Despite having the worst year of my life, on the fishing side it was by far my best! Amongst the winter storms we managed to find some clear water and the target was to hopefully nail a few Wrasse. There certainly wasn’t a lot of fish but I did manage my PB Wrasse at 50cm, I took the fish on a sunny day in the middle of January on an AYU 4inch Xlayer mounted on 10gm Weedless jighead.
Soon I was off for a well needed break and me and Nicola where to travel Vietnam and Cambodia for 6 weeks. I planned to fish and got some travel gear to take with me. Hopes where high of some fish and I did some research finding you could catch a wide variety of species. Unfortunately it didn’t go to plan and shore fishing was really difficult due to most of the coast being inaccessible. I did manage a couple of boat trips with locals where at least I caught some fish but the communication was difficult and I didn’t manage to find anything of any size! Still it was a hell of an experience and one I won’t forget!
One of my favourite photo’s from the trip: A lone Monkey chilled next to us amongst the temples of Angkor Wat
I returned towards the end of March and super keen to get out for a fish and get a proper bend in the rod. This didn’t happen until mid April when finally the weather calmed and sea temps began to rise. Wrasse where the first fish we could lure but even they where hard to come by but things soon began to pick up from here and it wasn’t long after I had my first Bass of the year.
A very welcome sight even though it was such a small fish. This area has always been kind to me early on and it paid off again and over a couple more sessions we saw more fish to the shore. All fish where taken on Savage gear Sandeels in Real Pearl fished either Sink and Draw or on a Straight retrieve in some instances.
Early May was when things kicked off, we where fishing the same area as we had previously had some fish but I had a plan to try an old mark in the dark after. It was a gamble but it was stunning ground and I had an idea of a good place for us to try when it did get dark. As soon as I mentioned the idea to Tim he was super keen to give it ago. On arrival the excitement was booming as this place just looks so good and with a slight onshore wind it was perfect. Tim and Dean headed off to another spot while I carried on to where we had some fish the first time we came here. We arrived in daylight still and it must have been my 10th cast or something when a big fish followed my lure to my feet. My heart dropped and I expected the fish to turn away I watched in the clear water as the fish flared its gills and inhaled the small Seaspin Coexidda…
I was made up with this fish and even though it was very skinny it measured at 68cm on the ruler.
After this I started to get excited and couldn’t wait for night fall… It wasn’t even fully dark before the fish where biting again and I took a 60cm fish on a Fiiish minnow that also nailed the lure at my feet. As darkness settled things just went mental and the final tally was 5 fish between 60-67cm and 9 fish between 50-59cm along with a few schoolies and Pollock. Most fish where taken on 16gm Savage gear Sandeels in Real Pearl fished with a slow/medium straight retrieve. We had never experienced fishing like this…
Double hook up’s… The action was frantic for an hour!
This was probably the best session of the year, the Algae ”May” Bloom started soon after and it wasn’t until it cleared at the end of May that we got back into the fish. The action wasn’t anything like that one night but there was certainly a few good fish about.
Another awesome double hook up and my favourite picture of 2014!
June started off well as May ended and I started to see more fish locally to me as well, a highlight of the month was getting my friend Drew into some of his first lure caught Bass.
Mid July and I had a memorable night fishing with Neil, we where plagued by lettuce weed but a change of mark soon changed the outlook and as darkness fell we got into some fish. Neil nailed a cracking shore Pollock for round here and a PB for him!
56cm Pollock taken on a Savage gear Sandeel
I lost a seriously big fish soon after due to an over tight and sticky drag but soon made up for it taking 4 fish over 50cm to 62cm. The 62cm fish being a hell of a scrap and it gave me a serious run around in the dark up and down a gully. I took all my fish on a variety of soft plastics this night but all in the 4inch bracket and white, changing jigheads to match the depth of water as the tide ebbed.
Then came the Cornish lure festival and I was lucky enough to be invited along by Rod Lugg and Paul Clarke to join them on the yearly jaunt. Rodd showed me around and I saw some stunning locations, met up with Mat arnold and Paul for a fish on the breathtaking and rugged north coast. No fish but Mat and Paul both had good signs and I was sure I had a couple knocks. We headed south for the final night. The place was stunning and we camped on the beach overnight. Here we had cracking session with numerous fish, Rod managed the biggest at 51cm which he took at night and got him 2nd for the visitors Bass section with Clarkey coming in third! It was cracking weekend away with the lads and we had a ball!
Sums the weekend up perfectly!
It was a great presentation and Ben was very kind with the prizes seeing nearly everyone leave with something! It was also good to meet a whole host of other like minded anglers too and also put some faces to names! Looking forward to next year!
The next weekend saw Tim returning from London where he had been based with work for the last month and he was keen to get out for a fish. On the Friday though I fancied trying a mark I hadn’t yet fished this year. I gave my good mate Dave a ring as I hadn’t spoken to him for a while and he was keen to meet up for a afternoon/evening session. I met him and Damen on the beach, Damen was only telling me about how hard this year had been for him but I was hopeful as darkness fell we could get into some good fish. Dave nearly struck first with a surface take as the light faded but it was Damen who landed the first fish…
What a fish, 72cm and a PB for Damen!
He was made up and took another fish at 52cm just to show who was boss! Both taken on a 16gm Savage gear Sandeel in Real Pearl. I saved a blank that night with a 53cm…
Dave was talking about returning the next night but I invited him along to join me and Tim somewhere else, crazy changing mark right? Or not… The next night Dave landed his PB at the time of 71cm and showed me and Tim who was boss!
71cm and a PB for Dave taken on a homemade Swim Senko
That was the beginning of a cracking session with two schoolies and another 4 fish over 60cm landed. Another night to remember!
August was my best month but over the last few years it has always been a bit of a struggle, the baitfish arrived in big numbers and long periods of settled weather didn’t help. The estuaries just weren’t producing fish and I never found the time to get out for many night sessions. This is where my season started to tail off and I never really put the time into my fishing that I normally would to get results.
September came and It was the Bass Anglers Sport Fishing Society South Devon Fish In, I made an effort to get out in the week prior to the event in hope that I may find some fish and be able to point them in the right direction. We enjoyed some fun sport OTT with my best lure being the Salt Skimmer. Tim missed some good fish one evening but my best was 50cm over a couple days, still there was fish about and I was hopeful we could all find some Bass on the day. Unfortunately we hadn’t properly arranged to meet and with bad phone signal we couldn’t find anyone. Me and Dean took a few fish that morning again OTT and in the afternoon went to see if we could find Eddie and Phil in the campsite. It was great to meet everyone that turned up and Eddie invited us to stay and have some curry in the evening. We sat around the fire and talked all things fish. We couldn’t make it the next day but pointed the guys in the right direction confident they would get some fish.
50cm fish taken OTT on a Salt Skimmer
September was mainly flat calm and really sunny, proper summer weather! Nick Bennet had re-arranged the South Devon Bumble this year for the end of September in hope that we may get some good conditions. The conditions weren’t perfect but there was a big ground swell that came in from the channel and gave us some hope. There was quite a few Bass taken but it certainly wasn’t easy going. I was lucky and on the last day managed to spawn the biggest fish of the weekend while fishing for Wrasse. The fish nailed the Lure as I ripped it up off the bottom amongst some white water tight to structure. This was just an added bonus , I had a cracking weekend with mates and it was good to meet some new people too!
55cm fish taken on a Seaspin Bikoa in Deep Junebug
October brought some inspiration as I knew my time was running out for me to put some real time in before the fish thinned out. Me and Tim had our first day in my SIB out along the coast and where pleased to take a few fish. The Fiiish Minnow proved to be deadly from the boat and I was pleased to get my target Pollock at the end of the session. We had Bass, Pollock, Wrasse and a John Dory and left us wanting to get out more.
Towards the end of October I had just been focusing my time locally as work was knackering me out hence why I hadn’t been doing any night sessions and only getting out on the weekends in the daylight. I lost a really good fish one night and thought I had let my 70cm for the year slip by. I spoke to Dave one afternoon and he said he had some good fish the other night. I had a day off work for to get some stuff sorted but managed to sneak out for a session in the morning. I fished a new area for me but somewhere I had wanted to try for a while and it paid off. Things didn’t look great to start but casting up into the current and bouncing a Fiiish Black Minnow back to me I felt a small tap on the drop and lifted into a fish that kited off down stream. I could feel it was a solid fish but beaching her she was a bit bigger than I expected and just made my yearly target of a 70cm.
70cm and it was nice to get a good fish in the daylight after so long!
Right at the end of October was my last really memorable trip, Tim and I hadn’t been out in a while and we both fancied wetting a line. Not sure on what the conditions where going to be like we opted to take a bait rod each as well as our lure gear in case it was too rough to safely fish or the water was too coloured. We started off with bait rods but didn’t have a sniff, there was also two bait anglers just down from us with really bright headtorches! Shining there lights everywhere and lighting the sea up for a good 70ft! Tim tried the lure rod first while I watched the bait rods but gave up pretty quickly as it wasn’t too pleasant with a horrible side wind. Some more time went by before I decided to give it ago… I opted for the Standard 16gm Savage gear Sandeel in Real Pearl. Casting low in the wind and holding the rod tip low to maximise feel in the conditions. On about my third cast I landed my first fish. Tim came over and started to fish. It was then pretty mental action from here on and the fish just got bigger and bigger. First was a 48cm then a 51 followed by a 57, 61 and finally a 67cm fish that really tested me on the rocks in the big swell. Tim finally landed a nice fish of 58cm too! Another really memorable night and it was interesting the fish weren’t bothered by the beaming lights of the other anglers. Only one bait was touched all night but the fish where right there under our noses and there’s…
A really healthy 67cm fish that sealed another awesome nights fishing!
November my fishing really slowed down, my computer broke unfortunately and I lost all my results for 2014. That kind of put a downer on everything. I managed another lone 57cm fish one cold night that I never reported or got a photo of thinking I would be heading out more. Everyone was to busy to get out and working outside 40hrs a week wasn’t helping me with enthusiasm to go out after work. Big respect to anyone that does. My last Bass session of the year brought me my 100th fish of the season late November and 29 of those fish where over 50cm and most where 54cm plus with around half over 60cm and the biggest at 70cm. By far my best season to date with big fish but once again the overall numbers where dwindled… Whether the overall numbers is to do with the Bass stocks or just because I am always trying to target the bigger fish I don’t know but I’m pretty sure four years ago when I took 200 bass in a season there where a lot more smaller fish about and if I knew what I do now I’m pretty confident I would have taken some good catches of bigger fish as well…
The main learning curve for me this year was night fishing and having only really done maybe 15 night sessions a year prior to this I never got to see the possibility’s properly. Fishing super slow was always drilled in my head but for me this has not been the case. Fishing mainly white paddletail lures on a straight retrieve has brought constantly good results at what I would say is a slow/medium retrieve. Say one turn of the handle every 2 secs… Waking hard plastics at night I have always done really slow and that has bought good results too but only on flat calm evenings. Fishing subsurface hard plastics I have never felt confident with but I did have a few good catches this year fishing them at a speed I could feel the lure just working. The Seaspin Mommotti 140 in white and the Seaspin Buginu 105 jointed lure in mullet doing the business but they where fished more than any other HP. Still a lot of things to learn and I’ve started to get the fishing bug again and looking forward to getting out again in 2015.
Plans for 2015 are:
To get more fish OTT! It was my best technique for big fish when I started but I haven’t had a good fish OTT since my first year only boils from good fish. An area I certainly need to work on and a Double OTT is my new big target!
I want to get a better SIB outfit sorted along with a fish finder as I think that will help massively. It’s a whole new learning curve for me and I grew up on the water so being out there just feels right and brings back lots of good memories.
I’d like to make some videos as I have some ideas I really want to try but whether I’ll ever find the time and have people to help me do this I don’t know but it is certainly a long term ambition for me and something to look back on rather than just the photos.
Possibly fish for more species too, Bream and Flatfish really interest me so hopefully i’ll find some time to play with that too and somewhere I can see the boat coming in as an advantage to gain the confidence to target them successfully from the shore.
Too possibly upgrade my camera and really get into the photography more, the only thing that stops me is I really like fishing and at least with filming I can still fish. Putting down the rod is difficult to get the shots I really want but I’m sure over time it would get easier being able to see the photos sooner and better timing…
Tight lines for everyone, I hope 2015 is a good year for all I’m certainly looking forward to it atm!
Here’s some of my favourite photo’s, in some ways I feel my photography progressed too…