Monthly Archives: July 2012

Solent Hounds

I’ve just been putting the finishing touches to a feature for Sea Angler magazine.
Despite it being mid July, the bottle of sun lotion that was chucked into the bottom of my seat box in May remains unopened- I bet the manufactures of this stuff are suffering- as yet again it was full on wet weather kit I donned. It was great to meet up with pals Ben Stockley and Lee Cullen to sample the hell for leather hound action on the Solent. What these chaps don’t know about fishing on the South coast is not worth knowing so I knew that despite the dire conditions we were certain to get amongst the fish.
It’s just a pity it is such an arduous trek to the Solent marks as I would love to explore the area in greater depth. That said, I’m sure it won’t be too long before I am lured back to Hampshire in pursuit of something or other. We will see.

Smooth Hound

Penn Fathom

Penn fathom 15 by Jansen Teakle.

Been having a whale of a time trying out the new Penn Fathom multiplier. Having always been a Daiwa kind of guy, I really was taken aback when I first clapped eyes on this little beauty. Once I placed it along side similar reels on my desk and gave each one the once over, it became obvious very quickly that this was going to be finding its way into my rucksack before too long! With it finally strapped to my usual beach rod I realised I was actually starting to fall in love with a fishing reel. So smooth on the retrieve, everything felt tight and solid, no noticeable contortion or rocking whatsoever. This was confirmed when I purposely power winched a six-pound thornback ray across the top. The reel didn’t miss a beat. The reel purred on the cast… fast but controllable with the addition of a couple of drops of red Rocket fuel in the bearings.
As you may have guessed by now, I am a Penn convert- how did this reel go overlooked for so long !?
https://www.veals.co.uk/acatalog/penn-fathom-fth15-3468.html

Penn Fathom 15 Tough and Casts like a Dream

Spinning 2

Nice Wrasse on the SurSpin Combo

SPINNING FROM THE SHORE Part 2 Rods, reels, etc.

I don’t have a lot of gear. My present rod (which I use for 70% 0f my bassing) is the two piece Surespin which also functions as a pike/salmon/seatrout weapon. The rod now has one or two replacement rings due to knocks on rocks etc. It’s designed to be extremely versatile so, as well as plugging, popping and soft baiting, it will cast a couple of ounces or lob out a decent sized, free-lined bait if need be. I like the long butt on my rod because it gives me a bit of extra leverage or I can tuck it under my arm when I cast, but these sort of features are largely a matter of personal taste.

I have two Shimano Stradic, 4000 size reels, which I use for both spinning and bottom fishing. The set up is light enough for me to hold the rod all the time and feeling for bites when I am bottom fishing. The reels are excellent for spinning and have never let me down. I always flick the bale arm over with my finger rather than relying on the automatic return mechanism, because when using braid it is essential to tidy the first turn of line on the spool before reeling in.

Most of my spools are now filled with 30lb Berkeley Whiplash braid. As far as I am concerned braided lines are a huge step forward for spinning. The Whiplash has never let me down in any way. Braid may tend to stick a bit on the first couple of casts of a trip. Other than that the line casts superbly, allows you to feel exactly what is going on with the lure and gives an instant, firm contact with taking fish. These days I only use nylon line for catching pike baits in the river.

My lures are usually attached to the line by means of a non-slip loop knot on the one metre, 15-20lb BS, Amnesia or Memorex trace. I don’t bother with a swivel unless I am using a fast spinning lure. The main reason for the trace is to avoid any chance of a hook catching in the braid but it may (or may not – probably doesn’t) have the advantage of reduced visibility at the business end of the line. There is no need to have a link between the braid and the Nylon, as an Albright knot (tied to a loop in the Nylon) or a J knot will make strong and reliable connection.

2 (4) Typical autumn bass lure conditions

2 (5) Bass caught on plug from the spot shown

2 (6) Nice wrasse which took a plug on the same gear

Autumn Lure Fishing Conditions

Nice Bass on SureSpin/Stradic/Maria BW

 

SPINNING FROM THE SHORE Part 1 Equipment

The basic idea of the clothing I wear for shore fishing is to keep as warm and dry as possible while still having the freedom to walk for miles and, if necessary, to wade into the sea.  It is clear from looking at most other spinning/fly fishing anglers that I come across that they are all clad more or less the same.  Of course, as in all walks of life, there are some who wear economy kit and others who spend quite a lot on ‘custom made’ gear but the principles are the same for everyone.

The most difficult thing is ‘temperature control’.  You can NEVER get this right because if you wear enough shirts socks, jumpers etc. to keep you warm while you are wading and fishing you will always be too warm on a long hike – that’s life!.

So you will need comfortable chest waders, warm clothes and a light waterproof jacket.  Most spinners/fly fishers carry their tackle in some sort of bag (in my case brightly coloured so it does not easily merge into the background and pretend to be a rock or a tree stump when I take it off.).  Depending on your taste this can range from a small ‘bum bag’ with a few spare lures and link swivels, to a massive rucksack which would phase a trained SAS yomper.  My bag is a compromise – a medium sized haversack (currently bright blue) which holds (I hope) bits and pieces for every possible contingency.

My problem is that I like to be prepared for anything, freshwater or salt.  If I leave the fly rod at home I will find mullet feeding on the top.  If I have no bait hooks the sea will be murky and just right for legering.  If the spinning tackle is dumped, for certain the bass will be going mad.  As a result I always take everything.  I can run through the present contents of my bag, starting at the bottom.

A few wire traces, with clips at one end and swivels at the other, for pike, barracuda and the like.  More wire traces with size 4/0 hooks for pike.  Three small plastic boxes (came free with fishing mags) with partitions containing assorted float rubbers, small hooks, mullet flies. swivels, split rings, etc. Small plastic box with streamers, Delta eels, shrimp flies, small soft plastics and small plugs.  Box (about 7″x10″x2″) with partitions containing plugs, poppers, spoons, rubber eels, Slandras, Slug-Gos, Mepps, sharpening stones, floats (corks, bubble floats, etc.). This box slides down the back of my bag and acts as a shield so that nothing else digs me in the back.

An old bum bag also fits in the haversack and contains old child-proof aspirin tubes.  The tubes are labelled – small leads, swivels and clips, etc.  The top pouch contains spools of Nylon for traces. Also my club permits, a pair of pliers and a pair of braid scissors. There are also small tubs of split shot.  In the side pouches are a small, padded, double bag with a waterproof digital camera and a case with my Polaroid glasses.

According to where I’m going I may add a knife (for cutting bait), my little binoculars, spare trace wire, a tough glove (for dealing with toothy fish) and a few other odds and ends.

The whole lot weighs about five kg (10.5 lb) and is comfortable to carry all the time if I have to.

Dressed for spinning from the shore – note the hat, coat and chesties

Dressed for spinning from the shore – note the hat, coat and chesties

The bag with two side pouches and a pouch in the flap.  I always pick a bright colour so I can see it.

The bag with two side pouches and a pouch in the flap. I always pick a bright colour so I can see it.

Lure and fly boxes, black bum bag and odds and sods containers.  The poly bag contains a bouncy ball float and a trace with a couple of small plastic eels.

Lure and fly boxes, black bum bag and odds and sods containers. The poly bag contains a bouncy ball float and a trace with a couple of small plastic eels.

Coat, hat, camera bag, trace nylon, permits, pliers, scissors, glasses case and a few spare flies

Coat, hat, camera bag, trace nylon, permits, pliers, scissors, glasses case and a few spare flies