Monthly Archives: September 2016

Light Rock Fishing (LRF) – the basics

Today we welcome Zak Lia to the blog. Zak has been having some fun with a LRF set up and wanted to share his experience with us!

As a sea angler, the thought of an entirely new way of fishing is a very exciting prospect. I gave it a go and before long I was hooked on LRF! The mobility of this approach and the simplicity of the tackle means that I can just get up and go fishing at the drop of a hat.

The rod

My current rod of choice is the Sonik Rock champ 3-12gm which is perfect for a variety of ‘LRF’ applications, from drop shotting with micro soft plastics to casting and retrieving metal jigs for Pollack and Mackerel. The soft tip provides brilliant sport even when targeting micro species such as blennies and gobies. The rod has a hidden backbone towards the butt and mid section which really kicks in when the rod is required to control a larger fish. The high visibility tip is excellent when you cannot physically feel the lure hit the seabed, you will see a distinct upwards jerk on the white tip when the lure has hit the bottom. Without stating the obvious, the tip stands out from the darker water colouration and provides excellent bite detection too.

The reel

I have paired the Sonik rod with the 1000 size Spro Micro Addiction. Personally I think that a 1000 size reel is the only way go as far as light rock fishing goes. It may seem quite small at first, but you’ll soon realise that it balances out incredibly well and makes for a very comfortable outfit. The combined weight of the outfit means that you’ll forget you’re even holding it when fishing for several hours at a time.

A balanced LRF outfit with the end result

A balanced LRF outfit with the end result

The techniques

The multitude of fishing applications that you can achieve with a LRF setup is incredible. The technique that is the most simple is the basic cast and retrieve. The lure, usually presented on a jig-head, is cast and then retrieved at varied speeds. Another easy technique to learn is sink and draw.

This bass took a shine to a small jig head

This bass took a shine to a small jig head fished sink and draw

This style is similar to the cast and retrieve only on the retrieve the lure is stopped, allowed to sink and then the slack is reeled in. Drop-shotting has proved very successful for me, especially when targeting bottom dwelling species of fish such as blennies and gobies. The drop-shot lead is submerged vertically and once the lead hits the bottom the rod butt can be tapped to induce movement to the lure. I have come to adopt the pen grip used by finesse bass anglers in The USA for this method. The rod is held like a pen with the index finger and thumb on the blank. This aids bite detection too and you can really feel all the activity below the water It also helps to map out the seabed and locate fish holding features such as weed beds and rock crevasses.

The lures

I always carry a selection of lures with me so that I can adapt my style to the fishes feeding pattern, for instance they may be taking yellow lures with paddle tails and not red static lures. Many of the lures I take with me derive from the Japanese LRF scene such as the Marukyu Isome worms. These are one of my best catching lures by far whether it’s to do with the amino acid they are soaked in or the tiny features on its body, but the main thing is – it works!

Isome worm- works wonders for flounders!

Isome worm- works wonders for flounders!

You can use the Isome worms in a variety of ways such as threaded on a jig-head, fished on a drop-shot or trailed on a spinner. One thing I would recommend is to store the worms in an airtight plastic tub as the packets are prone to leaking.

Have fun!

Zak

The surf is up in north Devon!

As the summer comes to pass and there is a distinct freshness to the autumn air, north Devon angler Kevin Legge has for the last few years turned his attention towards surf fishing for bass. With most anglers heading for the local rock marks in pursuit of conger and maybe a tope, the surf beaches are for the most part devoid of anglers and Kevin, together with a couple of friends, has enjoyed some tremendous fishing. Although his personal best bass from the beach is 15lb 12oz (the current Bristol Channel record), it is rare that he goes a season without seeing a fish of specimen size.

This year has been no different and recent sessions have been extremely productive for both Kevin and regular fishing partner Dave Brook.

Only last night, Kevin and Dave had planned to tackle their regular stretch of beach but were a little uncertain as to whether it would be fishable. With the forecast onset of strong winds, Kevin realised it would be highly probable that there would be an onshore swell developing as a result of a weather front developing out in the Atlantic. Such conditions often bring with them rafts of weed which make the beach near impossible to fish, so the decision was made to try a little further along the coast at Putsborough. The prominent rock peninsula of Baggy Point would offer some protection, at least that was the plan, and so Kevin and Dave headed off across the sands, the roar of the ocean ever present.

Kevin’s approach is a little different to that of the regular surf angler who historically has fished with as light a lead as possible. Kevin fishes with 7oz leads on regular pulley rigs. A pair of 6/0 Varivas Big Mouth Xtra hooks complete the set up and are baited with a fillet of blast frozen Ammo mackerel. Mackerel is rarely in short supply in Devon, but Kevin has experiment to great lengths with both fresh and frozen mackerel and it is interesting to note that the blast frozen bait out-fishes the fresh bait by a considerable margin.

Tackling up some hundred yards apart in order to give each other plenty of space, Kevin only had to wait ten minutes before a small bite registered on his rod tip. Before too long, the tip began to pull over and a steady rasp of line was pulled from the reel, the ratchet singing out in the wind. Making contact, it was evident that this was a big fish and Dave came over to assist Kevin in the surf. Sure enough, a long bass came into view and was guided onto dry land.

Double figure delight for Kevin

Double figure delight for Kevin

Kevin’s fish was admired, weighed at 10lb 12oz in a light sling, photographed and returned, but whilst this drama was unfolding, his second rod that had been neglected for the last ten minutes was also paying out line to an as-yet unseen adversary. Once again, Kevin was into a fish, but despite his initial thoughts turning to a second bass, it soon became clear this was not the case.

Dave looked on inquisitively as both anglers awaited the fish to come ashore. Soon, all was revealed and as suspected it was not a bass but a specimen size small eyed ray of just short of double figures.

Not a bass, but does Kevin look bothered?

Not a bass, but does Kevin look bothered?

This was a spectacular start for the dynamic duo but Dave was more than aware that his own rods were all alone further down the beach so after taking further photos of Kevin with his ray, he made his way back down the beach to see what the state of play was.

Both rod’s were there on the stand, but one was not as it had been left… in fact it was as straight as a needle and the line was blowing about wildly in the buffeting wind. Dave wound down into the slack and and lifted the rod, not knowing just how long it had been like this. As luck would have it, the rod pulled back in his grasp and the fish was still there! With plenty of head shakes as the fish swam parallel with the beach, Dave was certain that this fish was a bass and sure enough in the beam of his lamp a  black back emerged from the froth and a prime bass was slid up the sand.

Fresh from the surf- an 8lb bass for Dave

Fresh from the surf- an 8lb bass for Dave

Dave’s bass weighed in at over 8lb, but the two anglers weren’t done just yet. Over the next two hours they added two more small eyed rays and Kevin found another bass of just over 7lb.

A cheeky 7lb'er was a welcome addition to Kevin's double

A cheeky 7lb’er was a welcome addition to Kevin’s double

With the weather rapidly deteriorating, the decision to try a different venue had certainly paid off and it was time to call it a night.

Keep an eye on the VMO blog over the coming weeks as we’ve a funny feeling that these won’t be the last bass that Kevin lands this autumn! 

Flat out fishing!

It’s been an autumn to remember on Dorset’s Chesil beach with some especially good bags of flatfish showing from the Western end of the beach. Marks from Freshwater to Abbotsbury and beyond have all thrown up some superb bags of fish including a very healthy number of specimen flatfish. September is the prime time to try for a Chesil sole and given the settled conditions, it is little wonder many anglers have been travelling to the famous shingle ridge in an effort to hook this prime flat fish.

Typical sole conditions. A delight to fish in.

Typical sole conditions. A delight to fish in.

One such angler is Carl McCormack who made the journey form Plymouth in a bid to get his first sole. Carl is a very successful angler but the sole is not an easy fish to find in the Plymouth area. The bonus when it comes to sole fishing is that the plaice is often a welcome by-catch and this was certainly the case when Carl made his first cast one evening earlier this week…

carl-mccormack-plaice-brace

A brace of fine autumn plaice

Carl’s double shot was just the start of a very successful evenings fishing that saw him not only break his plaice PB, but also go on to land the sole he was trying for…

Carl McCormack on the sole

Carl McCormack on the sole

It was last weekend that big catches of both species of flatfish really came to light though with Saturday night in particular offering an excellent tide that coincided with perfect weather conditions. Chris Buxton from Weston-super-Mare enjoyed a bumper haul including a PB plaice of 3lb 10oz!

chris-big-plaice

3lb 10oz of pristine plaice for Chris Buxton

 

Meanwhile that same night a mile or so east along the shingle, Ben Stockley and VMO’s own Jansen Teakle were also enjoying a productive session. Although they did not find the quantities of fish that were present further west, they were more than happy with their bag of over twenty flatfish, numerous smoothhounds, bass and other species. Ben was fortunate to land many of his fish in daylight including this stunning plaice-

A stunner for Stockley

A stunner for Stockley

Jansen had to wait for nightfall to find the bulk of his catch that included this specimen sole of 2lb 2oz.

2lb 2oz sole for Jansen Teakle

2lb 2oz sole for Jansen Teakle

With a good set of tides coming up at the back end of next week, fingers are crossed that there is a repeat performance and that the beach continues to produce the goods. Although the tides can be foreseen, unfortunately the weather cannot and much depends on this. If the weather looks settled by the middle part of next week, be sure to get some traces tied up and your bait order’s in as there is bound to be rush for the pebbles!