First Boarder Bandit Raid,The Cornish Lure Festival!

Last weekend was the Cornish Lure Festival, a weekend event of all things Lure fishing that takes part once a year over the 4th,5th and 6th of July.

There are so many Categories and so many top quality prizes to be won. Cornwall is a special place and it’s 422 miles of stunning coastline holds all sorts of features for a huge range of fish species! The species hunter’s at this years event clearly showed that nearly all of them can be caught on lures too!

I was lucky to be invited down to Join Rod Lugg and Paul Clarke on there fishing Bandit raid of Cornwall that they do each year. now I do love fishing in Devon and it is my home soil but nothing really excites me more than fishing new ground. The challenge of tackling different scenario’s, learning new stuff and you always get that anticipation of what my be round that next corner…

My journey started on the Friday at mid day, I am now fully employed again and I had managed to get a half day off work so that I could get down to sign on to the competition and meet up for the evening session with Rod and Paul.

I couldn’t help but stop off at Wadebridge and pop into the Art of Fishing shop there and pick up some of the Z-man lures I have been tempted to try… The selection of stuff is awesome and they stock a lot of new stuff compared to when I was in the Plymouth shop a couple years ago. I got a bunch of new and different softies I thought I may be able to put to good use in the comp!

I made it down to a rainy muggy Cornwall around 1600hrs and met Rod and Paul on the rocks. We where on the North coast and from above the cliffs it looked awesome, I can’t explain the excitement I was feeling! A nice Westerly wind was creating a nice swell along the coast. There where a few islands around creating some lovely white water as the swell smashed over them. On the way down I saw Paul get nailed pretty hard by a wave. I didn’t really believe it until I got down there and Rod explained Paul had just got a soaking! No reports of Bass yet but Rod had nailed a few Launce on metal lures so there was bait around, just where were the Bass… It proved tricky to fish as the swell was bringing a lot of weed in but we fished away as it just looked so good. An hour in and I spotted a few birds flying low of the water amongst the big swell when I saw an almighty splash! Dolphins and a pretty big pod too, they where loving the rough weather and where launching out of through the tops of the waves. I never tire of seeing Dolphins and this was a pretty epic environment to see them in. They marched through the waves and straight through the reef in front of us, just awesome!

Rod continued to catch Launce after Launce but where were the Bass!! Shortly after and we had another visitor… a seal! I still couldn’t believe there weren’t any Bass… Finally Paul clipped on his Feedshallow and nailed a small schoolie… Bass! Bass! The first Cornish Bass I’ve seen… Game on or so we thought. We flogged away for another hour and finally gave in. It was food and pint time. Time to make a plan for the night ahead.

Rod said that he fancied trying a estuary on the ebb not too far from us. I had checked it out on google before I left and thought we should be in with a chance of some fish. After eating and a pint we checked a couple other marks out before it was dark but weed was just everywhere and you just couldn’t fish through it! So agitating when the conditions looked as good as they did…

It was nearly dark so we headed off to our estuary mark. I clipped on the old faithful SGS with a 10gm jighead as I thought it would be pretty shallow.  We where the only 5 mins when I got a fish. Nothing big but it was my first fish of the comp and the monkey was off my back. I had my first Cornish Bass! Rod took a quick photo for me as his camera was waterproof and it was still raining! We fished on and covered quite a bit of ground but other than Rod spotting the outline of a nice fish in the moonlight that was our lot. We decided to hit the sack and get back out in the morning.

North Coast looking good, nearly as good as Rod…

Rod had arranged for us to meet up with a couple of good mates Mat Arnold and Paul Sulivan. Matt had said about his chosen spot being unfishable due to weed and so we met at a back up mark. It looked very nice on arrival. The north sea was pumping in and the water was blue. There wasn’t much weed to be seen. Mat and Paul gave us a low down on the area and we set off. I couldn’t help but fish a small cove covered in white water from the swell breaking over nearby rocks. I fished hard with SGS and Fiiish minnows bumped lower down in the water but nothing doing. Me and Rod moved back towards where we had started. I fished a silver shallow diver high in the water and felt a couple of hits but no hook ups… Rod was getting itchy feet and really wanted to head south so we re assembled in the car park. Both Paul and Matt had hooked and dropped good fish but we where so keen to hit the south coast. Mat stayed on as he was keen to redeem himself after the fish he dropped.

It was great to see both of them briefly and have a fish but we had our sights set on the South coast and that’s where me, Paul and Rod headed. We loaded up with supply’s… Beer and BBQ and set off, the plan was to see how this next mark went and possibly move on to another one as it got dark.

You could see the ground from the top of the cliffs and it was a perfect example of my favourite kind of ground… Shallow, sand, weed, rocks, islands… It just looked so good I instantly knew I wanted to fish it at night over high water. We arrived at low tide and wasted no time in getting out there. Me and Rod headed one way while Paul strolled off in the other direction. It wasn’t before we heard a whistle and Paul had landed the first fish…

Taken on his trusty Feedshallow, I had few casts with my secret weapon the Duo DC9 in AYU but nothing… Paul finally casts out again and fish on… A slightly better fish at 46cm!

Things are looking good but it seems to go quiet or it does for Paul, it already was for me and Rod… I headed off on a mission to cover some ground and with it being mostly really shallow it was time to go on the surface. Normally my preferred option in daylight if it ain’t rough. There was a slight chop in the water so I opted for the Skimmer. I was liking the way it was working and it didn’t take long for me to get a fish. A 45cm and on the ruler, this has to go down as the worse fish I’ve ever had to photograph. The camera got wet, the fish nearly escaped and wouldn’t stay on the ruler, then my CLF card gets taken by the wind and nearly out of my grasp…

I felt better for getting a fish under my belt. I headed back to Rod and Paul where Rod had nailed a chunky Wrasse on a small Zonk and Paul was still getting fish on his Feedshallow but dropping them. I couldn’t hook any that’s for sure so the Feedshallow was doing something right and I was doing something wrong…

I mentioned to the guys I thought we should stay and fish here into the dark. They agreed and we settled down to have a few beers, BBQ and chill… Life was good, really good, some awesome ground to fish, great company, beer and a BBQ this was what it was all about… I couldn’t sit still though and as the tide flooded I kept making my way down to the waters edge for a chuck. There was a lot of weed about down here as well but there was area’s you could escape it.

Got to love a few beers around the fire in good company!

We let the Sun go down before we started on the night session. I think at this point Paul had realised he had forgot his head torch but not the beers so he wasn’t sweating too much. I scanned a few area’s out as it was nearly high tide now and the ground looked completely different from earlier. I was finding it difficult to identify some of the features I had spotted earlier on but I knew where I really wanted to fish and that was a pathway towards the beach between the shore and an island. It offered good height for fishing weighted paddletails, a mix of ground and an area where the bass may pass though. Rod and Paul started here and I opted to fish straight off the beach with the SGS. Before I was even 40yards away I got a shout. I couldn’t believe it but Rod was already in. I arrived just in time to get down and land his fish…

Taken on a Komomo SF125 Black notch, and at 51cm a tidy fish and a possible contender for the Comp. I headed  back to the beach after a quick photo and it wasn’t long before I had a small schoolie.

Rod and Paul Joined me for a while on the beach but they where tired and it wasn’t easy for Paul without a headtorch so they retired after an hour or so back to the camp fire.

I wasn’t giving up and looked at this as my best shot of getting a good fish. I switched from the SGS to a Chartreuse Swimming Senko on a lighter jighead allowing me to fish slower in the shallow water. It took a while before I got nailed at my feet under the rocks. A good fight ensued and a very healthy fish of 48cm was landed.

I moved back to the beach as I was going to see how the guys where doing and I Landed another fish first cast. This one went 49cm but I couldn’t me bothered to faff about for a photo so he got a quick release as I was sure there was bigger to be had.

Unfortunately for all my efforts  I couldn’t get another fish and packed it in around 2.30am. They guys had a left me a spot by the fire and it was a very nice place to be. Wild camping at it’s best!

We got up early but couldn’t manage another fish. We headed off back to the campsite to pack up and get cleaned up before heading to the presentation which was to be held at the Eden project.

It was good to see a lot of familar faces and friends at the presentation. The prize giving was great and I was amazed at how well everyone had got on with the fishing. The species hunters had managed 17 species…That’s each!

Left to Right: Robin Bradley, Morgan Walsh and Mat Brumby

The main Bass prize was a joint win for Morgan Walsh and Local Mat Brumby with fish of 65cm with third going to Robin Bradley with a fish of 60cm. One from the North coast and one from the South. I was pleased to here that Rod’s name was called out for 2nd place in the Visitor’s section with his fish of 51cm! Just awesome and a super way to end the weekend!

One happy Rod! Second place, get on!

As we where waiting for a podium photo it turns out that Paul had actually cam e third in the visitors section too! H took his place on the podium for a photo so that was great too!

Get on up there Clarkey!!

Ben also held a raffle at the end and I honestly thing that everyone in the room came away with some goodies! An awesome event, awesome weekend in good company and some exciting fishing thrown in. I really enjoyed the hunt and can’t wait for more next year. Though being classed as a local I think I might have to do some of my own Border Bandit Raids to suss out a few marks myself…

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