Friday, 31 August 2012

Bass amongst the dogs - 30th August 2012

I headed out to bait fish a couple of hours of the ebbing tide and an few hours of the rishing tide last night. It was a nice night to be out, mostly clear and the beach was illuminated by a bright full moon. There was a moderate surf and very little seaweed.

I didn't have time to dig lug earlier in the day so just had some razor out of the freezer. I set up two rods with 4/0 pennel pulleys (although later changed one to a 1/0 three hook flapper). No sooner had I cast out the first bait and had just put the rod on the stand when there was a subtle knock on the rod - I struck but the fish didn't feel like a bass as I retrieved. It was a small dogfish.

Another dogfish followed. Then close to low tide I had another fairly strong bite but the fish was not putting up much of a fight and turned out to ba a small 42 cm bass.

I had a couple of missed bites after that. One was most likely another dogfish but the second felt to be a strong heavy fish before it came off after a few seconds. Then as the tide began to push in a dogfish onslaught commenced. I had about five in quick succession and lost a few more. These were bigger dogfish than the first two and fought strongly all the way in. Each time I was convinced I had a bass until I saw the fish do the sideways twisting  motion in the shallow surf characteristicof dogfish.

Since it looked like that was all that I was going to catch that night I packed up and headed home to bed.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

First cast bass - 27th August 2012

I was tempting fate with my last post "Signs of Improvement" from a session on 9th August two and a half weeks ago. The following evening saw a deteoriation in the conditions as a strong ESE wind picked up. I returned to the same mark on 11th August but it was practically unfishable with big swells and chocolate coloured water. I stuck it out for a couple of hours in to dusk but had nothing to show for it. The pollock that were there in profusion two days previously were absent never mind the bass.

Unfortunately that was just a foretaste of what was to come. The south coast was hit by a massive storm the following week which ruled out lure fishing for the next week. I had one bait session a few days later but on an ebbing tide which was not the best for that particular beach and needless to say I blanked. Interestingly I gathered up the carcasses of about 12 spider crabs from the high water mark 20 m either side of where I was fishing. These weren't empty carapaces left after moulting. The strom must have battered them and threw them on to the foreshore.

The water was just beginning to clear when we were hit by another Altantic depression with strong wind and rain. I did have a few short attempts a lure fishing late in the evenings but not even the pollock showed up.

After a rather stormy Sunday night, the following day, Monday 27th, was much more pleasant so I decided on another bait fishing session. I arrived just after dusk and set up two rods, the first baited with rag and the second with razor on 4/0 pennel pulleys. Shortly after casting out the rod with the razor I spotted some twitches on the rod tip. Then it bent over sharply, I grabbed the rod but at that stage the fish was running a slackliner in towards the shore. I rapidly reeded in the slack and caught up with the fish. It fought strongly for a few minutes until I hauled it through the surf. It was a 53 cm bass.

That was a good start and I was hopeful of a few more but that was it. I should have packed up then and gone home but I perservered for another three hours but only had a small coalfish towards the end of the session.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Signs of improvement - 9th August 2012

Yesterday was the first day in ages that felt like a summer's day. So after work I headed down to the shore. I arrived as the tide was pushing in. Although the weather had been calm all day there were still sizable swells breaking over the rocks. I started fishing an area of very shallow water that can produce bass early on the rising tide as they move in looking for crabs. I wasn't too happy with the colour of the water, it had a yellowish tinge. It didn't seem to be due to sediment more likely an algal bloom so I hoped that would not have a detrimental effect on the fishing. I fished the first mark for about an hour without success but I did see a couple of splashes just beyond casting distance.

I made my way eastwards, fished a mark where I lost a good bass a couple of weeks ago but again nothing. Close to dusk I reached the eastern end of the bay. I tried a few different soft plastics then put on a yellow tailed jellyworm as the water was even more murkey than in the western part of the bay. I thought that might be easier for the fish to see. First cast I felt tugs on the lure but the fish was not hooked. On the second cast the lure was grabbed by a fish. Initially I thought it was a pollock but then it burst on to the surface and I realized it was a bass. It was not a big fish but still gave a good fight as I eased it in across the shallow reef in front of me. It was a 49 cm fish. After measuring it I went to get my camera and discovered I had left it at home!!!

Next cast with the jellyworm I could feel the lure been hit several times as I retrieved and then just a few meters out it was grabbed by a pollock of about 1.5 lbs. After that almost every cast was finding fish, some were just striking the lure without been caught and quite a few managed to shake the lure before I landed them but I did get some onto the shore. Then I felt a strong tug but a second later the fish was gone. When I retrieved I found that there only about 3 cm of the jellyworm left on the leadhead!!!

I then changed to an Xlayer and picked up a few more pollock. On about the fourth or fifth cast with the Xlayer I hooked a fish about 30 m out which was putting up a different fight to the pollock and broke to the surface about half way in. This was another 49 cm bass but plumper than the first.

I had a few more casts but again the pollock were attacking the lure almost as soon as I began to retrieve. I changed to a surface lure - an Asturie -  hoping that might attract a bass. Second cast the lure was snatched by a fish 40 m out. This was struggling on the surfare, not diving like a pollock, so I reckoned it had to be a bass. I had it in close, to the edge of the reef but as I was waiting for a breaking wave to surf it over the rocks the fish managed to shake the lure. The bass was probably much the same size as the two I had previously caught.

I had a few more casts with the Asturie and then tried a Patchinko but there were no more takes. I changed back to the Xlayer. It was dark at this stage but the pollock were still hitting the lure. Then it was struck by a much stronger fish. It kept deep so I reckoned it was another pollock but bigger than the 1-2 lb fish I had been catching. It fought very strongly, keeping deep all the way in. It was the biggest fish of the evening, a stocky 52 cm pollock weighing a little over 3.5 lbs.

I had another small pollock after that and then decided to pack up.

That is the first time this year that the pollock have been out in force. I fished that mark at the same stage of the tide and similar time of the day about two weeks ago and struggled to get three small pollock. But this time, while I lost a lot of fish, and a lot were not hooked, I could feel pollock hitting the lure on almost every cast on the jellyworm or Xlayers. Interestingly I failed to get a bite on Waveworms, Slug-gos, Spindel worms and Savagear sandeels.

So after a very poor spell it looks like the fishing is finally beginning to improve with the warmer weather.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

The last few weeks

It has been a few weeks since I last updated the blog. Poor fishing was part of the reason for the inactivity but the main reason for the lack of updates was that my father passed away after a short illness. So I didn't feel much like going fishing never mind adding to the blog.

The best fish over the last couple of weeks was a fine chunky bass of 61 cm caught on 26th July. It weighted just under 6 lb, so was well over weight for its size. So while bass have been very scarce along the south coast over the last two months this one was feeding well where ever it was.

I got the fish out of a deepish pool flanked by shallower water to the east and west. A guy was fishing much the same spot before me but moved on without catching anything. I was working my way along the shore and eventually reached the same mark close to dusk. I tried a few hard body lures and several soft plastics before putting on a weighted Xlayer aiming to fish deep into the hole I knew to be there. On about the second or third cast the bass snatched the lure and put up a very strong fight. As there was a steep rock face to my right I had to turn the fish and guide it  to the left but it was not keen on obliging. After a few minutes I eventually turned it and coaxed it onto the rock platform where I was standing.

Earlier I lost a good bass on a waveworm. I was fishing into a narrow but deep gully and just as I was about to lift the lure out of the water a bass grabbed it and dived snapping the flurocarbon leader just above the clip knot.

I had a few other sessions but just had a few pollock ranging in size from less than a pound to three pounds and a solitary mackeral that must have strayed from his shoal. But at least the pollock are now beginning to show up, a few weeks ago even the pollock were absent.

Now that the weather is finally beginning to warm up to close to normal summer temperatures I am hopeful that the fishing will also improve and maybe bass will move close to our shores again.