Catch Fish with
For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).
Good guess Mike!
On the previous morning Bill and I had an abortive trip to the coast. When we arrived not only was it MUCH rougher than we expected but - disaster - all the weed middens had been washed away overnight. We'd expected the sudden blow after a calm spell but the conditions were hopeless so we turned back and went home.
When I arrived back at the house I had another look at the computer weather forecast, and it was clear that the strong wind and big sea was temporary. In fact the forecast was for it to drop by the next day. Anyway, I decided that it might be worth a low tide sortie the following morning. Low water was due at 04:50 so I aimed to arrive at my selected spot by about 05:05 just as the tide began to rise.
It was still dark when I made my first cast with a half-fillet of mackerel, lightly hooked on a size 6/0 circle hook - no extra weight on the line. The place where I was fishing has a slight run of tide from left to right as it begins to flood, and even in the moonlight I could see that the water was a bit murky (good!) with a fair amount of loose weed (bad!). My first three casts each lasted for about five minutes before the line became draped in bits of wrack and japweed - I was not amused. Every time I cleared the line, hook and bait of debris before flicking it out a few metres again. Between the successive casts I'd noticed a couple of furtive plucks on the line which I attributed to blennies or other small rock fish - this encouraged me to persist. Out went the bait again - not quite so far this time (perhaps two metres?) in the hope of minimising my weed collecting activities.
I waited patiently with the bale open and the line held in my left hand to feel for bites. Was that a pluck? (it's always a surprise to me when I get a bite on a free-lined bait). Yes, definitely a fish. The line was running out through my fingers quite quickly now. It wasn't the biggest piece of mackerel, so I was thinking that any decent fish might have it well inside the mouth already. I took a pace forward to slacken the line, gently closed the bale arm, making sure that the line was over the roller, and waited. The line pulled tight, the rod curved round and the clutch began to buzz - it was on!
For a second or two I wondered whether it might not be a bass but the thrashing of the water soon dispelled any doubts that I had. At first the fish took a fair amount of line in a succession of runs, then it seemed to tire and allowed me to pump it back towards where I stood. As it reached the really shallow water the bass must have touched the seabed and suddenly it made an explosive attempt to escape, dragging the rod down and ripping off several metres of line. I drew it back and swapped the rod to my left hand before taking the trace in my other hand and sliding the fish ashore - a fine, fat specimen. Now it was just a matter of measuring it (63cm fork length), taking a couple of pictures and unhooking it before walking down to the water's edge and setting it free.
I'd only been fishing for half-an-hour and I had another piece of mackerel in the bag so I baited up again and had another cast. almost at once there was a gentle pluck on the line then, nothing. I tightened to see if the bait was weeded and discovered that it had firmly lodged in a rock. I wrapped the line round my sleeve and walked back. The line parted close to the hook. No more bait so I packed in and left - a good morning.
Just 63cm (fork length) but a nice, fat fish.
The 6/0 circle hook did its job perfectly.
The inevitable 'selfy' - at least I appear to be awake.
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