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.