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FISH OF THE MONTH COMPETITON - sponsored by CLOVEN HOOF...

August 13, 2018

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Catch Report - 02/06/2017

 

 Neaps are looking up...

Another 0500 start. This time with the lovely Sarah Perrin, and Tim Vardy. Long time dangling buddies. Today was all about how to get some kind of results on these tides.  I warned the guys we were not going bass fishing, but instead, wrasse fishing, as I could have pretty much predicted (and would have been correct) that the bass fishing was going to be poor on the outer reefs. 

 I love em...

We drifted around out there, and we did find a couple of wrasse. But again I would have to describe it as hard going. My head was still working overtime. I know Sarah and Tim well. Action would be well received. As much as I find it less exciting, I offered the option of dragging for plaice. As expected, both were now ready for it. A very simple option, as to make three traces, bait them with isomes, and attaching them to jigs is far from challenging. I shot out to a slightly deeper mark, and we began our drift.

 HTO Mighty minnow really is quite mighty...

 

Plaice were there in good numbers. But very small. But even here, Neptune offered me a clue as to what might be going on... I like to use Nordic Bends with the isomes on this occasionally snaggy ground. Soft in case of snags, but incredibly sharp. So sharp, I managed to catch a worm. I was incensed. There is a total bait ban on BIF1 and here was Neptune offering temptation. He was also offering me a clue as to why the bass are often showing but not taking the shads. If there are that many of these small worms (a bit like a white rag but not quite) that i can snag one on the drag, it is not impossible the bass are obsessing on them. Back to the fishing. The amazingly powerful takes kept the guys sharp though. After an hour of this, the guys began murmurings of needing coffee and bacon sandwiches. Although we cannot offer catering at sea as some of the larger craft can, we actually can offer something perhaps better. "Elevensies?" I asked. "yes please" came the quite excited reply. Ten minutes later, we were ordering the best priced, and perhaps the best, coffee in the marina from Wetherspoons. This has been such a popular option, that I think we will be offering it as standard on Six hour charters if we do not have another session booked. It certainly takes care of the period when the tide turns, which on neaps we do not have a routine for. Or so I thought...

 Small fish... big smiles...

We headed back out to the outer reefs to see if anything had changed. It had not. We came in close for the first of the flood. On bigger tides, this is a given for numbers of bass, as clouds of bait get swept across the heavier stuff forced by the sweep of the tide rushing to hit the marina. This time. there wasn't so much bait, but I did notice a couple of bass marks on the sounder.

 That worm...

We gave it a go. We all had a bang first cast, which was encouraging. I managed a small schoolie. This was actually a good sign. "They might be small but they are here" I offered, encouragingly. Next cast, I snagged up. Then the snag shook its head twice, and butterflies came into my stomach. "Big fish" I said, quite scared... This fish battled like a stubborn old bass. Which was appropriate. Twice round the boat, and off to the sides with short bursts forcing the drag, which was set heavy to allow for the shallow, craggy ground. Tackle was at full stretch a couple of times. And then, she came to the boat. Tim readied the net, the fish clocked us, and took its last dive 12 feet to the bottom. That was her last effort, and next time she surfaced, she was easy to guide to the net, where Tim did a great job of netting her.  Weighed aboard, at 8lb 4oz, photo'd and returned...

 Happy Tim...

 

We continued fishing. Odd marks showing. Then I got a message from a friend fishing the West arm. "I got four big fish in front of me, but they dont seem to be feeding". "Yes they are" I replied, smugly. However, remembering a catch that my friend Steve Cooper had on the bottom of the tide last year on neaps, including a 12lb and an 8lb fish within minutes of each other, I can clearly see there is something to neaps on the inshore reefs. Perhaps without the competition of the masses of smaller fish that appear here on the bigger tides, the bigger fish are happier to come in. Add on settled weather and a huge increase in the inshore sea temperatures in recent weeks, and I think it is safe to say these fish are in there hunting crabs that are peeling when the sun is at its highest combined with the water being at its lowest. THE conditions to kick of a mass crab peel. Just a theory. And theory's need to be tested. Hey ho, I guess that means Capt Bruce and I need to get out fishing more...

 Totally woofed the HTO Mighty Minnow

 

. Other than two more small schoo;lies, they were the last fish of the day. I was happy that the isome fishing certainly lifted the spirits. When things are hard, some action is most certainly better than no action. And the popping in for lunch thing. A definite winner  certainly on slow days. And with out "Stop the clock" policy to ensure you get the fishing time you pay for, you dont even need to feel like you are missing out on anything. Except perhaps a bit of slack tide... On the way out of the marina, I noticed the future swimming alongside the pontoon. A lot of smaller bass in there this year. Perhaps three year olds. Good signs. 

 Look carefully. A shoal of 2034's double figure fish....

 

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