Tag Archives: Sea Fishing Tackle

Book a boat part 1- Anglo Dawn, Salcombe

With many of us now looking at planning future fishing trips, we thought it might be nice to take a closer look at some of the fantastic charter boats operating out of the many ports around the UK coastline. Today, we focus on on ‘Anglo Dawn’, operating out of Salcombe and skippered by Chris Roberts. Chris will take it from here…

 I have been chartering since 2003 but have fished for my entire life. I have fished commercially and with rod and line. My father taught me to fish and one of my earliest memories was being tied to the mast of the boat and on another occasion catching dogfish. A little later on I moved to Australia to pursue a rugby scholarship and whilst there, out of season, I worked on a commercial drop-liner that fished the continental shelf, the Great Barrier Reef and occasionally ventured as far as one hundred miles offshore. 

Chris Roberts- Skipper of Anglo Dawn

I returned to the UK in 2003 and earned my yacht masters qualification and began chartering.

I’m also currently about to pass out as a coxswain for the Salcombe lifeboat. 

My vessel is Anglo Dawn, a 36ft Offshore 105 that will happily cruise at around 15 knots but can top 20 knots thanks to 370hp under the hatch. The boat is well kitted out with Garmin electronics, heated wheelhouse, onboard toilet and Icey-Tec cool boxes for stowing your catch. Deck space is very accommodating and there’s plenty of room throughout. 

Since I started operating out of Salcombe, we have seen some brilliant fish come to the boat including-

Ling 39lb 12oz

Cod 27lb

Pollack 25lb

Coalfish 25lb 8oz 

Conger 85lb

Bass 13lb 10oz

Plaice 6lb 5oz

John Dory 6lb 8oz

Turbot 14lb 

Blonde ray 29lb 

Brill 8lb 8oz 

Huss 13lb 

Black bream 5lb 

Blue shark 125lb (formula)

Porbeagle shark 70 lb (formula)

Now that’s a ling!

 

A heavy set cod and a happy customer

A lumpy pollack

Salcombe is set in a beautiful picturesque location and being the most southerly point means less steaming time to reach the more productive grounds. 

The picturesque Salcombe estuary

Parking is never a problem as I pick my anglers up from the large long-stay car park. 

The variety of the fishing found here is incredible with everything from two hour mackerel trips,

drifting the Skerries banks for plaice, rays and bass, offshore drift fishing over wrecks with artificials for species such as cod, pollack, bass and inshore work for species such as big bream and gurnards.

A lot of the best fishing is just a short steam from port so this ensures more fishing time. 

The banks in particular produce some excellent ray fishing with small eyed, blonde, spotted and thornbacks all regular captures. Bass are also very much on the cards.

A fine bass for skipper Chris

For those who prefer traditional deep water wreck fishing at anchor, we regular fish for the big conger and ling that inhabit the wartime wrecks that are strewn across the English Channel.

If you would like to enquire with Chris about making a booking, you can contact him on 

07967 387657 or visit his Facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Boat-Service/Anglo-Dawn-Salcombe-Charter-Boat-Skippered-by-Chris-Roberts-1414306782132263/

February – An alternative approach for a quiet fishing month

We all know how slow the fishing can be in February. But have you ever considered what fish may be feeding under your feet? A huge number of mini species remain at the base of rocks, harbour walls and jetties throughout the year and can provide some great fun with the right tackle. Bruce Hough gives us an insight in to how he approaches LRF (light Rock Fishing) in todays blog.

Generally, as sea anglers we spend much of our time in pursuit of that dream fish, and I’m no exception, but for myself it’s not all about the “bigguns” and during those sometimes long periods of inactivity when the big baits sit awaiting attention, I enjoy nothing more than dabbling in a bit of LRF (Light Rock Fishing).

By fining down your tackle and dropping very small baits down the edge it’s surprising the amount of smaller species that can be found below our feet.

The mini species, as they’re known, come in a massive variety of shapes, colours and forms, and with tackle to suit, can give great sport and endless fun for not just adults but also juniors, the elderly and disabled alike, especially during the warmer months.

Thumbnail sized slithers of fish, ragworm, a squid tentacle or a leg of a peeler crab matched to fine wire hooks of size 6 to as low as size 22 on a light paternoster style rig will account for the various Gobies, Blennies and Rockling.

A colourful array of gobies and blennies

A colourful array of gobies and blennies

as well as many colourful Wrasse such as the Ballan, Goldsinney, Rock Cook, Corkwing or Cuckoo.

How to catch wrasse

 

With perseverance and a little luck, more exotic species such as Dragonet or even Tadpole fish can be tempted.

sea fishing for cod

Despite its name, LRF doesn’t have to be solely from the rocks, in fact any structure such as piers, marinas, harbour walls, breakwaters and even some promenades will have a resident population of fish to target.

Another effective method is to add small baits to Sabiki Rigs, fished on the bottom these will tempt all the usual critters but when “twitched” will also appeal to the voracious Sea Scorpion, Poor Cod and Pouting.

fishing with lures

 

Try them off the bottom with small fish strips and they can be deadly for Sand Smelt, small Coalfish and Pollack.

Lure fishing for bass

Tackle for this type of fishing need not be expensive at all and a simple light spinning rod rated up to 28g coupled with a 2000 sized fixed spool reel will suffice nicely and handle any surprise bigger fish should they come along.

Mono from 5 -10lb will do the job but I personally prefer braid (Power Pro is highly recommended) for the low diameter and superior bite detection, which I tie direct to the chosen rig.

I also keep my lead weight/sinker as light as I can get away with to present everything as naturally as I can.
My choice of hooks come from leading manufacturers such as Trabucco, Yuki, Sasame or Sabpolo and are widely available, but for the majority of my fishing, I find that most coarse fishing hooks are also well up to the job and will handle any larger fish.
Sinkers can also come in a variety of styles including non-toxic, drop shot and slim line and shiny which can be used for added attraction. Among the accessories I carry are very small lures, jigs and artificial baits such as Isome which can be flicked out and slowly dragged and twitched along the bottom for various flatfish and even predators such as Bass or bumped over rocks and up through the water levels for Ballan Wrasse and bigger Pollack. There really is no end to the amount of experimenting that can be done.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that these little guys aren’t worth the effort or bait, match them with fine tipped rods and very light tackle and they’ll certainly “pull your string” and get the adrenalin going in their own little way.

So next time the going gets tough, get searching for those forgotten species that live in the crooks and crannies amongst the weed and rocks where you don’t need to be a tournament caster.

Can you uptide using braid?

A recent debate on social media regarding the use of a braided mainline for uptide fishing sparked much discussion. Seasoned boat angler, Scott Smy, guests on today’s VMO blog to offer his thoughts on the subject…

A recent post on everyone’s favourite media channel Facebook posed the question…..’Can you use braid for Uptiding’? Considering the number of differing views this post generated I thought it would be useful to run through some of the pros and cons of using braid for uptiding, using the Bristol Channel as a casing point.

I guess the simple answer to the question from my and many other anglers perspective is ‘yes’; you can use braid effectively when uptiding. Having spent almost the best part of almost 30 years fishing from boats in the Bristol Channel (both on charters and my own craft) I would like to think I know a thing or two about uptiding in these generally shallow fast-running waters. I have to say for the majority of that time I had been using mono lines in 15-20lb breaking strain along with a 40-50lb leader. However, in the past couple of years my attention has turned to using braid and to be brutally honest I find it a complete joy to use when compared to mono.

Loaded up and ready to go. With braid!

Loaded up and ready to go. With braid!

The first thing you will discover using braid is that the bite detection is second to none and you can spot the first enquiry on the rod tip long before the fish picks up the bait properly and steams off downtide, which personally has resulted in a greater percentage of positive hook-ups compared to mono. However it is essential that rods are securely fastened down to the boat rail if left unattended as the take from a large smoothhound or ray can be savage to say the least and could lead to rods and reels disappearing over the side, never to be seen again. Also, once hooked the sensitivity of the braid makes playing the fish so much more enjoyable as you can feel every head shake, although this does mean that you have to be careful not to bully the fish too much.

I also find that fishing with braid allows the grip weight to hold much more affectively when fishing in strong currents. On a recent charter trip out of Minehead fishing an offshore sandbank for rays where the tide was steaming through it was noticeable that those uptiding with braid were able to find and hold bottom whilst those using mono struggled to hold until the tide had eased off. The one problem I have found with braid is that occasionally it allows the lead to dig into the seabed a bit too well and has resulted in having to try to pull for a break (trying to break out 30lb braid is not easy and should be left to the skipper).

A beautiful blonde taken on a braid uptide outfit

A beautiful blonde taken on a braid uptide outfit

I have heard of instances where anglers using braid have been cut-off when using it over shallow water reef/coral marks due to the amount of line you need to feed out. This can be a downside to using braid and whilst tying on a leader of 20ft of 40-50lb mono can help reduce tackle losses and make it easier for the skipper when bringing fish to the waiting net, there will be times when you just have to revert back to mono. However the majority of the time this isn’t an issue for the areas I am uptiding which would be considered to be at the lower end of the Channel which are generally a bit deeper and less snaggy than the upper reaches. I guess it’s a case of horses for courses.

A further downside to the use of braid uptiding is the problem of you fishing next to your mate who is still using mono. If you are all using braid on the boat then no problem. However, if some of your fellow anglers are using mono then tangles can become a problem and worst still braid has a tendency to cut through mono when it is under tension. Your mate fishing next to you certainly isn’t going to thank you when your braid slices through his mainline as a 20lb Cod hits the surface just behind the boat!

12lb Bullhuss

Tackle

Fixed spools are becoming increasingly popular on charter boats these days and they are ideal for uptiding when trying to cast from a moving deck. Having initially brought them for use on continental rods for shore fishing, I have been using the Penn Surfblaster 8000 reels for uptiding and have found it to be more than adequate. Apart from the ability to ‘pick-up’ the slack line very quickly (one of the main advantages of a fixed spool), it has a great drag system for when fish get close to the boat. Also being a reel from the Penn stable it is well-built and will certainly handle the pressure put upon it by a large ray or conger hanging in the tide.

A relatively soft action uptider is essential when using braid. I am a big fan of Daiwa boat rods and use the TDX 4-10oz which is probably one of the best uptide rods ever made.

In terms of terminal tackle I have found that using an uptide boom locked between 2 swivels is far more effective than having a sliding boom as this acts like a bolt-rig and results in more hook-ups, especially for fish such as hounds which have a tendency to tear off with the bait. Hook sizes vary according to bait but I rarely find you need anything larger than a 6/0 uptiding out of ports such as Watchet, Minehead etc. Hooks are always Varivas Big Mouth Extra’s which are proven and have never let me down.

uptide boat fishing rig

Simple uptide tackle. Note the nail in the lead to hold the hook for casting

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!