Walking and Wishing for Bass

I can happily say that since my last blog the fishing has continued in the same way. Again the majority has been at night as this just seems to be when there is really that better chance of hitting into more and bigger bass. For about 3 weeks now I have been using a new rod I got from down in Cornwall, it is the Bass Go Deeper Black Back. As soon as Nick Mackrory announced he was having some hand-made rods made up on his design I had my name down for one. At a later date I will get around to writing up a full review on the rod but from what I’ve experienced so far this is one hell of a rod. It’s made on a Toray Carbon blank and is a 7ft one piece rod, rated at 5-20g. Nick designed it on the best bits of a lot of different rods he has used over the years resulting in one super rod. It’s the perfect rod for any of the fishing I’m doing locally and haven’t used anything else since it has arrived. Even with its light rating and super sensitive feel to it, it still has the capability to beast bigger fish. Recently Nick has had Bass up to 10lb and Pollock up to 14b of the boat using this rods, so it certainly has the back bone to handle donkeys. I myself have already had two 60cm+ fish on it and the rod makes it a pleasure fighting these fish. The rod feels so natural when using it, it’s almost just like an extension of your arm, it gives you so much control over the fish and you turn the fish where you want it to go not the other way around.

Bass Go Deeper Black Back
Bass Go Deeper Black Back

I also finally got around to having a look around the Sunslicker website and there were a couple lures that immediately jumped out at me as having potential for some epic night fishing. The Doodle Shad 5″ in Pichot and Platinum and the Gibbon Paddle ups in Lemon Meringue and Pearl Sparkle. I got them ordered up and they were here in a couple of days ready for a swim. After about 5 night fishing sessions on the trot fishing till late me and my mate decided it may be a good idea to give it a night off before the weekend so we were fresh and ready for putting in some hours. Well this wasn’t to be, with me being so lucky my phone had broken during the day so I had no contact with my fishing buddy which was fine as we had no plans to go fishing that night. That was until I received a late email from him saying that he had spoken to his mate Mark from Cornwall and he mentioned how keen he was to get back down this way and fish, in the end they decided that tonight was the night and that they were meeting on the mark at 11pm. Now regardless of how tired I was I could let them go down and fish on their own, plus I had met Mark before a couple of times and he happens to be a hell of an angler and extremely knowledgeable so I was well up for a fish with him. I set about packing my gear and getting things ready, I walk down to the van about 1030 in order to get there a bit before them, it’s a 5 min drive and I’m onto some of the best bass ground around the south hams.
I get in the van only to find I had left the lights on after getting home from work, so no van no phone leaves me with one option, walk. I got my nice heavy sweaty PVC waders on my backpack full of gear and my rod and set of walking/running, it’s a 3.5 mile walk. Finally i got there after some time very hot and sweaty but by the sea with a rod in hand. I met the guys had a little chat and explained everything which they thought was sightly amusing but at the same time did show some commitment as would have been easy to stay at home and sit the session out. We started fishing on a mark where me and Andy had fish on previous nights so there was optimism there. The first lure I was keen to get on was the Sunslicker Doodle Shad in Platinum it’s quite a full-bodied paddle tail with ribs all the way down, perfect for fishing on a slow straight retrieve. There was a slight colour in the water and unfortunately a bit of weed, but as with the previous couple nights the weed started to thin out over high tide. Also the way I had the lure rigged was really helping to not pick up the weed, it was rigged on the TT Snaked head articulated jig head.

Incoming Storm
Incoming Storm

No one had any signs of fish not even a bite, about an hour in approaching high tide I was beginning to lose my confidence and thought maybe with fish coming out of the same place a few nights on the trot it may not be fishing again. Whilst fishing away happily I looked up into the clear sky with a half-moon beaming down and a sky full of stars and saw a shooting star. Well I think you could safely guess what I wished for, what else would anyone else in the world wish for apart from bass? About ten minutes later I’m fishing away and make a cast further to my right to cover some more ground, half way through my retrieve and the rod just arcs over. It was one of those times when my mind was elsewhere and I wasn’t expecting it but it soon woke me up when it started pulling. It seems to be that a lot of the time at night you get hit first before the fish fully hits the lures and you have to be sharp and quick on the bite to strike it. This fish though did the whole thing itself and inhaled the lure hooking itself. I could tell it was more than a schoolie from the harder pull and head shakes, I turned my head torch on to allow me to safely land the fish. The fish went 57cm and was lovely condition, they certainly seem to be getting healthier fish and are not so skinny anymore which must mean there is plenty of bait fish around for them to feed on. After a couple of pictures taken by Mark the fish was returned strong. Very good photos by mark i might add, i don’t know why he doesn’t do more of the photography down in Cornwall with Henry in front of the camera!!

57cm Doodle Shad Bass
57cm Doodle Shad Bass

I’ve got to say it is a pretty good way to christen a new lure and certainly gives you confidence using it, especially when I managed a couple more bass on the lure the next day this time in day light. Hopefully there are plenty more fish to be had and a few big boys chucked in as well, Me and Andy are off to Ireland at the end of July for a weeks fishing including the Irish Bass Festival so I’ve got plenty to be looking forward to on top of the great fishing I’m having locally.

The Perfect Start

When your sat at home in the winter just waiting and dreaming of that warmer weather to arrive, bringing the warmer waters, bait fish and not far behind the large shoals of bass that inhabit our shores in the warmer months. You no doubt will be dreaming of that perfect start to the season, with lots of fish and a few nicer sized ones chucked in for good measure. Well so far from my experience what we dream of and what actually happens are to different things, but as for this year those dreams have become reality. Well it’s that or I haven’t woken from a deep hibernation over the winter. The first fish of the season actually came quite a bit earlier than expected and certainly was a beauty of a fish. I hadn’t been out a lot over that period and to be honest the conditions were not what i was looking for. It was one of those times when your stubborn side takes over and whatever the weather and conditions I was going. To be honest it’s just nice being out regardless feeling those lures working the water and a nice bit of fresh air filling the lungs. It was mid march when I caught the first of the season, I went down to a local mark no more than a 5 minute drive from my front door. Upon arriving at the mark I was met with quite murky water with a bit of floating weed, it was also a small neep tide and bright sunshine, not particularly what I would have hoped for but I prevailed. The one thing I had on my side was a bit of life to the water this alone was the reason I pushed on. So I started fishing over some very shallow ground no more than a couple of feet but after 5 minutes I just wasn’t feeling it, I find it best to move on when you get that feeling as you never seem to fish efficiently if you’re not confident on the spot. So I moved down about 50m down the coast to a spot where there water was a bit deeper which meant there was some swell moving around. I switched lures to a IMA Hound Glide 125f as I wanted a lure I knew I could beam out far and would dig into the bigger swell. I start reeling in feeling the lure dig down into the swell, about half way through the retrieve I feel the unmistakable hit of a fish on the lure. It was one of those hits when you just know it’s a fish, no snags or anything to mistake it for. Straight away I stopped the retrieve for a split second and then resume reeling and bang, I have a fish on. To say I was surprised was an understatement, but in that moment the only thing I was thinking was how do I safely and quickly get this fish landed. It wasn’t the longest fight but did have a couple good dives but with a pretty tight drag it never really got far. I got it to the surface and that’s when my heart rate increased even more after seeing the fish. It was decent size and what didn’t help was nowhere easy to land it especially in big swell and rough water. I was perched a bit higher up on a rock and in the end I just grabbed the leader wrapped it around my hand and lifted it up, hoping the line would not part from being rubbed on the rocks during the fight. After a quick measure and weight it’s resulted in one of the healthiest looking fish I had ever seen at 59cm and 5.8lbs. Quick snap and the fish was released unharmed, no better way to start the season off for me and certainly gives you the drive to get out in any weather.
The next few weeks went pretty quiet with some rubbish weather not helping and easterlies churning up the water and bringing the weed in.

Fishing Buddys
Fishing Buddys

Once things settled down again things were picking up, for a while now I’ve been talking to a few local lads about getting out with them for a spot of night fishing. Something I’ve dabbled in but not really had success, well Keir Tim and Neil over the past couple years have had more than good success at night and while the bass are in they turn almost nocturnal. So we arrange to get out on a spot very close to me for a few hours into darkness, while waiting for the dark to settle in there was some good sport with the wrasse that are present pretty much on all the coastline I fish. Great fun and easy enough for anyone to get involved in, but this night was all about the bass and as darkness engulfed us I was first in on the bass, just a schoolie but great to feel that rod bending in dark. The bass fell to a savage gear sandeel in pearl white on a straight retrieve at normal pace. In the next couple hours another 4 bass were landed between us nothing of big size but even just that one fish really give you heaps of confidence at night

Komomo 2 Bass-3
Komomo 2 Bass

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So thanks to the guys I now had the confidence and a bit more knowledge of the dark side of fishing. After a stressful day I decided the only remedy was to catch some bass and when I set out that afternoon I didn’t have a clue what I was going to be greeted with come the end of the session. I fished the same mark as the previous night, I fished a couple of hours down and then right up the whole tide, so a good solid 8 hour session. Others might never stick on one mark for that period of time but being a new mark to me I wanted to fish the full tide to see when it produced and my god it was worth it. Apart from one small wrasse I had nothing for the first 5 hours and by this time I’m thinking of heading home, when suddenly the Megabass x120 produces a bass. Possibly the smallest I’ve ever caught but bass none the less. Just this small fish gives you the drive to keep going, and in the next hour I landed 3 more fish 2 on the Duo jerkbait 120 sp and one on the redgill evostik both in pear white. The last 3 I may add were in the dark and after pulling back what was looking like a blank I was more than content with my efforts. I started the walk back over the rocks and back onto the shingle beach. Now for some reason I just could not resist chucking a few off the shingle, maybe it was the shallow reef and numerous gullies that lay in front. Second chuck bang fish on, just a schoolie but now im absolutely buzzing. A few more chucks and this time bang, fish on but this was more than a schoolie straight away you can feel the heavy knocks and head shakes that the better fish give you. After a good little scrap I pull a nice looking fish up onto the shingle, it measured 58cm and it was a prime condition bass. I stuck the head torch on and waded out to my knees to release this fish, I cradled it in the water and you just feel when its ready to go, a flick of the tail and it graciously swims of into the gully as I watch with the head torch.
I though maybe after a bit more commotion and the light shining all over the water where I was fishing there would be a good chance I had spooked any other fish that were present. I though wrong next cast another good hit and up comes another decent fish this one coming in at 54cm, at this point I’m in utter shock. After 5 hours of fishing with one tiny bass it then got dark and it was although someone has flicked a switch and the bass have turned on. Now I could quite happily go on and on describing each fish I caught in detail but there just not enough time for that as I have to get back out fishing. The summary though is that I ended up catching 15 bass in that session all of which were caught in the last 3 hours of the flood. This is the best session I have ever had and in fact, number wise this tripled my previous best session of 5 fish. It got to the stage where it was getting that late and with work the next day I was saying after this cast I’m leaving, but then on that last cast I would catch another and there is no chance I’m leaving after landing another. In the end I think I had 5 last casts all of which produced fish before they actually seemed to dry up! So after moving off the rocks to make my way home after catching a very modest 4 bass I then went on to land another 11 bass, yes 11!! All of which I may add were caught stood in exactly the same spot, casting dead straight out in front of me and all on the savage gear sandeel in the Lemon back colour. I’ll tell you now this night fishing has really changed the game for me, conditions seem to matter less, tides and time of tide still come into play, but this session it was flat calm and crystal clear not the conditions we would exactly go looking for in the day for bass. Since this session I’ve gone on to have another 5 or 6 good sessions down on this mark at night not to the level of 15 fish but landing an average of 5 fish a session.

Savage Gear Bass
Savage Gear Bass
Savage Gear Sandeel Lemon Back
Savage Gear Sandeel Lemon Back

After all this great fishing you would think how could it get much better? Well I think I definitely got the cherry on top the other night whilst out on a Session with one of my new fishing buddy’s, Tim. Conditions were looking good so we decided to head out, we got to our chosen mark and was already dark so it had potential to be good fishing right from the first chuck. Away we go and on Tim’s first cast he connects with a fish, unfortunately it wasn’t to stay on but it felt like a better fish. That is certainly the sort of sign you want straight away, knowing for sure there are feeding fish around makes you fish that much better and with confidence. A few chucks later and me and Tim had both landed the first of the night, only schoolies but always nice to see some silver. We carried on with good confidence of seeing a better fish, I cast long with my new very trusted Savage Gear sandeel this time in pearl white. The lure hits the water and over the bail arm goes, I start cranking at a fairly slow pace but just fast enough to stop snagging on the bottom, then bang I’m into a fish. I shout to Tim I have a fish on and it felt like a better size, just felt heavier and wasn’t as erratic as the schoolies generally are. I get it about half way in and Tim gets in a position so he is able to land it for me, he switches on the head torch. I can see the flashes of silver but can’t really tell the size of the fish from that distance in the dark. I slowly ease the fish in after a respectable scrap and pull it towards Tim, he reaches for the leader to pull it up onto the rock in front and just as he starts to lift the fish it goes a bit mad shaking its head. This resulted in him chucking the lure and falling back into the water, now I’m stood up on the rock above so didn’t really know what was happening but next thing I see is Tim diving forward to the water plunging his arm into it almost shoulder deep. I’m shouting down to him don’t worry mate leave it, its just a fish and as I said this I see him reach deeper. Now honestly I though the fish had gone which was fine always more to catch but after about 10 seconds Tim’s arm re appears grasping a fine specimen of a bass, it was held high like a trophy, and rightly so. That was by far the best and most dedicated landing of a fish I have ever seen and for someone else’s fish. I seriously take my hat of to the man for the sheer commitment shown to land the fish and my god when I saw it up close I was pleased he had retrieved the escapee fish, it measured a great 63cm which was to be my new English PB bass.

63cm PB Bass
63cm PB Bass

These are the sort of results I could only dream on 2 years ago when I started out lure fishing especially when I would spend a week fishing most days for solid sessions to scrape one small schoolie. It really is one good example of being patient and keep going as you will one day see the results. So all in this has just been a dream start to the season and especially good considering all the time the coast has been weeded out or the water has coloured right up from all the east winds.

The Bass are back in Town

Over the past couple of weeks I have really started picking the pace up as regards to fishing. I’m not sure why but after I had my English PB bass as my first of this year in mid march I kind of slacked off for a couple of weeks after. I still got out but was only the odd session of which did not produce much but a few wrasse, that said as long as I’m catching fish I’m happy. Since I have picked the pace up though I have seen a few rewards in the way of fish. The more exciting thing is all of the signs of the summer starting to happen. All the things we as anglers look for to signal the start of our bass season, you know the waters warming when you’re getting continual follows from wrasse chasing hard plastics right up to your feet, and generally hitting the hard lure. I’ve had 5 landed on hards recently, and these are not real slow fished lures creeping along the sea bed, I’m talking relatively fast retrieves mid-water. The IMA Hound Glide 125F in cotton candy accounting for a few of them. Then all the action I’ve been seeing from the sea birds, plenty of gannets around and there seriously slamming the water, mostly a bit further out not quite in casting distance but good signs all the same. Last weekend there was a bunch of turns really working the water hard and these were closer in, just about reachable from the shore. Last but not least it is a good sign of warming waters and summer sun but not necessarily a good sign for my wing mirrors and wallet, it’s the flock of caravans that engulf the roads in this period and the not so welcome extortionate car parking prices.

IMA Hound Glide 125F
IMA Hound Glide 125F

Me and my new fishing buddy Andy got out amongst it a couple of weeks back and I’m not quite sure we were ready for what awaited us over the next couple nights. Bass was on the agenda and we were feeling relatively excited about the session as we had some tasty looking conditions, we got to our mark and started giving it everything. We had the clarity, the fizz, good wind the only thing was it was a neap tide, but that didn’t bother us to much. Not a lot happened to start with really but I got a shout from Andy, he had just seen a fish jump not far out in front of him. He didn’t get the best look but it was a silver flash, so both of us being bass nuts we immediately jumped to the conclusion it was a bass. This got the blood pumping and we were getting excited. Over the next half hour or so we began to see a lot more fish jumping, and reluctantly decided it was not bass. The next logical fish it could be was a sea-trout so again that got us excited and we decide to get out some dexters and spinners at a chance of a sea-trout. Our fast fished spinners seemed to get some attention we were feeling knocks maybe from bumping into the stacks of fish but some were definite hits, far to aggressive to be bumping a fish. I went for a real thump of a cast and the dexter just fly’s out on this Skyroad, I tighten up and start retrieving, next thing I know I’ve connected with something and it’s fighting back. It was a strange feeling like nothing I’ve felt from a fish very dull but powerful pulls on the rod, I wasn’t sure what I was into here. I got it to the surface and manged to get it in quite close where to mine and Andy’s amazement I had hooked into a mullet, admittedly foul hooked which I can imagine explains the way it was fighting. This was a very nice mullet we got a good look at in on the surface close in before the hook pulled and it swam off.

The thing that surprised me about this was not the fact that the mullet were on the coast as I was fully aware they ventured out of the estuaries, but more the fact that they were hitting lures. Yes the first was foul hooked but I did go onto land another mullet a bit smaller but this fish was hooked right in the corner of the mouth, clearly the fish had intentionally hit the lure. What an awesome feeling that was a new species and for it to be on lure was just brilliant. I’ve put the fish as athin lipped mullet, i have no experience in identifying mullet but im pretty sure that that’s what it is!!

Mullet on the Lure
Mullet on the Lure

The more exciting stuff though came from a session I had recently, I got a message from Keir Sims saying him and his buddy Tim were heading out for a little night session, was I keen? Of course I was keen, I’ve been reading about bass on lures at night for a while and also dabbled here and there last season with no real success. Also the fact that Keir and his mates had been seriously pulling in some numbers and an average bigger size of fish all last year from night fishing, I was more than excited about getting out with these guys. We visited a mark that I’ve not actually fished myself, but I’m very familiar with the surrounding area as I fish it a lot. We planned to meet down on the mark so I got there early to have a scope about check it out for when it got dark. It was flat calm with the sun out so decided to have a little chuck for some wrasse, there was some lovely looking gullies and dark holes for the wrasse to be hiding. On went the Z Man Hula Stickz and immediately I was getting attention, and it wasn’t long before I had the first wrasse up. Not big but was one of the most beautifully marked ones with the white spots and bluey tinges on the fins. After an hour or so of good sport from the wrasse I managed to pull up 5 fish one of better size maybe 3lb which put a nice little bend in the rod.

Hula Stickz
Hula Stickz

Keir and Tim arrived and after a little chat we geared up and got ready, first of we all got surface lures on as the light was dimming. Straight away were getting small pollock throwing themselves out of the water at the lures, some on which are not much bigger than the lure itself. Not something I’ve seen much of but is quite amusing to watch. Keir managed to actually get a hook up on the surface, was only a pollock but nice to have something of the top. After a few more kamikaze pollock it was getting dark so we all switched up for SPs, from listening to the guys they have always found white paddletails on assorted jigheads have always done the business. I opted for a Savage GearSandeel body in pearl white mounted on a Crazy Eel 10g jig head, it was relatively shallow so wanted to go quite light to stop snagging up. After maybe 10 minutes I was half into a retrieve and get a nice little bite, no connection so I resume my retrieve and a couple of seconds later my rod goes over. Fish on, that woke me up, not huge but I was sure it was a bass it was fighting too hard to be one of the minnow pollock. On goes the head torch to reveal a nice silver bar at our feet Keir retrieves the fish for me and after a couple of pictures and a moment to admire the beauty that is a bass I slipped it back. That was certainly the confidence you need for night fishing to make you believe it is possible. I had another not long after this was only a little chap though but a bass all the same. As I unhooked the fish and turn around to release it Keir announces he has a fish on, again no monster but this was Keir’s first of the season so he was more than happy to see it. A few pictures for the first of the season and back he went. Keir went on to have a couple more Bass so overall a nice little result, especially with a few wrasse chucked in amongst and a few pollock.

Keir's first of 2015
Keir’s first of 2015
Night Bass
Night Bass

As I said I had tried the night fishing before with no real success but going with someone you know just gives you so much more confidence, and also to state the obvious it is a hell of a lot safer to be with someone at night. Here’s to many more at night and hopefully a few donkeys. Despite having fished through the winter and all the rubbish weather this is where it truly starts, nows the time when you seriously get excited and are hopeful for bass every time you go out. To all my non fishing friends and family have a good summer and I will see you next winter when the bass disappear again!!

First Bass of 2015

  So it’s finally happened, the one thing we as bass anglers crave and pray for, the first bass of a new year. I can proudly say I have fished the year through, right in and amongst all the dirty stuff, pouring rain, strong winds and big swell, I was in it. Through the main body of the winter my target was purely wrasse, I just wanted to see if I could land them all year round, and I’m happy to say I managed to. Such a great feeling being able to be out fishing and catching on lures in less than perfect conditions when most others fishing gear is gathering dust in the shed.

Fizzed up stuff
Fizzed up stuff

My last bass I caught was on Xmas day last year, and although I was catching a few wrasse I soon started craving that need for bass again and at the start of February that was it. I made the decision that from then it was all about the bass, every time I was going out I was purely targeting the bass. Something that at times can be quite tricky, knowing how hard it’s going to be to find bass at this time of year. But I prevailed and pushed hard fishing a lot of different ground scouring all my marks, it’s hard to know what to look for really from not having any previous experience of catching fish at this time. Do I go out looking for the usual sorts of conditions, fizzed up water, SW winds big spring tides?? To be honest this time of year there’s no room for being picky about when you want to fish, you just have to be out, and that’s what I did. I got out and fished whenever I could after work for a couple of hours and at the weekend regardless of what the weather was doing. When I got out I would just make the best of what I saw in front of me. Today wasn’t to different I had a small neap tide, a horrible NE wind, Bright sunshine and quite murky water, more or less the total opposite to the conditions I would like for this certain mark. As I said I cracked on a worked with it, I started fishing over some shallow ground, as it was only a small neap it meant that my favourite place on this mark wouldn’t actually be fishable due to it not flooding over.

IMA Hound Glide 125F in Cotton Candy
IMA Hound Glide 125F in Cotton Candy

Anyway I choose the Duel Hardcore Lipless minnow, one that I’m yet to catch on but certainly a brilliant looking lure and great casting and fishing over the real shallow stuff. After about 10 minutes I just wasn’t feeling it, it was one of those times when you’re fishing and it just doesn’t feel right!! So I moved on down the coast and moved onto another spot, this was a bit higher up and fishing in some deeper cleaner ground. A nice little spot that I really feel good about, not one I usually fish due to having another preferred spot 50 metres down but today I felt good about it. A change of lure was in order, this bit of water was a bit lumpier and I wanted something I could trust to dig in and hold in those conditions. I chose the IMA Hound Glide 125F in Cotton Candy, this lure is just a monster. It casts like nothing I have used before and digs into big seas pretty easily. And the Cotton Candy colour has just become a firm favourite of mine ever since I had been introduced to it over in Ireland, thanks Henry.

Daiwa Luvais DA Custom 2500
Daiwa Luvais DA Custom 2500

First cast with the Hound Glide and it absolutely hammered out, little tap on the rod tip to dig the lure straight in and I started my retrieve. Nothing crazy just a nice reasonably slow straight retrieve. I’ll be honest I was out fishing in more hope rather than confidence but nearing the end of the retrieve I felt a tap on the lure, now because of the ground I was fishing on I knew there was no chance of it being a snag plus it seriously felt like a fish. I paused my lure for a split second after the tap in hope to evoke a full on take, I resume my retrieve and bang the rod went over and I was into a solid fish. It wasn’t an overly long fight as the fish hit my lure quite close in but a fight all the same. When it came to the surface and I saw the fish I almost fainted, I could see this was a decent fish and my heart rate had now just about doubled. Because of where I was fishing I was up on a ledge and there wasn’t anywhere to land the fish easily or to pull it up onto a rock, I was stuck at first trying to control this fish with it thrashing around on the surface. I found the lowest point and just went for it, I grabbed my leader and hand lined it up about a couple metres. That I must say was rather scary just praying the fish didn’t shake the hook. Finally I had this fish on land and in my hands, what a beauty of a fish just an absolute dream of a first fish. After weighting and measuring and a quick couple photographs the fish was returned strong. The fish was 59cm and weighed 5lb 8ozs, I had to take a seat after all of that just to ty and contemplate the last couple minutes.

First silver of the year

For me now that’s the start of my season, I’ll be out and about at any point I get the chance. Which will be every night after work until it gets dark and all weekend!! I can only hope that this is the start and it carry’s on getting better from here.

Molix Sligozzo 4″ product review

Recently I have been introduced to Moilx soft plastic lures by a friend Steven Neely and also owner of the awesome “Fish on Lures” online tackle shop. Particularly the Molix Sligozzo 4″, now this one has certainly stood out to me. The first thing you take note of when checking out a new lure is the look of it, and when im thinking wrasse lure I want it to stand out from the crowd. I want something special to straight away say dare to pick me! And that’s what it did when I first saw this lure on Stevens site. He had been banging on about this lure for a while now telling me and showing me the pictures of awesome fish he was nailing on it, so I was certainly excited to get my hands on them.

Sligozzo Jika Rig
Sligozzo Jika Rig

When the parcel arrived I couldn’t wait to check them out and have a close look and a feel of them. Straight away from picking one up you can tell that its going to really move and flap in the water. The lure starts of with a short thick body in a sort of egg shape, which has ridges all the way down. It then tapers of into this big flappy beaver tail. On my first trip with the lures it was my first time out for a month, so I was just hoping there were some decent number of fish about for me to have some sport with. I rigged the Sligozzo initially on a texas rig with a 10g cone weight, but also adopted the Jika rig at points as well. Almost immediately i’m getting knocks on the lure so I know there’s fish about. And a few casts later I nail my first on the Sligozzo, always a great feeling hitting fish on new lures.

Underwater Wrasse
Underwater Wrasse

As I said the Sligozzo is a 4″ lure and the colour I have is called “Green Pumpkin” a great colour for me as I always tend to stick to neutral, natural colour. Steven has recently got the a new colour in stock in the last few days called “Blu Notte” something I’m very keen to get my hands on. It also has a craw fish scent impregnated into it, now a week ago I would not have been fussed by this. After my recent sessions though I think I had some pretty conclusive evidence that the scent on a lure can really make the difference when fishing in rougher conditions or if the visibility is not great. The tail alone on this lure has enough movement in it to warrant having it. I’ve been tending to fish the Sligozzo on a fairly slow retrieve keeping in good contact with the bottom then every now and then a few good twitches to really lift it of the bottom then let it sink back down. My thinking on the retrieve is that as I’m slowly retrieving in contact with the deck all the ridges on the main body are rubbing over the rocks and slapping together sending of good vibrations. Then twitch to pull the lure from the bottom and when it falls back down that tail is going to be flapping like hell as it sinks. And then finally when I allow the lure to hit the bottom and sit for a second that’s when I’ve been getting smashed, that and also when I just start my retrieve again.

Sligozzo Wrasse
Sligozzo Wrasse

I’ve used this single lure a lot over the past months to try to work it out and see if it’s a lure I’m going to want to have with me at all times wrassing. I must say it’s certainly worked for it’s place beside my already tried and tested lures. Something I’ve noticed with this lure is that sometimes when fishing and bites might dry up or I’m struggling to find fish, on goes the Sligozzo and wallop I’m getting smashed. It also somehow manages to evoke good hits as well, if you wrasse fish a lot you will know that sometimes they can just be a pain and be really picky and finicky. If I find this is the case I’ve pulled out the Sligozzo and it just seems to turn the fish on that more, I start getting the unmistakable smash and run we all love from wrasse. Also over the past few months I’ve been struggling for any decent size to my fish, but a couple of weeks back I nailed 3 good-sized fish in one session and they all fell to the Sligozzo.

Rough weather Wrasse
Rough weather Wrasse

A lot of lures that you will use for wrassing (apart from one brand) will eventually sooner or later get trashed, this is just part of the game. I have to say this Material that Molix are using for their lures seem to be that little bit more durable than other plastics I have used, which is a big deal for the wrasse. Ok so they are not wrasse proof, and on the Sligozzo yes it gets quite a slim on the tail end. This can make it a little less resistant to plucking wrasse, but on the other hand it is that thinner tail that gives the lure that extra defined movement so for me it’s certainly something I can live with. Plus a little tip, if your lucky enough to get your hands on some of these lures and you do have a wrasse nip the back-end of the lure off, don’t stop. I pulled up a Sligozzo lure with half the body missing, and it went straight back into the drink and carried on fishing with it. This time just a straight slow retrieve with nothing more. I managed to pull 3 wrasse out on that half lure and I can bet it thanks to those big ridges all over the main body.

Jika Baby
Jika Baby

So as you can tell even for a few months use of this lure I’m a pretty happy lad. And I shall certainly be stocking them in my bag for next year and hopefully nailing myself a 5lb+ donkey.

Visit www.fishonlures.co.uk and check them out so your ready for when the wrasse are hitting hard.

Winter Wrassing so far

Over the past few months I’ve been really targeting wrasse, a species I’ve really come to enjoy fishing for due to the great ability to put a bend in the rod. To be honest the weather we have had has not exactly been ideal, and at times has been more the conditions for bass. The problem is though that when you have been catching wrasse and you know they are there its really hard to not try for them. Especially when its deep dark winter and the thought of nailing anything on a lure is a huge thrill. It’s been far from frantic action and there has been a couple blanks when the weather is seriously crappy, but I’ve been getting them slowly and steadily. Also the average size has been slowly improving, ok I have not had any donkeys but plenty big enough for some good sport.

Under the Rod
Under the Rod

I’ve found that I’ve needed to move around a lot more to find them from different marks and to find the most suitable conditions. Also my whole approach has been slowed down. I’ve been using heavier weights to allow me to pin the lure to the bottom and really work the lure in and around all the holes. I’ve not really been imparting much movement into the lure either, just the odd twitch and letting the lure sit on the bottom still for a moment. Most of my fish have hit me just after starting to retrieve after a pause. I can only imagine that they see it pause so they go and investigate and as soon as it try’s to move off again they nail it. Also with all the fish I have been hooking its been different to what I would normally expect from a wrasse, usually you would always get some little tap that warns you that you’re about to get munched. Lately though there’s been nothing and then I have a fish hooked, no aggressive hit or sharp bite. It’s as if they are not hitting it aggressively rather just picking it up in their mouth and swimming off. That however doesn’t mean that when they realise they are hooked its a lame fight because for me they seem to be fighting as hard as they ever have. On the flip side when I have been getting bites and indicators that there are willing fish out there the bites are so small and finicky its impossible to hook. Whether this is maybe the smaller fish just messing around with the lures I don’t know but it can drive you crazy. I went out recently with a couple guys Keir and Mike over in Brixham and they both caught fish while I failed too. The frustrating part was that I knew there were fish there as they kept reminding me by gently knocking the lure once every half hour. Then right at the end of the day when I had a solid bite and hooked into something decent he cuts me clean of on a rock!

Z-man Pogey
Z-man Pogey

Another observation from these past months is that the fish that I am hooking have all been under my feet, for me I love catching them close in under the rod tip. You by far get the best fight out of them this way, its just a straight tug of war up and down. I find sometimes with wrasse hooked further out that after the first few pumps of the reel when the fish has been turned then its a case of the fish surfacing and you just dragging it along the surface. I must say the highlight of the past few months for me was a wrasse that smashed me right under my feet. The thing that makes this that bit better was the fact that I saw the fish nail the lure, now that’s something to put a smile on your face watching a soft plastics get nailed by a decent wrasse in early January. I was fishing a mark that had a habit of chucking up better sized fish right under your feet, ok the conditions were not great with a strong onshore breeze and a reasonable amount of swell to deal with but at least I had the clarity. No previous bites or interest and to be fair I was ready to move to the next mark, but I persisted with a few more casts. Just as I was pulling the lure up over the last ledge a wave started to break actually picking my lure up in the barrel where I could see it, next thing from right under the ledge a wrasse appears and smashes me. Now that is something to get the heart going, trying to keep that strong fresh fish up and away from the holes and then to land it in horrible waves and swell.

Winter Sport
Winter Sport

As far as lures go I have been using a select few that are tried and tested and certainly do the business. These being a selection of Z-man and Molix soft plastics, with my two favourites being the Molix Sligozzo and the Z-man Punch Crawz. Both these lures have caught me good fish and when times have been hard, they have always seemed to tempt that one more wrasse. As usual I have stuck with the neutral looking colours with greens, browns and bluey colours. One thing that of late has become apparent is that scented lures really are seeming to make a difference. I’ve never really paid much attention to scented lures or at least not bought them for that reason. After speaking to Keir when fishing with him he was saying that a lot of his wrasse had fallen to scented lures and his normal lures were not getting much attention. Now at first it didn’t really sink in for me to really think about but as the weather got worse and the clarity got worse I thought it might be worth a try just to experiment. I remember buying a packet of Z-man scented Pogeyz a while back and never really using them so I dug them out and took them along with me on a wrassing session last weekend. At first I used my usual lures changing between a good few with absolutely nothing, no bites. So with nothing to lose I rigged up a Z-man Pogeyz on a 10g Texas rig and started fishing, at first there was nothing so it got me thinking the scent might not really affect the fishing but then I got smashed by a nice size wrasse at my feet. Well, that certainly got my attention and I continued fishing. I was moving about between marks a bit always starting with my standard unscented lures. When I had tried all I could I  put on the scented lure and not long after I was into a fish. I only had 4 in total but all fell to the scented Z-man Pogeyz, and I only put that lure on after I had tried with all my standard lures first. So for me that is some pretty conclusive evidence that in this bad weather with bad visibility the scent on a lure really can make that difference between blanking and catching.

Great Ending
Great Ending

Xmas Day and 2014 Highlights

So the decision was made that I was going to have a Christmas Day fish, regardless of weather or sea conditions. The thought of catching a bass on Christmas morning before most of the country was even awake was certainly appealing. And it just happened that all the necessary conditions combined for perfect bassy conditions. A fair onshore breeze, high tide coincided with sunrise, a nice big tide of the back of the springs and weed free water with reasonable clarity. Now, if you give me those conditions on this mark in the summer period I would be sure of seeing a few bass. But in all honesty I wasn’t overly sure of much action, being that I’m still relatively new to this game I haven’t yet built up a good repertoire of how my marks fish in the winter.

Xmas Day Sunrise
Xmas Day Sunrise

My mind was made though and I was sure to fish, I arrived on mark in the pitch black and started slinging the lures. It was hard to gauge the conditions in the dark but as the sun started to rise it revealed some lovely clear fizzed up water and it was just a pleasure to be out on my own fishing. I spent most of my time on my favourite part of real shallow reefy ground, a spot where I’ve lost 2 very big fish. I chucked everything out there with no success so I move further down to a spot which I have not necessarily had much success over but certainly looked the part today with fizzed up water over shingle bottom with broken rocky ground below. I broke out the big guns with the IMA Hound Fang 125 F in cotton candy, a lure I’ve not had loads of success on but it was perfect conditions for it. After a few casts my rod arcs over and I feel the wonderful pull of a fish. It was one of those that took me by surprise and once I had the fish landed it was only a schoolie, but that was fine with me. I must say in that highly oxygenated water the bass really punched above his weight. That was the only fish of the morning but I couldn’t have started the day any better.

Xmas Bass
Xmas Bass

This year has certainly brought me a lot of joys in the ways of fishing, I may not have done as much as had wanted to at home on my own turf, but the fishing I have done has certainly been pretty epic stuff. What with having 2 sessions down in Cornwall with Nick Mackrory from Bass Go Deeper, to visiting Ireland twice this year Totalling 6 weeks in total. I’ve been lucky enough to break all my PBs for Bass, Wrasse and Pollock In fact I’ve broke my Bass PB 3 times this year. I wouldn’t be able to pick one single moment throughout the year that was my favourite but here are a few. First off fishing on the rugged Kerry coastline for big shore Pollock, it’s like nothing I’ve ever done. This was part of the guided trip I did in August with Thatch Cottage Fishing Lodge. Between the 4 of us I can be honest in saying that we had it handed to us on a few occasions with a few of the boys getting fully beasted by some big crash diving Pollock. I am happy to say though, that I did manage to tame a 6lb beauty of a Pollock. Another highlight had to be when I was back out in Ireland in October this time on the Copper Coast fishing for bass. After periods of no fish and bad weather blowing the whole coast out I managed to nail my 3rd PB bass of the year. It was a beautiful 7lb prime Irish bass, and what made this fish even more special was the method in catching it. It was using the famous Black Minnow 120 off shore head in Khaki fished by bumping it in the current of an estuary. It was a tactic I hadn’t used until I came to Ireland and is such a hard was to fish until you have success. It feels so wrong banging out a lure and doing nothing but holding your line tight waiting for the rod to arc over. But when it happens you certainly have a scrap on your hands especially when the fish has the current on its side.

Irish Estuary Bass
Irish Estuary Bass

Another would have to be my second trip when I went to Cornwall to fish with Nick Mackrory, we visited several marks in the day and it just all seemed to come good, with numerous Bass Wrasse and Pollock, no monsters but the plenty of fish to satisfy me for the day. Also with the crystal clear water that they had down in Cornwall throughout the summer it certainly made for some fun viewing, those moments you see your lure cruising back to you over that last gulley and out of nowhere wallop. A nice bar of silver doing what they do best, ambush.

Cornish wrasse with Nick
Cornish wrasse with Nick

Over this year I’ve been very lucky to have met some awesome and influential people within the fishing scene. People such as Nick Mackrory owner of Bass Go Deeper who is a Cornish Fishing guide, I’ve had a couple great sessions with him and already have plans to get back down there next year. John Quinlan from Thatch Cottage, an Irish fishing guide who I’ve stayed with twice and is always happy to help you out onto some fish. Henry Gilbey who was also Guiding and photographing with John over in Ireland, a very kind and genuine guy who is always happy to answer my questions I give him. Steven Neely owner of the online store Fish on Lures, and his dad John. When I arrived in Ireland on my own I agreed to meet them for the day and they were so helpful, they went way beyond the call of duty to set me on my way. Also Steven is always there to feed my lure addiction with the latest goods. And Cian O’Halloran owner of the awesome Absolute Fishing shop in Tramore Ireland. Again during my 5 week stay recently in Ireland Cian was another guy who was more than happy to help, bearing in mind I had never met the guy. He gave me some cheeky little pointers and when my rod tip snapped and waders leaked he was straight on the case getting them fixed for me, top bloke. I’m sure there are more but to everyone who has helped me this year in the world of fishing I can only thank you and can’t wait for more of the same next year.

Irish Wrasse
Irish Wrasse

I do have a few plans for next year that I want to get done, such as spending some time down in the Isles of Scilly chasing big shore Pollock and wrasse. Getting back down to Cornwall to fish with Nick. And the obvious which is to get back over to Ireland, preferably for as long as I can.

Back on the Fish

Finally I’ve managed to get out and have a chuck, for anyone who does enjoy reading this blog I can only apologise for taking so long to update it. Apparently when you have 5 weeks off work to go gallivanting around Ireland doing nothing but fishing you have to return and there is no choice but to work, A LOT. Anyway to the fishing, for weeks now my mate Steven Neely from Fish on Lures has been banging on about these Molix soft plastic lures. Telling me and showing me that he is slaying wrasse on them and the odd big rock Pollock. So being that I love fishing for wrasse myself I’ve been dying to get my hands on some of them for a while now. Last week I got the message from Steve to say that they were now in stock so that night I was straight onto the site to order some. I think I pretty much ordered one of each type. Well I would say it’s the best way to find out what you like and feel comfortable with. Buy them all and whittle it down to the few that you find work best for yourself. I can imagine these lures will turn themselves to most tasks presented as well. There are a few smaller lures like the Freaky Rock 2” and the RA Shad 3” which I would imagine will work well for the LRF side of things. Then the RA Shad 4.5” and the Sligone 5.5” would work well rigged weedless or with a belly weight fished over shallow reefy ground for the bass. So whatever it is you fish for id say it’s worth having a few packs of the Molix soft plastics in the bag.

South Devon Wrasse
South Devon Wrasse

It’s the first time I have been out in about a month and there was certainly freshness to the breeze, but this was the least of my worries. For starters with such a long time away from the coast I didn’t know what the clarity was going to be like or if it was weedy and most of all if the wrasse were still playing ball. I decided to visit a mark that I haven’t really fished an awful lot, this not being the lack of fish there but the ridiculous price of £7.50 for parking in the summer. So I make the walk down to the rocks and start chucking, I was fishing the last couple hours of the ebb hoping for a bit of sport before slack tide. The idea was to get stuck in and try and use all the new lures I had and try my best to catch on them all and see which I favoured. I had also got myself some 10g bomb weights and split rings for the purpose of fishing the lure on a jika rig, again this was advised to me by Steven and was keen to see how it stood up to my usual Texas rig. It started slow which wasn’t filling me with hope; I worked my way down to the next gully with the Molix Sligozzo 4” where I was welcomed by the unmissable bite of a wrasse. I didn’t hook up but that one little knock is what you need to put a grin on the face and confidence in the cast. The Sligozzo is a strange looking lure with a big thick rugby ball body with a big beaver tail on the end, and it’s all ribbed so it will be sending out plenty of vibrations and movement in the water. A few casts later and I hit into my first of the session, it’s such a good feeling having a fish on the line after so long without fishing, even with it being not so big, that wasn’t a problem; the fish had some awesome colouring on it as well, worthy of a picture.

Spotted Wrasse
Spotted Wrasse

I carried on fishing and was loving it, they weren’t throwing themselves on the line and I certainly had to work a bit harder for the fish but they kept coming slowly but surely. After a couple more better sized fish it started to approach slack water and the bites dried up a bit, so the plan was to head over to another mark further down the coast. The sun was out and the fish were biting so I intended to fish until dark when the wrasse would obviously cease hitting the lures. This mark I headed to is some serious looking ground with big deep holes and gulley’s filled with kelp and big ledges dropping off into the water, it just screams wrasse at you. First chuck with the Sligone bouncing it back along the bottom and bang, no warning, straight into a diving wrasse. Certainly a better fight and resulted in a better fish, all these wrasse were wicked looking fish with different colours and patterns. I kept hitting this same gulley and I kept pulling fish out all around the same size and all punching above their weight when it came to fighting. They were all dead set on hitting their hole. Unfortunately for them they were banging into a solid reel with no drag allowed, no chance I was getting taken to ground. As it was my first session out for a while I wanted to try and get some cool pics and I also took my go pro to get some footage. I’ve put together a little video of the session with some underwater footage of the wrasse, nothing professional but personally I love watching people in the UK fishing and enjoying themselves so here’s me having a blast.

Baby Caleo Craw 3"
Baby Caleo Craw 3″

As far as the Molix soft plastics go there is no doubt in my mind that the wrasse nail them, I caught on all of them but for me the 2 I liked fishing the most were the Sligozzo and the Sligone. That’s just personal preference but I just liked the way they looked and they caught me fish. Another thing, if you fish for wrasse you’re going to fully aware that they trash soft plastics for a past time, but these Molix lures actually seemed to stand up better than others. I can’t lie they aren’t indestructible. But throughout the day I don’t remember having to change the lure due to damage which in my books is a success. I think I’d be happy to go out wrassing with a couple different Molix lures and a Packet of Z-Man Punch Crawz and be very confident in catching wrasse!

Sligozzo Jika Rig
Sligozzo Jika Rig

I mentioned I tried using the Jika rig for the first time in this session, it certainly worked and to be fair I almost forgot it was anything different while fishing. It still had the great sensitivity I want when wrassing. It worked as well as the Texas rig for me and I think that it would be good for using if there is a bit more swell running and you need to hammer that lure on the bottom during the retrieve. Also when using the Texas rig because it has the running cone weight sometimes it can rub a bit on the end of the flouro making it weaker, this is something you would not get from the Jika Rig. At the moment I don’t think I can make a solid conclusion as to which is better as I said I think they might both have their advantages. So I will keep using them side by side to try and find where they best apply. I think that’s about everything I wanted to get of the brain; I hope everyone else’s fishing is going well. Please comment below if there are any questions on the gear or technique’s I use and I would love to try and help. Even better let me know how you’re all getting on, either in the comment box or on my FB group. I will post the video on my videos page. Tight Lines

The Perfect End

As most things in life all the good things have to come to an end. So I find myself sat in the ferry port waiting to board, reminiscing on my time spent in Ireland. Much fun was had, I met and got to know a few really nice people. For once it is nice spending time around people who like me are also nuts about lure fishing. Conversation flowed back and forth on subjects of favourite lures and rods and certain fishing tales and experiences. A change from the usual talking at someone about your fishing trip on your days of, being received by a blank uninterested face. Anyway the last 2 weeks in Tramore the weather has been pretty atrocious and made fishing very hard! Thankfully Cian at absolute fishing and my mate Steven Neely from fish on lures have both been helpful. A  few cheeky pointers and reassuring me that there are fish around. Because of this the last week I have actually pulled a few out the bag with early morning and bloody long walks. The first of the string actually came in at a length of 65cm and very chunky, a PB Bass for me so I was absolutely chuffed. I was fishing in a patch of slack water with the Fiiish Black Minnow 120 off shore head in Khaki. Fishing a sink and draw, and on about the fourth cast I followed the draw back down reeling up the slack. I went to draw again and it was solid, now I knew there was a weed bed a bit in front of me just about where I thought my lure was so I’m thinking that I’ve just snagged up. I start putting pressure on with hope of pulling it through when I felt two good pulls on the line. Now that certainly was not weed, my heart beat speeds up and I’ve got a battle on my hands. I keep good pressure on the fish as I can tell it’s more than my usual schoolie, he pulls me out into a bit of current where he knows he’s got the upper hand. After a few runs on my fairly tight drag I have him up and heading to shore. A beautiful thick black backed bass. A couple of photos again on a timer so excuse the poor quality, then returned strong.

65cm PB Bass
65cm PB Bass

The day after something truly magical took place. I ended up tagging along and fishing with a group of 6 British lads who were over for the weekend. Richard Cake, Mark Padfield, Martin, Joe, Steve and Tom. Great bunch of guys with a passion for bass, also very friendly and willing to give me a few pointers and tips throughout the day. hopefully I will get to fish with some of them back in England. Anyway we were in 2 groups on a couple different marks and after my PB the previous day I had high hopes for the day. It was a slow start and with 7 anglers not a sniff, the guys had already decided if nothing was happening here they were heading further down the coast in hope of bass. Luckily a second later after a change of tactics Martin hits into a fish, he lands a nice healthy 5lb 8oz bass. That made the decision to stay easy, and it certainly was the right decision. Richard follows suit and whacks out a big cast, working his lure well resulted in his rod doubling over, straight away he’s saying its a big fish. We knew ourselves when the fish started to pull him along the shore line, I’d say the fish was on for at least 5 minutes if not a little longer. Now for a bass that is really a long battle, as the fish makes it way into the shallows it’s confirmed and the pressure is really on. This is probably the easiest place to lose a fish especially when there is weed to contend with. Mark worked his way around the back of the fish and herds it in as Richard pulls it in, Marks grabs the fish firm and walks it to shore and places it on a weed bed. Wow, I’ve never seen a double first hand un till now and I can say that photos do not do them justice it was magnificent and huge. After all the weighting and screaming like little girls with excitement and photos the beast was returned. What a sight, seeing a bass of that size swim off in the shallows. Well done Richard Cake, a fish I believe he has waited 11 years for.

Richards Cake with his 11lb Bass
Richards Cake with his 11lb Bass

After a little break for some food and drink and to try to take into account what we had just witnessed and achieved. We began to fish again with hope of more fish. The guys did not disappoint, next in was Martin with another nice fish. This was a nicer fish than his first and was certainly giving him a good fight, he slowly brought the fish up on to the shore and it was a nice thick 7lb fish. A couple of photos and a quick release in order to get the lure back in the water. Not wanting to be beaten Richard replied with a 7lb 8oz bass straight away. There was certainly a good stack of fish in the water and seemingly very willing to nail the lures, well at least Richards and Martins. Nothing had happened for a while and I was thinking as the tide neared low that might be about it for us. But no, not from Richards point of view, fish on. His rod really bent over and he’s saying it’s big, in my excitement I grab my camera a follow behind as the fish drags him along the shore. Richards getting very excited at the thought of another big fish and slowly works him into the shallows, at first sight we can see it’s possibly similar to the first double. Once again Mark follows the fish from behind making sure its safe and landed. Another serious sized fish has just been landed, Richard is again smiling like a Cheshire cat while the steadier hands are in charge of weighing and measuring. Now it was possibly shorter than the 11lb fish but was an absolute pig dragging the scales to a whopping 11lb 8oz. What an achievement  2 double figure fish, a feat I’m sure will never be broken. Richard racked up a total of 30lbs of bass with 3 fish in about a 3 hour period. What  a day, when considering Richard and Martin were walking into the day with no fish from the trip and a possibility of going home with a blank from the trip. They returned happy anglers although I think they might have been a bit jealous with the fact that I had 3 more days fishing before I returned.

Martin's 7lb Bass
Martin’s 7lb Bass

After the recent fishing my choice of mark was a pretty easy decision to make for the next couple of days. As much as I enjoyed fishing with the other lads it was nice to have this awesome mark all to myself for a couple of days. As with the previous days the start was always a bit slow. Right on queue I get the normal hard tap then nothing, then the rod bends over. Ok this wasn’t a big one only a couple of pounds but it’s always nice to get one on the board for the day. Over the next couple days I managed to land 7 bass. Not epic amounts by any standards but after the horrific weather over the last couple of weeks they were more than welcome. They were averaging around the 4lb mark so overall they gave me a good bit of sport. I had one of the classic fish that got away, had it in the shallows in less than a foot of water trying to walk it up onto the shore when it shook its head out of the water and chucked the hook. A fish probably touching the 6lb mark but never mind that is the challenge of the chase.

Breathing the double
Breathing the double

Kerry Gold

There was no way I could come over to Ireland without paying a visit to Kerry, it’s where I came in august on my fishing trip and it was love at first sight. Its one of those magical places that you can’t help but love. My time was spent in and around Ballinskelligs bay, wherever you look it’s like a postcard image of either cloud topped mountains or huge cliffs plunging into big seas. Putting all that aside the fishing can be just epic and plenty to choose from. Hunting big rock Pollock with soft plastics or getting abused by them in my case. Then to hard hitting, smash you about wrasse of the rocks. And the king of all, the bass. Whether it’s from the big sandy surf beaches, the big flats littered with boulders or of the rocks fishing the gullies. Ok so In no way have I really smashed some fish while down here but I have caught all 3 of these species and overall some nice fish. It’s been very tough work finding the fish, but when I have it has paid of.

Ballinskelligs Bay
Ballinskelligs Bay

Fishing for some big Pollock was something that was definitely up high on the to do list when I got to Kerry, although the first few days were a bit of a write off. With strong winds and huge swell there was no way of getting close to the sea to get a decent cast, and when I did get one out I think I would have needed a 6oz lead to get it to hit the bottom. Anyway I remember a mark from august which we had a few good Pollock from and a nice bass as I remember. This mark had its pros and cons; it was a spit of rocks sheltered inside the bay so it wasn’t getting battered by huge swells. Although on the other hand it only had about a one hour window of fishing it before it was cut off. I fished it a few times over my time here and has done me well. The first time I fished it was a good sign, I was fishing 120 Black minnows with the off shore heads. The heavier head was needed to cope with the strong run of tide it had there on the flood. I was fishing a mixture of sink and draw and just sinking it and straight retrieving it along the bottom, essentially fishing for Pollock. About ten minutes in and I had my first knock and it resulted in a 3lb bass, very nice surprise and chuffed to start the account with a bass. Next cast another hit and this time a 3lb Pollock again chuffed to see a nice Pollock.

60cm Bass
60cm Bass

After that session I was desperate to fish it again so the next day I returned in the hope that with the tides building there might be more fish around. Fished it exactly the same as I did the day before but with nothing, a couple bites but not resulting in anything. By now the tide had really started pushing in and this was prime time for a hit with the good run of current but nothing. It had got to the time where I needed to start making my way back before getting cut of so the famous words “Last Cast”. A nice long cast, hit the bottom and straight retrieve it back. Nothing but hang on is that weed on the lure? It doesn’t count as a last cast if it comes back weeded. Take 2 “ Last Cast” another nice long cast, hit the bottom straight retrieve back, half way back and I get a knock from a fish with no hook up. No way does it count as a last cast it I get bumped on the retrieve. Take 3 “Last Cast” A huge cast out, hit the bottom and straight retrieve back. Half way and nothing, then wallop, I get hit and it’s a fish on. It’s fighting hard and with the current on his side its making it hard to keep him up. First thoughts are Pollock as it was diving hard but as I get a bit of line in I see that shimmer of silver to confirm we have a bass on. After a little more fighting I now have him of the surface and guide him towards the rocks into my safe hands. After a few photos and a quick measure it’s returned strong for another day. A 60cm thick Bass on my 3rd “Last Cast”  I was chuffed.

Dot Crawler Pollock
Dot Crawler Pollock

So what else could I do but return to the same mark again. With the tides building it meant I could get onto the mark for longer, so I managed to fish about an hour before low. To start with I was getting a good few bites and interest with the tide still pushing out but as it approached slack water they all dried up and it was a case of waiting for that tide to start pushing in. Now due to unfortunate circumstances of losing all my off sure heads I found myself in a bit of a predicament. The fact was I had nothing with enough weight to get a lure to the bottom where the fish will be holding. A few things were tried with no success, until I had a brainwave. I had a couple jig heads which were not heavy enough with a standard soft plastic mounted on but I had the mother of all soft plastics. The Megabass Dot Crawler 7”, weighting in at about 18g and in combination with the jig head I now had a total weight of about 28-30g. Easily heavy enough, so I adopt the sink and draw method in hope to give the lure a bit more life as it was essentially a stick bait. Straight away I was getting interest on it and I started hitting into some nice Pollock of 3lb or so. I was amazed as I would never have even dreamt of using this lure in this way. But on I went and more Pollock were landed, the best going about 5lbs. No monster but hitting into a 5lb Pollock in strong current on a rod rated at 5-25g with them doing everything they can to hit the bottom. Well thats good enough sport for me. I will admit though there were 2 Pollock that really did abuse me, the first one hit me like a steam train. And with my tight drag I had to take all that force in the rod I thought I had just about turned it when it took another dive and the line went, gutting but that’s what is to be expected when fishing for big Pollock. The second was near enough the same story but he just took me hard in kelp, there was no way I could turn him without my rod snapping in two.

Chunky Wrasse
Chunky Wrasse

Finally it was time to go wrasse bashing, and with bright sunshine flat calm seas there was no better way to be spending it. I wanted to return to a pretty successful spot we fished back in august, only drama with this was the crazy horse that resided in the field in which I had to pass through. It was bad enough with 3 of us last time, so going solo was not my idea of fun. I scouted the field and spotted her chilling in the bottom right of the field so I stealth fully sneaked down through the field, on the last stretch she perked up and spotted me and decided to start trotting towards me, at which point I proceeded to run like a little girl to the nearest fence and jumped over it!! So to the fishing, it was a fairly slow start with not much interest, I moved about in hope of finding some hungry wrasse. I would get one then nothing for a while then another. I tallied up 6 fish, now for the time I spent there I thought I might have had more. But at the end of the day I’m quite happy to catch 6 fish, I started to make my way back along the rocks when there’s this one big deep gulley that’s just shouting at me to hit it. I thought ill have a few casts, see if I can’t pull one more up. My god I think I definitely found there gathering hole, first cast and I hit into a nice fish really put a bend in the rod, a good fish around the 4lb mark. Then the next 5 casts all resulted in fish, yes 6 casts on the trot and 6 fish. In well under 10 minutes I had just doubled my fish count, this is certainly one epic end to a session. Wrasse may not give you a long fight but in those first few dives they are certainly a powerful fish for their size, as with Pollock there is only one way to fight them and that’s with a tight drag and brute force. I can only imagine King Leonidas was referring to wrasse fishing when he addressed his troops with “Give them nothing, but take from them EVERYTHING”

Punch Crawz doing what it does
Punch Crawz doing what it does
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