LRF Report by Richard Salter
It feels good to finally be able to write my first LRF report of the year. Its been a while! Lockdown has meant my fishing trips for the first quarter of the year were limited to my local canal and as much as I enjoy my freshwater fishing, for me, it doesn’t come close to the excitement that fishing on the coast offers.
April fishing is often less than action packed and it can be a relief just to avoid a blank, so I’ve been very grateful that my sessions this year have been fairly productive and even quite hectic at times!
Once the lockdown restrictions were eased enough for me to get my saltwater fix, I headed straight down to Exmouth on my next available day off. I arrived to find the water around the docks area surprisingly clear although a keen northerly wind was stirring the water up further up the estuary which meant a band of much browner water was slowly creeping its way towards my position.
With this in mind, I quickly set up a dropshot rig and searched down the wall of the docks with a bit of gulp isome. It was nice to bump into my friend Greg, who I’d not seen for a while and he confirmed that fishing had been surprisingly slow recently despite some excellent conditions. It did prove fairly slow but I was soon getting the familiar short, sharp plucks of small wrasse and after a couple of missed opportunities, it wasn’t too long before I had a small camo coloured ballan wrasse in my hand. My first saltwater fish of the year! It wasn’t long before I had another wrasse from amongst some submerged boulders, this one was smaller again but a really stunning fish with an almost fluorescent green belly!
As the tide dropped, the water clarity rapidly deteriorated and I moved on in the hope of finding some fish sat in tight amongst the boulders and structure of the slipway. A lost dropshot weight led to me taking the easy option and pinching on a splitshot instead which made it easier to fish the very shallow water I was now fishing in. These tight spaces are usually pretty reliable for winkling out a fish or 2 and so it proved this time, firstly with a chunky little ballan that took a little bit of persuasion to get out followed by another very welcome first of the year, a long spined sea scorpion and quite a plump one at that!
The water was pretty brown by this point so I decided to finish at a spot we’ve affectionately called “scorp corner”, for obvious reasons. It wasn’t scorps that I caught here though, but a few common blennies, of which there are thousands of along this particular stretch. Once I’d got my blenny fix, I returned to the slipway and almost immediately caught another scorp, which on closer inspection turned out to be the same one that I’d caught an hour or so earlier! I finished my session with a tompot blenny, another species I’ve missed during my time away from the coast!
My next session I headed down to Brixham, it was a chilly day but the water was crystal clear so hopes were high of finding a few fish, although I’ve found Brixham to be a slow burner and much better in the second half of the year generally. I initially started off with the LRF gear but aside from a couple of missed rattles, it was very quiet. This prompted me to dig out the HRF gear, which completely turned this session on its head! From my first cast, I was into a string of chunky ballans, ranging from a couple of pounds, right up to 4lb 3oz which is a new PB. Tactics were pretty straightforward, using my 25g rated Triple Cross Hard Rock rod, I was just flicking a 5g texas rig out, with a glass bead added for a bit of rattle and bumping it very slowly back up the rocks towards me. For a good couple of hours, almost every cast resulted in a hit from some very aggressive wrasse, most of them falling to a Keitech Custom Leech. A most enjoyable session!
My next session was at Haldon Pier in Torquay with fellow Lerfer Joe. We had another steady day’s fishing, working our way along the wall and searching through the gaps in the boulders to see what we could find. The hope is always for something a bit different here, like a topknot or rockcook but for this session we were happy with an assortment of wrasse, pout, pollock and blennies. The corkwing wrasse are looking particularly good at the moment, throwing some striking blues and greens that would look the part in any tropical fish tank.
My next session was back at Exmouth which was very much a day of 2 halves! The first half was pretty slow, with nothing taking an interest in the metals I was chucking around in search of pollock or perhaps a schoolie bass. A stunning male corkwing got things going though once I’d changed to a dropshot rig and some gulp isome. A couple more small wrasse followed and then a brace of tompot blennies in consecutive casts before it all went quiet again. As the tide turned, I tried my luck from the slip and went back to the metals. I had no joy for the first half an hour but then caught my first pollock of the day after lots of missed attempts! As sunset approached and the light began to fade, the pollock suddenly switched on. I was getting lots of hits but not many hook ups on the jigs so I switched to a 1.5g jighead and 2” paddle tail which held up in the water really well and allowed the fun sized pollock a bit more time to get the lure in their mouths rather than just bumping into it as they were doing with the metals! Over the next hour or so I had non stop action, the fish going particularly mental for a Lime Chartreuse Keitech Easy Shiner.
I finished off my April LRF adventures at Brixham again, where I headed for the breakwater. This session was a much quieter one, with very little happening for much of the day but a flurry of activity as the tide began to flood did result in a mixture of wrasse species, a tompot blenny and my first goby of the year, a rock goby. All these were caught on a dropshot rig fished very close in on various gulp and isome lures.
Hopefully the fishing carries on improving and we can look forward to a fish filled summer! Tight lines all!