Monthly Archives: August 2017

All Aboard Aly Kat!

Last Sunday saw the VMO team head out of Minehead aboard Dave Roberts’ boat, Aly Kat. Due to a variety of circumstances, only three of the team could make the trip and so it was that Harry, Andrew and Jeremy set sail that morning in high spirits upon a tranquil sea. Having had the last trip cancelled because of strong winds, the lads were ultra keen to get amongst the fish and with catches of smoothhounds, rays, tope and bass making the news over the past weeks, they had a feeling that the angling Gods were going to be kind!

Aly Kat leaves port

Aly Kat leaves port

bristol-channel-boat-fishing

After a lengthy steam down channel, Dave finally positioned the boat and dropped anchor on a spot that had shown good form of late. The plan was to target bream using small hooks but when just a few pout and dogfish graced the rods it became apparent that the bream were not in residence and the decision was made to move to another mark to fish on the drift, where hopefully a bass or two would be present.

The boat was finally positioned to start the drift and long flowing traces were armed with an assortment of Fish Black minnows and Sidewinder Shads. Harry and Andrew couldn’t believe their luck when within seconds of touching bottom, both of their rods arched over to the unmistakable tune of a bass. Harry’s fish had taken a Black Minnow whereas Andrew’s had fallen for a blue Sidewinder Shad.

First drop on the lures!

First drop on the lures!

Jeremy had to wait for the second drift before he could get in on the action when quite spectacularly his rod suddenly buckled in his grasp as another bass made a frantic grab for the lure.

Jeremy joins the party on his second drop

Jeremy joins the party on his second drop

Within twenty minutes, all three anglers had reached their daily bag limit and with the tide now easing off, Dave pointed the nose of Aly Kat seaward and steamed another couple of miles offshore. A whole host of other species including smoothhounds, blonde rays, bull huss and conger eels were soon coming over the gunnels.

Jeremy pulls a male blonde!

Jeremy pulls a male blonde!

Low water came and went, the wind had freshened from the west and the boat swung around into the face of the new flood tide. As it increased in strength and the offshore mark became unfishable, the remainder of the session was spent just a few hundred yards offshore of the north Devon coast. Big mackerel baits on wire traces were cast uptide by all three anglers in anticipation of tope; the one fish that was of particular interest to the lad’s on this trip and one that had seemingly been plentiful through out the summer. After a fruitless hour wait, several bait changes and time ticking away, a change of tactics was in order. Going all out with smaller hooks and a variety of different baits, the fish started coming aboard. Turbot, smoothhounds, bull huss, blonde rays and a specimen size grey gurnard for Andrew added to the variety.

A stunning grey gurnard for Andrew

A stunning grey gurnard for Andrew

Before they knew it, Dave called time and Aly Kat headed for port. Although both Harry and Jeremy are more at home on the coast, there is already talk of boat fishing related purchases ahead of the next trip which all going to plan will be in pursuit of sharks next month. Look out for a full report on the VMO blog!

Metals – The Forgotten Lure?

This week we welcome South Devon Bass Fishing’s Marc Cowling to the VMO blog. Marc gives us his views on this forgotten gem that no self respecting lure angler should be without.

Most, if not all lure anglers will have a favourite type of lure – one that they’ll always ensure is in their lure box when they venture out onto the rocks, beach or estuary. I certainly have my favourites – lures types are consistent bass catchers and/or offer me flexibility in a variety of conditions be it rough, calm, light or dark. But there is one type of lure that is always in my box – a metal lure.

A selection of metal's. Have you got some in your box?

A selection of metal’s. Have you got some in your box?

Versatile

There are a number of conditions or situations when I would be picking that piece of fluttering, shimmering metal out of my collection – here are some examples:

  1. Surf Beach
  2. Rough Seas
  3. Estuaries
  4. Headlands

Surf Beaches – The domain of the bait fisherman surely? Not necessarily! Imagine your stood thigh deep in the boiling surf and the waves are crashing, creating those lovely surf tables however, this is occurring a long way out in front of you. You know there will be bass out in the melee, but what could you use to reach or attract them? Step forward a long casting metal spoon or spinner that can be launched right out there into the mix.

Ultimately, a bass will probably be attracted by the flash (shimmer) as the lure is being thrown around in the mix and even more likely as it is bouncing around on the sandy seabed. Furthermore, because a metal is very dense (and will obviously sink) it is therefore, very stable meaning that it will be able to ‘swim’ in the rough.

Reach the fish with a wedge style metal

Reach the fish with a wedge style metal

Rough Seas – When the sea is rough, it is more often than not pretty windy! We’ve all been there – attempting to cast our beautifully crafted hard minnow lures (with ball bearings and weight transfer systems) out into the teeth of a gale that is blowing straight down your throat…This is when a metal lure can really come into its own.

I admit, 80 – 90% of the bass I have caught have hit the lure within 10 yards of the rod tip however, having the ability to cast into a known area of reef, weed bed or sandy patch can make all the difference when lure fishing for bass therefore, why would you want to limit yourself by not being able to reach that spot? Putting the odds in your favour is essential therefore, having the ability to ‘search out’ wider expanses of water makes sense; particularly when you might be even more limited with where you can safely stand when the waves are really pumping in.

When the sea is raging, heavy metal is the way to go!

When the sea is raging, heavy metal is the way to go!

Anyfish Anywhere – The best rods in the UK?

Trading now for well over a decade, Anyfish Anywhere continue to excel in producing excellent shore fishing rods. The established market leaders of old, namely Zziplex and Century, have always produced highly acclaimed tackle, but the latest range from Anyfish Anywhere, including the all new Tournament Match Pro, is continuing to cause a real storm and establish even further still that there really are three main players in this field of the market.

Julian Shambrook, founder and face of the Torquay based company, is a passionate angler who regularly competes at national level. His understanding of what is required to do this has undoubtedly assisted AFAW no end in producing a range of rods to suit all occasions but, equally as importantly, all pockets too. This understanding relates to first hand knowledge of such practicalities as the physics of casting, tackle most commonly used and a whole host of other predicaments regular faced by the shore angler.

Julian Shambrook winds up a big cast

Julian Shambrook winds up a big cast

A wealth of knowledge is obviously important, but so too is the ability to listen to other anglers and understand exactly what their requirements are. It’s fair to say that this is what AFAW shines at and the current range is obviously a refection on the feedback gleaned through time ‘in the field’. The product’s speak for themselves with numerous records on the casting court including the current 300 gram casting record.

AFAW rods are equally at home on the field

AFAW rods are equally at home on the field

It is also interesting to note that over 90% of those anglers competing at the top in the highly competitive Penn Sea League, also use AFAW rods. With high quality carbon blanks finished to an excellent standard and featuring Fuji guides and real seats, it is little wonder that the AFAW range continue to cause a stir. The bottom line is that this is a highly capable range of rods designed with a purpose in mind and one that they fulfil to the nth degree.

We recently caught up with Julian on the windswept Bristol Channel coastline where he explained in detail the thinking behind each of the rods in the Pro range. Take a look at this video that you may find interesting and help you to make a choice of you are in the market for a new rod for this coming beach season-

It goes without saying that VMO carry the full range of Anyfish Anywhere rods and will consider a price match on any advertised price. But then you knew that!