Hotpipes fishing!

11 11 2009

Duncs, Paul and myself went for a Saturday day time session near the hotpipes in Shoreham. Duncs and I started on the same beach as the hotpipes, to the East side, to avoid the tide pulling our terminal tackle in to the snags.Bass, November 2009

When Paul arrived we moved to the adjacent beach because we were a bit cramped with three of us. Bait was a mixture of King Rag and Black Lug; high tide was at 13:40 and we got to the beach about 11:00 – a little later than ideal. The sea was fairly rough, but not too bad, and the wind was blowing towards us.

First fish of the day went to Duncs, with a small school bass – he was put back in after posing for photos. I was next to catch, with another Bass, slightly larger this time. He was also returned asap.

Towards the end of the session I decided to whack several King Rag on at a time, to hopefully attract a bigger fish. I was rewarded with a much larger (but still undersized) Bass – my biggest of the year though). I will now be using slightly bigger baits than usual in a bid to increase the average size of my fish – I’m thinking I’d rather blank than catch some of the tiddlers we catch!Larger Bass, Nov 2009

Bait was from Lagoon Bait and Tackle, and I was rather disappointed with the King – they were on their last legs, so to speak, way past their prime. Hopefully that was a one-off. The Black were pretty fresh. All fish were caught on the King though.

I did take my Blue Yonder with me, still boxed, but decided not to use it. I’ll stick some line on it at home and use it on my next session ; )

An average session – glad I caught the larger Bass, and glad that Duncs caught. Next session we’ll get some bigger stuff!

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Blustery Norfolk Groyne session

27 10 2009

Arranged a night fishing session with Malc and John on Saturday night. The tide was at around 3:30am, so we agreed to meet and be set up by about 11:30pm. I decided on a power nap before leaving, so got my gear ready, and went to bed, setting my alarm for 10:30. This would give me, I reasoned, half an hour to “wake up” and make sure everything was packed, and half an hour to get to the venue.

Unfortunately, I didn’t wake up until 11:30, so had to get ready in a real hurry. Luckily, I was out of the door pretty quickly, just needing to get my waterproofs on and pack the bait.

I got down to the groyne at about 12:00am, and saw that M and J were already at the venue, with M almost ready to cast. I quickly set about tackling up, deciding on a three hook paternoster as the rig – I’d built two earlier in the day.

Conditions we very blustery, and bite spotting was nigh on impossible. I relied on reeling in every 20-30 minutes, as false positives caused by the tide were getting frustrating.

On my second cast I caught a fairly sizeable Eel – he may have been 3/4 lb. Being the first fish, it won me 50p from each of my uncles ; )

The going was very slow on this session, with the wind was biting and the tide incredibly strong. However, fortune favours the bold, and we persevered with the tough conditions. I used a mixture of Black Lug and King Rag as bait, occasionally adding a mackerel strip.

I managed another Eel before the end of the session, and J caught a nice plump Eel, the biggest of the session, earning him 50p from each M and myself. I didn’t actually pay this (soz unc!), but reasoned that the most fish was worth 50p too, cancelling out my payment ; )

I had a bit of a nightmare few casts towards the end of the session – I was casting out and setting the grappling weight OK, but upon striking, the line was snapping. Strange, as the line was only about 4 sessions old. Definitely needs to be replaced!

Overall a really tough session, highlighted by the low catch volume, and the fact that M blanked.. almost unheard of. Glad I didn’t blank though! Photos to come.





King Alfred Beach Fishing Oct 09

27 10 2009

Bass, King Alfred Beach, Oct 2009Before it becomes too much of a distant memory, thought I’d better write up the session from the day after the Banjo Beach fishing trip, where I caught a Smoothhound, and Duncs, his first Gurnard.

We had bait left over from the previous day, and had decided on the King Alfred Beach as a venue; I’d fished the beaches along this stretch before but not this particular beach – the one directly behind the car park for the King Alfred.

We set up our gear quite far up the beach to account for the rising tide, and were cast out relatively soon. Almost immediately, we found out how snaggy the beach was, when Duncs got caught up.

I managed to free his gear by tightening the line and walking along the beach (make sure the rod is in a straight line with the reel when doing this, so that the pressure is on the reel spool, not the rod).

We snagged several more times throughout the session, but I don’t think from memory that we lost any gear.Bass, King Alfred Beach, Oct 2009

I caught a non-sizeable Bass on my second cast; he went straight back in.

Paul joined us just before dark.

Nothing else was caught during the session, but we’ve decided not to go back to this beach again – the snags were too annoying. Quite prepared to try the beaches either side though, as the stretch is clearly quite popular, with quite a few matches held there.





Banjo Beach Fishing

16 10 2009

Duncs and I both have the same week off of work, so had arranged a few fishing sessions. There was a toss up between Worthing Pier and one of the beaches near to the Marina as venue; we went for the beach, as Duncs’ dog, Sparky, came along for the session.

We ended up about 30-40 yards from the “Banjo”, a groyne shaped, surprisingly like a banjo; quite a popular mark in the city.

Smoothhound, Banjo Groyne Beach, Oct 2009

Smoothhound, Banjo Groyne Beach, Oct 2009

The sea was really calm, and the day was bright and sunny – not stereotypically brilliant conditions for good catches but sitting in the sun was pleasant enough in itself.

We had King Rag and Black Lug as bait, and I cast out using a sliding leger and put the ratchet on. Duncs cast out the first rig he’d built 100% by himself (nice one dude!), just a it was time for me to reel in. I boshed on another two King Rag baits, and within 5 minutes got a tug on the line, setting off the ratchet (the lazy fishermans bite indicator!).

I would in a little slack, walked down to the shoreline and struck hard to set the hook. There was a noticable fight with this one, and I though it may have been a Bass. When I got the tackle to the shore however, I was delighted to have caught a Smoothhound (albeit a fairly small one), one of my target species for the year.

After posing for some photos he went straight back in a swam away strongly.

I was almost as chuffed when Duncs reeled in, having caught a very sizeable Tub Gurnard, bigger than the one I’d caught a few weeks back, so a nice fish, but more importantly, a fish that ended a 3 session fishless run for him. He went straight back after posing for a few photos.

Gurnard, Banjo Groyne Beach, Oct 2009

Gurnard, Banjo Groyne Beach, Oct 2009

Both fish were caught during daylight hours, and nothing else was caught for the rest of the evening. We packed up just as high tide arrived – I’d snapped my shock leader off striking, and then snapped my rig off on the next cast, so it wasn’t worth setting up again.

All in all, really pleased to have caught a great species, and also that Duncs caught a fish, and a new species at that.





First October fishing session

15 10 2009
Thornie, Norfolk Groyne, Oct 2009

Thornie, Norfolk Groyne, Oct 2009

My first fishing session in October, last Saturday 10th, was arranged during the day with M. The Norfolk Groyne was decided as the venue, with our chosen baits being King Rag, Black Lug, frozen peeler crab, mackerel strip and squid.

High tide was due at 4:18am, so we met at the venue at 11:30 in order to secure the venue, get set up and have plenty of fishing time. Sea conditions were pretty calm, and the wind was fairly gentle.

I set up with a 2-up, 1-down Paternoster rig with long snoods; M used a two hook sliding leger rig.

First Eel, Norfolk Groyne, 10.10.2009

First Eel, Norfolk Groyne, 10.10.2009

I had a really good feeling about the night, so was really pleased to get a bite on my first cast. I don’t really look for bites the whole time during a fishing session, preferring to use the ratchet on my reels for bite detection. So when it was activated, I flicked the reel in to gear, gently wound the slack down to the lead and struck pretty hard.

I felt the odd knock as I reeled in, but never count my chickens before they hatch – so was really chuffed to reel in a Thornback Ray. Admittedly a small one, but a Thornie all the same. After posing for a photo, he went back – the tide was still pretty far out so I had to run on to the beach to ensure he actually landed in the water!

Second Thornie, Norfolk Groyne, 10.10.2009

Second Thornie, Norfolk Groyne, 10.10.2009

I caught a total of 8 fish throughout our 7 hour session, comprising 2 Thornbacks, 3 Eels (one of which necesitated chopping my rig up as he was seemingly making an attempt to garrott himself with the line, as is often the case with Eels. He was freed and went back uninjured), 2 Bass and a large Pouting.

I used my Paternoster on the main rod, and all but the Bass were caught on that. Interestingly, earlier in the tide the middle hook was catching the fish. Later on, it was the lower hook, fished below the lead, and thus tighter to the sea bed. Once the tide had risen high enough, I also set up my 8ft spinning rod with a float rig and boshed on a fairly sizeable King Rag – both my Bass, both of which were undersized, were caught using this technique.

Second Eel (bootlace!), Norfolk Groyne, 10.10.2009

Second Eel (bootlace!), Norfolk Groyne, 10.10.2009

M went a long time without any fish, but didn’t lose enthusiasm, and was rewarded with the biggest Sole I’ve ever seen – it must have been 2.5lb. A picture of the Sole is below; take a look at the fingers in each corner to get an idea of scale – *big* fish.  He also caught a small Thornie later in the session. Both of these were caught on Black Lug. All of my fish were caught on King Rag. The picture of the second Eel I caught shows the Eel next to a 500ml bottle of water, by the way, not a 2 litre one, which obviously would have been preferable!

All of my photos now show something which shows the scale of the fish (with the obvious exception of the Pouting, in this post!).

Specimen Sole, Norfolk Groyne, 10.10.2009

Specimen Sole, Norfolk Groyne, 10.10.2009

I also set up another beach caster with a single hook sliding leger rig with a size 3/0 hook, and used baits varying from multiple peeler crab baits to large Mackerel strips. This was cast over the other side of the groyne (we were fishing on the eastern side), but didn’t produce any bites. I wasn’t too hacked off with this; I purposely try to use more “out there” or at least specialist techniques on my second rod, while fishing with standard tactics on my main rod. This means that the main rod has the chance to catch fish of any size, while the second rod presents the opportunity to catch bigger fish, with Bass being the main target.

Fairly decent Pouting, Norfolk Groyne, 10.10.2009

Fairly decent Pouting, Norfolk Groyne, 10.10.2009

We fished until 6:30am, just as the sun came up.

All in all, an absolutely brilliant session, can’t wait for the next! Took photos of all but the Bass; will get these uploaded as soon as possible.





Shoreham fishing session

29 09 2009

Despite most of my fishing gear, bar my reels and a 6ft boat rod, being inaccessible for the weekend, I was determined to get out for a session. Planned one with Duncs and Paul, and arranged to meet Paul to go to the tackle shop to get bait. I pre ordered 3 packs of King, and 2 of Black, just in case the whiting were in. Chosen venue was the beach about 5-10 minutes walk past Carats Cafe along the Basin Road South in Shoreham. This was chosen to avoid the crowds of sunbathers, which worked – once we got there, we had the whole beach to ourselves.

Gurnard, September 09

Gurnard, September 09

At the tackle shop, I had a cheeky look at the rods available.. really wasn’t keen on fishing with a 6ft rod from the beach. I wanted to spend as little as possible – with two perfectly functional beach casters already, I just wanted something to get me fishing for the day, and to use as a spare going forward. There were two models that I was interested in; a £30 light beach (Bass) rod, with a casting range of around 2-4 oz, and a heavier use beach caster (4-6oz) at £35. I decided to go for the latter, but not before knocking the price down to £30, as it was an ex display model. I also had to buy one pack each of beads, hooks, swivels and clips, and a few weights as well.

High tide was at 19:00, so normally we would’ve got to the beach at around 15:30/16:00, in time to get set up and cast out for about three hours fishing up to the top of the tide, and two hours over and down. However, being such a great day weather wise, we thought we’d make the most of the sunshine, and got to the venue at around 14:00 instead. Being a small tide, the water didn’t really advance that much between the time we arrived and high water.

The session didn’t start too well for me.. I’d set up my gear and gently cast out to wet the mainline, and the rod gave an almighty crack, and the top half flew off and landed in the sea! My Elite also blew up in to a massive birdnest (Luckily I had a spare!). A little investigation showed that I’d only put the top half of the rod in to the bottom half by about an inch – very stupid. Fortunately, there was only an inch missing, so the rod still fit together OK, and I was able to fish for the session, casting tentatively at first.

Drama over, nothing was caught for the first few hours, but it was nice to sit in the sun and banter. At around 15:30 Paul and I took a quick walk along to the cafe for some grub. We were gone about 20 minutes, so on returning, I picked up the rod, reeled in the slack, struck and started reeling.

I had an inkling as I was retrieving that I’d caught something, but didn’t get much of a fight so wasn’t positive.. I was happy to reel in quite a sizeable Tub Gurnard.. the biggest I’d ever caught, at maybe 3/4 lb. Once he’d posed for a few photos, I set about trying to remove the hook, but found it impossible due to the fact that he stubbornly refused to open his mouth! Concerned that I’d damage him, and that he’d be left out of the water for too long, I snipped the line off at the hook and returned him, confident that the hook will rust pretty quickly when permanently exposed to the salt water.

Time ticked on and we remained fishless until I retrieved a nice little Black Bream – not sure if he was sizeable, but a pretty fish all the same. He posed for a quick photo before going back too. We stayed until around 20:30, with no further catches. The sea was looking really calm, perfect Whiting conditions, had the tide been timed slightly different, to coincide with darkness.

Overall a satisfying session considering it was during the day, although I was disappointed for Duncs and Paul. I caught some sun too, bonus!





Fishing on Kingston Beach

9 09 2009

Duncs and I headed for another Kingston beach session last Saturday, again due to unpleasant external conditions making the sea too rough to fish.

We had King Rag, and what Lagoon Bait refers to as “fresh lug” – I know it as Blow Lug, having bought it quite a lot to use on the Marina in Summer.

The tide was due at 1am, so we got to the beach for 10:00ish, in order to give us time to tackle up and have a good 2.5 hours fishing. Not a spectacular session; I ended up with another of the minute Bass that I’ve been catching lately – he went straight back in without posing for a photo. He was caught on a three hook, two up, two down boom rig, on the middle hook, which was probably a little higher in the water than my usual slider rig fishes. As Duncs was using a slider rig, this may have been the reason for his not having connected with a fish on the flooding tide. I screwed up an off-the-ground cast and pinged all my gear off – so went to a slider rig myself.

Caught another a bit later on, he was a bit bigger, at about 20cm. Got a few photos on my digital camera; I’ll upload them later. Duncs blanked.

I’ve decided that I’m bored of Kingston Beach after all these sessions – the venue is too limited in terms of species available and the tactics that can be used, so from now on I’m going to do my best to endure whatever sea conditions are present, unless they’re completely unfishable.

I’ll be off on hols on Sunday, so won’t get much fishing in between now and then, but once I’m back, I’ll be out on the open beach to see what I can find!