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Do you have an opinion you want to share with the sea fishing community? E-mail

omeone up there must be smiling down on me. I’ve been really lucky with my boat trips so far this year. None have been cancelled, conditions have mostly been great, and, one short, heavy shower apart, the weather has been fantastic. While a big sun in the sky and bright conditions might not be the absolute best for catching, you have to agree that it makes for a great day out on the water – just don’t forget the factor 50! I’ve not yet been out on one of those days when fish are jumping on the hooks and everyone is hauling fish in on every drift, especially where the flatties have been concerned, but working hard is enjoyable too. It makes you think about your fishing and try different things. Some work, some don’t, but to me that’s what it’s all about. The late, great Richard Walker reckoned that they key to successful angling wasn’t patience, it was controlled impatience, and, as so often, he hit the nail on the head. It’s an attribute that all of the Total Sea Fishing contributors have, the drive to make things happen. If they aren’t catching then they’re pondering why, and they’re not only plotting their next move, they’re putting it into action and planning the change after that one. They impress the hell out of me! This month I had a real embarrassment of riches to put in the magazine. No sooner had Brian Price’s copy arrived, complete with a brilliant way of rigging live hardback crabs for shore smoothhound fishing, than Danny Wicks sent in a smoothhound article detailing his way of rigging hardback crabs as well. Obviously we couldn’t run both features, but I promise that I’ll make room for Danny’s method soon, so that you can see which one suits you best. In the meantime, Danny has provided his take on a popular rig in this month’s issue, plus an article ready for next month’s – it’s all great stuff and I’m delighted to have him on board. We’ve also got our regular big hitters John Lewis, Andy Webb, Steven Neely and Peter Thain, all sharing their knowledge and experience to help you to get the most from our great sport. Remember, if you have any questions that you’d like our experts to answer, let us know. Don’t be shy about it because they’re always delighted to help. I must mention this month’s fantastic competition, too. There’s the chance to win a full, and I really mean FULL, lure fishing kit from Tronixpro. The array of tackle is mind-



Total Sea Fishing ISSN 1461 - 622X Website Editor Paul Dennis t: 01327 315414 e: Sub Editor Dean Kirkman Creative Director Mark Grafton Head Designer Fiona Brett Design and Illustrations Rebecca Abbott

ADVERTISING Business Development Manager Karen Biggs t: 01327 315426 m: 07929 007852 e: Production Manager Paul Evans Production Supervisor Neil Brooks Production Controller Lea Terry Production Design Supervisor Stephen Jorgensen Production Designer Steph Horn

Publishing Publisher David Hall Managing Director Sean O’Driscoll Operations Director Roger Mortimer

Contact DHP

boggling. Just to whet your appetite there are no fewer than four rods included in the package. It really is the business. My most recent outing was with ace skipper Colin Penny. It was another of those trips that didn’t exactly go to plan but then evolved into a super session with everyone working hard for fish. As you’d expect, it was a top day out – complete with cake! Mrs Penny, you are a gem! As usual I’d dropped lucky with a great bunch of anglers sharing the boat, and there was plenty of good-natured banter thrown around during the trip. But before we even left port I’d had the chance to nip into the Aladdin’s cave that is Weymouth Angling Centre to pick up my bait. Inevitably I left with more tackle than I intended to buy and a much lighter wallet. I was lucky it was only a flying visit! Looking ahead, I’m already planning my next boat trip, while hoping to make room for another beach session or two. I’ve a sneaky fancy for doing some sole fishing before it’s too late in the season – so long as lure fishing for bass doesn’t get in the way. What a nice problem to have – happy days!

t: 01327 311999 f: 01327 311190 DHP Correspondence David Hall Publishing Ltd, 1 Whittle Close, Drayton Fields, Daventry, Northants NN11 8RQ Subscriptions Manager Louise Dalmedo Subscription & Back Issue Queries t: 0845 345 0253 Unit 8 Earlstrees Court, Earlstrees Road, Corby, NN17 4AX e: Lines open 9am-5pm Monday-Friday Reprographics Manager Derek Mooney Repro Assistant Adam Mason Printed By Southernprint t: 01202 628300 Distribution Seymour Distribution Ltd 2 East Poultry Avenue, London, EC1A 9PT t: 020 7429 4000 Total Sea Fishing is published by David Hall Publishing Ltd Website The advertisements and editorial content published in this magazine are the sole property of the publisher and may not be copied or reproduced without the prior permission of the publisher.


Total Sea Fishing 3

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October Do you have a story you want to share with the sea fishing community? E-mail



06 12 17 22 27

TSF editor Paul Dennis discovered that variety is the spice of life.

CATCH SCENE The month’s best catches landed by YOU.

ALL ABOUT LRF Lure guru Steven Neely charts the light rock fishing revolution.

HOUNDS OF WAR Brian Price reveals a great new rig that produces hectic smoothhound sport.



Absolutely everything you need for light rock fishing – including FOUR rods – in our easy-to-enter competition.


Increase your knowledge with the TSF Academy – packed with tips, tricks, skills and advice for ALL levels of sea angler, and including our new casting clinic. 29 Specimen Hunt… How To Catch Specimen Sole 32 TSF Rigs… Build The Clipped-Down Wessex Rig 34 Casting Matters… Choosing The Right Multiplier Reel To Improve Your Casting


38 42 49

Got a problem or a question, or do you just need some advice? The TSF experts are here to help.

SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND When Saturday comes, Andy Webb’s thoughts turn to bass.

GEARED UP! Rods, reels, great gizmos and more, all feature in our cutting-edge sea-gear section.


54 56 58

Paul Dennis got to see the light with Gemini’s new glowin-the-dark range.

ON TEST Penn’s Fathom 12 multiplier reel has impressed Paul Dennis with its versatility.

HITTING THE HORIZON Our full roundup of the latest tournament casting results from the UK and Ireland.


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62 68

Silence was golden as John Lewis suspected that how well a top beach mark was fishing was being kept quiet.

BLUE WATER FISHING ON A BUDGET – PART ONE Angling guide Robin Howard reveals where some affordable big-game sport can be had.



TSF gave the compact Kruger Delta a spin.




78 49 85 86 88

TSF’s full report from the big Oxwich Bay competition.


Meet the skipper of the winning boat – She Likes It II – in both the Brighton pollack and plaice competitions… Mark Vale.

REVVED UP We blip the throttle on Mercury’s new 100hp four-stroke.


Register on our website,, and you can win brilliant prizes every week – as well as getting the most from the coast.


David Mitchell, the marine environmental campaigns manager for the Angling Trust, says: “Look on the bright side.”

92 98

STRIPED BASS AND BLUEFISH, USA STYLE – PART ONE Nick Bennett targeted the iconic sportfish of Martha’s Vineyard.

GET TO KNOW… Regular TSF contributor Andy Webb tells us what makes him tick… Total Sea Fishing 5

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LuckyDip TSF editor Paul Dennis played his part in a recent unplanned species safari.


t was the celebrated Scottish poet Robert Burns who wrote: “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, Gang aft agley,” in his famous poem To A Mouse. He might just as well have dedicated that particular line to anglers, because our best laid plans are often thwarted, though whether his following admonition of “An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promis’d joy!” rings true, is generally up to us. A bit of creative thinking is often needed to get the best out of any fishing trip, especially if the target species decline to play ball, but that’s one of the joys of our sport.

Every day is different, and if you can recognise that then you will rarely return disappointed. It was definitely one of those different days when I ventured out on Colin Penny’s boat Flamer IV out of Weymouth. A very early start saw me beat the traffic to arrive in Dorset in good time, and even without the benefit of a satnav I was able to find Weymouth’s North Quay with ease.

After loading my gear onto the boat and finding a spot to park in for the day, my first job was to nip off to Weymouth Angling Centre to pick up my bait. Rag, squid, lug and mackerel were on the menu, but on a whim I added a pack of Ammo medium sandeels too – just in case. Then it was back to the boat to meet the rest of the anglers who had booked on for a 10-hour plaice-andturbot trip.

The party consisted of Bob and Steve Christian, Trevor Madden, John Bickford, Jeff Harris, Lewis Gale and his granddad Ronald Glover, plus Dave Metcalf and myself. We soon got ourselves sorted out and in position as we steamed a relatively short distance out. Plaice were to be the warm-up act, with skipper Colin encouraging all of us to ‘go big’ on baits. Cocktails of lug and rag were threaded

Thanks to the responsive tip of the rod I was able to feel every knock and rattle as the lead trickled across the bottom, and give line when needed.

Dave Metcalf leans into the mystery fish that’s putting up a spirited scrap.


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Mystery solved! This doublefigure undulate ray gave Dave the runaround on light gear.


up traces before being tipped with the obligatory strip of squid. There was also plenty of ‘bling’ on show on most of the rigs, but I decided to try a relatively simple trace with just a few black and green beads. On the fairly leisurely drifts we needed only 6oz of lead to trip along the mussel beds that we were hoping would hold some compliant plaice. I’d teamed up an Abu Suveran 12lb-class rod with a Penn Fathom 12 reel loaded with 9kg braid. It felt like a nicely balanced combination for plaice. Thanks to the responsive tip of the rod I was able to feel every knock and rattle as the lead trickled across the bottom, and with my thumb on the spool I could give line when needed. I soon got used to the rhythm of the lead’s progress, and as well as telltale knocks I was feeling for changes in the pattern that might indicate interest from fish. I was picking up the odd small knock, but nothing that developed into a full-blown bite, but Trevor at the back of the boat was soon into a plaice. It wasn’t one of the 6lbplus fish that had been recent features of Colin’s trips, but it was a nice plump fish and hopefully a sign of sport to come. Dave was next to strike, and as he was standing alongside me I did wonder if it might be my turn soon. However, I was aware that being on camera duty would tend to limit my time in the water… usually during periods of action – it’s a hard life! The drifts soon developed into a pattern of rebaiting, drifting, snapping odd fish that were landed, and realising that I was well off the pace catch-wise. In fact, as time wore on it became obvious that I was the only angler on the boat NOT to have opened his Total Sea Fishing 7

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account – and the rest of the party weren’t shy of telling me what I knew only too well. It wasn’t all plaice, though – far from it. In truth they weren’t going well, which allowed other species to put in appearances. Skipper Colin pointed out: “It’s amazing what you can catch on a plaice rig.” Young Lewis added a colourful red gurnard to our species tally, plus four or five dogfish, and I knew I was struggling when I couldn’t catch doggies! John rubbed salt into the wound by adding another species, a small starry smoothhound, while Dave contributed a small codling and a pout to the growing count. What with running around taking photographs, drinking loads of Colin’s excellent coffee, and wolfing down some of the glorious chocolate cake that Colin’s

wife had made, I wasn’t getting a huge amount of fishing done… at least not effectively. I’d also forgotten that this was a joint enterprise, until Colin announced an all-up and we headed off to the Shambles Bank. Sabiki rigs were quickly put together to catch some fresh bait for the turbot session, and I pondered whether or not to set up a heavier rod for potentially bigger fish. However, I was enjoying the 12lb-class Suveran so much that I decided to stick with it to see if it would handle a slightly heavier lead. Likewise it was well balanced with the Fathom 12 reel and 9kg braid so it was just a question of swapping to a 6ft turbot trace with a 4/0 hook. It’s strange how you can gain confidence in gear when

Small but perfectly formed, this turbot to Steve Christian is one of the trip’s target species.

John Bickford with a starry smoothhound.

you haven’t caught on it, but I felt that I could land anything I was likely to hook on the combination I was using. Launce and mackerel on the Sabikis added to the species tally – by now we were in full species-count mode and anything was fair game. The 10oz lead proved to be no problem on the rod, so all geared up we started our first drift on the famous Shambles Bank. I’d got a nice fresh launce fillet nicked onto the 4/0 hook and was soon trotting it nicely along the bottom. How could a turbot resist it? Well all too easily as it turned out, and after a couple of drifts it became clear that turbot and brill were going to be hard won. The odd pout fell victim, but, again, I was biteless. On our third drift the moment I’d been waiting for actually happened, as I felt a solid thump on the rod tip. I let off line to allow the fish to make its mind up as we continued to drift, then thumbed the spool again hoping for a positive reaction. The rod tip banged and pulled over strongly and I clicked the reel lever into retrieve to fully set the hook and was rewarded with a couple of hefty kicks as the


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Young Lewis Gale takes a welcome break from catching dogfish to notch up this red gurnard.

rod hooped over. The fish came towards the surface without too much alarm – it obviously wasn’t a double-figure specimen, but just before it came into view the rod began to buck

Paul’s glad to contribute to the score with this modest bass.

It’s mission accomplished for John with a nice plaice.

again as whatever I’d hooked tried to head back towards the sea bed. I was convinced that a small turbot or brill would eventually come into view, but instead there was a flash of silver. Colin did the honours with the net and I added a small bass to our still increasing species tally. After a couple of quick snaps were taken with the camera it was returned to the sea to grow bigger, and shot off strongly. With a fish on the scoreboard for me, things were looking up! The drifts across the Shambles were nice and long – it’s clearly a vast area, easily vast enough for turbot to hide in! Some of us were still fishing hard, while others began to succumb to the early start and let their rods fish in automatic mode. In fact, Steve became so relaxed that less charitable people might suggest that he was taking a nap, and it took a Total Sea Fishing 9

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‘wake-up call’ from skipper Colin to alert him to the fact that his rod was registering a bite. Typically it turned out to be a turbot – a juvenile specimen that was photographed and returned. Chalk up another species to the team. As well as turbot and brill, the Shambles regularly produces rays, so it was a bit of a surprise that we didn’t add undulate or blonde rays to the scorecard. But with time running out we headed off for a final go at the plaice. Two small black bream increased the number of species landed, and I had a couple of fish come adrift when my line got caught with those of other anglers as I wound them towards the boat – species of fish unknown unfortunately. On one of the final drifts of the day, Dave hooked into the mother and father of all plaice. It headed off strongly down the tide and he had to move to the stern of the boat to play it. After a hard tussle Dave brought a cracking undulate ray to the net, yet another species and at almost 14lb the fish of the day. It was a just reward for Dave who had fished hard throughout. As Colin repeated at regular intervals during the day – it’s amazing what you can catch on a plaice rig!

Showing the youngsters how it’s done – Ronald Glover with a nice flattie.

Species Count – The Delightful Dozen Launce, mackerel, dogfish, starry smoothhound, black bream, red gurnard, plaice, cod, pout, turbot, bass and undulate ray.

Skipper’s Contact Details Colin Penny, Flamer IV W: T: 01305 766961 M: 07968 972736


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CatchScene Caught A Fish? Want to share your latest catch with the sea fishing community? E-mail


SHORE SKATE CAPTOR IS ‘SKYE’ HIGH Who: Dan Bennett What: 208lb common skate Where: Isle of Skye Dan, from Whitby, North Yorkshire, had the fight of his life during a recent trip to the Iske of Skye with the Whitby Bass Club, as after landing spurdogs to 12lb, pollack to 9lb and small ling to 7lb, his mackerel-fillet hook bait attracted a leviathan of the deep in the shape of this gigantic female common skate, estimated at 208lb, based on the measurements of the fish – which would beat the British Shore Record by 40lb. The battle lasted for an arm-wrenching 60 minutes, and there were a few hairy moments when the fish made a couple of powerful 60yd runs. However, with the help of other club members and an incoming tide, the fish was finally landed, carefully measured, photographed and safely returned. The skate was caught and landed on a 60lb snood (wire) and 60lb braid (Power Pro), while Dan used a Penn Affinity 16ft Beachcaster rod married to a Shimano Ultegra 14000XSC fixedspool reel. Dan has sent images of the skate to the British Record Fish Committee to claim the unofficial record (as it wasn’t weighed at the scene), and with luck it will be included on its Notable Fish List.

WHAT YOU CAN WIN! TSF has teamed up with tackle giant Shakespeare to give the Catch Of The Month winner two packs of superb Devil’s Own Hellfire Worms and Hellfire Shads worth £13.96, as well as a spool of red Beta monofilament line worth £5. All runners-up will receive a pack of Devil’s Own Hellfire Worms or Hellfire Shads. But that’s not all: every three months the three Catch Of The Month winners will be put into a draw where one of them will win more than £250 worth of Shakespeare rods, reels and line, including the Agility and Sigma brands.


BROWNIE’S BRISTOL BLONDE Who: Richard Brown What: 13lb 2oz blonde ray Where: Watermouth, north Devon Richard, from Hengrove, Bristol, capped his first-ever fishing trip with this stunning-looking blonde ray, which tipped the scales at 13lb 2oz. The ray, along with a small conger and dogfish, fell to mackerel-head baits while on a trip on Wesley Davidson’s Spiwit of Bristol to Watermouth on the north Devon coast. Richard fished with a Leeda Icon rodand-reel setup with a 25lb fluorocaron leader and a 5/0 hook on a running lead. The ray is a PB for Richard, and for the boat, which was only launched in April.

For More Info Log On To 12

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GARY’S RAY DAY Who: Gary Allner What: 12lb 14oz undulate ray Where: Isle of Purbeck Gary, 42, from Bournemouth, Dorset, bagged this cracking 12lb 14oz undulate ray during a session on the rocks of the Isle of Purbeck in south Dorset. There were a few hairy moments during the fight, as the fish, which fell to a squid-andbluey hook bait, got snarled up in the rocks, before the rotten bottom gave way. Gary used a Zziplex Profile rod to tame the ray, along with small wrasse and pollack, fishing a pulley rig with size 6/0 hooks.

WARBIRD SWOOPS FOR BIG BASS Who: Mark Crame What: 10lb 4oz bass Where: Lowestoft Ness Mark, 41, from Lowestoft, Suffolk, raised his bass PB with this awesome 10lb 4oz specimen during a trolling session on his kayak out on Lowestoft Ness. The double-figure fish – the best of a six-fish haul – fell to a pink/silver Warbird Minnow 12 lure, which was fished on a Fladen Xtraflexx 10g-to-30g-rated spinning rod with an LP Magnet 6bb baitcaster reel loaded with 40lb Maxximus braid.

SCORING WITH A SOLENT SMOOTHIE Who: Trevor Francis What: 12lb smoothhound Where: The Solent

POLLACK PEAK IN PLYMOUTH Who: Beth Snowden What: 12lb pollack Where: Plymouth Sound

Trevor, 67, from Liss, Hampshire, enjoyed a productive trip aboard James Francis’ Top Cat, out of Portsmouth. The trip, to the Princess Shoal buoy in The Solent, wielded this cracking 12lb smoothhound, which beat his previous PB by 2lb, along with a 14lb undulate ray and some doggies. Trevor used 20lb-class gear and a running-lead setup, baited with a whole squid on a 2/0 Mustad hook.

Beth, from Bristol, is now hooked on sea fishing after landing this estimated 12lb pollack from her future father-in-law Martin Lewis’ boat Pulsar during a recent trip – her first ever – out to an inshore mark in Plymouth Sound in south Devon. The fish fell to a trolled 115mm Evolution Blue Mackerel lure. The fish was Beth’s second biggest catch of the weekend, as she also got engaged. Total Sea Fishing 13

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GOT A PICTURE? SEND IN THE FORM TSF has teamed up with top tackle manufacturer Shakespeare, and is giving you the chance of winning some fantastic tackle prizes just for sending us the details of your recent catch.

SIMON’S SUPER SHARK SUCCESS Who: Simon Putnam What: 192lb blue shark Where: Off Penzance, Cornwall Simon (on the right), 37, from Maldon, Essex, landed this monster blue shark, which, at 192lb, is believed to be a new British best, while out on Robin (Chippy) Chapman’s boat Bite Adventures from Penzance. The big blue fell to a mackerel flapper – fished on a heavy-gear setup using an Abu uptiding rod with 8oz of lead to hold bottom in a heavy tide.

AS SMOOTH AS DEVON CREAM Who: Danny Clegg What: 10lb 4oz smoothhound Where: Peppercombe, north Devon Danny, 30, from Staddiscombe in Devon, found the smoothhounds in a feeding mood while on a trip to Peppercombe in north Devon. This 10lb 4oz fish was the best of an eight-fish haul, which fell to double peeler crab baits, fished on a pulley Pennel rig. Danny used a Zziplex ZTI rod with a Penn reel loaded with 18lb Sakuma main line. The Pennel rig consisted of 40lb Amnesia snood line with 4/0 Sakuma Xtra hooks.

What we consider to be the best catch of the month will win two packs of superb Devil’s Own Hellfire Worms and Hellfire Shads worth £13.96, as well as a spool of red Beta monofilament line worth £5. The senders of every other catch picture we print will receive a pack of Devil’s Own Hellfire Worms or Hellfire Shads. But that’s not all, because every three months the three Catch Of The Month winners will be put into a draw where one of them will win more than £250 worth of Shakespeare rods, reels and line, including the Agility and Sigma brands. All you have to do to be in with a chance of getting your hands on these superb tackle prizes is send us a good-quality picture of your catch and complete the form below. If there are any other interesting facts about your catch you wish to include, simply jot them down on a piece of paper.

You should send your entry to: Shakespeare Catch Scene, Total Sea Fishing, 1 Whittle Close, Drayton Fields, Daventry, Northants NN11 8RQ, or e-mail high-quality images to: paul. We can’t guarantee to use every picture we receive but we’ll do our best to get you in your favourite sea angling mag. Good luck and good fishing; we hope to hear from you soon!

All e-mails and letters must include the details below to be considered for inclusion.

ENTRY FORM Name & address:



E-mail: Occupation:

TIM PREFERS BLONDES Who: Tim Lucas What: 27lb 8oz blonde ray Where: Off the Isle of Wight Tim, 47, from East Cowes, upped his PB for a blonde ray with this cracking 27lb 8oz specimen during a trip out on Wight Osprey, skippered by Kev Sampson. The fish fell to a cocktail wrap of bluey, squid and sandeel fished on a 20lb/30lb-class Ugly Stick rod and Shimano Charter Special reel. The ray was the best from a productive day that also saw Tim bring a spotted ray, tope, dogfish, scad and mackerel to the boat.

Day tel/mobile number: Species caught/weight: Date caught: Venue/name of boat: Name of skipper: Bait or type of lure: Tackle used: Previous best: Any other fish caught:

Please e-mail digital images as large as possible, WITHOUT enhancements, to 14

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GIFT OF A GILTHEAD Who: Roy Young What: 7lb 4oz gilthead bream Where: North Cornwall beach Roy, from Constantine, Cornwall, had planned to go bait digging, but when he saw some fish moving close to the shore, he decided to cast a line. He was rewarded with this cracking 7lb 4oz gilthead bream – a PB that beats his previous best by 2lb. The fish was caught on ragworm fished on a running-leger rig, which consisted of a 2oz ball weight and a size 1.0 Cox & Rawle offset Chinu hook – all fished on a 10ft carp rod.

GARY CLAIMS HIS PLAICE Who: Gary Bowdenham What: 6lb 2oz plaice Where: Weymouth Gary, 54, from Gosport, Hampshire, landed this cracking PB 6lb 2oz plaice during the Flamer IV Big Plaice Competition run by skipper Colin Penny and held out of Weymouth recently. The fish fell to ragworm and a strip of Ammo squid fished on a size 2/0 Sakuma Stinger hook on 8lb-class tackle with a single hook trace that included plenty of coloured attractor beads.

TUBTHUMPER Who: Scott Gibson What: 5lb 12oz tub gurnard Where: Isle of Lewis Scott, from Fife, Scotland, is hoping that his claim for a new Scottish Record for a tub gurnard will be successful after landing this corking 5lb 12oz specimen during a trip out to Cliff Bay on Creag Ard Charters’ MV Rebecca Anne. The fish was weighed on the boat at 6lb 3oz and quickly returned, but unfortunately it didn’t swim off, so it was retained and the record claim submitted with the shore weight of 5lb 12oz, which beats the previous best of 5lb 5oz from back in 1975. The fish was caught on a mackerel hook bait fished on a three-down ray rig, which also tempted a cuckoo ray at the same time.

Overseas SIMON’S SHORE MONSTER Who: Simon Smith What: 51lb halibut Where: Bodo, northern Norway Simon, from Plymouth, Devon, certainly got the best from his recent trip to Norway by bagging this superb 51lb halibut from the shore. The fish was tempted with a half-mackerel hook bait, which Simon fished on a pulley Pennel setup with a size 8/0 Sakuma hook. The fish was tamed on a Greys Zziplex M4GT rod and Daiwa SL20sh reel. Total Sea Fishing 15

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t u o b All A



maximum amount of sport out of them along the way. I believe that the use of LRF tactics in the UK started in Jersey, and as anglers there started to develop their own slant on LRF, they soon showed the rest of us what could be done with lighter, more sensitive gear. Some of their results were astounding. Bass, wrasse, pollack, pouting, turbot, scorpion fish – the list of species went on and on, and soon LRF began to take hold on the mainland. Not only is it a great sport

Lure ace Steven Neely sheds some light on the light rock fishing (LRF) revolution.

’ll willingly admit that, at first, like many diehard lure anglers, I dismissed the concept of LRF, thinking it was nothing more than just a way of catching tiny fish around harbours – but boy was I wrong! The more I researched and read into the subject, the more I began to realise just how quickly this discipline was, and still is, growing in the UK and Ireland. When I got out and tried it for myself, I soon realised just what I’d been missing out on.

Nearly all of my lure fishing previously could be categorised as hard rock fishing (HRF), using strong, powerful lure rods to primarily target wrasse, pollack and bass, so at first I was more than a little sceptical, but I soon had my eyes opened and a new learning process started. To me this is what’s fascinating about angling, that potential to keep learning and adapting to make myself a better angler. So what is LRF and where did it come from? A standard LRF setup


comprises a super-light rod usually rated from 0.5g to around 10g, and a small fixed-spool reel that can be loaded with either mono or braid rated between 4lb and 8lb and then rigged with the preferred terminal tackle. The lures are usually small, sub-3in, soft-plastic types, typically mounted on tiny lead jigheads, although there are alternative options. The technique originated in Japan, where it’s a tactic employed to catch many of the smaller species that inhabit the country’s inshore waters, deriving the

LRF tactics work very well from harbours and breakwaters. It’s instant ‘grab it and go’ fishing and great fun. Total Sea Fishing 17

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in its own right, LRF is one of the best way to introduce new people to lure fishing. If we look back at how most of us started sea fishing, it was probably either catching mackerel off piers or watching a float bob around for wrasse. This was simple fishing for fun, and it didn’t matter what size the fish was or what species it was, because it was the simple thrill and adrenaline rush of landing it that got us hooked. LRF provides that same sense of anticipation and sheer fun no matter what size the fish is. It’s easily accessible and mobile, allowing you to throw a simple setup into the car and take it on holiday for some rod-bending fun.

I caught up with Reuben Smith, a fanatical young angler from St Austell in Cornwall, who is passionate about spreading LRF among his peers. Here’s what he had to say about LRF and why he believes that more young people should be getting involved: “I’ve found that LRF is a brilliant way of learning things that you can apply to

your angling in general. “For example, you’ll learn things while catching flatfish that will help you catch more bass. “LRF is particularly good at ‘teaching’ you things that you simply can’t learn anywhere else, and that’s why I think it’s the perfect form of angling for people entering the sport. “There’s been debate on

lures in such a way that you can pretty much catch anything that swims. On top of that, the ultra-lightweight tackle makes for epic sport. “I’m not all that experienced at playing fish but I’ve landed some up to about 7lb or 8lb in heavy structure on a rod rated at 0.5g to 7g. “I’m not saying that young people will love LRF because

LRF keeps you mobile, doesn’t make you smell, and allows you to present lures in such a way that you can pretty much catch anything that swims. The tackle also makes for epic sport. social-media sites about how fishing can be made attractive to young people. I guess that Xboxes and PS3s offer instant gratification for youngsters, and although LRF does require a bit of application, you can get some very fast results while doing it. “LRF keeps you mobile, doesn’t make you smell, and allows you to present

it’s easy, but because it’s fast paced and fun. “We all go fishing for different reasons and we all get our kicks in different ways. For me, it’s all about species hunting with lures and light gear. It’s thrill chasing. When you hook a fish of a couple of pounds on gear like this, you’re in for one serious fight. Hook a fish of 5lb and war has been

IMA Trilobite lures are great fish catchers.

Chunky wrasse like this one will give you the runaround on standard gear, so you can imagine what a scrap you can have on LRF tackle. 18

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Tronixpro makes some very decent and affordable LRF tackle.

declared! If you can play in larger fish, say a 3lb to 4lb wrasse, on this kind of gear, there is very little that can stop you in all of angling. This is another example of a skill that LRF teaches you – which is well worth having when you hook into that fish of a lifetime – the ability to play in and land a fish that has an advantage over you. “On the coarse fishing side, the equivalent to LRF is street fishing, and in France and the Netherlands it’s becoming incredibly popular with young people because it presents fast-paced action from hard-fighting fish on light tackle. “There’s a thriving social scene and superb product branding to back it up. The result is that a lot of young people are going fishing and, importantly, loving every Sunline LRF braid is a top choice in the lighter breaking strains.

You can soon rack up an array of different species on LRF tactics. This scorpion fish was a welcome addition to the list.

The Daiwa Gekkabijin – a perfect LRF reel.

minute of it, so I can’t see why that won’t translate to our LRF scene.” Like Reuben, I firmly believe that something needs to be done to encourage younger generations to pick

up a rod and reel and enjoy the pleasure that is fishing. LRF is perfect for getting kids out into the fresh air and it helps lay the foundations for a more healthy youthful engagement in the sport. Some experienced anglers may scoff at the concept of LRF but I think that we all have something to learn from one another, no matter how old or experienced we are. To provide you with a personal learning example, I’m no stranger to targeting wrasse on lures, but my usual kit is a 7ft Illex rod rated at 5g to 21g, and not an LRF outfit! But on my last trip to the west coast of

Ireland I decided to dig out the light gear to target them. I was using a 7ft 6in rod rated at 1g to 10g and a small Daiwa fixed-spool reel loaded with 6lb braid. I used an IMA Trilobite lure in watermelon green, rigged with a small weedless hook. I made my way down to one of my favourite gulleys and started to fish as the tide flooded – with kelp, boulders and an incoming tide, it looked perfect. This was completely new territory for me because I had no idea what a wrasse would fight like on superlight tackle. I was on tenterhooks as the lure fell through the water, then… tap! My heart stopped as I waited for the second tap, then suddenly the rod doubled over and I was into my first LRF-caught wrasse. The fight was epic but I was surprised at just Total Sea Fishing 19

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Now this was a surprise catch – a tiny squid!

how much control I had over the fish on what I’d previously considered to be ‘underpowered tackle’ – I was proved wrong! I landed the fish, took a few snaps and was ready for more. I didn’t have to wait long – the action came thick and fast! Fourteen fish were nailed nearly one after the other using a mixture of small soft-plastic lures from IMA and Illex. Approaching my usual marks with LRF tackle was opening my eyes! The biggest fish I landed was around the 3lb mark, which, by any method, is a nice-sized wrasse, but to hook, fight and land it on light, sensitive tackle was just great fun.

best-known LRF soft-plasticlure company is Marukyu, which makes the Power Isome. This is certainly deadly, but some anglers fall into the trap of using only this lure and fail to explore the vast range of other options available. Have a look at companies such as IMA, Illex, Megabass, Ecogear, Baitbreath, Tict and Berkley. Rigging options, again, are vast, but the two most simple setups are the jighead and the simple split-shot rig. LRF jigheads usually weigh between 0.5g and 3g and can contain hooks ranging from size 10 to 4. This is only a rough guide, however, because the range of kit

Lures And Rigs As with any other form of lure fishing, there’s a huge variety of lure manufacturers, models and colours on the market. Perhaps the

This Ecogear LRF lure set is a great starting point.

available is staggering. These are tied onto your leader or fluorocarbon and then your chosen lure is mounted on the jighead. The split-shot rig is fairly self-explanatory – it includes a hook, which is attached to the end of your leader or fluorocarbon, and then the required weight is added on the line in the form of split shot. This allows you to alter the speed at which the lure falls or the depth at which it is fished, then you simply mount the lure onto the hook.

Will I Be Sticking At LRF? Absolutely! Firstly, it was awesome sport, and, secondly, it really made me take a step back and start thinking about my fishing in regard to the size of lures in relation to the size of fish. I’ve also been intrigued to see the variety of fish that lurk around my usual marks, which I often don’t encounter when using larger lure setups.

Marukyu Power Isome worms can be used whole or as segments.

I’ve already started looking into a dedicated LRF setup for the rest of my summer angling adventures, but from reading numerous online blogs and talking to LRF enthusiasts, the discipline really comes into its own over the winter months when many other marks and disciplines grind to a halt due to poor weather. Using LRF tactics around sheltered harbours and piers will stave off that itchy casting finger throughout the tough months and I look forward to the challenges and surprises that lie ahead!


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HOUNDS Brian Price demonstrated how he rigs live hardback crabs on a productive smoothhound session.


oth the common and starry smoothhound are slender species of the shark family. They each have two high dorsal fins on the upper side of the body, which really bring out the image of ‘Jaws’. The common hound is grey with white underneath, while the starry smoothhound differs only by the little star patterns that feature all over the top half of the body, as the name suggests, and which do look pretty amazing. Both species have pointed snouts and noticeably big eyes. Their mouths have crushing pads or plates that fit their preferred diet of crustaceans, crabs, shellfish and molluscs. As soon as the crabs start peeling in the spring, the smaller hounds will start to come in to feed on them, but as summer starts to draw nearer and the weather patterns start to settle, the larger hounds start coming inshore to breed and feed. These large packs of hounds start running up and down our beaches over low water at distance during the daytime, but under the cover of darkness they can come in very close indeed. If you can only fish night tides over a weekend, try to pick a rising tide on the tide table circle, about halfway between the smallest tide and the top of the biggest spring tides. The middle tides are the easiest to fish because the tide will not be hammering

through, making it difficult to hold your baited tackle in place waiting for the hounds to turn up. Unless you’re fishing very heavy ground, when targeting hounds a standard beach setup is all you require. I use AFAW V MAX rods accompanied by Penn 525 Extra reels, loaded with 18lb Daiwa Tournament main line and 80lb shockleader. Leads are 200g Breakaways with a standard single-hook paternoster rig baited with fresh or frozen peeler or hardback crabs. Using hardback crabs for hounds from boats is standard practice, but it’s not so common from the shore. One of the main reasons for not using them from the shore is that they are most effective when used alive, while another reason is that they can be difficult to cast any distance. However, they’re deadly for hounds if you know how to hook them on so that they stay alive, as they do form a major part of their diet. A couple of years ago I started to make up my own livebait rigs just for this purpose, and these have not only paid off for the hounds but also for catching bass. As well as the rig, I also made a change in hook pattern which has proved very effective. I now use circle hooks for all of my specimen hunting for the hounds, rays and bass and since making the

The sport is so fast and furious with hounds like this that only one rod can be used.


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OF WAR Peeler crab? That’s almost cheating!

change I have never deeply hooked any of these species. I will always get a hook-hold in the scissors, which is a lot better for catch-and-release purposes. Other must-have items to take with you are a pair of hook disgorgers for easier unhooking, a set of weighing scales and a big weigh sling to help calm down each smoothhound before weighing it and getting a quick photograph. Something to bear in mind when handling these fish is to never pick up a hound by its tail, as this can cause real damage to the internal organs. Hold them with both hands, always keeping them horizontal to minimise any damage. Right, time to recount the story of how I put the theory into practice recently on a hound session with my good mate Sam Wolfenden… Sam and I started our little adventure down in The Solent right in the heart of the smoothhound battlefields. Anglers have been catching hounds from around The Solent for years, so it’s not really a big secret. Total Sea Fishing 23

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Brackelsham Bay is right next door to the famous Selsey beaches, like the East Beach or West Beach, which produce hounds in very big numbers in the right conditions. Luckily for us the conditions were perfect – after a period of hot, settled weather – with an offshore breeze, which made the sea flat and calm and also pushed the weed away. On arriving at the car park at around 7.30pm we made our way down to the hightide line, set up and were ready to roll by 8pm. I had two rods set up. One was cast at around 80 metres and the other was cast out to the horizon. With the traps set on the incoming tide, we didn’t have to wait long before the hounds started to make an appearance. My long-range rod bent over and the reel started screaming off with that unmistakable sound of the

Rigged up and ready to be cast – a live hardback crab.

Make sure you return hounds carefully after letting them recover from their exertions.

Conventionally rigged hardback crab (left) versus the Brian Price rig (right).

ratchet clicking away as line was leaving the reel at high speed. As I picked up the rod I could feel the hound running hard down the tide. All I was thinking about is how much I had missed the battling with the ‘hounds of war’ because as soon as you

Sam Wolfenden with a superb specimen.

hook a good fish and it starts running hard, it’s almost like you’ve hooked a runaway train. After a spirited battle in the surf line, the hound was taking advantage of the breakers in a last attempt to drop the hook, but as I was using circle hooks this didn’t worry me at all, because I knew that as long as I didn’t try to bully it, I would soon be holding a fish. I have the most respect for hounds because

they don’t want to just roll over. They don’t give in like a lot of other sea fish do. It was now about five minutes into the battle and I got my first glimpse of the fish as a fin broke the surface, and my heart started pounding like a bass drum. In my head was the theme tune from the 1975 film ‘Jaws’. Soon I was staring at this year’s first double-figure hound. After a quick photo, she was released back into The Solent to join the rest of the pack. I’d like to offer a word of advice: please take the time to hold and support a hound in the water until it has fully recovered from the battle, as it will give everything it


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Hardback Crab Livebait Rig


There’s still plenty of light left when the hound pack arrives.

Small crabs around the size of a 50p piece are best, and this is how to rig them…


Start with a single Sakuma size 3/0 circle hook and a 3ft length of 50lb Amnesia line for the snood, then tie on a small swivel to the end of the snood.

has. If you just release one straightaway there’s a good possibility of it beaching itself because it will be disorientated. As I looked over to my right I could see that Sam was playing a hound as well. Almost before I could draw breath my other rod screamed off and the battle commenced once more. This fish was running straight at me, and by the time I landed this hound I looked over to see Sam playing another one too. A couple of minutes later, Sam and I both had fish on the shingle at the same time. There was no time for photos with these hounds; we just looked at each other and started smiling because neither of us had a rod in the water at this time. It was soon high tide and the hounds were coming thick and fast – happy days! Both of my rods started screaming off again as the hounds were trying to make their way back out to sea on route to the Isle of Wight. Sam was in the same boat as me with both of his rods heading off at high speed


Pass the other end of the line through the eye of the hook from the shank side, then come back down the hook with nine turns around the shank of the hook to trap the swivel on the back of the shank. Then make a couple of turns back to the eye and pass the end of the line back through the eye of the hook again, on the same side where you started.


This creates a knotless knot, much favoured by specialist coarse anglers.

with fish on. After these epic battles we both decided to only fish with one rod each because it was complete madness trying to fish with two. The hectic sport continued for another two hours after the top of the tide. It was just a matter of setting up both rods, only casting out one and leaving the other baited up and ready to go. Throughout our session there was a constant flow of hounds – it was non-stop. With our arms aching, we both decided that it was time to return home after

our excellent haul of fish. We had a tally up of how many fish we had caught and, to be honest, neither of us could work it out. Then it clicked that if we counted our leftover crabs we could both work out how many we’d landed. I took three-dozen crabs with me and had 18 left, so I worked out that I’d landed at least 18 smoothhounds in just over three hours. What an amazing session we both had in the land of the ‘hounds of war’ – I’m not kidding, it was just like a battlefield!

Pretty standard beach gear is all you need for clean-ground hounds.


To hold the crab in place, get a small cable tie and push it through the swivel that is on the hook, then attach the crab with the cable tie. This will ensure that you won’t lose your bait on the cast. Total Sea Fishing 25

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Nine pages of unmissable advice 29 Specimen Hunt

34 Casting Matters

How to catch your best-ever shore sole.

Peter Thain provides his thoughts on long-throw multiplier reels.

32 TSF Rigs


Learn how to build and use a clipped-down Wessex rig.

Shore Record: 6lb 8oz 10dr – N V Guilmoto, Alderney, 1991


Specimen Target Weight: 3lb

SHORE SOLE Angling guide Robin Howard shares his knowledge of this enigmatic flatfish.

Sole Hotspots Also known as the Dover sole, the Latin name, Solea solea, reflects the shape of the fish, which resembles the sole of a sandal – solea in Latin. The sole can be found around the British Isles, but is most common in the comparatively warmer waters of the south. However, it is caught sporadically further north, and may be more common in these areas than is suspected, as the sole is a species that is caught more often when it’s specifically targeted, rather than as a ‘by-catch’. Like with most species, the sole tends to turn up where food is most abundant, which in the sole’s case comprises worms, shrimps, crabs and molluscs. Areas rich in lug or rag are always worth targeting as this flatfish may well visit them too.

Ground Feature Because of its preferred food sources, sandy and muddy beaches are favoured by the sole, but don’t discount beaches with areas of shingle or rocky

outcrops if sand and mud are nearby. Local knowledge can be vital because some spots on the same venue tend to consistently outfish others. It’s also worth noting which times and states of the tide produce best, as these can be key. The sole is often viewed as a nocturnal species, although in the right conditions with a decent colour in the water it can sometimes be caught during the daylight hours. This provides a clue as to its main way of locating food, which is by taste and smell rather than sight. It also has an array of touch sensors on the bottom side of its head, which helps in locating prey. Predominantly a stealth feeder, the sole creeps up on its prey before grasping it in its small mouth. The sole will attempt to wrestle worms from their burrows, and will even dig for them. This means that sole bites tend to be pretty leisurely affairs, with a lot of tapping and rattling before the bait is fully taken. It also means that it’s not usually shy of a bit of resistance from a rig, as the sole is used to having a ‘tug of war’ with its food.

A specimen sole can be a tricky customer.

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Seasons HOOK


Sole normally start to arrive inshore in May as the water begins to warm, hanging around until the end of autumn. The latter part of the year can see the fish at their biggest, having had a full summer’s post-spawning feeding to fatten up.




Depending on the venue and the features present, the sole can be caught at most stages of the tide. However, this species tends to favour the periods when the tide begins to slacken, rather than when it’s running at its hardest. Local patterns do develop and keen ‘sole hunters’ build up a picture of the most productive times at their favourite marks. The weather can also play a big part, with relatively calm conditions usually best. However, the presence of coloured water following a big blow can draw the fish inshore to feed even when there’s quite a swell running. In these conditions there’s


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You can be a bit creative with sole rigs regarding finding new ways to nail the bait to the bottom. This rig, which uses anti-tangle tubing over the leader plus drilled bullets, does the trick.

place, allowing the fish the opportunity to come in and find it. The sole is a smallmouthed species and hooks need to be small, usually in sizes from 2 to 6. Long-shank hooks are easier to remove, but circle hooks can gain a better hold in the mouth of this surprisingly muscular species.


a chance of catching some during the daylight hours.

Tackle Light tackle is favoured, but much depends on the distance being cast. Although the sole can come very close inshore, this does depend on the type of ground, and if its preferred sand/mud habitat is further out, this is where the bait needs to be. Softer-tipped rods are generally favoured to let bites develop. Terminal tackle is the key area, and uppermost in anglers’ minds must be to keep the bait on the bottom. Short hook snoods are favoured for this, and anglers can get really creative at the business end, experimenting with leadcore leaders to help pin the line down. Two-hook or even threehook paternosters can be used, and the larger scent trail of multiple baits can draw the fish in more quickly – as long as the baits are all fished on the bottom. Split shot on the

hooklength can also help to hold the bait down, and to keep it as still as possible. Unlike most other flatfish, the sole doesn’t respond to beads, sequins or blade spoons on the hooklength, because scent and feel are more important to it than visual attractors. Grip leads will help keep the bait in


Night sessions are usually favoured for serious sole fishing, as although this fish can be caught during the day, the bigger specimens tend to be taken during the hours of darkness. Although not a sight hunter like the plaice, the sole does have decent eyesight and likes to come in close. Because of this, lights should be kept to a minimum. It is also very sensitive to movement on beaches, and it’s the quietest anglers who tend to do best. The sole can come as close in as five metres, so noise and foot movement should be kept to a minimum, especially on shingle beaches. Similarly, casts should be feathered down so that they don’t land with a huge, fish-scaring splash. A good tip is to try to keep some distance between yourself and other anglers


on the beach, because this species is likely to move to areas where there’s less disturbance. Bites are often indicated initially by a series of rattles on the rod tip as the fish worries the bait. Giving a yard or two of slack line can help the bite to develop, but it’s a case of ‘sit on your hands’ until a really positive bite occurs, either as a dropback or a steady pull-over of the rod tip. The sole can fight strongly and will make use of any tide to help it speed away. Because of its small mouth, hook-holds can sometimes be precarious, and trying to hold a fish hard on the rod can see the hook pulling free.

Baits Worm tends to be the firstchoice bait for the sole, with smaller pieces of lug or rag often favoured. However, it does like a cocktail bait, and a lug/rag combo, or tipping either with a sliver of squid, can provide good results. Tipping a bait with mussel is also an excellent way of boosting your chances. Although the sole has a small mouth, it does conform to the old adage of ‘big bait, big fish’, and a generous helping often picks out the bigger specimens.


Join The Dark Side

Sole Purpose

Keep light to a minimum when rebaiting and suchlike. Headlamps with a red function are useful, but try not to shine any light directly on the water.

If you target sole it’s best to be specific. Don’t hedge your bets with long hook snoods and various attachments in an attempt to pick up plaice and flounders as well. You probably will catch those species, but your chances of catching a sole will be greatly reduced.

Stealth Bomber

Mussel In

The Late Show

Feather your lead down on the cast so that it doesn’t hit the water with an almighty fish-scaring splash, and then thud into the bottom.

Scientific studies have shown that sole are very receptive to the scent of mussel, so tipping your bait with this can be a real edge.

Depending on the weather, sole can hang around as long as October and early November, and these months will generally produce the heaviest fish.

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Build Sequence


Now all there is to do is fix the hooklengths. Start with 20lb Amnesia line and tie this to the small swivel at the top of the rig and secure a 1/0 hook at the other end. Using the stop-knots-added side of the bead, position the swivel in the right place to provide a good streamlined connection onto the sliding bait clip.

01 South-coast shore expert Danny Wicks shares his variation on a good old favourite rig.


he Wessex rig is a bit of a secret weapon. It features in the armoury of only a few anglers, and seems to be not so well known by many and is certainly not so well used these days. The basic rig is a very good fish catcher as it was designed to cover multiple bases, and this is still its strength. It’s a good rig and easy to make, especially for beginners, and in operation it is very effective. Most rigs on the scene now are either set up for big fish or for smaller species, but the Wessex rig offers two types of setups on one rig. The rig was designed on the southern Hampshire coastline, I believe by the late Adrian Farley, and was used on the Hampshire and Dorset beaches. Adrian was a good allround angler, but was perhaps most famous for his specimen-plaice-catching expertise. He developed a very good wishbone rig specifically for plaice, but at certain times of the year he would fish a Wessex rig for a different presentation. The Wessex rig is set up as a one-up, one-down rig, with the top snood being very short and the bottom snood acting

as a running leger to provide pure bite detection. This provides you with a doubleedged sword, with one bait hard on the bottom – maybe a larger bait to pick up bigger fish such as cod or bass – and the smaller snood up the top end of the rig, with a small hook and bait size to match, to pick up smaller species swimming a little higher up in the water table. However, this double option also allows you to fish two smaller baits, one hard on the bottom and one off it, and, as Adrian realised, at certain times of the year the off-bottom hook will pick up more, and bigger plaice, than the one on the bottom. This rig caters for all locations and any weather, be it off the beach, pier or even off a boat. The Wessex rig is best known as a short to medium-range casting rig, due to problems preventing tangles and with keeping bait on the hook while hitting a big cast. If you take a look at a normal Wessex rig you can see that the snoods are free, and this is the problem. I love a challenge and take pleasure in transforming rigs to my own style and variation, so I had a thought that this rig could work really well as a distance rig for rays if only I

First tie on a Gemini 80lb main-line swivel to the top of the 60lb Asso shockleader, slide on a bead, a small swivel and another bead, then tie one stop knot above the top bead and two below the bottom bead to secure in place. This allows you to move the hooklength if required.


The final hooklength is of 30lb Amnesia fixed to the bottom swivel with a size 3/0 Sakuma Manta hook tied on to finish the rig.


Feed on a sliding bait clip, ensure everything is in place regarding where you would like it and slide on a pulley bead plus a normal bead and tie an 80lb main-line swivel to the end of the rig body.


Before tying on hooklengths, open up the eye of a Gemini link clip and connect it onto the swivel of the pulley bead, squeezing the eye shut again, then connect a Gemini Splash Down bait clip onto the link clip ready for the weight to be secured. A pulley bead used for the running leger doesn’t crimp the line and so won’t create any weak points on the rig body, so is advantageous safety-wise.

Now that the rig is ready to clip down and cast, the small top hook pulls down and clips onto the sliding bait clip below and releases once the rig hits the sea bed, while the hook that’s attached to the running leger loops up and is clipped into the Gemini Splash Down bait clip and releases upon impact with the water. This rig, once clipped down, ensures the correct utilisation of the traditional Wessex rig while fishing but provides peace of mind that the baits will be completely intact throughout the flight of the cast.

TOP TIP I use rubber tubing on all my knots apart from the hooks because I think that this prevents the build-up of weed around the components when fishing.


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could get it clipped down for a big cast. It took me a while trying different variations before I came up with a way that suited me and worked very well. I personally haven’t seen anything demonstrated like this on the Wessex rig before

and thought I would share this excellent fish-catching rig with you. There is so much you can change on this rig to get more from the setup, and I also have a few other variations I’m working on for the future.

Components • 60lb Asso shockleader • 20lb and 30lb Amnesia line • 2 x 80lb Gemini main-line swivel • 1 x Gemini Genie link clip • 1x small swivel • 1 x Gemini Splash Down bait clip

• 1 x pulley bead • 1 x sliding bait clip • Size 1/0 hook • Size 3/0 Sakuma Manta hook • 3 x beads • Rubber tubing


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t’s possible to cast a long way with any reel… even a boat reel! As an example, Hawaiian anglers regularly use big Penn Senators for shore fishing, and have categories for using the same tackle in casting tournaments. The key to success with these big reels is to develop an ‘educated thumb’ that applies a touch of braking to the spool at just the right time, and matching line diameter to spool size. With no brakes, other than end tension and oil viscosity, it’s crucial that the line level drops at the correct speed to maintain control. This is very specialised stuff, but it illustrates how balancing your tackle can lead to efficient casting in spite of the equipment being used. Unfortunately, it’s also true that this type of reel won’t ever be able to match a

A spool measuring around 39mm x 39mm will deliver good performance on the beach.

dedicated casting reel when it comes to all-out distance. So slip those boat reels back in the box, and let’s take the easy option. With very few exceptions, our main species don’t require the savage hauling tactics necessary to justify using a boat reel from the shore. So because our fish don’t fight anywhere near as hard, we can get away with using the optimum size of reel for distance. This all helps in the quest to put our baits closer to the horizon. There are only a handful of criteria that decide whether a reel will cast a long way, but we also need to establish that it will be an effective fishing tool as well. For casting we need to consider the spool dimensions, braking system, bearing quality and cage design. Adding in the fishing requirements introduces gearing, handle type, drag and overall durability. Most UK beach fishing can be easily handled with 300 metres of 0.35mm mono, so it makes sense

Master caster Peter Thain shares his thoughts on longthrow multiplier reels…

Line of around 0.35mm diameter will easily cope with most kinds of UK beach fishing.

to use reels that carry just enough line to do the job. Any unnecessary line only adds extra weight to the spool. This results in more energy being taken from the sinker while starting the spool rotating, and a greater flywheel effect when it does get up to speed. Once the reel becomes a flywheel, which means that it’s spinning faster than the sinker can take line, you’re in trouble. The only way to prevent a blow up when this happens is to add more braking to keep it under control. As a result, the distance you cast will be

diminished. While we still continue to be the poor relation of the freshwater bass angler, our reel designs will keep following the same tried-andtested methods established in the late 1960s. The reels we use now, although better engineered, still follow the same basic format as the first really high-performance beach reel… the Abu 6000. Fortunately for us, the spools of these reels lend themselves quite nicely to everyday UK beach work. Measuring in at 38mm x 38mm, this square profile offers safe and predictable


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Undoing the three outer screws provides access to the brake blocks. These are usually on the handle end of the reel, but check the schematic diagram first.

performance, which also means that it’s simple to get the braking just right. Using something like a 0.35mm main line allows the line level to drop at an easily controlled rate during the cast, yet still leaves a decent core diameter at the end. This helps keep start-up retrieval speed at an acceptable rate, because the larger the diameter of the drum, the more line you retrieve each time it turns. There are slight variations between different manufacturers’ products, but they don’t stray too far from this format. Ultimately, this works in our favour, as we know that pretty much anything around a 6500-sized reel will deliver the goods. Every modern multiplier reel worth its salt has some sort of casting control system built in. Whether they use brake blocks or magnets, it has little impact on the distance that they cast in fishing conditions. Both options do great jobs of controlling spool speed when set up correctly. After all, reel tuning is only matching braking force to the amount of line required

Set your magnets to maximum to begin with, then adjust them until you arrive at the best compromise between safety and distance.

The brake blocks can be found on small pins located on the side of the spool.

Brake blocks come in a variety of sizes and materials.

by the sinker. If you can accomplish this simple task, you’re almost guaranteed trouble-free casting. Setting up these braking systems is simple. If your reel has blocks, then they’ll be attached to one or other side of the spool. Most reels have them in the handle side, but the Daiwa 7HT has them on the opposite end of the spool. Access to both systems is gained by undoing the three outer screws on the handle-side endplate. If you’re changing blocks on the beach, then beware of them falling off when you remove the spool. They usually disappear without trace, which can bring your fishing session to an abrupt halt. Start with one of the largest size blocks in place, and make some


test casts. If the reel remains controllable, with no sign of line lift, then drop to two of the medium size and make more test casts. Carry on with this procedure of reducing both the size and number of blocks until you arrive at a combination on the safe side of lively. It doesn’t matter if you use blocks of two different sizes; the main thing is to get the right amount of control for you. The difference in distance achieved due to block sizes is negligible once you add a baited rig to the equation. However, the difference in control is marked. If in doubt, go to a size bigger and take the less lively option, but the plan is to catch fish and not spend all day picking out birds’ nests. Magnetic brakes are the simplest of all systems to set up. Start by setting them at maximum, and make a few casts. Just as for reels with blocks, reduce the braking one step at a time until

the reel becomes too lively, then go back one mark to ensure safe fishing. The big advantage with magnetic brakes is that they can be adjusted externally. A reel with blocks requires dismantling to adjust the setting, but a reel with magnetic brakes only needs a movement of the slider or a turn of the dial to increase the braking force. This is very handy if you find yourself facing an unexpected onshore breeze. Bearings should be smooth, quiet and relatively free running. The viscosity of oil used will determine just how free running they are, but straight out of the box the spool should turn smoothly and quietly when given a spin. Dodgy bearings are rare these days, but a quick flick of the spool can highlight any potential problems before you part with your money. Bearing quality is usually determined by the ABEC rating, and the higher the number, the closer the tolerances. For fishing purposes, anything rated at ABEC 5 will do just fine. Most reels are fitted with stainless-steel bearings as standard, and these last a very long time. I still have casting reels from the 1980s that have the original bearings in them! Contrasting this with some of my current tournament reels that are fitted with ceramic bearings, and on average, I get less than a season out of a set of ceramics before they Total Sea Fishing 35

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disintegrate. So, with ceramics, is the convenience of not having to bother with different oil viscosities, subject to temperature change, worth it? For me, after 30-plus years of tournament casting, the answer is actually yes. It does away with the tiresome ritual of cleaning and re-oiling bearings before each tournament, so that the reel is running at the optimum speed for that particular day. Not one of my fishing reels use ceramics, however; they all run on stainless-steel bearings. I want durability when fishing, and lubrication with the optimum grade of oil is never that critical on the beach. Levelwinds aren’t really an option for long casting. Aside from the restrictions they impose on your spool grip by having a bar in the way of your thumb, leader knots don’t like being forced through them either. Positioning the leader knot to the side of the spool, so that it doesn’t cut your thumb when you cast, is essential. With a levelwind guiding your knot back onto the spool, you have little choice where it ends up. If you’ve never used a multiplier reel before, then by all means use a levelwind version. But use it as a training tool that will ultimately help you lay the line manually. Instead of just cranking line back onto the

reel, hold the line between your finger and thumb, and follow the levelwind back and forth. When you do decide that it’s time to remove the levelwind, which you will eventually to improve the performance, laying the line neatly will be second nature. Using an open-cage reel allows you to achieve far more distance, if only because it’s easier to hold the spool tightly. This means that you can successfully apply more power to your cast without the spool slipping under your thumb. Having no levelwind also removes another unwanted source of braking. In most cases the spool drives the levelwind back and forth via a system of cogs. This obviously slows the spool speed in comparison with a free-running reel, which then eats away at the distance you cast. You can also get more line on the reel by guiding the placement manually. This is a definite advantage on the beach, because line level remains higher after a long cast. This larger spool core then results in a better rate of retrieval. On the tournament field it’s essential! Reels are already close to their limits of line capacity over grass. Without a neater line-lay pattern, running out of line before the sinker hits the ground becomes a distinct possibility! The gearing on a 6500-sized reel usually falls

Ceramic bearings for the field, and stainless bearings for fishing.

With no top bar in the way on an open-cage reel, a much deeper grip is possible.

somewhere between 4.7:1 and 6:1. Both higher and lower ratios have advantages and disadvantages. The lower gear ratios are mechanically stronger when it comes to winching, and make it easier to retrieve heavy loads. The higher gear ratios mean less winding on your part to retrieve, but put a little more load on your winding arm under pressure. On the beach I prefer reels geared towards the higher end. This is simply because

they make retrieving from long range so much faster, which increases fishing time. This type of reel used to be fitted with twin handles, and these were a nightmare when it came to winding in. A throwback to its original purpose as a lure fishing reel, this design forced your hand to turn through a very tight circle. Using mainly wrist rotation, winding in ultimately took its toll on your forearm in the form of a dull ache. Fortunately

A levelwind reel (left) is okay for short to medium-range casting, but an open-cage reel (right) is better for distance work. 36

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Get yourself a reel with a power handle (left) to make retrieving less painful.

the majority are now fitted with power handles. These allow a much more relaxed movement, utilising the elbow rather than the wrist to turn the handle. Make sure that your choice of reel comes with a power handle, either as standard or as an optional extra. In reality, a decent drag is rarely needed from our shores. Most people screw the thing up tight, and that’s where it stays for the lifespan of the reel. But should you hook into something out of the ordinary, you’ll suddenly discover just how important that star drag is in successfully landing the fish. A quality drag takes several turns to go from free to locked. The more turns, the finer the range of adjustment. Look for something that’s

smooth throughout the range, especially as you get towards the heavier end of braking. That’s where you can expect it to fail, and that’s when you’re likely to be pushing the breaking strain of your line to the limits. The last thing you want is for a drag to start sticking when you’re close to the edge. It could potentially lose you the fish of a lifetime. Easing off your drag after each session will help to prevent the washers from becoming compressed, which eventually reduces their efficiency. It will also retain the ability to lock the drag up solid should you need to use hit-and-hold tactics. Beach reels take a lot of abuse. The occasional dunking or soaking from

spray, mini-sandstorms and general neglect on the part of the angler all contribute to their rapid demise. Knowing that your reel is tough enough to still keep going despite the hazards of beach life brings with it confidence in your equipment. Almost every model of reel has its weaknesses, so understanding this and keeping on top of the problem with regular maintenance goes a long way to ensuring many years of service. Regular maintenance starts when you get home and give it a quick rinse under the tap. This will flush off any salt residue that will eat away at your reel from one session to the next if left, and is usually enough to ensure that the reel stays corrosion free.


Once done, give the reel a shake to throw off the excess water, and leave it to dry out; overnight is ideal. A full strip-down is generally unnecessary, because grease on the gears and oil in the bearings take little hurt from such a brief rinse. Unless there’s been a lot of windblown sand, or you’ve completely submerged the reel in the sea, then you can safely go fishing a number of times without servicing it. Around once or twice a year is about right for a major overhaul, based on fishing a couple of times a week. At the end of the season, either take the reel to your tackle dealer for a complete service, or, if you’re comfortable with the idea, carry out the service yourself. The spanner that comes with most reels will do a satisfactory job of dismantling it, but investing in a small basic tool kit will make the job far easier. A selection of small screwdrivers, and a home-made bearing puller, complement the basic reel spanner, and will handle pretty much any maintenance that you’ll have to carry out on your reel. Add to this a small tube of grease for gears, some oil for the bearings, a degreasing agent for cleaning the bearings and gears, and you’re good to go. I’ll deal with how to put these tools to good use by giving your reel a full stripdown next month…

A few miniature screwdrivers and a homemade bearing puller will complement the standard reel spanner.

Make sure that the drag is smooth with a wide range of adjustment.

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ANSWERS Got A Question? Do you want to ask our panel of experts a question? E-mail

Full House Of Rays

I really fancy having a crack at a ‘full house’ of rays, catching four species in a session. I think that the southwest offers the best chance – but what would be the best time of year to try to pull this off, and which species comprise a classic ‘full house’? Richard Dale, via e-mail


Andy Webb says… To complete your mission of targeting four ray species in a single session will take you many hours to accomplish unless you get very lucky. Having said that, it is achievable. This was a target I set myself a few years back, and after a lot of time and effort I did manage to achieve my goal. The southwest is home to many ray species, including the small-eyed, spotted, thornback and blonde, as well as the undulate. However, to target the undulate you need to head more towards the


coastline of Dorset. So, looking at the other four species, you need to seek a venue where they all lurk. Without a doubt the mouth of the Salcombe Estuary would be the best place by far in the southwest to target all these four species in a session. The estuary itself is a great place to target thornback rays using prawn and crab, while squid will also deliver the goods on the right day. The outskirts and surrounding areas of the mouth of the estuary have produced some great spotted, small-eyed and blonde ray fishing, and the main bait for targeting these species in this area is sandeel, with sandeel combined with a slice of bluey being more of a tempter for blonde rays. The venue where I achieved my goal was Starehole Bay on the western outskirts of the mouth itself. The place is a rock venue fishing over sand, and over the

years I’ve had many a ray from this mark, and I knew it would be a good place to target. I fished two rods, one rod targeting the thornbacks with squid baits, and the other rod I loaded on sandeel to target the other ray species. Knowing the area and how it fishes, Salcombe is always better with a rough sea. This is because the choppiness stirs up the sea bed, which brings fish in to feed. A good southwesterly wind is the key to fishing this venue, as it’s protected by the mainland during a southwesterly. However, great care should be taken because these kinds of conditions throw up a lot of swells. So I would recommend fishing the venue in daylight a few times to get familiar with the surroundings. Night time will always elicit better results, and I would recommend fishing it with a friend. A building tide will also

produce better fishing results in this area, and I’ve always found that it fishes better for a mixture of ray species from August through to the start of November. Fishing from two hours down to low water and fishing the incoming tide over high water is the time to hit the venue. My chosen rig for this venue for targeting rays is either a pulley rig or a pulley dropdown rig, with quality 4/0 hooks. Distance is not really an issue as I’ve seen rays caught from less than 30 yards out. However, distance does always seem to pick out the better fish. Many times throughout the year I would hit into spotted, small-eyed and thornback rays in the same session, but it took me many sessions to add the fourth – the elusive blonde ray – in order to achieve a ‘full house’. Good luck in your quest, stay safe and be sure to keep us updated!


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Continental Conundrum I fish around the southeast of Scotland, often on rocky/kelpy marks. Are there any Continentaltype rods that can handle this type of ground as I don’t want to buy one or more if they’re not suitable? Keith Turnbull, via e-mail


Paul Dennis says… The big question really is, just exactly how rough is the ground that you’re fishing over? Most Continental-style rods – and I’m guessing that you’re looking at the longer lengths of 15 to 16 feet – are really designed for smooth-ground fishing. Like any rod, they will handle quite sizeable fish, as long as you aren’t trying to bully them away from rocks and kelp beds.


It’s also worth considering just what casting style you prefer, because the majority of Continental-style rods are designed for simple overhead casting techniques, and not pendulum-style casts. If length is the main consideration, rather than out-and-out Continental style, something like the Century Excalibur TT, that’s designed for rough-ground fishing, may fit the bill. This 14ft 10in rod has loads of power. However, it does represent a serious investment, so I’d suggest that you do some proper research on exactly what you want from a rod before reaching for your wallet. What might be of more interest to you is the Leeda Icon FS Sport range of rods, ranging from 14 up to 16

feet. These aren’t designed specifically for rough-ground fishing, but to me they look like a British take on the Continental design, meaning that they have a bit of clout to them. I’ve heard some very impressive reports about the 15ft version – handling doublefigure rays and decent huss over mixed ground, while also putting a big bait and a heavy lead out a long way. I perhaps really shouldn’t mention that the same angler also muttered something about tope! Finally, most Continental rods are generally designed for use with fixed-spool reels, although I do know that anglers have used both of the rods mentioned above with multiplier reels with great success.



Freshwater anglers are big on artificial flavourings for baits – but do these flavourings work in the sea? John Walters, via e-mail


It’s something that sea anglers don’t tend to experiment with as they rely on the natural scent of baits to attract the fish. However, it is a fact that methods like burying trout pellets at low water can attract fish to an area, so there is perhaps some room for a bit of work. It would be interesting to see if frozen sea baits, such as mackerel, might benefit from a flavour or scent boost. Pike anglers use dyed sea baits, and also flavour them with some of the carp angler’s favourites such as strawberry to try to get an edge, so it might be worth a try. One thing worth remembering is that many soft artificial baits used by sea anglers are already artificially flavoured to enhance their attraction. There’s obviously an opportunity here for anglers with an experimental frame of mind!


Why are the majority of multiplier reels right-hand wind? For a reformed coarse angler this seems wrong. Bill Yeates, via e-mail


No-one really knows. The boat angler’s habit of turning the rod upside down might have something to do with it. It seems to have originated in the days before levelwinds were common on multipliers. Turning the rod upside down allows more access to the reel so line can be laid on the spool manually and it’s easier to see what you’re doing! Left-hand winds are available in some models but they are very low sellers. Interestingly, when anglers use fixed-spool reels for sea fishing they almost always revert to left-hand wind and keep the rod the right way up.

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Bass Up Top I’m keen on giving surface fishing for bass on lures a try – any ideas on the best patterns of lures please? Jeff Morgan, via e-mail


Steven Neely says… Surface lures are perhaps the most exhilarating way to target bass – watching the lure zig-zig or spit across the surface, just waiting in anticipation for the water to explode as the fish engulfs the lure. It just doesn’t get any better! As with choosing the colour of any lure, it mainly depends on two things: the conditions that you’re fishing in and the main food type that the bass feed on in that area. Dawn, dusk and night are all great times to target bass on the surface, so creating a prominent silhouette is key in these low-light conditions – you’ll want to think about darker colours like black, purple or even gold/orange. IMA makes some of its lures in a ‘joker’ colour, which is especially effective at night.


During the hours of daylight, lures with holographic finishes work well because they catch the light and give off irresistible flashes that provoke a predatory strike from the fish. If it’s calm and bright, then think about using translucent or transparent lures because these present a slightly more subdued target to a wary fish. The ‘TRB’ colour of Seaspin lures is a prime example of a lure to use in bright conditions. In terms of replicating the

lure colour to the natural prey fish on a mark, you’ll need to think about matching the hatch. For example, if the bass are feeding heavily on mackerel, sprats or herring, then think about green-backed or blue-backed lures with silver bellies. If they are over heavy, rough ground feeding on small gobies, blennies, wrasse and pollack then try black backs with gold/copper sides and red bellies. As a rule, when fishing over rocks, be it with shallow divers

or topwater lures, I often use any lure with a red belly to mimic the prey that lives among the rocks. Take a look at IMA, Megabass, Tackle House, Lucky Craft, Xorus and Illex, which all make very successful lures in these colours. Good luck with the quest because surface fishing for bass really is about as thrilling as angling gets when fishing in water around the UK! Happy hunting!

being favoured by some anglers, this requiring roller guides on the rods. The heavy-duty nature of the fishing meant that anglers used very heavy boat rods, sometimes big-game rods in the 80lb class, with matching multiplier reels. This was needed to work the heavy lures and winch up very big cod. Several factors can be looked at as contributing reasons for the decline in popularity of the method, one being that big cod are

scarcer now than they were. Using ultra-heavy tackle for fish of the size routinely encountered these days can take some of the enjoyment out of fishing. Working a big, heavy pirk with a big, heavy rod and a big, heavy reel is also physically demanding, whether you catch anything or not, and if fish aren’t being caught on the method in the numbers or size previously enjoyed, it’s no surprise that anglers have looked for lighter alternatives.

Pirks ‘Off’ The Job Have pirks had their day? They used to be all the rage for cod and ling but you rarely hear about them now. Paul Turner, via e-mail


Paul Dennis says… Pirk fishing, or ‘jigging’ as it’s commonly called, does seem to be a lot less popular than it was, although it still has a bit of a stronghold in the northeast where it has never completely gone out of fashion. The heyday of the method was maybe the late 1960s and


1970s with some marks like the Gantocks on the River Clyde in Scotland attracting anglers from far and wide. Whitby and Bridlington in Yorkshire were similarly popular, and it was big cod on pirks that were the attraction. In those early days anglers even used to make their own pirks, scavenging in scrapyards for heavy chrome car parts, especially taxi-cab handles, as it was cheaper to lose these than shop-bought pirks. Tackle also became quite specialised, with wire line


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What’s the best time of year to collect mussels – summer or winter? I want to freeze them down for winter fishing. And what is the correct way to freeze them? Michael Stoker, via e-mail

Mussels can be collected all year round – just be careful not to take too many from any one spot. They need to be taken out of their shells before freezing. If righthanded, take the mussel in your left hand with the curved inner edge with the beard pointing towards you. Force the edge of the knife or spoon into the crack between the shell halves exactly where the beard is and twist the knife to semi-open it. Run a knife inside up towards the point or head, fully round the back and up to the beard. The top half now comes away, leaving the mussel in the lower half-shell. Run the knife or spoon all the way around the bottom half and the whole mussel will come free. This process is called skeening.


Boat-Trip Blues Is there a favoured place to stand on boat trips, or is anywhere as good as anywhere else? I ask because on most of the trips that I’ve been on, the places at the stern seem to be most popular, and some skippers organise a draw before we set off so that anglers can pick their spot. Chris Laing, via e-mail


Kurt Lander, skipper of Newhaven boat Yellowfin, says… From my experience it all depends on the situation, but I know what you mean about the back of the boat – most anglers like to be there. I think this stems from fishing at anchor, because if the stern of the boat is facing the wreck or the feature, you will be closest



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to it if you’re standing at the back of the boat. If that’s the case, all things being equal, the fish should find your bait first, although the results don’t always suggest that! There’s also the thought that it can help you avoid tangles, and that can be the case if anglers are ‘trotting’ their baits down the tide towards the feature. When you’re fishing from a drifting boat, it makes little difference where you stand to be honest, as all of the anglers are covering the same ground. One thing that I’ve found that helps is to get the angler whose lines are running away from the boat on the drift to drop in first, then give them a few seconds to get settled. Then the anglers on the other side can drop in. It helps to keep tangles to a minimum, although some

tangles are inevitable on the drift. There’s always the belief that fishing with the line running underneath the boat is bad, but the truth of the matter is that if you’re in this position then you’re going to hit the fish first, because you’re facing the way that the boat is drifting. Again, it depends which species are involved too. If you’re targeting bream they tend to hang further off wrecks and features than fish like congers do, so you have to know when to expect them and when you’re likely to have gone past them. As a skipper I do try to set the boat up differently on drifts so that the anglers on board all get a fair crack at things, and, more importantly, get to fish in their preferred way.


ASK THE TEAM A QUESTION If you have a question for the TSF team, send it to: TSF Answers, Total Sea Fishing, DHP Ltd, 1 Whittle Close, Drayton Fields, Daventry, Northants NN11 8RQ. Alternatively, you can e-mail questions to

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Something For The


Teignmouth tornado Andy Webb sorted out some superb Saturday-afternoon sport. Wading deep into the River Teign is key to reaching the bass in the centre channel.


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phone call from my close friend and angling buddy Wayne Jarman, from Somerset, saw us, and my other half, Lyndsay, arranging a trip for the weekend. The plan was to target bass from the Teign Estuary in Devon on the Saturday. With low water around one o’clock in the afternoon, it would be an ideal time to fish a mark known by the locals as ‘The Salty’ located in Shaldon. The venue has a large

shingle, sand and mud flat that shows itself on the ebbing tide. To take full advantage it’s a good idea to wear chest waders, to enable you to wade out and fish directly into the main channel of the estuary, which is a great place to pick up bass. Bass fishing is highly addictive, and will keep you coming back for more – even if you’re a die-hard ray fanatic like me! There are many methods of catching bass, from

normal beachcasting gear to light rock fishing (LRF) and fly fishing and all points in between. However, the equipment and method we’d be using for this trip would be very simple. We used basic carp and spinning rods with small fixed-spool reels loaded with 6lb to 8lb main line, each with a single size 20 swivel with 8lb fluorocarbon tied to a size 3/0 hook. The only bait we would need for this trip would be live sandeels, which we would hook and cast out,


working them into the depths of the channel, in the hope that there would be a few bass in attack mode. Saturday morning arrived with an early 6.30am wakeup call from a very excited Wayne, who couldn’t wait to get to the venue and put a bait in the water. Accompanying Wayne was Welsh ladies international Karen Hancox. Once Karen and Wayne arrived at my home, Wayne and I drove down to the centre of Teignmouth to Jackmans

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A live sandeel, hooked and freelined, is the simple method.

Sports & Tackle, to be greeted by the owner, Chris. We picked up some spare 3/0 hooks, a batterypowered air pump and a sandeel bucket to store our live sandeels in. We then made our way around the corner to the back beach car park to pick up our live sandeels from River Teign Sandeels and Sea Baits, which is located on the back beach of Teignmouth. This place supplies top-quality live sandeels. Even better, if you’re not familiar with locations to fish around these parts, the guys at the store are always happy to help you out.

A nice bass of around 4lb for Andy.

Andy tightens into a bass that hoovered in his live sandeel.

With everything ready to go, we made our way back home to have a bacon sandwich and a quick coffee, before loading our fishing gear into Wayne’s van and travelling five minutes down the road to Shaldon. All parked up, and while the ladies and Wayne put their rods together and their waders on, I made my way down to the water

to change the water in the sandeel bucket. Changing the water frequently helps keep the eels alive. An ice pack in the bottom of the bucket also helps. With the weather around 24ºC and a low northwesterly wind, we were in for a great day ahead of us. We all waded out before casting our live eels into the centre channel, then released line off, allowing the sandeels to swim around in the current, before connecting our bail arms and retrieving the eels very slowly. All the while we were waiting for pull-downs of our rod tips from bass attacking the eels.

We had a good two hours until slack water and stood in the flowing tide up to our waists with the sun blazing down and our sunglasses on. There really is no better way to spend your weekend! It wasn’t long before we made contact with our first fish of the day, as I heard Karen shout: “Fish on!” I was quickly out of the water and running across the shingle to my bag to grab the camera. As I made my way back towards Karen, I could see that she had a nice bend in her rod as she gained line on her reel. I could see by the position of her line that the bass was swimming with the tide to try and break free, and as Karen played the fish it broke the surface of the water


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around 50 yards away from her. Sadly, on this occasion, the bass won the war and Karen quickly tied on another hook trace and baited with another sandeel. Camera back in the bag and rod in hand, I made my way out into the tide again. However, it wasn’t long before I was making my way back across the shingle to pick up the camera once again, as a bass pulled line from Wayne’s reel. This time I made my way out into the tide to take some shots of the fish fighting across the surface. Within a few moments the fish was beached and Wayne was bending down to pick up his catch – a nice bass of around 4lb. After a few trophy shots were taken, Wayne walked down to the water’s edge and let the bass swim free, watching it kick its tail and speed off back to the depths of the channel.

Fishing again, I flicked the live sandeel into the middle of the channel, watching it start to sink as I released line from my spool, letting the eel go with the tide. Holding a loop of line with my free hand, I could feel the eel drifting with the current but kicking feebly like a wounded fish – surely a target for any predator on the lookout for an easy meal? Almost without feeling it, I became aware that the line suddenly felt ‘light’, as if all resistance had gone. In my mind’s eye I could see the bass, engulfing the sandeel, its forward momentum almost making my line go slack, relieving the pressure that I could feel that was imparted by the running tide. I braced myself, and was ready when the rod tip pulled over as the bass turned and headed off in search of other prey. I tightened into the take and almost instantly the fish was ripping line from my


Wayne Jarman sees a lively bass explode on the surface as it nears the shore.

Wayne puts pressure on a hard-running fish. Total Sea Fishing 45

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A lively bass powers away in the shallows.

The bass is a slow-growing species and a fish of between 4lb and 7lb is around 10 years old and is the kind of fish that needs to be protected and returned to the water. I’ve fished for many years hoping for a double-figure bass to take my hook, as have many of us. We’ve all seen photos and been told stories from friends and family of what the bass fishing was like 20 years ago, but these sizes of fish are hard to come by, and to catch one you really do have to put the time in. There seems to be fewer and fewer of them each year, but, over the past few years I’ve found that around the southwest there are a lot of smaller bass about – known as schoolies – which, in my opinion, is a good sign for the years to come. spool. The bass powered off towards the middle of the channel, but I kept up the pressure and started gaining line as the fish began to tire. I landed the fish by placing my thumb into the mouth of the bass, gripping its bottom lip and ensuring that I had a firm grip before lifting the rear of the fish with my other hand and lifting the fish out of the water safely. I’d won the battle with a fine bass of around 4lb 8oz

A big bait bucket is essential for keeping the sandeels lively.

and after a couple of quick photos were taken I again waded out and released the bass into the tide to fight another day. With slack water

approaching, Lyndsay said that she felt a nice bite, but without the fish taking the hook. While Lyndsay wound her eel in I could see the signs of a bass having attacked the middle of the sandeel but not the hook end. As she made her way back to the sandeel bucket, I heard Wayne say: “Another one on mate,” so it was another quick run to the camera bag for me! I started to take photos

of Wayne playing the fish, and to his right was another angler who had also hit into a bass. We were hoping that the girls would catch, but as the water flooded back in we had no option but to call it a day. We got our gear together and made our way back to the van, then headed for home to have a bite to eat. On the way we reflected on a simple and effective way to target bass that got our rods bent and reels spinning. Give it a try!

Wayne with his best fish of the day.

The bait cage holds plenty of live sandeels.


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P C • M AC • TA B L E T • S M A RT P H O N E

Total Sea Fishing is available digitally, in single issues or money-saving subscription bundles. Download the free app to your device today and catch more, wherever you are! To get the required app, search ‘Total Sea Fishing’ in your app store, at or simpler still, scan the QR code to go straight to Total Sea Fishing’s page.

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Savage Gear Panic Prey Lure Surface lure fishing for bass is understandably popular – it’s exciting stuff. But you do need the right lure to get them up and looking. The Panic Prey lure from Savage Gear does just that. Dipping the rod tip repeatedly during the retrieve gives this lure plenty of fish-attracting action as it skitters on the surface, and it has that all-important loud rattle too. This is a long-casting lure that will reach the fish if they’re hanging offshore, and is built to last. It’s available in a variety of colours so you can really match the hatch. Savage Gear T: 0182 759 659 W: RRP: £9.99


Shimano T: 03330 333 48 88 W: www.shimano.c om RRP: £149.99

Shimano Original Breathable Padded Winter Jacket Well padded, breathable and waterproof, this winter jacket is just the job for those days when you wonder whether you should be out chasing those cod. It’s built for extreme weather conditions but looks pretty smart too. With two external pockets, an internal zipped pocket and a foldaway hood, the jacket also has adjustable cuffs and waist for a good fit. In the stylish blue-and-black Shimano livery it’s a good-looking functional garment.

Leeda Icon FS Sport Continental Rods Leeda’s Icon shore rods are hugely well regarded, and there’s no reason why this range shouldn’t continue the trend. These three-piece rods come in 14ft, 15ft and 16ft lengths, putting them in the Continental long-rod category, but with a UK take in terms of power and durability. All of the rods will handle 3oz to 6½oz casting weights, and they’re all built on slim, high-modulus carbon blanks with 23mm parallel butts.

Fully lined SiC guides and quality adjustable reel fittings complete the package for these rods that are ideal for off-the-ground or overhead casting, putting long casts within the range of less technically minded casters. While these rods have been designed with fixed-spool reels in mind, they will cope with multipliers too, and don’t let the Continental style fool you, because they’ll handle hounds and rays with ease. Not that this fact will catch you more fish… but they look great too.


Leeda 450 27 587 T: 015 e .l W: www 79.99 to rom £1 RRP: F 9 £199.9

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g Pure Fishin 602771 T: 01665 com purefishing. W: .99 RRP: £76

Shakespeare Salt XT Beach Shelter Quick to put up, the Shakespeare Salt XT beach shelter provides plenty of storage space for tackle and bait, while being big enough to afford anglers protection, too. The shelter is supplied with a carry bag, plus tent pegs, and also has wide flaps to the side and rear to allow rocks to be placed on for additional security against the elements. It’s sturdy and waterproof – what more do you need from a beach shelter?

Daiwa Sand Storm Rucksack With an internal capacity of 45cm x 35cm x 25cm, there’s plenty of room for your kit in this distinctive rucksack from Daiwa, especially as it boasts three external pockets, too. It’s well padded, especially in the carrying areas where it has a lumbar support. Padded shoulder straps and a waist belt mean that it will also remain secure on yomps to those long-distance hotspots. It won’t reduce the walk, but it will make it a whole lot easier! A hard base to keep the damp out on the boat or shore will also help this good-looking piece of kit last well – and it comes at a very attractive price.

Savage Gear Sandeel Darter Lure


Not only does this lure have a great sandeel swimming action, but it casts like a bullet. Available in two sizes in a variety of colours, this is a great fish catcher from boat or shore. You get one weighted jighead plus two soft bodies per pack – allowing for some interesting head-and-body contrast combinations to be concocted if you don’t want to go for the all-in-one look.

Savage Gear T: 0182 759 659 W: www.savage-ge RRP: £4.99

Daiwa T: 01698 355723 W: RRP: £39.99

Tronixpro HTO Rockfish Rods These three fantastic rods come in UL, L and ML sizes – translating to ultra light, light and medium light. As the name suggests, they’re brilliant light lure rods suitable for LRF (light rock fishing) work, light spinning and drop shotting. The 6ft 11in UL is excellent for soft lures and light jigging work with lures of up to 7g. The 7ft 6in L is suitable for lures and jigs from 3g to 12g, while the 7ft 10in ML will handle lures of up to 28g and is the weapon of choice when decent bass might be encountered as it will also propel plugs a decent distance. All of the rods have solid, responsive tips that are capable of imparting action to lures and registering timid bites, and the rods are built on quality carbon blanks with top-range handles, reel seats and guides.


CONTACT Tronixpro 67 T: 01903 7325 .com ro xp ni tro W: www. 99; L £32.99; 9. £2 UL P: RR ML £34.99


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Pure Fishing T: 01665 60 2771 W: RRP: £159.9 9

Daiwa Sokkou Knot Tool

Penn 535 Mag2 Multiplier Reel It’s hard to think of any better-regarded multiplier reels than the Penn Mag series. Since their inception they’ve set standards for reliability and ease of use that have attracted, and more importantly kept, large numbers of happy users. The 535 Mag2 should continue that trend. It’s the go-to reel for roughhouse fishing, where kelp and rocks have to be avoided not only by length of cast, but also by sheer winching power on the way back in – hopefully with a hefty fish on the end. As you’d expect, the easily adjusted braking system, six-plus-one bearings, aluminium spool and marine bronze gearing are all there – but they’re in a bigger package that also boasts a 6:1 gear ratio that gains an eye-popping 42 inches of line back onto the reel with every turn of the handle. That last statistic is one that might just catch the attention of shore match anglers. A beefy drag allows you to lock down on big, stubborn fish, and with a spool capacity of 320 yards of 20lb line, there shouldn’t be much that you can’t handle.

If you’re all fingers and thumbs when it comes to the Albright knot, then this simple tool could change your life. Designed for knotting a mono leader to braid, you can get a perfect result every time with this gizmo. Full instructions come with the Sokkou, and it gets a fiddly task sorted in seconds. Even if you don’t suffer from ‘knotophobia’, it’s worth looking at this for those cold, wet sessions when even the best struggle to get their fingers working. Daiwa T: 01698 355723 W: RRP: £11.99




Snowbee 334933 T: 01752 k W: 9 RRP: £7.9

Snowbee Stinger Skad Magnum Lure The Snowbee Stinger Skad lure was many years in the making, with tireless research and testing to create a lure with as lifelike a movement as possible. As important as this action is, the range of colours and sizes, plus oversized eyes that will draw the attention of any predator, is what will initially appeal to most anglers who know their stuff. Inevitably, following the success of the original Skad, there was a demand for an even bigger lure – so here it is – the Magnum. You only get two to a pack of these big boys, which go up to 55g and 20 centimetres in length, but if you’re after big fish then it’s quality and not quantity that you want.

Asso Ultraflex Line This is a great line for shockleaders and rig making. It’s a low-stretch line – so you might want to go higher on your breaking strains, especially on shockleaders, if you’re used to the more forgiving spring of normal mono. But that low stretch is a positive advantage, too, because it reduces the chances of your rigs becoming unclipped during the cast when you’re really going for the big one. It’s very supple and strong, knots well and has good abrasion resistance, too. It’s available in breaking strains from 20lb to 80lb. Asso T: 0800 8496806 W: RRP: £5.99 for 50 metres

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Hart Rock And Street Lures The Hart range of Rock and Street micro lures are just so neat and blingy that they demand to be used! They look fantastic and, more to the point, you really can’t see any selfrespecting fish ignoring them. They feature jig-style heads, blades, feathers and coloured hooks too. Okay, they’ll catch you just as easily as they’ll catch fish – but that’s the charm of them. Hart continues to build a formidable reputation in lure fishing, and these little beauties will do the company no harm whatsoever. They’re top pieces of kit!

Tronixpro T: 01903 732567 W: RRP: £3.49


Shimano Beast Master STC Twin-Tip Powergame Boat Rod

Shimano T: 03330 333 4888 W: www.shiman RRP: £239.99

The twin-tip design of this superb rod enables it to be used in two different lengths with different actions. Coming in six pieces, it packs up very small, so it’s an ideal travel rod, too. Constructed from XT60 biofibre carbon, the rod has a Fuji reel seat and braid-friendly guides. This 7ft 10in rod, at its full length, is rated at 40g to 120g, while at the shorter 6ft 3in length it is a 150g to 300g beast. Very versatile, it’s capable of handling anything that you can throw at it – and then some.

Maxima HV Braid Line

Snowbee Wading Staff If you go rock hopping or wade over rough ground regularly then you really do need one of these. This wading staff from Snowbee packs up small but can be put together one-handedly, making it a very easy-touse piece of kit. It comes with a lanyard so that it can be worn slung over the shoulder and offers the choice of a soft rubber tip or a metal spike. You can also adjust the handle to have either full cork or a built-in compass option, with the screw mount enabling it to be used as a camera monopod at a push. At 52 inches long when fully extended, it’s an invaluable wading aid.

It might come as a bit of a shock, but Maxima, for so long a producer of top-quality monofilament, is now producing braid. It’s no surprise, really, because it’s very good stuff, with eight-core technology providing superb strength and suppleness. It’s also triple coated and heat sealed for abrasion resistance and ultimate castability. It’s available in strains from 10lb to 80lb, with the highviz yellow braid being popular with lure anglers.

CONTACT Leeda T: 01527 587450 W: RRP: £30 for 150 metres

Snowbee T: 01752 334933 W: RRP: £49.99


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GLOW-IN-THE-DARK RANGE TSF editor Paul Dennis has seen the light thanks to Gemini’s new tackle range. emini has built a fine reputation for providing quality end tackle, and it’s nice to see that it hasn’t rested on its laurels. Its new glow-in-the-dark range covers a comprehensive range of tackle essentials, all with a luminous glow that is easily activated with a quick flash of a torch, and which lasts well on just one charge. As you’d expect, the items are easy to fit and you can add as much or as little as you want to your end rig. While some anglers might question the effectiveness or otherwise of luminous end-tackle items, you can’t really argue against the fact that certain deep-sea species use luminescence to attract prey fish within range. If it didn’t work then they would go hungry! The glow-in-the-dark Breakout Heads are fully interchangeable with all Gemini sinkers, and you can get a full assembly kit, including 10 heads, 40 standard Breakout grips and glow-in-the-dark PVC tubing to get you going. Alternatively, the components are available separately so you can pick and mix what you want from the range. As well as offering a bit of extra attraction for inquisitive species, the glow makes placement of the lead easier for off-the-ground casts, as well as tracking the progress of leads during the cast. It isn’t all about the leads, though, glow-in-the-dark Splash Down Solo bait clips add a bit of subtle sparkle if you don’t want to go ‘full on’, while the glow-in-the-dark PVC tubing can add attraction to Pennel rigs if slipped over the top hook, rather than normal rig tubing. We all like to experiment


with rigs, and I can easily see anglers rigging up one rod with the ‘full Monty’ of luminous accessories while keeping another in standard format, to see which works best and for which species. One part of the range that will find its way into use under all circumstances is the glow-in-the-dark rod-tip tape. In the dark the glow will help show up finicky bites, while during the daylight it will add an easily spotted pale tip section for the same purpose. It’s so easy to fit that, as accessories go, it firmly comes into the ‘why not?’ category. It’s also very useful stuff to add to some of those tackle items – pliers and the like – that can otherwise be overlooked when packing away gear in the dark (we’ve all done it!). One thing you won’t have to add the bling to is your disgorger, because Gemini

already produces one of these that is easily light activated. When you leave your old one behind or drop it overboard, it’s well worth considering a luminous one as a replacement! Taken as a whole, the glowin-the-dark range adds a very useful extra dimension to sea angling. Remember suffering early this spring when the water was still carrying extra colour following the winter storms? I certainly do, and it would have been nice to have had some of this kit to try at the time. I’m not saying that it will work at its optimum in coloured water, rather than actually in the dark, but how will we know how it will fare if we don’t give it a try? I’m going to give it a go. It’s also worth remembering that luminous or very brightly coloured muppet-style lures are routinely used in verydeep-water situations where

light penetration is minimal. A bit of glow-in-the-dark might just be the edge that we’re looking for on those trips. The other thing that occurred to me is that during normal daylight conditions the luminous elements of these rig bits are pretty unobtrusive – the best of both worlds? It’s a nice thought, and I’m sure that we’ve only just scratched the surface of applications for this range.

PRICE RRP: Breakout Head kit £6.05 Standard-grip assembly kit £8.15 Long-grip assembly kit £8.15 Splash Down Solo bait clips (five) £2.80 PVC tubing £1.60 Tip tape £2.10 Disgorger £6.95

CONTACT Gemini T: 01472 852966 W:


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FATHOM 12 MUTIPLIER REEL TSF editor Paul Dennis took out the Penn Fathom 12 multiplier reel and discovered that it has hidden depths.


he Penn Fathom 12 multiplier reel is the smallest in the Fathom range, but don’t let that put you off. It’s not a tiny reel by any means, and it punches well above its weight. It’s actually the same size as the Fathom 15, but whereas the 15 has the same spool size as the highly regarded 525 series reels, the 12 has the spool dimensions of the narrower 515. It’s a versatile reel. Coming without a levelwind puts it in beachcasting territory, while its compact size makes it a great companion for boat rods in the 12lb class or lower, providing you with a nicely balanced outfit. I teamed it up with an Abu

Suveran 12lb-class rod and the pair complemented each other perfectly. Starting simply with the reel, I put on some mono backing, guesstimating how much I would need, then spooled up with 300 metres of 9kg braid. The Fathom has markers on the inside of the spool, providing some indication as to how much line you’re loading, and this proved more than handy, as by a decent stroke of luck I filled it perfectly. I must admit that I did miss the addition of a levelwind when loading the reel, because you have to keep an eye on things yourself, but that comes with the territory

with open-cage reels. One thing that was noticeable during the loading process was the fast 6:1 gear ratio, putting 28 inches of line onto the spool with every turn of the handle. I was to be glad of this quick retrieve during a boat outing with the reel. In use the Fathom 12 has a full-metal body and side plates and five plus one shielded stainless-steel bearings, so it should last well. I’m not an engineer, so I can’t wax lyrical about the properties of live spindles and free-floating spools, other than to say that it’s silky smooth and well behaved, while it feels very robust too. But what was it like to fish with?

Well, I wasn’t trying to hit the horizon from the shore – my ‘casting’ from the boat was a gentle flick out to get everything away from the structure. However, I was able to let line down in a fast but controlled manner without the line trying to lift – which I have seen on some reels. As the reel is compact it’s easy to control in free spool, and letting line off when feeling a take is simple. One thing that is worth noting is that the reel doesn’t automatically go into retrieve mode when you turn the handle. The free-spool lever has to be manually disengaged. This took a bit of getting used to but it was worth the effort.


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That big retrieve ratio came in very handy while winding up for another cast, with the big power handle helping to take the strain too. The reel is noticeably quick – something that I’ve not always found to be the case with higher-ratio reels. While I didn’t hook anything large enough to test the drag, I did find it easy to adjust and it felt pretty smooth. My early impressions of this reel are all very positive. It’s a satisfyingly chunky reel and feels solidly built, so it should stand the test of time and use. I’ve good cause for optimism in this area,

because on the reel’s first outing I had to pop into Weymouth Angling Centre to pick up some bait. While I was there I asked the staff what their favourite reel was – not the biggest seller but their personal favourite. The reply was: “The Penn Fathom series – we never have any come back with problems.” That sounds pretty good to me.

PRICE Penn Fathom 12 Star Drag £159.99

CONTACT Pure Fishing T: 01665 602771 W:



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Hitting The

Andy Miller brings you all the national and international tournament casting results.

KEY Assume all casts are pendulum style unless stated B (for back cast) or OTG (for off-the-ground) F/S = Fixed spool PBs in bold Court records in bold and underlined


Susse Casting Sussex asting Club b Steyning, West Su Steynin Sussex – July 6th Well done to John on winning winnin the day, great casting, although he did let Marco rco lead for one round. Also well done to all those achieving PBs. It was also great too see Brett back on the field smashing some leads out. Caster 100g 125g 150g John Hooley 243.50 246.42 236.95 Danny Stone 237.20 Marco Marsiglia 237.17 218.00 Brett Green 232.32 232.51 Paul Macintyre 221.00 213.15 Jon South 199.90 Paul Chapman (B) 185.52 183.30 Peter Payne (OTG – F/S) 144 Distances in metres

Kent Sportcast Tilmanstone, Kent – July 13th The 20 casters attending found a wet and thundery start, which then turned humid and dry, with a variable southwesterly wind of up to 15mph. Caster 100g 125g 150g 175g Jason Carter 262.00 250.00 Danny Stone 246.10 Steve Swann 240.00 Roly Cannon 230.00 221.00 Darren Brooks 223.94 Carl Dale 223.15 219.98 Steve Crimmins (OTG) 222.50 Ian McHaffie 211.50 212.70 Derek Regan 211.10 207.00 Martin Ocborne 208.00 John French 208.00 Tom Brooker (OTG) 203.03 Tony Ovenden 190.00 Paul Chapman (B) 188.05 Pete Brown (OTG) 170.50 Damion Hawes (OTG) 166.50 Caster 75g Ian McHaffie 207.40 Distances in metres

N SA NESA Kirkleatham Showground, Redcar, North Yorkshire K – July 13th It was hot and humid with heavy rain showers throughout the day, and a southwesterly to northwesterly to northeasterly wind of up to 5mph. Caster 100g 125g 150g 175g Jamie Blakeman 251.31 Dave Sugden 227.00 Andy Byrom 225.45 Steve Swales 214.74 225.16 210.08 212.98 Chris Woodrow 217.51 221.76 Baz Blakeman 205.70 219.37 213.92 Syd Burtcher 215.32 Keith Carter 213.70 Richy Ayres 200.78 Simon Wells 195.74 Richy Comer 187.75 Brad Kinnair 183.92 Phil Darby 180.05 Tommy Harland 170.40 Wilf Curry 149.60 Distances in metres

Westward Casting Association Cardinham, Cornwall – July 13th It was a good dry day with plenty of friendly competition and mickey taking. Caster 100g 125g 150g 175g Andy Copping 286 292 Phil Jones 282 269 Adam Slack 278 Mike Benfield 252 247 Dennis Retter 240 252 233 Varian Lea 252 231 Will Harwood 251 Simon Harris 246 250 Lee Knight 244 247 248 220 Steve Curnow (B) 238 231 Stephen Derraven 235 Barry Harvey 200 Topper Brown 192 Distances in yards


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UKSF – Anne Howlett Memorial Purdis Farm, Ipswich, Suffolk – July 6th and 7th There was a temperature of between 16° and 20°C, a southwesterly to westerly wind of up to 3mph and rain to start with, which dried out after lunch. This second Anne Howlett Memorial event featured casters from Germany, Belgium, France, Wales and England competing in teams to raise money for Breast Cancer Care. An enjoyable and fun day ended with the winning team being decided on the final round. Prizes were donated by Terry & Barbara Carroll (Zziplex), Jon Abbott, Dirk Christiansen and Jay Lee (Rhino Reels), and Dave Venables (Smartrig). With a normal raffle and a reverse raffle, over £1,000 was raised during the weekend. Team Ind Caster Overall Team Competition Caster Score Dave Richardson 252.85 1st – Team F Amelie Saison 166.63 C (B) – 1039.10 -C Danny 252.42 A Adam Morgan 228.68 Moeskops Dirk Matt Russell 236.90 D Christiansen 218.26 Duane 231.79 B Syd Burtcher 216.93 Lockwood (B) Garry Dickerson 230.36 G Colin Howlett 208.60 2nd – Team Alysson Jay Lee 230.07 D G – 1022.59 Monbally - C 161.63 Garry Adam Morgan 228.68 F 230.36 Dickerson Olivier Folcke 226.42 E Steve Boyt 224.79 Steve Boyt 224.79 G Paul Mayhew 206.84 Steve Swales 223.23 E Dennis Retter 198.97 Ronny De 3rd – Team Thomas Boyt 133.16 218.55 A Mulder C – 997.98 –C Dave Dirk Christiansen 218.26 F 252.85 Richardson Michel Le Alain Campion 217.32 B 212.47 Grand Syd Burtcher 216.93 F Andy Miller 210.80 Ian Bellis 215.04 D Bob Murray 188.70 4th – Team Helena Hoeper 104.70 Michel Le Grand 212.47 C D – 985.29 –C Andy Miller 210.80 C Matt Russell 236.90 Colin Howlett 208.60 F Jay Lee 230.07 Paul Mayhew 206.84 G Ian Bellis 215.04 Wesley Yves Verreckt 205.45 E 198.58 Lagaisse Dave Andrews 5th – Team Martine 203.65 A (B) E – 957.76 Campion - C 106.01 Kim Tester 203.54 B Olivier Folcke 226.42 Dennis Retter 198.97 G Steve Swales 223.33 Wesley Lagaisse 198.58 D Yves Verreckt 205.45 Jon King 196.55 E Jon King 196.55 6th – Team Thomas Folcke Bob Murray (B) 188.70 C 53.70 A – 908.87 -C Danny Tony Weaver 183.58 B 252.42 Moeskops Ronny De Dave Venables 180.55 A 218.55 Mulder Amelie Saison 166.63 F Dave Andrews 203.65 (OTG) Alysson G Dave Venables 180.55 Monbally (OTG) 161.63 Thomas Boyt 7th – Team Jake Mayhew 69.00 133.16 C (OTG) B – 905.23 -C Martine Duane 106.01 E 231.79 Campion (OTG) Lockwood Helena Hoeper 104.70 D Alain Campion 217.32 (OTG) Jake Mayhew 69.00 B Kim Tester 203.54 (OTG) Thomas Folcke 53.70 (OTG) Distances in metres.


Tony Weaver


Saturday’s Results There was a temperature of between 15° and 18°C, intervals of light rain, and a southerly to southwesterly to westerly to southwesterly back to southerly wind of between 3mph and 8mph. Caster 100g 125g 150g Aggregate Danny Moeskops 226.68 264.53 265.02 756.23 Duane Lockwood (B) 242.55 254.07 251.15 747.77 Jay Lee 223.84 240.57 249.78 714.19 Kevin Southey 212.89 242.47 251.65 707.01 Garry Dickerson 229.37 237.26 231.19 697.82 Steve Boyt 224.75 235.91 235.56 696.22 Syd Burtcher 213.52 225.61 237.72 676.85 Adam Morgan 203.38 232.46 235.35 671.19 Matt Russell 226.14 220.09 224.92 671.15 Steve Swales 225.01 218.98 226.47 670.46 Ian Bellis 212.64 210.80 208.58 632.02 Yves Verreckt 206.19 210.22 212.27 628.68 Ronny De Mulder 209.37 215.00 204.24 628.61 Andy Miller 213.28 209.48 204.24 627.00 Dirk Christiansen 198.36 210.36 210.59 619.31 Dennis Retter 208.18 209.35 201.72 619.25 Kim Tester 200.28 214.87 198.24 613.39 Jon King 199.72 200.30 204.64 604.66 Wesley Lagaisse 199.44 200.52 201.72 601.68 Tony Weaver 180.27 194.70 194.36 569.33 Dave Venables 183.87 186.00 174.07 543.94 Colin Howlett 207.62 194.70 402.32 Bob Murray 198.38 172.20 370.58 Ladies 75g Helena Hoeper 108.15 108.15 Distances in metres Germany’s Dirk Christiansen helped Team F to a well-earned win in the UKSF Anne Howlett Memorial.

England team manager Dennis Retter got in on the action on his trip to Ireland.


C denotes the team captain. Total Sea Fishing 59

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Norfolk Casting Club Bircham Newton, Norfolk – July 13th

Suffolk Sportscast Ipswich, Suffolk – July 26th

The wind direction was mostly changeable and very light for most of the day. Dave Richardson and Mike Grant went head to head with Dave eventually winning out by just 20 centimetres, and Kev Bebbington hit a PB on the 175g.

The conditions were very hot, dry and sunny with a northerly light breeze for the 16 attendees. Very well done to Dave on winning the day and also to Barry on achieving his PB. Caster 100g 125g 150g 175g Dave Richardson (B) 238.75 Steve Boyt (OTG) 226.30 232.31 235.66 229.19 Lee Caley 224.84 230.98 229.43 Craig Buy (B) 218.14 Craig Buy 214.57 Kim Tester 203.35 217.80 Paul Mayhew 210.72 Ron Archer 202.88 Barry Desmond 186.60 201.23 Adam Jennings 198.65 Bob Murray (B) 191.43 181.00 Clive Cracknell (B) 190.56 Dave Venables 185.55 Juniors 75g Jake Mayhew 71.00 Distances in metres

Caster D Richardson (B) M Grant Andy Crosson (B – F/S) J Bean P Allsop S Buttery (B) R Nash C Plumb M Holmes (B) S Grimes (B) A Green (F/S) D Ward K Bebbington R Parker (OTG) P Hurren (B) Distances in metres


150g 248.00 247.80 225.84 223.93 219.40



206.75 206.28 187.50




197.30 186.88

186.07 182.90 176.70 166.74 160.22


Suffolk Sportscast Ipswich, Suffolk – July 13th Eighteen casters turned out on what was to be a very wet day! There was torrential rain for most of the day with thunderstorms, then some sunshine followed by more rain and a light wind of up to 2mph. Caster Duane Lockwood (B) Steve Boyt (OTG) Kevin Southey Ian Caley Craig Buy (B) Warren Jarvis Paul Mayhew Jon King Ron Archer Dave Andrews (B) Barry Desmond Steve Markham Juniors Jake Mayhew Distances in metres

100g 202.00

125g 237.10 217.00 220.50 217.12 206.00


192.30 187.10

150g 235.52 226.50 222.48 211.96 210.00 203.60 194.30 182.30 187.10

175g 219.00 224.30



185.85 75g 77.00

Surfcast Ireland Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow, Ireland – July 20th A northerly to northwesterly wind of between 6kph and 8kph met the 11 casters on this dry, hot and humid day. What a day… between the hangovers, the heat and the fact that everyone ended up casting uphill, it was a real killer on the field. Caster 125g 150g Agg score Frank Folan 228.38 229.96 458.34 Jay Lee 225.76 231.26 457.02 John Henry 216.07 217.06 433.13 Paddy Cunningham 216.41 208.69 425.10 Martin Campbell 208.33 197.70 406.03 Dennis Retter 197.24 187.94 385.18 Shane Horan 187.76 187.76 Brendan Cleary 171.76 171.76 Ian Daly 165.15 165.15 Distances in metres

Kent Sportcast Tilmanstone, Kent – July 27th The 22 casters were met by a variable west-northwesterly to easterly wind of up to 8mph. With a cross-court wind that eventually dropped to nothing, added to warm, humid, overcast conditions, distances were never going to be easy. Mark had the furthest cast in the still conditions, with Danny trying very hard to cast further; he didn’t although he did have a PB on the 150g, as did Martin casting the 150g for the first time. Four casters came over from Belgium (Ronny De Mulder, Steve Betina, Wesley Lagaisse and Weyne Jurgen); it was a pleasure to enjoy their company and hopefully we'll be seeing more of them at future events. Apart from the casting conditions it was a very enjoyable day, although some got soaked through from a deluge as the casting court was being cleared away at the end of the day. Caster Mark Ward Danny Stone Steve Swan Steve Betina Steve Crimmins (OTG) Ronny De Mulder Darren Brooks Roly Cannon Wesley Lagaisse Derek Regan Martin Osborne John French Barry Desmond Weyne Jurgen Paul Chapman (B) Caster Danny Stone Distances in metres


125g 230.00 227.00 220.00 219.60 219.00 217.40 217.00 204.00 203.00 201.20 199.00



225.00 203.70





200.50 180.20

200.00 197.00 191.00

182.90 181.00 300g 165.00


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Surfcast Wales Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, South Wales – July 27th A dry day of 21°C, air pressure of 1,020mb and a variable northwesterly to westerly wind of between 9mph and 14mph greeted the 11 casters. Matt took an early lead in the ever-changing conditions, while Neil Bragg put on a great display on three lead categories, winning the 150g and 175g. Caster Matthew Russell Phil Jones Neil Bragg Brian Sillman Kenny Shove Kevin Shortman Kevin Shortman (B) Dennis Retter Jerome Curtis Brian Sweet Distances in metres

125g 234.40 231.26 228.01 221.30 219.35 206.90 193.01 204.30 200.47 193.10



229.39 213.55 211.50

219.10 205.10

NWSA Cockerham, Lancashire – July 27th Well, what a day for some! There were a few new faces as well as some old ones at this NWSA meet. Caster 100g 125g 150g 175g Alan Varley 271-0-01 272-2-08 262-1-08 Steve Swales 252-2-08 270-0-07 264-2-04 241-2-00 Andy Byrom 261-2-06 John Ward 245-0-09 249-2-00 John Brimblecombe 246-2-11 Mark Armer 246-2-02 244-2-06 Craig Eccles 234-1-09 Ian Miles 230-2-02 Lincoln Turner 222-0-00 Phil Darby 214-1-00 215-1-03 John Walker 209-1-07 200-0-00 Darren Gillies 186-1-05 193-0-11 188-2-11 Andy Eccles 183-1-08 Steve Gargan 181-0-00 Bruce Marlborough 180-0-00 Adam Foulds 160-0-00 Philip Da-Silva 82-0-00 Caster 200g Lincoln Turner 199-1-00 Distances in metres

Upcoming Events

Club Contacts Club

21st 21st 28th 28th 28th 28th

UKSF Masters Final – Huntingdon Racecourse, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire Surfcast Ireland, Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow, Ireland Weymouth CC, Dorchester, Dorset (check with organiser) Kent Sportcast, Tilmanstone, Kent (check with organiser) NESA, Kirkleatham Showground, Redcar, North Yorkshire

Anglia Sportcast Down Casting Association Kent Sportcast NWSA

Dave Vicary 07786 616342 Malcolm 07967 361221 Green Steve downcastingassociation@ Ratcliffe



12th 12th 19th 19th 19th 26th 26th 26th

Iain Graham 07917 131816 Simon Batey 07801 876309 Shane Inman


Steve Boyt Marco Marsiglia

07764 950269

iain@planetseafishing. com simonbatey@ shanei2198@hotmail.

07748 084737

Kent Sportcast, Tilmanstone, Kent (check with organiser) Westward CA, Cardinham, Cornwall (check with organiser) UKSF Clubman’s Final – Huntingdon Racecourse, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire Weymouth CC, Dorchester, Dorset (check with organiser) Surfcast Ireland, Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow, Ireland Kent Sportcast, Tilmanstone, Kent (check with organiser) Suffolk Sportscast, Ipswich, Suffolk Surfcast Wales, Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, South Wales

November 2014 2nd

Sussex Casting Club, Steyning, West Sussex (check with organiser)


NESA Kirkleatham Showground, Redcar, North Yorkshire (check with organiser)

9th 9th 16th 23rd 23rd 30th

Suffolk Sportscast, Ipswich, Suffolk

07927 565425 07584 126456 will.powell33@googlemail. com

(check with organiser)

(check with organiser) 12th

Alan Varley

East Coast Steve Lemm 07957 830183 stephenlemm@rocketmail. com Casting Club Jody Lemm 07517 310574 k jonny@ulstercastingclub. Lee By e-mail org Ulster CC Galashan please Westward CA Ian Ford 01822 617946 Ianford747@btinternet. com Sportscast Paddy 00353-(0)sportscastireland@ Ireland Cunningham 879427645 Norfolk Simon Buttery 07742 173058 info@norfolkcastingclub. Casting Club Rusty Parker 07866 546678


Sussex Casting Club, Steyning, West Sussex

John French 01227 360107

Will Powell

Scottish Surfcasting Association Surfcast Wales Weymouth CC Suffolk Sportscast Sussex CC

Norfolk Casting Club, CITB, Bircham Newton, Norfolk Surfcast Wales, Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, South Wales

October 2014

E-mail colinhowlett@rocketmail. com

Colin Howlett 01603 872597

(check with organiser)

(check with organiser)



September 2014 21st


Suffolk Sportscast, Ipswich, Suffolk Kent Sportcast, Tilmanstone, Kent (check with organiser) Westward CA, Cardinham, Cornwall (check with organiser) Weymouth CC, Dorchester, Dorset (check with organiser) Surfcast Ireland, Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow, Ireland. Suffolk Sportscast, Ipswich, Suffolk Surfcast Wales, Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, South Wales (check with organiser)


Kent Sportcast, Tilmanstone, Kent (check with organiser) Total Sea Fishing 61

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John Lewis was joined by Lee Hancock for some hectic sport on a Welsh beach.

Lee is delighted with this bass.


ollowing on from our recent smoothhound outing, Lee and I opted for a change of scenery and chose to fish from the long stretch of beach at Aberavon. There were no prior reports of any sizeable fish showing at this location, which at times can be a sign as to what it’s fishing like… which is very good! As some of you may be aware, anglers like to enjoy catching fish in big numbers and enjoy loads of room when fishing – so they tend to keep quiet! After collecting our sandeel and squid baits from Keen’s Tackle in Bridgend, we went on to the All About Angling fishing-tackle shop in Port Talbot for the maddies, or harbour rag as some people are more familiar with. Hitting the beach a few hours before darkness fell, so that we could find a suitable location to fish from, we were expecting to see a few other local anglers there with the same thought, but it turned out to be quite the opposite – Lee and I had the whole beach to ourselves! We each decided to fish with two rods, one for distance casting and the other for close-range fishing, using two-hook to threehook flapper rigs to target the flounders. Rushing to set up and get our first baits of


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AGGING the session into the water, I opted for a pulley rig baited with a single large sandeel. I removed the head and tail to release the scent more quickly into the water, to try and locate a thornback ray or even a dogfish just to get that blank beater out of the way. Lee opted for a full squid fished the same way at distance and our other rods were set up to target the close-feeding fish that we hoped would be there, feeding in the shallow water close to shore, using rag as bait to target the flounders. All of the baits were sent out within 15 minutes of us hitting the beach, and our eyes were quickly glued to our rod tips, awaiting the first bites or fish of the session. Unfortunately, the baits were soon coming back to us the way they were sent out – totally untouched; not even the dogfish wanted to make an appearance. With the steady push of the tide creeping its way up the beach on the incoming tide in the last of the sunlight, that dreaded thought in the back of both our minds was of a big fat blank. We both continued to fish as before – one at distance, the other at close range – until the rods at distance notched up the first enquires of the session with a welcome dogfish for me; blank beaten! While I was removing the hook, Lee raced off in the direction of his rod without saying a word. I looked at him, puzzled, before I realised I had in fact missed the butt of his rod lift off the floor and fall back

down, leaving a massive bow of slack line. While releasing the fish back into the water, I must admit I was quite happy with my blank beater… until Lee’s Leeda Icon bent in half with a ray on the surface. It was a lovely male thornback ray, a nice chunky fish too. The first of the tidy fish had, in fact, arrived just as darkness fell – it was a personal best for Lee, too, weighing in at 7lb 9oz. The smile said it all, although he wasn’t as keen to hold it on the wings for the photo. Instead, Lee carefully held up the hooklength with the ray still attached, a few photos were taken and it was sent on its way back through the small waves of the incoming tide. We had both forgotten the rods at close range until the ray was released, only for the first flounders to start making an appearance. This was fantastic fun – they weren’t big by any means, but we were just happy that they had made an appearance. With the rods at distance continuing to find the ever-hungry packs of dogfish, I decided that there are only so many them that

you want to catch before you’ve had enough – in fact, 15 is more than enough – so I stuck it out with the rod at close distance while Lee was more than happy to keep catching doggies. I then remembered that we had the maddies tucked away in the bait bucket and began to try these on the hooks. This was dynamite to the bass, with two of them landed in quick succession; they were only small but, still, a bass is a bass. Lee then became more interested in what I was doing and came over, asking what I was catching them on. I reminded him that we had the maddies and offered him a big handful. On my next cast I set the ratchet while I poured myself a cuppa, just in case a big one took a fancy to the worm

John also managed a little bass action. Total Sea Fishing 63

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The close-range rods pick up flounders early in the session.

The bass’ gills flared wide open as it darted towards the open sea, while the other one, a fair bit smaller, wanted to go towards the beach. baits. It was lucky that I did, or I would have been chasing my rod down the beach as it screamed off. In a state of panic I spilled my drink and rushed to the rod to tighten the drag. With a bow of slack line now lying on the floor, I was thinking I’d missed that fish, but in fact it was making ground towards me! As I took up the slack the rod tip hammered over as the fish darted this way and that before heading towards the open sea. I entered the water and shouted over to Lee for a

helping hand. It was only knee deep and I could see the shockleader in the gin-clear water, and also the decent bass that was on the top hook. My heart was in my mouth as I was using small size 6 match hooks on the rig, then on closer inspection with my headlamp I could see another bass on the bottom hook, and this one was a big, double-figure fish! Its gills flared wide open as it darted towards the open sea, while the other one, a fair bit smaller, wanted to go towards the beach. It was as

if they were playing tug of war with each other in a test of strength, until the bigger fish of the two won hands down and made off as the hook pulled from its mouth. I could have cried, because it would have been a personal best for me and could have made a mouth-watering picture. Still, the one on the top hook was hooked perfectly in the side of the mouth, so keeping the line as tight as possible I brought it ashore and straight over to the scales. We agreed its weight at 6lb

6oz and it was released back into the clear water. I held it there for a few minutes to let it regain its strength so that it could swim back out into the dark, open sea once more, then after a flick of its tail it glided through the water slowly until out of sight. Next cast I thought I was going to have some more big bass as the smaller ones had moved off, but that was it for me, while Lee had a nice bar of silver touching the scales at 6lb 1oz. After a photo was taken, off it went, still full of energy as it raced through the dropping tide as quickly as it was landed. Unfortunately the bass seemed to not want to play any more and, as quickly as they came on the feed, they stopped feeding. It’s still the best two hours’ bassing I’ve had from that beach to date, though. Looking at the bait supplies, we had literally enough maddies for one last cast, and one squid left. Lee wanted the squid to see if he could locate another ray, while I was stuck with the remaining maddies. These were sent out on the bigger rod with a two-hook flapper, as the fish feeding in close had gone off the feed.

Starting the session just as the light fades on Aberavon Beach. 64

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Getting to Aberavon Beach is a straightforward drive from the M4, following the signs towards Port Talbot. Leave at Junction 41 and continue to follow the road signs. Once you’re on the seafront you’ll be welcomed by the sight of the beach. Parking can be a bit of a challenge during the daylight hours, but during the evenings there’s plenty of room to park in the lay-bys.

A switch to maddies produces a run of small school bass.

Incredibly, five hours had flown by, and we packed up the rest of the gear and remained fishing with one rod each – our one last cast – while enjoying a well-earned cup of tea. Then the line on my rod began to move, but not the rod tip. Keeping a close eye on the rod I wasn’t sure if my eyes were playing tricks on me, but then the rod tip moved very softly and slowly – it wasn’t like the flounder

bites we had been having, or from the bass. There was only one way to see for certain and that was to reel in and check; I could feel the weight of a fish every now and then before it went light, then back to a little more weight. Laughing at me, Lee said: “It’s weed; I can see it on your hook!” But I could still feel the weight of a fish there. He went into the water for me and began to remove the

weed off the top hook, only to jump as a fish hit his feet. Lifting the rig out of the water there was a fish on the bottom hook and he turned to me and said: “You jammy git, it’s a sole!” I’d not had one this year and it wasn’t big at all, but a good foundation to build on. With the bait now gone we called it a day and packed up the remaining gear, but we

Local Bait Shops KEEN’S TACKLE & GUNS Aberkenfig Bridgend CF32 9AP T: 01656 722448 ALL ABOUT ANGLING Port Talbot SA13 1JB T: 01639 882877

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Total Sea Fishing 65

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A surprise sole ends the session on a high note.

both agreed that we will return to fish this beach again later in the year.

Tackle And Baits How to approach this clean beach is up to the individual, but when fishing these types of venues I prefer to take two rods – one for casting at distance and another light setup for close range. A 60ydplus cast will often locate the rays and other species that feed along the beach here, with the second rod used for targeting the flounders and bass that can be caught as close in as 10 yards. The baits that produce rays here are sandeels, squid, razorfish, worms and crabs. With ragworms and maddies the prime bait for the bass and flounders, expect at times the ever-present ‘Swansea cod’ (dogfish). Rigs for distance casts can be pulley rigs, pulley-dropper rigs, loop rigs or the good old-fashioned single clippeddown rigs with hook sizes ranging from 1/0 to 5/0. For the close-distance fishing, two-hook or three-

Lee sets a new PB with this 7lb 9oz thornback ray.

hook flapper rigs are best, along with fluorocarbon hooklengths, as it’s been known to throw up the odd golden grey mullet at times. Good-quality hooks such as Cox & Rawle Aberdeen match hooks are perfect here and so easy to remove from the fish, especially the flounders that may swallow them deep. My preferred size is as small as a size 6 and as big as a 1/0.

Tides And Weather Medium to small tides can produce lots of fish here (11.5 to 10.3 metres on the Swansea scale), which makes it a good fishing location. These tides have produced fish for me on more occasions than the bigger tides. One reason for fishing the smaller tides is that there isn’t much of a walk following the tides’ rise and fall up the beach. There’s a live webcam,, that you can look at that will give you an idea of the swells on the beach during the day.

The flounders are small, but welcome all the same.


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Fishing On A Budget Instead of just dreaming about fishing some blue, crystal-clear waters for exotic species, angling guide Robin Howard did something about it‌

That first fish is always important when visiting a new venue. 68

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he words blue water fishing have always taunted me. Watching videos of powerful, alien fish making screaming runs in crystal-clear seas is definitely something to do on a rainy, windswept day. But the destinations are often remote, and the costs associated with casting a line in far-off venues are rarely cheap. The very best locations often involve helicopters or hitching a ride with the military for venues such as

Ascension Island. However, for the vast majority of us, those kinds of costs can be summed up in one word: prohibitive! These were the thoughts passing through my head, in the late Autumn of 2013. The fishing, especially the bass fishing, was progressing nicely. I even managed a new personal-best lure-caught fish, of 13lb 8oz, from a local river, and at night too. Despite the vanishing stock, I was having a ball. My clients were also happy – big smiles and action most days. Then we had a monster gale, on October 26th, if my memory serves me correctly. The fish went crazy on baits for two days afterwards. The drift netters also got into the action. The shoals were aggregating, preparing to move. Before the first day of November, the beaches were


Rough swells make the fishing very testing early in the trip.

The cost? With flights at rock bottom during February and March, I was able to get people there for less than £500 per person per week. simply not showing fish. The bass season, which my clients and I had enjoyed enormously, was finished.

So, what to do? I booked a villa in Fuerteventura, and then set about contacting clients that I felt would enjoy the experience, to help me to work out the fishing. The clients I contacted were targeted because they enjoy fishing for bass on lures. I explained to everyone that I knew little about the fishing, that it was quite likely to fail, but that it might also come off. I knew of the lureable species out there, as my friend, Simon Waldram, lives out there. And I saw from his Facebook page such amazing fish as bonito, barracuda and bluefish that were caught with some frequency. I charged a nominal fee, towards the costs of the accommodation,

and everybody sorted out their own flights. And, with a capacity of up to five people in the villa, I was very happy when I managed to get enough people to fill the entire period. This trip was happening. We were really going to fish for blue water species. And the cost? With flights being at rock bottom during February and March (aside from during the half-term break when they bounce up very steeply), I was able to get people there for very much less than £500 per person per week. It was truly blue water fishing on a budget. Perhaps my biggest dilemma was how much tackle, and which tackle, to take with me. My ignorance of the terrain and the whole Atlantic environment in these parts preyed heavily on my mind. What if I got everyone

out there, only to find my choices completely wrong? Sleepless nights threatened. Then Simon informed me of a shop on the island, called Gone Fishing. Unusually, for a holiday destination in Spain, this was a serious fishing shop. I began to relax, knowing that if I did not have it, at least I could source it. Even so, I managed to fill a Bazooka rod tube with 30kg of rods, reels and tackle, and a further 40kg of assorted lures, and just the tiniest bit of clothing. I felt that on this sunshine isle, famed for its winter climate, I wouldn’t need too much in the way of clothing. However, do you remember that rain that came in December accompanied by extreme winds? Well it didn’t just affect the UK. The west coast of Spain caught a lot of it, and the Fuerteventura winter, which Total Sea Fishing 69

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is normally placid and calm five days out of seven, was the windiest in memory for our stay. Atlantic storms are a million miles away from a big wind in the Channel. Swells are something I have limited experience of. The learning curve on Fuerteventura was going to be more than about fish. It was also going to be about safety. Happily, I had decided to take the first couple of weeks purely for myself, and my former client, now good friend and unpaid personal assistant Sarah Perrin. This was to give me a fighting chance of getting a feel both for the fish and also for the infrastructure. It sounds posh doesn’t it? What it actually involved was basically checking out all the local pubs, restaurants etc, whittling out the good from the bad, ready for the

customers. With the wind howling, the swells smashing the coast and us arriving on a Saturday, and the licences that you must have by law (else you risk a huge fine and confiscation of your tackle) not being available until Monday morning, there was not a lot else we could do really. We did some coast walking. The villa was located in Caleta de Fuste, where I’d been advised by Simon that as well as being his home village, it was also the location for some of the best fishing on the island. This was to prove the case, especially as it offered some shelter from the wind. Everything here is volcanic. There’s lots of snaggy, nasty, abrasive rock. I was happy to have packed the reels with Berkley nanofil, which can handle a fair amount of abrasion compared with braids, especially when tight to a big fish. A walk to the nearby SPA

supermarket showed us an excellent cross-section of the species that might be available to us. There were many different bream species, all predatory, various smaller fish, sardines, chub, mackerel and scad. There were also some steaks from some extremely big tuna, along with octopus and big Sahara squid. We also came across a stream that had what we thought were small mullet in it. Setting the go-pro camera on the stream bed, and then feeding bread over the top, suddenly there were large flat-head mullet, golden mullet, myriad golden grey mullet, and a very blue mullet, a single one, the likes of which I’ve never seen before. I now have a screensaver that’s the envy of all my friends. On the Monday we headed off to the main town, Puerto del Rosario, with Simon to sort out the licences. It was a long, drawn-out process to get a paper version of the licence. It’s basically a permission to fish, ahead of an actual

Strong winds batter the coast – just as they’d been doing in the UK!

Even on the bright days there are fish to be had.

The local supermarket features some of the varieties of fish that can be expected.

The bonito has a fine set of dentures – as have many species off Fuerteventura.


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licence, which is available three weeks later, and is completely useless if you’re out there for just a week. But for the cost of €15, for a licence that lasts three years, I strongly recommend the pain, purely for the peace of mind. The forecast for the Tuesday was great and we went out at first light. The wind was, as forecast, light… but the sea? It was running with swells. The edges were awash with white water. I might have even considered abandoning the mission, had it not been for other anglers already on the edges. It presented a good opportunity to learn more about the safety aspects. I’d taken the precaution of obtaining some good-quality spiked footwear for Sarah and myself, so the slippery rocks weren’t an issue. We found a couple of spots where the wind was across our shoulders, and the swells didn’t seem quite so bad, and so began our opening salvo. We steadily went through my lure collection. I tried surface lures, subsurface lures, lumps of latex on the bottom, extremedistance shore jigs (HTO shore jigs – perhaps the biggest


It’s always worth trying a lure that’s the same size as the baitfish.

distance I’ve ever cast with a lure) and Savage Gear sandeels in both 13cm and 16cm bodies. We did have some bangs on and some chunks missing out of the SG sandeels on a couple of occasions, but three hours into the session we were still without a successful hit. I was just about to suggest that we took a break, suspecting that the bright sun and clear seas might be pushing the fish offshore and deep, when, to quote a very well used cliché, that’s truly appropriate for this situation, all hell broke loose. A fish hit my SG sandeel so hard that I literally nearly had the rod ripped out of my hands. I lifted the rod back, and the reel sang… and sang… and kept on singing. A good bass on this gear might make 20 yards. This did 30, and was still going. I daren’t put on more drag because I was terrified that the extra pressure with the sheer speed of the fish would cause the 0.17mm Nanofil to part instantly. I simply had to hold on. At about 50 yards the fish slowed. Then the tip came back slightly, as it changed direction.

Bonito started to make an appearance once the right lures were selected. Total Sea Fishing 71

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A yellow-mouthed barracuda – very smart fish.

I was able almost to lead it back, until at just about 20 yards out I was wondering if perhaps that was it, and began to choose a safe place to land it. I was a little ahead of the game, however. The fish had no thoughts of surrendering and went off again, back out to the 50yd line. I manoeuvred across the rocks while the fish was way off, because while it’s on a long line it allows you to get prepared, rather than bringing the fish into the edge and then trying to move. We had identified a small plateau as a possible landing place. Again, I worked the fish back, and this time, it was definitely showing signs of tiring. This time, I got to see it, a bonito, and a good one. Suddenly, it made its last effort. I clamped down hard and pushed the rod out over the water as far as possible to avoid the line chafing on the rock ledge. The fish turned, and came back. I got it up on the surface and then wound

down hard. Fate took a hand, and sent me a swell that would have had me running for higher ground if I wasn’t attached to the fish. Instead, I carefully used it, walking steadily backwards in front of it, with the fish now on a short line, and allowed the swell to ground the bonito on the plateau. I quickly walked over to the fish, slipped my hands up a gill plate, and steadily climbed out of the splash zone. It was my first-ever bonito, perhaps in the 6lb to 7lb bracket. I was elated. The weight was lifted from my shoulders. Everything was now possible. The following day we fished similar conditions, and in the same spot. And we fished hard, from dawn till dusk, with just brief stops for refreshments. The result? Nothing; just one tentative pluck at an SG sandeel. Suddenly I was worried again. So, when Simon offered to take us out the following day, we jumped at the opportunity. The plan

The villa lived up to expectations as an angling base.

had been to head down to some much deeper water (30 metres straight off the feet) at a place called Los Salinas. However, due to, and I quote, “alarm malfunction,” it was already getting light and those in the know would already have taken the better spots. We decided to keep it local and we were into fish from the start. There were bangs, and taps, and chunks out of the lures. Whatever was hitting them were very toothy. Then I got slammed, and the reel burst into action, but not with the speed or the power of the bonito the previous day. In fact, it

was very reminiscent of a bass in the UK, except I happily put my hands in the mouths of bass in the UK. I wouldn’t want to do that with one of these. The fish I’d hooked was my very first yellowmouth barracuda. I found her beautiful, and awesome. It didn’t have anything like the power of the bonito, but was clearly a clever fish, and as I observed these barracuda more over the next seven weeks I gained more and more respect for them. They’re very clever indeed, but I shall explain more about that in part two.


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TSF took a look at a compact model that’s a tough little cookie.



4.65M 1.82M 240KG 40HP C

here are still a substantial number of people who, for reasons of budget, storage and/or simplicity, either want or are happy to live with an open boat. For general inshore fishing in large estuaries, harbours or sea lochs, a small, easily trailered boat makes a lot of sense. It can be used solo or a couple of friends can have a great time together fishing in these situations and it is how most of us cut our teeth. The Kruger Delta is such a handy little boat.

A 15ft or 16ft open boat is ideal for getting afloat, and with the ever-increasing price of fuel the demand for affordable, easy day boating is increasing. In other countries these kinds of boats make up the major part of the boating scene; just think of the Scandinavian lakes, the Baltic archipelago and the slow, wide rivers of Poland and southern Europe. The Kruger hails from the eastern side of Poland. They have no coast where these boats are built; instead they have large, open lakes that

The Delta is ideal for use in larger harbours and inland waters, shrugging off the sort of waves encountered in these waters.


0 or of VAT with an F2 £8,768 inclusive 0. F3 an of VAT with £9,907 inclusive . Trailer £990


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can be every bit as choppy as our coastal waters. In fact, the conditions are very similar, with only the long groundswell missing. The wind can whip up a 3ft chop in the space of an hour across these lakes, so the boats are built to take rough conditions and short wavelengths if the weather takes a turn for the worse. The Kruger Delta is given a handy amount of freeboard and a wide flange where the deck and hull are joined. This flange provides a large surface area to bond hull and deck together to make a strong join, but also acts as a spray and wave deflector, especially with the very workmanlike 4in rope rubbing strake running

A rod rack could be mounted on the forward end of the helm moulding and not be in the way.

all around. This feature is both practical and pleasing to the eye, giving the boat a traditional look. The Kruger Delta is not just a good-looking boat. She has been well thought through and

built to withstand the rigours of heavy use; many boats of this type are used as daily transport as tenders, or for shuttling stores. They’re also popular as harbour launches, a job that they fulfil admirably,


and their short, 4.6m length means that they take up hardly any room and can be squeezed into a corner for storage. The Delta is easy to handle, provides enough deck space for three anglers to save them having tangles and enough room for gear bags. It’s an old design, in that it hasn’t been updated with a new model every year, which makes it an affordable package that will return frugal running costs because it only needs a 20hp motor to get on the plane and run at 14 knots with two up. It is also surprisingly capable, being very buoyant thanks to the beamy, rounded hull shape and generous freeboard for a boat of this size.


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Even the horrid wash from a big cruiser that came powering by without slowing didn’t cause us to get wet, and when we saw the steep walls of water racing towards us we did get the camera gear zipped up in readiness for a dowsing, but it never came; the boat just lifted on the wave and bobbed over. It did throw us about a bit within the set of waves but that’s only to be expected. The attraction of a lightweight, shallow-draft boat like this is that it takes very little power to drive it, launch and recover, or tow it about on the road. The 30hp Mariner we had on the transom pushed us along at a very creditable 26.3mph. Instruments are not part of the package on the smaller motors as standard, although they can be rigged at extra cost. There’s no real need for them, however, as you can drive the boat by ear and the comfort of the ride for the conditions. For general nipping about, the Delta, matched with the 30hp Mariner will sensibly maintain 20mph, or around 18 knots. The boat is rated to take the next engine size up, at 40hp, but actually a 20hp or 25hp is going to be the more popular choice. For the kind of waters and the conditions that this type of boat is used in, 30hp is plenty and will provide enough push to whizz through strong tidal flows, such as those found at harbour narrows or estuaries. Stowage is found in the forward-seat moulding, with the sides given over to foam filling as built-in buoyancy to keep the boat afloat. This reduces stowage, but vastly increases the safety of a small boat, and, besides, how much gear do you need for a few hours on the water anyway? There’s bags of room for an anchor, chain and warp, which I would keep in a box of its own to keep it separate from your picnic or gear bag. A cleat for tying off is mounted on the bow, but there are no fairleads or roller. This is being attended to for future boats and the TSF team would expect that a single fairlead on the bow would

The aft locker in the seatbox is used to house the battery and fuel tank. There is some additional space for ropes and fenders.

The clean foredeck could do with a fairlead being fitted in addition to the cleat. The wave deflector will help prevent water coming in if she does punch a wave.

provide the most versatile answer at negligible cost. Further stowage is limited to what’s left in the aft seat moulding once the fuel and battery have been installed. There’s some room in there but you’ll need to be choosy as to what you take with you or you’ll be swamped by loose gear in the cockpit. A few cargo nets or fixed bungee straps to retain gear would help keep things shipshape, and rod holders could be clamped on the side rails if you feel the need. The helm is a little cramped, but there’s legroom under the moulded wheel mount and room for a few odds and ends in the tray moulded into the top. A bag could be placed under the helm moulding to stop your flask and sandwiches from rolling about. You can’t expect anything too fancy on a small, open boat and what there is fulfils the requirements adequately. There’s the space to mount a small fishfinder

The helm takes up minimal space and is low enough to not get in the way of fishing from the aft seat.

to make seeking out those gulleys, banks and rock pinnacles easier. The aft seat will take two without getting cosy thanks to the generous beam. If there were just the two of you in the boat, one would be better going forward to help with the running trim by keeping the bow down. This is one of the traits of smaller boats where the majority of the weight is carried in the stern. The transom is cut away to mount a standard-shaftlength motor and to reduce the engine height on the transom to help with stability. This also makes it easy to rig the motor with a very neat installation; the electrics, steering and fuel lines are routed through a conduit and out through a rubber grommet, the result being a tidy setup. There’s nothing worse than having lines running everywhere. Running about in the Delta reminded me that you don’t need a big boat to have fun; you just need to tailor your

boating and fishing to the boat. With the Delta a whole day of boating would cost less than an hour’s run on most of the bigger boats you see. That is frugality at its best. Expect to go all day on less than 20 litres of petrol. She’s a capable sea boat, too; in fact surprisingly so, and we’d be happy using her for inshore fishing, while the open layout lends itself perfectly to lure or fly fishing as well as uptiding with lighter rods. Flatties, rays, bass and pollack are all within the boat’s capability and it would be especially suited to creeping up inaccessible creeks for some hectic sport with mullet on very light tackle. Since reviewing this boat there’s been a bit of an update; the equivalent model is now badged as the Mariner 421 and will run happily on a 20hp engine but still take the 30hp if you feel the need. However, with the smaller motor it is appealingly affordable at less than £9,000.


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01/09/2014 14:14



TSF brings you the catches and the quotes from the kayak competition that just keeps on growing. ayak fishing competitions are really coming of age now, with big-name sponsors getting involved and putting up some fantastic prizes. For the fourth South Wales Kayak Angling Club (SWKA) competition at Oxwich Bay on the Gower Peninsular, the main sponsors were Palm Equipment, who put up £1,000 for the winner, and Raymarine, who provided a 7in Dragonfly sonar unit for the best specimen, along with other prizes. Escape Watersports, Railblaza, Cono-flex, Wilderness Systems, Tronixpro, Sidewinder, Redgill, Leeda, Icom and Skwoosh provided the consolation prizes down to 12th place. The event saw 29 species caught, with the winner, John Fannom from Folkestone, getting 11 of them. Mainwarings supplied the bait: live sandeels in a tank, ragworm and a range of frozen baits in cool boxes. You had to book it, though, because on the day it was sold out. The turnout was unprecedented in this country, with 147 anglers entering the competition, making it the largest kayak fishing competition anywhere in Europe, but the crowd was bigger because of the party that the SWKA put on afterwards at the campsite with a barbecue included in the entry fee. The event was a huge success yet again and more than £2,000 was raised for the RNLI, with a further £600 for Heroes On the Water. Next year’s event is already in the planning and promises to be even bigger and better.


saw 147 The mass launch e water. th to ke kayaks ta

Leon Evans’ plan was to use baited Sabikis for the multitud e of bottom feeders in the bay, then leger for the bigger fish.

Terry Wright is from Leicester and fishes for the Jackson Pro Team. He said: “I’m a coarse angler at heart, so I’m fishi ng small for the mini species to get my species count up.”

skova from y and Lenka Li Lubomir Klobusick id: “We are beginners so e sa Buckinghamshir and to try to have some fun t jus re he e ar we rs.” to learn from othe


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Shaun Leaver travelled from Grea t Yarmouth and exclaimed: “I’m hoping for some of the bigger stuff that’s out there, so I’m using big baits on a Pennel rig.”

Mike Harper from Bridgend with a dogfish. He got the specimen prize last year with a 2lb plaic ppla aice ic ce. e..

Judge Alan Duthie checks John Fannom’s photographic evidence. John was the eventual winner with 11 species!

bury, rd, from Tewkes Royston Pritcha I’ve but r, gle an h ac a be declared: “I was is yak fishing. This ka to d te ver been con e it!” lov I n itio pet my first com

Eddy Denton, from Llantrisant, exclaimed: “I forggot to order my bait so I only have rag and squid quuid! q d!!!”” d

s fishing for from Plymouth, wa a d ellpeed elp el nd hhe Martin Payne, ter)) an Wa e th On oes Team HOW (Her . ies ec e sp the team with fiv

s, Greg were Cyril Cros The team winners in. th Ge r he ot Bowes and his br


Shaun Ruddy, from Willand in Dev on, said: “I’m using one rod for big fish and the other for small stuff. I’ve had a 7lb crab and this dogfish so far!”

row, from left The organising team were: (back Steve and on Gibs Ed k, Chic Colin ) to right ren Dar ) right to left from , Mave; (kneeling Hardy and Martin Andrews.

Total Sea Fishing 79

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A specialist in lures for fishing for bass, cod, pollack and wrasse.

Providing a high-quality charter-boat fishing service for its members throughout the UK.


RETAILER Providing everything you need for your fishing – both in store and online. Glasgow Angling Centre is one of the largest online tackle dealers in the UK.



Due to relocation, stocks of outboards, RIBs, kayaks and much more are available at up to 50% off.


The best light rock fishing (LRF) specialist.

Providing day bass fishing trips, with the services of an expert skipper, along with all the best gear.

RETAILER Now providing all that’s required to take up the fastestgrowing branch of the sport.

RETAILER A long-established business, originator Jim Somers invented the famous Grant Vibration Green Heart rod. p080-81_TSF_10_Shopping Centre.indd 1

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MANUFACTURER Visit the website to view the full product and brand ranges.




An international manufacturer and distributor of the finest fishing equipment and accessories.

Join the sea angling community and have your questions answered by TSF’s experts.



Spectacular shore fishing holidays in Flatanger, Norway.

For generations, anglers the world over have put their trust in Abu Garcia for tackle that withstands the toughest tests.

Top-of-the-range rainwear, light-duty and heavy-duty, that will keep you 100 per cent dry for all angling occasions.





The best sea lures, guaranteed to help you catch every time.

The wholesale expert in a large variety of fishing tackle.

The Scottish Borders’ premier supplier of quality sea fishing tackle and outdoor accessories.

FORUM A comprehensive forum with up-to-date fishing reports and blogs.

To promote your website here for only £20 per month, call


01327 315426

To see more of the TSF recommended websites, plus our blogs, weekly competitions, fishing reports and daily news updates, visit our website!

We’re on! Facebook And Twitter too!


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Please enter your details when ordering both personal and gift subscriptions. Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss

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Signature ................................................................................................... Date............................................................................................................ TERMS AND CONDITIONS SUBSCRIPTION OFFER CLOSES 09/09/14 Your subscription will start with the next available issue. £42.70 includes 12 issues at cover price of £3.35 plus £2.50 for delivery of your Tronixpro pack. The minimum subscription term with this offer is 12 months. This offer is not to be used in conjunction with any other promotion and is available to UK and Eire residents only. Pricing for Europe and rest of the world is available at Please allow up to 28 days for delivery of your gift. We reserve the right to substitute the gift shown for an alternative item, subject to your approval. We may like to write to you with the latest news, updates and relevant offers. If you DO NOT wish to receive details by e-mail/post from us, please tick here If you would like to receive details by e-mail/post directly from carefully selected third parties, please tick here

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27/08/2014 14:58

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GERRY’S FISHING TIME FOR REVOLUTION! Gerry’s Fishing has all the essentials required to make your next trip to the coast a winner. Not only can it provide top-class tackle, it also has some great package deals available to guarantee more value for your hard-earned cash. There’s been a revolution in lure rods recently – so just check out some of the range that Gerry’s stocks, along with some more great product deals below…

Shimano CM-1000 Waterproof Sports Camera Need a camera that you can definitely rely on to capture a snap of you and your PB? Then the problem’s solved because Shimano has certainly done its research; this camera is perfect for any shore, boat or kayak angler. With all of its powerful features and high-definition filming, what more could you want? Years of research and design have gone into Shimano’s CM-1000, ultimately creating a compact sports camera that excels in critical camera functions, appeals to consumers exploring both terrestrial and aquatic sports, and also integrates with existing Shimano electronics found in its fishing and cycling products. The package also includes a 16gb Micro SD card. Key features and highlights of the CM-1000 include: • Powerful, brilliant image-capturing camera • Light, compact form factor • Exceptional waterproof rating down to 10 metres • Advanced connectivity and intelligent integration

RRP: £249.95

Sidewinder Weedless Minnow Lures

Sidewinder Rattleback Lures

The new sidewinder weedless minnows represent extensive testing and research by commercial line anglers to find a workable minnow design that really does avoid the snags, plus the fish love ’em! The lures incorporate something called Salt Trap Tech (STT), which utilises actual salt in the manufacturing process so that they taste salty to fish. There’s also a Shimmer Skin pearlescent finish in every colour, and each lure has an in-built hook tube and back groove for enhanced hook-ups and great sidewinder action! The best-quality components are incorporated throughout, including Mustad hooks. There are two lures per packet.

These brand-new superb jighead sandeel lures are packed with many innovative features never before seen in a latex lure. They also feature Salt Trap Tech (STT), meaning that actual salt has been used in the manufacturing process so that the sidewinders taste salty to fish. Then there’s the DUO construction, a double-pour latex build for durability while still retaining the famous sidewinder action! The in-built rattle chamber also features tungsten rattle balls for great vibrations during retrieve. The dayglo belly tube glows in the dark, making these lures brilliant for deep wrecks (for best results, charge the belly of the lure with a torch before use). They comprise the best-quality components and Mustad hooks throughout. You get two complete Rattlebacks per blister pack. RRP: £7.99 GP: £5.99

RRP: £7.99 GP: £5.99 4½in 30g 5½in 40g Spare bodies 4in: £3.99 6in: £3.99

4in 25g 6in 42g Spare bodies 4in: £3.99 6in: £3.99

CONTACT To view the whole rang e, visit: W: www.ger m or www.gerryslur efishingtackle T: 01524 4 22146

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In this series we talk to a different charter skipper each month. They tell us about their angling background, how they started out in the industry and how their fishing fares throughout the year. This month it’s the turn of Mark Vale, skipper of She Likes It II, the winning boat in both the Brighton pollack and plaice competitions.


started fishing as a lad of seven years old when I went on my first mackerel trip while on holiday in Devon. It was August 1968 and I still remember it well. I caught a few mackerel on a small spinning rod bought by my parents. I used a small spinner and a spiral weight while we trolled slowly along. It’s an old pun I know, but I was hooked. I can also remember being most impressed by the old wooden boats that would run up the beach in the small Devon coastal village of Beer, and the jetties that would be pushed down into the water to let you get on and off. Fishing and boats have been an interest since then in equal measure. I was able to buy my first boat in 1995, a 16ft Meeching beach boat, and from there I’ve steadily worked my way through several craft – in fact, She Likes It II is my fifth boat. I qualified as a charter skipper in 2009 after some encouragement from my wife, Vanessa. This was after a period of serious illness in 2007/2008. I started to run Blue Fin, my first charter boat, from 2010. I ran her on a part-time basis during the weekends because at the time I worked in the customerservice side of the IT industry from Monday to Friday. I enjoyed it so much that I formulated a sort of retirement plan/dream, which was that one day when I finished ‘working’ for a living I’d get a suitable boat and take

people fishing full time. Strangely, through a combination of illness, redundancy and an encouraging wife, I was able to realise something that I’d only dreamt of doing. I consider myself a most fortunate man. Due to redundancy I started to work as a full-time charter skipper from January 1st, 2012, and I purchased She Likes It II in the March as I considered it a better boat for the job all round. She Likes It II is an Offshore 105 that can quite comfortably accommodate 10 passengers. I fish all year round and always look forward to the different species of fish that come and go according to the seasons. It’s hard to say what my favourite kind of fishing is; I enjoy chasing the bass, classic cod fishing, drifting for flatties, as well as wrecking. The truth is that I like it all, but I’m particularly excited by bass fishing because these fish do give such good accounts

of themselves. I don’t like it when it’s wet and cold, though; just cold is okay, but wet and cold is miserable. I’m still a keen angler, but I only fish when I’m chartering if there’s space, although it’s usually just a drop or two with the feathers to catch fresh bait. However, if I get engrossed I might have to be reminded to put the kettle on! I’ve found myself getting involved in a small way with the Angling Trust (AT) and have been a charter boat member of the AT for more than a year now. The main reason I decided to sign up with the AT is because of what it’s done locally in encouraging youngsters into the sport with free (well-attended) coaching/taster sessions. There’s a tremendous feeling of excitement for a youngster when they catch their first fish, and they then want to learn more and do it again. Actually, not all the firsttimers that I’ve been seeing

have been that young, except, perhaps, in heart. Along the same lines, I’ve been impressed by how many regular and novice anglers are aware of the pressure that many of our fish species are under. Most seem to be extremely conservation minded and want to return the majority of their catches unharmed, only keeping a few for the dinner table, which can only be a good thing. I’m very grateful to some of my fellow charter skippers, especially from Brighton and Littlehampton, for their help and advice, because although I’ve had a boat for quite a while and have fished since I was a lad, there’s always a lot to learn. Boat availability is viewable through my website or Charter Boat UK, and I do my best to keep the calendar right up to date.

Fact File Boat: Offshore 105 Hire tackle: Yes Help and advice: Free (whether it’s any good or not, you judge!) T: 01903 753056 M: 07754 324270 W: www.sussexfishingdiving. shelikesitii Total Sea Fishing 85

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Mercury Four-Stroke 100 TSF has been given the inside line on the all-new four-stroke engine line-up from Mercury. This month we take a long, hard look at the 100hp model.


he new engine range from Mercury has breathed new life into the world’s most popular engines. For its assault on the hotly contested mid-range sector, Mercury has concentrated its efforts on increasing the power-to-weight ratio and upping the torque produced from the 2.1-litre engine. The engine is lighter, smoother and quieter than the previous model and has a lower overall profile, too. Reliability is assured because the motor is derived from the same block as the rugged 150hp outboard, rather than the 1.7-litre block of the previous 100hp engine. The greater capacity reduces the stress on the engine, allowing it to work smarter, not harder, and provide greater durability for a longer life, not to mention that for added torque there’s no substitute for CCs, so the bigger-capacity engine creates more low-rev torque for great hole shot and the ability to hold revs under load. The engine runs more quietly thanks to the tightfitting, thermo-bonded

cowling and an acoustic filter located in the idle relief silencer that filters out the high-frequency exhaust notes. Even the trim pump has been made to run more quietly to provide a highquality boating experience. Vibration is reduced by the freshly designed mounting bracket that has a greater footprint and a stronger pivot that reduces the resonance transmitted to the transom. Adding to the mix is the redesigned gear change that takes the harshness and sudden shock of gear engagement out of the equation, adding to the smooth and quiet running to enhance your boating pleasure. This new Mercury 100hp is 18kg lighter than the previous model. This weight

CONTACT Barrus T: 01869 3 63636 W:


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reduction has come about by using a single overhead camshaft controlling the two large valves per cylinder for engine gas-flow management, and the use of new materials that provide high strength for low weight. The engineering has been designed with ease of maintenance in mind for the owner, with the industry’s first lifetime maintenancefree valve train, the same as is used on the supercharged Verado range. The no-mess oil-change facility, tool-free oil-filter change and colour-coded maintenance item-location markers make routine servicing easy for the home mechanic. Replacing the fuel filter requires no tools and can be accomplished in less than a minute. A QR code links your mobile device to some helpful ‘How To…’ videos if you need assistance. That’s one benefit of the internet for you.

Fuel economy is improved by 14 per cent over the previous version of the 100hp, by making the motor more efficient. The use of special oil scrapers and lowfriction bearings reduces frictional losses within the engine. The new gear case has been shaped to reduce drag and, being oversized, can contain larger gears with a ratio of 2.07:1 that are able to swing a larger-diameter prop. The combination of these features results in better fuel economy. Corrosion is held at bay by the use of a special lowcopper alloy backed up by the generous use of stainless steel. A freshwater flushing point is situated on the front of the engine, making it easy to flush through after use, and the entire engine is coated with the MercFusion paint system that has been proven in the harshest of environments and is covered by a three-year guarantee.


Technical Specifications Specifications

Four-stroke 100 EFI


100hp (73.55kw)

Dry weight Revolutions-per-minute (rpm) range Displacement


Cylinder layout


5,000 to 6,000 2,064cc

Number of cylinders




Alternator-system power


Trim positions

Electric hydraulic power trim and tilt

Induction system

Eight-valve, SOHC

Gear shift

Forward (F) - neutral (N) - reverse (R)

Gear ratio



Remote or big tiller kit

Recommended boat transom type

508mm (L) - 635mm (XL)

Fuel type


Fuel requirement

Unleaded 90 RON min


Yes Four-stroke, single overhead camshaft eight-valve head

Engine technology Alternator type

Fully regulated belt-driven

Need more than just your monthly fix of Total Sea Fishing? Then visit our Facebook page for the latest news, catch pics, top tips, weekly giveaways, savings and all the banter. NOW GO TO

NOT JUST A MAGAZINE Total Sea Fishing 81

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WIN On The Web!

Prizes Galore On The TSF Site


Check out our website,, for all the latest goings-on, films and reviews. More than that, we are giving away brilliant prizes EVERY week. This month the prizes are:

TSF On Your Screen!

September 12th – September 18th Asso Ultraflex Leader Line Worth £5.99 This is a superb low-stretch line for shockleaders and rig making, as the low stretch reduces the chances of your rigs becoming unclipped during the cast when you’re really going for the big one. It’s very supple and strong, knots well and has good abrasion resistance. It’s available in breaking strains from 20lb to 80lb. September 19th – September 25th Snowbee Stinger Skad Magnum Lure Worth £7.99 The result of tireless research and testing to create a lure with as lifelike a movement as possible, this lure builds on the success of the original Skad. The Magnum is a big lure aimed at big fish and is worth its weight in gold on any wreck trip. If you’re targeting jumbo cod, pollack or coalfish you need some of these big boys in your lure box. September 26th – October 2nd Savage Gear Sandeel Darter Lure Worth £4.99 This lure has a great sandeel swimming action, and casts like a bullet too. Available in two sizes in a variety of colours, this is a proven fish catcher from boat or shore at home and abroad. You get one weighted jighead plus two soft bodies per pack – allowing some interesting head-and-body contrast combinations as well as the complete colour-coded look.

Check out our fabulous video footage of the TSF team and others enjoying great sport from shore and boat – which includes plenty of top tips and tricks!

JOIN US AND WIN EVEN MORE GOODIES Join the ‘Total Sea Fishing’ fan page on Facebook so you can be both a fan and a winner! Each month we will give away prizes for the most interesting comments. Post your catch reports here for all to see, and you can also make friends and chat away with 12,918 other fans worldwide.

PLUS we’re on Twitter too!

@TotalSea And Finally Online… • Great weekly and monthly competitions. • See our new FREE online TV channel – TSFTV! • Check out the blogs from TSF staff. • Don’t miss out on our fabulous subs offer.

October 3rd – October 9th Savage Gear Panic Prey Lure Worth £9.99 If you fancy surface lure fishing for bass, it’s hard to choose a better lures than this. The Panic Prey lure from Savage Gear has plenty of fish-attracting action as it skitters on the surface, and has that all-important loud rattle too. This is a long-casting lure and is built to last. Available in a variety of colours, you can match the hatch whatever the bass are chasing.

• You can now buy TSF as an app for your iPhone, iPad or Android device

88 www .total totalsea seamag magazi azine. ne com

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ASK IN YOUR LOCAL TACKLE SHOP OR ORDER ONLINE TODAY t: 01472 852 966 • f: 01472 852 770 • e: • w:

Glow-In-The-Dark Range Includes: Disgorger,Tip-Tape, Splash Down Sinkers, Breakout Sinkers, Splash Down Solos and PVC Rig Tubing! p089_TSF_10_Gemini.indd 1

22/08/2014 11:26



Mediterranean Madness

David Mitchell, the marine environmental campaigns manager for the Angling Trust (AT), is telling sea anglers to look on the bright side.


s a UK sea angler, if you think that fish stocks have been decimated around the coast of the UK, spare a thought for our cousins casting a line around the Mediterranean. At a recent meeting of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, Lowri Evans, the director-general for maritime affairs and fisheries, said about the Med: “We have improved on the science, and the more we know, the worse it is. Of the stocks that we know about, 90 per cent are overfished. This is really a very desperate situation for the long-term health of the fishery communities in the Mediterranean countries.” Ms Evans did promise that the commission would look into the daunting task of overcoming overfishing in the Med. However, her words painted a very bleak picture, and it’s still unclear whether the state of the Med has provided enough of a wake-up call to turn things around for the basket case of European sea-fishery management. Take, for example, the fact that there are no total allowable catches (TACs) for Mediterranean stocks other than bluefin tuna. TACs are agreed amounts of fish that can be caught from a stock in any given year and are applied in all sea areas throughout Europe – apart from the Mediterranean. Then consider that minimum landing sizes in the Mediterranean (where they exist – and there aren’t that many) are set at ridiculously small sizes or routinely ignored and unenforced.

Immature black bream like this routinely end up on fishmongers’ slabs in the Mediterranean area. This UK-caught fish went back alive.

Visit virtually any fish market around the Mediterranean and you will see immature fish for sale. Any concept of protecting nursery grounds and juvenile fish simply doesn’t exist. The commission’s recent proposal for a total ban on drift nets was the result of another problem stemming from the Common Fishery Policy’s problem child – illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, or IUU as it is commonly called. In the case of the Mediterranean, illegal drift nets targeting swordfish and tuna were continuing to be set, with by-catches of turtles, cetaceans and other protected species, despite a ban on the use of these types of nets in the Mediterranean.

This illegal fishing could be controlled if enforcement of the rules by Mediterranean countries was taken seriously, which it isn’t. This is perhaps understandable when you consider that some of the most valuable fisheries in the Mediterranean are allegedly controlled by organised criminal gangs who have made sure that it’s business as usual for them without interference from policy makers or fishery enforcement agencies. Finally, let’s not forget that more than half of the Mediterranean is bordered by non-EU countries. The EU can do what it likes, but is reliant on agreement with countries from Libya in

the west around to Syria and Turkey in the east – countries that, just perhaps, have had bigger crises to think about than the decimation of Mediterranean fish stocks and jobs of fishermen in the EU! Once you’ve considered all this, the outlook for the northwest Atlantic and North Sea can be shed in a much more positive light, which is, of course, a sadly distorted way of looking at things. The Mediterranean was once, and could be restored to, one of Europe’s most abundant seas. It’s not to say that things are looking up that much across the rest of Europe’s seas, but it helps to stay positive when you know there’s always someone worse off than yourself!


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Stuff That Anglers Want


22/08/2014 11:23



Striper Bluefish Hunting Bass fanatic Nick Bennett headed off in search of cult-status sportfish off the North American coast.

Part One

A night-caught striped bass for Nick.


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artha’s Vineyard, or The Vineyard as it’s known locally, is an island situated on the east coast of the USA to the south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and is roughly half the size of the Isle of Wight. It is only accessible by boat or plane. The structures

there represent wellpreserved examples of New England architecture, with timber-framed and clad buildings, timber piers and boardwalks – a welcome step back in time that draws visitors from around the globe. It was originally inhabited by Wampanoag Indians, who called it Noepe, but it got its current name back in 1602 from English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold, the first westerner to land on the island, who reputedly named it after his daughter or grandmother. In 1974 The Vineyard was made famous when it was used as the location for Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster movie Jaws, with scenes from the sequels Jaws 2 and Jaws: The Revenge also filmed around the island. In my opinion they should have stopped after the first movie, but, there we are, that’s Hollywood for you. Ivan Kersly gets among the stripers with this superb fish.


The stone groynes act like a funnel, sucking the water in and out of the inlets with tremendous force – but this is where the stripers are.

Fishing Potential Several species abound around the island, including black sea bass, tautog, scup (bream), flounders, sandeels and herring, but the main targets for anglers are striped bass and bluefish, and false albacore in late summer. Stripers to more than 60lb have been caught from the beaches and boats in the past but these lunkers are quite rare now, although bass topping 40lb are taken every

year – the fish of a lifetime for most of us! There are plenty of marks to shore fish around the island but access can be frustrating because much of the land is privately owned. However, if you can find somewhere to park, you can hike to your chosen area. Employing a local guide for the first few days can pay dividends in the long run.

Tackle And Tactics Stripers and blues can be caught on a variety of methods, but lure fishing is by far the most popular. Lures like Savage Gear sandeels are deadly because they mimic one of the bass’ main prey species, the sandeel. Hard swimming plugs also take their fair share of fish, with Super Strike Little-Neck swimmers and darters weighing 2oz to 3oz being very productive, along with Lemire and Super Strike Needlefish lures. The blues can be caught on metal spinners, plugs and soft-plastic lures, but their mouths are full of razor-sharp teeth and make short work of soft-plastic selections, as we found out. Daytime fishing can be very productive for stripers and blues up to 10lb, but it’s night time when the lunkers come inshore to hunt. During the day our lure fishing tackle typically comprised a 10g to 60g rod and a 5000-sized fixedspool reel loaded with 20lb to 25lb braid and a 50lb Total Sea Fishing 93

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Ivan gets to grips with a striper.

fluorocarbon leader or wire trace if targeting bluefish. This may sound heavy, but when you’re thumping out 40g to 60g metals in search of bluefish with mouths full of razor-sharp gnashers you need that extra bit of comfort. At night it’s essential to step up your tackle to deal with the bigger fish that come in to feed under the cover of darkness. Striper bass behave much like their European cousins and will hug the shoreline after dark seeking out easy pickings. Our party of Ivan Kersly, Andrew Walker, Roger Mortimore and myself had all visited The Vineyard previously, with Ivan now almost a local. We knew what we wanted to achieve and we’d had a previous

attempt. This time we meant business. We decided to target the many saltwater inlets that the island is peppered with. These can be fished day and night but it’s at the night time when they really come alive. Man-made stone features protrude 20 to 30 metres past the natural entrance of the inlets. As the tides rise and fall around the island, these stone structures act like a funnel, sucking the water in and out of the inlets

with tremendous The sharp teet force. The water bluefish can beh of on soft-plastic very hard runs in and out at lures. speeds of up to 10 knots, making life very easy for the stripers that ride in and out with little effort. These ‘funnels’ form perfect ambush d shore points After goo aim is e sport th afloat. that we to get intended to take full advantage of. Distance casting is not an issue when fishing the mouths of the inlets because they’re no more than 10 metres wide. However, turning 20lb of fish that’s running with an additional 10 knots behind it requires some beefed-up tackle. We were typically fishing with 8ft lure rods rated at 20g to 80g, 6000 to 8000-sized clear, preferring to take Shimano reels or Van Stall their chances in the 150s, and 40lb to 50lb braid calmer water just past and leader. the funnels. I guess that Now then, that probably if we’d had all the time in sounds like we were the world we might have overgunned. The only shared their view, but problem is, a big striper we didn’t. We had eight has a tail like a lifeboat oar, days and we would fish so the fish is capable of wherever and however tremendous turns of speed we could to maximise our in short bursts. Add 10 chances of hook-ups. knots free of charge to that Hook-ups indeed paddletail and all hell can proved plentiful. Landing break loose in an instant, them was a different and most often so does the matter, however. fish! We fished the funnels “It takes nerves of steel to fish the funnels of the inlets,” with 40g to 60g softplastic lures cast uptide we’d been told by locals. “You hook a big girl in and trotted them back to the inner calm of the that current and you inlet. better hold on.” Do you remember the Most locals scene from Jaws where steer

It wasn’t all sunny days on this trip, but the bass kept coming. 94

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Roger Mortimore with a shore-caught lunker.

Captain Quint takes the boat from the little harbour out to open sea through the stone jetties? That little harbour is called Memempsha and is just inside the mouth of a freshwater inlet. What better setting for us at which to land our night-time bass? And do you remember the ringing of the buoy bell as they anchored the boat at

night and sang: “Farewell And Adieu You Fair Spanish Ladies?” Well that was where we stood and what I heard as I cast my first dirty silver Savage Gear sandeel into the funnel. The tide was flooding hard. I cast towards the mouth of the funnel and within 30 seconds my lure was streaming past me. The bell

clanged away as the wind picked up. Similar casts and retrieves were made with similar lures for an hour or so but none of us felt the knock of a fish. As the tide hit midheight and the flow was at its greatest, anticipation heightened. We knew that this was the optimum time for a take because the fish would take advantage of a free ride into the inlet. That damn bell was beginning to get inside my head when, suddenly it went… DING, DONG, BANG, BANG… and I held on for dear life! I played and landed the first fish of many from this mark for us over the next week. The fish got bigger as we concentrated our efforts over the coming days on the faster flow. We lost many more than we landed but the effort was well rewarded. Nerves of steel? Bring it on! The inlets apart, the coast of The Vineyard has few high cliffs and most shore fishing is carried out from the beach. Sub-surface features are mainly clusters of boulders from the size of a car down to hand size, with sand making up the sea bed. These features can be some distance from the beach so a rod capable of projecting a 50g to 75g lure is a must for this beach fishing. So you need a fairly


powerful rod of 10 to 12 feet to enable you to cast further and control big, powerful fish. Reel size should be a 6000 to 8000 Shimano or, again, a 150 Van Staal, with a minimum of 40lb braid and leader to match to avoid being smashed by these very powerful fish. Don’t forget to use strong hooks on the lures, either; some lures come fitted with reasonable hooks, but a 30lb striper in a powerful tide will soon bend the hook open, so it pays to upgrade to a stronger hook like an Owner ST66 treble or a Decoy of a similar grade. At night the tactic is to cast lures like the Needlefish or a swimmer or darter as far as possible, then work it back very slowly, keeping the rod tip high to keep the lure above rocks and snags. You’ll soon know when a bass hits the lure because you’ll feel a heavy thump, then you need to strike hard to make sure that the hook is set and hang on tight as the fish runs. Dig your heels in the sand, say a few Hail Marys and hope to god that the fish doesn’t run around the rocks – make sure that your reel’s drag is tight enough to give only a little or you’ll soon get smashed or spooled! Our preferred beach mark was Gay Head. Conditions weren’t brilliant all week for this mark because the wind

As the sun goes down, expectations of sport are high. Total Sea Fishing 95

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There aren’t many tackle shops that have whales on display.

and swell didn’t play ball. However, perseverance paid off and fish were landed. For me, standing waist deep in saltwater in the pitch-black dead of night is what it’s all about. The anticipation of a big 30lb fish is almost too much to bear. Unfortunately the big one didn’t show for us this time, but we have unfinished business at Gay Head!

Daytime Fishing Daytime fishing can be great fun from either a beach or one of the jetties either side of the inlets around the island. Chappaquiddick Beach is reached by ferry from Edgartown, you can then park just after the bridge and walk onto the beach; you can drive on the beach if you have a good 4x4 but beach-driving permits are expensive. It’s a very productive area, especially for bluefish; if you’re there during a ‘bluefish blitz’ then it’s a fish a chuck and guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face. If you don’t fancy a long walk, choose to fish one of the jetties, which can be good fun for schoolie stripers and hungry packs of blues when they’re in.

to 5000-sized Shimano reels, 20lb to 30lb braid and 40lb to 50lb leader. As always, fishing afloat allows you to cover more ground in search of more species. This is, of course, completely dependent on the ability of the skipper. His knowledge of marks, tides, fish feeding times and baitfish concentrations is key to a good day on the water. Boat fishing around The

Vineyard is just offshore, often within 100 metres of the beach. If your skipper gets it wrong, you ain’t catching fish – simple. There are, no doubt about it, a number of good skippers running sportfishing boats out of The Vineyard. Luckily for us we had the advantage of Ivan’s local knowledge and had been introduced to Captain Steve – owner of Larry’s Bait and Tackle – and we couldn’t argue with his ability to put us on the fish time after time. Steve is up to the minute on light-tackle techniques, encourages catch and release and, most importantly, shares our British sense of humour! You can’t go to sea with five Brits and not understand irony. Well, you probably could go to sea, but I’m not sure if you’d be returning to shore the same person who left the dockside! We had two trips out with Steve in two days. On the first trip we hit the bluefish hard and fast. The baitfish

were in, the birds were diving and we were throwing lures frantically. Personally I was in my own little corner of Nirvana. Every cast was a hook-up to a 6lb to 10lb blue, which fought like 20lb pollack on steroids on ultra-light tackle. I was imagining what this part of the world must have been like before man invented a mechanical means of getting to sea, and, much worse, mechanical means of fishing. Then, for what seemed like an eternity, I was floating on my own RIB with my son Charlie, off our beloved south Devon coast, imagining the spectacle that once was: mackerel chasing the brit, being chased by bass. “Wake up Nick, came the cry.” “Okay, okay, I’m on it,” I say, as I land what must have been our collective 100th bluefish in an hour over 10lb. We were happy. The next day we would concentrate on stripers and blues on the drift – but that’s for next time…

Sunny days and striped bass make Roger happy!

Boat Fishing Tackle here was as light as we dared to fish. Lure rods rated at 5g to 30g were the order of the day, with 4000 96

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Andy Webb Where were you born and what are your earliest fishing memories? I was born in Exeter at the start of 1981. My earliest fishing memory is fishing with my granddad aboard his boat for mackerel and pollack – great times! Who were your early influences? To be honest, I never really got into fishing until I was around 16. My best friend at the time, and still to this day, Gavin Lee, got me into it. We used to walk miles with rods in hand and backpacks on, just to get a rod in the water, fishing venues around the River Tamar in Plymouth. Who are the three people you would most like to have dinner with? Steve Gregory, Nick Panther and Wayne Jarman – three top anglers and three good friends of mine. We’d have a few beers, a nice curry and a spot of fishing the next day with sore heads! What’s your favourite venue and why? Without a doubt the South Wales coast. The quantity of fish that this part of the UK produces is unreal. I’m lucky to know a few anglers and friends who know the venues like the back of their hands and have helped me out, making the long drive from Devon worthwhile. If you had to spend the rest of your life fishing for one species with one bait/lure, what would it be? Specimen rays! I just love rays and fish for them 90 per cent of the time. In the southwest we’re lucky to have some great ray fishing, but you have to put the hours in and do your

The ‘Southwest’s Tornado’ reveals all to TSF this month.

homework. As for bait, it has to be top-quality frozen sandeel every time.

What’s your favourite fishing memory? Catching my first small-eyed ray, of 4lb 8oz; they kept on getting bigger after that. However, my first specimen small-eyed session stands a close second. I was glowing for around a month after!

Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions? To catch the following: a 20lbplus blonde ray, 14lb smalleyed ray, 10lb bass, 30lb-plus tope and 40lb conger eel – all from the shore! Can you cook and, if so, what’s your signature dish? I’m not too bad in the kitchen, and like to cook when I get the chance. If I had to pick a dish, it would be a nice hot lamb curry. What was the last film you saw? Essex Boys Next Generation. What’s the best book you’ve ever read? Muscle by Carlton Leach. What’s your biggest regret? Not getting into sea angling at a much younger age. The longer you’re into the sport, the more you learn, and that’s what I love about it: you’re forever learning. What’s been your proudest moment/s? It’s the births of my two sons and my daughter, by far. What’s been your most embarrassing moment? While learning to pendulum cast many years ago, I was balancing off a rock sticking out of the water while fishing with two friends. As I wound up the cast and started to bring the rod around, I lost my footing and ended up head first in the water. There were a few anglers around crying with laughter. It wouldn’t have been so bad, except that it was mid-December and very, very cold!

What sport would you have played if you hadn’t taken up fishing? Something that gets the adrenaline pumping! Probably a water sport; I love the sea. What item/s of fishing tackle couldn’t you live without? Zziplex rods, the best on the market! Some will say they’re expensive, but they’ll outlast any other rod and with a quality that’s hard to beat. What item of fishing tackle have you lost or broken that you wish you could have again? I can’t say that I’ve lost or broken anything that I couldn’t replace, but if something works well then I tend to double up on it. What’s the main quest that keeps driving you on? The buzz I get from targeting big fish. Sea angling is a way of life for me. If I’m not fishing, I’m either thinking, talking or reading about it, or watching it. I’m very lucky that Lyndsay, my other half, knows how much it means to me and supports all I do. Have you an unlikely interest outside of angling? Not really, as fishing keeps me very busy.

What’s been your scariest fishing moment? In 2012, my friend, Scott Mills, and I fished near Minehead after blonde rays, at a venue where you can get cut off by the flooding tide. Near dark there was a landslide down the cliff face, with boulders bigger than footballs crashing down from 200 feet. One narrowly missed Scott, which could have proved fatal. We called the RNLI, who were with us in 10 minutes and took us to safety. The memory of that scary evening will stick in my mind for ever. We were too focused on the size of the fish we could pull out over high water, and even though we’d fished it many times, we hadn’t taken into account that it was a frosty night and fishing under the cliff may not be a good idea. It was a lesson well learnt – it’s never worth putting yourself at risk to catch a fish. Never take the sea or its surroundings for granted. What’s your biggest fish? A 22lb 11oz conger eel, which I caught on 20lb line at a venue just outside Plymouth, on a mackerel fillet. What’s your best catch? I’ve had many double-figure rays, congers, huss and smoothhounds. However, my best catch is a 4lb 8oz tub gurnard from the shore in Plymouth back in 1998. I caught it on leftover ragworm from the trip the night before.


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28/06/2014 10:49:08

Total sea fishing october 2014 uk