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.

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.

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!

*Another* Kingston Beach session 1.8.2009

2 08 2009
Flounder to King Rag, 1.8.2009

Flounder to King Rag, 1.8.2009

We were saved by Kingston Beach as a venue yet again on Saturday – the sheer amount of weed on the open beach promised to make fishing conditions difficult. Kingston offers great shelter from the wind and rough seas, so makes fishing much more comfortable.

The downside to the venue is that the available species are more limited than a standard beach venue – the most common species to catch are those associated with brackish water. Bass, Flounder, Eels are the mainstay, with a few other species, including Red Mullet and Gurnard, thrown in for good measure. That’s not to say it’s impossible to catch other species, it’s just that these are most prevalent. The best bait tends to be Red Rag, with King performing well on its’ day, and Peeler also often proving a killer bait. Black Lug and fish baits tend not to perform too well.

Malc, John, Nige and myself arrived at the beach at around 17:30, with high tide due at around 20:30, and started setting up. We had a good selection of bait, comprising Peeler Crab, King Rag, Red Rag, with some Black Lug  thrown in for good measure.

Schoolie Bass, 1.8.2009

Schoolie Bass, 1.8.2009

The tide was around the 5m mark, so quite far from my preference of a 6m+. It had been raining as I left the house, and this continued for about half of the session. Fortunately, I was pretty well prepared, using extensive layering for warmth, and waterproof jacket and trousers. 

First fish, a Flounder,  fell to me on my second cast – I guess distance was about 100 yards. Bait was King Rag tipped with a few Red on a size one Kamasan B940, the rig being a two hook slider rig with wishbone.

About half way through the session, I set up a second rod, fished with a single hook on a long flowing trace. Whilst I was hammering the main rod as far as I could, I chose to plonk this one only about 10-15 yards out, in an effort to find the fish.

The session proved difficult, producing a Schoolie Bass each for M and J, and a further Schoolie Bass and an Eel to myself. Red Rag performed well, but I found that the King Rag was pretty effective. This took my Flounder and Eel, whilst my Bass fell to Peeler Crab. The Schoolie and Eel were both caught on the close-in rod, whilst the Flounder was further out on my main rod.

J’s Bass and my Eel were both produced on the ebbing tide; we fished the tide down for much longer than usual, with the session ending around 12:30. The combination of the weather and the small tide made for a difficult session, but once the rain stopped we were left with a clear, crisp night, and I found the session pretty enjoyable. The darkness defeated my modest camera phone, so I wasn’t able to get a picture of my Eel, but here are pics of my Flounder and Bass.

Light tackle Bass fishing

26 07 2009
Okuma Fixed Spool Reel

Okuma Fixed Spool Reel

Most of the fishing I do, and have done in the past, revolves around beach fishing – multiplier real, relatively heavy duty rod, thick shock leader and tough terminal tackle.

Having said that, one of my most memorable sessions involves fishing in Shoreham harbour, in a section very close to Hove Lagoon – sadly, it is now fenced off.

The lead-in to this session, which was in the school holidays (so quite a while ago..), involved my cousin Nigel and myself groundbaiting the same spot with bread for several weeks prior to the session – we were targeting Mullet (a 4lb 4oz specimen of which I’d caught from the Norfolk Groyne earlier in the year, on float fished Red Rag. That’s another post – I couldn’t possibly write a fishing blog without mentioning the best ever fish that I’ve caught!).

On this particular occasion we’d plumped for a good supply of Red Rag as bait, and were using a 6ft float rod that I’d recently purchased for about £1 from a car boot sale, along with a rear drag fixed spool reel.

Our tactics involved float fishing the Red in the same spot we’d ground baited, with the drag on the reel slackened right off. From this point the details in my memory are vague, but the general idea is that we caught 3-4 Bass of around the 3lb mark in the session. The feeling when the drag screams as a Bass goes on that initial run is unbelievable. Playing the fish, in much the same way freshwater anglers do, with only light tackle to rely on, and nothing to hinder or weigh down the fish, is something rarely experienced in the course of standard beach fishing, so a great treat once in a while.

Of course, I’m not able to use that specific mark in the course of my new fishing adventures, but the harbour is pretty large, and there are quite a few spots suitable for the same type of fishing.

It was with a summarised version of these memories in the back of my mind, when, in a recent fishing trip with Shuo and Wade, I heard Dave from the Tackle Box at Brighton Marina tell a customer about a 6ft light rod / reel combination that they were selling for £18. I simply had to snap it up – the reel looked decent enough, and it evoked those great memories of warm Summer nights float fishing for Bass. Bring it on!