Thursday, 3 August 2017

3/8/17 On The River

With 30 knot winds tearing up the coast there is absolutely no chance to go to sea so, I decided to spend an afternoon on the river and try for some of those pound plus roach with bread feeder tactics.
Despite being extremely blowy inland I managed to keep the boat still enough to quivertip effectively by wedging it into the bank side vegetation.
 A chublet, a few  roach (no pounders)and a couple of bream turned up including this nice conditioned specimen that I barely managed to squeeze into my totally inadequate roach landing net.
A fine display by a pair of peregrine falcons concluded a pleasant afternoon to be afloat.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

1/8/17 Plaice

Firstly, an  admission. I've rather neglected the blog now for over three months so , as it's blowing a hoolie outside, and pouring with rain, I thought I'd take the opportunity to bring it  up to date and get it back on track, as it would be a shame to let it lapse after seven years of blogging.
If the past few entries seem somewhat condensed, and patchy in places I apologise but, in the ensuing months I've not been idle on the writing front.
I've become an angling journalist of sorts, and am now writing regularly for 'Saltwater Boat Angling' magazine- a publication that has been on the shelves for over a year now, and will hopefully continue to succeed in the future. I think the title speaks for itself and if you're into this sort of fishing, it's well worth a look and I personally would be interested to hear feedback from you regarding my own content. http://www.saltwaterboatangling.co.uk/


The recent run of strong winds have meant that the boat has stayed on its mooring most of the time but, apart a bass live baiting trip last week that proved to be almost completely unproductive, yesterday I decided to seize an opportunity and venture out early for a spot of plaice fishing- something I'd been meaning to try for some time.
 A close in mark was selected but the small tide meant very slow fishing indeed which I'd expected anyway. Half a dozen plaice did show up along with a gurnard, and the tiniest spotted ray I've ever seen caught by my boat partner for the day-Alan.
To liven up proceedings , however,large shoals of mackerel regularly showed up on the sounder enabling us to fill up a cool box with 60 odd of a good size so the bait stock has been replenished, and lunch for a few days sorted, as I smoked up a batch for the freezer.
 If you've enjoyed reading this and have any questions, or indeed would like to tell me about your own fishing, either contact me on here or by email at jeffsmith9261@gmail.com.
Tight lines.

28/7/17 Crucian Carp

True crucian carp are something of a rarity nowadays and a specie that I haven't personally tangled with for several decades. As a youngster I fished a small Surrey estate lake that contained a head of crucians and also various hybrids never catching anything over about a pound in weight but, what sticks firmly in my memory is just how delicate their bites were and how tricky they were to hook.
In those days I adopted traditional (they were the norm back then ) float fishing methods and I don't recall the method feeder, nor bolt rig having been even  invented.
Nowadays it seems, that most coarse species can be caught efficiently on bolt feeder tactics of one sort or another and there is no doubting the efficiency of the method although at times, I still prefer to watch a float.
Marsh farm fishery near Godalming has a stock of genuine crucian carp and so Dave and me decided to have a go at catching them as well as some of the tench that are present in the lakes.
Dave managed to bag a couple of crucians on his swing tip outfit, whilst my feeder rigs produced just the one of about a pound along with half a dozen tench to 5lb or so making for a pleasant day's fishing.
 My first true crucian carp for nearly 40 years



19/7/17 Mullet Afloat

At last I've been able to get downstream to the mullet grounds in the river boat and experience some success.
The day started, in the usual mud flats swim, with a very frustrating bumped fish at the landing net but sightings of fish continued and eventually this nice plump thick-lip made it to the boat .
I did explore some alternative swims but struggled to find any fish showing so as the tide turned , headed back upstream to a stone retaining wall that is gradually covered as the tide floods. 
It's one of my 'banker' spots and it didn't disappoint today. A few minutes after feeding and fishing had commenced , the odd tell tale whelm appeared just feet from the boat hull, followed shortly by an enquiry at the bait  'nailing' the float in the process.
A small mullet of maybe a pound was the result and a nice way to finish the session before heading back up to the mooring.

16/7/17 Turbot Time


A long distance trip in search of turbot with Martin and , as is the norm for me at the moment, the fishing was challenging. We worked hard to find about a dozen fish in total half of which were kept for the pot but, don't be deceived by the picture- that one would have made 3lb if it was lucky.
Some truly huge mackerel ( I weighed one at home at a pound and a half) also graced the deck so there was plenty of quality food, which means grateful friends, to take home.
Baked for 20 minutes the following evening the turbot tasted out of this world.

9/7/17 Wrecking With Tony

Marina neighbours ,Tony and Mark, have recently bought a very impressive Parker 660 boat and, as the weather was set fine, invited myself and Brian on a wrecking expedition to try her out.
A very fine craft indeed, I particularly liked the 'walk around' facility to allow safe and easy anchoring and the comfort of a full cabin was certainly appreciated.
I often wonder , if I'm ever in the position to do so, what sort of boat I might eventually replace my own with and, it's only the full cabin facility that would warrant a change. For the time being I'm more than happy with what I've got and the added running costs of a larger craft make it an unrealistic proposition anyway but, it's always nice to have a look.
Tony worked very hard to put us on the fish trying several wrecks up to 25 miles offshore but the fish were slightly less than co-operative.
We caught about a dozen  in total, including pollack up to low double figures (fun on a 50g spin rod and 2500 sized reel) along with a couple of tidy codling.
Brian provided the entertainment as usual,  it made for, as always, a great day afloat, especially as I got to drive the boat back to port, and we're both hoping to get another invite out soon. Hint, hint.
No pictures I'm afraid because Tony is a better skipper, than photographer.

4/7/17 Mullet


Following my return from the United States Dave and me set out in the river boat in search of mullet but, apart from the loss of a thick lip, higher upstream incidentally, than I'd seen them before, a few roach came into the boat and that was that.
On a subsequent trip, the engine decided not to play ball so had to be removed for a spot of maintenance forcing me to explore some old bank swims later in the day.
The selected spot produced my first ever mullet seventeen years ago and didn't fail today. A brace of fish came to my trotted bread flake reminding me of the tenacity with which these critters fight and providing an entertaining, if a spot muddy, couple of hours fishing.

4-28/6/17 Florida



 I was extremely  fortunate to be invited to spend two weeks in Cape Canaveral ,Florida at the home of marina neighbours, Brian, Karen and Martin, and sample some of the fishing they have available to them . The family own two boats, both kept at a dry stack marina, a 39ft centre console with 1050HP on the back, and an equally impressive 22ft flats boat with a measly 200hp outboard to push it.
The boats are lifted in and out of the water by the biggest forklift truck I've ever seen-an impressive sight in itself.
Apparently, not that I noticed, the fishing was slow in comparison to what they're used to but we still encountered some spectacular species including cobia, red snapper, king mackerel, bonito, barracuda and a 200lb sandbar shark which kept Martin and me occupied for an hour, and had the audacity to interrupt our kingfish fishing. (shark are not rated highly as a sport fish out there).
When the weather forced our hand, we explored the inland waterways hunting snook and tarpon unfortunately with little luck, although I did get to see both species momentarily on the end of our lines.
As an aside, as a confirmed space cadet (I was 9 when Armstrong walked on the moon) I got to realise a lifelong ambition of seeing a rocket launch from the Cape, and visit the Kennedy Space Centre which I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone who has a similar interest in the space programme.
A highly enjoyable visit that I hope to repeat in the future.










 

4/6/17 Bassing With Brian


A short evening session on board Brian's Orkney 19 chasing down bass with lures on our local reef systems.
As can be seen from the pictures, they were cracking conditions to be out at sea but, the bass proved to be something of a challenge to track down. Eventually , through persistence and patience, we did manage to find some of a reasonable stamp making for very enjoyable evening afloat.

31/5/17 Fishing with Izzy

 Izzy's first bass

 The young skipper



 Dad's tope

Taking a six year old boat fishing could prove to be a challenge but, in my wife's grand-daughter Izzy's case, it was a breeze. Already an experienced young angler in her own right, due in no small part to her Dad's enthusiasm for the sport, she was a pleasure to take out to sea and the fish co-operated.
Anchoring a reef mark and bait fishing produced a variety of species to keep us all occupied including bass, bream, hounds, rays and small tope and the calm weather contributed to make a suitable introduction for the young angler and,she was equally enthused  when a picture of her with bass appeared in 'Saltwater Boat Angling' magazine.
An angler in the making,I'm sure you'll see more of her in the pages of this blog as time goes on.

Spring Tope


Dave- June 4th

  Brian May 19th


  Simon May 24th
Tope fishing this year has again, been slightly less spectacular than my success of a few years back but its still been very satisfying to get some nice fish for a few mates who all enjoyed the process.  I even managed to get Dave out on a trip, whose been struggling with sea sickness of late.
I suppose the best we had to the boat was an 'upper thirty' . A new area was discovered and investigated and this will hopefully provide some good sport in the future.

Spring Black Bream

 3lb 14oz

Black bream-our local speciality as many anglers flock to the port each year to sample the excellent fishing on our reef systems. I had a couple of trips out after them in an attempt to up my own personal best to a fish over four pounds but, I suppose I'm going to have to wait another year, as I didn't quite make the grade.
I did however, experience some excellent fishing in particular on the day that the above fish was caught which produced a hat trick of three pounders in a row.

Spring Tench

 7-02


I always enjoy a spot of spring tench fishing  and pre-spawning, they are usually in excellent condition and, for the would be specimen hunter, probably attain their maximum weight at this time of year.
I must admit to being slightly baffled by, and Dave agrees with me on this, the attitude of  some tench specialists I've come across when they tell me that they actually cease tench fishing once the fish have spawned which usually occurs some time in June.
When you think that in the days of the old coarse fishing closed season , tench fishing usually began on June the 16th, It's odd to see how attitudes have changed.
What I do not have a problem with, are the modern tactics used to catch them in this case 'bolt rigs and bite alarms' which, if the mood takes me, I find equally as much fun as watching a float, and there is no doubting their effectiveness. At the end of the day, its just fishing.
Usually the sound of the bite alarm, despite being set on very low volume, sees me leaping out of my chair like a mad thing.
Anyway we caught some nice tench to mid fives from my favourite local pit on maggot feeder and also had a few trips to a new private lake that Dave has secured permission to fish which allegedly, contained some very big specimens .
This water proved a little more difficult to master , with a couple of blank sessions before eventually, on an all night trip on June 8th, the 'seven' pictured at the top took my sweet corn bait in the early hours of the morning.Job done

20/4/17 Out On The Flyer

 Hound

 Bonus tope

 Wayne's Flyer
 
 
I've fished with Wayne on several occasions but this was the first chance I've had to have a run out in his newly built Wilson Flyer which he runs out of Eastney Cruiser's Association  in Portsmouth.
The target was to be spurdog- a specie rarely seen in our area nowadays( I've yet to see one myself) despite being a popular catch to charter boats in past years.
 Dave tells me that in his boat fishing days in the 90s they were a regular part of a day's catch and quite why they have virtually disappeared is anyone's guess.
We fished an area at the back of the I-O-W , in itself of great interest to me, but the target specie chose not to put in an appearance however, some nice hounds and an early tope saved the day.
As postscript to this entry Wayne has since been out drifting for thresher shark from his boat and succeeded in catching on four out of four attempts- a remarkable achievement indeed-well done that man.

12/4/17 Pike on the Fly

A trip to Farmoor reservoir in Oxfordshire in an attempt to snag some pike on fly fishing tactics with Clive Hodges  and Tom Cosford. Young Tom's been doing quite well on this venue of late catching some spectacular pike on the method , unsurprisingly judging by the competency he displays with his casting.
With some superb gear borrowed from Dave, and despite being my first attempt,I was secretly quite pleased with how well I managed to send the fly out although perhaps , it should be more appropriately named a lure. In this case one of Tom's home brewed concoctions which has served him well.
We did see plenty of pike skulking in the shallows, which in itself fascinated me, but they weren't the slightest bit interested in what we sent passed them.
After thrashing the water all day long, Clive and me left it to Tom to show us the way, and finally secure a fish to save the day, the beautifully marked specimen above. Well done that man.
I'm not sure the method would be suitable on my own favourite river although, it has proved its worth on neighbouring venues of a similar nature however, I did enjoy the experience and will have a bash again sometime.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

4-6/4/17 Bass n Bream

On the 4th I quickly nipped out of the harbour for a couple of hours that evening and managed to catch a nice bass of close to seven pounds on a lure but, little else happened and hardly any signs of fish were seen on the sounder.


The plan for the 6th was to secure a few live baits and try for a decent bass but, best laid plans and all that..............
The  baits(pouting) were actually quite easy to find and once I'd had enough in the tank, decided to head over to the reef mark and set out my float rig. First drift  through, on the last knockings of the ebbing tide, produced a take, and a good bass hooked but...............subsequently lost when it slipped off the circle hook. That was to be the only action to the live bait rig all day.
Meanwhile, the soft plastic lures, both fished vertically, and cast away from the boat, did their job quite well although  it must be added that the bass weren't exactly monsters. Whatever, I was having fun and soon lost count of those caught.
Black bream have also been showing up regularly on baits and when I hooked one on a lure, It was a cue to drop the pick, and send down the 'messy stuff'.
The bream came thick and fast which was nice to see but ,again rarely of any size-maybe just under two pounds maximum. Again I enjoyed the fishing and it was good to see these old friends return again for another year, one in which I might spend a bit more time targeting them with a view to breaking that elusive four pound barrier.
I finished the day, a long one at nearly twelve hours at sea, back on the lures with a final flurry of bass from the same reef area.
So bass of any size proved elusive possibly due to an extremely small tide. One commercial rod and line angler was working a nearby area and having struck up a conversation with him, I found out that he was also struggling to find the better fish. As per usual, we'll never really know why.

 A greedy bream

 and a plump bass


30/3-1/4/17 Welsh Piking

This year's pike fishing season  was further extended when a spontaneous  decision was made to tow the Orkney to a lake in Wales, having been given a tip off by one of my good mates from the Panama trip-Kyle Waterhouse.
The adventure began with some difficulties when, On trying to recover the boat from the river , it was found that the winch had fallen off the trailer-never to be seen again. Brian had kindly motored the boat the twelve mile trek from the mooring to the slipway and the missing vital component was not discovered until he'd arrived.
 To make matters worse, the tide was so low, being a big spring, that I was probably a little ambitious with my 4wd and it got completely stuck in thick mud at the foot of the slipway with the tide coming in.........fast. Luckily a kind passer by with a van offered to lend some assistance and we successfully managed to tow the truck clear but it was a valuable lesson learned.
The boat spent the night in the marina and, having obtained and fitted a new winch was recovered the next day ready for my journey out West with hopefully no more 'incidents'.
It was certainly an easy journey and my campsite was conveniently located for the slipway but the weather didn't want to play ball at all and for the first couple of days it rained almost continuously but this didn't seem to put the pike off.
 Easy boat launch

 

 
Several pike hit both my lures and dead baits and , although most were on the small side with a few low doubles thrown in, they were boldly marked and fought hard. The fishing was better in the deeper parts of the lake although the pike could turn up literally anywhere and did appear to be well spread out .
I met up with Kyle , and his boat buddy Jon on my last day, just as the weather was improving and the following day, in bright sunshine they had a blindingly good session with Kyle taking a brace of 'twenties' to finish off their trip in style.
A beautiful picturesque venue that I shall certainly be making further trips to in the future.