“To All those caught by the fly”
Just received this update based on Justin Anwyl’s latest news letter. Justin Anwyl is a highly successful professional fly guide based in Hampshire, always interesting to get his take on all things bass. His clients have taken over 500 bass this June already. Why not check out his website?
2014 has started in full swing and the obvious difference this season is that there seems to be a very good head of bait fish around in the mid Solent and its average size for this time of year is large (2 inches plus). Bass too seem in extremely good condition and I put this down to a very mild winter – I recount only one minor frost, a heap of wind and a monsoons worth of rain, the Bass wouldn’t know if it’s wet or windy but they do not like extreme temperature differentials and there i think lies two explanations as to the size and propensity of food we are witnessing:
1. The mild conditions allowed the year classes to flourish over the winter period
2. The two months of wind we had in excess of 30knts would have kept the commercial fleet at the dock, basically unable to work the inshore fishery.
Anthony Tabor with a Bass caught on a Cockroach
My belief is that the schooling classes of fish kept local and didn’t move into the more stable, deeper waters and have been relatively unscathed from the local commercial fleet thus allowing them to not only spawn in peace but also grow. Remember, Bass are at their most vulnerable when heavily shoaled up. We get this in Jan/Feb when they will lie in deeper water (more stable) almost catatonic. This leaves them very open to being caught and the fact is this last winter would have been difficult to commercially operate in – I’ll leave the rest of this up to you guys and would be interested to see if the seasons pan’s out as predicted.
May saw us start to chase some fins about. The water temperature hit 14 degrees on the 22nd May and by e/o May beginning of June we started to witness large shoals of schooling Bass hunt. June so far has yielded over 500 Bass (average size 42 cms) the largest topping 5lbs, nothing bigger.
Whats going ? We pay our bills, have placed orders, more orders and forward orders ….. no Shimano reels then, and all of a sudden …….. Shimano send us Ultegras and now Technium 4000, 3000 and 2500’s. Not as if it was just us, no one seemed to have any. So the good news is that we now have stock of Shimano Technium 2500FD, 3000FD, 4000FD. As we are not sure when we will get more Techniums it would be a good idea to buy now, if you fancy treating yourself to a quality bit of kit.
I am pleased to say that we now have some Shimano Ultegra 10000xsc back in stock. For some reason Shimano reels have been in very short supply this year and its great to have some of this top beach reel in stock.
Shimano Ultegra 1000xsc
The Shimano Ultegra 10000 XSC is a lovely beachcating fixed spool and makes a good choice if you are after a high performance reel to cope with all round beach fishing.
Superb line lay with their Aero Wrap II system and two speed oscillation for even line lay and AR-C spool lip give exceptional distance. The fault of most fixed spools lies in the power of the retrieve but with the Shimano X Ship this has been addressed to give a smooth powerful action.
Check it out at
Just to make you aware that here Veals Mail Order we now have a much larger range of Daiwa Lure Fishing Reels. Ranging in price from the amazing value Daiwa Sweepfire at under £20 to the Daiwa Certate 2508PE all singing, all dancing reel to drool over, for the lure angler who wants something special at £350,
Daiwa Procaster, for Lure Fishermen.
Daiwa Certate 2508PE
I have just been turning the handle of the Certate and its a dream,ideal for fishing with braid, all I need now is too find enough reasons to try and justify upgrading my gear….
Bristol Channel Update
The Bristol Channel is now on fire with fantastic fishing action from all regular marks. The inshore scene around Minehead and Watchet has delighted anglers for the past few weeks with amazing catches. Rays have been abundant with charter parties taking pretty well as many fish as they wanted. Blondes to well over twenty pounds and small eyedes and thornies each reaching specimen sizes. A fresh fillet of mackerel tipped off with a strip of calamari squid will take some beating for the blonde and thornback.
Alan with a 16lb Blonde
The small eyed, however has a personal liking for sandeel. A fresh eel again tipped with a squid strip will drive the small eyed ray crazy! As the early summer got underway, our inshore rough patches were again infiltrated with some fine smoothounds.
Steve Chillcott’s Smoothy
Fish to well into double figures have enchanted anglers keen to get to grips with these fantastic fighters. A light boat rod armed with a small multiplier and braid will do the trick on the equipment side. Bait for these racing dogs has got to be crab of some sort. Peeler is everyone’s favourite but at a price! I find that when the hounds are in, they are more than happy to take a hard back crab. These can be gathered from your local harbour by the bucket full at this time of year and cost nothing. Again squid plays a big part with a whole calamari or unwashed squid often accounting for some big hounds. The offshore grounds have also fished brilliantly. Deep water rough gulleys have produce large numbers of spurdogs up to recently though the numbers are now dropping off as the huge shoals of these fish begin their departure from the Channel. Bull huss also showing well with many charter parties taking over thirty fish per tide with many fish in double figures. These fish come in close to lay their eggs and so present an easy target, but please make sure all your female huss are returned.
James Wigglesworth with a nice Bream
At “AlyKat” charters we have just launched our new vessel which is a 10mtr Cougar MK II catamaran. She has just completed commissioning trials and I have to say, has performed far beyond our expectations. With a top speed of over 30kts and a comfortable cruise of around 20kts she will deliver the anglers to the grounds in minimum time.
We have just returned from our first trip to Lundy Island and as usual, we were not disappointed. Pollack to around 7lb were almost a nuisance, so much so that our party requested a rest. We then drifted a sandbank and were treated to a fair number of dabs, plaice and gurnards, brilliant fishing all round!
So if you fancy a crack at some top class angling over the next few months, I’m certain the Bristol Channel will provide.
Give me a call on 07764 150648 and we’ll see if we can impress you!
Pair of Blondes for Tony Naggs’ Party
35lb Conger from AlyKat
We are pleased to say that our stock of the New Vass 175 Team Smock in the latest Red and Black colour has arrived. Check them out in the Clothing section of our site. Very Smart!!
Vass Team 175 Smock Red/Black
The simplest tackle!
Since I caught a decent bass on bait the other day I’d been hankering after giving it another go. The idea was to fish the very first of the flood tide but when I woke up at 04:00 hours there didn’t seem much point going back to bed so I dressed and set off for the coast. The result was that I arrived far too early – an hour before low water. Of course it was pretty light by this time and I took a picture of two blokes who were already spinning from the ledges in the bay.
Out on the Ledges
I arrived at my chosen spot to find my pal Rob already spinning. Odd, because I hadn’t noticed his car in the car park! It seemed that his vehicle had refused to restart after he’d stopped so he’d had to park it back down the road and walk to the shore. Anyway, I attached a side of mackerel, hooked once through the thin end, to the 6/0 circle hook on my spinning rod. I swung the bait about two metres out into about 30cm of water and found a handy boulder for my seat. Rob continued to spin and I laid the rod down with the bale arm open and the line hanging slack. For half and hour the tide did nothing at all but there was no wind and the sea was flat calm and clear so it was easy fishing. I waited and watched for the tide to begin flooding and when Rob came over for a chat I commented that it was just starting to rise.
The water had just risen about one centimetre covering a tiny hump in the rocks when I noticed a couple of coils of braid slipping from the spool of my reel. Now it had never even twitched before this so I guessed it must be a fish. I picked up the rod and waited. The movement had ceased. I twitched the rod tip to dislodge a strand of weed from the line and as I did so the run began again. This time it was a stronger, more purposeful movement with the line streaming out quite quickly. I closed the bale and hung on as the rod bowed over and a decent fish thrashed the water to foam.
6lb Bass for Mike
I played the bass in and slid it ashore just as three other anglers arrived on the scene. Rob and I took a few pictures and I slipped the fish back. After a minute or so it realised that it was free and swam steadily out to sea. Excellent stuff this bait fishing and clearly a piece of last years mackerel is quite acceptable to the bass. It seems a bit sedentary and slow compared to spinning but it’s a lot easier on my sad old shoulder joint. http://www.mikeladle.com
Circle Hooks Work
Mike’s Mullet Heads for France
So far this year mullet have been notable for their absence along my patch. On the one occasion that there were a lot of fish surface feeding we’d left the fly rods behind so we didn’t try to catch them. Anyway, The other day I’d invited my epal Austen Goldsmith, who lives and fishes down in Cornwall, to come and fish with me for a couple of sessions. We’ve been in touch for years but never managed to join up for a spot of fishing so I was hoping that there might be something worth catching (it’s never certain is it?). Anyway, for a variety of reasons Austen couldn’t get down to my place before about 6pm so when he arrived (despite his four hour drive) it was into his van and straight off to the coast – he’s a hero.
My pal Bill had rung earlier in the day to say that he’d seen some maggoty weed in a little bay so it seemed a good place to start. We tramped along the shore for a mile or more, wading through the deeper bits (it was nearly high tide) to find Bill and another pal Phil already in action with the spinning gear. They’d had a couple of knocks but nothing had been caught. However, there were already some decent mullet mopping up maggots twenty metres out. Encouraging! Austen had decided to spin for bass and had opted to leave his fly rod behind but mine was set up and when I saw a small group of mullet close in, by Phil’s stance, I picked it up and crept down to the water’s edge. Now I should say that I’ve decided to try and catch mullet on unbaited flies this year. My pal Alan Bulmer in New Zealand had just sent me his latest batch of maggot imitations to try so I tied one on and set to work.
It was almost unbelievable. First cast, Alan’s maggot creation settled on the water, the line tightened and I was into a good fish. For a minute or so the mullet seemed puzzled and simply wallowed about where it had been feeding then it set off for the horizon. Austen and Bill took pictures and all my pals made mocking remarks as the fish spent the next twenty minutes zipping out to sea with my fly rod arched over. Eventually I was able to slide it in close on a wave and lift it ashore. Wonderful!
Aprox. 4lb of beautiful Mullet
Alan Bulmers Mullet Fly
Mike Ladle with reason to smile.
Of course by now the mullet had dispersed and the others had returned to spinning. Austen was using a Megabass DOT crawler which, to me, looks rather like a small chipolata sausage. He told me that they are very effective fished at snail’s pace with a few twitches of the rod tip to impart some movement. Anyway, everyone was finding things a bit slow. I sat waiting for the mullet to reappear (they didn’t) while the others spun. Bill was using a SlugGill, Phil a plug and Austen his chipolata. It was some time before the next fish and it turned out to be a small ballan wrasse on Phil’s plug. After the ritual mockery we set to again and by now it was past high water and getting pretty gloomy. Austen was twitching away, as he does and suddenly his rod bent. It was clear that the sausage lure had struck a rock and he said as much as he gave a tug to free it (it’s weedlessly rigged). As it sprung free the lure was siezed by a decent bass and he was in. Amazing! The fish scrapped hard but it wasn’t long before he was beaching a bass a bit bigger than my mullet. Fantastic!
Austin Goldsmith with a Nice Dorset Bass
As it turned out that was it for the evening. A mullet a bass and a wrasse but we were all pretty satisfied. It was my first mullet of the year and my ‘guest’ had caught the decent bass he was after. All is well that ends well.