Sunday, 24 September 2017

September 2017

With my own boat out of the water for anti fouling and engine service,on the 2nd I joined my good mate Alex on his Orkney Day Angler 'Samax' for a spot of plaice fishing on one of our western banks.
There were plenty of plaice about but very few of 'keeper' size but it was a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon and hopefully, as the autumn progresses, the size of the fish will improve.
Dave's been catching a few very nice carp from one of our local rivers which he's managed to secure a permit for me to fish, and one afternoon I decided to visit him during a foray. I'm glad I did because whilst I was there he landed a really nice common of 14lb from a stretch so narrow, that in places you could leap across to the opposite bank.
Rain had delayed me working on the boat so , on the 4th, I decided to have an afternoon up the river and continue my search for good roach.
The usual bread feeder tactics were employed in my 'banker' swim and early on in the session a surprise chub of 2 1/2 lb turned up- something we don't often see .
 Plenty of bites from 'tiddler's were forth coming but a 14oz roach, followed in early evening by this one at 1lb 7oz finished off an enjoyable session.
I think these bigger roach are solitary creatures as I've yet to pick up more than one of a decent size in a session but at least this swim seems to produce consistently with a 'pounder' on nearly every visit.
 Pristine roach
 Dave and me ventured out again on the 9th heading downstream to an area not previously tried but, again,selecting a slightly slower flowing swim sheltered from the main current and its associated debris issues. Dave tried mini boilies , which proved to be completely unsuccessful, whilst my bread and corn managed to produce.
We didn't quite hit the pound target but a brace of 15oz fish plus several other good sized roach made for excellent sport. We even managed to catch on the flood tide until its strength became too much to handle.
 
It took me quite a while to get the Warrior sorted although work and poor weather would have stopped me going out anyway but, in the meantime with my boat still out of the water, on the 16th, I joined Brian on his Orkney for a trip out to a deep water mark in search of an early cod.
The target specie didn't materialise but we still had an enjoyable day out catching rays, tope, smoothounds,and  the Inevitable L.S.Ds on big cuttle and squid baits, which were being constantly hammered by palm sized bream.
Highlight of the day however, was this superb bull huss for Brian of 12lb 12oz- the first local one I've ever seen.Well done mate
 Back on the roach again on the 18th and, true to form , another pounder at 1-06 turned up along with one just under the pound along with a handful of lesser fish from another new spot downstream(another slower flowing run) from the mooring. Are these decent roach spread out all along the river? I ask myself.
On the 19th With the boat now finished and back on her mooring,Dave and me ventured out to sea specifically to target something  to take home to eat...in this case -plaice.
I've been meaning to try plaice fishing from my own boat for some time and, although today's big 6m tide was not ideal, we were blessed with some rather lucky weather conditions. We caught right from the off on the last of the flood but when the ebb set in, at first, it felt like we were drifting too quickly until the wind against the tide picked up to slow our drift speed down enough for the plaice to have enough time to hit our baits.
We ended up with twenty plus fish to two pounds, along with a couple of tub gurnard for variety, with several taken for the pot in an extremely enjoyable afternoon's fishing.


The following day I had a short roach session on the river, which proved to be slightly less productive than normal producing only a couple of half pounders amongst the tiddlers continuously nibbling away the bread flake bait .
On the 22nd I headed out to sea again with just a lure rod in search of a bass, selecting an offshore bank to have a bash at. I did succeed in catching the target specie-ten of them in fact, which was pleasing but they were a little on the small side however, it was good sport.
 Martin meanwhile was persisting on the local marks with a live bait and this did eventually pay off with a tidy sized fish taken on his final drift of the day. There aren't that many about at the moment which is puzzling.
 
 
 
 



Monday, 4 September 2017

August 2017...Tiddlers To Titans

 
Why do I seem to have less time on my hands now I'm retired. How on earth does that work.Of course this is a perceived situation and far from reality but,  is indeed how it feels.
 I always have jobs in hand( the hallway still needs decorating) and never seem to catch up with anything, although it has to be said that perhaps this is a good place to be as boredom doesn't exist in my world and for that, I consider myself very lucky.
With time management very much on the agenda, I've decided to change the way I write the blog with a monthly summary of events, instead of the individual entries of the past. I seem to have enough on my plate writing material for 'Saltwater Boat Angling' so hopefully, if I'm able to keep an accurate hand written diary, this new direction should prove more efficient.
A couple of  trips early in the month involved taking complete beginners out in the boat-a neighbour, followed by my daughter Grace and her fellah Curt. The mackerel fishing proved to be immense fun with plenty taken both for the smoker, and the shark bait stock, but unfortunately a spot of bottom fishing at the end of each session proved less productive ,although they all seemed to enjoy the experience especially as they were able to eat their catch.
   Grace and Curt
This was followed by a short afternoon trip to the river in search of my current favourite freshwater quarry- pound plus roach.My bread feeder tactics scored yet again with this one that just scraped past the target weight- not a monster but a good fish for the venue where a two pounder would be a fish of a lifetime in my book .
Oddly, I can only seem to extract one sizable roach from the swim in each session although there are usually a few lesser fish about. Perhaps these bigger roach are solitary creatures...who knows.
 
Sam Wadman called me up a few days later ,asking if I'd like to make up a Turbot charter running out of Brighton and I jumped at the chance to both catch up with my mate, and hopefully sample some fishing that is just a little too far out of reach for my own boat.
'Proteus' is skippered by Steve Green, a top bloke who ,unknown to me at the time, Is also a former colleague from London Fire Brigade, so we had plenty to talk about.
The fishing was hard, with about a dozen turbot to the boat during the day, but I was pleased to get a new P.B of 6lb 7oz plus a rather nice tub gurnard, and it made a pleasant change mixing with a group of other anglers.

 
 Great photography by Sam.

 Steve Green-excellent skipper.

 New P.B Turbo
 
 
The following day I had something of a 'eureka' moment when studying  'Windguru' -my on-line wind forecast site of choice. A  settled period of weather had presented itself for the proceeding days, and this meant a very real chance, for the first this year, of getting the boat down to Cornwall for a blue shark trip.
A quick call to Clive confirmed that he'd be able to join me, and the  the boat was quickly hauled out ,and preparations were made. A day later, with camp site sorted, we were travelling down to deepest Cornwall with the prospect of at least seventy two hours of low wind speeds ahead.
 Easy Launch
 

 
 Clive's off.
Proceedings started in hectic fashion with more than enough mackerel from a favourite inshore rock mark about to stock up the bait box and, in fact, so many that i really needn't have taken any pre -prepared chum from home- something I'd not seen before.
I decided that the best policy was to head out to very deep water, almost 300ft,and  began the drift some twenty miles offshore starting at a mark where I'd finished my last drift the previous year. This  pattern continued on the following days, beginning each drift at the finish point of the previous day's, resulting in the boat covering some fifteen miles of ground in total.
Almost as soon as we'd arrived,  before the chum bucket had even touched the water, there were shark showing in the area with one spotted nearby on the surface, and before the second bait was sent out, that Clive's float disappeared and a shark was 'on'.
Sport was continuous and hectic with 17 shark to the boat for the day (a new record), most of them a very good size with  the odd 'ton plus' candidate. We rarely managed to get more than two rods out at a time, and mostly just had one bait set, taking in turns to catch the shark. Incredible fishing.

 
 

 On that first day, whilst still feeling quite fresh, I decided to bring one each on board to get some pictures, something I knew Clive was keen to carry out, and we chose a couple of mid range fish (about 70lb) for the purpose. This was achieved without any problems and all the remaining fish were released at the side of the boat.
 
 
The second and third days followed the same pattern, with sport generally being just as productive,  the total number of shark caught reaching 45 by the end of the trip,with several 100lb fish (estimated but possibly larger)in the mix.
On several occasions were treated to the spectacular sight of  big shark circling the boat often in groups of three or more and sometimes attacking the chum bucket, nibbling the prop , or showing a keen interest in hooked fish. We were able to drop baits directly to them, trying to pick out the better specimens in the process, and I was also able ,for the first time, to successfully film a shark actually taking a bait.

 
 
 Wreck ling.
Whilst returning to port on day two I made a short detour to a wreck that I'd been previously aware of and Clive sent down some baited giant Hockeye lures. When a ling came up, I had to have a go myself, as I'd yet to add one to my own species list, and two more were boated to about 10lb- a first for me and an addition to Clive's specie list for 2017.
In the limited time we had between shark takes, Clive also managed to top up the list with  haddock and grey gurnard on bottom baited feathers,  sardine on a mackerel rig, and this stunning garfish of 2lb 7oz ( a new P.B) caught on a tiny mackerel fillet float fished in the chum slick.
I'd seen, and caught big garfish in a similar way in past Cornish shark runs so was pleased to see their return, for Clive's sake, on this excursion.
 

 Common dolphin
 
We were continually blessed with visits from common dolphin pods,  and also the incredible sight of a huge minke whale which swam right under the boat giving us a terrific view but, highlight of the trip  was witnessing a massive eruption, in the otherwise flat calm sea caused by a tuna 'bust'. Truly huge fish , well into several hundreds of pounds, probably feeding on sardine shoals.
We did try a short spell of trolling some lures in a vain attempt at a hook up but, probably for the best, being less than adequately equipped to deal with such quarry, we didn't make contact although this is something I need to look into for future trips.
 One has recently been successfully boated and released by Welsh shark specialist Andy Allsop of Whitewater charters-a fish that amazingly took a shark bait in the spread and was boated on equipment not too dissimilar to my own 'blue' gear.
My fifth consecutive year fishing for Cornish blues and ,without doubt ,my most successful shark trip to date and hugely rewarding in the process.

6-7/8/17 The Wrong Moves

 



A trip out for plaice produced none of the target specie but plenty of mackerel most of which were either smoked or soused, and a second trip with Brian which threw up a few nice smoothounds including the double figure fish above.
Meanwhile , on the rocks 'Lynanader' scored some prime bass on live baits so in a way, I guess i' was targeting the wrong species.

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.