Autumnal fishing…

Managed to get a pleasant few hours in this morning down at Chesil Beach with  a few fish to boot. I had been keeping an eye on the weather all week with the run of north easterlies due to break today  and for once the forecast held firm giving me the opportunity to go for it… an early start though as I wanted to fish high water down to low – high was around 5:30 a.m. I arrived bang on time, got my kit together and headed off into the dark… it was chilly.

Once I reached my preferred starting point it was a case of walking and casting and in the early darkness I opted for the trusted Zonk in Hot Shad flavour. Just as the light started to come up I had a hit but this was no bass and sure enough the first of about a dozen mackerel was found to be the culprit.

Like all mackies they do have a tendency to go nuts…

Same mackerel when it had decided to quieten down a bit…

It was obvious why they were there too… there was lots of evidence washed up with tiny bait fish strewn along the tide line of the shingle bank.

I was struggling to get past the mackerel to be honest – as well as the Zonk I took them on Gunfish at the surface and then the Duo Tide Vib Slim 140 deeper down though my hopes were raised when I had a more familiar take from a bass on the Duo lure. I didn’t get to land it as it shook itself off in the surf close in but, all the same, it was more encouraging. Lucky it wasn’t of any size otherwise I would have been less benevolent with myself!

A couple more mackerel followed but then finally I got my bass tally off the mark – nothing big but it put up a decent scrap nonetheless and was again a victim of the Duo Tide Vib Slim…

A word on the Duo lure, it seems to work well at this venue where it’s a relatively clean bottom and all the bass I caught on it today were by the sink and draw method allowing the weighted nose to sink fast. I’ve really enjoyed fishing this lure this year – it’s a bit different and in big surf it really does come into it’s own – casts well and doesn’t get bullied by the waves.

Another bass of similar size followed before a couple of other lure anglers caught up with me – they had similar success with mackies and small bass. By now it was getting on for 11 a.m. and I’d walked  a fair way so decided to about turn and fish my way back – I changed the lure back to a Zonk and immediately had  a take from a bass but it was another one that shook itself off in the surf and thankfully again it was no monster. Plodded back a further half mile and the Zonk was hit again and this felt slightly different with a lot of manic thrashing – the offender soon identified itself as a garfish… another lively customer!

Next cast and it was bass time again which thankfully didn’t unhook itself – like all they bass today they were not much to write home about but good sport on the lures…

One more followed but by now I was tiring so decided to call it a day and trudge back to the car into an annoying and increasing headwind! It was not the most pleasant walk I’ve ever done!

Here are a few more photos from today…

The Chesil sky today…

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The Megabass Zonk in Pearl Rainbow…

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Down at water level…

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So, as I say, a pleasant few hours and nice to pick up a mixed bag of fish – just need those bigger fish to play ball! Not sure when the next trip out will be but hopefully sooner rather than later – I reckon there’s some good Autumn ‘bassing’ to be had yet!

Until next time…

Lessons learnt…

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Well, I had an unexpected bonus this morning with the opportunity to get some fishing in for a few hours so even though it would be a solo trip this time I was more than happy to oblige. The wind was forecast as a north easterly veering to easterly so not ideal but I was keen so set the alarm for an early doors start down in The Purbecks. With coffee consumed on the drive down I was raring to go.

It was pitch black when I arrived but I could hear a steady surf rolling in which was encouraging. I quickly got prepped and set off to my first mark. The first spot I chose was not too rocky so I was hoping I wouldn’t have too many problems getting snagged in the dark, especially with a favoured Komomo II lure working just below the surface. Drag set on reel and I cast into the darkness. After several more casts working this part of the shore nothing materialised so as the light changed I decided to move on to rougher ground but continued with the same lure…. after two or three casts the lure was hit no more than a rod length away from my rod tip and ‘fish on’…. the silver flash as it hit followed by a surface roll  gave away it was a bass which was pleasing  but it very quickly went pear shaped. School boy error number one – always remember to tighten the drag more when moving from open to rough ground….the fish  made a dash for cover and in a split second I was stuck fast – no amount of coaxing could get it out and the inevitable happened with fish and lure lost. I hate losing lures but even worse when you know it could be still attached to the fish – hopefully the fish will lose it. In the course of all this I’d also managed to take a soaking as a wave slapped into the rock I was fishing from and covered me… I cursed slightly! At least the sunrise from this mark was worthy of a picture…

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It was time for a change of tact and I moved to a new mark and decided on trying a new soft lure I’d purchased after hearing of it’s apparent appeal to bass. It was the Fiiish Black Minnow which originates from France but has been getting results in UK and Irish waters by all accounts. I had it rigged with a 12g shore jig head and the 120 Khaki body. This lure comes in three parts – the jig head, the ‘Krog’ hook and then the soft body. Apart from looking appealing the real benefit is how the hook conceals itself in a similar way to a Texas rig hence making it less likely to snag in weedy and rocky marks:

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So, with the drag set and the Black Minnow rigged and ready to go (or so I thought) I cast out and literally within a couple of turns of the handle,  on my first cast with this the lure, it took a  great hit and line was starting to be taken as the fish headed out to sea…. this felt like a better fish and after I managed to get it back towards the shore the swirls on the surface and a sighting of the silver flank confirmed it….. then for the second time in no more than an hour things went pear shaped. The bass was only a few yards out now but made another surge for freedom, shook it’s head and the line went slack…. I was gutted but not as gutted as when I wound in to find the jig head and body in place but the just the hook gone. This was likely to have been my second schoolboy error – new lure, did I check it was 100% properly rigged – no I didn’t and I can only presume the fish took advantage of my shoddy rigging. Here’s how I think I must have rigged the hook and jig head:

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… and here’s how I should have checked it was rigged:

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You have to imagine the body part attached but I think the mistake is plain to see. I may have been extremely unlucky with the fish managing to shake the hook out of the correct position but I believe on balance of probability I contributed to my own downfall in this instance. So, once again I cursed myself – it’s a sickening feeling losing a decent fish in these circumstances but you have to take it on the chin and learn from it.

The positive note was that the lure was obviously attractive to the fish so I rigged up with another one – making sure the hook was set correctly this time – and had another go. There were no big takes again but I was getting tell tale nibbles from wrasse and one greedy one went for it…

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That was as good as it got and at around 11 a.m I called it  a day and headed back along the shore contemplating what might have been… there were some valuable lessons learned today for sure! It had been a lovely morning though so I mustn’t grumble… a bad days fishing is better than a good day at work after all!

Until next time…