2013 Review

So I never got round to doing my usual 2013 review…

January was a really tough month for me and my 5 weeks away definitely helped me get my head straight.

Before the new season starts (Always starts when the bass come back from spawning for me) I thought I should write one…

2013 started really slow for me. We had a real long cold winter which saw the sea temp drop to 6 degrees and the fishing only really kicked off late May and beginning of June. The Sea temp was only at 10 degrees on the 22nd of May! I was slow off the mark but Tim and Neil where catching. There was fish around but I had lost my mojo. On the 3rd of June (at 12 degrees know and normally the sort of temperature that everything kicks off) I took Nic for a little fish and a picnic. This was where I bagged my first 50+ of the year and got the ball rolling.

This mark has definitely got some potential early on but trying to determine when the fish are going to be here is real hard work and something I definitely don’t have sussed just yet. Fish was taken on a small SGS on a 14gm sakura fishead jig head.

The next fish was to be my second biggest of the year. The SW winds had started to pick up and we went out in some rough weather to see what we could find. This fish to was taken on the small SGS but with a 21gm sakura fishead jig head. A real slow sink and draw along the bottom with little pauses as it touched down. I felt the gentle take of the bass as it sucked the lure in. Luckily I was quick enough to strike into the fish and a long and lean early fish was the result.

June turned out to be a good month with the WSW winds providing some perfect conditions and the bass where obliging.

July started well and I managed a couple nice fish in one session and my best fish to a hard plastic that year( Duo Tide Minnow 145SLD in Sandeel) Unfortunately the conditions just didn’t play ball for this mark again and that was a bit of a shame.

July then gave us a lot of weather like this and i’m not going to lie but it was a struggle. Funnily enough it probably wouldn’t have been in previous years but this year I found my self being a lot more fussy about the conditions and losing the confidence! Mistake! Fishing at night or early mornings can definitely bring good results in these conditions plus the estuary’s are in tip top condition (if there’s any fish about).

A blank saved as me and Dean stayed to fish in the dark for an hour!

The end of July saw a little wind and a few nice fish with it but August was lifeless and we had a whole month of offshore winds and sunshine again…

In August I did actually see a few good fish I just didn’t manage to catch many. I missed a few OTT and I lost a nice one on 4.5inch Do-live. I witnessed Dean lose a definite double right next to me. I was in the water up to my waist when Dean said he had a fish on. I turned around to see this whale get its head under and stick it’s tail in the air as it went to steam train off. It nailed a Fiiish minnow but the hook hold wasn’t good enough and it was gone! This was, up to know, by far the biggest bass I had ever seen. It really was a monster.

I had a session with Neil at the end of August on my birthday and it was great to see him nail this lovely fish OTT.

Somewhere around know was when I lost my camera and left it on the rocks after taking Nic for her first Wrasse session. And yes… she caught and I didn’t… lol Unfortunately my photo’s went downhill at this stage in the year and I didn’t manage to get a replacement for quite a while.

Back to the fishing and the weather stayed pretty calm right into September but me and Tim found some nice fish about especially in the early mornings.

Tim got his best fish of the year which was good to see but a shame I didn’t have a good camera at the time! He took it on another small SGS just keeping contact along the bottom on a straight retrieve.

The nights slowly started to close in and we found ourselves doing more night fishing.

I had one of my favourite sessions of the year at the end of September taking 9 fish and dropping a fair few more and losing what felt like a really good fish. It nailed my baby patch, really slowly waked on the surface and screamed off but the hooks just didn’t hold. The fish that night where clearly on the feed as they would nail nearly everything I threw at them but the bigger fish definitely preferred it OTT.

We kept up the night sessions and Tim also lost a what felt like a donkey on probably the most clear night I have ever been out in. It was scary light and we could see 8ft down through the water. So crystal clear water with no movement on a full moon the conditions couldn’t have been worse. I managed one take on a waked feedshallow but there really wasn’t much happening. Tim was fishing a white Sluggo with a 14gm jighead on a straight retrieve and not slow either when he got nailed. A few thumping head shakes though and the fish was gone.

Finally I was rewarded on one session with my new best night caught fish of 56cm. It took a slowly retrieved white 5inch one up shad on a 7gm jighead.

Things really slowed towards November but we kept going and trying to find the fish. I just think the majority of fish at this time of year end up shoaling up and chasing the sprats around. If you can find them you’ll probably be in for a bumper session no doubt and I have seen them just offshore in some places.

But as I was doubting November and winter for big bass I had to get a slap in the face. The result was this potential new PB! 75cm and MAHOOOSIVE is all I can say. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I think this was definitely into double figures but I never got to weigh the fish.

I was fishing late morning and the Sun was high in the sky. The water was not crystal clear and had that lovely green misty tinge to it. It was only my 5th cast with the small SGS that I was working along the rocks when I got the tap and struck into a nice weight. It didn’t actually feel particularly big at first and just made some short powerful runs but I could definitely feel the power. It wasn’t long and I actually saw the fish below me! Wow! First thing I said was that’s a double! A bit of panic, a bit of excitement and a really determined feeling of I am not letting this thing get away came over me all at once. The fish didn’t actually take much persuading and came in pretty easily. No nasty head shakes when it came to the surface and I instantly slid the fish onto the rock I was on! I go the Gopro out and shot a quick video of me with the fish so that I could take some photo’s off it afterwards. It was too choppy to get a good release with the camera so I just carried the fish down and got in the water with it to let it recover. A minute or two was all she needed before she slowly cruised off. I’m not going to lie but I was very pleased with this. Something that I certainly won’t forget in a hurry!

After this the weather got really bad and I don’t think I even managed a bass in December!

In reality I thought it was a tough season but considering it didn’t start till June and ended in November for me it probably went ok.  My numbers where down quite a lot compared to last year and I definitely blanked a lot more but my target was just to catch more bigger bass and I think I can say that this probably was achieved. I knew this would probably have an effect on my overall catches and I believe it did. If it had carried on how it started it would have been mental but the calm weather really made us work for the fish through the summer and that was a challenge. Lots of things have been learnt though and knowledge gained. I think this year I am going to take it back to where it began a little and fish more surface lures. I certainly didn’t do enough last year and it certainly is something I love doing.

Tackle of 2013!

So I ended up with a new rod, a new reel and new braid!

The Rod is the Daiwa Infeet Extreme EG80 12-42gm and actually designed for Squid fishing but It suits me perfectly for what I do. It loads superb on the cast and a quick recovery launching lures out there. It has plenty of feel to the tip too and I can definitely feel light softies more than the Bushy or the Teklon Concept.

My Daiwa Ballistic 3000  is still going strong. It started to feel a little rough but was still perfectly smooth. I’ve given it a little Oil in the bearings and grease on the gears and it’s as good as new. I’m really intrigued to see how long this will last me.

To be fair my Shimano Technium I started the year with Is still going strong after an oil and Tim has been using it for the last few months know without a problem.

I bought some YGK X3 G-soul 3 strand braid (16lb)when I got the Ballistic and I have to say I’m really liking it. It hasn’t shown any sign of fraying/fluffing up and I haven’t hand a single problem with it. For £17 a spool It is definitely the best braid for the money I have used and will be looking at getting some more.

Favourite Lures of 2013:

1. Savage gear sandeel 10cm and and 14cm? bodys in Real Pearl on various jigheads to suit conditions.

2.  Sawamura One up Shads in 4/5inch

3. Zenith Z-claw in 011p

4. Xorus Austrie 110 500G

5. Tacklehouse Feedshallow 128 in sardine

For me the Savage gear sandeel can’t really fail and 75 percent of fish probably fell to them inc my Double. This obviously is because they had a lot more water time than anything else but they just work. You have got to change the jig heads to get the most out of them but you do with most Soft plastics and that is also the beauty of them. So versatile!

The one up shads are a lovely soft plastic and can be worked so slowly. They also cast great with light jig heads and if worked with a heavier jig head really kick off some serious vibes!

The Zenith Z-claw to me will always be my favourite topwater lure. These things just don’t fail where others do. If it’s flat calm there is only one choice for me and that is Zebedeeee!!!

The Austrie 110 was a new lure for me that I’ve always wanted to try but never got around to buy. It didn’t disappoint and it casts a mile and has lovely action very similar to the Z-claw. A smooth silent lure that I have a lot of hope for. I tried it a fair few times last year towards the end and it caught every time.

The Tacklehouse Feedshallow surprised me last year. I’ve had it for years but it’s not one of my favourite hard lures. I’ve never been particularly keen on there casting but there not bad once you get them flying straight. For some reason it just fitted the bill in certain conditions. Once when it managed to avoid the weed that would get on any other lure and I managed to pull a couple fish out because of this and the other was just fishing really snaggy shallow ground and it caught me fish when other lures failed. It has certainly grown on me I have to say that judging by the two lures I have there finish lasts quite a lot longer than other brands.

Here’s to the 2014 Season! The sea is currently 9.5 degrees and hitting 10 during the day. Hopefully if we get some nice weather we can be hitting bass next month. We’ve been out a couple times recently and the waters still pretty milky everywhere but I have heard signs of Mackeral and baitfish which is always good. I’ve been playing with my new camera a Nikon Coolpix 78000 and I have to say i’m very impressed with the quality compared to my old Canon G10. It also shoots HD video which is the real reason I bought it so that it gives me another angle when filming.

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