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.





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!





Norfolk Groyne session

24 07 2009

Duncs and I headed out for a session on the Norfolk Groyne, Hove at the beginning of the month. We had shop bought Black and King as bait, and the high tide was at around 20:00.

With Duncs only having had a few fishing sessions at this point in his short fishing career, I was confident that this, my favourite venue, could produce some good results for us.

Thornback Ray, Norfolk Groyne, July 2009

Thornback Ray, Norfolk Groyne, July 2009

We got to the venue at about 17:30, giving plenty of time to get set up. I set up a slider rig on my rod, and for some reason, chose to rig up Duncs with a clip on the end of his line, on to which I clipped a hooklength and a weight. This ended up being a blessing, when after being in the water for a short time, the shoals of Mackerel materialised on the surface, on a feeding frenzy, chasing the whitebait. The slider rig isn’t the most flexible when it comes to swapping rigs, but the rig on Duncs’ rod enabled us to switch straight over to feathers.

Mackerel feathers clipped on, I cast them in to the shoal, and Duncs reeled in, hooking our biggest Mackerel of the night straight away, and a new species for Duncs. Sweet. Another cast resulted in two Joey Mackerel; all went back to swim another day. At this point, the shoal moved on and we went back to fishing a standard baited rig each. We did switch back to feathers several more times during the evening, catching one more Mackerel.

This proved a good start to a productive night.. the next fish was one of my favourite species to catch – a Thornback Ray, albeit a rather small one! Brilliant fish to catch, although it didn’t fight as much as the others I’ve caught – I thought it was a flatty before it came to the surface. So it was a pleasant surprise, especially as it was on Black Lug – I’ve only ever caught them on Peeler Crab before.

It was dark by this time, so in our efforts to get some good photos on our camera phones (poor show), we neglected to get anything in the photo that helped show the scale of the fish – it really was  about as small as a Thornie can get though ; ) 

During the session I also caught an Eel (which didn’t snarl up my rig!) and a Pouting, with Duncs getting a Pouting in the same cast. Duncs also had a Bream from one cast, and another Mackerel.

Overall, we had 9 fish between us, including 5 species – a great session for the variety of species caught, great weather, and some enjoyable Mackerel bashing!





Lagoon and Kingston Beaches

23 07 2009
Black Bream, Lagoon Beach, July 09
Black Bream, Lagoon Beach, July 09

This is a Black Bream I caught on a trip recently with Duncs and, later, Paul. Conditions were quite rough, and we didn’t realise just how much weed there was until on the first cast, our rigs were dragged right across the beach by the sheer amount of weed that’d accumulated on the line. I reeled in to find this pretty little Bream on the end of the line. They seem to be much more prolific this year than they were around 10 years ago, the last time I fished on a regular basis. Needless to say, he went straight back in after posing for this photo.

There was so much weed that by the time we’d reeled in and cleared it all from our lines we were well and truly ready to change venues. Paul turned up and gave us a hand clearing off the weed, and we packed up and moved to Kingston Beach, in Southwick. A great venue for being fishable when the open beach isn’t.
Paul caught the next fish, a Schoolie Bass (a picture of this currently forms the header image of this web site!) and I caught a Gurnard. Duncs blanked for the first time in three sessions, pretty good going for a newbie. My Gurnard also got popped back in. Bait was the leftover King Rag from the night before, write up soon. We left about 10:00, when the tide started to recede – being a Sunday we all had work to look forward to the next day. Not a great session, what with the move in the prime part of the tide, but we made the best of the situation and got a few fish out of it.