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!

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!

Weekend fishing – blanked(ish..)

17 08 2009

Decided on a relatively last minute fishing session on Sunday. Tide was a 5m, at 20:00, which would involve around 3 hours of fishing in daylight before the sun went down. Wanted to fish on the open beach, as the sea had been really calm on Saturday. However, come 16:00 it was a complete maelstrom – unfishable. Kingston Beach it was then!

Headed down to Southwick, and saw that the beach was relatively busy with fishermen already there, but there was still quite a bit of room for one extra. As I made my way to a clear section of the beach, I thought, correctly it turns out, that I recognised one of the said fisherman as my uncle John, along with Malc – they’d not long arrived themselves, and had yet to cast. I started to set up next to them. Set up was standard – two hook sliding ledger rig, size 1 hooks. I’d bought 2 packs of King Rag – they were *monsters* – and some Sandeel.

I wouldn’t have bothered with these if I’d known the venue I’d end up using, but did give them a go. John and Malc also had Peeler Crab and Red Rag, which I was also able to make use of. So, a good selection of quality baits, proven tactics, and a proven venue – what more could you ask for?

Well, it seems that this was one of those occasions when everything can be almost spot on, but if the fish aren’t around, you won’t catch. Ended up being a 5 hour session, during which I varied baits (I found it hard to resist those juicy Peeler Crab myself, so not sure what the fish were thinking!) and casting distances, trying to eke out any fish that were around, but no joy. In fact, I was far from joyous when my tripod fell over, marking the side plates of my newer Elite – not a happy bunny! This was due to the incredible amount of weed that was around, which only eased once the tide went slack at high, making the fishing difficult.

Malcs daughter 11 year old daughter Vicki and some of his grandchildren came down for a few hours, and Malc had a few spare rods which he set up. Vicki then proceeded to catch the first fish of the session, a Bass of about three inches, from about 2-3 metres out, and next to an outfall pipe.

Much later on in the session, when the tide had started to recede, and through absolute desperation, I unleased the float gear and 8ft spinning rod, and cast the float about 4-5 metres out, within the vicinity of the same pipe.

After 10 minutes or so, it ducked under the water, so I gave it a little strike and started to reel in. I had also managed to hook a tiny Bass, and it *was* tiny, but as we often quote to each other when ribbed about catching a miniscule specimen, “a fish, is a fish, is a fish..” He he.

We continued to fish, not losing steam or enthusiasm, but our efforts proved fruitless. At least the weather was pretty good for most of the session though! Finally packed up about 21:30, the Bass being the only fish between the three of us.

The best thing to come out of the session was a reminder how much fun float fishing is! We’re planning a session on Saturday (a *very* big tide), venue shall remain undisclosed, which I have every confidence will redeem us, and will also give the opportunity to get the float gear out again. Sweet ; )

Oh, I almost forgot to mention – I sat on the seat I bought and wrote about here, and went straight through it. Quality. New seat has gone back on the wish list.. but not a £14.99 special from Argos ; (

Shoreham fishing session

10 08 2009

Saturday night fishing with John and Malc combined many ingredients for the perfect nights fishing from Brighton – the venue, the Norfolk Groyne, the high tide, a 6+ metre, at around 1am, clear skies and a calm sea. I envisioned catching numerous Sole, Bass, Mackerel, Eel and Bream, with potential for Smoothhound, Plaice and Thornback Rays – superb.

However, I’d gone no fewer than 6 weekends without having been clubbing, so had arranged a night out with Duncs instead!

I took it fairly easy on the vodka that night, and although I write this during my lunch break at work, *completely* knackered after a busy weekend which also involved an imprompu 9 mile run along the sea front, I felt pretty much fine on Sunday morning. It was a nice day, and I was really feeling withdrawals knowing that the fishing would have been so good on Saturday night (I’ve yet to get a report), so took a trip to Lagoon Bait to get a few packs of King. Whilst there, I bought two neoprene protective multiplier cases, and a reel bag for my Elites; a new filleting knife, some Breakaway Fast Clips and some size 2 Kamasan B940’s.

Filleting Knife

Filleting Knife

I then rode back home, collected my gear, and rode back down to the beach. Being that it was a nice day, with a high potential for sunbathers, I thought I’d avoid Brighton and Hove, and head along towards Shoreham. I didn’t go to Kingston as I’ve overdone it as a venue recently and wanted to opt for a change of scenery. So I headed along the Basin Road South – this gave me the option of choosing one of the many beaches, or heading up on to the sea wall.

I chose to go from a beach, as I thought fishing from the sea wall would be disturbed by the boats going in and out of the harbour. I chose a beach about 10 minutes walk from the car park, and started setting up the gear. I was fishing with King Rag as the sole bait, and using one of my favourite rigs, a 2 hook sliding leger. For a change, I boshed a few beads on the hooklengths to attract inquisitive species such a Flounder and Plaice.

I’d got to the venue with only about 1.5 hours to high tide, so not ideal – I prefer 3 hours – but OK considering it was a fairly last minute decision.

I used both rods, casting my main rod out as far as possible, and the secondary rod slightly shorter. There were a few other fisherman around – a few spinning from the rocks, and some casting out Mackerel feathers (and reeling in with the multiplier upside down!).

Waiting for bites enabled me to check out my new purchases and take some photos – uploads to come. The filleting knife looks a good purchase – it has a short, stumpy, but incredibly strong blade, with a serrated edge on one side. My last knife was one of the items that didn’t stand up too well to several years of usage followed by 10 years of non-usage!

About half an hour before the high tide, I got  strong bite on my main rod (I set the reel on free spool with the ratchet on), so wound down to get a tight line between the rod and the weight, and struck firmly, then started reeling.

I thought I could feel a little kick as I reeled in, but wasn’t sure whether it was the weight bouncing over the sand. As I got the terminal tackle up to the waters edge, however, I realised that I’d hooked a double shot of Black Bream – sweet!

Shoreham Bream, 9.8.2009

Shoreham Bream, 9.8.2009

However, one of them fell off the hook before I was able to get them far enough away from the water to avoid losing them if they did fall off – clearly I didn’t strike hard enough! The remaining Bream, however, was quite a sizeable fish, very plump. I took some photos before throwing him back to let him fight another day. wasn’t too sure about the size of the one that got away, but he was smaller. I got the hooks baited and cast out again as soon as possible, hoping that the shoal was still around.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t, and I didn’t get any more bites. I was pretty pleased to have picked up the Bream though – my biggest fish of the year (OK, OK, I’ve only been fishing again for about a month!). I started packing up my gear at about 14:45, giving myself enough time to get home for an Ebay auction I wanted to bid on (for an original Abu 6500 CT ; ) but had pretty much run out of bait anyway.

All in all, a good session in the bright sunshine, but one which highlighted again the reasons why I prefer night fishing.

*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.