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Following a short session on the small stream mentioned in the previous post, I was handed a load of spare maggots by fishing buddy Steve. Well I wasn’t planning on any coarse fishing for a few days, so what to do with them?

So there are me and John down along Poole Quay with the LRF gear set up with size 14’s and 12’s on split shot rigs drowning triple and quadruple maggot in the sea. And the Corkwing Wrasse, Goldsinnys, Blennies and Gobies loved them. So don’t go throwing those maggots away. Go catch some minis on the UL gear.

A Mouthful of Maggots starring Rock Goby

A Mouthful of Maggots starring Rock Goby

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No fish landed in this report people. Tonight there were several of us down between the Sandbanks rock groynes and the Haven Hotel by the ferry. Some like Jez and I were out with the lures, a few with the smelly bits of flesh. For us, other than the occasional tentative hit, no fish were interested. Even the LRF blanked which is most unusual down there. Only aware of one of the fleshers catching a small Pollack.

However, I’m putting this up mainly to say there were a LOT of near surface feeding Bass down there last night during the last hour and a half or so of daylight. Most appeared to be in the 1lb – 3lb range, and all of them where chasing after bait fish that we could not see. They were concentrated in a relatively narrow band running for about 200 yards in length just outside the harbour entrance. This was, at its furthest from the shore, about 100 yards distant, coming in as close as 20 yards. I lost count of the Bass jumping clear of the water while chasing their prey, whatever it was. I’d like to say that this was caused by a concentration of baitfish due to the normal strong run, but there was no run, the state of tide being just shy of high on a weak neap.

Several different lures were tried, from good old Savagear sandeels, to whitebait metals. The only thing I didn’t try was a surface popper or walker, mainly cos they had been left at home. Doh! I won’t forget to include a couple of them next time.

There were a few guys bait fishing this same area, including a couple that appeared to be drifting sandeel on a float through the same area. Nothing. Talk about the fish being pre-occupied.

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Just me letting loose here.

I have had several people tell me that if I use a tiny scrap of bait on my jigheads or split shot rig, with my Shimano Aernos, 6lb braid mainline, 3lb F/C leader and Majorcraft Solpara 0.5-5g rod then it ain’t LRF. Why? Cos I’ve used real bait and not a piece of plastic, metal or a fly.

Personally I think that if you are fishing a hard venue that struggles to produce using artificials of any description, then I think there is nothing wrong with stacking the decks a little with the occasional scrap of the real stuff. As to whether or not it’s true LRF worries me not. The techniques I use are the same; I fish on the drop, I twitch (medication suggestions welcome), I draw slowly, I fish tight to structure, etc.

So it ain’t true LRF for the purists! No matter. I catch and enjoy just the same. I will however say that MOST of my LRF (UL?) angling IS while using lures of varying types.

Whatever, in the immortal words of Billy Joel, it’s still rock ‘n’ roll to me.

FOOTNOTE: Since posting the above, I have been informed that the use of bait while using LRF is considered a separate method, and is named Burakiri. So to clarify (roughly), LRF is lure only, Burakuri is bait fishing with LRF gear (and I assume techniques to a degree). More to post soon on this when I find out a bit of info. In the meantime, may I remind readers that I am not an expert, I just enjoy most all fishing whatever the method, names, origins, etc. And part of that enjoyment is experimenting and learning.

Finally I would like to point out that my use of the occasional scrap of ragworm with LRF set-ups is in no way similar to the hilarious and very annoying LRF articles and videos dong the rounds by certain supposed top sea anglers (one in particular). Yeah right! LRF with rods rated 10-60g fished with 1oz plus ball weights, 15lb mono, hooks larger than a size 4 and whole ragworm. Get real fellah and stop jumping on the bandwagon with your usual bullshit. Rant over.

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The small and friendly forum I belong to here on the south coast holds a (mostly) monthly points competition for it’s members. These points add towards an end of year result. Nothing stupendous like winning a couple of expense paid weeks of Tarpon fishing or a years supply of bait with a couple of Zzippy’s thrown in (you reading this Bazza). Nah, this is for fun. This particular months comp is spread over a week and has points for Best Smut, Best Ray, Best Flat, Best Round and Most Species caught during the week. Note the last category. I mention all this guff as I will probably mention a ‘Species Competition’ quite a bit in my posts, and I hate confusing people. I don’t require an excuse to go fishing, but an incentive sometimes is nice.

That said I have been building up the species count the last three trips for the comp (currently standing at 10), and I was looking to add a couple more to the count. So down to Poole Quay with No. 2 Son for a couple of hours (read three) of LRF with a mix of SP’s, Isomes and Ragworm bits. My main target being Scorpionfish and Pollack, though a surprise would be nice.

No surprise on my saying that we had plenty of Ballans (up to a 1lb), Corkwings, Goldsinny and Blennies, but the Pollack stayed away tonight. It’s not very often that happens, but then it’s not that often that I REALLY WANTED one!!! Most fish caught on the ragworm bits as usual with a couple of Blennies on Isomes. Various Sp’s used to try and tempt a Pollack, but there you go.

I did, almost right at the end of the session, manage to bag a solitary Scorpionfish though, so not a total loss for the comp. Always a pleasure to catch one of these fish, and I am often surprised by the variation in colouring.

It was nice to see a few small Mullet feeding off the boat hulls while we were there. Soon be time to target them.

Scorpionfish - Poole Quay

Scorpionfish – Poole Quay

Scorpionfish (Long-Spined)

Scorpionfish (Long-Spined)

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Following my teaching session with No. 2 son on the Tuesday, I found my self with a few ragworm left over. Now I hate waste, so I just had to use them for something. So out with the LRF gear and size 10 jigheads and a trip down to Poole Quay was slipped into the evening. Needless to say as soon as I mentioned the trip to Michael (No.2) he was keen to have a go himself, so out with the spare LRF gear, a few SP’s and Isomes just in case, and down to the Quay we went.

One of the main problems with LRF fishing at this venue is the massive quantity of natural bait available to the resident and visiting fish. In addition to this, they are fed a large quantity of worm and fish baits by local families and tourists out crabbing / fishing with the youngsters. As a result SP’s and Isomes catch, but nowhere near as well as naturals. No worries, just use small half inch to one inch pieces of Ragworm, Squid or Mackerel. Lets be honest here, LRFing is a highly enjoyable, ultra-light finesse method of fishing. There are purists out there who state that you are not fishing LRF style if you use bait. Sorry, that’s rubbish. Wise up you people and match the hatch. If that means ignoring the artificials, so be it.

To the crunch, we had a cracking session with plenty of rod bending action with the 0.5-5g LRF rods, 6lb braid and 4lb F/C leaders to 4g size 10 jigheads (a bit heavy but the tide was racing, lol). Goldsinny, Ballan Wrasse, Corkwings, Gobies, Black Bream and Pollack all showed with the largest fish being a few Ballans around the pound mark. All magic fun with the finesse gear. For those of you who haven’t yet tried this, do so. I promise you will enjoy it. I’ve been LRFing for close on two years now and just love it.

A few photos for your delectation, with a special mention to the awesome lime green Ballan caught by Michael. I’m well jealous of this fish.

Goldsinny Wrasse

Goldsinny Wrasse

Ballan Wrasse (Boring Colour)

Ballan Wrasse (Boring Colour)

Corkwing Wrasse

Corkwing Wrasse

Mini Black Bream

Mini Black Bream

Awesome Green Ballan Wrasse

Awesome Green Ballan Wrasse

All together we probably had around 25 fish during our 1.5-2 hour session. Not bad considering the strength of the tide and the large amount of weed sweeping through. Some great sport with the Wrasse diving strongly for the holes at the base of the harbour wall. Michael is even more hooked now.

 

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I ended my last post with the following; “… so very good to be back and running again. Now bring on the better weather … Bass … Rays … Smuts … Sole …”. Hah! So much for that!

Soon after following my last post the sea fishing around here ebbed rapidly away as the temperatures soared. The sea clarity approached gin and the fish opted for cooler and deeper waters. I managed to keep busy with the odd LRF session along Poole Quay, but even that was producing little fish (pun intended).

All change three weeks ago. The weather settled back to something approaching normal and the fish started to return thankfully. With my current preference for all things lure, it has been great sport to hit the Bass, Mackerel and Scad shoals recently using the LRF and near-LRF gear and a selection of the wonderful little metals out there. This has also included taking my two lads along for their first fishing trips in a few years. A few refresher lessons, an introduction to all things light and lure, and away they went.

LRF and other small Metals. Great fun, give 'em a try.

LRF and other small Metals. Great fun, give ’em a try.

In addition to the sea prospects improving, I have been giving the coarse gear a good workout for the previous four weeks, including the annual weeks trip to Kingslake in Devon with the old man. Kingslake once again failed to disappoint with crazy sessions battling with fast / hard fighting Carp in the 7-10lb range. A week of that and we both came away with arms like Popeye and a vow to ‘never again grace these shores”. Yeah right.

My youngest lad has also returned to the coarse fishing fold, and combined with our rediscovery of a local (and vastly improved) lake, has been accompanying my self and the old man on a few trips after the resident Carp, Roach, Bream and Perch. When I consider the fact that my lad has not really fished since he was about 12 years old (now 25), I have been very impressed with the speed that he has re-learned and put into effect those skills necessary to fully enjoy the sport.

Michael demonstrating the classic angling pose(r).

Michael demonstrating the classic angling pose(r).

Michael with typical 6lb Common from Crooked Willows Lake.

Michael with typical 6lb Common from Crooked Willows Lake.

I am also pleased to say that the old man has been enjoying his fishing tremendously the past five weeks or so following his eight month battle and treatment for the big C. It’s all looking good at the moment and having seen what he has gone through the past year puts my own recent health difficulties to shame (in other words I’m a wimp).

The old man with another Crooked Willows Carp. Keep 'em coming Dad!

The old man with another Crooked Willows Carp. Keep ’em coming Dad!

I have been trying out the LRF gear and techniques at the lake to try and tempt the resident Perch (some Jurassic sized lunkers in these here waters). So far no fish, but I will persist.

Well that’s bought you all roughly up to date. I do have a monumental post (for me) to put up but it’s the middle of the night and it’ll have to wait. Tight lines.

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I had a quick glance at the weather and tides for this evening and thought – very weak tide, ESE strong winds to 25mph, quite cold. Everything wrong, but I couldn’t resist getting out again for a couple of hours.

So back down to Poole Harbour entrance for a end of day session from about 5:15 til 7:00 to see the day out and night in. A pretty blustery area with the wind whipping around the curve of the entrance, plenty of white-caps and a swell crashing into the rock reinforcing spread around the shoreline and groynes.

In for a penny. With a bit of colour in the water, I thought I’d try out a ribbed 4in Finesse Curltail Worm in White from AGM on an HRF style weedless set-up with a 7g cone weight. This was mainly so that I could skip the lure along the bottom close to, and amongst the rocks and weed where the swell driven waves were washing any food out, without having to worry too much about snags.

4in Finesse Curltail Worm from AGM - 7g Cone Weight

4in Finesse Curltail Worm from AGM – 7g Cone Weight

First hour – nothing. With light levels reducing rapidly now, I was about to change the lure to something darker but then, from just prior to dark, I started a 30 minute spell which resulted in four Bass ranging from 43 – 48cm, all caught reasonably close to the rocks. All fell to the white Finesse with a straight, slowish retrieve with the occasional twitch.

One of the Bass

One of the Bass

Lure well and truly nailed

Lure well and truly nailed

After two or three sessions of either blanks or small 30cm ish fish it was nice to hit a few better ones even if not that special. They certainly hit the ribbed lure pretty hard. Great fun on the 7ft 10-30g Bushwhacker.

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Managed to yesterday afternoon / evening squeeze in a three hour session along the Hengistbury Head shoreline from Double Dykes through to the Long Groyne. Not ideal tide for there, especially on a spring, but beggars can’t be choosers with all this continuing crap weather.

Fished the last hour of the ebb and the first two of the flood. Only took the one rod with me and plugged and span away joyfully in front of masses of families out walking. They must have thought I was barmy, but I enjoyed the sesh. I did manage to squeeze out two School Bass, with the first of about 1½ pound coming in on a Dexter Walker fished slow with twitches and lots of pauses over dense weed beds in about 12-18 inches of water as the tide flooded over them (loads of baitfish amongst the weed). The second Bass was smaller at around a pound and came while I was about half way back to the car park. I had spotted some baitfish scurries about 5 yards from shore and assumed Mackerel (quite normal along this stretch) and switched to a 14g Dexter Wedge. First cast Mackerel, second cast Bass and then they moved on, in the opposite direction to me.

I would have followed but for the car park fee about to run out (I’ve seen tickets issued very frequently here at all times of day – and had one myself). I feel like suggesting to the council that gold plating the issued ticket would at least compensate for the stupidly high prices, £6.20 for 4 hours!!!

You have been Warned

You have been Warned

Trouble is they have you by the googlies here. If you don’t want to trek for miles or hire a sherpa you have to use their car park.

OK, rant over.

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This Friday I was drafted (willingly) to take good friend and fishing buddy John to Blandford Hospital (Dorset) so that the local surgeon could chip, grind and saw some pieces of the bones in his foot. Don’t ask! However, while he was to have this day surgery, what was I to do? Well as it happened Ringwood District AA hold the fishing rights to a couple of stretches of the Dorset Stour within a couple of miles of the hospital. Well I couldn’t miss an opportunity to go fishing could I.

I decided given the short timescale to have a couple of hours LRF  fishing along a slow deep (and very beautiful) stretch known for it’s head of Perch amongst other fish. In addition, I also took with me some HRF gear to try and bag a Pike or two. Both would be firsts for me using these methods.

Havelins, Dorset Stour

Havelins, Dorset Stour

LRF setup was the Major Craft Solpara 7’3″ Solid Tip with Shimano Exage 2500FC, Sunline Small Game 0.3pe, 4lb Fluoro Leader to a 1.4g Shirasu Size 10 Jighead. I took a selection of SP’s with me, mostly curly tailed grubs, paddles and Isomes.

Lure of the hour for the Perch was a 1.25in White Curly Tail Grub (AGM I think) and I was soon banking my first Perch on LRF gear. Nothing massive but a steady 4-8 oz class of fish, all taking the lure mid-water close to the bank. A steady retrieve was untouched but a shallow sink and draw with occasional twitches was hit quite confidently.

My First Perch to LRF Methods

My First Perch to LRF Methods

And another Perch

And another Perch

I had around 8(ish) Perch overall during the first 45 minutes, but had noticed a few swirls towards the far bank and assumed a feeding Pike was about, so switched to the HRF setup (Bushwhacker XLNT 8ft 15-50g, Shimano Exage 2500RC, 12lb Power Pro with 10lb Fluoro Leader and wire trace link).

As there were so many Perch around, I opted to use a 4.25in Yoshikawa Superworm in Red with Gold Flakes fished weedless on a JacksLRF 1/0 EWG offset hook. Casting this as close as possible to the far bank this was retrieved slowly through and past a bank of rushes with occasional twitches. Third cast and a swirl and take, quick run and fish off.

Ok, try again. Fourth of fifth cast later and a much better fish on which ran upstream for  15 yards or so before again slipping the hook, though knowing Pike it probably just had hold of the lure and wouldn’t let go. Not so good so far. About 15-20 minutes later I had another take from a smaller fish and this time obtained a good hook hold. Nice little fight on the Bushwhacker and my first HRF Pike is on the bank. Only 4lb or so (not weighed) but a very welcome fish.

First HRF Pike on Yoshikawa Superworm

First HRF Pike on Yoshikawa Superworm

It was around about 4lb

It was around about 4lb

That was good timing, as pack up and of to the hospital to cheer up John after his foot carpentry job. An enjoyable couple of hours. For me of course.

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I’m placing this here (and elsewhere) to see if anyone has any alternative views on LRFing close to the wooden groynes that proliferate around our beaches. As a Bournemouth area angler, I have caught many a fish while bait fishing as close to the groynes as possible, and I have built up quite a species count over the years including Bass, Pout, Sole, Plaice, Flounder, Pollack, Whiting, Gurnard, Bream and various mini-species.

However, attempting the same with LRF gear presents a few problems. Namely how to deal with a decent lunk that decides to swim out beyond the groyne and into the tide. You can imagine even a small Sole parasailing into the tide and putting considerable strain on LRF gear.

My own thoughts are that you should always fish as close to the structure as possible to the end and on the ‘downside’ of the tide. The normal rule of thumb is to fish on the uptide side as this is where the majority of the food will be trapped and thus attract the most fish. However, the eddy caused by the hollow at the end of the groyne would sweep food around the end and into the slack on the downside, especially towards the end 6ft or so of structure. So that is where I would fish.

Why the downside? My theory says that any reasonable fish that picks up a bait from this side and then runs into the tide race beyond the end is more likely to swim with the tide ‘towards you’ and away from any potential snag. A fish taking a bait from the ‘uptide’ side would be swept around the end of the groyne and probably bang goes the line and rig.

Any thoughts?

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