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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Jersey Holiday : Bait Section Part 1

I couldn't go to Jersey and restrict myself to fishing with lures only, that would have been silly considering I was species hunting.  A lot of our fishing was done with bait as well, in fact the majority of our fishing. Here is part 1 which will contain the first 3 days of our 10 day trip.

After an initial session catching wrasse on day one, I suggested to the group that we have a go for the rays from a mark 5 minutes from where we were staying, the tides looking spot on with low coming at 11pm. Everyone was more than keen for this, so as 9pm rolled around and the sun began to drop in the sky, we packed the car and set off for the mark to fish 2 down 2 up. The sea was flat and everything was looking good with even a few lads catching macky from the outer wall. That was not our plan though so out went the pulley rigs baited with sandeel and squid wraps and the wait began. Captain calamity (Ed) and Jon were kept busy down the margins, even in 2ft of water, although neither of them could hook the culprits. Two hours into the session and we hadn't a fish to show for our efforts, but I knew from last year that the first few hours of the flood were prime time so I wasn't worrying. Sure enough about 30mins into the flood the bites started coming and after Jon and Ed were finally managing to hook a few small pout and poor cod down the side. We all decided on a quick move further along the mark in hope of some slightly deeper water, myself picking a spot where I could sit down where I was joined by Sam who was now falling asleep. I launched the rods out once more and sat back to chill out for a while. In true fashion though after around 15 minutes I got the bite I was looking for, a slow pull down followed by a little slack. Winding down to the fish I could feel it was still there so set the hooks and immediately knew I had a ray from the weight. At this point Sam was flat out and my attempts to shout him for assistance were proving useless until finally, when I could see the fish beneath me, he awoke from his slumber to help out along with Jon who had heard my shouts and was also there to lend a hand landing it. I knew that this was going to be one of two species, a small eyed or
Species 54 - Undulate Ray
an undulate, but knowing I would easily get a small eyed later in the year, my fingers were crossed it was my second undulate ever. The cries of 'you tw@' from Jon confirmed it and having landed the fish I took full advantage of taking some nice pics before setting it on its way back to the deeps.Just as I had done last year, I had landed an undulate on the first night, I was absolutely ecstatic. Despite all our further efforts, the tide had started running shortly after midnight making holding bottom impossible, so we had to call it a night much to Jon's disappointment, who was desperate to get an undulate for himself.

Day 2 was again spent mostly chasing wrasse and as with the day before we all had a good number of fish with myself getting a couple of the better ones at a tad over 3.5lb. On day 3 though we had a chance to go fishing with one of the local lads, Daniel Ferguson, a guy that I've been closely following through his blog (which can be found on this link http://dfergusonfishing.blogspot.co.uk/) Dan, like myself is an all round fisherman and has a passion for angling that matches my own, so it was good to meet up for some fishing. After having a quick go at one of his wrasse marks, we went off to dig some bait that would be used to try and tick off another of my species targets, the golden grey mullet, a species he assured me that would be easy to get. After collecting enough bait for all of us , we began our hunt for the GG's. Wading to thigh height, the fish were clearly visible in the crystal, shallow water and it reminded me a lot of the fishing programs based on the cuban flats stalking bonefish and tarpon. This type of fishing is really exciting and true to form our host for the day kick started the catches with a fish of 1lb 11oz (pic top right). The rest of us were catching fish but not the ones we were after, Ed and Sam managing to hook into some sand-goby's whilst myself and Jon were having fun with small flounder and plaice. As the tide flooded back into the harbour the number of mullet dramatically increased though and it was just a matter of time really before the next GG was hooked. Unfortunately though, it was
Sams golden grey
Jon's golden grey
not all going to plan for me and I was struggling to get any bites. The younger brother took this opportunity to gain bragging rights and bagged himself his first ever UK mullet, again of the golden grey variety meaning I had to rest the water to take a few photos for him. No sooner than I was back in the water though, cries came across the harbour from Jon, 'fish on.' Again my fishing was on hold whilst I watched Jon play his fish and after safely landing it take some photos. Time was running out for me so I started to change my approach. Noticing the majority of fish were in the shallower water I waded out beyond them and inched my way back towards the shore. I could see a small shoal of 3-4 fish no more than 10ft from me so after putting on some fresh bait, I cast beyond them and reeled it back amongst them. I watched on as the whole shoal moved over my baits, plucking at the worms sending small shivers up my braid. Not rushing things I slowly pulled it another foot and watched them follow my baits. I could now single out the fish underwater and watched as one of them engulfed my bait. A quick tug of the line and it was on. I could see it wasn't happy, visciously shaking its head trying to throw my size 8 hook before jetting off into the deeper water stripping line from my spool. Jon who had been rubbing it in about his capture was suddenly very quiet and could only watch on as a nice fight ensued. Fishing with 5lb fluoro invisible rigs and a rod that takes 0.5-7g (my LRF rod :) ) means bullying the fish is not a viable option but it really does make for good fun. The outcome was inevitable though and it was soon in my hands for a
My 1st Golden Grey - Species 55!
photo, a cracker of a fish and my first ever golden grey!  Having now cracked the method, it was only 10 mins before my next fish was hooked. Again a brilliant fight and another golden grey. It was nearing time to end and Ed was now the only member of our team that hadn't got himself one, so all of our efforts went into helping him. Unfortunately though, after hooking one and playing it for near 5mins, the fish managed to throw the hook a rods length out and tangled his rig just to add insult to injury. This was our queue to leave. Dan had done an exceptional job of putting us on the fish and we can't thank him enough for this session. What a way to fish and I can speak for all of us when I say it was one of the highlights of our trip to Jersey.

Thanks for reading,
Tight Lines,
Ross