Wednesday, 24 July 2013

A Week in Wales

It's been busier than normal for fishing this last week. I'd organised a North Wales Bass Fish-in for a few LAS members on 20-21st July and I took the opportunity to get a few extra days in.

Travelled up to the coast on Monday and spent some time with family who live there but on Tuesday decided on a few hours bass fishing in the estuary, my first of the year. Conditions and tides were not great with the low tide about 10am so a couple of hours after that the tide started flooding in, and brought with it quite a few fish.

As ever, I started out with a surface lure and with bass smashing into the biggest shoal of whitebait I've ever seen all around me it wasn't long before the first hit, albeit a bit subdued. Unfortunately it didn't stick but I was surprised to see a couple of garfish jump clear as I struck. I didn't know garfish took surface lures! That happened on a few more occasions over the next few hours but I didn't manage to connect with any of them. During those few hours I also got hit several times by, which I could clearly see, were very small bass. There were lots of them around which bodes well. I finally managed to hook one on an OSP Bent Minnow and while bringing it in two more bass were trying to steal the lure out of its mouth. At one point one of the other bass hooked itself on the loose treble so I was playing two fish at once. Unfortunately it came off but I was happy to land my first bass of 2013.. a tiddler really but they're all good..

Wednesday came and I made the trip to a big glacial lake for some pike fishing. I arrived about 11am and started fishing at the start of a long bay. Not long after I had a follow from a small jack then one about 4lb, which turned out to be the smallest pike of the trip.

I carried on wading along the bank and a couple of hundreds yards or so later hooked a better fish on my favourite blue Salmo Sweeper. Again not a big fish but it scraped into double figures at a guess..

To cut a long story short. I carried on all along the bank and caught a total of 10 pike, biggest around 14lb, three other doubles and the rest being 6-10lb. Every single fish was in perfect condition and fought like tigers in the clear, well oxygenated water, with most tailwalking and none of them giving up until you let them go. I got several soakings when releasing them which always makes me smile.. as long as it's summer! It was now time to get some food and set up camp on the other side of the lake for the night. On arrival at the spot I started fishing again but there didn't seem to be many pike around this area. I managed a small one on a jerkbait but after fishing a few hundred yards decided it was time to fish my way back. I clipped on one of my home made topwaters in black perch flavour and started back. Within half a dozen casts a pike came flying completely out of the water and engulfed it from behind. Another pike around 6lb came in and gave me one last soaking before I finished for the day. A great days fishing for this venue which usually gives up 3 or 4 fish a day.

Next morning I was up early and made my way back over the far side near to where I'd fished to the day before. It started well with a scraper double hitting a jerkbait within a few casts. 30 yards further along I missed the same fish twice in two casts before she put her head down and skulked off.

I carried on around a point to a favourite bay but caught only one jack and after fishing several more hundred yards without anything happening I made my way back to the first bay for a last few casts before I had to leave. This turned out to be a good move as I had a fish about 13lb. Apologies for lack of photo's but it was red hot and I was up to my chest in water so didn't bother with weighing or photo's.

It was now Thursday afternoon so after stopping for provisions and essentials (beer) I drove up to the Llyn peninsula for the bass bumble.

After setting up camp, and with Jono arriving within the hour, decided a rest and a beer or two were in order. Jono arrived and an hour later we decided to go have a few casts. This bass fish-in has been going for 3 years now and even if the bass fishing isn't great you can usually catch small pollock easily so we were hopeful of a fish or two..... Wrong! We fished the first area without so much as a tap on the lures. This wasn't looking good for the fish-in! After a couple of hours fishing we went back to camp feeling deflated and thinking of possible other venues. Too early to give up on it yet though as the daytime sunlight and temperature levels were blistering.

We made our way back for the evening session up to dark not feeling very confident but within half an hour I landed a bass on a toby.. a small one but very welcome.

We fished around to a bay where we've done well before and I had a decent pollock on the way. On arriving at the bay I started chucking a Lucky Craft Gunfish around. Just a quick mention of this lure; I always loved the Lucky Craft Sammy which was my no.1 surface lure but the Gunfish is even better imho. It's like a Sammy on steroids and allows you to fish it in many more ways than a Sammy. Anyway, I was lucky to hit a shoal of bass and I managed 3 more before they moved on. The biggest was about 3½lb or so and it jumped a good 3-4ft out of the water during the fight.

After a late night of festivities we were up early(ish) for another go but it seemed as hard as yesterdays daytime session with just a few small pollock landed, although I did manage another bass. Jono decided to do a bit of LRF'ing and was quickly into tiny pollock, blennies and Gobies. I haven't got the patience for fishing miniscule lures but I wanted to catch my first wrasse this year so on went a tiny jighead and grub.. not exactly LRF'ing as I just clipped it to my 20lb fluoro bass leader. After feeling like a bit of an idiot jigging tiny softies around the rocks I actually had something take a bite.. but I missed it! A few drops later and as I lifted a tiddler jumped on it, but I was like a kid in a sweet shop when a scorpion fish swung in. I rarely do this type of fishing so thought I'd never see one of these cool little fish.

We moved our way around the coast to some deeper water and I had a hit off a decent pollock but it took me in the kelp.. no way was I losing one of my favourite bass lures so I eventually got the courage up to jump in.. bloody hell it was cold! I thought I was having a heart attack for a minute but after swimming past the lure a gentle pull and it came up with the fish still attached! We carried on and after a few casts with bass lures we switched back to the tiny grubs. I found a huge rock with an overhang and started dangling. Suddenly a decent wrasse hit it and dived for the rocks. I held it out and it came up before diving again for rocks. I held it again and then it made its last attempt at some rocks before I stopped it.

My first wrasse and I'm well happy!

Moved around the same rock and it happened again! Similar length to the first one but much fatter with some beautiful markings with turquoise flashes coming from the eyes.

That night two more lads arrived and on Saturday another lad arrived which made 5 of us. The day went by in a similar fashion.. up early, fish until mid afternoon, back for a rest then back out for the evening. The fishing was quite poor but a few fish were caught and we were having a good laugh anyway.

We fished the Saturday daytime with just a few small wrasse and pollock but things picked up on the evening and I had two more bass off the top along with a couple of pollock. Sunday was similar and I did manage another half decent wrasse. Unfortunately most people had to leave which left me and Jono to fish the Sunday evening.. that didn't go well, with Jono breaking a reel and no fish showing at all apart from a pollock, albeit the biggest of the trip at about 2½lb.

So that was it; we left on the Monday morning for the long drive home.. exhausted but pretty happy with my weeks fishing.

Total caught - 15 pike, 8 bass, 3 wrasse, a scorpion fish, several pollock and a foot long launce!

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