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Monday, 11 December 2017

Here comes the snow and a PB!

The weather has been cold for weeks and a few days ago the Island was draped in snow! This coincided with reduced intensity winds and small tides...
Needless to say I was raring to go for a few casts and got my chance yesterday morning.
I went out the house in the morning ready to set off but realised that everything was frozen! And moreover being a Sunday I wasn't very sure if the road to my mark would be clear... After seeing a couple neighbours struggling to get their car out, I decided to go back indoors and maybe wait till later hoping that the sun might melt some of the ice.

Imposing landscape...

Around midday I couldn't wait any longer and headed out...
The drive was a bit tricky at some points but not too bad and at last I reached my mark to find perfect conditions. Ebbing tide, overcast and with a slight breeze. I had my LSJ setup with me today as I wanted the extra casting distance and was mainly gonna use large lures on heavy weights.
I clipped on a 14cm Delalande Shadka II on a 40g jighead and started casting about.
I could feel bites near the bottom but nothing big enough to take the large lure.  After a couple more casts I connected with a heavy fish near the bottom! It bend the Solpara like never before and took plenty of line from my tight drag but fortunately didn't snag me on any kelp or rocks. some more steady pump and wind later and I got her up... I knew she was big and as soon as I thump-held her I measured her on the butt of my rod as I have some tape at the 80cm mark that is the supposed length for an 11lbs fish. She was longer than that and I was elated! Got a couple pics of her against the measuring tape and she was about 83cm and in excellent condition. A stonking fish and my new PB!
After a couple pics I quickly unhooked her and plunged her in the sea, typically for this time of year and mark she swam off strong...

A brute!

I fished a bit more catching some usual sized fish but I felt this session couldn't really get any better and called it a day.
Some notes for the day:
  • Though I saw plenty of cormorants, the gannets and gulls weren't about and along with the lack of coalies I reckon that the baitfish shoals were further out.
  • Again the big lures brought the bigger fish...
  • Definitely needing the heavier gear for these fish!
  • Used metals (mainly slow jigs) but they proved too indiscriminate and got hit by all sizes of fish.
  • Solpara rods are lucky 😉(previous confirmed PB on my LRF Solpara!)
Tight lines!

Gear used.
Rod: MajorCraft Solpara SPS-1002LSJ, 3.05m. max 50g
Reel: Shimano SW Biomaster 4000XG
Mainline: Duel X wire X8 PE1.5
Leader: Daiwa Tournament FC fluorocarbon 20lbs and 25lbs
Lures: 14cm Delalande Shadka II on 40g jighead.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Big lures for the bigger fish..

After my LRF outing the other week, I started focusing more on the larger fish... In the next sessions I brought along heavier gear including a new heavy HRF rod, the Tailwalk Saltyshape Dash Power Rock S90H. The main reasons for acquiring this rod was my need for a more powerful-tipped rod that can jerk 5"+ softplastics on 25g+ jigheads along with the heavy Texas rig and metals. Of course my Light Shore Jigging could do that just fine but its a heavier rod and besides Ive always wanted to try a purpose-built HRF rod...
On the next few sessions I used a variety of lures and presentations but the biggest fish showed a clear preferenc to the larger soft jerkbaits.. Clearly the presence of herring played a significant role in that.
Below some pics:

Megabass Giant Xlayer gets a solid one!

A beaut of a wrasse..

Another nice fish.

Xlayer does it again!

... And videos as usual. On the second video I use the new rod and its action can be seen.

I'm not gonna go in length about the Power Rock here as Ive only used it a few times but from the start it feels like a very solid and light rod for its rating. Kinda reminds me of the Gamakatsu Akilas rods and has great sensitivity. Most of the bites seemed to lead into hookups with only a couple unhookings. The one thing I'm not too keen on is the top part of the reel seat. It screws down to the reel arm but it has little EVA-Duplon there and gets slippery on wet hands. In any case it appears Ill be getting the gloves on soon as there's cold weather coming and then it shouldn't be too bad...
There are still large shoals of baitfish about but as I mentioned above the weather is turning and I'm not sure when Ill be able to get some fishing done again...

Tight Lines

Gear used.
Rod: APIA Foojin'R Best Bower 96 ML, Tailwalk Saltyshape Dash Power Rock S90H
Reel: Shimano Stradic FK C3000, Shimano SW Biomaster 4000XG
Mainline: Duel Hardcore X8 PE 1.2, Duel X wire X8 PE1.5
Leader: Daiwa Tournament FC fluorocarbon 20lbs and 25lbs
Lures: Various but 5" soft jerkbaits on 20g-28g darting jigheads most effective on the better fish.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Can LRF get better than this?!

Following my session last week where I witnessed coalies smashing baitfish at the surface, naturally I went again the next day bringing my LRF setup along... Of course this being Skye, the weather changed slightly the next day and there was some swell coming in now. I had my MH gear as well but in truth  LRF was in my mind..
Thus I fished with the MH gear at first while waiting for low tide thinking that the conditions will improve. I caught the usual pollock and a ballan from my favourite spot and as the time passed conditions did improve markedly..

Pretty ballan.
While retrieving my sp's I saw some pollock shooting out from the ledge under my feet and coming practically out of the water trying to hit the lure! I changed position and picked up the LRF setup, clipped on a little topwater lure from Aliexpress and cast towards the ledge.. It didn't take long and the pollock hit my topwater! A short but intense fight ensued and I soon had the fish up on the rocks for a couple pics before the release.

Taken from under the ledge I was standing!

I managed to raise a couple more fish but they didn't stick so I went back to the MH gear and the softplastics.
At some point about an hour before low tide the coalies thankfully started blitzing and I immediately dropped the heavy gear again and picked up the light rod. Got on the rock closest to the action and cast out... Within the first few twitches I had a fish on!
This was repeated plenty more times along with fish getting unhooked and loads of attacks on the surface!
Here's the video of most of the action.

It soon became evident that the baitfish were actually sprats and as it happens perfectly matched the size of my lure. I tried other topwaters as well and they all did pretty good.

Match the hatch...

The action as well didn't really matter as long as the lure was moving erratically. Even when the front treble got tangled to the leader they'd still hit it!
Most of the action was happening in front of a point where the current was faster, I have actually witnessed similar situations in other places as well. I still remember a February session in loch Fyne when the coalies did just that. It was near low tide back then too and at a similar spot, something that convinces me that they chose the place and time to hit the baitfish when it would be most efficient to do so... Unfortunately knowing when there are baitfish at a given mark is harder to predict and as I went to the mark again a few days later, I saw that the sprat shoals kept their distance throughout the day.
Ideally calm overcast conditions with probably mild temperatures are the most conducive for this to happen. Still its great to have such fun surface fishing with the temps not passing 5C and when I thought I wouldn't get a topwater wet till summer!
Some more pics below.
Surface predators!

They didn't hold back..

On the Ima Pugachevs cobra as well.
This session really brightened up my fishing of late and I'm hoping to encounter a similar one again.
I just don't understand how more LRF'ers aren't giving topwaters a go while stagnating on the sp/artificial bait techniques all the time. Although I do realise that for some reason most UK tackleshops (e-shops as well) don't really stock LRF-topwaters anymore... This wasn't the case some years ago when tiny hardbaits were easier to acquire from the same sources.
Anyway,  I hope Ill get the chance at some point to do a summer trip down South and target those garfish, scad, bass etc OTT on the LRF gear...

Tight Lines!

Gear used
Rod: MajorCraft Crostage CRK-T782AJI
Reel: Shimano Stradic 1000Fc
Mainline: Duel Hardcore x4 PE0.6
Leader: Toray Excellent fluorocarbon 6.8lbs
Lures: Jerry's topwater lures from Aliexpress, Ima Pugachev's cobra 60

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

An interesting November session...

We have finally had some settled weather and I was able to go out fishing! The temperatures are way lower than this time last year but it has been relatively dry and calm the past week and that's all I was needing.
I opted for a late morning session on Neist and was taking my LSJ and MH setups with me as I was intending to use the heavier  (light shore jigging) setup with baited bucktails...
I hit the water a couple hours before low water and fished softplastics on 18g-22g cheburashkas.
It didn't take long to feel the bites and I started getting some decent fish. They weren't as concentrated as usual but they kept coming at a steady rate.
In amongst the pollock I got a lovely ballan as well. November sees quite a few ballans caught for me here and I reckon theyre feeding up before moving deeper for winter.
Love them...

As the bites were drying up I decided to move to a spot on the left side of the lighthouse. Once there I was surprised to see lots of coalies smashing fry on the surface along with birds working the area.
I decided to add a sabiki teaser to my rig so as to catch some coalies for dinner and bait.
There were loads of them and I had 'double headers' almost every cast, though I wished I had my LRF gear and mini-topwaters with me...
I baited a 1oz bucktail with a strip of coalie but as we had big tides that week, I got snagged a few times and gave up.
Decided to use some Salty Baits and Hayabusa Kicktails and I was back on the fish...
Surprisingly, I was getting them from way out over clean ground and after one spitting out its dinner, I realised why. They were feeding among the herring and that explains why they weren't as concentrated at the usual spots..
Not huge but fighting well...

A warrior..

Spat this.. A herring!

After a few more fish, I decided to call it a day and was gonna return the next day with the LRF gear at hand...
below a video from the day.

Something negative about this trip was the amount of garbage (empty beer cans especially) I found on the mark... This is just frustrating and infuriating beyond words...

Anyway, will be writing another post soon about the LRF session of the following day...

Tight lines!

Gear used.
Rod: APIA Foojin'R Best Bower 96 ML, MajorCraft Solpara SPS-1002LSJ, 3.05m. max 50g
Reel: Shimano Stradic FK C3000, Shimano SW Biomaster 4000XG
Mainline: Duel Hardcore X8 PE 1.2, Duel X wire X8 PE1.5
Leader: Daiwa Tournament FC fluorocarbon 20lbs and 25lbs
Lures: various

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Big fish in unsettled weather.

Weather in October has been properly pants! Winds and rain over and over again along with work commitments really dampened my enthusiasm for fishing.
The other day though there was a slight dip to the wind's force and it was relatively dry, thus I thought it a good idea to visit one of my favourite distant marks in the SW part of the island.
I was hoping for some surface action but was also prepared for some soft plastics work as this mark is a steady good-fish producer.
Moreover it wont be productive for that much longer as fish tend to move out of it in winter and had to make the effort count...
I begun the long hike to the mark around 09:00 and was planning to hit some kelp beds with topwaters on the way to my spot. I realised that even though it wasn't very windy (Easterly wind) there was some swell running that made the conditions less than ideal.
I started casting my topwaters about but other than a few slaps from mostly smaller fish and coalies, they weren't doing much thus I tried metals and softplastics too. I was getting some bites but they seemed half-hearted and the fish wouldn't hit a second time... Very finicky.. Moreover Id expect far more fish-action in the ground I was covering..
Despite the slow first couple hours, I pushed on towards my spot and was there by midday.
The swell was significant there but I timed it well and arrived on low tide.
I started with 5" straights/soft jerkbaits on 15g-20g darting and swaying jigheads and had solid bites straight on. Hooked a couple fish that felt good but managed to do their usual thing and came unstuck in the kelp. Then I got one up of approx 65cm and in great condition, that's what I was there for!

A solid fish.

It was evident that I found a group of better fish as the bites were fairly localised and all of them felt heavy. They wised up fast though and I changed presentation to a 4" slim paddletail on 18g cheburashka. This presentation got more positive hits and I was soon connected to an even better fish.. It was just swaying along while I dragged it over clean ground and as soon as it came close to the kelp stared peeling drag! That's a common way that these larger fish tend to fight sometimes..
Nevertheless I soon had her up and scooped her in the net.
A lovely stocky fish that swam strongly back after a few photos!

Big mama...
I noticed that this pollock had lice on it, indicating that they were staying close to the bottom and not very active. Winter is approaching...
The tide turned and with it the waves from the swell got bigger.. I caught a little wrasse that took the lure in midwater almost (!) and a smaller kelpy pollock and decided to call it a day.
Don't think ill get the settled weather to give this place another try but theres always hope!
At least it would be great if I could get some more fish on topwaters before going in 'winter mode' with the usual soft plastics. Moreover I'm planning in doing 'something different' soon...
Here's a video of the session.

Tight Lines!

Gear used.
Rod: APIA Foojin'R Best Bower 96 MLX
Reel: Shimano Stradic FK C3000
Mainline: Duel Hardcore X8 PE 1.2
Leader: Daiwa Tournament FC fluorocarbon 20lbs
Lures: various

Friday, 6 October 2017

Oh Ireland!

Been a couple days back home from my holidays in Ireland and one thing I have to say is that I will definitely be going there again!
I went with my girlfriend Claire and we spent a week in County Kerry. This was most certainly not a fishing holiday but the travel rods went into the suitcase of course...
I didn't have any serious targets or 'must catch' fish list in mind, though I definitely wanted to get some wrasse and if possible a bass or two. Moreover I'd be taking the LRF gear as well so any of the smaller predators would be very welcome especially with some scad among them!
I had done some homework before the trip and had scores of points on Google maps ready to be sussed out...Most areas were exposed rocky coastlines and beaches with the occasional harbour/pier for the light stuff. I had heard only the best and was fired up to get started!
The weather was ok to begin with and we got a couple decent days but I only fished a bit here and there with the LRF and managed to catch my first Irish fish... Not a scad but a coalie 😆
Little did I know that the weather would turn bad and I'd get few chances to fish the more exposed marks I wanted.
Not a scad!
The first area we stayed in was Valentia Island and from Google Earth and the web I could tell that it would be very suitable for wrasse fishing, plus having some piers/harbours close by would offer ample opportunities to fish the light gear.
This being the open Atlantic, the swell was present at various intensities throughout the week and I only managed one HRF session for wrasse before the swell build up.
What a session it was though!
After a bit of a hike in the wind and rain with Claire we found the path down the rocks and on first look it was pretty rough (but still fishable). Thankfully we found a hollow at the rocks and out of the wind to settle down and fish from.
I was using my Spro Mobile Stick 80MH paired with the Shimano Stradic FK C3000 and the rig of choice being the good old Texas rig with a 20g tungsten bullet weight, glass bead and #1 wide gape offset hook. I would be using 3" Gulp Alive swimming mullets in a simple drag and pause retrieve.
From the first cast the fish showed their presence but instead of wrasse I got some pollock! Definitely not what I was looking for there..! Soon enough though, I started getting the familiar sharp taps of wrasse and after setting the hook a different fight ensued...
It didn't take long to get the first ballan out and there were many more to come!
All of them around the 2lbs mark but fighting hard and in a ravenous mood... Haven't had similar wrasse-fishing since I left the Channel Islands...


Them lips!

On the act!

Decent size...

Cant say no to them!

Big gob!
Conditions were lively...

I love wrasse!

That was my most memorable session of the trip. The next day the swell intensified considerably and
I had to find sheltered areas to fish. This meant more LRF and I had good sessions with mackerel, coalies and smaller ballan and corkwing wrasse but unfortunately no scad!

Dingle harbour breakwater.

Lovely corkwing.

Loads of mackies about.
My LRF setup was a 7'2'' (0.5-7g) Snowbee Kuroshio travel LRF rod paired with my Shimano Stradic 1000fc and using mainly small cheburashkas and metals. I didnt take too many softplastics with me as the space was limited and again I relied mostly on the Gulp.
We spent the last couple days on the Dingle peninsula and in retrospect we could've spent the whole week there as it simply has got it all!
Got pollock from the rocky points, wrasse in the harbour and while I snuck out before breakfast for a few casts, had a feisty bass on the trusty Megabass Zonk Gataride. Unfortunately this was gonna be our last day in Dingle and I didnt get the chance to fish there more... What a place.!

Before breakfast.
It was a great holiday in all and got some useful observations/notes for the next time:
  • much cheaper and convenient to get the ferry there in my own car. Too much unnecessary hassle renting one there..
  • No need for fancy rigs and many lures. 
  • A tubular tip LRF rod might have been more suitable as when I encountered a bass following my tiny softplastics, I couldn't use a topwater or a jerkbait to potentially tease it into striking.
  • Just 2 setups would be enough. a 1-10g for light game (but capable of something heavier) and a sort of 10-30g for the bigger stuff. 
  • Swell forecast more important than weather forecast...
 I'm working on the videos now and should be up next week sometime!

Tight Lines!

Friday, 22 September 2017

Wee LRF session for coalies and wrasse.

Been on my holidays for a week or so now but due to the rainy weather and the lack of time I didn't manage to get any fishing done. That was until Wednesday though as I was just gagging to cast a line!
It was an overcast day with a constant drizzle and I decided to drive my folks to see the South part of the island. We stoped at a wee pier there and it would be rude not to fish a bit! It was still drizzly so my parents sat in the car while I got the LRF setup and started fishing. I started with the Japanese bream rig hoping to get some wrasse or flatfish but instead found the coalies! They were pretty keen as usual and I soon started getting them in. They were of mixed sizes with tiny ones and half pounders hitting the soft plastics near the bottom mostly.
At some point I made a cast and put the rod down on the pier-wall in order to climb over and just then the rod got dragged towards the sea!! I grabbed it and struck into a better fish! After a fun tussle I had a lovely ballan on the rock wall. A quick pic and sent it back..
I love wrasse!!

They certainly like the chinu rig..

After releasing the wrasse my dad came out of the car (with a bag 😆) and he wanted me to keep some fish for next day's dinner. As it was his birthday and they hadn't tried coalie before we started keeping them. Had a few more coalies on the chinu rig but after a while the bite slowed down and I decided to switch to a metal as I thought that the fish needed something different.. This worked and the coalies kept coming, it was apparent that they were hitting higher up in the water column as well by then.
It was approaching sunset by now and the wind and rain died down thus I put on an Ima Pugachev's cobra 60 and started walking the dog on the surface. Straight away I started getting multiple hits on the lure as the coalies loved it! Got some more of them and its interesting to note that I only got the larger sized coalies OTT...
Soon it was time to go as we had a good number of fish in the bag for a proper fry up and I had exhausted the usual ''one more cast'' excuse! A very enjoyable session even though the weather wasn't that nice...
Below some pics and the videos of the session.

Surface hunters..

No tiddlers OTT...

Its so much fun getting them OTT and to me its a pity this kind of fishing is not more widespread in our waters as it really hikes the entertainment in LRF...
Who needs driving to Lochaline for coalies when you live in Skye! lol

Tight Lines

Gear used
Rod: MajorCraft Crostage CRK-T782AJI
Reel: Shimano Stradic 1000Fc
Mainline: Unitika Night Game PE 0.3
Leader: Toray Excellent fluorocarbon 6.8lbs
Lures: Berkley 2" Sandworm on GO-Phish chinu rig, 7g metals, Ima Pugachev's cobra 60