Back on the kayak at last…

IMG_0947

Finally managed to get some time on the kayak today albeit with an early start to fit it in around work commitments. Window of opportunity was from dawn until around 10 o’clock in the morning and with the weather forecast set fair it was too good an opportunity to pass up. I can’t remember the last time I went out fishing on the kayak – it’s certainly been a while – too long if I’m perfectly honest!

Anyhow, my thoughts were to get on the water by 5 o’clock to give me about five hours fishing time. Venue was one fairly local to me in The Solent and I was hoping to have a bit of sport with the smooth hounds and  pick up some mackerel if they’ve made there way to The Solent yet! Conditions at launch were idyllic – flat calm with only a very slight breeze…

IMG_0944

Fished two rods, one with hermit crab and one I took a chance on using squid… the smuts do like it but so do the damn dogfish and you can guess what was the first fish to come aboard the yak this morning…

IMG_0948

There was a bit of low cloud and mist hugging the coast and it was cool for the first hour but nice to see the sun rising nonetheless…

IMG_0957

It wasn’t long before the smuts made an appearance – not big at all but good fun all the same. Both the starry and original flavour made an appearance – three in total in fairly quick succession interspersed with a couple more pesky dogfish. Here’s a couple of the smuts…

IMG_0951

IMG_0954

I rarely use a rod to catch mackerel from the kayak and just use a hand line that I attach and leave out under the kayak. Things were pretty slow on that front though but I did eventually pull up a single very small mackerel which I decided to use as a live bait to see if I could tempt a bass – it didn’t work and the live bait soon became a dead bait! Undeterred, I wasn’t going to waste the mackerel but guessed a fillet would only attract the dogfish so opted to try the head and guts and that did pay dividends when up came a 50cm bass of probably 2.5lb… dinner sorted!

IMG_0958

IMG_0959

Encouraged by this I concentrated on the trying to get another mackerel on board but they were not playing ball at all with the feathers. Time was getting on by now and I had packed one rod up when the crab rod started to rattle – definitely not a smooth hound bite and it didn’t seem to be a bass bite either… irrespective, I connected but was gobsmacked to find a greedy mackerel had taken the crab! That’s a first for me without  a doubt! This one I decided to keep for another day but as it happened it ended up in the smoker tonight and damn good it was too!

IMG_0963

So there you have it, nice to get back out on the yak even if only for a short foray on local waters. Final fish count was four doggies, three smuts, two mackies and a bass! Hopefully, can get out a bit more over the summer and for a bit longer all being well… definitely will if this week’s weather continues. Off to Cornwall for a family break in a weeks time so that will probably be my next chance to fish though that will be back on the lures from the shore – looking forward to it though!

Until next time…

First bass of 2012…

Finally…. yes, the first lure caught bass of the year! No pictures of the fish I’m afraid but went for a local session with my pal Nobby and we both notched our first silver bars of the year!

We had intended to head down to Dorset but the weekend got away with us a bit so we ended up taking a punt locally in The Solent and eventually it paid dividends with around a dozen fish between us as the tide came up. Nothing big – up to 3lb maximum but great to get off the mark and get used to those hits again. It was quite a challenging mark in more ways than one with obstructions making it difficult in a running tide. It had been a slow start to be honest and we were almost thinking of calling it a day when I hit into the first fish. This was about an hour before high water with the tide running hard and from then on we hit them fairly regularly for the next hour and a half. The majority were taken at medium distance either lower down on Zonks or in the top water on Komomo II’s though I did take one on a Rapala X-Rap and one on an OSP Rudra. All good scrappers! Had a few that dropped off as well and a  lure lost amongst the obstructions but pleasing to finally catch this year!

IMG-20120514-00100The main lures of choice for me yesterday (above)

Hopefully, a sign that things are picking up a bit after what seems to have been a slow start to the season in many areas. More encouraging signs offshore were terns and gulls working the surface which until yesterday I hadn’t seen much of this year in the Solent area – usually a good sign there are smaller fry around that predatory fish are stalking. Not sure on work commitments this week, or indeed the weather, but yesterday’s success might just prompt a mid week evening session!

Until next time…

New ground…

IMG_0933

As alluded to in my previous post I was off work on Tuesday so wanted to take the opportunity to fish. Ideally I wanted to get out on the kayak but with the recent back problems and the two dogs in tow that wasn’t really an option so I decided on trying somewhere I’ve never tried before and that was Chesil beach. Possibly a bit early in the season for the bass to take a lure here by all accounts but worth doing a recce anyway was my thought plan.

As it turned out it was difficult fishing – not because of the conditions more to do with the dogs!! I’ve taken them in the past so I don’t know why I was surprised that I spent most of my time  keeping them out of trouble rather than fishing! Lesson finally learnt on that front! Matters weren’t helped when a hare, yes a hare, turned up on the beach and the youngest dog Woody took after it!!

Butter wouldn’t melt… honest…

IMG_0939

Anyhow, that was only the start of an eventful day though no fish showed up. Tried off the top and with deeper diving plugs and had no takers. Water was a bit dirty but calm enough – everywhere seems slow at the minute judging by forum reports and such like. After a fruitless three hours I decided to use the rest of the day to check out some other parts of the coast on a leisurely drive home. The dogs were playing up as I de-rigged at the car chasing a pheasant round the car park so in my haste getting them in the car I left a lure on the roof… I only found that out though when I saw it in the mirror flying off my roof into the front grill of the lorry following me somewhere between Abbotsbury and Portesham! I was not amused, the dogs were asleep!

On the way home stopped off at a venue for future reference and again took the mutts with me – not a bad looking spot…

IMG-20120508-00090

Walking back involves a climb up a narrow path and it was here I had my second wildlife encounter of the day – a full grown adder sat basking in the sun. Luckily the dogs were behind me and the snake didn’t hang around long enough for them to investigate it any closer!

Drove home after that, no fish again but good to explore a new stretch of the coast nonetheless. The day got worse after I got home to be honest with chronic tooth ache setting in to compliment my back issues!

Hopefully, get the chance to fish later in the  weekend but we’ll see.

Until next time…

Keeping track…

It’s been a bit of a frustrating start to the year on the fishing front – what with a few recent blanks, the inclement weather and to top it all off the end of last week I put my back out… especially frustrating as I had plans to get out on the kayak this weekend but there is no way I can lift it on and off the car at the moment let alone paddle any distance.

I did try a spot of lure fishing locally on Saturday morning but the water was more or less yellow, it started to rain heavily and for the start of May it was bloody freezing! I lasted about an hour before heading home for breakfast with my back griping even more – in retrospect a pointless trip but I was desperate to wet a line!

Anyway, I’ve rested up the last couple of days and with tomorrow being an extra day off work for me I have a plan – if the back plays ball – to try again with the lures…  but with the dogs in tow it will be a tad harder to concentrate on the fishing! With this in mind I’m planning to head to unchartered territory for me which is Chesil beach. Not sure exactly where along Chesil yet as it’s a big old beach but I will use tomorrow to give a small part of it a recce and of course take the dogs for a healthy long walk.

This brings me nicely to the point of this post. There is probably no more  a renowned fishing mark on the south coast than Chesil but for someone who has never fished it where do you start? Yes, you can do your research, if you’re lucky get some information from people that know, but there is really no substitute for getting out there and finding it out for yourself – there really aren’t many shortcuts and personally working something out for yourself is a lot more satisfying when things then do come off. That doesn’t mean I will go unprepared – I always try to give myself the best possible chance of catching… and there’s one piece of kit I’ve found I am using more and more frequently with my lure fishing and that’s my GPS unit loaded with BlueChart maps.

 

GPS

Originally, I’d bought the unit to use with my kayak fishing not only as a safety aid to track positioning on the water but also to mark spots where I’ve taken fish, interesting features in the water, etc. Not rocket science but it made sense to take it on my lure fishing jaunts and begin to mark fishing spots even down to individual rocks, places I’ve taken fish, routes to marks… you catch my drift! Over time hopefully it will give me a decent picture of where I’ve caught and where I haven’t – obviously to be considered bearing in mind other factors such as the conditions and tides.

My particular unit is the Garmin 60Csx and has been loaded with MapSource BlueChart software which links to the unit via your computer. You can transfer maps, tracks, waypoints, etc. between the two as you would expect. BlueChart  itself maps things like wrecks, significant rocks, and no end of other nautical information but the biggest plus in my book is it charts water depth. This means you can see where drop offs in the sea bed might occur and it follows that these are the sort of places you might find fish waiting for their next meal? Here are a few screenshots to show you what I mean…

This screenshot from BlueChart shows the changes in water depth at a particular spot…

BlueChart2

The blue flags in the picture below are waypoints I have marked that I wanted to try out…

BlueChart3

The yellow dotted track in this screenshot is the route I had taken along the coast with the blue flags marking prominent rocks I’d fished from…

BlueChart1

Finally in terms of screenshots, the blue flags below show the spots I have marked offshore when fishing from the kayak…

BlueChart4

So, as the rain continues to pour down outside, this afternoon I will probably spend a good block of time looking at Chesil on BlueCharts to see if I can pick some likely spots along the beach where there might be drop offs or features to give me a bit of help in my fishing reconnaissance mission tomorrow! You never know I may even be able to put a waypoint or two in with ‘Bass caught here’ marked against it?!! I hope to report back as such!

Until next time…