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!

More Kingston Beach Fishing

28 07 2009

Tub Gurnard, Kingston Beach, 27.7.2009

After riding 100 miles off-road on my mountain bike for the British Heart Foundation on Saturday, I’d booked a day off of work for recovery on Monday. Although I spent much of Sunday in bed (I’d woken at 4:45am on Saturday, got to bed at 1:00am on Sunday, and had ridden a bike for 14 hours in between, so definitely needed the rest!), as this was the third year I’d entered the event, I knew an extra day would come in handy.

I’d already checked and found the tide to be suitable, so just needed to get some bait and get to a venue. The day had looked pretty changeable throughout the morning, but it didn’t look too windy out. As I got nearer the seafront, on my 50cc scooter, with rather large rod bag and tackle bag on my back, I began to realise that it was incredibly windy, and probably unfishable on the open beach. I bought two packs of King Rag from Lagoon Bait and Tackle, and decided there and then to go to Kingston Beach, which is largely sheltered from the weather / sea conditions outside the harbour.

Due to my having left slightly late, I arrived at the beach with about two hours to the high tide, at 13:00 – meaning just over an hour fishing the tide up, once the gear was set up. My preference is to fish the tide up for three hours, but as I was using this as an excuse to get out in the sun and relax, I wasn’t too fussed.

As the session length was restricted by the amount of tide I could fish up, I set up a second rod shortly after the first cast with my main rod, using my freshly tuned Abu Elites on each – they were a true joy to use.

I fished a slider rig on both rods initially, with two hooks per rod, and just King as bait. Fishing was incredibly slow, and I wasn’t even bothering to check for bites, as the wind was bouncing the rod tips up and down manically. Instead, I spent the time preparing a two-up Paternoster rig for a little variation, and also making a list of all the new tackle I wanted to buy come pay day!

Set up on Kingston Beach

Set up on Kingston Beach

It was just before high tide when I struck the rod to break out the grappling weight, and realised there may be a fish on the line – it was heavier and kicking slightly on the retrieve.. I got the terminal tackle in, but had to clear the weed from the leader knot before beaching the fish. I could see it swimming around in the shallows, just over the wooden sea defence on the beach. Luckily I was able to get it in without losing it. It was a well hooked Tub Gurnard, my third in a month. I observed that this one was slightly less colourful than the others I’d caught – there were no blue fringes to the pectoral fins, but it was a pretty fish all the same.

I unhooked him and watched as he swam off in to the depths, rebaited and cast out again. I then reeled in the other rod, and as slack tide was approaching, decided to swap over to the freshly built paternoster rig, and a plain weight instead of a grap. I hoped that this mix of tactics might help eke out a few more fish, but was unsuccessful. I snapped off the rig on my main rod after getting snagged and being too confident that I could free it without changing the angle too much. So I boshed one more lot of bait on the other rod and blasted it out while I started packing the other gear away.

Final result, one Tub Gurnard to King. Conditions were pretty rough for Kingston, with a larger than usual amount of weed, but there was plenty of white water on the waves outside the harbour so I was grateful of the shelter offered by this venue. All in all a good chance to relax and catch some sun, with a bonus fish thrown in!

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.

Kingston Beach Fishing

21 07 2009
My Gurnard, modelled by Malc

My Gurnard, modelled by Malc, 19.7.2009

Had a 4/5 hour session with my uncles Malc and John on Saturday night. Original plan was to hit the Norfolk Groyne, but the sea was incredibly rough. we settled on Kingston Beach – much calmer.

I arrived about an hour after M and J, and promptly realised I’d forgotten my multipliers – doh! Luckily, J had a spare 6500C3 going, and I had a spare rod with screw winch reel fitting – my main rod, a Daiwa Procaster, has coasters, which are kept in my reel bag.

We had fresh red rag, peeler and fresh lug courtesy of M, and I’d bought a few packs of King, to make up for the fact that due to a bike ride that day, I couldn’t go digging.

First fish went to M, a flounder.. not sure of the bait but it was red I think. he went on to catch another 5 or so Bass throughout the session, which J and I teased him about – they were the size of goldfish! Ha ha.

As high tide approached I caught a reasonably sized Tub Gurnard, a pretty fish, on King. He went back in straight away. I then went on to catch one of M’s goldfish sized Schoolie Bass, who went back straight away too. I was mainly using red throughout the session, with the occasional peeler, switching to King later on as the red ran out. Would have used more peeler if I’d been more organised but the convenience of worm won over this time round.

It did rain for a little while, but it wasn’t too bad, and it was good to catch up – just like old times. I can see myself getting back in to this!