Friday, 30 November 2012


Had a call from me old mate Henry Gilbey last week to see if I was able to take a couple of days off from work and go fishing with him - not needing a second invitation I obviously replied YES!  Along for the ride was a camera man John and director Alex to film a couple of short films for the Tight Lines programme on Sky Sports 2, to showcase how effective fishing soft plastics for wrasse and pollack can be. Henry was a bit nervous to say the least as its been quite a while since his last television work but he needn't have been as he is a natural! His excitement and enthusiasm manifest into great television!!

I was nervous myself as the fishing has been so good just recently but would it fire in front of the cameras??????????????????

Plans were drawn up that they would fly in from Newquay with the islands own airline, Skybus, on Tuesday afternoon and have an early night before hitting the wrasse marks all day Wednesday and then the pollack marks on the Thursday before they jumped on the plane back to Newquay late that afternoon. A good plan we thought and we had Neil down from Bryher to fish as well so we were all set. Or so we thought!!! The few days before they were to arrive it had, like the rest of the country, been raining continuously meaning all flights from Lands end were cancelled due to water logging and the seriously strong winds meant no flights from Newquay either - they were stuck!!! After a phone call from Henry they decided that they would try again the next day, weather permitting! Thankfully Thursday dawned and the wind had eased enough for them to fly over at lunch time meaning an already short period of time to film was cut in half again! Christ could we actually do it in that time Neil and I thought?? Seeing as we were running out of time, Neil and I decided to do a reccy around St. Mary's in order to find somewhere to fish meaning as soon as they landed we could go straight there no messing!! There was still too much swell under the airport where we had planned to take them so we stomped round to Peninnis to gauge the fishing. Half an hour later and we had managed eight wrasse and a small pollack on the back tide, this would make the flood tide even more productive. But there was still the North East wind to contend with so we both decided that we would fish under the Garrison at a spot I have caught plenty of tidy wrasse before. Picking up Henry and the crew we told them of the change of plan and headed straight out there. It looked perfect with flat calm sea, no swell and lots of boulders!!! We all rigged up with various soft plastics and cast out, bang bang bang we were all into fish straight away!!!! At times it was mental with all three of us into wrasse at the same time, it seemed like the place was literally carpeted with wrasse!!! Admittedly they weren't the massive kelp beasts that we were hoping for but it was as frantic as anyone had ever seen before!! It didn't matter what size, colour or shape of lure we tried, they just smashed into each and every one of them!! Considering the three of us only had two hours to fish and Henry had to do several pieces to camera we lost count of the exact number of wrasse caught but I bet it would have been 90 to 100 wrasse to 4lbs in various colours, I think the crew were shocked at the number!!!

With the wrasse film in the bag as it were, we decided to try under the airport the following day in the hope of getting a couple of bigger fish and some nice scenic shots to show the islands off in their true glory as the weather was stunning! Sadly the usual wrasse hole failed to live up to expectations, maybe due to there still being quite a bit of swell so it was off to target the pollack. 

After climbing down to the spot at low water all we had to do was set up and wait for the tide to push. Pollack love tide!! This spot you can fish until your arms fall off without even seeing a pollack but just like flicking a switch, as soon as the tide pulls hard then they come on the feed and today was no exception!! Neil whispered in my ear jokingly that I had taken us to a dud mark then bang he hooked a steam train of a pollack that was on for a few moments before smashing him up, gutted for him as it was clearly a big pollack!! Yep the tide by now was pushing nice and hard!!! I had on another stonking fish that I managed to get within 20 yards of the rock before this one, just like Neils, came off - ARSE not now, not in front of the cameras!!!! Neil then landed a cracker of a fish at 6.4lbs taken on a Savage Gear Sandeel

The pollack were coming thick and fast with Neil losing another big fish before I managed a couple of fish, one going 5lbs and this one of 7.4lbs both taken on the awesome Fiish Black Minnow

Henry had been taking the mickey, as he usually does, on our ability to lose good fish when the same thing happened to him! Oh how we both laughed!!!!! We both told him that it wasn't beaten but he continued to horse it in and attempt to show it who was boss resulting in ''beep'' after ''beep'' in front of the camera!!! He did manage to land a couple of fish himself though which was great to see as I thought he had lost the knack!!!!

To top off the trip we witnessed large shoals of baitfish, probably herring or pilchards being rounded up by a pod of porpoises with gannets diving in on the action, it really was a majestic sight!!! I am so pleased that we managed to get such good fishing for the show, it promises to be pretty cool I reckon and should be aired on Sky Sports 2 on December the 14th. Neil and I had a real blast helping, hopefully it will entice a few people to try a lighter approach and fishing soft plastics, it really is such fun and christ does it work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 18 November 2012


Well the plan was hatched over the last couple of days and I was to head over to the island of Bryher to meet up and fish with Neil. The tides were perfect to target the big pollack from Shipman Head. Well that was the plan but as has been the way for the last few attempted sorties to Bryher, the weather decides to throw a spanner in the works and cock it all up!!!!!!!!!!!!! Northwest winds picked up on Saturday night meaning when Neil went to have a look Sunday morning, the gullies and headland that we planned to fish were underwater and sea was pummeling in - ARSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After sulking for a fair while I simply had to get out of the house, and the good thing about living in the islands is that you can find shelter somewhere! It was still ok down here on the south side of St. Mary's but the forecast was to swing round southerly and freshen as the day went on with 25-30mph winds by 4 o'clock meaning I wouldn't get long to fish the mark I had as a backup plan. Still you don't catch anything sat at home and considering I was on a high after my beloved Arsenal thrashing the Spuds I had to at least give it a go!!!!

The ledges were showing up well in front of me as I got to the mark, it's not terribly deep here, in contrast to some other marks that we fish for pollack with depths up to 40 feet in places compared to 140 feet at Outer Head. But this spot coupled with a bit of tide can throw up some monster pollack. I reckon I have had more doubles from here than anywhere else in Scilly so you just never know. The wind had already started to freshen and was blowing straight into my face when I rigged up the Sakura Shinjin with a Savage Gear Slug Sandeel onto a jig head. The first few casts produced nowt and I was starting to wish I hadnt bothered as the wind was getting worse and making it pretty uncomfortable. I decided to give it an hour before the lure of a cup of tea and some cake called!! The tide was now just starting to turn and usually that means the pollack switch on to feed - pollack love tide and water movement!! The next couple of casts and the pollack started to appear, not big fish of up to 2.5lbs but at least I hadnt blanked!! Just one problem, the wind by now was blowing hard and waves were starting to get up, not ideal when you are fishing on your own!! I changed over to one of the new ''in lures'' the Fiish Black Minnow, this lure has been getting awesome reviews wherever it has been used slaying huge numbers of bass and pollack. My good mate Henry Gilbey has been telling me to try them for pollack as he has just come back from lle D’Ouessant where he fished with the French guys who designed them and said they would be mental for pollack from the shore! Now was as good a time as any!! The lures that Nick Roberts at Bass Lures had kindly sent me ranged up 25g meaning I would be able to cast into the strong headwind as they weighed a lot more than the jig head I was using. I was now able to cast out past the two pinnacles that the pollack love to run between and it wasnt long before lure got smacked using a slow sink and draw method!! The pollack made several dives to start with before slow pumping brought it towards me then all hell broke loose as the pollack realised that it was hooked!!!!!!!!!!  After several more dives I got to see the golden flank of an enormous pollack for the first time and then disaster struck, she dived again but this time I couldnt stop her even with a really tight drag and she went straight into the thick kelp busting me off in the process - BUGGER I was gutted!!!!!!!!!! Just how big was she, I will never know but I've had them to over 13lbs from the shore and this was every part that size!!!! 

After turning the air blue I had to fish on, despite the lost fish there had to be more out there and I wasnt wrong! Two casts later when another pollack hit the lure on the drop. This was another good fish that made several crash dives before I got her to the rock and then I had to jump down to the ledge below grabbing the net as I went (easier said than done) using one of the many waves I managed to slip the net under a stonking pollack!!

She pulled the digital scales down to 9lbs and after several quick photos using a big rock pool to keep her alive and kicking in the process, was returned to where she came from!!! What a stunning fish caught on light balanced tackle and I have to agree with Henry and Nick, these Fiish Black Minnows are the mutts nuts for pollack!! If only I had managed to land the one that got away but maybe next time hey, it's what keeps us all fishing!!!!!

Friday, 16 November 2012


Well folks its been a hell of a long time since I have done a post, a combination of going on a much needed holiday to Ireland (not sure that some people would call getting up at 4 o'clock every morning to go and chase bass as a holiday though), getting battered by big swells making the islands unfishable and work getting in the way but enough excuses!!!!!!

I did venture out on Saturday for an hour but there was so much groundsea it made trying to fish virtually impossible so I have been waiting with the rod set up by the front door for the swells to ease and today it did!

I had been sent some cracking looking new lures from Andy at Jackslrf to trial with Neil and also the new hooks that they will be stocking soon as well. More about them later! For my wrasse fishing, as those that have been following my exploits will know, I have been using and abusing the Major Craft Crostage and having some great fun with it landing christ knows how many wrasse but just recently I have been playing around with the very different Century HPR 7'3''. I will be writing up a long term test review sometime in the future when I have given it a good stig type testing, first impression though is that it has a serious amount of power lower down that could come in very handy if a big kelp donkey needs halting!!! Right, back to the fishing...

I decided to head out around the airport and see what the kelpy gullies I have been fishing looked like on a big spring low water. Always a good idea to really see what you are fishing over and where the deeper drop offs are and what other new ground you can find too. I started to fish with the old faithful Watermelon Hawg Stickbait rigged up with a 7g cone weight, a flick out and the Century HPR was soon bending nicely into a wrasse OTD.

A good start that got better as the afternoon went on! It seemed like the wrasse were literally queueing up, maybe with all the bad weather and big seas they were only now able to get out from the holes and feed and were starving??

It was a bite a cast to start with but the size was down with most fish being under 2lbs with the odd 3lber in amongst them.
A change of gullies was called for in the hope of finding a better stamp of fish, thankfully the whole of the airport is full of gullies and rocky outcrops not to mention boulder fields so I didnt have far to go.

I decided to swap lures and try a new type of soft plastic from Jackslrf that isnt currently available to purchase, as yet. It certainly looks the part, watermelon with red blue and gold flecks throughout the lure which looks remarkably like a small baitfish.

Coupled with a new type of hook, with its slightly longer shank that incorporates a couple of small barbs designed to hold the soft plastic in place. I cast out parallel to a finger of granite and let the lure sink down, closing the bail arm manually a couple of twitches got the lure swimming invitingly. I didnt have to wait long before the first tap tap as an inquisitive wrasse homed in on its meal. It was only a small fish that I may have not caught before as with these new hooks the point of the lure is slightly further back down the lure resulting in a better hook up ratio. I cast out again and this time a slightly better fish grabbed the lure after a couple of twitches.

Another cast on the same line and bang, a much better fish hit the lure!! The Century HPR was absorbing the big wrasse's powerful dives and taking it all in its stride. Christ this rod has some power in the lower tip section and clearly been designed by the wrasse master Keith White with big pigs in mind!! Several times the wrasse tried its best to take me into its rocky lair but each time the rod got the better of it and soon I was able to slip the net under a stonking fish.

Measuring 54cms and pulling the digital scales down to 6.2lbs it was a new pb for a lure-caught wrasse for myself and the best thing was watching her disappear back down to her kelpy den with a big swish of her tail! 

Well I was pretty impressed with both the new hooks and lures not to mention the Century HPR, now I just hope that the weather stays ok so that I can get out again this weekend for some more ''research''!!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


God I have been very slack over the last few weeks and havent managed to get out fishing, well when I say that Ive been slack its mainly been down to being a wimp and not wanting to get a right old soaking with all the rain and wind we have been suffering from. WINTER has definitely arrived on the islands thats for sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A while back I had a conversation with Jim O'Donnell who writes for Total Sea Fishing Magazine (TSF) and was very keen to come over to the islands to get a feature in the bag about the lure fishing potential. We looked at dates and tides etc and planned a trip for early October. We studied the long range forecasts and as this weekend approached things were not looking great!! Big storms were battering the islands and would leave plenty of groundswells to contend with, not good when you want to target wrasse with lures we have found!! Still, the weekend arrived and Jim brought with him two mates, Dave Taylor and Luke Fox who along with Jim were bloody good anglers. I have been following Lukes blog for a while now and was always impressed with his catches, he seemed to know his stuff when it came to catching lots of different species with soft plastics so I felt confident that we could find a fish or two and I could learn a few things too!!!!

After picking them all up from the Scillonian we dropped off the gear and headed staight out so that they could have a warm up on some of the marks that have been fishing well for me. Fishing was hard as big swells were making it difficult to keep a tight line to the lures which meant we werent able to fish texas rigs effectively. We all caught wrasse though and lost a fair few as well as getting more than a tad damp when it decided to chuck it down in more than biblical proportions!!!!! Christ we even had to leave the rods alone and shelter under a rock when the rain turned to hail and then the thunder and lightning started!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

What a great start to showing them the islands in all their glory hey!! Still, we hadnt blanked and Jim managed a couple just over 3lbs in some pretty pants conditions. We decided to call it a day and head to the pub to put a plan together for the following day.

Saturday morning saw us jump into a mate's RIB and head to White Island to hopefully find some shelter and big kelp donkeys!!! I havent fished here for about 8 years at least and never with the tackle that we would be using. Couple that with a ride out and amongst 3metre swells and big seas just to get to the uninhabited island, christ we must be insane!!! 

As you can see from the picture, it looks very wrassey indeed and should give us a chance to find some shelter from the North West gales that we were being subjected to. Sadly that wasnt quite the case as the swells were managing to affect everywhere on the island but we gave it our best and had plenty of wrasse although mostly on the smaller size. Luke was an absolute machine when it came to catching them, everytime I looked round he was bent into a fish!!!

                               Photo courtesy of Jim O'Donnell.

I managed to winkle out a couple of 4lbers before we set our sights on finding a pollack or two. We headed out towards the point of the island giving us a chance to cast into the tide as thats usually where you will find them. Sure enough we did, with several smaller fish and a 3lber falling to Lukes soft plastic Ecogear paddletails and a nice fish of 5lbs to my Savage Gear Sandeel. Gutted for Luke as he lost a cracking fish that we put down to being a big pollack that crash dived to the bottom snapping his braid on the rocks in the process (next time mate!!!!!).

                             Photo courtesy of Jim O'Donnell.

Again the weather gods were not on our side as the rain started then the hail so we decided to shelter and watch an awesome sight, a waterspout off the adjacent island of St. Martin's. As the storm passed it was time to head out for some more wrasse. Again they were all on the small side with Luke getting fish after fish on his array of smaller ecogear soft plastics, he was clearly in his element!!!! Time was getting close to when we had arranged our RIB ride back to St. Mary's so we decided to head back to the rendezvous spot. We couldnt resist a few last casts over a rocky brow with Luke straight into fish and me being busted up by a good'un! An exhilarating ride on the RIB followed and we all decided that we had earned a pint or two!!

Sunday and the last day to get some better sized fish!!  As the wind had decided to go North, it was the sensible option to stay on St. Mary's as it would give us more choices of places to fish. We would travel light and yomp from mark to mark to find the fish. First stop was the marks of Outer Head on Peninnis, the very deep water (140 ft) straight off the rocks usually produces good pollack but not today. Maybe a lack of tide being the reason but just one solitary small pollack showed to me so it was back up the rocks and onto the marks at Old Town and under the airport. Small wrasse were showing before Dave landed a nice 4lber which gave him a good scrap!! I noticed the tide had started to pull so swapped rods and decided to target the pollack which this mark is well known for. First cast (seriously) and I get a hit then feel the Savage Gear Sandeel Slug starting to get heavier and heavier meaning one thing-pollack! The Sakura Shinjin I am using starts to bend as a good fish dives, I shout this is a good one and to get the net as she dives several times as she nears the rock face. The Shimano Rarenium 4000 sings as she makes several more runs before I can see the golden flank, christ it looks a stonker and a double from where we are standing, then off she goes again this time diving into the kelp, A bit more pressure and up she comes again before being expertly netted by Dave!!

                                Photo courtesy of Jim O'Donnell.

A fantastic pollack that tipped the scales round to 8lbs!!! Before returning it was time to get a photo to sum up what fishing soft plastics in the Isles of Scilly is all about......

Two good specimens, that fought incredibly well on light balanced tackle, both released to grow and fight another day and the smiles on mine and Daves face say it all!!!!

It is always such a nightmare when you get crap conditions and massive groundswells as you know that you are not going to be able to show the islands off to their true potential. Made even harder when you have the pressure to make sure Jim had what he needed for the article!! But even with the difficult testing (ball ache) weather we must have had over 150 wrasse to 4lbs and plenty of pollack to 8lbs over the three sessions which aint too bad after all!!! It was a joy to fish with the three of them,  I certainly learnt a great deal and we all had a good old laugh thats for sure. Surely that is what fishing is all about!!!!!!!

Monday, 17 September 2012


Sunday saw me venture out, slightly worse for wear due to an awesome local wedding to explore some new ground that I had never fished before. It may not look much from the photos but beyond the water line is thick, dense kelp forests some maybe 3-4 ft high with plenty of boulders around too. It all looked really fishy and as I was scrambling around I identified several deeper holes from up high with the polaroids on. 

After finding my way to the lower ledges below I wondered how to tackle the mark, thinking back to a conversation with Keith White a while back he mentioned drop shotting as a great method to target wrasse from heavy kelp. It makes perfect sense really, as if the kelp is dense and wafting around in the swell there would be very little chance that the wrasse around in the area would be able to find the lure if fished on a normal texas rig. As the kelp is about 4 ft high it would make fishing carolina style pretty difficult too so thats where the Drop Shot Rig comes in! With a trace of 5 ft I would be able to fish my lure just above the kelp and right in the target area for any passing wrasse!! I tied a 2/0 Jacks EWG hook with a Palomar knot with a 2ft length of 25lb fluorocarbon and then attached a 3ft length of slighty weaker 10lb mono that would act as a weak link to the lead. Then in theory if the weight became stuck I wouldnt lose the rig and lure - SIMPLES!!

To the hook I attached a Yoshikawa Superworm, a favourite lure of mine when testing the water at a new mark. Usually if there are any fish around, this lure will find them!! After a couple of casts I was starting to understand how to fish this way, especially with Andy Kendricks advice ringing in my ear. He recommended that after casting out, let the weight hit the bottom and take up the slack by lifting the rod tip so that you can just feel the weight. Then drop the rod tip just a little so that when you shake and twitch the lure you are only making the lure move and not the weight (I hope that makes sense?) Anyway back to the fishing!!! 

It quickly became clear that this method works and works bloody well ....

I had a really savage bite that hit the lure incredibly hard, think I must have annoyed the wrasse and made it very aggressive!!! It went off like a scolded cat diving and tried to run through the thick kelp, thankfully with the drag not giving anything I managed to halt her and after a few minutes slipped the net under a cracking fish that went 5.8lbs.

A stunning fish that went back with a big swish of her tail, a great feeling!! Several smaller fish followed next...

They were starting to come through the kelpy holes thick and fast and starting to get bigger again, this one 4.5lbs.

A spirited scrap saw me putting the landing net under my second 5lber of the day, this one slightly smaller at 5.4lbs.

It was time to head back up the rocks and head for home but I couldnt resist one last go at a boulder field so on went a texas rigged Hawg Stickbait in a new colour- orange craw!! A flick out over some boulders and twitch twitch fish on!!

Both these fish had lice on them but went back just as strongly as they came out, it really was time to go home though!! 

So a little bit more of St. Mary's covered but with miles and miles more coastline not to mention hundreds of outer islands and marks left to try I certainly feel even more confident with the drop shot as part of my lure fishing arsenal. Next time you are out there and you think its way way too weedy to fish, give it a go, you may be pleasantly surprised!!!!!

Monday, 10 September 2012


Major Craft Crostage Hard Rock 7'6"  7-28g 16lb.
Firstly a big thank you goes to Henry Gilbey for introducing us to these rods! When Del told me Henry was coming over with a couple rods that we could have a play with, I was immediately both excited and nervous for my poor little credit card! After telling myself numerous times that I didn't need yet another rod, this would just be a good opportunity to educate myself on a few new rods, brands and styles of rods. But then I picked up this little gem!
First impressions that day after a waggle,.. it was lightning fast! Hmm...maybe too stiff I thought after a few more waggles and shakes..? First cast and wow was I amazed at how well a short little rod like this could cast a 7g cone and a Sp! I think I had a senko on at the time, a lure I had only recently become confident in, but which I struggled to effectively fish on my  8ft+ bass rod. I let it settle and gave it a short, sharp twitch and was amazed how the tip literally "sprung to life"! This rod suddenly didn't seem stiff at all!!!! 5min later, I had decided I "had to have one" , so much for that little talk I gave myself hey?! A couple stock enquiry emails to Tom at MONSTER TACKLE, and my new purchase was on its way.

Now a few months and many sessions later, it makes me smile every time I pick it up. The name "Hard Rock" says it all really, a purposely designed rod that does its job superbly. It balances extremely well with my Daiwa Theory 2500 or a Shimano Rarenium 3000, and even after a full days fishing, you just don't notice any weight in your hand what so ever. Just looking at it, you would be forgiven for thinking it has too short a rear grip/handle, but in reality it is perfect, tucking in under your fore-arm snugly when you really pile the pressure on! The tip is just...insane! Electric! Not remotely "soft", but just err "springy", registering even the most subtle of takes, and helping you impart the tiniest twitches when needed, but doesn't come close to just folding/hooping over the moment you hook up. At 7'6" its the perfect length for rock fishing, and let me tell you its no slouch in the casting department either! Clip on a smallish hard lure and just smile as it flies out! A short, sharp, back and forth overhead style cast(hard to explain, but you see it on most Japanese you tube vids) and a komomo or salt skimmer just shoots out unbelievable distances like an arrow! In fact I took it on a recent bass trip just to see what it could do and was very impressed by how versatile it was. I would still say it is more of a soft lure rod, but it's a pretty impressive all-rounder too.

Rated 7-28g it will cast most/all softbaits you are likely to want to use for wrasse,bass or pollock, and makes you feel far more like you are able to bring lures to life, rather than just twitch- twitch- retrieve- twitch! It is soooo sensitive, you can feel every bump, bolder or kelp frond as you work the lure, and after a few casts you really begin to be able to visualise the underwater features and start to map the area out in your head. The recommended 16lb b.s line is about bang on in my book, but you could certainly fish far heavier if you wanted/needed, and have full confidence you could really horse out a big pig! Indeed on a recent wrassing trip, I watched Del hook and bully what we thought was a good wrasse fairly close in, with drag locked up fully, only to discover it was a tidy pollock! 
The rod absorbed the powerful lunges as it tried to power down into the kelp beautifully, and showed us how deceptively powerful it really is.

All in all, a fantastic rod, that i just don't think can be beaten for the money, that I continue to fall in love with on every trip. A sheer joy to use, it has really opened my eyes to how good a rod can be at a specific task, and I truly believe its balance, sensitivity, power and over all action have really sped up my learning curve in the addictive world of HRF!
Neil Hansen.
I have to agree with Neil, for the money it is a serious piece of kit that has been well thought out by Major Craft. I must admit that I am pretty new to this type of fishing but am learning all the time!! If you are into fishing soft plastics for wrasse, bass and pollack from the shore then this could be just the rod for you! Likewise as it is 7'6'' it is the perfect length for fishing from a boat or from a kayak. 
It has got some serious power in its mid to butt section and I have used it and abused it for the last few months and it hasnt let me down. I have had hundreds and hundreds of wrasse with it topped off by that brute of 6.1lbs.

If you want to put out a senko 40 yards, piece of cake but it is equally happy pitching between boulders and gullies. It takes it all in its stride. I was like Neil and a little worried that the short handle wouldnt enable me to put the brakes onto a big wrasse heading for the nearest snag but quite the opposite as it feels almost like an extension of your arm. Fishing with it makes it very easy to twitch soft plasics over boulders and ledges and the shorter handle fits perfectly under your forearm very naturally meaning as soon as you strike it starts to lock up enabling you to put some direction onto the fish! As it is nice and light you can fish all day with it and at no point complain about its weight!! I fish with a shimano rarenium 3000 and it matches to the Crostage like a dream. The rating of the rod is bang on 7-28g and I know from Tom at Monster Tackle
that it is the most popular rod in France for bass!! Now those guys know their stuff when it comes to a decent rod and I have to agree with them, its a serious piece of kit!!!!


Sunday found me heading up to Bryher to meet up with Neil and try our luck at finding a few heavy weight ballans and fish some new ground that we had identified as ''potential wrasse ground''. Typically the weather up to sunday could have been described as perfect summers weather, flat calm, sunny and zero swell then you guessed it, saturday night the wind picked up and so did the swells. 20-30 mph SW and SSW meant the spots we had wanted to fish were under water and getting battered!!! Bugger, but the good thing with Bryher as because its a relatively small island we could hopefully tuck away and find some shelter somewhere!

We decided on fishing a spot near Popplestones so that we could find some shelter from the swell outside of the bay. It did look nice and ''fishy'' with lovely clear water inside and plenty of boulders and drop offs into thick kelp forests-perfect for wrasse!!!

We imagined because the tide was ebbing any wrasse would be heading out towards the entrance to this bay towards the slighty deeper water so set ourselves up with the option of casting back inside the bay and working back out of it following the tide and fish. First few casts with Karl Fox's homemade killers produced plenty of small wrasse, clear with either blue or black speckles being the favourite lure. We moved towards the entrance of the bay to find a bigger fish or two and found a lovely looking rock ledge and could see wrasse swimming around below.

I sight fished for a wrasse that looked pretty decent when another one swam past and disappeared into the depths, it clearly was much bigger than the one that was interested in my lure. We were both only getting tentative small knocks and bites so I changed down to a 3'' Jacks Senko in the favourite Watermelon and Pumpkin colour and dropped the lure right next to the tidy sized wrasse below. A couple of twitches and I felt a small pluck, struck and fish on. This scrapped well and Neil slipped the net under a fine 5lb plus fish, neither of us were expecting a big ballan to be so timid but just goes to show!!

We both wondered just how big that other fish was that dwarfed this one, had to be 6-7lbs easily!!!!!! Sadly the wind had started to freshen and with it the swells picked up, we carried on fishing for a while but only small fish kept the rods bending, no sign of the monster so we decided on a move. We headed North and found some nice gullies that screamed wrasse!!

What we hadnt planned for was the swell continuing to pick up and with 6-7 ft of rise and fall these gullies were really difficult to fish with this type of gear. Wrasse appear not to like too much swell and I think Jim O'Donnell was spot on the other day on facebook when he described them as not being built for it and as such seem to prefer water that is a lot calmer. We found the wrasse were hanging further back from the rock face and not following the lures when there was too much movement in the water - another lesson learnt.  

Neil got well and truly done by a cracking fish that was hell bent on not playing ball and wanting its photo taken!!!
In the end we managed just over 40 wrasse in less than ideal conditions topped off with that one good fish of over 5lbs. Another lesson is that small lures doesnt always mean small fish, think it was the first time that I had scaled down to a 3'' soft plastic senko after the small tentative plucks. Maybe just maybe some of those fish we thought were pesky smaller ones may have been larger ones being a tad more cautious, food for thought...........

Monday, 3 September 2012


Sunday's miserable weather didn't stop me getting out fishing, we had rain, mist and drizzle but the tides were right so I had to get back out to the gulley I found last week. Confidence is a big part of fishing I reckon and after last getting that 6lber out I was armed full of it!!

I got out to the mark just on low water and had to venture further out of the bay due to there being no water to fish the spot yet, just masses and masses of kelp forests in between big old boulders and a couple of big granite drop offs which I remembered the beasts came from. I would head back inside the bay to fish the gulley a bit later into the flood so started at another likely looking wrasse hole. First cast with a 4'' Watermellon Hawg Stickbait rigged texas style and tap tap, fish on!! 

A spirited scrap and a good start to the session!! Next cast and I got nailed good and proper, must have had the wrasse on for 30 seconds nothing I could do other than hold on and bang snapped on barnacles. Big ballans if they know where they want to go you have zero chance of stopping them on this gear sadly!!! Undeterred I rigged up again and cast out, small tentative taps then bang another good fish was on and trying to get back to the sanctuary of its hole.

I apologise for the crap photo, trying to take a photo of yourself with a timer is something that I havent managed to suss yet!!!! Just over 4lbs it was starting to really switch on!!! The next few casts produced plenty of smaller fish all to the 4'' Watermellon Hawg stickbait before another better sized fish tried to lead me on a merry dance. I thought that it was going to be a 5lb plus fish after such a dogged fight but I slipped the net under another fish of 4lbs.

Time for one last cast before moving inside the bay I thought, actually I had several more casts as there were clearly a lot of fish moving through.

This one was probably the scabbiest wrasse I have caught, covered in cuts, scratches and clearly been through the wars!!!!

Right, time to move back inside the bay a bit now the tide was right, a change to one of Karl Fox's homemade soft plastics rigged texas style to a 3/0 Jacks EWG offset Hook and the wrasse continued to nail the lures!!

Got royally smashed up by another kelp bully that was on for all of 5 seconds as it dived into its underwater bolthole - BUGGER!!!

A few casts with the small goby imitation and several smaller fish around the 2 to 2.5lb mark showed so it was time to change lures to a strange caterpillar type thing that Karl had sent. I cast this over the granite drop off where I had caught the 6lber from and twitched it ever so slowly up and over the edge when I felt a small tap, tap tap then bang this was a better fish!!

At 5.1lbs it was a much better sized fish, again the photos let it down as still not got to grips with the timer thing, need some lessons I think!!!!

A quick change of lures back to the 4'' Watermellon Hawg Stickbait for a few last casts before heading home and more orangey browny wrasse appeared for their photo opportunity.

All in all a pretty decent session, I ended up with over 40 wrasse all on soft plastics but again the bigger fish won but thats fishing for you!!! Until next time.......