Posts tagged: dab

Seaford Slump

By , 10 January, 2012 16:56

Picture of a poutSunday was my second session at Seaford beach this year and not expecting much, it was more about testing some rigs I’d made up using adjustable crimps by Breakaway  in place of my usual silicon stops or normal crimps (more on this at the end). It was also an opportunity to kickstart the season with maybe ticking some of the more common species off the list. Of course, I should have done this on my first session of the year but didn’t take any pictures as I knew that I’d already got them ticked off; but being a complete tosser, it wasn’t until later that I realised of course, that we are now in a new year and starting from scratch.

I got onto the beach at around 4pm to find it almost deserted apart from a few fishing just to the West of me. There was a South Westerly breeze blowing which chopped up the water nicely but wasn’t enough to churn it up properly. It did increase later on but to be honest, it didn’t have much of an effect on the rising tide. The plan of action was to fish the tide up and over the 11pm high water and maybe a couple of hours down. I was going to specifically target the dabs during the last of the daylight into darkness and then go general scratching with the chance of some lunch sized whiting.

I set up the one rod I was going to be using with a slightly adapted Wessex rig baited with lugworm tipped with thin squid strips on one hook and ragworm tipped with squid on the other. I did have some party squid too, which I also used to tip off the other baits or use on their own.

After half an hour, the first knock produced a small pout on the higher hook – so that was one of the list! It always amuses me to be taking photos of these ‘lesser’ species that you wouldn’t normally take notice of – but when it comes to species hunt type competitions (like the one being done on another site I frequent), if it ain’t on camera, it doesn’t count.

Picture of a dabI had a few more knocks that ended with more pout but then after about forty minutes or so, I had another repeated knocking which produced a small dab. Now this was what I was hoping for, after hearing reports of some half decent dabs coming out from here, they were worth targeting, as Anna and I are quite partial to dab dinners.

It wasn’t too long before darkness crept in and the oh so predictable whiting fest started with a double shot. These were not the plump dinner sized ones I’d been having before but the more common pins which aren’t worth keeping. Picture of two whitingIn the manner of a self conscious pervert, I made sure that no-one was watching, quickly got the camera out and as fast as you like took a quick snap before setting them free. At least now, I was almost done with this chore of having to get these embarrassing photos done – all I needed to complete the set was a slug (rockling) and that would be it.

Picture of rocklingI didn’t have to wait long, as the next retrieval brought in a double shot of a slug and a whiting, so a quick photo and the task was complete. Now, I could have done this on my last session

Anyhoo… by about 9.30, I’d really had enough of dragging undersized whiting and slugs out, so decided to pack it up. At least that was four species to tick off the list.

Breakaway adjustable crimps. Excellent things that give the best of both worlds; a secure and simple way of trapping swivels on rig bodies like a normal crimp but with the advantage of being totally adjustable like a stop knot and of being allowing precise tensioning. They are identical to a normal crimp but before being used, you push a small rubber insert into it and pull it through before cutting off the excess. You then thread onto the rig body as normal and use crimping tool to squeeze down until the desired tension is reached. These little things prevent any damage being caused by pinching on the line like a normal crimp can do. Now I’ve used them, I won’t be going back to the old normal crimps or the laborious task of using the silicon tube stops.

Busy Seaford Session

By , 20 July, 2011 13:42

Although the recent South Westerlies have subsided and the seas have calmed considerably, I thought I’d go anyway and have a bassing and scratching session last night. Armed with a couple of boxes of squid and some ragworm, I headed over to Seaford Beach. I arrived at about 8pm – an hour or so before low water and found a calm sea with a few gentle breaking waves to stir things up, virtually no wind, just a light breeze and a slightly overcast sky.

To start with, I set up the scratching rod with a size 4, two hook flapper baited with the worm and sent that out. I planned to start with the bass rod just after low water and into the dusk, so I set it up in readiness with a long link running ledger with a 5/0 pennel.

It wasn’t long before the scratcher showed signs of activity and the first retrieve brought in a double shot of a small dab and a micro smooth hound. I re-cast and within seconds, it was on the go again, only this time, it was small school bass of about a pound. In the following hour or so, I had another four similar sized bass and another dab.

At about 9.30, I deployed the bass rod, just lobbing the bait beyond what breaking waves there were. I kept the scratcher out as well, which brought in a few small pout to add to the tally.

Bang on the stroke of 11pm was when the squid was hit hard, hooping the rod over and after a spirited little fight, a plump bass was on the shingle. It went around 2½lbs and 46cm. A quick re-bait and cast and just in time to see the scratcher rod tip pull down which resulted in a small thornback ray hitting the beach. At this point, I decided to abandon the scratcher and concentrate on the bass rod. After packing the rod away, I saw that there was a huge slack line on the bass rod and after a frantic wind in, another bass of about a pound was on the beach.

Half an hour later, the bass rod trembled in my hand and then the tip slammed down hard and the fish shot off to the right, then out before spitting the bait, leaving the squid in tatters. Another good bite was missed, some twenty minutes later while distracted with my coffee.

Picture of four pound bass1.15am and just over four hours into the flood tide there was a repeated tapping on the rod tip before a good pull down and it was another fish on. There wasn’t so much spirit in this one just some dogged tugging and dead weight – until it was on the shoreline, when it took off a bit before being gently slid up the shingle. A better fish this one at 54cm and 4lbs on the nose.

Re-bait, re-cast and re-coffee while awaiting the next one – hopefully. By now, it was actually quite warm and a really pleasant night to be out. The sea had flattened out even more and I wasn’t expecting much else to happen, when suddenly, bang! The rod tip went over and another fish was on but as quick as it came, it went, leaving another shredded squid.

Picture of three pound bassWith about half an hour to go before high water, thoughts of packing up were in my mind, when out of the blue I had another take and shortly after, a three pounder emerged out of the wavelets and onto the beach. The last squid was impaled on the hooks and lobbed out, where it remained untouched until it was time to go.

This turned out to be quite a night – especially when I hadn’t expected so much action. Just goes to show that sometimes, fish don’t always conform to the predictions on times, states of tide and weather. The next trips to this beach will be purely bass in an attempt to get that allusive ‘double’. It’s there and it’s waiting.

Eastern Promise – Not Delivered

By , 12 July, 2011 16:16

After the drenching I got the other night, last night was a complete contrast – in weather and in results. With the calm conditions looking promising, I felt like having a go for a bass down on the East arm of Brighton Marina, so got down there about 8pm with the intention of bagging some mackerel for bait over high water and then to do some scratching until the early hours and fish mackerel head and guts over the 3am low water period.

It was a warm, clear evening with no wind and a flat calm, clear sea; as said completely different to the other night. It was nice just wearing a t shirt and jeans instead of the clobber I had previously worn and positively thrilling to have dry hands.

Unlike last time I fished the marina, I had made provision this time and had taken some frozen joeys with me, in case the mackerel didn’t show. Just as well really, as the buggers were conspicuous by their absence and the only fish activity I could see on the surface were probably scad.

Anyway, I set up the scratching rod with a size 4 two hook flapper baited with lugworm and chucked it out and almost immediately had a knock which resulted in a small dab – blank saved. Re-baited and then set up the bass rod with the usual long link running ledger, size 5/0 hooked through the snout of a mackerel head and guts which I lobbed out and sat back.

By about midnight, a brisk easterly picked up and made it feel a bit chilly in comparison to earlier – certainly enough to put an extra top on. The good thing that came with it was a bit more in the way of cloud cover.

The only action coming my way was on the scratching rod, with a few small bream and then on low water, lots of school bass taking a shine to the worm. There was one half hearted attempt at a run on the bass rod about half an hour before low which had the tip buried down for a brief few seconds and then nothing.

I gave it until about an hour after low before tiredness set in and I had an overwhelming desire to have a good kip. Looks like Thursday and/or Saturday will be my next outing when I’m hoping for more promising results.

Lady of The lake

By , 16 April, 2011 15:18

FrankOne of the wardens from Brighton Marina, Frank was celebrating his birthday by having a trip out on one of the local charter boats, ‘Lady of The Lake‘, skippered by John Barrow. I had been lucky enough to be invited out by him to join his party, consisting of his daughter, sons and friends, along with some indiviuals (sorry, I didn’t catch your names) and two additional crew, Alan and John(2),to make up a full complement. To say I was excited is an understatement, as it was my first trip for quite a few years and I was keen to venture back into the boat fishing scene.

Picture of Lady of The LakeWe met up at The Tackle Box to stock up on any last minute items, after which, we were soon down by the boat loading up, making ready for the 7.30am departure. I have to say, Lady of The lake, a Tremlett 42, is a fantastic, sleek looking boat, is extremely roomy with a well set out deck and ample facilities. While we waited, we set up the rods to save time once at our destination. The basic tackle consisted of what is essentially a single hook paternoster with long flowing trace (sometimes known as a flying collar rig) and artificial lures such as sidewinders and shads.

looking back towards the marinaSoon, engines were fired up and we set off out of the marina and headed to the chosen marks, which were to be deep water wrecks out in the channel. The tactic for the day was to drift and work the lures in front of and over these wrecks in the hunt for the cod and pollack which inhabit these rusting hulks. Frank’s target and a great way to make his birthday better was to get his first cod, in fact he had said that he “Didn’t mind catching chickens for the rest of the day, providing I get my cod”. So, fingers were firmly crossed – and that went for all of us!

Another view of the coastAs we left the marina, we motored out onto a flat calm sea, which was going to make the jouney a lot quicker and a lot more comfortable than you would get on bumpier water – Perfect conditions for a great day out.

Soon, the engines were opened up more to a good cruising speed and we headed for our first wreck which I believe was some 20 odd miles out. I took the opportunity to go over my kit and make sure everything was in order, with all knots nice and secure and extra traces and rigs made up ready in case of losses caused by getting getting caught up in the submerged ironwork.

The anticipation mounted as the engines throttled back and John began positioning the boat over the first wreck. Once the drift was established, the buzzer was sounded which meant we were safe to drop our lures down to the bottom. I felt the lead hit the seabed and then I began the slow retrieve, working the gear up and over the wreck, waiting for the tell-tale pull down on the rod and the weight and power of a fish crash diving after taking the lure. Sadly, the first drift produced nothing – or the next, or the one after that. Hmmm.. disappointment all round.

Another view of the coastWe headed off to another wreck and this produced similar results apart from a couple of pout. I had one tentative take with a fish briefly on before it was lost. We then headed off to another mark, where I had my first proper take and after getting it to the surface, I had my first codling of about 4lbs aboard – thing were looking up at last.

The next drift saw my gear caught up in the wreck, the line was quickly wrapped around a cleat by John and I waited for the drifting boat to break the line – damn, my first loss. I quickly retackled in time to catch the next drift, which produced nothing for me but I believe a couple of pout to the others.

Frank and his codThe next drift saw me blank again but there was a shout from the other side of the boat and Frank’s long awaited cod was soon on the deck… and he was a very happy bunny.

Another couple of blank drifts and John decided to move onto another hulk which again produced zero results. Things were not looking good on the wreck front, so John asked Frank what he wanted to do (it was his day after all) – stick it out with the prospect of similar results, or move inshore and have a go for dabs and mackerel, so that at least some people went home with fish. Decison made, he motored back inshore and drifted over the ground just off the marina.

Tackle was changed – thanks Alan and John(2) for providing the lighter gear that I hadn’t taken with me. A spreader boom with beaded traces and size 2 hooks baited with lugworm were dropped over the side and before long, I had my first dab aboard – pity it fitted in the palm of my hand though! Things went very quiet and apart from a couple more undersize dabs and a couple of pin whiting, I had no more luck. The rest of the crew were bagging up on mackerel and Frank had a couple of lunker garfish. By 5pm, it was evident that we weren’t going to get anything decent, so it was time to had back into the marina and the end of the day.

Despite the lack of quality fish, it was a great day out with excellent company and great weather. Thanks again to Frank for the invite and to John and crew for helping out and making things run smoothly. I’ve now got the taste back for boat fishing, and am looking forward to making my next trip whenever that may be.

Seaford 30.1.2011

By , 31 January, 2011 22:44

Having not been able to make it to the World Dab Championship at Dungeness, organised on WSF, I consoled myself with a session at Seaford beach on Sunday. I arrived there at about 4.30pm about an hour so after low water and found a spot opposite West View that was reasonably easy to access – considering all the work that shingle shifters have been up to recently. I was going to fish up to and over the 9 pm high water period and a couple of hours down. Conditions were not ideal – bright sun, no wind, calm and clear sea. I wasn’t expecting anything really until dark but it was nice to be out.

Two rods, both with size 4 two hook flappers baited with lugworm which had been left to fester a bit until it was nice and sticky with a distinct aroma. Both were cast out, one at distance and one mid-range. I then set about waiting for the first knocks. I had to wait a while, in fact they didn’t start until about an hour and a half later when it was dark.

First fish was a small dab (the only one of the night), followed by the inevitable whiting, occasionally interrupted by rockling. It got so hectic, that I brought one rod in and just fished with one as I got fed up with cast one, retrieve one and so on.

I fished over high water and finally left at about 11.30pm with a tally of very many whiting, a couple of which were keepers. Anna’s blog will detail how they were done for lunch today. A thoroughly enjoyable session; no great fish but enjoyable just the same.

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