Tuesday, 29 January 2013

My top 5 bass lures of 2012

The weather in North Wales has been awful recently with 30-50mph winds, heavy rain and freezing temperatures. Add to that the fact I've just started a 50 hour a week job and it's easy to see why I've not done much fishing.

So to keep the blog posts going I thought I'd post a list of my top 5 favourite bass lures. I'd love to see some comments added with your favourite lures too.


When it comes to bass, I have always been a little bit of a lure tart and own more lures than I could ever possibly use. There are a few though that I would never leave the house without. Here they are!

1) IMA Komomo II (Asanago and Joker flashing plate)
IMA Komomo Joker FP


IMA Komomo Asanago FP
These shallow running lures have done the business for me since I've started using them last year. During daylight hours, the asanago FP is second to none but the Joker FP comes into its own after dark. There best use for me has been over shallow reefy and bouldery ground where its irrisitable action proves deadly for bass of all sizes.

2) Daiwa Shore Line Shiner R50+ SSR F (Anchovy)

Daiwa SLS (Anchovy)
DSLS caught bass of 5lb+
Probably my favourite and most productive hard lure in my box at the moment. In the Menai Straits where I fish regularly, this lure just slays fish, my three best fish last year all falling to this fantastic lure (all of which were over 5lb). Just as with the Komomo II's, the DSLS is a shallow running lure, diving to around 1ft in depth but I have also had some good results fishing this lure over clear, deep water.

3. IMA Salt Skimmer 110 F

I've done my fair share of surface lure fishing over the last year and without doubt the Salt Skimmer has been my favourite topwater hard lure. Not only is it well priced in comparison to the other leading surface lures, but it is also one of the easiest to work, especially when fishing in wind. It's brilliant walk the dog-action and subtle profile has risen fish in even the toughest conditions for me and for that reason it is permanently placed in my box. I haven't really got a colour preference for this lure, as each of the three I have are all just as productive as each other.

4) Savage Gear Sandeel (All colours and sizes)

Ask most anglers what their favourite soft plastic lure is for bass and I guarantee the majority of them will say the SG Eel, myself included. Ranging in size from 12.5 to 20cm and weighing between 23-150g they are absolutely brilliant off deep water shore marks or from a boat, but can be just as deadly fished just under the surface with a fast retrieve on shallow marks. The SG eels are definitely one of my go to lures when fishing new areas and another lure I'd never leave the house without. My particular favourite size and colours are the blue version in 12.5 and 16cm variety.

5) Megabass Zonk Gataride 120 (Katakuchi)

Zonk caught bass of 4lb+
I've had my very shallow divers, my surface lure and my SP, so here is my all-time favourite mid depth lure. Diving to around 3-4ft, the Zonk is always my lure of choice when fishing in depths of 6-12ft. Off the rocks of Anglesey is where I've had most of my success on this lure, in particular with the Katakuchi colour. I think I'm now on my third one due to fish completely destroying my previous two lol. To date this lure has also been my younger brothers favourite and the exact lure he lost a monster on a few years back, which we had estimated to be pushing double figures, ouch :s No doubt this lure will continue to give me plenty of action for the foreseeable future.

Thanks for taking the time to look,
Tight Lines,

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

My date with the lady of the stream

The winter saltwater fishing has been brilliant so far this year, but every so often I am drawn towards a session away from the coast. Usually this urge would be satisfied by a day on the canal targeting pike and perch, however as a result of the recent weather my favourite marks are all under an inch of ice taking that option out of the equation. After some serious thinking there was one stand-out option, fish the rivers for grayling!

As a complete novice to river fishing and having only caught one grayling previously, this idea got me very excited and lead to an evening browsing the web for any tips and tricks that would aid me, watching plenty of youtube videos in the process. With a good idea of the best tactics to use, I set about finding my old coarse fishing gear at home. The only thing left to do was get some maggots, a tub of hemp and some brown crumb groundbait from the local tackle shop and then it was go time.

My chosen venue was the River Goyt which rises on the moors of Axe Edge in Derbyshire and eventually joins with the River Tame in Stockport to form the Mersey. Spoilt for choice with stretches to fish, I settled on an area in the lower reaches renowned for large chub, trout and my target species, the grayling. On arrival riverside, I first threw in a large helping of brown crumb and hemp mix to get some bait down, hoping to draw the fish up from downstream, before getting my gear ready. The set up I used was a 12ft quivertip rod, 2000 size reel loaded with 4lb mono and a rig consisting of a semi-fixed swimfeeder and a hooklength of around 30cm to a size 16 eyed barbless hook.

With everything ready, the swimfeeder was filled with the groundbait mix and the hook loaded with double red maggot, before casting slightly downstream of where the original bait had gone in. Leaving it in the water for around 10 minutes at a time, I soon found myself starting to get bites and eventually got the hook up I was after, landing my first grayling of the year, happy chappy!

Soon after I was in again, another grayling but this time a little larger at probably a little over 1lb in weight.
I was getting into a nice rhythm and soon had number 3 on the bank but having already had a few I didn't photo this one, opting instead to release it whilst it still had plenty of energy. I had been fishing for around 2 hours before I decided to change tactics, still using the swimfeeder rig, but instead of live red maggots, I decided to trim down a piece of red power isome to form an imitation maggot. Half an hour passed with no bites and I started to think the isome plan was going to fail, but as usual that one last cast saw the rod arch over and I was into grayling number 4, the isome had worked, great news. I have been informed that power isome may not have been used in this way ever before making it even more special :)

After a further hour, I decided enough was enough, a great day had and yet another target species caught at the first time of asking, can't go wrong this year.

Thanks for reading,
Tight Lines,

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Second go at the rays produces a nice surprise

Went out again tonight (15/01/2013) to have another go at the rays. The ray fishing was a massive fail, with not a single one between myself and mate Steve. However, the night was made a lot better with this lovely early season huss of 10lb 4oz, not a bad by-catch :)

Thanks for looking,
Tight Lines,

The rays are back!

1st Thorny of the year
Having had a few days of settled weather last week and with low water falling just after dark, I couldn't resist getting out for my first go at the rays. Joined by my friend Mike we set off to the west coast of Anglesey with high hopes. On arrival, we were greeted by ideal conditions, a small swell and a nice dark night; as an extra bonus, the preferred ledge was free :). Fishing with long homemade pulley rigs with size 4/0 Sakuma hooks and sandeel/squid wraps for bait, I wasn't waiting too long for my first bite. After a few very doggie like knocks, I gave it a good strike and felt a good resistance, this would turn out to be a lovely but very spiky thorny of a couple of pounds. Re-baited and back out in the water, we both then started getting a few small rattles. After realising they'd hooked themselves, we both reeled in to find whiting clinging onto our lovely ray baits, it wasn't all bad though as these would be frozen down for future ray/huss/conger baits.

My rod was next to go again with a lovely pull round from another thornback. Whilst, I was playing my fish, Mike's rod suddenly had a huge slack liner. Thinking I'd caught his line he thought nothing of it, until we both realised I was well clear of him. He wound down to the fish as fast as he could and after a good 10 seconds of reeling, Mike was also into a ray, this one would turn out to be a small-eyed though, the first one I had seen caught off this mark and Mike's first of the species!

Two at a time.... That's how we roll ;)
Mike with his 1st Small Eyed

1st Small Eyed of 2013
With the tide now starting to creep over the ledge we were fishing from, we had to retreat a little further up the rocks. Usually, this is the point at which  I leave, but we both had that feeling that there were still a few fish to be caught so the rods were cast out one last time. It was well worth it as well! My left hand rod soon had a quick knock followed by a slack liner. Just as with Mike's earlier fish, I found myself reeling quite fast to catch up with it, making me think maybe this could be another small eyed, this would be confirmed a few moments later. That rod was then packed up along with everything else bar my one remaining rod. In the mean time Mike had reeled in one of his rods as well after getting a few knocks, finding out he had our first doggie of the night attached. Mike had soon brought his second rod in too, but just as I was about to start reeling in mine, I had a small tap. After letting it develop, from nowhere my rod suddenly arched over and I was into a much better fish. 
New PB thorny of 9lb 10oz

Taking my time to get the fish in, I was hoping it wasn't one of those wing hooked rays that always feel huge on the retrieve. When I finally saw it though, I realised it could have been the double I've been after and got very excited. Safely landed and unhooked, the weighing was done and it dropped the scales to 9lb 10oz, a new PB by just under 1lb, what a lovely fish. This has really spurred me on to keep at it for the next few months though, fingers crossed that seemingly elusive double eventually shows itself for me.

Thanks for reading and until next time,
Tight Lines,

Monday, 14 January 2013

A weekend of cold, early morning perch and pike fishing

With a nice pile of clothes ready for washing, it was time for the customary trip home to Cheshire for the weekend to visit my mum. As it happens, my younger brother Sam, also a keen angler, was also back home for a few days and I'd managed to convince him to get up early and join me in the hunt for some stripeys. Before I left for home on the Saturday afternoon though, I first arranged to fish locally with mate Terry for some Pike. We met bright and early and shortly after wetting a line, we were soon rewarded with a fish a piece for our efforts. Terry's fish being taken on the humble silver toby, whilst mine took a fancy to the Ecogear para-max. The only other action we had was when a large pike ripped my lure in two right in front of me, somehow avoiding the hook. It was a good fish, easily over 10lb and I was a bit gutted to say the least, but that'll spur me on to return and get my revenge next time!

After driving home on the Saturday, the Sunday morning came round very quickly. I'd told Sam to set his alarm for 7am in the hope of catching first light at our chosen venue. As we got there, we realised we'd probably left it half an hour to late, but to our great surprise we both had takes almost instantly. Mine turned out to be this micro-perch whilst Sam's fish revealed itself to be a small jack pike. Then it seemed to go dead, neither of us could buy a take, so we walked half a mile or so to another likely looking spot shaded by some overhanging tress. I was soon into a fish, this time a much better Perch, but as it surfaced it gave a few angry head-shakes sending the lure flying from it's mouth, once again leaving me to watch it swim off from under my nose. Soon after the sun made an appearance, killing the fishing completely, this time we called it a day and headed home. Despite the lack of fish, Sam had really enjoyed himself and was keen along with me to have one last go at it on the Monday morning before we'd both go back to our Uni digs.

Learning from our mistakes, alarms were set for 6.30am this time round and we arrived at our venue just as things were starting to become visible. We started at the spot where we'd had some success the previous day and it was soon apparent that the fish were feeding much more actively, myself getting a dropped take and Sam getting two hits in quick succession resulting in a Perch of around 1lb. We soon decided on a move though and found ourselves back at the spot I'd lost my Perch the previous day. Sam again decided to show me how it was done, this time landing a jack pike of around 4lb on his ondex spinner. The cold was beginning to get to us a bit and it had now started snowing again, so we decided we'd start walking back to the car, having a few chucks here and there en-route.
This would prove to be a brilliant decision as at our first stop, a cast down the side of a barge with an Ecogear VX-35 vibe-bait resulted in my best perch on a lure for a good few years. At 1lb 11oz it's a lovely fish, but even better, I had avoided the dreaded blank, get in! More than content now with our catches, we continued to walk back to the car, lure chucking as we went. Having no more luck on the VX-35, I switched lure to a tidy little mepps spinner I had in my box and second cast with it found myself into another spirited Perch. Not as big as my other fish, but in my opinion a much nicer looking fish, with nice clear and unfaded markings. This one went 1lb 3oz on the scales and would turn out to be the last fish of the day. With hands now feeling frost-bitten, it took me a
good 20 minutes and a McDonalds breakfast to regain warmth but it was more than worth it. So, on the whole, it was a brilliant few days fishing and to be honest, I can't wait until my next home visit so I can have another bash at the Perch and Pike.

Until then though, thanks for reading,
Tight Lines,

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Striking gold on the Lleyn

For a few weeks now, myself and mate Lee Goddard have been contemplating meeting up for a days fishing. After dismissing pike fishing due to unfavourable conditions, the suggestion was made to go hunting big Pollack at one of my more successful marks on the Lleyn. Meeting Lee in Pwllheli for 7.30ish we were soon on our way to the mark with some high hopes of a productive session. The weather was spot on, couldn't have asked for a nicer day, a huge contrast to the last time we'd fished together, in which I avoided a blank by resorting to catching sand-gobies, desperate times lol. Anyway, as we finally stepped onto the mark it was time to get the ball rolling, or not as it seemed, for after 40 minutes of chucking the lures around, neither of us had managed a touch. The Pollack can be very finicky at this mark and often feed at random intervals throughout the tide, so I decided to have a small break and watch as Lee kept going. As fortune would have it, it was as soon as I opened my mouth and blurted the words 'maybe they're just not on yet,' that Lee's rod suddenly bent over and the first Pollack of the day was landed.

Not wanting to miss out in case this just happened to be happy hour, I jumped up and got my lure in the water quick time. That cast, bang, that's my blank avoided and my first Pollack of the year. A couple of casts later, another one, only a tiddler but always welcome. After landing half a dozen or so, we both decided to have a change of tactic. If there was any bigger ones down there, we were gonna search them out with some much more manly and heftier lures. Wasn't to be though, didn't matter what was thrown on, the fish had lost interest, maybe another lull in their feeding. Reverting back to my previously successful deep spinning rig, I was soon banging them out again like no-ones business, even managing to get another short video done. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiDLaYZrMg0&feature=youtu.be One after the other, they seemed to just throw themselves on the hook, whilst Lee watched on in slight disbelief.

Lee instead opted to continue with the larger lures for a while before eventually deciding enough was enough and changing method. This time he had an ace up his sleeve and started using a Jika rig to see if there was any willing customers lurking on the bottom. Not long after starting with the method, he soon found himself into a powerful fish, well at least for 5 seconds as it unfortunately chucked the hook a moment after the hook-up. This would kick start an hour of misery for Lee, as rig after rig kept getting snagged up with no gear coming back, it was getting expensive for him. As his frustration grew, I just couldn't resist adding fuel to the fire by giving him a rolling commentary on my tally, it's funny when he gets angry lol. He soon cheered up though, when after a gargantuan effort, he finally hooked another fish on the Jika and this one wasn't coming off. Not exactly sure what it was, the thought's leaned towards ballan and this was confirmed as it hit the surface, quite possibly the first lure caught wrasse in North Wales this year, a top result. This one had a lovely tiger like pattern with vivid green spots on both its dorsal and caudal fins, a real stunning fish.

Now tired of Pollack, I spent my last half hour chasing blennies round a rockpool, catching 3 of them in the process, before I snagged a rock out of my reach and lost the lure, this was a sign to pack up. So session over, I could gladly say it was a far better outcome than the previous time we'd fished together, my finishing tally being 26 Pollack and 3 blennies. Lee had struggled with the Pollack landing just 3, but did manage a well earned ballan wrasse that he will say was worth 20 Pollack, so we both left more than happy.

Hope you enjoyed reading and until next time,
Tight Lines All,

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Fortune favours the darn right stupid - 04/01/2013

Well after 3 days of looking at the weather outside and thinking 'do I, don't I,' yesterday I just thought sod it, I'm fishing no matter what. Leaving the house shortly after 5pm, I soon found myself on a South Lleyn mark where I fished for an hour or so into a nasty onshore wind before eventually realising it was a bad idea. I had packed my gear up and was headed homewards now feeling a little defeated, when I suddenly remembered a mark on the North Lleyn from last year where I'd winkled out a few fish in February, was worth a shot.
Anyway now nearing 7pm, I had finally found a spot where the wind was almost behind me, making the fishing far more comfortable. As I edged my way down to the sea over some very slippery boulders, I soon found myself arse over tit and lying facing the stars, not a great start. When I did finally get myself into a casting position though, confidence was restored. Although there was no signs of life anywhere, it just felt fishy, the water clarity was reasonably good and the slight swell was creating a nice area of white water around an island in front of me. The feeling soon disappeared though and after 3 hours of nothing, I decided for another small move, this time just a few hundred yards round the headland.
Now I was really desperate for a fish and after a second fall, my knees started to feel a bit bruised. Once in the new area though, I had much better grip on the rocks and wasn't fearing falling over as much. Starting off with the deadly SG Eel, it wasn't long before I felt some resistence, but this turned out to be weed. In fact, it was a little shallower than I had accounted for and next cast I lost the lure, this was getting frustrating. Anyway, still determined., I carried on fishing, this time opting to fish a white SG slug on a weedless jighead to combat the snags. This was a good move and after only a dozen or so casts, there was finally something pulling back. A few tentative moments later, I had beached my first fish of 2013, a small bass of maybe 1lb, get in!

Now on a real high and despite it starting to spit, I carried on chucking the slug out into the darkness, once more full of confidence. Another half an hour passed with not a sniff, before a quick smash and grab take had my rod arched over and the drag singing. Straight away it was obvious it was a better fish, so now all I had to do was guide it through the boulder minefield in front of me and onto dry land. A good few minutes later that's exactly what happened and on the rocks below me lay my first decent bass of the year, at 57cm and 3lb 14oz, it was a fish that made all the nights events worthwhile. It would also be the last action of the night and so now more than a little chuffed with my nights work, I scrambled my way back to the car to head home.

Thanks for reading,
Tight Lines,