30 December 2012

Last of the year...

With the new year almost upon us and cabin fever starting to set in from the Christmas break, Sam and I decided to brave the weather and squeeze in one last session for the year. Unfortunately the high winds ruled out any chance of fishing the coast, so instead we ventured inland to try a canal mark that had fished well for us earlier in the year. Our intention was to target perch on soft plastics but despite our best efforts they just didn't seem to be either about or interested in our lures. Either way the pike made up for the lack of perch, it was just a pity that there wasn't a few more of them about, maybe next time. Happy New Year to you all and hopefully 2013 will be a good one.

My Set-up:
Rod: Cormoran ULX 1-9g
Reel: Shimano Rarenium CI4 2500Ra
Line: Sunline Small Game 3lb FC with wire trace
Lure: Various soft plastic lures and jig heads

Sam's set-up
Rod: Reins Raz Aji ringer-Z 7' 6"-0.4-7g
Reel: Shimano Stradic CI4 2500
Line: Sunline 8lb super PE with wire trace
Lure: Various soft plastic lures and jig heads

08 December 2012

Ultra Light Fishing Florida Style

Sam just got back from his holidays in Florida and had some great fishing while he was over there, here's his report:

At this time of the year its fantastic to be able to fish under clear blue skies in shorts and tee-shirts and not as would be the case in Ireland at the moment, wrapped up to within an inch of your life and pelted by the wind and the rain. Well that's what the past two weeks have been like for me as I fished along the Florida beaches of Anna Maria Island to Venice.

I first met up with some old friends to find out what the fishing had been like over the past few weeks and to see if they could put me on a few fish. Unfortunately the news wasn't quite what I was hoping to hear. The wind had been blowing hard from the north-east recently and as a result the water temperature had dropped and the fishing had suffered. My intention was to target Spotted Trout but after two days of wading and no sign of any trout it was time for Plan B.

Undeterred by the poor trout fishing I decided to make the most of my time here and to focus on fishing with lighter gear for some of the smaller species. There are plenty of small fish close to the beaches and rocky out crops, fish like Pinfish, Mangrove Snappers, Trigger fish and many others too.  

I had brought some of my LRF gear with me but didn't have a suitably light rod with me, so the first port of call was the local Walmart to see if they had anything that would do the job. I couldn't believe it when I saw a little Okuma Celilo sitting in the bargain bin for only $10. Rated at 1/32-3/8oz or about 1-10g, it looked just the job and at that price you couldn't go wrong. I paired this rod up with my Shimano Stradic CI4 2500, loaded with Sunline 8lb super PE and 6lb Sunline FC leader. On the business end I had a bunch of LRF lures with me, Ecogear Strawtails, Berkley Fish Fry and Marukyu Power Isome worms all ready to be tried out. It was on stop action right from the start with up to 30 or 40 fish a session. nothing too big but still hours of fun catching fish in the sun. Don't ask me to names of all the species but pound for pound these fish all gave a great account of themselves especially on an ultra light game set-up.

I still hadn't quite given up on catching a Spotted Trout and on my second last day I was chatting to my friend Dave about where I might still have a chance of catching one. He pointed me in the direction of a lovely little backwater and in the blink of an eye, I was off... gear in hand. I rigged up with the same ultra light setup and a small Rapala Husky Jerk Glass minnow. I had only been fishing for a few minutes when the little rod buckled right over and the line started peeling off the reel. As the line continued to peel off the reel my mind started race and I began to wonder what could be on the end of my line, if it was a trout it was the mother of all trout. I slowly managed to turn the fish and get some line back on the reel and after what seamed like an age, I eventually got my first look at the fish I had hooked, a beautiful Redfish. I then I looked down at my small trout net and wondered if the fish would actually fit in the net but after a little persuasion I just about managed to slip the fish into the net albeit with half the fish still hanging outside the net. It was a beautiful fish and easily a personal best Redfish for me and so I really wanted to get a photo but typically there was no one around. I quickly grabbed the gear and the fish and jogged over the dunes to where a bunch of people were having a boat party, after a couple of quick photos and to the disbelief of the onlookers I slipped the fish back into the water. There was no doubt about it, this was the fish of the holiday.

I also caught some very nice Gulf Flounder, Ladyfish and Sheepshead, not bad for a little laid back holiday fishing. If you are heading over this direction, don't miss the opportunity to fish for the smaller and often overlooked species on offer, you will be pleasantly surprised. Roll on next year...

26 November 2012

There be Dragonets...

I was actually intending to go perch fishing this weekend until the two W's, work and weather, put paid to those plans. So instead I decided to head to the local harbour for two short LRF sessions. To be honest I wasn't expecting much particularly in the daytime but suprisingly ended up catching a nice little mix species all the same, including one species that has eluded me for quite some time, the diminutive but pretty little Dragonet.

Rod:  Major Craft Solpara 7' 3" (0.5-5g) Solid Tip 
Reel: Shimano Rarenium FA CI4 2500 
Line: Sunline Small Game Mono 3lb / Sunline Rockbite FC 3lb
Lures: Gulp Tiny Fry, Power Isome, Ecogear Aqua Strawtail and Spro Trout Master Snake paddle tail

16 November 2012

The Changing of the Seasons and the Species...

With the winter now well and truly upon us, it's now time to start focusing on some of the species that the winter brings with it. This week I have been back in the harbour to do a little more LRF and to see if any of those species had started to appear. There was plenty of small whiting and codling about but I was delighted to see some herring starting to show also. We had had a couple of great sessions fishing for the herring last year and I'm very much hoping for the same this year. However they still don't seem to be around the harbour in any numbers just yet but I still caught a few all the same.

Rod:  Major Craft Solpara 7' 3" (0.5-5g) Solid Tip
Reel: Shimano Rarenium 2500
Line: Sunline Rockfish 0.3PE braid
Leader: 6lb FC
Lures: Various Spro soft plastics

06 November 2012

Wrasse from the Kingdom...

I couldn't wait to get back down to the breathtakingly beautiful Dingle Peninsula in Co. Kerry again this year and to have another couple of sessions after the wrasse. When I was last in Dingle earlier this year I had some great wrasse fishing from a mark that I had found the previous year. Its a great little spot with the potential to throw up some good size wrasse and the odd bass too. Best of all is that unlike so many of the wrasse marks down there, it doesn't involve a daunting climb down to the waters edge.

Well the bass didn't seem be be around this time but the wrasse were as obliging as ever, munching through all sorts of soft plastic lures. Its quite rough ground at this particular spot, fishing over a reef with lots of sharp barnacle covered rocks, so weed-less soft-plastics were the order of the day. As I was fishing at close range and to avoid having to keep replacing frayed leaders, I decided to use a fluorocarbon mainline (Sunline Siglon Fluorocarbon 10lb mainline). In relation to the lures, to be perfectly honest the wrasse at this particular mark didn't seem to be too fussy, as you can see from the photos below they hit a variety of different soft plastic lures. Within a few casts my lures were being hit by the wrasse with many being bitten in two before I started hooking a few fish. They were a decent stamp of fish too with many in the 2-3lb range. I ended up having two very enjoyable sessions fishing for the wrasse before the sea got a little too rough to comfortably and safely fish this mark but I'm already looking forward to my next visit.

Rod: Sakura Rookie 8'6"
Reel: Shimano Rarenium 4000
Line: Sunline Siglon Fluorocarbon 10lb mainline
Lures: Various soft plastic lures and jig heads

04 November 2012

November rain....hail, gales and bass

I had a few days on the Dingle Peninsula in Kerry last week and managed to squeeze in a little bass fishing. Talk about changeable weather though, sunny one minute, then gales and driving rain the next with the odd heavy hail shower thrown in for good measure. That said the weather wouldn't really put me off too much, once the water temperature is still good there should still be a few fish about and as the old saying goes "there's no bad weather, just bad clothing", so wrapped up well I headed off to see if I could find a few fish. Big swells and rough sea towards the end of the week meant I avoided the rock marks that I had intended to fish and instead I decided to concentrate on a couple of estuary marks for the bass this time. The bass didn't seem to be around in any numbers unfortunately but I still got a few November bass and to be honest I was happy out with that. The lure of choice was a 6" Savage Gear Slug Eel on a Owner Sled Head jig-head, its a combination that has worked well for my friend Tomek this year and I can see why. It wasn't all bass fishing though I also did a little lure fishing for the wrasse but more about that later.

Rod: Sakura Rookie 8'6"
Reel: Shimano Rarenium 4000
Line: Sunline Super PE 20lb (Braid)
Leader: Sunline Siglon FC 15lb Leader
Lures: 6" Savagegear Slug eels on Owner Sled Head jigheads

07 October 2012

Some Bass at last...

There is no two ways about it for whatever reason the bass fishing this year has been very tough. There are lots of theories as to why but the fact is that there seem to be fewer bass around this year compared to previous years. As a result I haven't been doing nearly as much bass fishing as previous years and instead have been focusing on other species. However in recent weeks the fishing has picked up a little, nothing spectacular but we have been catching the odd fish or two and hopefully there'll be time for a couple more before the seasons out.