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For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).
Fishing highlights of 2016
I can’t say it’s been a fantastic year’s fishing but, as usual, I had a few exciting moments and my pals and I seem to have caught lots of big fish.
Brazil January 28lb snook, soft plastic.
Brazil January Richard 16lb snook soft plastic.
It started off with our visit to the Brazilian branch of the family in January when Richard and had some excellent snook fishing from the rocks. Using large soft plastics and fishing very close to the rocks in rough, weedy conditions we landed some really good fish. Rich tells me that the average weight of our snook was over ten pounds – not bad by any standards.
Dorset April Bill bass on Slug-Gill.
In February and March Nigel and I had some decent grayling from the river – mostly on float fished maggot. In April we began to catch bass and Bill had a nice fish when he and I fished near the slipway at Kimmeridge Bay.
Dorset May 19lb salmon shad fly.
Dorset May 19lb salmon shad fly
My next significant catch was in May when, fishing with Nigel, I hooked a big salmon on the eight-weight fly rod. The fish took a plastic shad and on the light gear it fought like stink for about forty minutes before my pal was able to help me beach it. All things considered it was an exhausting but very satisfying catch. Nigel had one or two nice trout on flies, including artificial mayflies, in the same month.
Dorset May Nigel trout Mayfly.
Dorset June 6lb seatrout Mepps.
Dorset June 8lb bass Delta fly .
Dorset June 8lb bass Delta fly.
June produced me a fine, six pound seatrout on a Mepps. Also in June I was on a trip to the coast with Bill and after a very slow evening’s fishing, I hooked into a big bass on the fly rod using a tiny, white Delta eel. The conditions were horrendous and as Bill watched I simply let the fish swim round in thick ‘weed soup’ until it tired itself out. I’d never have landed it without Bill’s help in lifting it ashore and it was certainly a memorable experience for both of us.
Dorset July bass 7lb sardine.
Dorset July another bass 7lb sardine.
Dorset July Perch 3lb Mepps.
The following month was one of my best. Two seven pound bass on freelined sardines in different sessions and a superb three pound perch on a Mepps from the Stour.
Dorset July Idotea.
Dorset July Idotea.
The weedy inlets at Kimmeridge were stuffed with Idotea but we didn’t really manage to capitalise on their presence by catching bass. The closest I came to hooking one was a dropped run on a mackerel fillet in only inches of water.
Dorset July Carp 32lb Crust in lilies.
Dorset July Carp 28lb Crust in lilies.
In my local ponds the carp fed well on my floating crusts and I landed fish of 32lb and 28 lb on different sessions. Both fish were hooked in lily beds and played through dense stands of lilies and reeds. The big one in particular caused me quite a few hair raising moments before I could net it.
Dorset July mackerel Lumi-fly.
Dorset July scad Lumi-fly.
In July fish at last turned up on some of the deeper coastal rock marks. My ‘new’ fly, decorated with a tiny, green Beta-Lite, seemed pretty effective in the dark and I landed lots of mackerel, scad and pollack at various times.
Alan chinook salmon.
My pal Alan Bulmer, who lives in New Zealand, had been fishing in British Columbia and sent me a picture of a fine Chinook salmon that he caught while he was there.
Tobago September jack 12lb plug.
In September Lilian and I went for two week’s holiday in Tobago. It’s a few years since we last went and the fishing was the equal of anything I’ve done before. Apart from losing a reef shark, hooked on an Ondex spinner (one of several given to me by Dave Little) as I tried to beach it and being smashed by a mighty, unstoppable jack, which simply took vast amounts of line in one run, I landed almost everything.
Tobago September tarpon 60lb plug.
All my fish in Tobago took lures and apart from lizardfish and captain fish which are on the small side everything put up a hell of a fight. The jacks were true to form and made long fast runs while the tarpon cleared the water with heart stopping leaps on numerous occasions. The only real horror moment was a pelican which flew across and bumped the line as I played my sixty odd pound tarpon.
Dorset September chub 7lb Ondex.
Dorset October seatrout 7lb Lumi-spinner.
After returning from a trip to the tropics it is always a bit of an anti-climax to take out the spinning gear (the same rods, reels and lines that I used while I was away) in Dorset. A seven-pound-plus chub was a good consolation as was a seatrout of similar size taken on one of my ‘radioactive’, homemade spinners.
Dorset October Ben bass 6lb mackerel fillet.
The most satisfying trip of all was when I took my grandson Ben to the coast and he landed a six pound bass on a freelined mackerel fillet.
Dorset October Nigel plays good mullet on the fly.
Dorset October Mullet 6lb+ No2 silver Mepps.
In mid-October we found lots of surface feeding mullet and bass on a series of spring tides. Bill and Nigel had the best evening of the three landing eighteen bass and a good mullet in one session. I missed out that night but managed a mullet of over 6lb on a tiny silver Mepps.
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