Thursday, 23 February 2017

CHANNEL SURFING

Hello to all

As I write this piece my fingers are almost punching the keyboard! Over the last four months I have been planning a hunt for a proper lump of a perch for myself and I use this term loosely ...mate,the destination being Holland....where else? Hotel booked ,ferry booked,hell I had even booked 5 days afloat with a top guide.To say I was excited would be a huge understatement,now...my so called buddy which I wont name sent me a poxy text at 5am days before we were meant to leave saying he "couldn't make the trip...soz"
I could have snapped my phone clean in half...Fuming doesn't come close! for me to make the trip is going to cost me an extra shit tonn of euro's, which is not viable...so there goes all that,I promised myself I will be there soon!people tell me violence is not the answer...I'm struggling to agree.Any way its rare to meet a complete stitch up lying c%+£ so let me tell you about a proper nice guy I have had the pleasure of meeting.


A few years ago I was invited to go fishing on a friend (of my crazy lure fishing buddy Seb Nowosiad) of a friends boat out of Watchet marina to sample some angling on the mighty Bristol channel.Myself and Mox met the boys at the marina where Seb introduced us to the skipper Mike,
After a briefing and a strong Polish lager supplied by Mr Nowosiad we were on our way out the harbour to see what fishes were up for a munch.The day produced many congers and my first ever Ray which bent my rod double in the strong tide.Anyway we had a great day out,which is documented in an earlier post on Fish tales.Since then Mike and I have become good friends,I cant thank him enough for including me in his fishing adventures on the channel plus he cooks up a prime lunch every trip so big up Mike!

Our most recent adventure began with Mox turning up outside my house at 2am pumping out Dead prez at a very unsociable volume.We had to meet Mike at the Marina for 3.30am so we could get out before the gate closed at 4am.
I had barely slept but the prospect of a Big cod or a Blonde ray just about kept me on my feet,the forecast  looked spot on for a calm day afloat with nobody turning green.....hopefully,the tides also looked good plus we had a shit load of bait.
 With everything ready we made our way out of the sanctuary of the marina into the dark foggy abyss of the Bristol channel,Mike suggested we started on a spot not to far away and then make our way down when it was light and the tide was in our favour.We were soon anchored up and ready to start fishing,four rods were sent out all on simple running ledger set-ups with lug and squid cocktails whipped onto the ever reliable 6/0 Varivas big mouth extra courtesy of Veals.It was a very Erie experience being anchored up in almost total darkness,there was no wind and all that could be heard was the trickle of the tide as it scoured the flanks of the boat,that was until mikes ratchet let out a screech.He briefly hooked up to what he thought felt like a reasonable Cod.Not this time ay bud? the Dogs turned up for a bit then just before first light Mike and Mox both had a codling each,the fishing was very slow but it was still great to be out in good company on such calm conditions.


We headed off when the sun came up to an area noted for some good Ray,unfortunately there were Whiting  everywhere taking even the largest of baits,they were good sized fish mind,but we were after something flat with a spikey tail preferably over 20lb.We endured the whiting plague for a while but another move was in order.




Mike told us of a spot he had recently hooked into some big eels and had his hooks straightened,not the big mouth extra's I may add.anyway We made our way to the area, anchored up and started to fish once more.It became apparent that the Whiting were in force everywhere,unless the shoal followed us a couple of miles (joke) we each took them on huge fish baits intended for other species.Mox was rolling a cigg, meanwhile his rod started to nod alerting us to yet another whiting.Mox decided to leave it be whilst he smoked, a couple of puffs later the ratchet went ape shit,Mox flew to the rod but when he reeled in all he had on the hook was half a whiting,"looks like the congers are here" said Mike.The poor fish was re hooked to what was left and sent back down to the eels,the same thing happened but this time Mox hooked up for a minute or so before the bait was spat.There was nothing left of the whiting but a few mashed pieces and entrails....gory stuff,I went to put the kettle on but a very subtle bite started to develop on my rod.I picked it out of the rest and could feel a very gentle pluck,the sort you get from a tiny doggy.Anyway I wound down and struck to be met with a hefty weight...my rod was as bent as a nine bob note, "Conger on" I shouted as the fish took a load of braid from my cheap multiplier.I had to do some serious pump and wind shit to raise the beast up in the strong tide.I was shocked when I saw the size of its head as it breached,she started to spin up the line and I wondered if the snood would part. luckily I had brought my big boat net, mikes is about as useful as an ash tray on a motor bike.I grabbed the leader and dragged her up against the tide where Mox was waiting with the net.The next decision was to bring it on board or not,I had never caught a big eel so I thought fuck it,bring her on deck.After a bit of thrashing about I worked out how to safely pick up such a creature and found its gill flaps,unfortunately I put her back without getting a weight but at 5 ft long with a head like a staffy its safe to say its well into the 30 lb bracket.


I also managed a nice blonde and my first ever Spurdogs on a trip out of Ilfracombe with my pals Pete Gregory and Tom Collinridge....marvellous.



Til next time.

good luck














Wednesday, 11 January 2017

STRIPE HUNTERS

Hello to all

Happy new year to all my readers

Another year bites the dust,I cant believe its 2017.
I can remember the millennium celebrations as if it were yesterday,twatting around as a yoof drinking cheap cider on the streets...some proper jumpers for goal posts shit but 17 years later here we are.Time certainly flies and 2016 was no exception.

My slack attitude on last years blogging still leaves us with much to catch up on so lets go back to the Autumn,a great time for fishing for my most treasured species, the mighty Perch.
It would be fair to say that nearly all of my limited time has been dedicated to chasing the stripes,I just cant seem to get my pike head on at all, but then again who cares as long as enjoyment is paramount.

Anyway,The perch is a very versatile fish indeed.It lives in many environments and can be caught on loads of different baits and methods but perhaps the most exciting way of catching them is to lure fish.Myself and old Mox have been doing exactly that,we must have chucked more rubber at em than a bouncy ball factory!

We targeted an 80 acre lake that has recently opened a boat rental service for those wanting to fish for perch using lure fishing tactics.The lake reaches depths of 35 ft has a huge head of silver fish and lots of underwater humps and troughs,oh yeah and no Pike...pretty much the perfect place for old peter the perch to do some serious munching.We had some great fishing but we had to graft,it wasn't just a case of  random drifts and pub chucking lures here there and everywhere......we tried that but it didn't work.
Time was spent exploring using the echo sounder to pin point bait fish shoals and underwater features that perch would be drawn to.Once we had cracked that the results started to improve! one afternoon we found a very productive area where Mox whipped out a trio of 3 pounders and a 4 in the space of an hour or so I chipped in with a good 3 and a few sprats but Mox was on fire that day.





Other than the lure fishing I have also been sniffing around a few commercials,mainly when the conditions were to unstable for the boat fishing.But still,there's something nice about sitting round a quiet pond for a few
hours,here are a some crackers that had a taste for roach.




Til next time

Good luck

Thursday, 22 December 2016

GREEDY PIGGY'S

Hello to all

I hope that you are enjoying all the recent content? with so much still to tell I have realised just how much time I spent by the waters edge last summer.
Before anyone assumes I am a full time angler I must digress that I also hold down a full time job, so picking the right conditions conditions and tides was rarely an option,in-fact I missed out on lots of good sea angling due to the fact I couldn't get the right area's when the fish were actually there.
A classic example of this was the great Plaice haul that went down in the south hams! my facepaint feed was full of smiling faces with good bags of flatties....by the time I got there it was all over,17 anglers were all blanking on the same beach that produced littrally hundereds 24 hours ago.It was the same with the Ray fishing but that's the harsh reality of sea angling and most-forth that dreaded work thing.

Myself and Mox had a back up plan much closer to home to fill in the gaps between the sea angling.




We went halves on a shit load of discounted krill boilies and pellets with the idea of creating a restaurant on a forgotten area of our local river,after agreeing on a suitable spot we began a two week baiting campaign feeding a couple of kilo's over a fairly large area daily.

The first session started very slowly but as the sun went down one of the traps was sprung,I was into what felt like a good carp when out of the blue the other buzzer went into meltdown,Mox and I looked at each other and burst into laughter.After an epic tangle and a game of knitting with the rods we somehow both landed a carp each.



After a few sessions it was clear the fish were bang on the bait,we soon concluded that it was only necessary to fish short dusk sessions as the bites would often come in the first hour of a hook bait being in the water,they were either there or not, or maybe just too full. but I believe river carp to be greedy creatures that will not pass up a meal so I guess they were else where.Any way, more often than not there was a few fish in the restaurant.



 As long as we kept the bait going in they just kept on coming.

Til next time

Good luck

And merry fishmas




Monday, 12 December 2016

UP THE BLUES

Hello to all

So it seems winter is now firmly upon us,my god it's cold in the mornings.A classic scene for any pike fishers out there! not me tho,too much work to do right now but I'm sure I will be soaking some dead-baits in the not to distant future.

I still have a lot of material to get through so lets make this one snappy.So as you have seen the sea has offered me an almost new lease of life when it comes to angling.Shore fishing has become a real passion for me but every now and then I have left the relative comfort of the land and set aboard a few charter boats.
I cannot help but feel that its kind of cheating, but then again my decent catches of coarse fish from a boat have always brought me the same level of satisfaction and feeling of achievement as that of a fish caught from the bank.So why is the sea any different?


I kinda saw the charters as a confidence booster when the shore fishing was really kicking my ass,a bit like visiting a commercial for carp after a ton of blanks fishing proper waters.

I love fishing for big fish so as you can imagine I was made up to receive an invite from Pete Gregory to fish for blue sharks on Bite adventures out of Penzance.I had everything possible crossed in hopes of the weather not scuppering my excitement.
After weeks of waiting the session was looming,we decided to head up a day early to meet the rest of the lads that were also booked in on the trip.The traffic was a bloody nightmare but Pete kept me entertained with many a piscatoral yarn.After finally arriving we headed straight to the dock to grab a bite to eat and meet up with fellow predator angler Chris Lowe who was due to be back in from a shark trip that evening.
After a quick chat we were told that the fishing had been a little bit slow,and the conditions a bit rough.But still, the lads had managed a few Blues and a bonus small Porbeagle! which I thought was a great days fishing!anyway,we got the go ahead from Chippy (our skipper) that we would definitely be going out the next day.

That evening we met up with the rest of our gang which consisted of Wayne Thomas, his son James and Nick Hart.All three are very handy anglers but had yet to tangle with a Blue shark.The next day,spirits were high as we boarded the boat.I must admit to feeling rough as shit after sleeping in the back of Pete's van and perhaps a pint to many the night before.

The first thing we had to do was catch some fresh bait,a bit of feathering about produced a shed load of mackerel. I even caught a pb Coal fish of around the 2lb mark.Chippy commented that it had not been easy gathering bait recently so we could count our selves lucky.With no time wasted we were soon steaming out to the sharking grounds,after about 30 minutes or so the boat slowed,by now I was feeling dodgier than Trotters independent traders.Chippy had a quick look about and told us we would need to go another ten miles or so where the water clarity was more favourable.Bloody hell I thought,the boat was in danger of being decorated by my internals.My iron gut survived the trip and we set about drawing straws to see who would be up first,I drew second which I was happy with, as after all who said we are going to tempt five fish that day?

Three float fished mackerel baits were placed in the chum trail, each at various depths.The furthest being the deepest to compensate for the torch-beam like fall of the slick.
A fourth rod was kept on deck to pitch to any sharks that may come into sight as the scent trail picked up.It was now just a case of playing the waiting game.A mill pond it was not and after bobbing around for 20 minutes with no land in sight my stomach took a bad turn.A generous amount of thatchers chum was ungracefully dispatched.

I felt rather embarrassed but the attention was soon taken away from me as that sweet tune of a ratchet rang aloud.
James was first on the straws so up he went into battle with what would be his first blue shark.These fish pack an incredible amount of power,and bearing in mind we were fishing in 300 feet plus of water they have a lot of room to show it off! however, after a good old tussle James did a sterling job of taming the first blue of the trip and his first of the species.I still felt like shit and knowing that I was up next sent my stomach into a bit of a flutter,the thought of passing my turn briefly crossed my mind before a much wiser part of brain told me to stop being such a wimp and get a grip.




A few minutes later I was called into action,I struck the long rod to be met with one very angry shark.This thing just took off nearly taking the rod from my hands,a few minutes into the fight the adrenaline had firmly kicked in.The sickness had gone and I felt great but I would feel even greater if I was to land the fish and get it on board for a cuddle.


As you can see the above was achieved,after 20 or so minutes of enjoyable punishment Mr blue decided to let me have my moment.The day went on to be that of a red letter ting for all of us.
Firstly the weather changed completely bringing calm sea's and a warm sun, and the fishing....well that went off the scale!

The blues came thick and fast,during the day we had multiple double hook ups and even got the chance to pick out fish on the free line rod.Sight fishing for them was fantastic!watching them circling the boat and seeing the take was breathtaking.Over all we landed 35 blues with the 2 largest going to me....which was nice.Overall I rated the day as one of my best ever,not quite as extreme as mine and Chidgey's sharkin exploits but a dam site safer non the less.

Big up Chippy,Bite adventures Penzance.

Til next time

good luck










Monday, 28 November 2016

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND

Hello to all

Back on for my big update,I thank you all for reading.

Some more salt water angling to get through before I reveal my coarse fishing exploits.After my success on the smooth hound  fishing my attention was turned towards catching a few rays.And no,I don't mean a week in a cushty all inclusive lounging about like a lizard.
Far from it,I'm talking about those flat things with the long tails.I have become fascinated with the species as a whole,
Undulate,Spotted,Small eyed,blonde and thorn backs were the target.I wanted to collect them all over the course of the season....But then again we don't always get everything we want....yet.


To catch them all from the shore was a tall order,Me and the likes of Moxy,James and Tom Collinridge Clocked up some miles trying to do so.
The tally of dogfish and packs of blast frozen eels we got through was also excessive.

The hunt for Rays became a bit of an obsession,long drives after work to the likes of Poole and other favoured Ray territory's all to often ended in no Raymonds,but hey I am learning and each unsuccessful session only spurred me on to rectify that matter more and more.Like I said...a bit of an obsession.


The Thorny was fairly easy to catch from shore and boat,I had a few from the Bristol channel and a bonus one whilst trying to catch  flounder or plaice from the Kingsbridge estuary.
We all had good Small eyed whilst fishing a lads trip out of Watchet aboard Seafire.A few spotted's were also boated along with huss,smoothys,eels and the ever prolific pooch fish making for a cracking day out and a few more Rays under my belt.



With 3 down I still pursued the Blonde and Undulate,the latter really kicked my ass.To cut a long story short I still have not got my grubby hands on an Undulate,and not for the lack of bloody trying for that matter.I think it will have to wait until next year now but hey ho that's fishing for you.

On a positive note I did manage a Blonde! my main plan was to fish out of Dartmouth but
After 3 trips in row got the thumbs down right at the last minute due to the shit winds I had to look else where.
With a little gap in the weather ear-marked myself and Tom managed to get a last minute charter out of Minehead
Most of the lads on board were targeting cod but me and Tom had our hopes on some ray action,Mike(the 18 year old skipper of Teddie boy) assured us that when the time and tide were right we would move over a deep gully he had found to be especially good for a blonde or two,that will do me I thought.
Sure I like a Cod or two but I couldn't wait to move! finally the time came to up-sticks and after a short steam up the channel Mike seamlessly anchored the boat in the perfect position for our baits to be presented bang on the money.
He wasn't wrong either, 10 minutes or so passed before Tom was into something that was pulling back with intent, his rod was as bent as a nine bob note whilst heaving the creature up against the strong tide.A few tense moments passed before we got to see what was causing all the commotion.Sure enough it was  the Blonde ray Mike had promised us.
However, time was getting on, the window for me catching a Blonde was closing.

Meanwhile Tom was into his third! the thought of throwing him sea-bound ran hard in my mind when out of the blue my rod was nearly pulled into the pond.
I grabbed the rod to be met with heavy resistance! playing a good Ray as calmly as I could I was praying the hooks held,bloody good job they did too! I think the smile says it all.

 
A big thank you goes to Mike! I cant recommend a trip out with this keen young Skipper enough,he will keep you on the fish and trust me you'll be pissing tea from your ears if you accept every brew offer.Four out of five is not bad,but trust me I will get my Undulate sooner or later!

Ain't Rays brilliant!!!!

Til next time

Good luck




Tuesday, 22 November 2016

SMOOTHLY DOES IT

Hello to all

If there are any readers of this blog left out there? I salute you all

So Fish Tales has had more long breaks than your average painter and decorator, but alas my fingers are back on the keyboard with much to tell.
So what's happened since the last post all that way back in January, well....Donald flippin Trump was somehow elected as the next American president, oh yeah and that other Brexit thingy the world has gone nuts but F that! I have some good news...I have been up to a fair bit of the old angling, fresh and salt water but lets start with the latter.

The sea is like a magnet to me right now, to some up the last six months sea fishing is easy, it has been a succession of highs and lows.The long slogs and effort made to catch specimen fish from the shore can be crushing to a man's spirit.
After re rigging in a shit storm for your 20 th dogfish of the session whilst targeting Rays can be a bit of a punisher and a very common occurrence.Or perhaps having crabs maul your valuable and carefully presented bait within a few minutes of it hitting the seabed! frustrating stuff.
But then it all goes right and the target species is caught.
The feeling is amazing!
after all you have just caught the fish you wanted from the biggest piece of water ever....the sea!

Anyway, that's the way I see it.


This photo was taken on Chesil beach,I think I caught one dogfish whilst my friend James had a brace of smoothy's and a nice cod.
Talking of Smoothhounds,one of my summer targets was a double figure sample from the shore.
Hinkley point reef on the Bristol channel is probably your best bet for a real whacker, but I wanted to concentrate on a venue a bit closer to home and a dam site less hostile so Branscombe seemed a good bet.

I was at work on a boiling hot day when James called asking if I fancied soaking some crustation's,I had nout on that evening and with the tides and conditions looking good  for a hound or two how could I say no.
We arrived at the beach at around 5.30 ,there were already a few anglers plotted around the shingle and after a chat with a couple of them it seemed the beach wasn't exactly crawling with fish,both party's had caught nada.This didn't bother me to much as the tide was still yet to push and the sun still held high above the cloud.
After rigging up a couple of pennell pulley rigs I baited them both with fresh peeler crab including a slither of squid to bulk the bait out a bit.I then donned my trusty finger stall, clipped the baits down and proceeded to do my best Danny Fairbrass at Gigantica impression.
A couple of fruitless casts later the tide really started to push, my six ounce gripper leads could barely hold bottom.
The tips of my sturdy beach rods were bent right round in the tide looking very uncomfortable,when all of a sudden one of them pulled round then sprung back on its self as a fish broke the lead out of position.
I picked up the rod, wound  until I could feel something then struck into what felt like a decent fish.I took a few more turns of the large reel handle confirming something special was on the end.
"This ain't no doggy" I enthused to James.A few minutes later I had the fish close in,it was really pulling so I let a tiny bit off the drag.A bit to much!  the fish aggressively  kited with the tide igniting a few expletives from yours truly.Not worry tho I soon regained control as James hurriedly made his way to the waters edge,after a bit of a splashy rummage He lifted out a Huge Hound from the Drink."You jammy bastard" he said.  


I couldn't believe my first shore caught smoothy was a double,11lb 1 oz to be precise.I was literally dancing on the beach .....great times.
A short while later my other rod completely shit itself and was nearly dragged off the rest, I was in again.The fish felt like another goodun really scrapping on what I consider to be a heavy outfit.It turned out to be a 7lb'er but my god these creatures are ridiculously powerful.
Over the course of the summer I went on to catch a few more hounds mostly from the Bristol channel and Chesil but nothing compared to the magnitude of the Branscombe beast.


 Plenty more to catch up on so please watch this space.

Til next time

Good luck

Thursday, 28 January 2016

PHOTO BOMBZ

Hello to all

Firstly let me wish all my readers a very belated happy new year, tight lines and all that shit.

So a new year begins! on a brief reflection of last years angling exploits I suppose its fair to say I had a pretty good One.I taught myself more about sea angling than I would ever thought,I must also thank the likes of Jon Patten, James Nichols and Del boy Thorman for showing me the ways and a good few tricks to get me onto a flying start!



Its been a long time (again) since I last updated fish tales,I,m beginning to sound like a broken record! what can I say.....I have been busy.As I said in my last post, Perch Pike and Zander are at the top of my hit list right now.So I took almost a month off work over Christmas Which allowed allot of fishing time,far to many trips to write about but lets just say I went on a bit of a hot streak and bagged myself some cracking fishy Christmas presents.











Til next time

Good luck