Sunday, 24 February 2013

A mid-February Gathering - Part 2

Here it is, I've finally had chance to write part 2 after a few busy days in work.

After the previous nights success on the congers and with weather meaning a huss session was out of the question, Lee and Scott suddenly had a change of heart and decided that they too would like a bit of rod-bending eel action the following night. But we still had a whole day to fish before that could happen.

Our first port of call on day 3 was to fish a local lake for the Pike. I know Lee in particular had been looking forward to this, but unfortunately it was extremely disappointing with not a single fish landed between the 3 of us for our few hours of effort. So approaching midday we sacked off the piking once again and I asked the guys what they fancied doing. With no definitive answer coming back, I gave them a few options, to which another day on the LRF at the power station was decided favourite.

We would only have a few hours to fish before the tide had dropped to a level where fishing was not possible, but once again we were pulling out the fish one after the other. Both Lee and Scott were still desperate for a tompot blennie and Scott finally got his prize after switching tactics to a small chunk of rag, Lee however had to settle for the dozens of corkwing wrasse and shannies that plague the mark. I was having no such problems with the tompots and landed at least half a dozen of them over the course of the session, most of which were taken drop-shotting white power isome. I just can't get enough of these fish, how anyone can find catching mini's boring is beyond my explanation. Oh well, there will always be haters I guess :)

That evening, as promised, I took the lads to my favourite conger mark but it wasn't to be unfortunately. We did have one good run on my right-hand rod which I let Lee strike into, but after a short tug of war, the hook pulled free and the eel was gone. A little disappointing after such a good session the night before. Will leave this mark a good month now before I head back to hopefully tame a leviathan.

The last full day of the trip was in my eyes a little bit of a disaster. Having looked at the swell forecast for the end of the Lleyn, I had suggested that it would be a bit rough and that staying local would be a better idea. Lee and Scott had other plans though and were determined to head down to Uwchmynedd, a good hour and a half drive away from Bangor to do some deep water fishing for Pollack and wrasse. Anyway, in the end I just drove down there for Lee and Scott to see what it was like and to see the beauty of the landscape in the area. As expected, the swell height made it almost unfishable which put me in a bad mood, after all I'd just had to drive 60 miles to prove that the forecast I'd seen was correct. Whilst there though, there was no point turning round and going back, so we decided to head to a little cove where the swell was just about manageable. Still annoyed, I spent the first hour and a half watching the others from the top of the rocks. Eventually though after seeing Scott land the first Pollack of the session, I decided to join them and have a fish. It wasn't long before I was into my first of 4 small Pollack on the 3" white delta eels and Lee managed to avoid the blank with a Pollack of his own soon after. Shortly after it was time to shoot to Ty Croes for the evening, where I'd hoped to get Lee and Scott a few rays.

 The tides were far from ideal for ray fishing, but as Lee had never had a ray of any kind and Scott had only had the one thorny, it was worth a shot. As we arrived in the carpark, our evening got a little worse, it wasn't packed but we'd just seen a bloke head off with his rods down the path. I knew full well where he'd be fishing, but I had to check just incase, sure enough though my preferred ledge was once again taken. Opting to fish way to the left instead, our chances of a decent haul of rays were greatly reduced, but we were on a spot where I'd had a good number of huss in the past so it wasn't all bad. As it planned out, we did get a couple of fish, a 5.5lb thorny for myself and a doggie for Scott, which he was happy with. With those fish came the end of our last evening session together, at least we had caught what we had gone for. I'm sure next time, they will both get a few rays themselves.

The decision on where to fish for the last day was simple really, the lads just wanted to end the trip on a high and catch plenty of fish, so for the final time we'd go after the mini's. Again we hammered out corkwings and common blennies and once again to Lee's disgust, I held my own with the tompots, bagging another half dozen or so whilst the others were left bewildered as to how I was doing it lol. The one highlight for me on the final day was my first lure caught mullet of 2013, a small but very welcome thick lip which took a liking to my white isome.

After 4 long days of fishing, the time had come to say our farewells, or at least we thought it had, half way back to Bangor, Scott realised he'd misplaced his phone. Positive he'd left it on the roof of the car before we'd set off, he had to make a tough decision : leave it and get his train home or go and have a look for it and miss his train. In the end he decided it was worth having a look for but after a thorough search it was nowhere to be seen. What a downer! So in the end it was just Lee we waved goodbye to that night and Scott kipped in my spare room having booked the next train northbound at 5am the following morning.

Wanting to make the most of my time off, I headed out again that evening for a spot of bass fishing whilst Scott decided to stay in and get some sleep. It was not a hugely productive session but I did manage to get my target with this bass of 45cm and roughly 2lb in weight, better than a kick in the teeth.

By the time i'd woken up for work the following morning, Scott had left so it was back to the day job for the foreseeable future.

It was great to see the guys once again and all things considered, I think we did a fairly good job. I was happy at managing to put them onto a few fish and I'm sure they enjoyed it. I don't think many people can say they've caught 14 species over a long weekend in winter, so we did a good job :)

Thanks for reading,
Tight Lines,

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Mid-February gathering : Part 1

Having planned for a 4-day fishing marathon about a month ago, myself and mates Lee Goddard and Scott Hutchison were all eagerly anticipating a nice relaxing break from work and some long hours on the rocks species hunting. Our chosen venue was Anglesey, which being my local area was ideal and would give me the chance to show off what North Wales has to offer in what most people refer to as the worst month of the year for fishing.

Scott was first to arrive late Thursday night but no fishing was done, instead a few pints, a takeaway and the Inbetweeners movie was looking the best option. Friday morning came round though and the first port of call was a trip pike fishing. Terry had reported to us that he'd had a number of fish that morning at the mark we were going so expectations were high, but on arrival conditions seemed against us with bright sunshine and only around 6" visibility in the water. Perhaps we should have been up earlier as we had definitely missed the best of the fishing, the only action being a small pike I'd hooked on a yellow kopyto which threw the hook at my feet, can't say I was majorly bothered :)

You have to love tompot blennies, such a cool fish!
We sacked the piking off around midday and headed to the power station for a spot of LRF. Due to the constant flow of warm water, the mini-species tend to hang around all year at this mark, so it's a good banker spot when fishing elsewhere is a struggle.
When down at the preferred spot, I first chucked in a few ladles full of chum hoping to see some mullet show up. Sure enough, they did and before long I'd hooked and landed one of the thick lip variety freelining a small piece of breadflake on a size 12 hook.
Though that turned out to be the only mullet of the day, we were both kept more than busy by the masses of Corkwing Wrasse and Shannies down below and I managed to winkle out a few tompots as well, a good way of spending a few hours :)

Scott gets 1st new species of the trip
That evening our third member arrived and was keen to get straight into some rod bending action. As neither of them had ever caught a rockling of any form, I decided to take them to a spot on the North Coast where I've had a good number of 3-beard and shore rockling, all be it usually whilst I've been fishing for eels. The tide was not ideal with what I considered to be the prime time falling at around midnight, but as they were so keen to wet a line we got there a good few hours before hand on the off chance of catching our target. I first showed Scott and Lee the most productive spots and then went a bit further down the rocks myself to see if I could tempt an eel. As it played out the first few hours were very slow with Scott managing to land the only fish, a small codling. As the prime time got nearer, the bites started coming, myself and Lee both losing Congers in quick succession and all of us missing a few rattly bites which I believed to be lobsters. Just before midnight though, Scott hit the jackpot and got his first ever rockling, a nicely patterned shore rockling. That would be it for the night, not a hectic session but we'd got what we came for so job done!

The next day I was back in work so I had to leave the guys to it for the majority of the day. When they visited me in Menai though they had nothing fishy to report, but they had caught plenty of crabs and had found that enjoyable, each to their own I guess lol. When I was finally free to go at 6, I'd had enough time to check the tides and was set on a trip conger fishing at my favourite conger mark on the island. For one reason or another though, the lads were determined to get out with the LRF gear. I did my best to convince them otherwise and pointed out that it was low water, at night in February but that just seemed to spur them on more to prove me wrong. So in the end, I dragged my mate Steve out with me, who is yet to catch an eel and I dropped Scott and Lee at Amlwch breakwater, which would be there best chance of a few fish........... they wisely took some mackerel fillets with them!
Fishing was not to bad for them, Scott turning to the bait and landing a good variety of fish including whiting, poor cod, codling and another shore rockling whilst Lee stuck it out with the lures for the majority, managing a lonely poor cod for his efforts before also switching to bait and landing a few whiting as well as a codling himself.

In the meantime, myself and Steve headed over to my mark, nicely sheltered from the wind and almost spot on tide wise, I was very confident of a few eels. I was right to be confident as well, for at the end of the night, I had landed a brace of eels, one of which already had a trace down its throat and a scorpion fish, also dropping a third eel, whilst Steve had dropped what was surely his first Conger ever and landed a cursed doggie. Not a bad night all round!

So with two days down, we'd notched up a total of 10 species but there was more to come!
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for part 2,
Tight Lines All,

Monday, 4 February 2013

Welcome to the real world!

A couple of weeks ago I got a real shock when looking at my bank balance. The savings I had hoped would last me until I head to Jersey in April had all but disappeared, leaving me with no option but to get job hunting. Luckily for me, with Menai Angling opening a new store in Llandrillo, a great opportunity presented itself and after a meeting with Gareth, I had myself a full-time job again.

Now, I have always had it in my head, that even whilst working full-time, I'd still be fishing at every opportunity I get including evenings after work, but I soon realised that this wasn't going to happen, in fact after a 10 hour shift all I wanted to do was go to bed lol. I guess this deserves the classic saying 'Welcome to the real world.'Anyway, having worked nearly 90 hours during the last 10 days, my current 2 day break is the perfect opportunity for me to get back onto some fish and I certainly haven't wasted my first day.

With ridiculous winds sweeping North Wales at the moment, I made the choice to head back to the mothers house in Cheshire on Sunday night, with the intentions of a having a first light session on the Perch and Pike. Alarm set for 6am, it was time for an early night.

Up and out on time, I found myself at my chosen mark just before sunrise with almost perfect conditions, things were looking spot on for a few fish. This optimism was short lived though, for after 2 hours wandering along the canal, I was still fish-less and now a few lures lighter as well, the only downside of using 4lb line straight through. However my luck soon changed as I wandered a stretch that didn't look particularly 'fishy.' I decided to stop for a few chucks despite the lack of noticeable features and to my great surprise I soon had my first fish of the session on the bank, a nice stripey of 1lb 7oz and 35cm that took a charteuse shiner grass minnow. A few casts later, I managed to find an underwater snag and lost the lot, something I seem to be good at recently on canals.

Going through my lures to choose another to whack on, I remembered the nories spoontail shads that I'd been sent by Nick Marlow recently and thought why the hell not, I'll give them a go, they look smart. Rigged texas style on a 1/0 Skip-in-the-shade jighead, I first dropped it in the margins to have a look at the action and my god was I impressed. They have an awesome side to side rolling action and a great tail action which really looked the business, time to put it to the test. Casting as close to the far bank as I dared, a simple slow twitchy sink and draw retrieve drew a savage hit on the first cast but I failed to set the hook. Flicking to the exact same spot with my next chuck, I once again had a good take. This time I just left the fish to take the lure, feeling the headshakes on the rod tip as it slowly arched over, then I set the hook.... FISH ON and it was a decent weight! After a cracking fight and some nervous moments at the bank due to not having a net, I got my thumb in its gob and lifted it from its murky lair, it was indeed a beauty. Taking the scales down to 2lb 5oz and measuring 39cm on the ruler, it beat my previous best lure caught perch by 7oz, what a result!

Now on a real high, I walked a few metres along the canal and tried flicking to the far bank once more. After nothing on the 3rd cast, my 4th cast again provoked another good take and fish number 2 had fallen for the spoontails in super quick-time, this one slightly smaller, but still a cracker at 2lb 3oz. Then it went quiet again and I started to regret not taking a net along to retain them, perhaps releasing them back into the area had spooked any others that may have been hidden there, oh well!
Extremely happy, I then made my way back to the car having more than a few casts along the way, which resulted in a couple more lovely stripeys of 1lb 11oz and 2lb 1oz. I did picture both these but the photos didn't come out very well so I won't bother uploading them.

So how to sum up that session. Five perch between 1lb 7oz and 2lb 5oz, three of which would have surpassed my previous lure caught PB. It's safe to say that for me, that was a truly epic session and a brilliant way to spend the first of my days off.

Thanks for reading,
Tight Lines,

P.s If you can get some spoontail shads then I'd highly recommend doing so. Next time I'm out I'll try and film them underwater to give you all a better idea of how awesome they look :)