Monthly Archives: April 2018

England casting team tuition and fundraising event

Simon Lynch, the newest addition to the team here at VMO, was recently invited to a field casting event In Ipswich. This was the first time Simon had attended such an event and he has put together a short piece detailing how the day panned out.

On Saturday 14th April I attended the England casting team tuition and fundraising event held at Suffolk Sportscast in Ipswich. The aim of the day was for the England team to help as many anglers improve on there casting techniques as possible, regardless of their ability and for anglers of all abilities to not only learn from some of the very best in the country, but also to get a good measure of their casting. Judging the distance of a cast can be tricky and there really is no better way to get an accurate measure than to attend an organised casting event.

As well as casting tuition, there was also a raffle and hot food and drinks to help in raising funds to go towards the cost of attending the world championships being held in Italy on the 2nd – 9th June. Despite representing their country, Team England receive no government funding, so these events are crucial in allowing them to compete around the world. 

Meirion Pritchard, friend and Team England member, invited me along to the day so I could see first hand just how well these events are run and to get some invaluable advice and tuition not just from him, but the other members of the team. It was an early start and a 5am drive from South Wales to Ipswich but we got there in plenty of time for a quick brew and to set up our gear before the masses turned up. I was soon introduced to some of the team and made to feel very welcome.

Once other anglers assembled, Jay Lee, the England manager, called us all together to introduce us to the team members and to put our minds at ease. He emphasised that we shouldn’t be afraid to ask any advice and to just enjoy the day with a view to learning how to improve our technique. The team also had a good selection of rods and reels for us to try out should we wish to do so. Next, the team went round and checked everyone’s shock leader knots for safety and in some case retied the knots for them. It was great to see that none of the team members take safety lightly and everyones knots and leaders were thoroughly inspected. We were soon enjoying a demonstration of the various casts the team use and to say I was blown away would be an understatement! 

Here’s a short clip of Meirion Pritchard in action-


Next it was our turn to see what we could do and we formed a queue as each angler took it in turns to send a lead down the court. After a few casts in front of the team, some of us were taken to one side for one on one tuition. I teamed up with Meirion and Owan Moyle for most of the time but then I was introduced to Stephen Boyt  who demonstrated to me the ‘Off The Ground’ style cast. He showed me the correct way to position my legs and explained the importance of keeping the left arm straight as well as hip and body rotation.

To start with I did feel out of my comfort zone, having to break away from bad habits, but after a few more casts I soon picked up the general idea. It made a difference having some solid guidance to work on and I steadily began to improve on my distance. 

My rod was an Anyfish Anywhere Match Pro and the reel was a Daiwa 7HT magnofuge. The guys seemed to think that this was a very capable combination and would hold me in good stead for years to come whether I was casting or fishing. My reel was loaded with 18lb 0.37mm Varivas Yellow Sport line (what I use for fishing). 

To begin with I had the magnetic braking set on full and managed a few casts of around 80 – 100m. I gradually eased the magnets back so that although I still had some control, the reel didn’t feel like it was holding back quite so much and I finished the day with a cast of 133.6m.

From left to right, Duane Lockwood, Danny stone, Simon Lynch, Meirion Pritchard, Martin Osborne, Owan moyle, Stephen Boyt

I was thrilled with this huge jump in distance and it was brilliant to know that I had some excellent guidance on hand to hopefully build on my future casting distance.

As the day came to a close we gathered round for the raffle and to have a general chit-chat. The 58 anglers who had participated were over the moon with how the day had panned out and many went away with a personal best cast. The team raised £880 towards funding their travel and accommodation for the championships in Italy.

Anyone thinking of attending one of these events really need not feel intimidated- you couldn’t wish for a better bunch of guy’s who are only too happy to freely give advice.

If you’re looking to add a few extra yards to your cast I would highly recommend hooking up with the guys at an England casting team fundraising event. I would also like to personally thank Meirion for inviting me along and taking me under his wing for the duration of the day.

VMO will publish the list of casting events that the England team put on across the country so keep an eye out on Facebook for full details.

Minehead charter report – with Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts, skipper of Alykat operating out of Minehead on the Bristol Channel coast, gives an account of fishing out of this historic port

Yet another season flies by with many of the Alykat regulars experiencing some fantastic fishing. The cod delighted the ardent angler with many fish well into double figures gracing the decks. Whiting and the occasional haddock also went to make up the catches. Sport with these winter visitors continued into the spring when the temperatures began to rise and the white fish finished their spawning activities after which, they left us yet again as they continued their migration. With spring well in the air, our charters mainly targeted the early run of rays. Many small eyed, blonde, thornback and spotted rays put a healthy bend into our rods as the sandbanks and offshore mud patches continued to attract these fantastic species. Blonde rays to well over the twenty pound mark were taken on many charters.

As spring ran into early summer our next target species the smoothound made its entrance. Packs of these marauding predators smashed our crab and squid offerings with many of them knocking the scales over the double figure line. Though there are two different smoothies, the common and the starry, it has now been confirmed that we only actually catch the starry around our waters.

The smoothhound- a fine fighting fish

Offshore grounds were also in fine form. Tope to over 50lb were taken regularly and the further west we went, the better the tope fishing. Catches of over 100 fish were not uncommon with one aprty actually begging to come home after only 65 fish, wimps! Bull huss are ever on the increase in the Bristol Channel with good sized fish being taken on most trips. The wrecks also did us proud when the tides were in favour. Small neaps are the order of the day here as the water falls slack and clears up nicely. Pollack showed well with occasional cod an ling thrown in for good measure.

Skipper Dave gets in on the action with a pristine cod

Lundy Island is always a pleasure in the summer months. Along its shores are many reef structures where wrasse, pollack and coalfish can be taken in numbers. The sandbanks also produced great fun with dabs, plaice and the occasional turbot making up the bags.

The star of the Bristol Channel calendar has to be the bass, but restrictions on their capture limiting us to one fish per angler in 2017 certainly put a damper on things, However, we did manage a few good days with some super specimens taken, This year though, things have got a damn sight worse.

If you fancy a day afloat with Dave, get in touch today

The sun is coming, the fish are feeding!

It’s been a very long winter for us sea anglers but finally there is light at the end of the tunnel.It’s hard to imagine that just over a month a ago, a large number of us were snowed in with zero opportunity off getting to the coast. If you’ve yet to see the forecast for this coming week, take a look now and marvel at the soaring temperatures and clear blue skies that are on the cards.

It would appear that the fish have already seen the forecast though as a number of species have burst in to life recently across the southern half of the UK. Anglers targeting plaice on the south coast have found good bags of fish with some fine examples exceeding four pound in weight in some cases.

But that’s not the only flat thing to show some interest of late, with a number of specimen rays of different varieties showing along Chesil Beach.

Ben Stockley with a fine blonde ray from Chesil Beach

Abbotsbury through to the Weymouth section of the beach has been on top form for undulate rays with many fish reported well in to double figures. Blonde rays have also been prolific along the eastern stretch. 

South Devon beaches have also been giving up the goods with some anglers reporting bags of up to 40 fish. This is phenomenal shore fishing by any standards so be sure to arrive early to get your chosen spot.

At it again- Ben Stockley with a plaice from South Devon

Meanwhile, up on the shores of the Bristol Channel, anglers are finding nice mixed bags of codling and thornback rays. It won’t be too long before the fist of the bass start to show so make sure you get those peeler crabs sorted. 

A good thornback ray for Wayne Hand

Further down coast around Minehead, there’s an excellent chance of connecting with a small eyed, spotted or blonde ray. Sandeel baits are the way to go, though mackerel and squid will also pick up a fish or two. 

Boat anglers out from Porlock Weir are having a tremendous time of it with the first of the smoothhounds now showing together with some large bullhuss, the best of which not far off the twenty pound mark and a potential channel record.

So there you have it- the sun’s out and the fish are feeding, so what are you waiting for?

Tight lines and stay safe from all of the team at VMO!