, nylon leader
Catch Fish with
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).
Back to the sea - twice!
I haven't done much sea fishing since my last Saltwater page in June. In fact Ive been nursing my back injury back to health by a few gentle trips to the river bank. Anyway, I had a few perch, pike and trout plus a really nice, accidental salmon. Now I'm feeling a bit bolder and this week I had a couple of trips to the coast. I'd been encouraged by reports from a couple of pals of a lot of small bass and mackerel attacking shoals of bait fish at various places along the Purbeck shoreline.
My first trip was to a local tide race - easy fishing on the right tide. It is just a matter of flicking a lure into the fast flow and hoping for a bite. I arrived at about 05:00 hours. It was a lovely sunny morning, not much wind and an almost flat sea, several gannets were fishing close to where I stood - presumably catching mackerel. In fact there was not much doing but I could see fish striking at surface well to the south of the ledge (far out of range). I guessed from the splashy disturbances that they were school bass. Soon after starting I had a few plucks aand tugs at the unweighted EvoStix lure. None of the fish were hooked so I guessed that they were probably small scad, pollack or garfish; even little bass generally give a more positive take. After a while I decided that the it might be better if the lure was fishing a little deeper in the fast flowing water; so I slid a small cone lead onto the nylon mono trace and retied the lure. Almost at once I found myself playing a bass which gave a good account of itself in the torrent before I slid it ashore. I put the bass back and continued fishing but it was still slow and I only had one more bite which proved to be another school bass similar to the first one. Still, it was a lovely morning and at least I'd managed to catch something.
A 'tiderace' bass battling to the end.
Another bass from the fast water on a weighted, weedless softbait.
My next trip, a couple of days later, was to a deeper water, rock mark. I'd arranged to meet my pal Richard but we didn't fix a time. I couldn't sleep that night so I was up early and on the shore by just after 03:00 hr. I was hoping to catch a few mackerel for use as bait over the next few months, so even though it was dark I started with a single-hooked, Toby spoon - nothing! I picked up the fly rod and had a few casts with the same result. Ten or fifteen minutes had passed by now but it was still pretty dark so I replaced the lure on the spinning rod with one of my green, luminous-bodied spinners. First chuck I was into a fish which turned out to be a scad.
After this it was scad mayhem with lots of fish landed and many others dropped off as I swung them up. I kept a few to be wobbled for pike when I go to the river, and returned most of the others - certainly more than thirty but it was hard to keep count. Amongs the scad I had three school bass, all of which took close in by the rocks. They certainly fight harder than scad. For five or ten minutes I switched to the fly rod with a white Delta eel on the end. This produced two more scad but it was much less effective than the spinner.
Again I picked up the spinning rod and after a couple more scad I hooked a mackerel then a second one. Then I dropped a big mackerel which wriggled back into the sea before I could grab it. I replaced the spinner with a weedless EvoStix lure in hope of a better bass but it produced nothing. At this point I heard Richard's voice and turned to find him behind me. He began spinning with Yo Zuri popper but after missing a few feeble strikes he switched to a little sinking lure which closely resembled the sprats that the fish were scattering. At once he began to catch mackerel and bass so I went back to the bag and switched to a size 4 silver Mepps. Now we both caught fish but after a few more mackerel I packed in leaving my pal to it. Richard was still catching as I scrambled back up the cliff path. In all I'd managed lots of scad, three schoolies and six mackerel. Richard emailed to say that he'd totalled 8 bass to about 2.5lb, and 10 mackerel. Towards the end the mackerel shoals were coming and going every so often. All in all a pleasant morning.
An in-the-dark scad on the fly. The flash doesn't do the colours of the fish justice.
A schoolie on one of my 'lumilures'.
A bit better view of the lure. Most of my scad took this lure in the dark.
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