Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bobs 10lb'er on a Patchinko

So as the title says, my mate Bob had his first double figure bass on a surface lure last week. Now Bob has had his fill of double figure bass in his life, and being the humble chap that he is, not many people know that the one he had last week was probably about his 40th double. I think I am right in saying his biggest is well over 14lb.

The day was going well even before the big fish, we both had a few on the surface, I found the Z-Claw was nailing them, but Bob jumped between the Z-Claw and Patchinko. The wind was picking up, then dropping off, making it awkward when setting the boat up for the drift, as we knew where the fish were but the wind seemed to be on the bass's side. Still we continued, and picked a fish out on every drift, which is great.

A nice 5 minutes gave me two bass in two casts.

4lb 3oz

And then one of 4lb 5oz next cast

We had about 9 bass in a frew hours, a nice mornings fishing, or should I say "bumbling".

Then this happened!!! In all the excitement I didnt take any photos, I cant believe I didnt take any, its really bugging me that I didnt and I feel really bad for it. We were so shocked, Bob and I had shaking knees for ten minutes after the bass was returned. We got it on video though, well most of it, the first initial run was about 60ft of high speed Van Staal clutch running like he had hooked a passing waterskier!! So enjoy the video.

Design a UK Plugging rod??

So, after a couple of years of selling Tenryu lure rods my very good friends at Ultimate-Fishing want me to design a rod or rods for the UK market!! They actually asked me a year ago, but I though at that time the range of red rods available was more than enough to cover what we need in this country.

But as time goes by is get guys asking me for a longer version of this, a shorter version of that and higher and lower casting ranges etc. So I think there maybe a rod or three needed for certain situations in the UK. Now I realise that without many people having held the full range of Tenryu rods it is hard for guys to comment on what is missing, but if there is anyone out there that seriously has a rod or length or action that they would like to see in production please get in touch with me.

Oh, and then we need to name it!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A weekend I will never forget

I am still playing catch up here, and this entry on the blog is of a long weekend a few weeks ago. It started on the thursday afternoon, it was the Jersey Battle of Flowers parade that day, and as the parade practically brings the island to a standstill, and our shop is right in its flight path, we decided to get out the way and take the boat out.

It wasnt a big tide but there were a lot of birds working and the baitfish were everywhere, so we just looked for any small bit of tide that we could see coming off the heads. We had a little drift out of a gully and nothing was happening, then I spotted some Gannets really having it about half a mile away, so we reeled in and headed off to the party. The water was about 20ft deep so I though I would put on a Spindle Worm, as the bigger bass (I find) are lower down when there are Gannets diving. Doug put on an orange Duo Hacker 105SP, one of my favourite deep lures. I think it was first or second cast and Dougie hooked this nice one of 4lb 12oz.

It was the only fish there for us, we gave it another ten minutes but the birds scattered as soon as we turned up, so that kind of told us there couldn't have been alot of baitfish there, because if there was, the birds wouldn't have cared that we were there.

We managed a couple more fish and then headed to where I knew there would be a bit of tide as it was now 2 hours before low water and there is a gully out the back that can hold qyite a few fish sometimes on the drop.
The water was alot shallower so I put on a Patchinko and first cast had a bass about 2lb or so, good start. Doug put on a Feed Shallow Sardine, and as we drifted towards a small out crop of rocks he cast past the rocks and pulled the Feed Shallow between them. The lure must have been in 2ft of water when something slammed into it and gave Dougie a great screaming run out of the shallow water and into the tide, where it tried to use the power of the water to run down dide and away from the boat. A few minutes later and Doug had a lovely bass of 5lb 4oz on board. A few photos and video of it being released and she was away.

We called it a day as it was only a short trip and the battle celebrations would have died down by now.

The Friday afternoon, Bob and me went out for a few hours again and tried with the surface lures. We had five fish if I remember rightly, I was sticking with my Z-Claw "Free Willy" until I caught on it, as it just looked perfect on the flat sea. It didnt take long either. I do love the Z-Claw, they almost "walk" themselves across the surface, with a snake like look its small bow wave is unlike anything I have seen on any other suface lure. If you give the Z-Claw a jerk it will go under the water and you can continue to walk the dog beneath the surface.

This little bass leapt out from below some Jap weed, he wasn't happy and turned into a hedgehog on the boat so I used my Berkeley Grips to keep those spikes and gill plates away from my hands.
So once again we headed for home, the Nelson and Neil were out too so we all headed back together. They had done better than us, saying they had had about 20 bass, so with the weekend starting we were all looking forward to gettong back out first thing in the morning.
So here it is, that saturday morning that I will never forget as long as I live. We headed out at about six in the morning and headed to our favourite surface fishing spot. When we got there there were a couple of commercial boats nearby so we didnt start straight away, we held back from the best spot so they didnt see any actoion or exactly where we go. These two small boats lay long lines and nets so we didnt want them shooting one right on top of us. They did there pots and had a few throws of their plugs but they weren't quite in the right spots. They moved off and we moved just a few hundred yards inside of wher they were, first cast I hook a fish off the surface on a Free Willy and as I am unhooking it Bob hooks up with his first. And there it started, there were fish everywhere, it was like Bonefish fishing on the flats in the tropics. It seemed as we were using surface lures it gave the bass the insentive to hit the surface, because fish started rising all over the place. One after another we started hooking fish, Bob stuck with his Patchinko but as the water looked so glassy I had been wanting to give a Frosty a good go for ages, so on one went. Good choice.

First fish on the Frosty was this lovely 5lb 2oz one that was the last cast of a drift, I was about to start the engine as we were right up against a big rock,but one ore cast at it and there were a few big fish all over my lure, and this beauty fell to the Frosty.
Bobs go, he tempts a beautiful bass of about 5lb on his now famous Yellow Patchinko (I dread the day he loses that lure he will surely cry). I remember this fish having about 3 goes at his lure before he hooked up with it, infact we both thought the fish had gone but after letting the lure rest and make it act like a stunned fish it was too much for the bass to resist and he had to have it.

This was all getting too much for me, so I put down the rod and picked up the video camera, which is a hard thing to do when the fishing is this good, we wait months to experience this kind of day and it only happens once or twice a year. And this is the result, what I have waited to get on film for a long time, a bass hitting a Patchinko off the top.

I winkled out another one of about 5lb or so on the nacre Frosty. This is turning into a really good day now. Watching the Frosty slide with slower strokes than the Patchinko is awesome, and in conditions like these this day it really out fished the holy Patchinko for once.

As the tide flooded we moved onto some really nice ground, and fate was on our side again as there were fish there too and the tide and wind direction was perfect. I thought I would try a black Feed Popper as the water was little deeper and some cloud had come over. Bingo, a greed y little bass on the Feed Popper too, happy days. So after about 30 fish between the two boats we called it a morning and headed back to the harbour for a much deserved bacon roll, coffee and a chat.

Sunday morning.....and we are off again. To now cut along story short, we headed straight for the slightly deeper ground and used the same lures as the day before. Bob on his Yellow Patchinko, and me on the Yellow Frosty. We had a ball, I think in two hours between Bob, Nelson, Neil and myself we had 35 fish, maybe more, and a few beauties thrown in for good measure too. Neil had the best of the day, this lovely one of 6lb 8oz, on a Vision 110 and his little Megabass Destroyer rod. I had some sea water on the lens of my camera so thats why it looks a bit blurred.

The water flattened right out, I mean like a mill pond. Again we could see bass rid=sing and hitting fish and at one point, about 20 yards out of range Bob and me saw a shoal of big bass, I mean big too, hitting mackerel or sandeels off the top, it was like tuna feeding I tell you.

So a few more pretty pictures of our fish and I will end it here. We are off out tomorrow morning at 7, well that is in fact in 4 hours time and ,my eyes are watering here writing this as I am so tired and have none of my gear ready for the morning yet!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Soft Plastics DO Work

Firstly I must say sorry for being so slack and not keeping my blog up to date. It is like everything in life that snowballs if you don't keep on top of it. The shop and fishing has been so busy in the last month and the blog has been constantly there needing some time.

So, August is when things normally start hotting up for us, and it did. Bob and I decided one day to just use soft plastics and see what happened. We managed 5 bass which at that time was a sound day, as Nelson and the boys had had about the same on the plugs. So we were keen on trying what I would call medium depth lure fishing, in 20ft to 40ft of water. The jigheads we were using were all from 18g to 40g in weight, and the softies themselves were mainly Xlayers, Mother Worms, Sayori Shads and Spindle Worms. I was using the Xlayers in mainly still water, the Mother Worms in deeper water with a more vertical action, and the Sayori Shads and Spindle Worms, with their amazing paddle tails, in say 25ft of faster water and casting them at heads etc. I don't know if that is the correct way to use these selction of lures but it made sense to me.

As we left the harbour there were Terns diving all around us, so we grabbed the rods and had a chuck. There were yachts and boats passing us almost between the pierheads and I am sure they thought we weremad. The sea was alive with pin sandeels and whitebait, so I put on an Original Xlayer and an 11g Carolina Fixe head and had a chuck. These ones mounted below are the French/Silver colour, but I was actually using Wagasaki on the day.
The water was about 20ft deep so I knew the lure would take a while to sink, which is what I wanted. A couple of casts and I feel something having a go as I was rising the Xlayer from the bottom. Blow me down if it wasnt a pretty little Tub GurnardSo we gave it a few more casts but soon realised we were just chasing Terns instead of fish, so we moved on. We took the outside route to our fishing spots and saw a nice bit of tide coming over some sunken reef about 10ft below the water with maybe 25ft of water around the reef. Heavier heads were needed and I wanted to get the softy down the sides of the reef were the kelp was swaying in the tide. I selected a Dokuro 30g and a Sayori Shad, as its action is amazing even when reeling with the tide, which is what we were doing. It didnt take lonk and I hooked this little beauty and I don't know if I was more shocked or the bass as it fought like mad for its size.
Bob also realised we needed the tails to wiggle with the currant coming towards us so he got out his Spindle Worm, he put on a 25g head and the Shrimp coloured Spindle Worm. Litterally two minutes after I had mine he hooked this one off the end of the reef that I had caught on in the middle.
We had a few goes in a few different places, but just hooked a couple of small Pollack and the odd wrasse bit the tails off our lovely softies. Over the slack water it can be a problem if you are not looking for wrasse, dont get me wrong, I love catching Wrasse on softies, but any old softy will catch a Wrasse but they do have a healthy appertite for expensive Japanese ones!

So, off out to the outside again where the tide picks up well before the tide moves inside the reef system. I was casting at heads and keeping the boat back a bit so's hopefully not to spook the bass that may have just turned up on the heads. I put on a chatreuse Spindle Worm with a Xorus Cyber 23g head, these heads when you drop the rod tip will dart the lure from side to side as they sink, its quite a good action in fact and looks very enticing. A few casts on a new head and the Spindle duped another bass. Bob had one on the exact same colour too and we both agreed its a great colour when the sun is shining and the sky is clear. The chatreuse doent look quite as bright in the water as it does out, but so many times now when using plugs on a clear day we do at some point dig out a chatreuse one.

The tide was quite big that day so we didnt have alot of time on the heads we were doing, so with family commitments (I had to pick Sarah up from work!) we headed back. As we aproached the harbour the ferry was leaving so we had to wait a few minutes for it to clear to pier. Not wanting to waste time on the water I grasbbed my rod that still had the chatreuse Spindle Worm on it and had a chuck where we had started and I had hooked that beautiful Tub Gurnard earlier. First cast I only go and hook the best bass of the day, a hard fighting 4lb 8oz'er that really didnt want to come on board. A few photos and she was released, to the hailing of a bunch of Portuguese anglers feathering on the pierhead, they couldnt believe I put it back!!

So all in all a good day really, the potential with these modern softies is huge, its a different style of lure angling and requires some amount of patience, but I think the results spek for themselves, as this was the first time we had tried it properly all day in our normal plugging marks.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Bloody Tourists!!

Well July is usually the month when the weather and fishing normally hots up a bit for me, and to an extent it did. Bob and I had some good trips out on our boat, with numbers of bass starting to get into double figures, but the sizes are still small. I keep telling myself its not all about catching....but it is hard to remember that when youre out every weekend and only catching school bass time and time again. But in all fairness we have been learning something everytime we go out, new lures, techniques and locations all add up to a good trip even if it is a bit demoralising.

We found a load of bass one afternoon in amoungst some jap weed, I mean there were dozens chasing the lures, I think I saw about 30 at one point all over my surface lure, and the bigger bass were below the crazy small ones that were attacking the Z-Claw. I think we hooked out about 10 before they were gone, all good fun and out first real peice of summer fun.

So then, the tourists. Knowing so many people that love their bass fishing, and all of them wanting to learn how to use the lures I sell them, I tend to get alot of visitors coming out on the boat with Bob and me. Now I love it, seeing them experiencing Jersey for all its beauty is great, even if the fishing is tough. But, I am getting fed up with visitors coming over here and showing me how to do it!! I am joking of course, I love it really, and to know they have come here an experienced some of out beautiful coastline and bass is just superb.

So here are a few of the boys we have had out recently.

Mike Kennard (Mr Daiwa 2009) came over a couple of week ago. Mike loves his Daiwa tackle, in fact he should be a rep for them as it was a Daiwa rod, reel and lure that secured him these beauties.

Ok the first one is the normal size of a pound or so that we have been getting...sound, it got him his first Jersey bass and we hadnt been out the harbour long.
Twenty minutes later he shows us it hasnt stopped yet!!
Another few minute later and he is starting to rub it in with his third!!
So, I am happy for Mike, he is happy, we are all happy (ish). The other guy out with us that day was Martin Hall from Newton Abbot, Martin is a great angler and like me was struggling to find some fish. We were transfixed on getting some bass on the Patchinko, as we were getting rises galour and the bass were all over our surface lures but just not taking them. So as we are hell bent on a surface catch we hear Mike behind us say "Oh yes, into another one!!" And was he into one? Oh yeah. He only goes and has a scrap and a half with this little beauty, which gave some stick on his Daiwa Tournement Bass. It ended up going 7lb 5oz, and a great trophy shot for him to finish off his Jersey trip nicely.

So that was one happy tourist. Martin had to wait a bit before he caught his first Jersey bass but he got one in the end.

We had a double hook-up, and yes, Mr Fish had the smallest again, but it was good fishing and good company, friends in fishing are great friends indeed.

Next up was David "Pikey" Edwards, the Pike angler that usually prefers hooking lovely Pike on a fly rod in the UK.
Here is Dave with his first ever bass, caught litterally ten minutes after leaving the harbour. He had this bright chatreuse "Bomber" with him and it looked perfect for the bright day that it was.
And Dave managed a nice 4lb'er, which did give him a great scrap for its size. So all in all its getting better, all I need to do now is catch some fish myself.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

June was a tough month!

It certainly was a tough month, Bob and me tried all our tricks and we got results, but with the effort we put in we didn't score like we usually do. We had a great start to June with Nick Hewitt getting that superb 7lb'er but that was a one off. We have touched on catching ten bass on one session a couple of times, and to many of you, you will be thinking how can we be moaning, but believe me that is a lot of casts over some of the best looking bass grounds in the world. So what are the reasons? Well, the water has been unbelievably clear, and there seems to be a huge amount of small bass about this year. Last weekend I blanked on the Saturday and Bob managed one small bass of about a pound and a half. On the Sunday I hooked two bass out within minutes of each other, both on a Smith Saruna 110 Ayu, and both were about 2lb. We went about our business for about another hour and then we stumbled across a huge school of bass, I mean it was crazy, there must have been hundreds in the Jap weed below us. We soon started hooking them on surface plugs, Bob on a Zenith Z-Claw and me on a Xorus Patchinko. It was a frenzy for about twenty minutes and we both had about half a dozen out. Whilst retrieving one bass in a saw about thirty bass all around the one I had hooked, and there were some bigger ones below, up to about three and a half to four pound I suppose. Here is Bob holding up two of them on a "Boga" style grip.

And here they are heading back to their mates at top speed!

It has been the same story for most of the month, we will find a fish or two and then go maybe hours without seeing one and then hit half a dozen in half hour. Now we have been doing this type of fishing for many years now, and patterns are hard to find when the fish are so scarce, but this year with the clear water and abundance of sandeels in our fishing area I do think the fishing is about to explode for us....always the optimist eh!
We had our good friends from Ireland over a few weeks ago, Pat, Cian and Paul had a great time, once again the fishing was tough but we did manage to find a few. Pat reminded me of the magnificence of the Zenith Z-Claw surface lure. It is a lure that I used to love and do very well on, and I not only never use it these days I only had a couple left in my shop for sale!! Dam you Mr Gallagher, an order went in yesterday for 120 of them!! See how no matterhow much a tackle dealer you are you can still be influenced by seeing a few fish caught on a lure!!
Here are some of the exploits the Irish boys got up to that weekend.

From left to right Cian, Nelson and Paul

Pat had about half a dozen small bass over the two days, here is his first Jersey bass caught on a Megabass Zonk.

He also had a first over here, a Wrasse on a hear plastic

And he had a few beauties on the soft plastics

And to show us how its done he only goes and whops out a monster Pollack on a Xorus Rolling Shad. It really went well too, I was convinced it was a Wrasse. Look at its tail, I think a seal or Conger had had a bite out of it at some stage!

I managed to winkle out a few fish that weekend too, here was my best effort

So over the last month we have learnt a few tricks and found some new places and states of tide to fish them, all we need now is some decent bass to tun up and we will be away!
Here are some of the fish we have had in June anyway, Bob with a nice one on a Tackle House Feed Shallow
And another for Bob on Hart Absolut Worm
I have managed about twenty bass in June I suppose, this was a spritely one on a Saruna again

Well roll on July I say, lots to do and lots of fishing. My new webite will be ready very soon, and this blog will be intwinded in it, which means I will be reviewing lures and tackle more and videoing lures swimming etc. I cant wait, I have decided to have some lures on my site that are the modern classics and in my favourite colours, and from time to time, like each month or so, I will get a few different lures and colurs in just as one hits of just a few dozen, and see how people get on, that way there should always be something new on the site to play with.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A nice day out

I had a phone call during the week from a chap called Nick Hewitt, he was wondering if there were any bass guides on boats in Jersey. I told him that there wasn't and said he is free to join Bob and me for a days plugging if we go. So, Saturday comes, we meet Nick at the shop and head down the harbour to launch the boat. The conditions were lovely, slightly overcast and there was a chance of a bit of rain or thunder, just how I like it to be honest.

I phoned Nelson to see where the boys were, they were down the east and had had 6 bass already, not bad, and it made me want to shoot straight down there. But, knowing the best of the dropping tide had gone I knew of a couple of spots on the way that fish quite well over the low tide so decided to try there first.

Nick then informs me he had never caught a bass before! So the pressure was on to catch him his first. About one minute later he only goes and hooks into a screamer of a bass, it ran and dived and head shook all it could. After a fairly long scrap it rose to the net, and bleeding alot from the gill area I was afraid it would not survive, but luckily it did.

We unhooked it, took some pictures and had a quick debate on whether we thought it would survive or not. I washed it in the sea for the photos and it seemed to stop bleeding straight away, so the decission was made to return this beautiful fish as quickly as possible. Fair play to Nick, he totally wanted to bass to go back too and was happy to see this fine specimen returned.

We guessed the fish to be 7lb and quickly returned it, there is no feeling like watching a beautiful bass swimming back.

We moved on and Nick manages his second bass! This is becoming the normal for Bob and me, we take guys out and they show us how to do it. A little while after that I managed my first one of the trip and shortly after that we met up with Nelson and Neil and we all crept about the shallow waters searching for some more silver bars. The water was gin clear,we could see the bottom very clearly even in 20ft of water. This does make finding the fish harder, especially over the slack water period. A few drifts down some gullies and I wasnt happy, the ground was perfect if the water had been a little deeper, a little faster and a little less clear.

So with a feeling that it wasnt going to get much better and the risk of a huge down pour of rain I decided to start heading back to the harbour and try a few places on the way back. First area I saw looked much better, the tide was a bit stronger and there was weed over rocks below us in about 10 to 15 ft of water, and the tide was flowing towards a band of rocks that were breaking up the flow.

First cast and Bob hooks a fish and as I was filming it Nick hooks one too. At last, a shoal of fish, and Neil and Nelson were just behind us, they straight away started hooking fish too. Here is Bobs first of the day, and his first on the Tackle House Feed Shallow 105, a great little lure that casts like a bullet and is very easy to work as all you need is a steady retrieve.

Here are a couple of Neils, a very proud man with his new Megabass rod, and of course his beloved Megabass Vision 110's, he really is a walking Megabass catalogue!

I think Neil ended up with four or five bass for the day, which is great really for the water we were fishing, really shallow and really clear.

So we ended up with nine or ten bass, a big mackerel and a few pollack, not a bad day at all. I think boys had about the same. Happy days indeed.

Xorus Patchinko

It is my favourite surface lure of all time, the Patchinko is simply a work of art when it comes to catching bass in most top water situations. It casts further and more accurately than any other lure of its size and practically works itself.

The Patchinko is a walk the dog style lure, that is a zig zag motion along the surface. This is achieved by jerking the rod to make it zig, then jerking the rod to make it zag, and all the time winding the reel. The action is made easier by the under slung connection on the head, this keeps the head up in the water and the bulbus back end of the lure, which is where the weight chamber is, makes it rear heavy and gives it true and accurate casting.

I use the Patchinko is most sea conditions, from flat milky calm, to really rough and choppy. It casts extremely well into the wind and very rarely tangles. In calm water I tend to use the lure with much more subtle actions, almost a long slide method, where you leave a second or two gap between each jerk to allow the lure to slide a bit further on each zig and zag.

In choppy water I jerk the rod quite quickly to make the lure spit water a bit like a popper, just try and make a little more commotion than the sea is. Be quite violet with it but stillnot too fast, as I find although you will catch fish even at fairly fast retrieves, you will find bigger fish with a slower retreive.

Don't forget the rod should be twitched with the wrist, not the whole arm. You make the butt of the rod bang between your ribs and fore arm. This is made much easier with fast actioned rods, and although you can use most types of spinning rod for surface work, you will tire, and will not get the best action from the lure.

Here is a video of Bob working his favourite yellow Patchinko

Here are some results of the Patchinko over the last couple of years,

The Cabot

Andy Stonehouse loves Patchinkos too!!

Bob and his beloved yellow
Me with a 7lb 12oz, I was actually not even winding the lure when the fish took it
There is no feeling like taking a bass off the surface, it truely is breathtaking and something that every angler should experience.