I’ve been really mixing up my fishing of late. I’d every intention this year of making short evening trips after work to gain extra fishing time. So far the strategy is working well.
A recent evening foray was after bass on plugs. It was a flat calm night, sunny and warm. Frankly, after all the bad weather we’ve endured it was a real pleasure to be out and stood in the surf again.
I’d chosen a patch of rough ground close to an estuary mouth which has a light run of tide over it the two hours before high water. The ground is shallow but perfect for surface popping plugs. I chose the ever reliable ABU Rocket Popper in the Tiger colour and started to work the ground in a wide fan shape out in front of me.
The depth of water was only a couple of feet, but on the third cast I saw a small bass swirl behind the plug and miss it. A few casts later I was watching the plug splash its way back towards me when I saw the spikes of a bass’s dorsal fin slice through the surface and attack the plug sideways hammering over the rod tip. It was a game little fish, but would not have weighed more than a pound or so. I followed it up with two more, the best a little shy of 2lbs. Not big fish granted, but great sport on the light plugging rod.
The weather drifted away again to strong winds and with heavy rain showers soon after. This meant I needed to find shelter for my next shore trip and I decided to have another go for the North Wales plaice, as it was one of the few options I had in the conditions. This proved to be a fruitful session with me catching plaice to 1.5lbs, also dabs. The dabs really should not be there at this current time, but some strange things have been happening as a result of the weird weather patterns and currently nothing surprises me. I have a feeling this mark will produce some good plaice for me come the late July in to August period.
Next up I was due to do some filming of the new Penn and Shakespeare product down in Plymouth ready for an annual sales conference. This is product you’ll see on the shop shelves in September. We had just the one day to try and catch some good fish and get product shots for a short video, as well as get some still shots. Yet again the disjointed UK weather saw me wake up at 6am to horizontal rain and gale force winds whipping across Plymouth Sound. This suggested that we would have to fish inside the sound and be content with mainly small fish. However, speaking to Malc Jones, the skipper of Sea Angler 2, he said the forecasts where all over the place, but that the weather might abate by mid day.
This is how it turned out. We’d had a series of small pollack from the inner sound, then at 11am Malc suggested we head out to an inshore wreck, but through a really snotty sea with a huge swell. Our target fish were conger eels, with a ceiling size of about 25lbs, but given the weather this would be ideal.
Straight away we were in to conger up to 20lbs or so. I was fishing a new Penn 12/20lb Rampage rod with 20lb braid and had a gentle bite from what was obviously an eel. Setting the hook the rod tip folded over to the weight of a fish that was obviously no 20lber and the butt locked up as I maximised pressure on the fish. It briefly went in to the wreck, but heavy pressure got it moving. It came up off the seabed, went back down again, then after gaining some line hung in the water column. Short pumps of the rod pressured the fish and when it broke surface it surprised me how big the eel was. Malc estimated it at between 35 and 40lbs, so a good fish on relatively light tackle. Sorry about the photo, but in the high sea swell the lads were struggling taking the photos, but you get the size of the fish.
After this the eels went shy for a while, so I changed to just a full fillet of pouting as sometimes shy eels prefer a smaller bait than a whole flapper. I felt what I thought where pouting rattling away at the bait and actually caught one. Second drop down I had the same. This was much more persistent. I struck in to a fish that was obviously not big, but equally was not a pout. We’d had had a few whiting to 1.5lbs already and it naturally crossed my mind that this might also be a whiting. It turned out to be just that, but looked huge when it broke surface and it weighed in at 2lbs 10ozs on the boats scales. This is a personal best for me and I was really pleased as big whiting are not a fish I’ve done that well with over the years.
Persistence and a good skipper had paid off and the day turned out to be a success in the end, despite the shocking weather.
I’d like to get a shore black bream trip or two in, also get out on the shore rays and put some time in on the rock ledges over the next few weeks, but much depends on the weather, so I’ve nothing set in stone yet to predict the content of my next blog. You, like me, will be kept guessing!