Well, it was nice to see a bass at least!

IMG_1431

A late start to work on Friday meant a small window of opportunity to fish and with Nobby free as well we thought we’d chance our arm early doors. Conditions didn’t look ideal with northerly winds but nothing ventured, nothing gained and with reports of a few fish starting to show we headed off to Dorset.

Arrived a bit later than hoped with the light already upon us so we rigged up and marched off at military pace! Soon enough we were at the shore and keeping an eye on the water for signs of fish we headed west – it was calm and very clear though there were patches of water that had a bit of colour to them which was more encouraging than the aquarium like clarity I’ve experienced on my last couple of trips. It was currently low water and there were plenty of exposed rocks to fish from on the way but alas there were no takers for our early offerings of Komomo’s, Sammy’s or Salt Skimmers. On we trudged and eventually found some nice colour in fairly shallow water and after switching to his trusty Feed Shallow Nobby was in! A nice hit and scrap resulting in the biggest fish of the day around the 3.5lb mark.

IMG_1432

I moved on round the coast to look at some ground I’d never reached before but with low water it was even shallower – literally ankle deep for way, way out. Took a couple of pictures for reference though as I’m sure on the flood it would produce…. picture shows how benign the conditions were as well.

IMG_1434

IMG_1436

I headed back round the corner to where Nobby was fishing – he’d only gone and had another one on the Feed Shallow! This one was only a small fish though. Next cast for him disaster struck when this trusty Feed Shallow snagged and with a ping and much cursing it was consigned to Davy Jones Locker. Unperturbed, a new Feed Shallow was deployed and he was fishing again….. only for five minutes later that one to get snagged as well with the same inevitable ping and more profanities from Nobby! That was the end of that…. or so we thought as within a couple of casts yours truly fishing a Maria Fake Bait NL got his lure snagged and this time it was my turn to be snapped off….. but I noticed the lure pop up to the surface very quickly so waders were put to good use and I  managed to walk out and pick it up and in the process, by complete fluke, also found one of Nobby’s Feed Shallows as well!

We started our move back along the shore and fished a nice channel of deeper, cloudier water. We were both fishing Zonk’s now but my offerings were definitely giving out bad vibes as Nobby picked up a further three small fish with no reply from myself! That’s how it goes some days I guess?!

P5010012

P5010016

Time ticked on and despite fishing our way all the way back there was nothing further to report. The long trudge up the hill saw us back on top of the cliffs looking down… I’m probably fitter this year than last but those climbs don’t get any easier – whole lot of hurt by the time you reach the top!

So, a big fat blank for me and I’m still to break my bass duck for the year while Nobby bagged the lot on this trip out…. but as the title of the post says it was nice to see a bass at least and as always with great company and banter!

Until next time…

A head banging experience…

P4050011

Well, the first session of the season did not turn out quite as planned though it had it’s moments even if there were no fish to report… and yes, first session equals first blank!

Nobby and myself had been in a bit of a quandary where to fish but the temptation of Dorset was strong and so we decided to head that way despite not hearing of any bass being taken from the shore there to lures so far this season. It was a lovely morning and  place to be come what may so a useful early season recce at the very least was to be had.

Arrived, got our clobber together and marched off to the coastal path which had changed somewhat since the last time we visited this venue with one of the infamous Dorset landslips taking account of an area of the path down. Slight detour required but no other dramas on the way down… what we could see was gin clear water with very little movement which was not ideal. At the shore, after a few minutes deciding which direction to head, we decided on due east towards a prominent headland.

Up close water clarity was as clear as I have ever seen it down here and several shoals of mullet could be seen cruising around…. shame there weren’t any bass amongst them though. Started with the old faithful lure’s like Feed Shallow’s and  Zonk’s but not a sniff for either of us… it had the feeling of being an unproductive day so I decided to switch to soft plastics and in particular some new one’s for me. First up was the Wave Bamboo Stick Worm rigged on a hitch hiker hook – this is a weedless and weightless  set up so ideal for shallow ground rigged like this – it bounces along nicely in and out of the rocky gullies – liked it and it casts superbly for a soft plastic worm with no weight… think this will be a winner (famous last words!). Next up was The Arrow Flash J shad which again I rigged with the hitchhiker hook and that too had a superb action in the water… I see no reason why that won’t catch over the course of the year either.

IMG_1396

All said and done though we were not getting any interest from bass, wrasse or even small pollack whatsoever and a quick dunk of the hand in the sea told you all you need to know about reasons why the fish aren’t that active yet…. water temperature is still damn cold!

So, we marched on round the coast and then the main event of the day occurred. Nobby was probably 50 yards ahead of me so I was walking to catch him up when climbing over the rocks I lost my footing and I was over… stupidly using my head to cushion my landing! Yes, there was claret and I’m nursing a nice bruise as I write this for my efforts. Thankfully, I always carry a first aid kit with me so we were able to deal with it easily…. a valuable lesson though and a reminder that it’s probably the most important bit of kit you can take with you. Here’s the cleaned up head this morning – doesn’t look much but the bruise is smarting a bit today… excuse the greying hair!

Head wound 2

More disastrously, once we’d sorted the head wound I thought I’d snapped the tip ring off my rod but on closer inspection it had just popped off. Luckily we were able to slide it back on 90% of the way and it was a good snug fit meaning I could carry on fishing – was lucky there! Repair required but nowhere near as bad as it could of been and a quick text conversation with Richard at Dorset Fishing Rods has since pointed me in the right direction.

We carried on fruitlessly along the shore but it was beautiful out there so I wasn’t complaining…. it was just nice to be out and trying out some new lures and other kit.

IMG_1398

On that note a quick word on the Maxpedition Sitka sling bag… this was it’s first fishing outing and early impressions are terrific. Was exceptionally comfortable to have on all day and was great not having to take a bag off my shoulder every time I wanted to change lure or such like. It’s spacious and rugged too and all in all I think I may well have found my ideal solution for a fishing lure bag. We’ll see…

IMG_1403

That pretty much was it it for the day apart from a steep hike back up the cliff face and a trudge back to the car in the sun. All in all valuable lessons learnt once more and nice to get back in the swing of things after the long Winter lay off….. just need the bass to show up now!

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…

More blanking…

IMG_0910

Just another quick blank report!

Undeterred by a couple of these blanking sessions in Dorset of late I had the opportunity to try again yesterday for that elusive first lure caught bass of the year and made my way down to the Purbeck coast to try my luck for a few hours. Unfortunately, once again, the bass had other ideas and it’s another big fat blank to report for the year’s tally!

I arrived early and was fishing half an hour before sunrise I’d guess. As the light improved I could see the water conditions were better than of late with a bit of colour in the water without it being too dirty. There was little movement in the water though – conditions were very calm although there was evidence of the stormier weather we’d had the previous weekend with some fresh weed deposits on the shoreline.

I had fished this location recently but on that occasion had headed west along the coast where there was predominantly shallower water. This time I decided to trudge east where I knew there was much deeper water with the plan being to explore some areas I had never previously reached. In this respect I was successful – finding some very interesting ground and marks which were all logged in the GPS unit for future reference! The depth of water also gave me the chance to try out some of the deeper diving lures in my tackle box which I’d ‘accumulated’ over the winter and with still relatively clear water I was able to judge and tweak the action of the lures at different retrieval speeds which was useful. 

Here’s some shots of the ground I was fishing…

IMG_0900

IMG_0909 IMG_0907 IMG_0908

By the time I had reached pretty much as far as I could it was more than clear the fish had won again so I about turned and headed back from whence I had came… it’s a bit of an epic making your way along this stretch of coast – not for the faint hearted at times that’s for sure and travelling light is definitely the key!  A good decision to head back when you look at this picture of the storm heading east…

IMG_0914

So, no fish of any shape or size to report but I will keep trying as it won’t be long now I’m sure!

Until next time…

Fishless but not useless…

Well, I managed another lure session yesterday down in the depths of Dorset but it was fruitless again in respect of fish caught and even bites come to that.

Arrival was before the crack of sparrows but the lack of any noise from the sea when I stepped out of the car gave me a hint it might be a slow day. Nevertheless, still in the dark, I threw on the waders grabbed my kit and began my trudge to the first mark. First lure on was the shallow running Komomo II which can be fished with a steady slow retrieve but after several minutes of casting the lure into the darkness I changed over to a good old redgill… nothing, so I moved on but as the light came up there was still little going on. A couple of other anglers came along the shore but having chatted with them not a lot seemed to have worked for them either.

Undeterred, I headed west in the direction of where some of the other anglers had been, and keeping an eye on the water as I tend to do, noticed some mullet  lapping at the surface close in. I scuffed up the weed on the shore but couldn’t see the expected idotea maggots which I presumed the mullet must be gorging on as they washed into the sea on the rising tide. Bit of a mystery but maybe it was the microscopic eggs of the idotea which I couldn’t see that they were after? Pure speculation of course! I hung around here for a while hoping that there might be a bass amongst the mullet willing to take a lure but I couldn’t see any spiky friends amongst them save for one solitary fish… but what a beauty it was – easily the biggest bass I have seen down here. Even taking into account the magnifying effect of water I would estimate it was a 70cm fish at least and broad across the back too. However, this bass  was not lapping at whatever was holding the mullet’s interest at the surface.  Still, although no takers it was encouraging to know the fish were about!

Mullet…

I moved on to some slightly deeper water and plugged away with a couple of different Zonk’s for a bit but before I knew it the tide had turned and was ebbing away really quickly… so quick in fact that by the time I had started to head back along the shore the sea bed in the bays I had previously been fishing, and where I’d seen the mullet feeding, were now completely exposed. Coming off the back of spring tides the extremity of the the ebb was such that I was able to note some additional features, channels and gullies which I’d not noticed before. All useful information and the kind of places that bass like to hang out and ambush their prey when the tide is up. Hopefully, I can remember this and put to good use later in the year!

Gullies…

Low water…

Water clarity…

So no fish – a blank report! My next trip down to this spot won’t be until the water has had a chance to stir up a bit I think. It’s been too clear and calm my last two visits and whether it’s a coincidental or not I’m not sure but the fish just haven’t played ball when the conditions were as they were. Still, there was useful information gleaned and happy to see the mullet around in numbers – a good sign in my book that the bass population here will increase over the coming weeks.

Until next time…

Clear water frustrations

Managed to blag a day off work yesterday with full intentions of getting out on the kayak in the great weather of late but bad planning on my part meant I left things too late to get myself organised and so my plan was changed to try another lure session in The Purbecks again to see if any bass were showing.

With the Kimmeridge area out of bounds I decided to try a mark to the east which has produced for me in the past so the alarm was set for 4 a.m. in anticipation. This all went to plan and I was parked up and ready for the hike down to the mark by 5.30 a.m. and I was sending my first cast out about an hour before sunrise… it was eerily quiet with flat water barely lapping the shoreline.

First lure on was a Komomo II Joker Flashing Plate which I was fishing over a shallow area where a small stream ran into the bay and second cast – bang! – the lure was hit… but in a blink of an eye it was gone – frustrating but encouraging nonetheless. I worked the area hard for the next half hour but disappointingly there was not a hint of a fish around. As it got light I moved round the bay on to more rocky terrain and tried my luck from there – there was little movement in the water and it was ridiculously clear but I  plugged away for another hour or so without a look in.

By now the tide was on it’s way in and the water was a little deeper in places so I’d switched to a Megabass Zonk working the fringes of gullies and out of the blue I got  follow but no take… definitely a bass which followed right up to the point I couldn’t wind the lure any more before it got spooked and was gone. I cast out again in the direction the fish headed off in and again what looked like the same fish followed the Zonk in. I just couldn’t get it to take the lure in the clear water despite varying the speed of the retrieve. After several, more casts it was obvious that this fish was well and truly spooked and had made off. I carried on amongst the rocks and in a shallower mark tried the Komomo II Sardine and first cast, another follow but again no take – this was very frustrating! It really got me thinking though and I tried as many different retrieval speeds as I could, scaled down the lure size, tried surface lures, soft plastics but nothing could entice the fish to take.

I carried on around the coast with the sun starting to blaze down but it was so calm and clear I just knew  it was one of those days where I could have been there until nightfall and not had a sniff. This picture doesn’t to the water clarity justice but it will give you an inkling of what it was like…

So, after a promising start and a few follows I was beaten for the day and headed back along the shore and up the steep climb to the car park.

I’ll have to read up on other’s idea’s for lure fishing in such clear and bright conditions to see if there is something I’m missing!! Still, it’s early for bass here and to see a few fish around was encouraging.

Lovely spot though and at least I managed to get some semi-decent photos…

Rocky marks…

Waterfall…

An impressive ammonite fossil on the walk back…

Blue sky, rocks and clear water…

No fishes but hopefully the coming weeks will prove a little more fruitful.

Until next time…

Well, I was due a blank…

IMG_0797

After singing the praises of the new rod including the fact I hadn’t ‘blanked’ with it, the title of this post says it all really! I had planned to head down to one of the usual haunts down in Dorset on Sunday and despite being thrown a last minute curve ball as an option (cheers Rich!) I thought it best to stick to plan. To be honest the signs weren’t encouraging beforehand with easterly winds forecast which never seem to really produce here. Nonetheless, by 4:15am I was on the road but it was not a pleasant trip down there in the darkness with thick fog all the way. When I arrived, still in the fog and pitch black, it didn’t sound good either with some hoofing waves crashing in.

I made my way round the foreshore all the while listening to the relentless waves pounding in – there wasn’t much wind but it was obvious there was a serious swell out there and as it got light so it proved – easily the biggest waves I’ve seen down here though the pictures don’t do it justice… the amount of surfers who turned up during the day was testament to what it was really like though! It wasn’t choppy at all but because of the swell and crashing waves the water was filthy which was not encouraging conditions to throw a lure into. A little colour, yes, but this was almost black in parts where the silt was washed off the shore.

Still, I was intent on giving it a go and there were some good deposits of weed around which might help me out on the rising tide so I had a little hope… hope which unfortunately evaporated slowly as the session progressed. I did not get even a knock all day – not one!!  Sub-surface lures were more often than not getting clogged with weed, surface lures faired little better and even the soft plastics on the Texposer hooks I tried failed to entice anything. It was just one of those days where it was all wrong.

It was good for my fitness though – not just climbing over rocks and boulders but also hop-scotching backwards as I played chicken with some of the bigger waves that looked like they might get me seriously wet. It was challenging conditions to say the least!

Did manage a couple of nice sunrise pictures though!

IMG_0800

IMG_0801

A disappointing session on the fish front but I do love it down in this part of the world and as the saying goes ‘a bad days fishing is better than a good day at work’… and it’s true in my book!

Hopefully, if the weather holds and we aren’t plunged into a cold snap there will still be sessions to be had down here and hopefully a bass or two to be caught… fingers crossed.

Until next time…