Friday, 30 November 2012


Had a call from me old mate Henry Gilbey last week to see if I was able to take a couple of days off from work and go fishing with him - not needing a second invitation I obviously replied YES!  Along for the ride was a camera man John and director Alex to film a couple of short films for the Tight Lines programme on Sky Sports 2, to showcase how effective fishing soft plastics for wrasse and pollack can be. Henry was a bit nervous to say the least as its been quite a while since his last television work but he needn't have been as he is a natural! His excitement and enthusiasm manifest into great television!!

I was nervous myself as the fishing has been so good just recently but would it fire in front of the cameras??????????????????

Plans were drawn up that they would fly in from Newquay with the islands own airline, Skybus, on Tuesday afternoon and have an early night before hitting the wrasse marks all day Wednesday and then the pollack marks on the Thursday before they jumped on the plane back to Newquay late that afternoon. A good plan we thought and we had Neil down from Bryher to fish as well so we were all set. Or so we thought!!! The few days before they were to arrive it had, like the rest of the country, been raining continuously meaning all flights from Lands end were cancelled due to water logging and the seriously strong winds meant no flights from Newquay either - they were stuck!!! After a phone call from Henry they decided that they would try again the next day, weather permitting! Thankfully Thursday dawned and the wind had eased enough for them to fly over at lunch time meaning an already short period of time to film was cut in half again! Christ could we actually do it in that time Neil and I thought?? Seeing as we were running out of time, Neil and I decided to do a reccy around St. Mary's in order to find somewhere to fish meaning as soon as they landed we could go straight there no messing!! There was still too much swell under the airport where we had planned to take them so we stomped round to Peninnis to gauge the fishing. Half an hour later and we had managed eight wrasse and a small pollack on the back tide, this would make the flood tide even more productive. But there was still the North East wind to contend with so we both decided that we would fish under the Garrison at a spot I have caught plenty of tidy wrasse before. Picking up Henry and the crew we told them of the change of plan and headed straight out there. It looked perfect with flat calm sea, no swell and lots of boulders!!! We all rigged up with various soft plastics and cast out, bang bang bang we were all into fish straight away!!!! At times it was mental with all three of us into wrasse at the same time, it seemed like the place was literally carpeted with wrasse!!! Admittedly they weren't the massive kelp beasts that we were hoping for but it was as frantic as anyone had ever seen before!! It didn't matter what size, colour or shape of lure we tried, they just smashed into each and every one of them!! Considering the three of us only had two hours to fish and Henry had to do several pieces to camera we lost count of the exact number of wrasse caught but I bet it would have been 90 to 100 wrasse to 4lbs in various colours, I think the crew were shocked at the number!!!

With the wrasse film in the bag as it were, we decided to try under the airport the following day in the hope of getting a couple of bigger fish and some nice scenic shots to show the islands off in their true glory as the weather was stunning! Sadly the usual wrasse hole failed to live up to expectations, maybe due to there still being quite a bit of swell so it was off to target the pollack. 

After climbing down to the spot at low water all we had to do was set up and wait for the tide to push. Pollack love tide!! This spot you can fish until your arms fall off without even seeing a pollack but just like flicking a switch, as soon as the tide pulls hard then they come on the feed and today was no exception!! Neil whispered in my ear jokingly that I had taken us to a dud mark then bang he hooked a steam train of a pollack that was on for a few moments before smashing him up, gutted for him as it was clearly a big pollack!! Yep the tide by now was pushing nice and hard!!! I had on another stonking fish that I managed to get within 20 yards of the rock before this one, just like Neils, came off - ARSE not now, not in front of the cameras!!!! Neil then landed a cracker of a fish at 6.4lbs taken on a Savage Gear Sandeel

The pollack were coming thick and fast with Neil losing another big fish before I managed a couple of fish, one going 5lbs and this one of 7.4lbs both taken on the awesome Fiish Black Minnow

Henry had been taking the mickey, as he usually does, on our ability to lose good fish when the same thing happened to him! Oh how we both laughed!!!!! We both told him that it wasn't beaten but he continued to horse it in and attempt to show it who was boss resulting in ''beep'' after ''beep'' in front of the camera!!! He did manage to land a couple of fish himself though which was great to see as I thought he had lost the knack!!!!

To top off the trip we witnessed large shoals of baitfish, probably herring or pilchards being rounded up by a pod of porpoises with gannets diving in on the action, it really was a majestic sight!!! I am so pleased that we managed to get such good fishing for the show, it promises to be pretty cool I reckon and should be aired on Sky Sports 2 on December the 14th. Neil and I had a real blast helping, hopefully it will entice a few people to try a lighter approach and fishing soft plastics, it really is such fun and christ does it work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 18 November 2012


Well the plan was hatched over the last couple of days and I was to head over to the island of Bryher to meet up and fish with Neil. The tides were perfect to target the big pollack from Shipman Head. Well that was the plan but as has been the way for the last few attempted sorties to Bryher, the weather decides to throw a spanner in the works and cock it all up!!!!!!!!!!!!! Northwest winds picked up on Saturday night meaning when Neil went to have a look Sunday morning, the gullies and headland that we planned to fish were underwater and sea was pummeling in - ARSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After sulking for a fair while I simply had to get out of the house, and the good thing about living in the islands is that you can find shelter somewhere! It was still ok down here on the south side of St. Mary's but the forecast was to swing round southerly and freshen as the day went on with 25-30mph winds by 4 o'clock meaning I wouldn't get long to fish the mark I had as a backup plan. Still you don't catch anything sat at home and considering I was on a high after my beloved Arsenal thrashing the Spuds I had to at least give it a go!!!!

The ledges were showing up well in front of me as I got to the mark, it's not terribly deep here, in contrast to some other marks that we fish for pollack with depths up to 40 feet in places compared to 140 feet at Outer Head. But this spot coupled with a bit of tide can throw up some monster pollack. I reckon I have had more doubles from here than anywhere else in Scilly so you just never know. The wind had already started to freshen and was blowing straight into my face when I rigged up the Sakura Shinjin with a Savage Gear Slug Sandeel onto a jig head. The first few casts produced nowt and I was starting to wish I hadnt bothered as the wind was getting worse and making it pretty uncomfortable. I decided to give it an hour before the lure of a cup of tea and some cake called!! The tide was now just starting to turn and usually that means the pollack switch on to feed - pollack love tide and water movement!! The next couple of casts and the pollack started to appear, not big fish of up to 2.5lbs but at least I hadnt blanked!! Just one problem, the wind by now was blowing hard and waves were starting to get up, not ideal when you are fishing on your own!! I changed over to one of the new ''in lures'' the Fiish Black Minnow, this lure has been getting awesome reviews wherever it has been used slaying huge numbers of bass and pollack. My good mate Henry Gilbey has been telling me to try them for pollack as he has just come back from lle D’Ouessant where he fished with the French guys who designed them and said they would be mental for pollack from the shore! Now was as good a time as any!! The lures that Nick Roberts at Bass Lures had kindly sent me ranged up 25g meaning I would be able to cast into the strong headwind as they weighed a lot more than the jig head I was using. I was now able to cast out past the two pinnacles that the pollack love to run between and it wasnt long before lure got smacked using a slow sink and draw method!! The pollack made several dives to start with before slow pumping brought it towards me then all hell broke loose as the pollack realised that it was hooked!!!!!!!!!!  After several more dives I got to see the golden flank of an enormous pollack for the first time and then disaster struck, she dived again but this time I couldnt stop her even with a really tight drag and she went straight into the thick kelp busting me off in the process - BUGGER I was gutted!!!!!!!!!! Just how big was she, I will never know but I've had them to over 13lbs from the shore and this was every part that size!!!! 

After turning the air blue I had to fish on, despite the lost fish there had to be more out there and I wasnt wrong! Two casts later when another pollack hit the lure on the drop. This was another good fish that made several crash dives before I got her to the rock and then I had to jump down to the ledge below grabbing the net as I went (easier said than done) using one of the many waves I managed to slip the net under a stonking pollack!!

She pulled the digital scales down to 9lbs and after several quick photos using a big rock pool to keep her alive and kicking in the process, was returned to where she came from!!! What a stunning fish caught on light balanced tackle and I have to agree with Henry and Nick, these Fiish Black Minnows are the mutts nuts for pollack!! If only I had managed to land the one that got away but maybe next time hey, it's what keeps us all fishing!!!!!

Friday, 16 November 2012


Well folks its been a hell of a long time since I have done a post, a combination of going on a much needed holiday to Ireland (not sure that some people would call getting up at 4 o'clock every morning to go and chase bass as a holiday though), getting battered by big swells making the islands unfishable and work getting in the way but enough excuses!!!!!!

I did venture out on Saturday for an hour but there was so much groundsea it made trying to fish virtually impossible so I have been waiting with the rod set up by the front door for the swells to ease and today it did!

I had been sent some cracking looking new lures from Andy at Jackslrf to trial with Neil and also the new hooks that they will be stocking soon as well. More about them later! For my wrasse fishing, as those that have been following my exploits will know, I have been using and abusing the Major Craft Crostage and having some great fun with it landing christ knows how many wrasse but just recently I have been playing around with the very different Century HPR 7'3''. I will be writing up a long term test review sometime in the future when I have given it a good stig type testing, first impression though is that it has a serious amount of power lower down that could come in very handy if a big kelp donkey needs halting!!! Right, back to the fishing...

I decided to head out around the airport and see what the kelpy gullies I have been fishing looked like on a big spring low water. Always a good idea to really see what you are fishing over and where the deeper drop offs are and what other new ground you can find too. I started to fish with the old faithful Watermelon Hawg Stickbait rigged up with a 7g cone weight, a flick out and the Century HPR was soon bending nicely into a wrasse OTD.

A good start that got better as the afternoon went on! It seemed like the wrasse were literally queueing up, maybe with all the bad weather and big seas they were only now able to get out from the holes and feed and were starving??

It was a bite a cast to start with but the size was down with most fish being under 2lbs with the odd 3lber in amongst them.
A change of gullies was called for in the hope of finding a better stamp of fish, thankfully the whole of the airport is full of gullies and rocky outcrops not to mention boulder fields so I didnt have far to go.

I decided to swap lures and try a new type of soft plastic from Jackslrf that isnt currently available to purchase, as yet. It certainly looks the part, watermelon with red blue and gold flecks throughout the lure which looks remarkably like a small baitfish.

Coupled with a new type of hook, with its slightly longer shank that incorporates a couple of small barbs designed to hold the soft plastic in place. I cast out parallel to a finger of granite and let the lure sink down, closing the bail arm manually a couple of twitches got the lure swimming invitingly. I didnt have to wait long before the first tap tap as an inquisitive wrasse homed in on its meal. It was only a small fish that I may have not caught before as with these new hooks the point of the lure is slightly further back down the lure resulting in a better hook up ratio. I cast out again and this time a slightly better fish grabbed the lure after a couple of twitches.

Another cast on the same line and bang, a much better fish hit the lure!! The Century HPR was absorbing the big wrasse's powerful dives and taking it all in its stride. Christ this rod has some power in the lower tip section and clearly been designed by the wrasse master Keith White with big pigs in mind!! Several times the wrasse tried its best to take me into its rocky lair but each time the rod got the better of it and soon I was able to slip the net under a stonking fish.

Measuring 54cms and pulling the digital scales down to 6.2lbs it was a new pb for a lure-caught wrasse for myself and the best thing was watching her disappear back down to her kelpy den with a big swish of her tail! 

Well I was pretty impressed with both the new hooks and lures not to mention the Century HPR, now I just hope that the weather stays ok so that I can get out again this weekend for some more ''research''!!