Tag Archives: Soft Plastic

Dizzy’s look back at 2014

A look back on a crazy year of lure and bait fishing from the kayak…

I got to meet a couple of angling celebs… Jeremy Wade…

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and Bob Nudd (One of my fishing heroes)…

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2014 was a great year for catching black bream from the kayak. I managed to catch quite a few fish over 3 lbs, including a new PB of 4lbs 2ozs, and some rays as well.

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Some great trips to Wales to fish the reefs…

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A nice tope – great fun catching them from the kayak…

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I made a conscious decision that in 2014, I would concentrate on freshwater lure fishing from the kayak. My aim was to catch a decent pike, a decent perch, and a zander. The reasons were two-fold. Firstly, I live 2 mins from a river, and spend most of my time on the salt, despite it being over 2.5 hours away. Secondly, there were 3 big lure fishing events occurring in 2014 – all of them freshwater based – all of them in Holland (more of that later).

So opening day of the coarse fishing season, saw me down at my local river kayak fishing. An encouraging start, but I knew there were more rewards to be discovered…

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The Teklon 702 dropshot rod was a fantastic piece of kit – I have to be honest, I didn’t use it much for dropshotting, but its so versatile – one of my favourite rods.

The first of the big competitions was the World Predator Classic 2014 in Hellevoetsluis in Holland. This amazing tournament saw boat, street and kayak fishermen from all over the world compete in a 3 day event. The venue, accomodation and organisation were top drawer. The potential of the venue is vast, with massive perch, pike and zander – sadly, I didn’t manage any of them ! But I learned alot, and I will be back in 2015…

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I managed to make it on to the front cover of Blade kayak fishing magazine. I was chuffed as hell…

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July was the month when I felt like I finally cracked the river.. it had been a long time coming, and lots of hard work, but now it was paying off with massive chub and some nice perch and pike from the kayak. Best of all, I got to enjoy it with 2 great friends – Steve and Charlie…

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I caught some huge chub on small crankbaits. This was light tackle lure fishing at its best…

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Also managed some nice perch on 2.5cm Z-man grubz…

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I love livebaiting from the kayak. I have a livebait well on my Hobie kayak, and its just the ticket…

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Then, something I have wanted to do for a long, long time on the kayak. My time came with a trip to Weymouth. I was on my todd, but the conditions were perfect. As is so often the case, the fishing was slow, and I started to wonder what I was doing wrong. Eventually, things clicked into place, and I managed to land 4 or 5 squid on 4lb line and ultra light rods and reels. Great fun – and the squid jigs from Veals really did the business…

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In September there was another trip to Holland. This time, it was the Hobie European Championships. I decided to go over a week early, and get some fishing practice in.

In an incredible space of about 10 minutes I had 4 perch all over 2.5 lbs, on small hardbaits. This was very technical fishing, and the Hobie Revolution 11 kayak really excelled. The fish were packed into an area no bigger than 3 feet wide, with heavy cover on one side and a moored boat only feet away. Exciting stuff, and it felt great to beat my perch PB 4 times in the space of as many minutes…

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On the last day before we had to leave for the Euros, I managed a really decent zander on a soft plastic lure. It put up a great scrap, and yet again I was as pleased as punch…

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So on to the Hobie Euro finals; I met up with all of my lure fishing friends from Europe. These guys really know their stuff when it comes to lure fishing. I had learned so much this year, and honestly, we are a long way behind in this country.  I decided to concentrate on what I knew best – micro crank baits on ultralight gear, and medium soft plastics, with spinnerbaits and chatterbaits as a backup (you really need to check out chatterbaits). On the practice day, I saw plenty of fish; on the first day of the competition proper, everyone followed each other. I did my own thing. For a while I thought I had done the right thing. I caught some Ide and then a cracking Asp on a micro crank. I was sight fishing for them – a bit like stalking mullet with lures ! …

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With only 30 minutes of the competition left, I hooked into something special, ironically on my ultralight rod and Mitchell Mag Pro Lite 500 reel. Right from the outset I knew this could be the fish of a lifetime. I was pretty sure it was a big pike, and I knew I had a finesse 10 lb wire trace on the end of a tiny 2 inch soft plastic lure. It took me a long time to get the upper hand, and I needed the help and encouragement of Danish competitor Thomas. Without pinching his net, I dont think I would ever have landed that monster. Even my competition measure was not big enough to measure the brute, so the camera boat had to come out and measure it for me. It went 106cms… somewhere between 20 and 30lbs. My previous PB (from a boat was 26lbs) and this creature felt bigger and stronger. All caught on video – one of the most memorable battles I have ever had with any fish; boat, shore or kayak…

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To catch it in a competition, with my mates around me, made it even more special. I was starting to like Holland, and the craic was fantastic; we made so many new friends and learned so much…

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The result in the Euros meant that I had won a place at the 2014 Hobie World Championships – also in Holland. This would be my 3rd Hobie Worlds event – 45 of the worlds best lure fishermen – 13 countries taking part…

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Ironically, my best fish was caught during a spot of street fishing in a 3 foot wide ditch right outside a tackle shop – the funniest thing you have ever witnessed. The locals didn’t really know what was going on, when some crazy Italians, and an Englishman start fishing at the end of their garden…

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… Once a fisherman, always a fisherman !

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At the final presentation we all had to vote for the “Sportsman” award. This is the first time the award has been presented, and somehow, I managed to win it. It took a few moments for it to sink in – I thought it was a wind up. The award gave me entry into the 2015 Hobie World Championships and pays for my accomodation too, so I was pretty chuffed to say the least.

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Also during October was the trip to Ravensthorpe reserviour near Northampton…

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All I could manage were trout on big lures, but one of them was a cracker…

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2014 saw me write for a new magazine title – Neville Fickling’s Pike and Predator magazine. Its a great magazine, and I like the content…

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To round the year off; a spot of flounder fishing in Poole Harbour…

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I was very pleased with second place.

The rest of December was spent gathering goodies for my great Facebook giveaway – that all went off well, and 3 lucky winners will hopefully be using their lures, nets, dry bags and other assorted accessories to good effect in the coming months.

And what of 2015 – well I have a new Hobie Outback kayak to fit out, and I am looking forward to kayak fishing some new exciting venues. I hope to see you all on the water, or in the bar.

All the best for 2015 – keep casting those lures

 

Dizzy.

Kayak fishing here there and everywhere

I havent actually been on a great number of kayak fishing trips this year. But I have mixed it up a bit, and done quite well. The results I have had in just a hand full of trips show just how effective kayak fishing can be. I never could have experienced that level of fishing from either the boat or the shore….

Now, I know you guys love the salt, but I am a bit of an all-rounder, so excuse me for chatting about the “dark side” (freshwater !). I also love lure fishing, especially small plugs and soft plastics. My first trip combined all of these. I took the kayak to the beautiful Llangorse lake in the Brecons. I set up my stall with very light tackle – 6lb varivas braid and wire traces, and a lightweight LRF type rod. I was also using the Tokushima GraphX reel – a very solid peice of kit indeed. To cut a long story short, I never managed to catch the legend of Llangorse (google it… go on !). I did manage to catch a lot of pike.

I can tell you that they don’t half scrap on that gear. I was using weedless soft plastic lures (the pike love to hide in the weed).

Best part of the trip was the capture of a really nice perch, which fought all of the way to the net. A lovely looking fish…

Anyone who tells you that lure fishing doesn’t work in cold water, is talking absolute rubbish. Give it a try and you will find out for yourself.

Next trip was going to be fly fishing from the kayak (Flyaking) at Wimbleball lake on the edge of Exmoor. Another really scenic location. I was lucky enough to be joined by my friend Alistair – great company and a great fisherman. The weather was hot and still, and the water was clear – not ideal conditions for trout fishing. But the fish were there, and when they started to bite, the action was intense. You could see every movement of the fish in the clear water.

We had the whole lake to ourselves – not another boat or bank fisherman in sight. It was a special day, in so many ways. One of those trips which cheers you up when you are having a bad day at work.

I ended up with my limit. And the Hobie kayak performed absolutely flawlessly – it was a joy to be afloat.

So on to the salt ! I was umming and ahhing as to where to go. Then my good friend James contacted me to tell me that the bream were in early, and there were some good ones being caught. So that made up my mind, and soon I was driving down South to the bream mark.

I was again blessed with fantastic kayak fishing conditions  – light winds, a decent sized tide and bright sunshine. I pedelled the Hobie Revolution 11 kayak out into the middle of the bay, and tied up to a pot bouy. I had been studying the surrounding ground on the fishfinder, and there was a nice mixture of reef, rock, stone and sand – a nice bit of mixed ground.

I was going to try something a bit different. A swimfeeder containing frozen fish oils and other assorted goodies. This was very similar to the SeaScenter…

https://www.veals.co.uk/acatalog/___Seascenter.html

…And I was convinced it was going to work, if, and it was a big “if”, the bream were around.

As it happened, I didn’t have too long to find out…. on my first cast, I managed to hook into a huge bream which sadly straightened the hook of the squid baited shrimpers I was using. The fish flapped on the surface for a split second, and then it was gone.

It mattered not, becuase over the space of the next few hours, I managed to catch lots of bream, including a couple over 3lbs. The biggest was a new personal best for me… a shocking 4lbs 2ozs. All those years I fished fromt he shore in Alderney, I never thought I would beat my personal best in the UK – but that’s kayak fishing.

Any fish over 4lbs is a cracker – I was over the moon.

Then just to make it an even better day, I managed a lovely looking spotted ray.

Three very different trips and different styles of fishing. All great in their own way, and why I love kayak fishing so much.

If you want to see more, watch the video Kayak Fishing for Bream.

 

The Ultimate Lure Machine ?

For the past 9 months I have been busy transforming my latest kayak into the ultimate lure fishing machine. The Hobie Revolution 11 was a great choice for a lure fishing platform for several reasons…

1. It’s light

2. It’s highly manouvreable

3. I can move hands-free (using the Hobie’s mirage drive system)

The third point is possibly the most important one, when it comes to fishing. Trying to lure fish and paddle at the same time, is almost impossible. Hobie’s mirage drive slots into the centre of the kayak and uses peddles to control a pair of fins under the kayak. Using your legs, “peddle power” can propell the kayak along at 5mph for long distances – alot quicker than you could paddle.

I have also been adding a few “extras” to the kayak. A down imaging fish finder, and GPS unit…

An XL rudder, to make the thing turn on a sixpence, and some HD AV equipment…

I even added a sail (and a livebait well which fits in the rear tankwell area)…

 

But why a kayak ? Well, I have fished from the shore for more years than I care to remember, and whilst I still love shore fishing, I wanted to get to the parts that other anglers could not reach. The kayak lets me do that, and in a very stealthy way – you can get very close to the fish before they know you are there. You can also get into very shallow water and reach parts of the coast which are unaccessible from the shore (or by traditional boats !).

Recently I fished some marks in Dorset, very close in – too shallow for boats and not possible to get to from the shore. Tackle-wise – I was using my trusty Teklon Concept 702(ML and L) rods. The 702L was paired with a Daiwa Luvias reel filled with 7kg Nanofil, and the heavier 702ML rod was using a Mitchell Mag Pro Extreme 2000 reel filled with Varivas braid. I have used these outfits alot from the kayak and they are ideal for this sort of work. Both outfits were using Berkley flourocarbon leaders.

I thought I would start off by plugging in the shallow water. I spent an hour peddling and drifting along the coast casting the Maria Chase BW into every likely looking area…

Nothing to show, not even a stray follower ! Time for a change. I switched to a senko worm rigged texas style, with a 7g conehead lead and using a worm hook – the whole thing was fished weedless style… the terrain I was fishing over was rough… boulders the size of cars, thick fronds of kelp and relatively shallow water. A tackle graveyard for normal methods, but fishing the senko in this way would minimise my losses.

I peddled along close into the cliff, keeping one eye on the fish finder and one eye on the rocks, whilst casting and retrieving at the same time. This is a dynamic form of fishing where the idea is to cover as much ground as possible in order to maximise your chances of locating the fish. It didn’t take long…

I had only just started to start reeling in the senko over a large boulder, when BANG – it was smashed by a decent fish. The rod arched and the reel screamed as the wrasse tore around in the shallow water. After a brief scrap and a couple of splashes, I boated the fish.

Not the biggest wrasse I have caught, but I am a sucker for this style of lure fishing. Its fun, and the action can be hectic. A number of other fish were captured and released that day, all inlocations which would not have been fishable without the kayak and without the tackle and tactics employed that day.

Then there is the possibilites offered by LRF using the kayak, but that is another story !

Plastic Fantastic…

Over the past few years there has been a big rise in the amont of people fishing with lures in saltwater. Back in the day, the likes of Mike Ladle and his books Operation Sea Angler and Hooked on Bass, inspired a generation of anglers to experiment with lures.  In particular hard plastic jointed plugs.

Since then, anglers like Henry Gilby and Keith White have popularised lure fishing in saltwater with soft plastics. This is a style of fishing which has a huge following in Japan, and the States. Its a different style of fishing, very unlike that which most shore fishermen are used to – and you need to get your head around that ! But if you like travelling light and moving around and “thinking” about your fishing – then I would recomend it.

Like most aspects of sport, you can take things to the extreme – particularly in terms of tackle. But if you are starting out, then look out for a 7 or 8 foot lure rod rated to cast 7-20g. A 3000 or 4000 sized reel filled with 10kg braid, and a 4 foot 15lb flurocarbon leader. From the kayak, I use a Teklon Concept 702 (ML/L) – and you could get away with this from the rocks too. I team this up with an Okuma RAW II 40 reel, 10kg Varivas braid and a 15lb Berkley flurocarbon leader.

A couple of years back, I started fishing Texas style – using special worm hooks and cone leads – the hook is buried in your choice of soft plastic lure. When fishing ver rough ground (usually where the fish are hiding !) this method reduces the amount of gear you lose quite considerably. Latex Senko worms are very popular for this style of fishing, especially for wrasse – and you can catch some really chunky specimens. A while back I was reading lots of articles about Isome power worms – these things look like ragworms, but are made of soft plastic and are scented. I had heard alot about them, people were even catching flounder and thin lipped mullet on them, so I had to give them a go.

First time out, I paddled out in the kayak to a spot I had never tried before – it looked promising, but I have to be honest, I didn’t rate my chances much. How wrong I was ! First cast, I hooked a pollack on the drop, this was followed by several other smaller ones and some wrasse – enough to prove the point.

Later on in the year, I managed a PB wrasse of well over 6lbs on a texas rigged soft plastic worm. I actually spotted the fish and cast to it, a bit like trout fishing – and once hooked, it towed the kayak along, putting up one hell of a scrap. I have caught some brutal wrasse in Alderney from the shore, but that was on very heavy gear. Fishing with lighter lure tackle is something else (and I havent even mentioned LRF !!!).

So, if you are like me, and you like to try different styles of fishing – give lure fishing a go, stick at it, and you might find yourself with a big grin on your face 😉

 

Jinza Sandy 100mm

Jinza Sandy 100mm Soft Pastic

Jinza Sandy

The Jinza Sandy is100mm, and a rather weird looking soft plastic, designed along the lines of a ragworm. The deeply ribbed rear imitates the legs and creates bubbles and turbulence. The fine tail adds movement and a strike ‘trigger’, the more solid head is ideal for mounting the hook, giving a firm hook hold.
Fished weedless or on a small jig these look the business for wrasse, bass, and pollack off the rocks or piers and they should really work well, mounted on a jig head twitched over sand, with the head bumping the bottom kicking up puffs of disturbance, but, as with all these lures the potential uses are only limited by your imagination.
8 lures per pack colours as above, and only £2.90 a pack.

Jinza Rocker Soft Plastic

Rocky Jinza Soft Plastic

Jinza Rocky Colours

The Jinza Rocker is a new slim sandeel type lure with a large paddle tail. This gives the soft plastic lure even more tail action to trigger strikes. Try fishing it slower, its great when fish such as Pollock or Bass do not want to chase after your bait, as you have a frantic tail action, even at a crawl.
The body is really supple but still reasonably strong, and, as it ‘folds’ easily, you stand a better chance of converting strikes into fish. They work well with slim jig heads, but can also be used on ‘ball’ type jig heads, or even un weighted on a long trace, ‘ redgill ‘ style.
When fitted with a jig head they can be either cast from shore or boat as well being fished from the boat ‘on the drift’, hopping, or on a long trace.
Two sizes125mm with 6 in a packet, or 150mm with 4 in pack, either for only £2.90 and you get to choose from the outstanding colours above.