New Daiwa ProRex Predator Fishing Tackle

Late autumn is traditionally the time when predator fishing begins with a vengeance. Water temperatures have cooled down, bait fish are beginning to shoal up and pike, zander and perch are feeding hard in readiness for winter. To take advantage of this bonanza, all you need is a good set of predator fishing equipment.

For autumn 2018 and on Fishtec are stocking the new ProRex range of predator fishing tackle by Daiwa. We believe this range offers superb value for money, whether you are looking for a rod, reel, luggage or a complete set up. In this blog we take a closer look at the new ProRex items being stocked by Fishtec.

Daiwa ProRex spinning rods – From £54.99

At last, a versatile range of lure fishing rods for almost every predatory species you can think of; pike, perch, trout, zander, sea bass, salmon, saltwater species – you can catch them all. Available in 6, 7, 8 and 9 foot options, with various casting weights through the range from as little as 7 gram to a whopping 80 gram.

What does Daiwa say?

”This Prorex rod series offers very lightweight and at the same time fast action blanks. Each rod action has been particularly adopted to suit the requirements of casting all sizes of shads and plugs; hence their crisp and tensile feel. However the HVF fibre blank features an astonishing handling and loads over the whole tip section during casting – perfect for long distances. X45 bias construction reduces torque assisting higher accuracy a smooth bending curve is realised thanks to V-Joint. The Prorex rod series combines latest rod technology with a classical design at an exceptional price-performance ratio.”

What we like

The blanks are very slim, sensitive and transmit a lot of feel when fishing a shad or bouncing a heavyj jig back. Importantly, the handles are made of cork which gives them a really nice feel in cold and wet weather. Eyes, finish and reel fittings are all top class, making these rods brilliant value for money.

Daiwa ProRex XR lure rods – from £99.99

The big brother of the ProRex rod range, the XR offers even more performance with the latest technological innovations from Daiwa.

What does Daiwa say?

”The Prorex XR rods offer the very latest in blank construction thanks to exclusive DAIWA technology. Lightweight and extremely fast each features outrageously pleasant handling, enabling you to use for longer periods without fatigue. The sensitive tip action ensures an optimal lure presentation, perfectly buffering lunges and head shakes during the fight, reducing the risk of hook pulls. The use of HVF nanoplus carbon creates a more lightweight and at the same time tougher blank. The result is a quicker recovery enabling long distance casting, with large levels of power in reserve. X45 bias construction also reduces rod twisting during the cast, thus assisting accuracy and increasing power conversion. In addition the V-Joint spigot guarantees an even bending curve. The original Fuji TVS reel seat ensures a direct contact to the blank for optimal feel and lure control. Award winning Prorex XR rods offer an outstanding price-performance ratio”

What we like

The blanks are noticeably fine diameter, and the power to weight ratio is simply incredible. The reel seat is a top of the line Fuji, while the Fuji alconite line guides offer unparalleled line flow and protection from braided mainlines. Featuring Daiwas unique moveable hook holder, these rod are nicely finished and for the angler looking for a premium lure rod are a fantastic buy. A comprehensive range of lengths and casting weights means there is a model for everyone.

Daiwa ProRex spinning reels – £119.99

A good rod demands a quality reel and once again Daiwa (some would say the masters of the reel world) have come up trumps with a superb predator fishing reel range. We stock two sizes, 2500 and 3020.

What do Diawa say

”The Prorex reels are designed for hunting predators, particularly pike. They are a large capacity, quick ratio reel featuring an aluminium frame and an ATD carbon drag.”

What do we like

Solid, smooth with full aluminum construction throughout these are great reels. It’s best not to skimp on quality when selecting a reel for hard fishing predator fish and this one is built to last. The drag here is slick, firm, has no start up inertia and is easily adjustable. A total of 9 ball bearing make this reel a reel pleasure to bring in your line or a fish with. They are suitable for a wide range of species, as well as pike.

Daiwa ProRex lure bag – £49.99

The perfect piece of fishing luggage for carrying your lure collection, or end tackle and traces.

What do Diawa say

”This bag offers plenty of space for the storage of lures and supplies. The bag includes 3 big tackle boxes of the common size 36 x 33.5 x 5.5cm. The bags rubberized bottom prevents the intrusion of moisture from below. Both front pockets offer space for the transportation of smaller boxes for jig hooks, swivels etc. The padded shoulder strap ensures carrying comfort even if the bag is fully loaded and thus heavy. All of the bag’s outer material is water repellent and restrains short showers without soaking.”

What do we like

It’s fairly compact design means it is portable and not too heavy. The free tackle boxes are a nice touch, and there is plenty of room in the side pockets for all of your lure fishing tackle and accessories. The material is very heavy duty and looks like it could withstand the worst of the UK weather plus stand the test of time. A comfortable shoulder strap makes carrying it very easy.

Daiwa ProRex Landing net – £39.99

After all the hard work of getting your quarry to take your lure loosing that fish is simply not an option. To ensure your hook-up ends with a happy capture a decent landing net is a real boon. Enter the ProRex net.

What do Diawa say

”The Prorex nets feature an aluminum frame of 1.3 cm in diameter, light and strong. Their sleeve has grip EVA high density logo Prorex. Depending on the model, the frame snaps and / or withdrawal and the handle is telescopic or slides in the head to save space.

What do we like

Generously sized at 70cm x 50 cm these nets can accommodate good sized predator fish. The frame folds up, allowing for easy transportation. The extending net handle and rim is made of a super strong yet light weight aluminum material. Most importantly, the net mesh is made of a modern rubber composite, which is incredibly fish friendly and resistant to hooks, enabling you to get on with it without risk of snagging your gear up.

THE FULL RANGE OF DAIWA PROREX PREDATOR GEAR CAN BE FOUND HERE.

Kayak Fishing – By Chris Ogborne

Kayak fishing is one of the fastest growing branches of the sport. Here angling expert Chris Ogborne gives us a unique insight, along with details of a brilliant offer to help you get started.

Kayak fishing is great fun

Kayak fishing is great fun!

Fishing is all about fun, we know that. Its rewarding, relaxing, and a therapy. It’s about excitement as well, and occasionally when it all goes right it can be downright exhilarating. On rare occasions it can also be a true adventure, and that’s the essence of kayak fishing – the very heart and soul of this amazing branch of our sport is ‘adventure’.

I’ve been kayak fishing around the UK shoreline for more than thirty years now and because my home base is in the far south west it’s inevitable that most of my trips are focussed on the stunning coast of Devon and Cornwall. The fishing’s great, the scenery even better, and for most of the time we get better weather than anywhere else in England. All of which makes for ideal kayak conditions.

It’s hard to fully explain the appeal without indulging in too many superlatives. For me it’s more fun than any other branch of fishing, more involving and occasionally more demanding. I suppose the very crux of the matter is that you’re down there at water surface level, right in the aquatic environment, and almost at eye level with your quarry. There’s no noisy outboard motor to disturb the peace or the fish, no pollution, and no real intrusion into the natural world. It’s just the slow rhythm of the paddle, the gentle sluice of water under the hull, and the genuine feel that you’re doing the ‘hunter – gatherer’ bit in the 21st century.

If all that sounds a bit poetic just believe me when I say that it’s only half the story. Once you get into kayak fishing you’ll see what I mean. It’s relaxing, it’s healthy and it’s arguably one of the ultimate challenges left in our sport.

kayak 1To further explain the appeal, let me show you briefly how easy it is to get started:

Choose the right Kayak It goes without saying that the boat is the most important factor, so choose one that’s designed for the purpose. There are literally hundreds of kayaks out there, but when you start to look at fishing kayaks the list gets shorter. Basically it’s all about three things:

Stability: You need to be confident and secure when you’re fishing
Speed: You don’t want to take forever to get to your chosen spot, and
Tracking: You don’t want a kayak that swings all over the place every time you take a stroke with the paddle

With this in mind you can discount any kayak under ten feet in length when it comes to fishing, as it just wont work. Ideal length is between 10 and 15 feet, depending on your build, fitness levels, and where you’re going to fish. For rivers, inland waters and estuaries then a smaller boat is fine, but if you’re going to sea then a more substantial craft is called for.

Choose the right accessories: This is a bit like ordering a BMW from a main dealer – it’s much too easy to tick all the option boxes! The truth is that you can fish very effectively with a minimum of accessories, but there are a few that are vital. These include:

Carbon paddle: These are SO much lighter and easier to use
Buoyancy aid: or life jacket – an absolute essential
Rod holders: You simply can’t go fishing without at least two, preferably three
Decent seat: This will seem like a VERY good investment after a full day afloat!

You can add the rest depending on your budget and your fishing, but as long as you’ve got these essentials sorted you’ll have a good (and safe) day out.

Get some training: As in any branch of fishing, it pays to seek help when you’re getting started. There are loads of BCU (British Canoe Union) trained experts all over the country and an hour with a good trainer will save you days of experimentation and mistakes
Another great tip is to start off fishing in calm and shallow waters – far better to make any early mistakes here than out at sea.

Sort the right gear: Airflo make some great kit for kayak fishing and I always like to cover as many bases as possible when I’m out for a day. The Elite kit 9 foot 5 weight is a great all rounder for fly, but I also like to have spin and drop shot options as well for saltwater fishing – the TF Gear Blue Strike fishing rods and reels are perfect for both. With these brilliant all-round rods you can also troll if you like – they really are great tools with multiple options.

I would also advise a decent bag as well such as the fully waterproof Airflo Fly Dri carryall to hold tackle, a spare fleece or jacket as well as food and drink. This will sit behind the seat for ease of access and can be held in place by the bungee netting over the kayak’s storage area.

You can also add in lanyards to hold a landing net, priest, GPS or any number of extras Bungee lanyards are among those ‘almost essential’ options that you really should consider.

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Channel Kayaks. October 2014. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528

Channel Kayaks.

For the last two years I’ve been involved with an exciting new kayak company called Channel Kayaks. Unlike most manufacturers, they sell direct to the public so they are able to offer a top quality product at a hugely competitive price.

As well as making brilliant kayaks they also specialise in what they call ‘Adventure paddles’ which is basically a series of days out around the coast where you can sample all the delights of kayaking at first hand, and under expert guidance. These days are run in conjunction with the RNLI so you’re guaranteed great water safety advice as well.

For the purposes of this blog, Channel Kayaks have also come out with a very special pre-season price for you, as follows:

PRO kayak Normally £749 but NOW £520 (Perfect all-water kayak)
BASS kayak RRP £399 NOW £265 (Great for inshore and estuary)
TANDEM kayak RRP £579 NOW £395 (Two seater)

In all cases, this price includes the kayak, the seat, the paddle AND delivery within the UK, and as such it’s an amazing deal.

Just visit their website for all the contact details, or talk to them direct as there will always be staff to answer your queries or to help with free advice.

Channel Kayaks www.channelkayaks.uk
Or email byron@channelkayaks.uk
Phone: 01275 852736 or 07710745211

Kayak 2

Which Angling Conservation Groups Would You Join?

Image source: Fishtec Blog Our waters are worth looking after.

Image source: Fishtec Blog
Our waters are worth looking after.

Fishing conservation goes beyond buying a rod license. Yet 56% of anglers don’t support any kind of conservation group, according to a recent Fishtec survey.

Anglers tend to care about the environment than most people, but there’s always more to do. To help you get involved, we’ve shortlisted some of the best UK fishing conservation groups and highlighted some of the great work they do.

If you’re not sure what else to add to your Christmas list, add membership to one of these groups. It’s the ideal way to give your support.

Wild Trout Trust

fish pass

Image source: wildtrout.org
The WTT team install a fish pass on the River Hamble

Did you know the British Brown trout is more genetically diverse than the whole human race put together? Check out the Wild Trout Trust website for all everything you ever wanted to know about one of our favourite fish.

Fancy getting your hands wet (and dirty) in the name of conservation? If so the Wild Trout Trust is for you. A grassroots organisation dedicated to looking after the nation’s wild trout, here you’ll also find a wealth of opportunities to get stuck in.

And there are plenty of resources for anyone who just wants to gen up on UK river ecosystems. The Wild Trout Trust isn’t an angling organisation – but as you’d expect, many of its members are avid anglers. Tempted to join this enthusiastic community of river guardians? We don’t blame you.

Salmon and Trout Conservation UK

salmon run

Image source: salmon-trout.org/
Salmon running the Hampshire Avon – numbers still need to rise

Would it surprise you to learn that less than a quarter of rivers in England and Wales meet the Government’s own “good ecological status”? It’s because of the degradation of river environments that salmon runs are down by as much as 80% over the past 20 years.

If you think it’s time to do something to reverse the damage to our rivers, Salmon and Trout Conservation UK offers a chance to learn more, and lend a helping hand. There’s a blog too, which offers fascinating insights into the work of the charity – if you thought black box recorders were only for the aviation industry, think again.

First formed in 1903, the S&TC UK campaigns for sustainable management of aquatic ecosystems. As a conservation minded angler, make sure you check out their section on how you can do your bit.

The Canal and River Trust

canal fishing

Image Source: canalrivertrust.org.uk
Canal fishing remains possible because of the CRT’s dedicated work

“We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.” As an angler you’re sure to appreciate the work of the Canal and River Trust.

They’re the charity that cares for 2000 miles of rivers and canals across the country.
And because they also look after the vast network of bridges, embankments, towpaths, aqueducts, docks and reservoirs, they’re always looking for people willing to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in.

Of course you can always show your appreciation for the charity’s work by becoming a friend of the Trust. In return, you’ll receive discounts at Trust museums and attractions, a free magazine, book of “CoolCanals” walks and a pin badge and car sticker!

Shark Trust

Basking shark

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Basking shark are regular visitors to UK waters

Often demonised for their sharp toothed savagery, if you’ve ever wondered who is standing up for this vital apex predator, wonder no more. The Shark Trust has been helping to save the shark through education, influence and action since 1997.

If you’re a sea angler or just someone who loves to visit the coast, you can help the Shark Trust by joining in the ‘great eggcase hunt’. It’s a data gathering exercise to establish the distribution and abundance of egg cases from shark, ray and skates

The info will help scientists work out the best places to campaign for protected nurseries. So what are you waiting for? Check out the Shark Trust website for more details and get hunting.

Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society

bass

Image source: ukbass.com
An 11 – six bass, released without being landed

UK Bass is all about anglers looking out for the interests of the fish they love to catch. Members adhere to a rigorous code of conduct, sticking to the society’s 48cm size limit for fish caught for the table and recommending a maximum take of two fish per day and only ten a year.

Even if you’re not thinking of joining, it’s worth thinking about adopting the same policy. Bass stocks really are under pressure so it’s up to all anglers to do their bit. If you’d like to get involved, UK Bass supports the SOS Save Our Sea bass campaign.

Members get a quarterly magazine, but anyone visiting the site has access to a wealth of information about bass. This is a must for sea anglers.

Marine Conservation Society

mcsuk beach clean

Image source: Lauren Davis, mcsuk.org
MCSUK members on the Great British Beach Clean

“Our seas are under immense pressure: too many fish are being taken out, too much rubbish is being thrown in and too little is being done to protect our precious marine wildlife and vital fish stocks.”

Agree? You’ll be interested in the work of the Marine Conservation Society. Check out their beach clean map to find an event near you, or if wildlife spotting is your thing, there’s a ‘report your sightings’ page that tells you what to spot and where to record it.

And if you want to make sure the fish you eat is sustainable, make sure you check out the Fish Online section for the lowdown on the fish on the end of your fork.

Angling Trust

gravel riffle angling trust

Image source: anglingtrust.net
Angling Trust members creating a gravel riffle to aid spawning habitat

The national governing body for all angling, the Angling Trust fights against pollution, over-fishing, over-abstraction, poaching and many other other threats to angling.

And the Trust battles to keep fisheries open too. If you’ve noticed new signs on the harbour wall or town pier, by the banks of a town centre river or canal – banning fishing, it’s good to know someone is standing up for anglers’ rights.

Competitive angler? Check out the competition news page for results and write ups from comps across the country.

Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

parr tagging

Image source: gwct.org
Tagging parr in Frome

Good land management and healthy rivers go hand in hand, which is why the work of the Game and Wildlife Trust matters to us as anglers.

Affiliated to the Atlantic Salmon Trust, GWCT believe passionately that those who enjoy shooting and fishing have a valuable part to play in conserving the countryside for future generations.

The Trust employs over 100 scientists and staff and currently run over 60 research projects often in collaboration with universities. All that work costs money, much of which comes from members’ subscriptions. If you’d like to join you’re sure to be warmly received and the Trust is always on the lookout for volunteers.

Blue Ventures

octopus fisherman

Image source: copyright Garth Cripps/ Blue Ventures
Not the average river catch…

The octopus fishermen of Madagascar owe the resurgence of their vital, life sustaining fishery to a small charity dedicated to helping coastal communities in the tropics manage their marine resources with conservation in mind.

When charity workers persuaded one village to temporarily close a section of reef for fishing, octopus stocks bounced right back. Now the practise has gone viral with communities up and down the coast copying the strategy to great effect.

With marine conservation a hot topic here in the UK, the work of this group is very relevant to those of us who fish in cooler climes too. Big change can indeed grow from small changes. As the guys at Blue Ventures say: “taking less from our ocean can give us much much more.

The Rivers Trust

 river angling

Image source: riverstrust.org
River angling – what better way to spend a day?

With river trusts popping up all over the country, the Rivers Trust is an umbrella body which offers the opportunity for affiliates to share information and resources. As an Angler, you’ll be interested in the work of the organisation because of its role in developing ideas, best practices and policy guidance.

You’ll find a host of resources here including this excellent animated guide to the water cycle – great for educating your kids. And there’s a newsletter you can sign up to receive – great for keeping up to date with the Trust’s work around the country.

The Rivers Trust has a reputation as a body of doers who like to get their feet wet, and no wonder because anglers are among the core members of many rivers trusts around Britain. If you’d like to know more, make sure you checkout the projects page to see all the projects with which the Trust is currently involved.

The Grayling Society

grayling fishing

Image source: graylingsociety.net
Idyllic grayling fishing

Here’s a great opportunity to deepen your knowledge of one of our most beautiful wild game fish. The Grayling Society has been working since 1977 to keep like minded anglers informed about grayling conservation and fishing.

Becoming a member is a great way to forge links with fellow grayling enthusiasts both here and around the world.

And if you’d like to learn more about catching the ‘lady of the stream’, there’s an informative angling page, complete with video on how to catch the beautiful grayling.

The Riverfly Partnership

mayfly

Image source: riverflies.org
The mayfly – a common sight on our rivers

They’re often called the “canary of the river”, and with good cause too. River flies and invertebrates are at the heart of the river ecosystem. A vital link in the aquatic food chain, with no flies, there would be no fly fishing.

So thank goodness there’s an organisation committed to looking after the interests of this often neglected aspect of river conservation.

How would you like to contribute to keeping our waterways teeming with healthy insect life? The Riverfly Partnership provides one-day workshops to fishing clubs and other groups to help you monitor and report on the biological quality of your local rivers.

Countryside Alliance

CA-fishing-lesson

Image source: Countryside Alliance
A fishing lesson from the Countryside Alliance

If you live in a rural area or even if you don’t you’ll be surprised just how much work the group does campaigning for better policing, planning, affordable housing, fuel and digital communications for the countryside.

Far from being a one issue organisation, the Countryside Alliance is all about traditional values, thriving rural communities, and economies and sustainable countryside management. With over 100,000 members the Alliance represents the interests of a broad swathe of countryside lovers.

And as an angler, you’ll appreciate the work of the Alliance’s Foundation, which gives young people the chance to try their hand at fishing through its Fishing for Schools programme. The Countryside Alliance is a great organisation well worth a look.

Wye Salmon Association

learning to fish

Image source: Wye Salmon Association
Learning to fish on the Wye

Until the early 1990s, the annual rod catch of salmon in the Wye would regularly hit the 7000 mark. By 2010, that figure had plummeted to just 450 fish. but now the Wye Salmon Association is fighting back.

There’s not much they can do about global warming or sea survival, but they can influence what happens in the Wye valley. The Association campaigns tirelessly to return the river to its former glory.

The website’s news page makes for interesting reading – a true snapshot of the myriad issues that river conservationists face. From hatchery and stocking debates to poaching, it’s a real eye opener and relevant to anglers everywhere.

National Anguilla Club

chris mason eel

Image source: National Aguilla Club
NAC member Chris Mason with a fine catch!

And now for something completely different! How about trying your hand at eel angling? The National Anguilla Club was formed in 1962 and is one of the Nation’s oldest single specimen associations.

Back in the 60s there were 95% more eels than there are now, and while the Anguilla Club has always been interested in the study of this extraordinary and intriguing creature, these days the club is very much a conservation group.

But that doesn’t mean they no longer fish for our slippery friends, just that they always practise catch and release. A fantastic resource for anyone interested in the life of one of the most enigmatic inhabitants of our rivers and streams.

The Barbel Society

barbel

Image source: Barbel Society
Avon barbel double and rod of choice

Angers are often conservationists too, and the fishermen of the Barbel Society surely number among the most passionate advocates of sustainable fisheries. The founding members of the organisation realised way back in the early 1990s that widening participation in the sport had to go hand in hand with effective management strategies to limit the pressure on the aquatic environment and fish stocks.

This website reflects the wide ranging interests of barbel anglers. You can read back issues of Barbel Fisher magazine, catch up with Society news through the e-newsletter and hone your barbelling knowledge and skills

There’s even an informative barbel handling video so you can make sure your prize catch returns to the water unharmed to grow even bigger. A great resource.

Top 10 Bass Fishing Tips- By Chris Ogborne

Ahead of the new saltwater season, Chris Ogborne looks at the vital statistics of Sea Bass fishing and gives you his shortlist of things to look out for! Invaluable bass fishing tips, whether you throw a fly, cast a lure or launch a bait out into the surf- these tips are sure to help you land more and bigger fish.

Chris Ogborne's beautifull local bass mark

Chris Ogborne’s beautiful local bass mark.

1. Specimen hunting.   If you want a big bass then you’ve got to target them, ignoring all the tempting smaller fish.  I stalk mine, late evening on the beach, just after the sun goes below the horizon.  Short rod, tight fly presentation and very careful watercraft are the key ingredients.

2. Wet wading.   This gives you a huge ‘edge’ over people in waders.  With shorts and bare legs you feel the temperature changes and when you find these, you find fish!   It’s also a lot safer in the marine environment and a lot more comfortable in high summer

3.Lighter rods.   Don’t be drawn into the old school thinking that you need heavy tackle, whether on fly, spin or lure.  Lighter rods give you precision, minimum disturbance and better presentation.  There’s very little you can’t do with a 9foot 6 weight fly fishing rod.

4.LRF.  If you haven’t tried it, you should!   Light Rock Fishing is all about an approach to fishing that is absolutely more fun, and more rewarding.  And it catches lots of fish!  It brings delicacy and subtlety to saltwater fishing.

Boat or shore?

Boat or shore?

5. Boat or shore?   Shore and beach fishing is great, and essentially it’s free. Find yourself a good drop-off, fish the blue water channels, or prospect around the rocks.  Remember that weed covered rocks are best, as they provide cover for the things Bass feed on. But occasionally you will need a boat, either to each those impossible marks or simply because of the weather.   Top tip is to pick the best skipper – they will make or break a day out!  Ask the local fishing tackle shops and they’ll tell you who the local stars are! And always ALWAYS look out for feeding birds – that’s where the bait fish will be.

6. Soft Baits.  Bass are clever fish.  They ‘feel’ a hard metal bait in their mouths and will reject it if they can.   But soft baits seem to feel good to Bass – they take them more confidently and hold on to them.  You miss a lot less fish with soft baits, like the sidewinder bass fishing lures.

7. Leaders and rigs.  Don’t go only light with leader strength.   Bass fight hard and you don’t want to lose a big fish on a breakage.  For flyfishing leader I rarely go under 7lb and for soft baits I normally start at 10lb, unless I’m on really fussy fish.

A bass about to go back in after a quick photo snap

A bass about to go back in after a quick photo snap.

8.Catch and Release.  Bass are beautiful fish and deserve respect.   They are very slow growing so a 5lb fish can be upwards of 6 years old.  As the Bass stocks around our coast are under huge pressure, think long and hard before you kill one.  Maybe it’s better to have the pleasure of watching it swim away?

9. Late summer.  September is my favourite month.   The tourists have gone home and I get the beaches to myself again.  Treat yourself to a long week end in Cornwall in September, enjoy the softness of the climate, and put yourself in with a real chance of a big fish before the season ends.

A stunning bass beach in september - not a soul in sight!

A stunning bass beach in September – not a soul in sight!

10. And finally……… Don’t ignore the schoolies!   Smaller bass are have fun on light tackle and they can often fight better than fish twice their size   Out on the sand bars they can give tremendous sport and massive fun.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary – September 2014

2lb codling Kent shore

2lb codling Kent shore

I had a surprise this week when a photo session with Sea Angler photographer, Lloyd Rogers resulted in me catching my biggest ever wrasse from the Kent shore. You will have to wait until the feature appears before you get to see the pics.

Catching wrasse from the Kent shore is nothing new, I first recorded Ballans in the 1980s, although they were generally small fish in the ounces and an occasional high summer catch. But after Samphire Hoe was constructed they started to appear in numbers and it was predicted that they would increase in size. Samphire Hoe, near Dover is a 2km long sea wall that was constructed out of the spoil that came out of the Channel Tunnel and it is extremely rocky and weedy, ideal habitat for wrasse which have colonised it big time.
I suppose the reason for the increase in the wrasse population generally has got to be global warming and it’s in the sea that anglers have noted a drastic influx of species and changes in the migration patterns of some of our most common fishes. The wrasse though is not a commercial catch, indeed the fact it tastes like cardboard will mean it will survive the nets and because anglers generally put them back. Both facts may have contributed to their increase, plus they are exploiting the habitat left after the demise of the other species.

Big Ballan wrasse have become what I call the poor man’s big fish with populations around the UK expanding and it’s a fact that large wrasse feature in many sea angling magazine pages when in the past they were considered less meritorious. Pound for pound of course they are a powerful sea fish, whilst their colours and handsome looks add to their popularity as a catch. They are also not easy to drag from their rocky haunts and can be caught on bait or lures. Nowadays they are there to be caught when other prime species are not and like the dogfish, wrasse have become an accepted part of the sea angling scene.

Between the wrasse I have managed to catch a few codling, although they have been mainly small with a mix of fish between 20 and 40cm from the Kent shore. Listening to the Facebook grapevine it looks like most of the English Channel and lower North Sea have the same populations of 1lb to 2lb codling. Trouble is so many anglers exaggerate the size and around my neck of the woods fish of 5lb are being reported, its odd that not one of the Kent competition results and there are hundreds, has produced a codling of more than 2lb 8oz. However, having said that its been nice to sit on the beach and see the rod tip buckle over because even a 2lb codling can give you a great pull down or slack line bite.
Best bait has been black lugworm for me with a two hook Loop rig the ideal terminal set up for long range when the weather is rough and distance crucial. At other times I have stuck to a two hook flapper with size one Kamasan B940s. In the coming weeks a change in the weather will produce more codling with an onshore sea the best conditions, south west in Kent and along the Channel coast is best whilst up the North Sea a North East is usually considered ideal. Also look to fish after the gales have subsided, don’t leave it a couple of day, go when the wind drops.

Between the codling have been a few big bass and it’s the time of year when bass and cod are caught together or in consecutive casts on some southern venues. I love nothing than a really calm night to fish a small live whiting in the margins of a steep shingle beach. Some big bass are there to be caught from now up until Christmas and like others the bass season has been extended again thanks to global warming.

Alan-with-a-cod-and-bass

How it once was – A bass and a cod for a young Alan Yates……

I am currently using my two Force 8 continental beach rods. They are 15ft and rated 5oz, although I am using 12lb line and 4oz leads with one rod on micro braid and one on mono. The comparison between the two lines is tremendous with the braid especially effective over rough ground – I used it to catch those wrasse and its lack of stretch and immediate pick up means tremendous bites, but fish can be bullied away from the rocks quicker than with mono., One word of warning with braid main line all through, you will find that it will snap light mono hook lengths so don’t go too light, not below 15lb for rough ground anyway.

The Continental sea fishing rods have been an eye opener for me and using 4oz on the strongest tide with micro braid has generally lightened up my sea angling without a big loss in casting distance or increase in tackle movement because of the tide. Four ounces holds in most tides with the finer line, only heavy weed offers a problem.

I’m off this week to make a new DVD for TF Gear and Sea Angler magazine with Chris Ogborne. We are going to Cornwall and fishing aboard Optimus Prime skippered by Rodney Kennedy. The main subject of the DVD is fishing light and hopefully that will include a shore trip so I can show you the new Force 8 Continentals in action. Look out for the DVD in the coming months it will be free with Sea Angler magazine and to all TF Gear customers etc.

Alan-Yates-Sturgeon-from-Chequertree

I did a bit of coarse fishing recently and landed this cracking sturgeon on a pole from Chequertree fishery at Bethersden in Kent.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Late August 2014

TF Gear Force 8 sea fishing jacket

Don’t you just love this drop in temperature, strong wind and a rough sea – Lots of anglers are rubbing their hands together at the prospect of autumn arriving and an improvement in the shore sea angling. It is though a time to bite the bullet and get out there in some uncomfortable conditions with an onshore wind and sea invariably the time to fish most venues. After the calm sunshine of summer a blustery rain swept beach can be difficult, BUT like all things it eventually becomes the norm and we all get back into winter mode. Time for the heavier fishing gear and time to break out those 7oz fixed wire grip leads, bait clips and the more powerful beachcaster rods. There is no doubt that from September onwards shore fishing is not for whimps with wands, it’s a time when casting distance and keeping a lead where it lands is very important. But it’s also a time when lots of novices catch their biggest ever bass with the species picking up a short cast big bait and so let’s start there and look at the prospects for a giant bass.

Big bass are usually solitary because the rest of their shoal have been caught or died. But there are enough still around to ensure that some lucky angler will nail a lunker in the next month or two. Luck plays a big part because bass are caught really close to the sea edge and rarely at long range. So the early winter cod angler fishing a giant bait in the edge is the one with the best odds of catching a big bass and that’s the novice. Few experienced cod anglers will deliberately fish a big bait close in for cod and so the novice with his inadequate cast is the most likely to get that lunker bass. That is unless you deliberately target a big bass by fishing close in. AND the best way to do that is with a live bait. Pick a calm, dark night and a steep deep beach venue and hook on a small pout and fish it in the first twenty for the waters edge. Keep the noise and light flashing to a minimum and you may catch a big bass. Often at this time of year the bass arrive on a venue because anglers are returning small fish or gutting mackerel etc. This especially as dusk and darkness arrives.

A favourite way to target bass is to slide a short trace down the main line of a rod cast out with a lip or tail hooked pouting on a strong 3/0 so that it floats in the edge.

Lots of anglers will now be thinking about cod and this summer many regions have seen an improvement in codling stocks. The trouble is that this has happened before with lots of codling in August, but by October they have gone. Fish over the size limit are easy prey for the gill nets and trawlers and it’s these that decimate the codling shoals. The bigger cod are very thin on the ground and usually don’t show until November and December.

Another fact of autumn, its better described as the start of winter, is that waterproofs and shelters return to the sea fishing tackle essentials. Options include the full Hurricane shelter which is ideal for those contemplating a marathon beach session over the complete tide, or a brolly which is a more portable shelter and is especially suited to the mixed weather of this time of year. I prefer the umbrella for the beaches in early autumn, the cheaper Hardware umbrella is ideal, especially where lots of moving with the tide is required, take a luggage strap and strap it to your tackle box, even better to your seat harness. The cheaper green brolly is lighter and more compact and can be erected quickly. OK it’s not the full Monty of the shelter but it’s great for a short session or the occasional shower. Once the weather deteriorates, then I switch to the TF Gear Force 8 brolly which is a bespoke sea angling umbrella like no other. OK others also have wings to widen the protection area, but the Force 8 has a removable cover, tough non metal frame and pockets for the shingle etc to hold it down.

Waterproof wise I prefer the full jacket and bib and brace suit – it goes without saying that being able to take the jacket off helps control temperature when the sun comes out and that the full sallopettes trousers not only keep you warm but clean!

Make no mistake in a few weeks your will need that protective clothing and shelter – we have been spoilt for weather this summer and the winter could well bring some shocks!

Having recently switched to fixed spool reels and braid main line I have to say what a revelation that has been. Bites are bolder, fish pull more and my sea fishing is more enjoyable. For years I tried braid on a multiplier, but it just does not work, but micro braid on a fixed spool reel is another ball game and I recommend those of you out there thinking about a switch to braid, go ahead but only with a fixed spool reel.

Codling-and-eel-from-the-pier-at-Dover

Tight lines,

Alan Yates

Fly Fishing for Bass – What flies?

With the new season upon us for 2014, it’s time to dust off the fly fishing gear and hit the fly tying bench in readiness for some hectic sessions on the beach.

What happened in 2013? Well, my season was certainly one to remember, not only for my benefit but for a few friends too. Although I was unlucky on a few occasions with the larger sized fish a couple of mates did better and managed to set themselves new personal bests with the best going 10 1/2lbs. A fish of a lifetime on any method but made that little more special when its caught on a fly! There were also a number of other great fish taken between 7 1/2 and 9lbs.

My personal best day however, resulted in over 50+ Bass, “Nothing to shout about you may say” and yes, you could probably do this every other day with schools of fish in the estuaries of a pound or so in weight but, these fish were a few classes above and with an average weight of between 3 and 4lbs. I will quite happily shout about it from the roof tops! It was a insane session, it was a fish a chuck, two fish a chuck at one point when I was fishing a dropper fly. Although I manged to get the first couple of double shots to the net I thought better of it and cut one fly off as 3lb+ fish pulling against each other is asking for trouble and a snap off was on the cards. If the fish had been slightly larger I am sure a breakage would have been a certainty. Thankfully I always use a stout leader, 15lbs breaking strain is the lightest I would go and for the most part I use 20lb. Personally, I have never found Bass to be leader shy so it doesn’t pay to go light on your tippet…  To date, it will certainly go down as my most memorable day SWFF!

I have everything crossed that this season will be as good has the last and with a bit of luck, that 10lb fish which as eluded me so far will turn up.

What do I use?

My favourite fly pattern for Bass is this Silver Baitfish pattern.

Saltwater bass flies

This pattern worked extremely well for me last year. During the months of September and October there’s usually an influx of small mullet on the beaches which range in sizes between 3 – 6″ in length, these make for easy pickings for any marauding Bass so it only makes sense to offer them something which resembles what they are feeding on. It’s a great fly that’s relatively easy to tie and very rarely, if ever, fouls on the cast. The rear part of the fly ( the tail ) consists of extra select craft fur, the front portion is Veniard’s Streamer wing .The streamer wing is what makes this fly almost foul proof, it’s fairly stiff but has a decent amount of mobility, the best part about it is the profile it keeps in the water, it’s excellent. The craft fur gives the pattern all the mobility it requires.

Hook – You preferred pattern of choice and size.
Extra select craft fur.
Veniards streamer wing.
Silver angle hair.
Stick on eyes
Veniard Bug Bond Resin ( Or your preferred UV resin )

This pattern doesn’t only work in the later months. Tied in different sizes it works from the start of the season right until the end.

Tight lines

Daz

 

Bass Fishing in Early September

Daz on the Bass

Daz returning a bass of a couple of pounds

Tuesday 3rd.Sept 2013.

This turned out to be a very frustrating session indeed. I briefly made contact with one fish right off the the bat but we soon parted company. With numerous follows after this not one would commit to take the fly. The usual change of tactics, methods and flies which would more often than not produce a few fish under such circumstances proved fruitless. I have had many follows and rejections over the years (Yes, off fish!) on both fly and plugs but never from so many fish in one single session. I really don’t know what went on that day and why the fish were coming short, or what else I could have done to induce a take, it’s something which I have never experienced before. The conditions were good and many thoughts run through my mind as to why they were acting like they were, such as; “Have they already fed and stuffed themselves on the millions of bait fish which were present”. The truth is I don’t know, what I do know is; It was not the typical behavior of the bass I know.

Wednesday 4th.Sept 2013.

I headed for the same mark in the hope that the Bass were in a better mood, but unfortunately I had no luck. Except for one small fish which I watched engulf my fly and reject it before I even thought about lifting the rod! I was not too disappointed by the missed chance although it could have saved another blank!

Saturday 7th.Sept 2013.

Hoping that a change of venue would bring a change of luck, plans were made over the phone on the Friday with my good mate and fishing buddy, Mark Hearn. The plan was to attack a low water mark a little further west, with low water at 2:00am arrangements were made to meet at 11:30pm in the car park. Kitted up and our fishing rods loaded with the new Super-Dri fly lines from Airflo, our choice of flies were clouser type patterns. We made the short walk to the water. I love this mark, not only for the ease of fishing it offers but also for the quality of fish it can give up. It’s got a bit of everything you look for when Bass fishing, mud, sand, rock, weed and a variety of food items that the fish can gorge themselves on, a real Bass haven. With a average depth of around 3ft, our  floating lines are all that is needed.

Conditions were perfect and with good water clarity I was feeling confident. Things started off very slow and it wasn’t until low water that the first fish slammed the fly, a spirited little fellow of around 2 1/2lbs which felt twice the size when I first got stuck in to him, the new 6wt Airflo switch I was using took on a nice little bend. The rod was a real joy to use, bit more on this when it’s had a fair testing. The night did not turn out as I had hoped and unfortunately for Mark he drew a blank. Myself; I managed a few fish to a couple of pounds or more but the better specimens failed to show up!

Daz