Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Holiday time

It was holiday time in the Heathcote household and with all the scorching weather of late it couldn't come around quickly enough as far as I was concerned. South Devon was the destination and the weather was set to remain hot hot hot.

From a fishing point of view I had planned a couple of early morning trips to a couple of local rock marks I the hope of catching some wrasse, pollack and mackerel with maybe a chance of snagging a Bass or two.


Have rod will travel

Once we got settled I popped into Torquay to get some supplies and of course it would've been rude not to have a mooch around the harbour looking for signs of fish. There was Mullet and Bass in abundance everywhere I looked and I couldn't wait to get stuck in.


Mullet grazing on a pontoon (tiny phone pic)

It was 5am when myself and Charlotte found ourselves clambering down the rocks in the hope of bagging a decent spot. I was surprised to find my first choice area already packed out but people certainly seemed to be catching a few.


Busy busy busy!
We set up around the corner to the crowds and soon enough a Sandeel was bobbing about beneath a float just off the rocks. After about five minutes the float shot away and I struck fully expecting a whacker of a Bass or something but to my dismay i hit nothing but thin air. Nothing else occurred for the next hour and I began to get impatient especially when everytime I looked across to the crowds they were hauling mackerel left right and centre!
Charlotte was starting to look bored so I resolved to try for the wrasse and bass another day, I needed to get a bend in the rod So on went the feathers!
A couple of casts in and I felt a thump on the rod and a few seconds later a shiny Mackerel was being tentatively swung to hand. After showing Charlotte what to do, we took it in turns and nearly every cast was a coconut. At one point Charlotte had five at once!

Charlotte getting stuck in
After about half an hour of hauling, disaster suddenly struck! after a particularly exuberant cast with the 6oz lead i was suddenly aware that my rod seemed somewhat shorter. Closer inspection revealed that around six inches had snapped off the end and I noticed another crack had appeared around halfway down what was left of the tip section aswell, bugger!
As I reeled in I had another hit off a Mackerel and as I swung it in Charlotte went to grab it and managed to get a loose hook lodged in her hand. Much screaming ensued and there was rather a lot of blood but fortunately it wasn't in deep and I managed to get it out with no real harm done. Looks like that was the end of my holiday fishing then!

The sun sets on my holiday fishing hopes
It was roasting as we headed back up cardiac hill to the car but at least I had plenty of Mackerel for the freezer, those Bass would have to wait for another time.

The final catch, plenty of Pike bait there!


Sunday, 14 July 2013

The beauty of the beachcaster

With the scorching weather of late I've not really had much inclination to go fishing much preferring instead to sit around in the garden with a cold beer. I don't do sunshine and heat overly well and sitting by a river slowly cooking in the full glare of the sun whilst getting eaten alive by insects doesn't appeal in the slightest. It's weird, I spend most of the winter looking forward to the summer and most of the summer full of anticipation for the winter, I guess there's no pleasing some people!

I did get out on the bank the other evening however and got the chance to put a rarely used but deadly technique to good effect. A phone call from a mate earlier in the day informed me there was a lot of Carp showing on the surface in one of our lakes and for me it was a temptation too much to resist. I decided It was a good opportunity to fish a beachcaster rig, a method I picked up on whilst fishing Nanpantan res in the mid 1990s. For those who have never heard of it, it basically involves hanging a bait off the line onto the waters surface so that any fish which approaches the bait can't see any line around it to spook off.

Upon arriving at the lake it didn't take long to find a few fish which looked interested. A couple of pouches of mixers were sent out upwind of them and one or two fish were soon swirling at them. I cast the rig out way past the fish and gently pulled it back into position, just paying out enough line off the baitrunner to quietly lower the bait into the killing zone.

A couple of fish mouthed the bait but didn't hook up and then the resident swans decided to move in. One of the great things about the method is that all but the most determined birds are put off by the line on show hanging above the water. This saves having to reel in everytime a hungry beak comes near. If the bird really wants the hook bait, a gentle pull on the line to lift the bait out of the water is usually enough to deter them and when they're gone simply lower the bait back in.

The fish seemed to back off a little as the swans did laps of my float but suddenly and without warning there was a big swirl where my bait was, the rod buckled over and the baitrunner hissed. Straight away the fish buried in thick weed but in the clear water I could see a decent Common shaking its head and twisting about. After much tugging the fish came free only for the nylon hooklink to part as it neared the net! Wounded!

As I tied a new one on there was still fish taking the odd mixer so I was still confident of a fish. The swans were becoming a real pain in the arse now and over the next hour I think my bait spent more time hanging in the air than it did actually in the water! I did hook another fish though and this one managed to stay on. At 15.6 it was a nice fish which was followed by another of 15.8 shortly afterwards. Seeing as the swans were doing my head in That last fish was my signal to pack up but it wrapped the trip up nicely and ill certainly be back down soon to try for something a bit bigger. Incidentally there were two other chaps on the lake fishing floaters using conventional controller float tactics and neither had a bite all evening.


I've used the beachcaster method on many venues over the years and I'm truly shocked that more people don't use it. It's absolutely deadly even for Carp which have been hard fished for on conventional floater tactics. I've even caught river carp on it so there's no limit as to where it can be employed.
I'm not sure why nobody really uses it, is it because its old fashioned? maybe it's because they've never heard of it? Maybe because its a bugger to tie up? Maybe because it looks a bit silly and clumsy? I don't know ,but to those that have never used it then you've missed out big time because it outfishes any other floater rig out there by a considerable margin without a doubt.
There's never been a great deal written about the rig on the net or in the mags but I came across a post on a carp forum which gives a pretty good explaination of how to set it up etc. Have a look here, http://www.carp.com/carp-forum/viewtopic.php?p=471157 .
Give it a go, you won't regret it!