Friday, 18 November 2016

A Pair of Jacks

The late afternoon turned out bright and crisp following a stormy lunchtime. I had a couple of hours free, a rarity these days, so I grabbed the Pike rods and headed local.
Half Mackerel and small Roach were deployed in a particularly snaggy but very likely looking swim in the hope of nailing some toothy predators.

I fished on well into darkness thinking I might just land a Zander or two but sadly the only fish to show an interest were a couple of Jack Pike. To be fair they both fought very hard for their weight and I did enjoy the battles but not quite the size (or species) I was hoping for. Next time...


Sunday, 30 October 2016

Return to Mexico (Day Two)

Three days later and I was back aboard the same boat, same skipper. Again we were chasing sharks and this time we would stick to our guns.

It took a while but finally we managed  to hook into one, and a good one at that. I have landed several big species in various countries but never have I been hooked up to such a determined hard fighting fish as this one. If it didn't want to move I could not shift it.

Half an hour in and my arms burnt from the lactic acid in my muscles, my fingers cramped up so much that I couldn't straighten my hand, stinging blisters appeared on my fingers and the sweat flowed from my pores. I would be lying if I said that I didn't contemplate throwing in the towel but I grit my teeth, dug deep into the last of my reserves of strength and determination and finally after what seemed like forever I won. The tail was lassoed and the shark hauled aboard.

At 72 inches, approx. 120lb it wasn't the biggest ever landed but it was mine. I emptied a bottle of iced water over my head and posed in the searing heat with my prize- job done.
I informed the skipper that I didn't want another but could we fish for other stuff, jokingly I said Wahoo but within minutes I was hooked up to a Wahoo! 
Blue sharks are quick but nothing like the 'Usain Bolt' of the sea. This thing stripped line off at such a rate I thought the reel might run out but thankfully the ensuing fight was not as gruesome as the shark. I got a grip and was able to deal with it more easily. Another first and another species ticked off the list.

Half an hour bottom fishing resulted in two more new species, a Red Hind and a Porgy and on the way back we spotted a cruising barracuda which was obviously hungry.

Two awesome days fishing, seven new species landed, three off the bucket list and a personal best shark. Paraiso!!

Back in Mexico (Day One)

At the end of September our business celebrated its first birthday. The hard graft is paying off and we definitely deserved a well earned break so the whole family jetted off to Mexico for twelve days. 

Frigate bird
Like last year I scoured the internet for suitable boats for a couple of days big game fishing. Always a shot in the dark but I dare not leave it until arrival in case they were fully booked. 
October is possibly the worst month for fishing in Mexico, all the bill fish species are notorious by their absence however there are still plenty of bait fish and tuna about and because of that the sharks stick about also. So shark fishing it was then, with a chance of a few other species besides.

To increase our chance of action we would fish several methods at once, feathers for the Bonita, Tuna and Mackerel (all great shark baits), teasers in case a Mahi Mahi turned up and whole fish baits for Barracuda and Wahoo. 
The shark baits are loaded on a down-rigger and trolled at depth but it was a surface bait that took off first and within minutes I landed a personal best barracuda.

Removed a tooth for my son!
Bonito and tuna followed but the sharks remained elusive. Several hours of inactivity forced us to ring the changes. We fashioned up some tuna steaks and bottom fished over rough ground for only a few minutes. In that short period of time I landed two stunning trigger fish and my very first Amberjack.

Great Dentistry
Back trolling we managed one shark bite which resulted in a bitten through leader and a 'merde' from the captain-didn't need a translator for that snippet of Spanish!
However we did catch one more fish, the highlight of the day for me, another first and a fish that has been on my bucket list for years but I have ignored in favour of bigger fish. Shame on me as there can be no fish more stunning.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Parish Games Match

Whilst I enjoy the camaraderie that fishing a team match gives I don't want it to be any more than an annual event. Being told when and where to fish goes against my nature but this year I enjoyed more than ever before. That was mainly down to the fishing. Whilst the majority struggled I found myself in a half decent peg which gave me hope and when I missed a bite first chuck my confidence still grew.

Peg Twenty was my station for the five hours down in the middle of town and I started fishing maggot feeder about two thirds of the way across. Four Perch in the first hour was a start but I was gutted when I lost the biggest at the net, well over a pound it could have made a big difference.
Whilst feeder fishing I fed a line about a rod length out regularly with maggots and for a change I decided to give it a trot. First run through resulted in a Perch and after that followed a procession of Gudgeon.

They continued for the remainder of the match and I finished the day with quite a respectable net full of fish weighing in at 3lb 4oz. The fishing had been tough for most so much so that I had enough to frame in third place so ended up £25 richer. And the team finished a respectable fourth.

Summer Catch-Up

The Mullet fish-in was more like the Mullet fish-less. Several members of the Mullet Club descended on the Southern Welsh coast but the fish obviously saw us coming.

We started off under a salubrious graffiti ridden road bridge in the shadow of the Liberty stadium.

Andy on the left, Phil to the right and it was Andy who landed the first and only fish of the whole day, a decent 3lb fish.

I toiled hard but could not even muster a bite. As the tide ebbed the reason for my lost tackle became apparent, the local Morrisons need look no further for their lost trollies!

I counted six of them in my swim and those were just the ones I could see, there was probably more, the joys of urban angling!

We moved area but still no fish.

We tried the city centre with the same result, fishless, not easy these Mullet!!

A few days later and back on home turf I managed a lot more fish rolling meat around.

Chub and Barbel all fell for the tactic.

Including this chunky 9lb 5oz specimen.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Short Session, Short Post

Another evening session down by the local Avon spent chasing Barbel. The fish seemed very reluctant to feed until the sun finally dropped below the tree line. Managed to land one Barbel, a seven pounder but as I was float fishing I couldn't carry on for much longer as the visibility became poor. The low and clear summer conditions are making fishing difficult but it was nice to get one decent fish on the bank.

Next up- Mullet

Thursday, 28 July 2016

At Last a Biggie

Fishing hadn't even crossed my mind during the busy work day but a phone call from Andy asking what time I could get there jogged my memory. Completely forgotten I had arranged to meet him for a quick evening session chasing Barbel. Luckily the van was still loaded with gear from the previous trip so after a quick tea of scrambled eggs on toast and rushing the chickens and ducks to bed early I arrived bank side at 7.30 pm.
Andy was well entrenched in a promising swim and getting a few twitches but being short on time I felt the urge to get into the water and roll some meat about. Waders on and in no time I was fishing.
For quick smash and grab sessions I find there is no better method. Unusually this time it took quite a few rolls down the swim before hooking into a fish, a hard fighter in the fast water.
My run of baby Barbel was continuing with another fish of about four to five pounds.

I checked the line taking off about six feet that was frayed, retied and waded back out for another bash. The bait can't have even hit the bottom before I was into another fish. This fight was much more deliberate, more powerful than the previous and when a big tail slapped the surface I knew I was into a biggie. That feeling of tension and nervous energy washed over me as only happens when you are knowingly playing a big fish. I prayed for the hook to hold and gave thanks that I had taken the time to check the line as the fish powered towards the tree roots and potential freedom. The rod took on its full curve and with as much side strain as I dared muster I turned it back into midstream.
Eventually I started to get the upper hand, a couple more less spirited surges later and I was slipping the net under a proper Barbel. 
Thickset across the soldiers, long and deep but hollow from her recent spawning exertions she still weighed in at a pleasing 11lb 2oz. Would love to meet her again when she's back to her top weight.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Social Sessions

Three weeks ago was the time for a fishing trip that has become an annual event. My old school chum Nick and I get together once a year for a spot of fly fishing. The venue changes each year and this year Nicks choice was a session close to his home so that it could be followed by another session (in the pub) and a necessary overnight stay. The dawn sun rising over the Cotswolds was stunning, I couldn't resist getting the camera out but as I had a three hour journey ahead I didn't stop for long.
Nick laid out the venue choices over a coffee upon my arrival. There was two, a small intimate Trout pond that he had struggled on the previous day or an exploratory sojourn to Bewl water, the largest reservoir in this part of little England. Easy pick really.

Bewl water is absolutely stunning, there is no wonder it is a haven of activity. Yachters sailed, dog owners walked and joggers jogged, all day long. There was an angling competition taking place but due to the huge expanse of water available we were still able to get afloat. We quizzed the guy in the tackle shop about good spots to try and likely methods to catch on. Nick's eyes lit up when he heard that spinning was allowed and he purchased a full spinning outfit, spinners, the lot- never been one to let purism get in the way of nailing a fish or too, old Nick.

We motored out to the 'hot area' close to the dam and I set about chucking some feathers around hoping to nail a feisty Rainbow, Nick spun, didn't even set the fly rod up!

And it didn't take him long to nail a Rainbow. Embarrassed he tried to hide the spinner from the camera. I persevered on the fly but it soon became apparent that this was going to be a tough day.
Nick took a break from spinning so I ventured over to the dark side and it didn't take long for me to hook up to a small Rainbow of my own. They didn't half fight hard. I like the fact that you can either keep the fish or release, which we did.

I even landed a cheeky little Perch on the spinner but despite our best efforts we struggled to land much more.

A few days later another social session this time with Martin saw us sat by the Warwickshire Avon. It wasn't the best swim but there was plenty of room for both of us and we were mainly there for a chin wag. I did manage to land a Barbel though, again not a big one but a feisty little fella and if he grows to fit his dorsal fin he will be a much bigger fish.

I am on quite a run of Barbel, all of them being less than six pounds!