Topknot

LRF, Plymouth

The Cornish LRF league boys were in Plymouth on Wednesday and having moved back down the day before I was looking forward to a good social and first LRF session back in the south west.

I wasn’t entering the league match, just there for a laugh and to catch a few fish. I half jokingly said to Josh before we started fishing that I’d smash out a topknot then go home, and as the light faded I had a weird bite. The power of a positive attitude eh….;)

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Sakura players 0.5-5g and split shot rig, keep it simple!

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I love catching flounder, but these are cooler

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Zandermasters Round Two

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Zandermasters, one of the best competitions around, zero profit, unsponsored and with a good crowd of familiar faces.

I’m no zander expert by any means, but after a 5th place finish last year I was pretty confident that I could pull off a top 10 finish. Armed with the usual lure selection of fork tails and shads from 4-6″, 15-35g jig heads and a selection of fast action rods it was time to go play the game.

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We started strong and about 1-2 hours into the 5 hour competition I had landed around 8-10 fish, hearing reports of what others were catching I thought I was doing alright. Combine this with the fact that last year I only caught in the last 1/3rd of the comp and finished on 11 fish, confidence was high. Until the engine died.

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Match the hatch, Sakura drop fork

The engine wouldn’t start, the choke had failed, stuck on and was flooding the engine with fuel. Nothing for it but to call the lodge and request tow, I gave our exact location with buoy numbers and the direction of our powerless drift. 10 minutes later, no rescue, called the lodge and apparently the rib had been sent out. Another ten minutes, still no rib. One hour and five progressively angrier phone calls later and the rib arrived. What if we had had a more serious problem? Dangerously slow response time if you ask me.

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50cm+ exactly what you want in a competition 

Back out on the water we had 2 more hours to make up for lost time and catch up with the leading anglers. Landing fish averaging 30-35cm with the odd 50+cm thrown in was helping build up a good score, but the lost time had cost us. Back on land scores were counted, good to see Andy Mytton take first place. Having chatted with Andy earlier, we were looking forward to fishing after the competition, when the light drops and the fish move shallower.

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I like messing around and seeing what I can do with lures that are far from what most people would use, today I had brought a few slow jigs with me. I tried for ages to land a zander on one and despite one solid hit I failed, next time I’ll bring lighter ones, the fall rate from the 60g jigs was just a little too fast I think. So out came the Sakura Skoons, a spoon I am confident I can catch zander with, and along with a few bonus trout I managed a few more zander.

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Zander aren’t just on the bottom…

skoon trout

 

The Belgians and the Cornish

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Where to start, Thursday to Sunday have all blurred into an image of great fishing with a great bunch of people. The Belgian crew of Warde, Fred, Tom, Joe and Maarten had joined Ben and myself for their annual trip down to Cornwall for the Cornish Lure Festival. A massive favour had to be repaid after their hospitality when we were over in Gent last year!

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Fred and his gurnard

Thursday saw us out on Anglo Dawn, species hunting with lures while looking to land a few new PB’s for the visiting anglers, a slow start progressed into a great days fishing with the Belgians landing multiple PB’s and new species. As always we tried to use as lighter rods as possible, myself and ben found ourself using 3 and 5g rods at times, landing pollack and wrasse with no problems, I know I bang on about it, but fish lighter! It’s way more fun!

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0.5-5g Players pollack

Friday through to Sunday was competition time, but this year we were taking it easy, rushing around for the species hunt wasn’t the plan, we wanted to put the Belgians onto some decent wrasse. The first day didn’t disappoint with over 150 wrasse between us up to 52cm.

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I often found myself sitting watching the others fish, just enjoying the moment, nothing better than sharing the joy with good friends.

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The competition days flew by and it was awesome to see a Belgian come joint first in the wrasse section. You’d think we would have had enough after 4 days of non stop fishing, but after the presentation we were back on the rocks. Tired, scratched, bruised, hungry and smelling of fish but happy.

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The sun dropped and it was time to go, back to normal routine, until next year.

The Weekend

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The combination of a bank holiday weekend and awesome weather is always a winner, so we decided to make the most of it, three days of almost non stop fishing. Despite the warm winter the fishing has been slow lately, mackerel have arrived in number but bass are few and far between locally, but you can pretty much always rely on wrasse for action when other species aren’t producing.

ben fishing

Most people use 10-30g rods and fairly heavy braid for wrasse fishing in order to prevent fish and gear loss in the rough ground, but do you really need it? Fishing lighter is more fun and I had no problems landing wrasse to 4lb+ on my Sakura Players 3-15g and 12lb braid and the ground we were fishing was far from clean. I do normally use a 10-40g rod for wrasse fishing, the extra power lets me fish effectively at greater ranges and if it is a little rough or windy I can fish heavier rigs effectively. But seeing as it was flat calm and the wrasse were close in I had a play with a different setup, and I’m glad I did!

my wrasse

3-15g Sakura Players, a go to freshwater rod of mine, now a go to wrasse rod

Over the weekend we had over 40 wrasse a day, multiple 4lbers and Ben landed a 5lb green beauty that put up an awesome scrap in the shallow water. We also got out with a few new samples from sakura, the Lisa Loca jig has been given a “real life” paint job and they look awesome and more importantly the fish loved them, we had loads of pollack and mackerel from a deep water shore jigging mark. More on that in the future!

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5lb green monster

The outcome of the weekend? t-shirt and shorts tan lines, memory cards full of photos and video and a ton of chewed up lures!

Different Every Time

Trout

I fish Bewl perhaps 3-4 times a year, which is far from often, not exactly ideal to gather enough first hand information to build patterns of fish behaviour in the reserviour.

So every time we’re stood in the car park looking over the lake conditions are different. We know where to fish when it’s sunny, warm and there’s no wind, but yesterday wasn’t like that. We know where the fish will be when the water is warm in the middle of summer, but yesterday wasn’t like that either.  

Ben’s first Bewl perch

 Are different conditions a bad thing? Absolutely not, you try the areas you’ve had fish from before, if they don’t produce it forces you to use your knowledge and seek out new areas, try new lures, use different methods. It educates you. We found the trout, right in against the bank in the teeth of the wind and waves, not comfortable to fish in but we did what we had to do in order to catch.

check out the bite mark on this guy (either side of my hand)

 
We also found the pike and perch, not our intended target but welcome fish none the less. 

Pitching It Slow

Slow Jigging, Uncategorized

Slow pitch jigging has established itself as an extraordinarily effective method over the last 3 years in UK waters with 32 species (to my knowledge) being caught by the method. So it was about time myself and the ethos crew gave it a go.

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This was mine and the lads first trip afloat of the year aboard Anglo Dawn out of Falmouth, but with summer creeping up on us there will be many more. There was no specific target for the day, just to see how many species we could get on slow jigs and a quids in wager was on the largest fish. We started off on a few inshore reefs and wrecks, quickly finding the mackerel that have turned up early this year and the occasional pollack.

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Bait finesse pollack

As we were in so shallow Ben decided to crack out his bait finesse setup, and my god did it look fun smashing pollack on a 5g bait casting setup, why didn’t I bring mine!? I had a different rod to christen, my new heavy saltwater setup was onboard, a Sakura Ten Fighters star shooter and shimano vanquish, rigged up with a majikeel I was away, wrasse after wrasse fell to our rods as we drifted over the reefs. We fished inshore over slack then moved out to some deeper water as the tide started to flow.

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New setup christened

I’m not going to say we were smashing fish every drift, because we weren’t, it was difficult fishing, as it often is at this time of year but we were ready for that, and you can’t beat just being out with like minded mates regardless of the fishing.

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Andy our skipper put in the work and found us what we were after, by the end of the day we had had 7 species on slow jigs, great stuff for what can be a very slow time of year. My highlight of the day was hooking into a decent pollack, I will admit that I thought I was snagged at first until the unit of a fish started shifting! The beauty of slow jigging is that the rods aren’t mega stiff and do bend into fish so you get a great fight, especially from crash diving pollack.

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The slow jig rods myself and Ben were using were designed for use with fixed spool, while this does make slow jigging more accessible as not everyone wants to spend money on specific reels, you can’t fish slow jigs properly with a fixed spool. Big thanks must go to the Trooper that is Aaron Insley who was up till 4am sorting the rods for us.

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the armoury

All in all a great day afloat with some good mates, and a taste of what is to come for summer!

 

If you’re interested in getting out lure fishing from the boat, Andy is your man and can be found here:  https://www.facebook.com/anglodawn/

for rod repairs, modifications or custom builds Aaron takes some beating: https://www.facebook.com/customrodbuilderaaroninsley/

Scorpions

LRF, Scorpion Fish, Uncategorized

Scorpionfish are cool, nothing else to it. So when I was asked by Steve to do a shoot for LURE mag targeting the species I was all over it. I knew where and when we had to go and so yesterday we were out after the spikey little guys. Before the cameras were ready I had my first scorpionfish, first cast! not long after I had a second, we shot some fill photos and that was it, quickest magazine shoot ever!

I’ll save the photos for the article but here’s a little preview.

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Stormy Rutland Zander

Zander

Well the British winter is living up to its wet and windy reputation. Checking the forecast has been frustrating at times, endless days of strong winds and heavy rain have made getting out and fishing regularly difficult. So when an weather window allows, its all systems go.

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Rutland was a little lively to say the least

We arrived at 0830 to a slight breeze and light rain, after buying our permits and a few fly tying materials it was straight out on the water. First drift Olivier had a small perch but it took us another hour or so to find a decent shoal of zander. From then on it was pretty much a fish a drift.

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My largest Rutland zander to date

This was my second trip to Rutland and after last times success on sakura drop forks and biwaa divinator shads I saw no reason to change my approach. 20-28g jigheads fished on my trines neo 3-10.5g rod was the way, it may sound like I’m overloading the rod but as I’m fishing vertical you can go roughly 3 times over the recommended max. I’ve found that being subtle is the key, the smaller the movements you put into the lure, the more you catch.

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Weapons of choice, trinis neo and drop fork

The wind slowly built through the day and by 1500 it was a little to much for us to fish effectively, even with the drogue off the bow drifts were too fast and the gusting wind made it hard to feel any bites so we called it a day. to sum it all up, wet, windy, but worth it!

Here’s a little video from the day: Rutland Zander

Weymouth Christmas LRF Competition

LRF, Tournament fishing

Saturday saw Will Pender, Luke Fox and myself making the trip from the west to deepest Dorset for what was set to be a great event. We had been invited down to Weymouth by Andy Mytton to fish his home waters in a chilled out species hunt style competition.

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Will doing his thing

The weather, windy…. gusting 40-50mph didn’t make things easy but Weymouth is a great venue for LRF and there is always somewhere sheltered you can fish. The fishing was slow according to the locals but winter LRF is far from the summer fish filled madness. By the end of the competition I had had 4 species and a shed load of whiting, winning scores were 7 species with Luke coming in second and the man with mad skills Stephen Collet coming in first.

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Best part about this event? the spirit of it. No ego’s, no secrets, just a good bunch of people enjoying the sport. It’s always good to chat with like minded anglers, what’s even better is to chat with the anglers of the future, keen to learn, asking you questions and watching what you’re up to and absorbing it all. In the end, that was once me, the kid on the bank looking up to those around him, still find it a little weird that people now look up to me now….

Here’s a little video from saturday, had a few requests for a run down of my LRF tackle so thats in the video too: Weymouth LRF VLOG

And here’s the video of the perch (image below), what was supposed to be a pike sesssion didn’t go to plan: Perch video

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Made the most of the drive home