Still here

Look a new post!

I have been incredibly busy with family, work and everything else and haven’t had the time to get on here. I had a fairly poor year last year fishing wise, low numbers of fish, high numbers of blanks. It just seemed to be a weird year. I did however catch a new personal best, catching my first double. Unbelievable experience.

I haven’t the time to do any fully featured gear reviews at the minute, but I will mention a newish lure that I have loved using over the last year or so. I fish nearly exclusively now with soft plastics, almost always weedless and weightless. The lure that has now got a permanent place in my bag is the 7 ” Megabass Dot Crawler.

When I first bought these lures I couldn’t believe the size of them! They are obviously a fairly long lure but they are also fairly chunky. I fish them with a 4/0 or 5/0 weedless hook, using a hitchhiker coil to screw the lure into. Due to their size and denseness they obviously are fairly heavy, weighing in around 27g I believe.

The are great casters and can be a life saver in dodgy conditions. The lure is a slow sinker and works great over shallow and weedy ground. I tend to fish them with a very slow ‘tap tap’ retrieve. Have a look on here for some technique recommendations but they are very simple to fish.

I was pleased to get a few decent fish on them but also surprised to see how small some of the fish were that decided to take them. I definitely had plenty of hits where the lure has been attacked by smaller fish that couldn’t handle the size.

The downside of them is their durability. I suspect it is due to the weight of them putting a fair strain on the rubber against the hook shank, but they tend to break in exactly the same place after a few sessions. At around £10 a pack of 5 they feel an expensive lure to use when compared to something like a wave worm, but they have enough about them, enough individuality to make we want to keep on stocking up.

I hope everyone has a good 2016, filled with plenty of fish. Don’t forget to sign up  or renew for membership of B.A.S.S. There have been some successes recently in the fight to protect the stock, but there are also still important issues to address, not least the current situation with gill netting.

Who knows when the next post will be, but please feel free to pass any feedback using the contact email.

 

Costa Del Mar Man O war 580p Review

manowar

 

 

 

 

 

I have been using the Costa Del Mar Man O War glasses all summer and I have loved them. The glasses use the 580p copper lenses. I wanted to wait a little while before properly reviewing them to let me have a chance to get good use of them in lots of different conditions to see where they would work well.

I went for the copper lenses as these are supposed to be better suited to low light conditions, such as dusk and dawn, which is when I do the majority of my Bass fishing. However, I ended up using them though at all times of the day and in all sorts of light conditions and bar from being very dark conditions they benefitted me at all times.

If you have never used polarised glasses you are actually missing out a fair bit. The glasses enhance what you can see, sometimes quite dramatically, and this will no doubt aid your fishing. I found them most useful when able to fish from a vantage point above the water, looking down into medium to deep water. The glasses remove nearly all the glare from the surface and highlight the rocks and weed underneath. This helped massively with my fishing on the marks we try for Wrasse and Pollock. It allows you to pick out all the features and fish your soft lures tight to the structure. Wrasse fishing was made much easier by being able to spot any fish following the lure from quite a distance, allowing you to slow down and jig the lure a little to entice the bite. I can honestly say the glasses 100% improved my fishing.

When Bass fishing into sunrises and sunsets, the ability to see into the water was reduced from daytime Wrasse and Pollock fishing, but it was still much clearer than when not using the glasses. Obviously the dazzle from the sun itself is reduced, but you were still able to pick out features like rocks and weed beds to either target or avoid, depending on how you were fishing and what lures you were using. They also helped massively when surface fishing to spot fish and working out what they were doing when they got interested in the lure. Allowing you to make a better choice of whether to stop or move the lure.

When playing fish, I felt more in control as I could see where the fish was headed, what obstacles were about that the fish might head into and on a few occasions I could see how well the fish was hooked.

The lenses also bring out the colour much more dramatically. It is like a camera filter has been placed on your eyes, making objects stand out much more and look much more vibrant. This helped with spotting fishing moving about occasionally, making them stand out from the background. I have never noticed as many mullet on my marks as I did when wearing the glasses.

The glasses were comfortable to wear all day and I never had any problems with red marks afterwards. I often forgot they were on at all. I bought a pair of costa keeper retainers to help me avoid losing or dropping the glasses which was also nice and easy to fit and although the glasses seem to grip your head well it was nice to have the assurance of them.

Unfortunately the Costa Keepers couldn’t stop my own stupidity and I managed to leave the glasses on the roof of my car before driving off on a session a couple of weeks ago. I am definitely missing them now as they had become a part of my regular tackle and I now feel like I am losing out on what is happening in front of me when I am fishing. A very good bit of kit, that has very real effect on my fishing.

Cost Del Mar Polarised Sunglasses – First Impressions

manowar

 

 

 

 

 

I recently got hold of some Costa del Mar Man ‘O War polarised sunglasses. I had heard various people on forums highly rating a good pair of polarised glasses and describing how they had helped their fishing. I was keen to try them for myself and see what difference they would make.

After a couple of trips out I can give some early impressions of the Man O War glasses I have, and try to explain a little of how they have helped so far.

I had previously owned a cheap pair of polarised glasses that were useful, but suffered from a strange flickering when looking at the water.  This would eventually give me a headache so I rarely tried to use them.

I am glad to say that the Costas do not give me any problem at all and my vision through the lenses actually seems better than when not wearing them. Everything looks more defined in the copper lenses and more vibrant in colour. It feels a little strange at first but it’s like someone has given everything a bit of touching up in Photoshop.

The frames themselves are comfortable to wear and fit snugly, but are not tight on my quite large head. I will pick up a cord to attach to the legs of the glasses to save them if they do fall off, but they already stay in place without problem when leaning forwards or moving my head about.

After reading a lot of comments from others, I was keen to see how well they glasses let you see into the water. Polarised glasses work by blocking the light reflecting off the water’s surface, reducing glare, and allowing you to see more clearly into the water. This is obviously helpful when fishing as you can have a look for the structure that Bass like to hide amongst and ambush their prey.

The 580p lenses block 100% UV which will protect your eyes, block some blue light to eliminate haze, plus block some yellow light which apparently is what makes the colours more vibrant.

When looking into water they do not give you x-ray vision, but they do definitely make things much more visible. I was fishing a mark recently where when not wearing the glasses, all I could see was the greyish surface of the water, with plenty of bright sun reflecting off the surface. After putting the glasses on I could then see the dark patches of weed and rock around the mark and obviously the glare had gone.

This directly helped my fishing by making sure I was casting my lure to the right places, and allowing the lure to work over the likely fish holding areas. It wasn’t like I could make out every rock and bit of weed, but I could definitely see that shape of the structures mixed in with where the sand patches were. Again, when not wearing the glasses I could see nothing of the structure below. This obviously helps you when actually fishing, but will also help when scanning about for marks where you haven’t had the chance to check out at low tide. The water clarity on this occasion was fair, so it will be interesting to have a look in some really clear water.

I was lucky enough to hook my first Bass of the year on this mark when trying out the glasses and what was particularly helpful was that I could see the fish’s profile for most of the fight, giving me a much better idea of where it was trying to head and allowing me to steer it in a bit more assuredly.

What was also really noticeable was when wading about on the shallow, weedy rocky ground, I could make out where I was walking much more clearly. When not wearing the glasses I could make things out somewhat, but I was often misplacing steps into little holes or getting the angle of a submerged rock wrong. When I had them on I could get a much better idea of perspective with underwater objects, allowing me to move a bit quicker and do a few less ‘Bambi on ice’ impressions.

I also definitely found that at the end of the sessions when wearing the glasses that my eyes were not as tired, as I am not squinting at the bright reflections on the water and not straining to make things out as much.

So far I am really liking them. I can see some real benefits to my fishing straight away. After I have put a bit more time in with them I will put up a full review.

 

costadelmar

Let Our Bass Breed

Get involved with helping protect the UK Bass stocks

http://www.ukbass.com/let-our-bass-breed-2/

The Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society or B.A.S.S. has been campaigning for an increase in the minimum landing size (MLS) of Bass for many years. The belief is that allowing Bass to grow more before they can be legally caught will mean an improvement in Bass stocks and the sustainability of the species.

A female Bass will not likley spawn until it is 40-45 cms in length. Currently the minimum landing size (MLS) is 36cms. B.A.S.S. are campaigning to increase the MLS and let our Bass breed.

New B.A.S.S. website and Blog

B.A.S.S.

 

 

The Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society have just launched their new websitre and blog. You can check out the site here:

http://www.ukbass.com/

I particlularly like the new blog post here:

http://www.ukbass.com/so-it-begins/

About Bass

The Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society (BASS) is both a fishing club and an organisation dedicated to the conservation of the European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax). The Society believes that its members have the ability to encourage the conservation, research and protection of the European sea bass, as well as, to improve and educate others in the techniques of angling for this premier sporting fish.

BASS was formed in March 1973 following a meeting of bass anglers interested in fishing for and conserving the species. It argues that the bass fishing we used to have was better than what we have now. Better in terms of both numbers of bass and the sizes of bass caught, by anglers. The Society’s long term aim is to restore, at least in part, that situation. To further that aim it has set up a Restoration Project.

The Society encourages its members to fish in a sportsmanlike manner. They are requested to observe the minimum size limit of 48cms, recommended by the Committee, in those instances when the occasional fish is killed for the table. Members are recommended to take no more than two fish per day, with a maximum of 10 fish per year. Many members release all the bass they catch.

BASS is a democratic organisation. Its officers and committee submit themselves for election at each Annual General Meeting, held in the Spring. The AGM is only in part a business meeting. There are presentations of specimen awards, the opportunity to purchase fishing tackle, as well as lectures by some of the Society’s more experienced members on various aspects and ways to bass fish, which they have successfully tried and tested over the years. A unique opportunity to learn new techniques.

BASS members occasionally organise ‘fish-ins’, at venues around the coast of the UK. These are not run as competitions, instead they offer a chance for members to socialise, share ideas and visit new areas of the coast.

BASS publishes a quarterly magazine, which is supplied free to paid-up members. Each issue is packed with information about the activities of the Society and its members. The magazine is open to all, for contributions of pictures, articles and reader’s letters.

All BASS members, with a personal email address, are invited to join the password protected members only forum, where members can meet up and discuss all aspects of bass fishing. Even if a member is not into chatting, the forum is worth a visit, if only to read the wealth of information about Bass and Bass fishing that has been posted there.

The Society is affiliated to the Angling Trust (AT), maintains a membership of the Marine Biological Association and also has close links with Irish Bass, www.irishbass.org

 

 

 

 

Improving your fishing

It is easy with once you have got over the very basics of fishing to stand still and become complacent. One of the really appealing things about fishing for me is there is always something to learn and nobody will ever truly master the sport. Fish are living creatures and as a result will never be fully predictable. This is what makes fishing challenging and interesting to me.

To help improve your fishing there are a number of things to consider.

Open Mind

It definitely helps to fish with an open mind. Many people seem to get stuck in their ways and will not listen to others with different ideas to themselves. Many people see their way as the only way and think anyone doing any different is either lying or stupid.

In my experience keeping an open mind is one of the very best ways to improve your fishing. Even if you really hate the idea of a certain style of fishing, or presentation, there can still be small details that you can take away into your fishing. Whether that be a certain technique, lure, approach or whatever.

Listen

There is an amazing amount of information available to you. You can go on the internet, pop in a tackle shop, speak to other anglers out on the coast. Anyone can help your fishing if you are prepared to listen.

Someone you may consider to be less experienced, or less skilled than you can offer up real gems. Likewise, the really great anglers might not be the ones shouting the loudest or sporting the latest gear. I think it is very important to realise that nobody is greater than anyone else when it comes to fishing and that everyone still has things to learn. There is however something to be said in being able to syphon out the good information from the noise.

Master Something

Picking one area to concentrate on and master can help you greatly. Pick something like top water lures, or soft plastic lures and fish them exclusively. Read as much as you can on the subject and talk to other anglers who fish that way. Keeping trying until you get results with it and then look to refine what you have learned.

You do not have to pick a discipline and then only fish that 24 / 7. Do it for 1 hour every session, or one day every week, or whatever suits you. Then, when you feel like you have gained enough confidence in using it, pick something new to focus on. By doing this over and over again you can build a good solid skill set to apply at any time.

Memory

When something does go well and is a success for you, make a note of it in as much detail as possible. Use a diary if possible as you never remember all the details. Keeping this information and then using it again can work wonders. Bass are reasonably predictable most of the time, so something that works on a certain time of tide, time of day, weather conditions, lure choice and technique, will often work again when placed in a similar situation.

Take Chances

It is easy though to keep doing the same things over and over again, fish a certain mark in certain conditions. This is what I have just said to do in the previous point, but it does pay to try something new every now and then. Fish the same mark at a completely different state of tide, or a totally different wind direction. I personally found somewhere amazing this year that I would have completely ignored if I hadn’t gone against what I had previously learned.

Get out there

Finally, the most important key to learning and developing. This is actually getting out there and fishing. It is very easy to sit on websites and forums, picking up bits of information from other anglers, but none of that information is any use to you sitting at home. Getting out there and trying things for yourself is the only way to learn and master the techniques, the lures and your marks. You need to put the hours in to get any reward. This can be disheartening at the beginning, but eventually it will pay off in kind. There is nothing more rewarding than working something out for yourself, through hard work and dedication.

Shimano Rarenium 4000 c14 FA review

The Shimano Rarenium in a mid-priced reel that is very popular with lure fishermen in the UK and Ireland. I have owned one for the last three years and thought it would be helpful to give some feedback on it.

Shimano Rarenium

The reel is made from a fancy material known as C14 which is a reinforced carbon fibre material. This material is lightweight and as it is not metal, will not rust when it comes in contact with saltwater. I would imagine it would not be a tough as a metal casing, but I have been very clumsy over the years and my Rarenium has been dropped a fair few times without issue. I am not by any means saying they are bombproof, and every time I did drop it I winced, but so far so good.

When I originally bought the reel I noticed a couple of things straight away. Firstly the reel is very light. This will be down to the C14 material I would expect. It is so light in fact though it felt a little weird on my rod at the time. It is definitely something to think about when buying one as it may not balance as you expect on the rod you are using. Currently I am using a Nories Rough Surf 88 though which itself is quite a light rod and the Rarenium feels really nice on it.

The other thing I noticed is how smooth the reel was to turn. After using the previous reel until it was on its last legs the Rarenium felt amazing to use. What I am really happy to say after three years is that the reel still feels very smooth after plenty of use. I have tried to look after the reel to keep it smooth though.

The reel is supplied with a little bottle of oil and the manual recommends using a drop of this after every few trips out.  This is really easy to do as the reel has a small screw oil port on the back making this a thirty second job. I also tried to give the Rarenium a quick rinse under the tap after every use.

Although I could have probably got away without doing so, I have also sent the reel off to be services at the end of every season. I used the guys at Shimano Felindre which cost about £20 to do with the postage.

I mostly use 8 strand braids on the reel and have had no problems at all with either line lay or wind knots. I always spool new braid on under tension and make sure to slightly under fill the spool. After casting I always give the line a little tug away from the spool to make sure there is a bit of tension before starting a retrieve.

As a result, no tangles so far. This is helped by the reel being mechanically sound, the line roller has never stuck, the bail arm always closes properly and the line lay is always nice and tidy.

The drag on the reel is really smooth. You never get that feeling of the spool sticking and then giving way, it just smoothly starts to spin. The drag is also quick to adjust, with a fairly small turn needed to tighten right up or loosen off completely.

The handle folds away nicely by turning it clockwise while holding the rotor still. This means it can fold up without having to remove any end caps which can be annoying to lose.

The knob on the handle is really nice to use. It is a reasonably chunky shape with firm foam covering. It looks like some of the custom handles that people import from the Far East but is supplied as standard.

You also get two spools supplied as standard which is not always the case, even with very expensive reels.

Overall I absolutely love my Rarenium, and I would definitely recommend it to others. . It has lots of high quality features at a fairly reasonable price. It has certainly lasted me well.

Travelling

At this time of year you mind starts to think about the season ahead. Holidays start to be put in at work and you start dreaming of warm sessions with plenty of fish. Often these plans are to head to new places in search of fish.

As Bass fishing gets more popular, we are seeing more and more of it in the angling press and online. Often there are articles focusing on particular areas in the UK and Ireland, generating a buzz. These places look far more exciting than your home marks, the terrain looks much more varied and ‘fishy’ and the catches are bigger and more abundant than you can manage on your home turf. As a result, more and more anglers are travelling far and wide in search of great fishing.

Be very aware though, that a lot of these photos you see in magazines and online are taken by people being shown around the very best marks, at exactly the right times, by the very best local fishermen. When you are there, you may well struggle to hit the right places in the right way and you will be very lucky to match the catches you are seeing.

There is a certain amount of glamour needed in these articles to make them interesting, although some may be true, get your expectations in check before you go. You will be fishing areas that are completely new, in waters that may have very different characteristics than you are used to. Travelling is not a fast ticket to big fish, it is actually much more difficult than fishing your local marks that you are familiar with. However you may well strike it lucky and manage to catch something unachievable in your local area.

What I enjoy most about traveling, is the chance to fish new and different areas. My local coast has a quite particular set of features and many of the styles of fishing you see elsewhere, just are not possible locally. Going away lets you try different things, new techniques, as well as taking what you have in your locker and trying to make it work somewhere new. It can be extremely rewarding taking something you have learned at home and applying it somewhere different but familiar.

I myself have done plenty of travelling in search of fish and my experiences have taught me a few things that can be useful. Firstly, before you go, you need to do as much research as possible to make the most out of your trip. The best possible help you can get is a local angler to take you out and show you a few marks and how to fish them. The likelihood of this happening is pretty slim. Imagine the roles reversed, and would you show a stranger around your best marks? However some people can be very generous and their information is worth its weight in gold. Make sure you listen very carefully to these people, they have often had a great deal of experience and there is always something to learn.

If you are lucky enough to get some assistance from local, be sure to respect the help you are given. Treat all information in confidence, keep it that way. Be careful with the photos that you are taking and be careful where you show them. When you come home, remember to keep what you have been given quiet and don’t go freely posting that information all over the internet. If you manage a fish that you want to tell the world about, take a photo with the camera facing out to sea, where no features can be seen.

If you are not lucky enough to have someone giving you direct help, the next place to look is online. Have a look through local fishing forums. Nearly all areas have a local forum and a lot of very helpful information can be found on what works in the area with regards to location, tackle and technique. Look for fishing reports and look for those pictures where people are not being careful. The odd feature in the background of a photo can very quickly lead you to exactly where the photo was taken with a bit of help from Google maps. It feels unethical and a bit dirty to do this, but it is valuable information.

Even without direct help, a catch report can tell you little bits of information, like this area fishes well with a bit of swell, or it needs flat calm seas and offshore winds, or whatever. There is plenty to get a leg up with before you go.

However, what you can always fall back on is your own knowledge gained from experience. Look at marks in a new area and try to relate them to marks you have on your own turf. Look at a feature and try to imagine something similar back home and try what you would normally. But also remember to take advantage of this new ground and try something new. You might find a deep fast flowing estuary bounce soft plastics in, you might find a deep water mark to fish heavy sinking divers in. Always try to take something away from a trip that you have learned and try to apply that at home.

For me a trip away is not really a chance to catch massive fish after massive fish, it is about applying what I have learned in a new environment and a chance to learn new things to take home. I have also had the chance to meet some great people along the way, who have helped make these trips so much more enjoyable.