LRF Report by Richard Salter
This last month has been quite challenging but thankfully the last week or so has seen signs of things really kicking into life.
Much of May was spent scratching around for odd fish here and there, its been a challenge to just avoid a blank at times and I’ve failed at that on a couple of occasions!
I have had the pleasure of fishing with my wife a couple of times this last month and she’s shown a bit of a knack of pulling out a fish or 2. She actually managed to find the only fish of the session down at Brixham when the fishing was particularly slow when she caught a nice little ballan on dropshotted gulp.
One highlight of the last month was a trip down to Ilfracombe where I met up with SAN’s James Wigglesworth who provided all the entertainment whilst I toiled for a couple of scorps and a few blennies. Meanwhile James was hauling in a quite diverse tally of species. Amongst a mix of wrasse and gobies, the shore clingfish he caught had us both quite excited, as did the surprise lobster that came along shortly after! The most unusual and obviously less welcome catch was a guillemot that had dived down to investigate James’s bait, it put up an unusual fight and understandably expressed its disgust at being caught by having a few pecks at James. We quickly released it and it seemed none the worse for wear, carrying on diving around in search of a meal.
A trip to Cornwall usually produces some good fishing but when Ben Bassett and I headed down recently, it was very much a case of scratching out what we could. A couple of small ballans on the HRF gear were all we managed in the morning before a trip to some rockpools produced a couple of nice Giant Gobies for Ben. We headed for Fowey to finish our little road trip, usually a place that can be relied upon to provide some good LRF action but again we were forced to scratch for our lives to find a fish. I ended up tying a tiny “stinger” hook to my little cheb rig to tease out a couple of painted gobies and a few blennies.
Thankfully, my last few sessions have been much more productive and show signs of promise for the fishing in the coming weeks and months. I headed for my local shingle beach for an evening session recently, hoping for my first gurnard of the year, which usually turn up around this time. The water was a concerning shade of brown when I arrived, metals weren’t producing to start with but a change to a caro rig, which enabled me to fire out a bit of bright yellow isome on a light jighead, produced a small schoolie bass from the chocolate coloured surf a few yards out. That magic time, also known as “golden hour” approached, as the sun began to set and the light dropped. This is often the most productive time of day and it was the case again here, as I began to find a few more little bass as well as a couple of decent mackerel on a 5g major craft jigpara metal, these were the first mackerel of the year for me, its always a welcome reminder as to how hard these fish fight when you’ve not caught one for a while!
I made another trip out in search of gurnard the other day with my friend Joe Mole, again we found the going tough, with lots of weed in the water and very little fishy action. I’d found a couple of tiny bass that had taken a liking to a 2” Keitech Easy Shiner in bubblegum sparkle colour mounted on a very blingy pink glitter head jighead but then had a long quiet spell. I’d actually suggested to Joe that we call it a day after an hour or so of pulling in nothing but seaweed but Joe had other ideas and sensibly ignored my suggestion and fished on, “magic hour” was approaching after all! Joe was first to find a fish, a better sized bass that gave us all the encouragement we needed to fish on for a bit more. We were focusing on fishing a bit of turbulent water, swirling around the end of an old jetty and once we found the right spot to hit, we found a few hungry bass, which took a liking to our Keitech paddle tails, including the best I’ve had for a while and took a bit of taming on the 7g rated Truzer!
My final session was down at Exmouth, where I met up with Joe again along with another fellow Lerfer, Tom. We found a few pollock early on, casting metals out into the current that ran round the slipway. The pollock switched off for a bit and we took to scratching around the rocks for a bit. I’d just taken delivery of my new Major Craft 5G Aji-Do and was very keen to put it to work. Even by LRF standards, this is the shortest and lightest rod I’ve ever owned, at only 5 foot long with a maximum casting weight of 3g, i was keen to see what it was capable of! I found a few common blennies and a couple of tompots amongst the rocks, the super sensitive tip of the 3g rated stick picking up every little nibble, a chunky tompot putting a satisfying bend in the rod. Changing to a small paddle tail on a 2g jighead, I cast out in search of more pollock, but it was a surprise sand smelt that took my pink major craft jigpara paddle tail. As dusk approached, the pollock came back on the feed and we all got into a few fish, a pleasant size for LRF at around half a pound or so with a couple of slightly bigger ones mixed in. I found a few using a 3g metal and it was reassuring to find that the 3g rod coped easily with the lunges of these plump little pollock. It will be interesting, and great fun to find out exactly how much this little rod can handle!
Tight lines all.