranging from 1/2 a pound to around the 3lb mark and the action was constant. The fights were intense rod bending affairs every fish had my heart in my mouth and adrenalin swishing around my bloodstream. From the one little spot a managed a further 11 wrasse before the action stopped.

I had spent the last part of the session in a happy daze,and by the end of the session I was satisfied, my hunger for wrasse was sated. As I floated merrily back to the car I still couldn't believe the perfectness of the session, lots of wrasse including a new pb all on LRF gear. As many of you know LRF gear does not mean little fish, in fact it is quite the opposite but one thing is for sure. LRF + Wrasse = Awesome!
Tight Lines

Monday 15 September 2014

Mini Sticks earn their stripes

I had been having some fun filled sessions hitting the rocks with Rory and Ritchie and when the weather took a turn for the worse we decided to head back to the big loch for a crack at the perch.
This was to be our first recce of the loch with the idea of checking it out for future sessions with Rorys boat. Rory was more used to hitting up the canals down south for those big southern perch but he was keen to get a feel for our wild water Perching.

Over the hour or so's drive to the loch Rory and I talked about various tactics and lures and I was keen to try the HTO Mini Sticks as they just looked very fishy!
After a brief tussle with rogue waders (a combination of brute force and swearing soon subdued them) we emerged at the side of the loch just in time to see shoals of fry scattering as predators chased them from beneath.For once conditions were perfect for humans as well as fish with the afternoon sun on our backs and a gentle warm breeze.

I was using the new Rockfish Revoloution rod instead of the 73 and it was paired with my Shimano Technium 3000,0.6PE braid and my leader / dropshot rig was 8lb YGK Nitlon DFC Fluorocarbon.
The hook was my favourite #8 Owner slim offset worm and I rigged a Margarita coloured Mini Stick with the hook point exiting from its back rather than nose hooking it. This does seem to increase the bites to hook ups ratio, although it is easier for the lure to move when on the hook and spoil the presentation.

I ambled out through the weeds and and cast towards the back of a moored boat, the lure dropped through the water and never made the bottom as it was instantly seized by a perch! I quickly played the fish in ,enjoying the juddery fight on my new rod. The fish was quickly photographed, released and I got my lure back out into the killzone. This time the lure managed to make it to the bottom and got a couple of feet before another perch hammered it! I played the second fish in and released it, meanwhile Rory was bouncing a chartreuse curly tail along the bottom but it wasn't eliciting much of a response. The HTO Mini Stick however was constantly getting nailed and Rory quickly rigged up a dropshot rig and he too began to get hit by perch.
We managed about a dozen each in quick succession before the bites dried up, so we elected to move along to a deeper water5 mark in the hope of a bigger perch.

A short waddle later and we were fishing into deeper water and again we were greeted with a vast shoal of small bait fish. It was thoroughly exciting as we could see the shoal reacting, scattering on the surface as predators harried the shoal. I quickly cast out beyond the shoal and hopped the lure back whilst shaking the rod . Almost as soon as the lure began its stilted run across the loch bed I could feel perch plucking at the lure. When I felt the plucks I dropped the rod tip allowing some slack line, this allowed the fish to suck the lure in without feeling resistance. A flick of the wrist set the hook and I began to play another hard fighting perch, This one was a bit bigger at around the pound mark and the rod cushioned its juddery head shakes wonderfully. I netted the fish and took its picture before releasing back to its shoal mates. Rory too was straight into perch and we quickly racked up another dozen or so before the action slowed again. We decided to stick at this mark as we could still see the shoal of bait fish getting balled up against the edge of the dock we were fishing from.
Again after about 20 minutes the Perch were back and the same pattern was repeated with a flurry of perch fighting over themselves to snap at my lure. It was fantastic fun and the fish appeared to be getting larger with both of us managing to find fish up to 1.5lbs.

Again the perch seemed to come in waves and each wave would yield  a dozen or so fish before they moved off again. The action continued throughout the afternoon and we marveled at the size of the shoal of bait fish, which seemed unable to escape the area where the perch had corralled them.
We continued to fish on  and were really enjoying the seemingly constant attention that our lures were receiving, I happened to notice part of the shoal scattering on the surface as fish piled into them from beneath. I cast over the shoal and instead of slowly working the lure I jigged it up high in the water then let it fall quickly back down. It was then I was hit by a much larger fish, with the rod hooping over as the fish started to take line. The juddery head shakes started and I knew it was a perch and a good one at that. My knees went to jelly and I gently played the fish in all the time repeating the mantra " don'tcomeoffdon'tcomeoffdon'tcomeoff".
As we caught sight of the fish we could both see it was a belter and thankfully I watched as it slipped into Rorys landing net.
What a lovely fish and certainly my biggest perch this year which weighed in at 2.15oz of pure, wild,pristine perch.

I was made up and to his credit Rory was too as he was hoping to see a nice perch and this one was just perfect. Pictures were taken and the big stripey was slipped gently back and with a gleeful flick of it's tail it disappeared back into the deep water.
That was the absolute highlight of the day and I was overjoyed at catching such a quality fish on my new rod and my new lures. 

So there you have it, I have found a new "goto" lure for perch replacing my old favourites Lake Fork Live Baby shads was something I didn't think would happen.
But it is true HTO Mini sticks 100% are now my favourite perch lure and I can't wait to get out and use them again!
Tight Lines