Tag Archives: Veals

Penn Rampage Is Back!

We didn’t think it would be possible to improve on this fabulous rage of boat and shore rod’s, but that’s exactly what Penn have done. Give us a call on 01275 892000 if you are interested in upgrading your tackle for the new season or take a look at the new range on the website, veals.co.uk.

We will price match any genuine like for like advertisement on any of the Penn Rampage II range!


Big Bass for Mike

Feeding Mullet

Steve Pitts image of the feeding mullet

A couple of days back I wasn’t intending to go fishing but when my pal Steve rang and said that he had a free evening and could drive down from Bristol I couldn’t resist. Now, to begin at the beginning, I’ve hardly seen a mullet this year and although we were going to a potential mullet hotspot we thought that taking the fly gear would be futile. WRONG!!! Anyway, we only took the spinning rods in hopes of a bass. When we got to our appointed place, guess what? It was heaving with surface feeding mullet. There were no obvious Coelopa maggots in the water but clearly the mullet were skimming what there were from the surface film. Bugger!!!!! We flogged away for a couple of hours with poppers, plugs and soft plastics and eventually Steve had a couple of schoolies on a shallow diving plug. He was well pleased because it is some time since he caught a bass. The weather was superb so we went home happy with our fishing.

The following day Nigel rang me and I told him about the mullet so he decided to give them a try (I had to do the shopping so couldn’t join him). As it turned out the mullet didn’t appear until much later than the previous day (WHY???), so even though he had the fly gear and some lively maggots he didn’t catch any. Again he had to be satisfied with a couple of small bass caught by spinning.

Two days later I could resist no longer so I primed the alarm for 03:30, set up the spinning rod and prepared for an early morning stint after the bass. When I got to the coast it was just coming light and I hadn’t been fishing long before it became apparent in the calm conditions that there were lots of smallish fish (0.5lb to 2lb?) attacking small fry. Whatever they were I couldn’t tempt them. I thought that it was probable they were feeding on little fish of some description and again I cursed myself for not taking the fly rod (will I never learn?). I fished for an hour-and-a-half with only two schoolies to show for my efforts (Is there a pattern emerging here?). Then I decided to walk back to the car. On my way I passed a nice looking gulley with lots of loose kelp in the water. I couldn’t resist a cast with my weedless Slandra and blow me down, on the first chuck it was followed in almost to my feet by a big bass. Ten more minutes of cast and retrieve didn’t elicit any more follows so rather disappointed I went on home for breakfast.

I was encouraged so I decided to have another go the following morning, this time taking my fly gear. When I arrived at the coast I found several early rising anglers had beaten me to it but I bashed on and began fly fishing. This time NOTHING!!! The conditions appeared to be identical but where I had seen so many rising fish the previous morning there were none. After I’d been fishing for a little while my mates Rob and Mike arrived and started spinning but it soon seemed pretty obvious that we weren’t going to tempt anything substantial. This time I’d brought a couple of Waitrose pilchards with me thinking that I might be able to tempt the biggie that I’d seen the day before and I said to Rob that I was going to go to where I’d seen it and try free-lining a pilchard on my spinning rod and a 6/0 circle hook.

I left the others flogging away and plodded back to my mark. By this time it was low water and the gulley was empty so I walked along the ledge until I found about 30cm of water and gently lowered my pilchard onto a small patch of clean ground. I opened the bale arm and walked back until I found a comfy boulder to sit on and perched myself for a bit of a wait. I had the rod across my knees and held the braid between my fingers just in case. I’d nothing to do but wait for the tide to rise and it was fifteen minutes or so before a tiny patch of weed disappeared signalling that it was on its way in. After another five or ten minutes there was probably an extra 30cm of depth and suddenly I felt the line twitch in my fingers. Now there are many exciting moments in fishing but for me this is one of the best.

The bow in the braid straightened and then fell slack again. I was holding my breath in anticipation but it was probably another minute before the line tightened again and began to run out through my fingers. Faster and faster it went and I guessed that probably ten metres had gone by the time I decided to engage the bale arm. The braid straightened and the tip of the rod began to curve round. The clutch began to zuzz and I was in! I staggered to my feet (I’d been sitting on that cold rock for quite a while) and raised the rod to gain some sort of control. At the end of the line there was a mighty boil and the fish tore away out to sea as I guided the line round the boulders and weed. At this point I was really glad of the longish rod which allowed me to reach over a big lump of shale sticking up from the ledge. After that the bass behaved itself perfectly, stopping my heart by thrashing occasionally but mainly taking line against the clutch until eventually I was able to draw it back and slide it ashore onto the wet piles of kelp.

A couple of photos, unhook it, weigh it, 4.4kg (9.75lb) and then slip it back. Fantastic! I smiled all the way home. I almost felt that I deserved that one. Thank heavens for Waitrose sardines and I’ve still got two left.

4SureSpin and Varivas Circle hook take a 9lb+

9lb+ Bass for Mike on a Circle Hook.

Ecogear Power Shads

Described on the packet as ‘Strong’ these Power Shads from Ecogear certainly are. When we first saw them we were amazed….. even pulling from the tails they took some real effort to snap, if you pull only the body they are almost unbreakable!!

Power shad almost unsnapable

Power Shad nowhere near full stretch !

We all know how annoying it is to get your expensive lure ripped apart or the tail nipped off after hardly any use. We are not saying that these will not get trashed but even the tail really takes some serious effort to break off, and it is almost impossible to snap the body. Obviously something with teeth can cut it, but even then its much tougher than anything else we have found in soft plastic. All of this does not matter if the action is rubbish but just checkout the tail movement in this video

All this technology you might expect to cost a bundle but with the 5″ at 4 for £1.99 and the 6″ at 4 for £2.99 they are very affordable. Available in the following colours in the soft plastic section of our lures section.

All the ecogear power shad colours

Power Shad Colours

Skyroad by Major Craft

Just a quick note to say that we are expecting our stock of these fine lure rods in very soon, hopefully by Friday 20th. If you have your sites set on one of Henry Gilbey’s “Rod of the Year’ it might pay to give us a ring soon. Supplies of the Skyroad are limited as its not just in the UK that the lightness and action have been noted and there is world wide demand.

A Trip to Look Back On

One Crazy Half Hour In June

I fish on my own more often than not. It’s not that I’m misanthropic; its more because I tend to follow the weather and then make a mad dash for the shore from my Midlands base only when I’m sure it’s right. To make the most of the day, I usually start pretty early, which also puts a lot of people off.

And so it was that I set off at 3am one morning last June to fish the rock marks of North Wales for Pollack and maybe a Tope. Unusually for me I had arranged to meet up with someone; John Mason (photographer and author of “Shore Fishing: A Guide to Cardigan Bay”).

The start wasn’t promising. The forecasted calm and sunny day didn’t look like it was going to materialise and instead we were greeted with mist and murk. No matter, we’d come this far so we soldiered on down to the mark. The rock was slippery and initial forays into these mysterious waters weren’t too promising either. We’d hoped to find Mackerel in abundance, but they were conspicuous by their absence. Perhaps the recent blows had dispersed them and all we could find were the occasional smallish (3/4 – 1lb) Pollack close in to feathers and SP’s.

Little by little though, the Sun did its job and the mist was finally burnt off to reveal the promised sunny day; and with the Sun came the fish. First up were a couple of Mackerel on my Teklon 832 lure rod. And then we both started to find them; sporadic, but there. These were quickly converted in Tope baits and slung out to my favoured spot. We both carried on picking up the small Pollack as well.

John decided to give the mini species a bit of a workout and did a bit of drop-shotting. I switched to soft plastics and kept an eye on the “Tope” rod. I had just mentioned that I hadn’t seen any Corkwing Wrasse at this mark when he promptly pulled one out! And then another. As he turned to show me the second one I hooked into something much bigger on my Teklon 832. After staving off the initial dive, I managed to bring it in to the foot of the rocks. It then dived powerfully and started stripping line off my Shimano Rarenium 4000 reel (loaded with 30lb Power Pro. After a few more dives and a few hairy moments with braid coming perilously close to barnacle covered rock, I eventually clambered back up the rocks with this:

Pollack from the shore on Teklon 832 rod

Kevin Doughty with his PB shore Pollack

At just over 6lb (6lb and ¾ of an ounce to be precise) it was a new shore caught PB for me.
With the photo-shoot over I looked across to see my “Tope” rod tip nodding away. “Rattling bite or something more”, I wondered? I rushed over to it and could line flying off the soft-set drag of my Abu 7000HS mag reel, with no immediate sign of stopping. No doubting what it was I called over to John, who promptly reeled in the other rods and grabbed his camera. I lifted the rod, tightened up the drag a little and struck. Fish on! It took some more line but I managed to turn it and gain quite a bit back. It didn’t like that and promptly took it back off me. I was clear this would take a bit of time so I settled onto a comfortable perch, and let it pull, again and again.
John would know better than me as I lost track of time but I guess after around 10-15 minutes we finally got a glimpse of the quarry:
A great big female Tope.

Shore Tope on Varivas 25lb mainline

Big Shore Tope on Varivas Line

Finally she was beat and I got the shock-leader knot onto the reel. We looked around for a place to land it but it was clear that the combination of the state of tide and the swell meant that it would be nigh on impossible at this mark on this day to bring it up onto the rocks without doing it serious harm. And neither of us wanted that. I dropped down into a gully and grabbed the lead (pulley rig). Damn! I’d have liked the big Photo of me holding this magnificent creature aloft, but not at the expense of injury to it. And so off it went, with an 8/0 circle hook in its scissors and a few feet of 200lb Varivas mono (hook length).
We both had a good look at the fish. John has caught plenty of Tope in his time and reckoned it was a good 45lber. I’m happy with that.

I clipped in another rig, baited up and re-cast. Almost straight away I had another “run”. This one didn’t feel as big, but it dropped the bait and left me with half a mackerel that looked like it had been attacked with razor blades. That really was one crazy half hour

Kevin Doughty

Skyroad from Major Craft

Major Craft Skyroad Lure Rod

Skyroad Rods from MasterCraft

Recently given the accolade of Henry Gilbey’s ‘Rod of the Year’ the Skyroad from MajorCraft is without doubt a cracking lure rod. Almost as light as a feather these really are a super rod, but this brings its own problems for us retailers as supply from Japan is always a problem. As importers of the superb Varivas tackle we know all about extended Japanese delivery dates and the Skyroads are no exception. We are fortunate that we have managed to secure a number of the delivery, due to arrive, early January. We are taking pre-orders ( we do not charge you until the goods are ready to dispatch ) by phone at present so if your interested give a ring 01275 89 2000, we are open again on Friday 27th December.

https://www.veals.co.uk/acatalog/MajorCraft.html  or go to Home, then Lure Rods and look for Major Craft.


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 !