I seem to have done more fishing with the LRF and light gear through these winter months than usual and it has been thoroughly enjoyable. Playing with different rigs/techniques and it’s all food for thought when It does come to the Bass season and whether these will be worthwhile using in different situations to improve catch rates only time will tell but it’s good to be able to enjoy sport on the lures all year round.
I had a few sessions for Flounder over the last couple months but still failed to land one. I managed to get one to follow my Aquawave worm fished dropshot up in some deep water and come right to the surface before heading back down and that gave me some confidence especially in the spot I was fishing. I returned one evening on my own only to be chucked off the pontoon and ended up fishing off the wall instead. The tide was only just making and there was only a foot or two of water. On the 5-6th cast I was surprised when I spotted a Flounder following behind my lure. I fished a 2inch black Reins rockvibe on the bottom and a pink isome above dropshot as to cover both styles to maximise my chances of finding out what the flounders prefer in the Salcombe estuary. To my surprise he was onl interested in the paddletail fished tight along the bottom and didn’t once pay any attention the the isome. I ran out of room on the first attempt but it didn’t swim off straight away so I got another shot. Sure enough as the lure approached him he went for it again. Not aggressive but I could just see him flaring his gills. I really slowed the lure down and was moving it a mm at a time before he managed to suck it in. I lifted into to the fish to find myself attached to my first Flounder. He started to swim off casually before putting on the throttle and that’s when it went wrong. My drag was set to tight and as the fish bolted off at warp speed in a foot of water it ended up tail walking across the surface and the hook pulled! I was in hysterics and amazed at the fishes power but gutted at losing the fish. Since then I had a couple more attempts with not a sign of a fish and with limited places and good times to fish for this species I haven’t been back since.
Brixham breakwater had been on my list of places to fish LRF for a long time and one evening in March I got my chance. The Wind dropped right off, a rare thing in winter and I jumped at the opportunity. The target was Pollock and Pouting. Now in my bait days I have had some pretty big Pouting here well over a 1lb and there’s always been good Pollock around the 2lb mark caught so I felt we could be in for some good sport. Me and Tim both fished Jika rigs with Reins rockvibes in Black, My favourite LRF lure by far! I fished a 5gm Jika size 4 weedless hook and 2inch lure. Tim went 7gm Jika with 3inch lure. I have only this year started playing around with the Jika rig and in some instances I find it an excellent way of presenting a weedless bait tight to the bottom. Normally and weedless lure super slow and tight to the bottom may look out of place with the belly of the hook making it look un natural but with the Jika it allows you to fish weedless and with the length of the dropshot weight and the fact that the lure is pretty much weightless the lure will ride perfectly straight. The Jika also allows you to fish with more weight like 5gms instead of 2gms and not affect the action of the lure but you gain considerable distance in the cast and feel if there is a bit of wind for instance. We fished these super slow and tight to the bottom right in amongst the rough stuff where hopefully the Pollock and Pouting would be sitting.
We had pretty consistent action for a couple of hours but the action slowed down with the tide and unfortunately Tim lost the best fish to a Seal that we spotted only seconds before in the moonlight. The fish started to make a couple of good runs and Tim knew he was into something better. I repeatedly shouted ”SEAL” as in ”Tim you really need to get the fish in as quickly as possible!” but as soon as he realised it was to late and his rod bent over even more and line started to scream off the reel. Christ knows what we would have thought If we hadn’t actually spotted the Seal! The only option was to hold the spool for a break and hope to recover as much line as possible.
No monster this time but still the target species and great fun in the middle of March
I look forward to trying this in the summer on those horrible flat calm and moonlight nights when the Bass aren’t playing ball. I’m hoping the action will be quite prolific and hopefully some bigger fish too, maybe even a Specimen! There was one bait angler fishing as well and he hadn’t had a sniff as we walked past him on the way back. LRF may not be the most appealing thing to some people but we had great fun, practiced new lure techniques and gave our reactions a small work out feeling for bites just to warm up for when we do get back on the Bass!
As we reached mid March I couldn’t help but start to think about Plaice. This is normally the time of year I do a couple of bait sessions for them and have always wanted to get one on a lure plus I knew I would still be in with a chance of a Flounder over the Sandy beaches. We aimed to get out of the horrid windy conditions and tuck away in the estuary. We all fished different techniques, Jika, Dropshot and Carolina to cover possible styles. There was a few people bait fishing and none reported a fish so things didn’t look good but we could cover some ground at least. The best advantage lures have over bait. Tim reported a take on the Jika but no hook up. We walked past more bait anglers and still no stories of Plaice. We reached an area favourite to me in my bait days and Tim almost instantly had a bite and again… Then he hooked into a fish but dropped it soon after. Had we found a shoal? Not Plaice but soon we saw Mullet jumping occasionally out of the water. I too started to get bites but surely it wasn’t the Mullet? Where we just bumping the weight off there backs? Tim soon hooked another fish but this time he managed to get it onto the beach. A golden Grey mullet was the culprit except it was foul hooked just behind the head? It really felt like we where getting proper bites too. Every now and again the lure would come back pulled down the hook, surely they where attacking the lures? I changed to a longer trace and switched to a 1inch Reins shad in white. Instantly I had success and hooked and dropped a fish before landing this one.
So this fish wasn’t directly hooked in the mouth but it was bloody close and just under the lip. Now I have heard of these fish hitting even hard plastics before so I knew this could really be happening. There was clearly a huge shoal of fish in front of us and they where pretty lively jumping out of the water too so maybe it was just a lucky day when they where really switched on. We continued and landed a few more fish but all foul hooked. I’m still convinced these fish where going for the lures but I will have to do more fishing for them to see if this is the case as the evidence from the day certainly wasn’t gold. Just to top it off I went into my flattie corner and sure enough I got a follow almost instantly! Unfortunately it came so far and bolted off. Now it did look more of a Turbot to me but I didn’t get a good look and it could have been a Plaice. Either way when the weather gets better I’ll be heading out again to see if we can replicate the result.