Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Gambling Angler- Bristol Channel Guided Shore Fishing

Jansen Teakle- The Gambling Angler

Jansen has been here at VMO selling you fishing tackle for over eleven years, but as well as also writing for the angling press, appearing on BT Sports and assisting some major UK tackle companies in product development, he recently began a guiding service right here on the Bristol Channel. Jansen can lay claim to many specimen fish captures over the years and has developed an intricate knowledge of the tidal waters of the Bristol Channel.

A nice light line bass for Jansen Teakle

A nice light line bass for Jansen Teakle

Guided angling in the UK is in it’s infancy, but is incredibly popular in the States where angler’s benefit from the experience of a knowledgable guide who will not only know where to find the fish, but also how to go about catching them.

A specimen ray

A specimen ray

The concept of ‘The Gambling Angler’, is a very logical one- You could have the best tackle, the right bait and know exactly where to fish, but when push comes to shove there will always be an element of luck involved. Every time each and every one of us cast’s a line, we are effectively gambling on the outcome and nothing is set in stone!

A gamble that paid off!

A gamble that paid off!

As Jansen’s website, www.thegamblingangler.co.uk, describes it-

To be a successful angler, you need to know where to fish, when to fish and how to fish.

The only way to discover the answer to the above questions is to spend many hours of trial and error, experimenting in all winds and weathers until patterns begin to emerge and you can build your knowledge based upon them. An angling guide is someone who has already done that and is offering a service whereby he can pass that information on to you at a cost.

This couldn’t be more accurate, as despite all of the advise you can gather from books, magazines and internet forums, there is no substitute for good solid practical tuition on the coast. For a small cost, you could easily shave five years of hard work, trial and error off of your angling learning curve and more than likely, start to make regular catches.

A summer smoothhound for the gambling angler

A summer smoothhound for the gambling angler

Jansen is also able to offer bespoke packages for those looking to hire the necessary equipment, with rods reels, clothing and terminal tackle all available. Bait can also be provided, so pretty much all you need to do is turn up and catch the fish!

Based in Weston-super-Mare, Jansen is central to the many popular venues and will be only too happy to hear from you. If you are interested in a fully guided session, why not get in touch via the website and see what he can offer?

For a full price list and everything else you need to know, be sure to take a look.

Everything you need to know- right here!

Everything you need to know- right here!

#getguided #takeagamblewithjansen

www.thegamblingangler.co.uk

Happy hound hunters

At long last we are enjoying a taste of summer, even if it is to be short lived should the Met Office be believed. Hot, settled weather in Somerset means only one thing for Bristol Channel Anglers at this time of year- smooth hound fishing. And like the weather, it has been hot, hot, hot!

When these terrific mini sharks hit our inshore waters, many anglers get their first real inclination to wet a line since the madness of the cod season and shops sell out of peeler crab now as fast as they do lugworm in the middle of winter.

Location seems to be everything, but even then, nothing is set in stone. Even those marks that have a track record of producing fish have been inconsistent at best and it has been a frustrating time for a number of anglers. But for some, the right place at the right time has meant the fish were there for the taking.

taff-hound-15.12

Martin ‘Taff’ Pearce of Bridgwater found a few fish at Lilstock including a new PB common of 15lb 12oz. Thornback rays and congers added to his bag of fish.

Meanwhile, Andy Copping and Rob Yorke travelled from Plymouth to a mark a little further up Channel (these boys cover some miles in a month!) and found some real quality fish.

Rob Yorke with a 17lb example and Andy Copping with a 13lb beauty

Rob Yorke with a 17lb example and Andy Copping with a 13lb beauty

Our very own Harry Brake has fished as much as anyone this season and with mixed results, but for the most part he has had a fabulous time of it landing numerous including a PB of 17lb 1oz as well as good numbers of double figure fish in a single session.

Double trouble for Harry!

Double trouble for Harry! All fish landed on Varivas Chinu hooks.

Another consistent angler has been Mark Bryce. Like Andy and Rob, Mark travels from Plymouth to fish the channel and when he gets a sniff that the fish are in town, tools are dropped and he heads north to get in on the action. Favouring the reef marks, he has had some tremendous sport with fish to over 16lb in weight.

Feeding fish when the sun goes down... A near 16lb stunner for Mark Bryce

Feeding fish when the sun goes down… A near 16lb stunner for Mark Bryce

A few days later and Mark is in on the action again with another fab fish under a brilliant blue summer sky.

Mark Bryce with sixteen- and-a-half-pound of stocky smoothhound

Mark Bryce with sixteen-and-a-half pound of stocky smoothhound

Fingers crossed that this amazing run of fish continues to provide a load of fun throughout the summer and that the weather allows for us to get out there and have a go.

As the saying goes- Make hay while the sun shines!

 

 

 

Chesil – the year so far – part 2

Today we welcome back Chesil guru Ben Stockley to tell the concluding part of his year so far…

May

If April had started well, May began even better with another rock fishing mission to the Purbeck coast resulting in another PB, this time a cracking Female Undulate ray of 16lbs 2oz. I had my good pal Jansen Teakle with me and he once again did a great job with the drop net from a long, long way above the briny. He’s also a useful guy with a camera which was is a big bonus!!

16lb 2oz of beautifully marked undulate ray

16lb 2oz of beautifully marked undulate ray

 

A lovely afternoon catching up with local casting coach Colin Olver on the 4th saw me land some lovely fit Plaice to 1-11 at Abbotsbury and the banter was priceless as were Colin’s tips!

More of the same on the 11th, these Plaice are a really good average size this year and a catch of 6 plump spotties to bang on 1-8 made for a great day out.

Another trip South for Jansen saw me playing tour guide on the 19th. I took a big gamble on an old mark which I’d not fished for many years with the added issue of a 45 minute hike across hard terrain to reach it. Would it fish or would we be emptying  our lead boxes into the tackle hungry ground. After a tough start, we made a slight move and I was rewarded with a Small Eyed of 5-11 before a last cast slack line bite added the gloss with another cracking ray of 9-14! To say I was happy with this return from a total gamble was a big understatement!

Another flavour of ray!

Another flavour of ray!

9lb 14oz small eyed ray (the photographer had left by now!)

9lb 14oz small eyed ray (the photographer had left by now!)

The Samalite League match at Ferrybridge saw me going into the last hour with no fish on my card. I eventually recovered to 4th place with 2 good Smoothound’s the best going 96cm. I had a slight feeling of what might have been though as I’d missed or dropped 3 other good hounds in a hectic last hour. Still, I went home with another envelope so had to be happy with that!

Another Jansen visit on the 28th rounded out the month, this time we were targeting Rays on Chesil. A bonus daylight Bass of 5-11 was followed by a Small Eyed Ray of 8-4 for myself whilst Jansen also had a lovely Ray which made his trip South well worthwhile.

A stunning bass and a setting sun

A stunning bass and a setting sun

That's the way to do it

That’s the way to do it

 

June

A week off work was blighted by the dreaded May Water which completely destroyed any chance of having some good fishing sessions. On the 3rd I made a big effort to fish one of the most remote areas of Chesil I have ever been to. It was crawling with dogs, 4 hours passed and I’d had enough of wiping green slime off my hands. Where could I go? Maybe the Eastern end would be clearer? After a fortifying cup of tea I headed out for session number two going into darkness. After losing a good Ray, I salvaged some pride by landing a beautifully marked Undulate of 9-12 but it’d been a trying day!!

An undulate saves the day

An undulate saves the day

 

Crab was hard to come by but after sourcing a few, I headed out after hounds on Chesil during the evening of the 9th. A good average size to them today and my best went 8-5 plus a nice bonus Bass after dark.

Smooth hounds add to the variety

Smooth hounds add to the variety

The 18th saw me at the same venue near Martleaves where I had more hounds to 8-2 plus my first Gurnard of the year and lots of Dogs.

A tough month was rounded off by a Samalite league match at Cogden. What an awful night with 2 undersized Small Eyed’s,  a pair of strap Conger, one fractionally under sized the other sizeable but the idiot writing this failed to notice the size for these was only 58cm and slipped the 80+cm fish back into the depths unrecorded!! I salvaged some pride with a cracking 42cm Plaice and a chunky Pout but this was by far my worst league performance this year and I slinked off after the final whistle to lick my wounds! (School boy error! -ed.)

 

Rob Yorke- Plymouth’s own action man!

Have you ever noticed how it is always the same names that appear in the angling press, the same faces pictured with yet another colossal fish? We had a brief chat with one of those very angler’s, Rob Yorke, and discovered the madness behind the method!

Rob Yorke has been shore fishing for over 30 years and has landed an incredible number of specimen fish in that time. He has been fortunate to land two double figure bass, conger eels to over 40lb, Bull huss in excess of 15lb and perhaps most impressively of all, a number of Blonde rays of over 20lb in weight. All from the shore!

rob-eel

 

Rob, who resides in Plymouth, has a pretty impressive fish portfolio to say the least, but by his own admission it is the Blonde ray fishing that has become his greatest passion. Many long sessions go with the territory when it comes to the pursuit of big fish, but over time Rob has come to realise that there is so much more involved in ‘getting it right’.

Taking general weather and tidal patterns into account is a relatively standard procedure that has allowed Rob to pinpoint the likely time the fish will move within casting range. But one of his biggest observations has been the effect of the lunar phase on when the ray’s may come on the feed. He has discovered that the most productive time is during the last quarter of the moon, just as the tides start to build. This is a conclusion he has drawn from many years of research and is certainly worth considering together with the effects of tide and weather.

Just a another walk in the park for action man Rob...

Just a another walk in the park for action man Rob…

Rob tells us that he begins his annual campaign in June and fishes through to October but during early autumn, the pregnant females move inshore and away from the tide where they lay their purses and this is undoubtedly the best time to target a specimen fish. It goes without saying that these fish are treated with the upmost respect and returned to the water with minimal fuss.

Rob soon came to realise that some of the likeliest looking marks were pretty much inaccessible on foot but that there could be an alternative. Regularly seeing rock climbers traverse the cliff faces gave him an idea and soon he was embarking on an abseiling course. Carrying yourself and your tackle a hundred meters down to sea level is not to be taken lightly and Rob was keen to seek not only professional guidance, but all of the necessary climbing gear too. Some weeks and several hundred pounds later, Rob had the know-how and the equipment to safely reach those hard to get to platforms he had previously only seen while scuba diving and the results of his work began to pay off.

Safety equipment correctly rigged and ready to go. Not for the feint of heart!

Safety equipment correctly rigged and ready to go.
Not for the feint of heart!

rob-climb1

Out on a limb and smiling all the way!

Small eyed and spotted rays have also featured heavily from these area’s that are predominantly sandy sea beds where the fish readily accept sandeel and launce baits. Rob is keen to stress just how much power a big blonde ray can have and it is crucial to have the tackle to deal with the fish. Rob’s current preference is for a pair of Zziplex M427 SU rod’s and Daiwa Saltist 30BG reels filled with 25b Varivas Yellow Sport. Pulley rigs tied with 5/0 Varivas Big Mouth Xtra hooks are baited with Live or frozen sandeel dependant on seasonal availability.

The results of hard work. A prime Blonde ray

The results of hard work. A prime Blonde ray

Another fine ray

Another fine ray

**VMO and Rob are keen to stress that you should not contemplate any climbing activities without the guidance of a professional. As tempting as it may seem, without correct instruction you could be endangering your own life and potentially those of your rescuers!**

 

Chesil – the year so far – part 1

Today we welcome Ben Stockley to the blog. Ben enjoys regular success on Chesil and we knew that his year so far would make for a good read. Look our for part 2 coming soon…

Chesil – the year so far – part 1

Wow, where is 2016 going, already we are into July, the longest day has passed and the nights are drawing in a little earlier every day. I have packed in a lot of fishing so far this year, many of you will already know that I am expecting the arrival of Stockley Junior in early August and I have made it my mission to do as much fishing as possible ahead of a very busy end to the year!

Samalite league champion 2015

Samalite league champion 2015

January Prolonged bad weather and the usual post Xmas fish famine on the Dorset Coast meant I only managed a couple of pretty slow trips out. The 1st round of the new Samalite League season was held at West Bexington in heavy rain and a strong Southerly wind. A limited bag of Dogs, Pollack, Whiting and Poor Cod helped me limp home to a 4th in zone but I was pleased as it meant I’d made the prize table and started the defence of last year’s league title in a positive manner.

A plump cod from a cold Chesil

A plump cod from a cold Chesil

February More wet and windy weather did nothing to improve the prospects of what promised to be another challenging month although I did manage a few more sessions, albeit mostly honing my match fishing skills catching dogs and whiting, generally making the best of what lean pickings were on offer. One particularly pleasant sunny day was spent at the end of the month hoping for an early red spot on Chesil. The water colour meant that I had to be entertained by a steady stream of dogs and Whiting until a late season Cod of 7lb 2oz put a big smile on my face and sent me back home happy. He’d picked up a small rag bait on a size 2 hook intended for flatter, spottier customers. I also enjoyed a couple of trips to Jerry’s Point in Poole Harbour , the best of these trips resulting in 6 plump flounders to 1-12 and a few school Bass which was fun on the light continental gear I had used. With 2 days of the month remaining, I decided not to follow rumours of sporadic Plaice reports from the western fringes of Chesil and try a mark at the Eastern end of the bank for an early ray. It proved a reasonable decision and although the quality was not up to later in the season, I recorded 2 Small Eyed’s and a Blonde  along with the usual dogs, whiting and a bonus Dab all in daylight. Round 2 of the Samalite saw it moved from Chesil to the backup venue of Preston Beach. Fished to measure and release rules, I recorded a comfortable zone and outright match win by fishing lug, white rag and maddies to bag 1 small thornback and 8 whiting for 228cm. This was my 3rd zone win in a row on this venue which has been kind to me of late!

A small ray. Very welcome in February!

A small ray. Very welcome in February!

A match double shot...

A match double shot…

March The continued poor fishing locally saw myself and a mate venture over to Witches Point in South Wales for the 1st time. A beautiful spot but sadly it did not fish well and amongst a handful of locals I managed the only ray, a modest Small Eyed of just under 7lb. On the 12th, I gambled on an unfashionable area for Plaice fishing at the extreme Eastern end of Chesil although it had been consistent for me in recent years. I hoped the better water clarity at this end would fish better. I managed a couple of beautifully marked flatties and 3 small rays on the sandeel rod which promised better fishing to come. I had a great day out at West Bexington on the 20th. A slow start burst into life as the flood tide eased and I managed 5 nice Plaice the best weighing 1-15, 1-7 and 1-4 plus 3 Thornback’s up to 6-2, again all in daylight. The best 2 Plaice arrived as a double shot which was a nice moment after a few weeks difficult fishing. The month ended with a nice Spotted ray of 3-10 in Chesil Cove after a last minute response to perfect weather conditions and an unplanned session.

Perfect spring plaice

Perfect spring plaice

April The month came alive for me on the 5th, despite the murky water Chesil provided me with a cracking Small Eyed Ray of 10lb 3oz, a plump Dab and 11 prime Plaice. My decision to fish a Ray bait on a 2nd rod due to the conditions had paid off nicely.

10lb 3oz small eyed ray

10lb 3oz small eyed ray

3 Days later, I fished the exact same spot, the water was much more coloured and ruled out Plaice fishing so both rods carried fish baits hoping for more rays. To say I was battered by dogfish would be an understatement and eventually I switched to a 3 hook rig with stronger Varivas Aberdeen’s and 25lb snoods to give me 3 chances and the opportunity to sit down for 5 minutes!! This paid off handsomely and the result was another fine Small Eyed of 9-12 and 2 Thornies of 6-5 and 5-9, happy days!

A Thornback ray adds to the variety

A Thornback ray adds to the variety

The following week I decided to fish a Purbeck rock mark with my friend Simon. A horrible ground swell was present and as we were 50+ feet above the waterline, anything large that we hooked was going to provide us with a netting nightmare! I gave Simon’s netting prowess a thorough examination as a beautiful PB Bass of 13-6 graced me with its presence before a smaller sample of 4-10 also showed up. Pollack to 2-8, Huss and some nice 3 Beard’s iced the cake on a night to remember!  The rest of the month was filled with some reasonably good Plaice fishing on Chesil with some nice settled, sunny days to enjoy.

13lb 6oz of prime bass

13lb 6oz of prime bass- OK, that isn’t Chesil, but what a fish!