Hartlepool is situated on the north east coast of England. Its a small town with a beautiful coast line, passionate football fans, a memorable nickname (monkey hangers) and a marina. The marina can hold up to 500 boats, hosted the tall ships event in 2010 and is again in 2023. It has pubs, restaurants and hotels surrounding it too. It’s also home to a lot of fish, of at least 20 species.
I fish it on a regular basis with the rest of the admin team of a Facebook group I help run called Hartlepool Lure & LRF. Kie, Aidan, Andrew, Andy and Paddy. Between us we’ve caught some cracking, strange and unexpected fish from here. If you read on you’ll find out what some of those fish are and what time of the year we caught them.
The sea scorpion. We have long and short spines in there, these are one of my favourite fish we catch out of there. the long spined are there all year round but the short spined are quite rare and we’ve only seen them caught in December and January with Paddy and Kie catching the biggest.
The plaice and flounder are caught pretty much all year round excluding February and March when we think they breed because they would swim past, under our feet and ignore everything we put in front of them. Aidan has caught some huge plaice.
Codling range from about 4 inches long up to 2-3lb. We seem to catch the larger ones in the colder months, the small ones are there pretty much all year round. Andy and Andrew have caught the biggest.
We have 3 different species of wrasse that turn up in the summer months and disappear in the colder ones. We get goldsinny wrasse, corkwing wrasse and ballan wrasse. Fishing a splitshot rig with a small hooks is definitely the best way to catch them, fishing with either isome type worms or ragworm works really well.
Whiting and coalfish seem to be ever present, sparce in the summer months but plentiful in the Autumn and winter. These can be caught on hard lures, isome type worms and bait. Throwing a prawn in with entice a coalfish before anything else, ragworm or squid seem to attract the whiting.
We also get other fish that are a little bit rarer and don’t get caught as often as the others. Leopard spotted goby, common blenny, eel pout, butter fish, thornback ray, haddockbig eels and lump sucker.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our little marina, if anyone has any plans to come and fish it anytime don’t hesitate to ask for a few spots and pointers.
Setting off at 8 a.m with a friend, heading towards some rockpools that we’d never fished before. Expecting nothing but hoping for everything, or at least a new species. It turned out to be harder than we thought it would be, more frustrating than we thought it would be, warmer than it was meant to be but still very enjoyable.
We had to really work for our fish in these rockpools. Slipping and stumbling over the seaweed and rocks, I dropped my lure in every little bit of water I came across. It was tough going so we split up to try and find some occupied pools. Eventually, after about 45 minutes of searching I found a small pool that was deeper than the rest, dropping a lure in I immediately had a take.
A very welcome common blenny or shanny. Just as we were about to leave the rock pools, I found a big stone that created a ledge: it looked very “fishy”. These small fish are very fast and another common blenny shocked me by taking my lure as quick as a flash, back into his little shelter. It was safely put back after a quick photograph.
Our next location was about a 10 minute drive and as equally frustrating. We decided to fish the river Tyne for the first time, we were quickly getting small bites on our dropshoted gulp/isome but hooking up seemed difficult. We soon realised why when I pull up a small but cool looking codling, the fish were tiny. After a few more fish, Andrew changed to a smaller hook and pulled out one of smallest Long spined sea scorpions we’ve ever seen. I changed to carolina rig to try and tempt a flatfish but had no luck. We moved on.
South sheilds pier is a mile long and our next spot. The last time we fished this pier we caught one fish between us so anything over that and we’d be happy. We got the car parked and headed off, stopping before the gate to try for a mackerel. Half way up the pier it became apparent that we would be catching plenty of coalies today. Infact that’s all we caught for the next hour. Different techniques caught different sized coalies, small metals and isome doing the job.
We had to head home, walking off the pier I was itching to throw my metal out again as I’d seen a few mackerel brought in. We stopped at the same spot we fished when walking onto to the pier to have a try. First chucking and I was into a fish, I instantly knew it was a mackerel. Tightening my drag, I could enjoy the fight. Hoping that it wouldn’t come off I lifted up the side of the pier, thankfully it was hooked by an assist hook that a good friend made, it had no chance of coming off.
During my long and awful 10hr drive home from Brixham to Hartlepool, I had time to think about the fishing I had done and the people I had met. While my family slept and gazed out of the windows at mostly stationary traffic, my mind wandered to the week we’d just had, specifically the fishing.
Arriving on Friday I was keen to get out and see what I could catch, searching for spots that a local angler had giving me. I was excited to wet a line. The first spot I fished was underneath a small pier, on slippy, seaweed covered rocks. Using a 1.5g jighead and a small length of pink isome. I was straight into what I thought was a lot of small pouting, these turned out to be poor cod, a new species for me.
The second day I was up early to fish another mark and started to find more species. Corkwing wrasse were everywhere, aswell as small pollock and more poor cod. My 4th species that morning was another new one for me: a rock goby. Easily identified by the yellow/orange tip on the first dorsal fin. All of these fish were caught using a small length of Berkeley gulp, camo in colour, fished on a dropshot rig and a size 12 hook.
I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to fish Plymouth after all the great fish I’ve seen caught from there. So, when we went to visit the National marine aquarium there I took my rod and managed about an hour fishing on a small pier on some steps. I was fishing in 2ft of water so I wasn’t hopeful of getting anything but after a few casts, some definite interest and some positive follows I was into an unfamiliar fish. A common dragonet, another first for me and definitely my favourite of the trip.
After a couple of days without any fishing, enjoying family time, some nice drinks and amazing food, I met up with Brixham regulars Richard Salter and Jon owens. Charlie lerfer also made the long journey to join us for the day. We fished Brixham breakwater, starting at the base and ending up near the end. We caught a lot of fish between us and a total of 10 different species. I arrived before anyone else and before any of the guys turned up I had already had a goldsinny wrasse, corkwing wrasse, rock goby and a small pollock. Jon turned up next and pointed me in the direction the black gobys, I caught one straight away. Richard and Charlie turned up soon after this and we fished the same spot for a couple of hours.
We moved on to the end of the pier, I switched to a Carolina rig. I started to catch a few Ballan wrasse, all on a small length of pink isome.
Unfortunately, Charlie had to leave us to head home. Jon, Rich and myself fished on for few more hour. Once the quiet patch had passed, the tide started to turn and rise, we were back in to fish. Each of us catching wrasse, pouting and small pollock. Rich had caught a couple of tompot blennys, a species which I’ve never caught yet. I changed back to a drop shot rig to target one, Rich caught another and I had no luck. Definitely my bogey species. I finished the day with 8 species: Ballan wrasse, corkwing wrasse, goldsinny wrasse, pouting, pollock, poor cod, black goby and rock goby.
We had a 20 minute spell searching for mackerel until we called it a day. The Devon heat had gotten to all of us. It was great to meet up with these guys, I learnt a lot. Including how to rig and use a “stinger rig”.
Going back to the 10hr drive home, I remember saying to my wife Sam “never again, its not worth it”. I regret saying this because it is worth it, every second of travel. If you like LRF wether you’re a beginner or an experienced LRF angler, give Brixham a visit, you won’t be dissapointed.
Spring 2021 has been a season of fascinating rediscovery of my local fishy riches.
As predominantly a river angler, but also a scientist working on water systems globally and particularly over recent years in Asia, I have generally saved up my long research trips for the weeks after the Ides of March. At that time, the river season has just ended and I have enjoyed my birthday with my family on the Ides. Also, helpfully from a scientific point of view, India is in the drier part of its year leading up to the monsoon.
In spring 2021, for obvious reasons, I have been homebound. But I have been enjoying it so much that is it getting me thinking about how I’d like to spend my remaining springs.
One major surprise, resulting from being in and around home with opportunities to fish, has been that I never thought I’d fall in love with a canal! To me, canals were previously not only not particularly local but were also not particularly interesting as, to my eyes, they do not flow and lacked features. But, this spring, those two assumptions were blown out of the water, so to speak, as I learned how fish respond to the subtlest of water movements such as the distant opening of lock sluices or wind fetch as well as the passage of boats. I also realised that features were not always obvious, but were certainly there to be found.Aside from the roach, common bream, tench, rudd and occasional eel, reacquainting myself with ruffe was a real joy! Amazingly, I have already published four books in the first half of 2021, and the title of one of them – Ruffe: The Spiky Little Freshwater Ruffian (which you can find on Facebook @Drredfinrods) – says is all about this feisty and most characterful of tiddlers.
But the fish that has most captured my heart this spring has been the silver bream. I have knowingly caught silver bream on and off since at least the 1970s, in Kent, Sussex, from the Thames and assorted other places. But, this spring, I have enjoyed them particularly on the Kennet and Avon Canal, catching them on so many different baits and tactics. I have had them on bread, worm, maggots and corn, and on the lift method, bomb, feeder and on the pole. The fact that this has included successive personal bests – currently 1lb 4½oz – is not really the point. What I have enjoyed most is re-familiarising myself with how really very handsome these much-neglected fishes are. Those pectoral and ventral fins are a rich amber, particularly at their bases, and the flanks are brilliantly silvery; in fact, that you only really appreciate how silver they are when you see how bleached the photos are when you have held the fish for a ‘specimen shot’!
And silver bream are tragically overlooked despite their attractive and sporting qualities. A few very experienced anglers that I know have confided with me that they had not even heard of a silver bream until I started posting photos of them. More than a few have also admitted quietly that they could not identify one with any confidence, and probably would have dismissed them as ‘skimmer bream’ or roach-bream hybrids. Yet the silver bream is relatively widespread, and the British rod-caught record weight is more or less the same weight as that of the much-loved (not least by me) roach.
It is time for a renaissance in our appreciation of what must be Britain’s most neglected freshwater fish. The handsome silver bream is a native species deserving greater attention and respect; fun to catch in most seasons and on a range of baits and methods. I hope you too can fall in love this this fish, finding a place in your heart for it and raising its profile as a worthy quarry for all to enjoy!
Last Friday a lake that was previously open last year re-opened under new ownership and with a fresh look. I never really took the time to fish it other than a quick 12 hour session. It was winter when I discovered and fished it and before I could go back it had closed. I had found out about it’s reopening from a local angler at my park lake and decided to book a swim for the following weekend.
The next weekend came along and I prepped my gear and tied some micro barbed hooks due to them being the only type allowed on the waters going with multi rig and blowback rig(snowman rig). I turned up to Kingsland fisheries on the Saturday evening at about 7.30pm. The complex had an easier pleasure lake with reasonably big fish and a much harder specimen lake but with some extremely high rewards. I set up at a swim with an island close in front and thick weed to the left.
With some advice to the bailiff and some feature finding I found a few gravel and silt spots between the weed and got my rods set up. I was with my dad who had 1 rod along with my 2. On the left rod I had a single hookbait cell wafter 1/2 a foot from a willow to my left with complimented with some scattered banoffee boilies and the middle rod on top of some light weed in a solid bag with some ground bait, pellet and hemp seeds. My dad put his rod a metre to the right of the close island which had an overhanging willow tree with a pop up on a spinner rig.
We settled in for the night which was dead without any bites and woke up and recast. We used a gas stove to cook some bacon and hoped our rods would rip of before the 7pm leave that Sunday evening. We ate our food and changed some of our tactics and positioning but kept patient as we knew that waiting was a key part in this lake particularly.
The day went past without a bite and we began packing up our non essential items like the bivy and beds but left our rods out whilst we packed up as every angler knows there’s always time for a bite even if it’s a matter of minutes. We were talking to the bailiff as we packed in our gear and the bite alarm had a few stuttery bites and as I approached the rod it gave a big tug so lifted it up and began to reel.
I was nervous due to the amount of weed as this was my middle rod that went off which was in the weediest area but was reassured due to my micro barbed hooks. It gave up a little fight but began to take line when coming close to the net. It swam towards the weed but I directed back towards me and it was swiftly in the back of the net. It didn’t look to sizeable and was one of the small residents of the lake but it turned out to be 20 pounds exactly and I was extremely happy as it only looked about 16-18. Anything above 14 was an achiever for me because before may I hadn’t caught anything over 12lb and this was my 5th 20 over the past two months.
The weekend started out slow but was a beautiful lake and the thought of 35lb+ fish will definitely make me return as this lake was only 5 minutes from my home.
Fishing isn’t a sport or a hobby it’s a life choice. And yes I’m not afraid to say it, I am, 100% fishing and aren’t we all?!
But seriously, fishing is a sport like no other, anglers experience special moments on every trip. But one trip, one morning, one mad experience all through fishing, may perhaps of changed my life forever.
November 18th 2020, the UK is manifested in its 2nd COVID-19 Lockdown. Thank the lord for the Angling Trust for allowing fishing to continue. On this very same day, I was in a place called Storuman. A town in the North of Sweden; which I’m sure most of you know, didn’t lockdown and cracked on (each to their own I guess?). Nevertheless, I’m sure with snow dancing off the Pine leaves, Storuman looks magical. Alas for me, it was a solid 5 degrees and looked like a 70’s built council estate. Weirdly had the best Pad Thai I’ve ever had here – which makes things even weirder.
I was on day 12 of a very rogue fishing road trip around the country. I’d quit my job and gone. Scandi Airways to Stockholm from Manny Manchester and I was away! From there, the plan was to drive around the country fishing everywhere I went. Which if you haven’t seen my YouTube, is where this all started (link below!)
Storuman, was a pit stop before heading further North. Arctic Charr fishing in the North Pole, how random?! But November 18th is a strange day for me. It’s the anniversary of my dad and November 18 2020 marked 2 years since he passed away.
My old man was the man who got me into fishing and why I’m so passionate about the sport to this day. He told me to never stop fishing, it might save your life/marriage one day. He’s been right about one part! The fish that really turned his rod on though was the Sea Trout. For those who haven’t caught one…the sheer power. Pound for pound one of the hardest fighting fish. He never managed to catch that special 8ib+ fish and it eluded him to the day he died. Although if I’m honest he landed numerous 5-6ib Sea Trout so why was he grumbling?
For his anniversary I planned to throw a line in the morning and get driving in the evening. Luckily, this tiny remote Swedish town had a tackle shop. You guessed it, the Swedes are more fishing crazy than us! I got a day ticket to fish the Ume River, which flows between Lake Storuman and many others. Known for its Charr, Pike, Grayling, Lake Trout, White Fish, Perch, Salmon and Sea Trout (if you hadn’t guessed fishing heaven imagine being renowned for that many species!), I felt the chances were in my favour in terms of a catch. I parked Renault Clio up on the side of the E45 and walked down to the bank side, where the lake narrows and starts to form more of a river. With my Rigged and Ready Adventure X5 in toe I set up a light Perch rod, hoping to jig a deep hole next to an unused bridge.
However, I’d purchased this Roach like jelly lure that I would wanted to test the action on. So I lobbed it out in to what was a shallow bay in front of me. The water was crystal clear; perfect for a tester. I started my retrieve after a couple of seconds letting the lure slowly sink, one jerk, two jerk, three jerk, then a sudden reality in my tummy set in that could only mean one thing…
Before I could blink the fish was charging into the major flow of the river. My heart was pounding, line streaming out the real, my clutch was loose and that wasn’t the only thing. Before I could gain some composure the fish erupted out the water. A bar of silver in the sky! My mind went salmon. That time of year, this weight and size, I WAS OVER THE MOON!
After a good 5 minutes of back and forth with the fish I finally got a glimpse of my prize. The spots below the lateral line the square tail, it could only mean one thing. Sea Trout. And not just any Sea Trout, but a BIG Sea Trout. A million attempts later trying to fit this colossal beast in my far from adequate Aliexpress travel net the fish was in the net, with the net bursting at the seems.
I got the fish on the bank and just WOW! The large black spots reminded me of a day after a hike in the Trough of Bowland in the October prior and this fish took my breath completely away. I MEAN LOOK AT THAT TROUT!
It topped the scales at 9ib and I couldn’t have been more surprised or just taken a back! This is a one in a life time fish for any angler!! I got the fish back and watching it swim off was just as satisfying as catching this awesome fish. A strong tail kick and back into the Swedish wilderness it went.
As the hype/Adrenalin/Madness wore off the reality dawned. 9ib Sea Trout, 2 years to the day he passed away, coinciding with me getting my act together in life and the fish he’d tried to catch all his life?
Sorry but some things happen for a reason.
Hope you enjoyed this and honestly no words can explain. Big thanks to EssexAnglers for wanting me to share my fishing journey! Love and peace – Bangaveragetravelandfishing!
Check out my first ever video and this awesome fish and fight over on my YouTube channel or Instagram now and make sure you suffice and follow to keep up to date !
You could say I am a quite new angler, starting just last June. I used to fish my local park lake, Lake Meadows Billericay, for silverfish but discovered a species completely new to me, carp. It was a warm night so many people were fishing it and as I watched someone reel in the first carp id ever seen I knew what I wanted to go for next. Me and my dad, who I frequently fish with, further enquired with the angler and he recommend I try an easier, match fishing lake that wasn’t to far from there.
The next week went over on our budget rods and I caught a 11 lb carp off the surface with a piece of bread. From then on I visited it a few more times but wanted to achieve a bigger carp like the one id seen earlier that summer at the park lake. I heard there was plenty of big fish but was very difficult in daylight compared to at night. It shut at 7.30 but had been told by the bailiff it was alright to stay just after 9 if it wasn’t too busy. Me and my dad fished there often for a while catching nothing until November when I unfortunately broke my leg in 2 places.
I let everything clear up before I began fishing again which was around mid may. I decided to expand my knowledge on carp fishing as it was very amateur and basic before. This brings me to about 2 weeks ago when I decided to get back into the swing of things and fish my local lake once again.
It was nearing the end of May when I decided to have a walk around the lake after school at about 4pm to re-familiarise myself with the swims, features and locations of each part. The lake is 5 acres and holds a very low stock of carp so I was keen but not too confident. I came over alone at about 5 o’clock after travelling light with only the bare essentials so I could maximise my time fishing and be able to walk the short half a mile with everything i needed.
I was using simple hair rigs as an experienced local angler had told me regular bottom bait boilies seem to work for him over wafters/pop ups and other types of bait. I had some hair rigs prepared as well as some spinner rigs for pop ups. As this was my first proper session over there with my new knowledge gained from the break I used different rigs and bait on both of my rods.
I decided to go for a nice open swim with room for casting considering it was my first session back which had and island straight ahead and a fountain in-between but a few meters to the left. I had a rod casted tight to the island under a bramble bush on a single hook bait Spinner rig using Nash claw hooks and a Sticky Baits Mulberry pop up and a mainline banoffee boilie surrounded by some 4mm pellets and some banoffee boilie crush which was cast out in a solid PVA bag on an inline lead just right of the fountain which turned of about 6/6.30pm. I decided to switch to a mainline cell balanced wafter on my right hand rod(spinner rig-mulberry pop up) with a blow out rig after little action.
After some waiting and re casting of the solid bag rig I decided to pack it up and leave at about 8 after a few liners and bait movement from the high stock of bream which had been sniffing about the freebies around my hook bait. This was also the reason I decided to only use 15mm plus bait to avoid these as these were not what I was targeting.
A day to two later I decided to return with a friend on another short evening session which also resulted in nothing, both using similar tactics on swims very close to the one previously. I had 2 days off fishing to revise for upcoming mocks in late June but returned alone to revise by the bank with some rods out. I arrived at 5 once again and planned to leave at 7.30-8pm that evening. I was feeling confident using hair rigs and basic boilies on both rods on a fresh swim. At about 6 I heard a sound but thought nothing of it but about 30 seconds later I realised it was my line being taken rapidly through my bite alarm which I had forgotten to turn on. By the time I picked the rod up the fish was in the snags, a fallen tree off the island, I felt it pulling and saw it jump but it then became heavily snagged and it found its way free. I was gutted on losing my first local park lake and specimen carp.
I was feeling down however I was still feeling confident as I did some revision. As I had lost one I decided to stay until 8.30 and was ready to pack up when my left rod in-between a close island and the bank ripped off. My dad had arrived just 15mins earlier to pick me up as it was nearing dark and helped me net the beautiful common carp. It weighed in at 22 pounds which beat my previous personal best at 11lb which I mentioned earlier. My hard work had finally paid off and I could finally relax in peace knowing I had a carp from my local lake.
You would guess the story ended there however it doesn’t. I had a half a week plus off from the lake and fishing because I had achieved my goal and wanted a short break. It was a great 18 degree evening after a Friday of school and decided to test my luck once again at lake meadows. I used the same tactics I had before and turned up at about 6pm this time in a swim opposite the week before capture. It had a perfect fallen tree covering the entire way from one side of the lake to the other. I had it cast a meter to the side of it and one in-between 2 islands. At about 7.30 the rod in the snags went off and I sprinted towards it, luckily making it before it had made it too far into the tree. I was nervous as it jumped on the other side of the tree but managed to reel in a bit of line which got it away from it. I landed it and weighed it in my sling. It came in at 22.8 lb and was a stunner of a fish. The rest of the night was uneventful but I didn’t care one bit after a pb had been once again beaten.
Frant Lakes is a beautiful fishery on the border of Kent and East Sussex. It has eight lakes-two of which are the speci lakes (lakes 7 and 8). It will always have a special place in my heart as it is the first fishing venue my other half took me to.
My last two trips there have resulted in seven fish being caught. We have only ever been out on speci lake 7 where it has a nice couple of features you can fish to-there are snags and lilly pads out in the middle and over to the far right a small island.
I booked a 48hr session over there in April and I was determined to rely on myself to find the fish rather than just cast out to the edge of the snags and hope for the best. Got myself all set up-2 Sonik Vader RS rods, my brand new Sonik SKX bite alarms (a big improvement on my first alarms, Saber) and my Leeda pod. Unfortunately the weather was all over the shop and relatively cold and the fish were not showing. No splashes, hardly any fizzing on the water-nothing.
About 5 hours later we had the lake to ourselves after the other anglers left. An hour after that I saw a fish, splashing away over to my right in the next swim. I thought right you, you’re mine! I reeled in my right hand rod, stuck a fresh 12mm Mainline banoffe pop up on my hair rig and made up a PVA bag using my Crafty Catcher 15mm chocolate and nut boilies and casted out to the swim on my right (having the lake to yourself has some advantages I guess!). Then I sat back and waited. 40 minutes later my bite alarm on the right screamed off and I was on! He took a while to bring in as he decided to take me into the snags but I got him and landed him all by myself. Beautiful common weighing in about 14lb if I remember rightly. That day I felt a bit more like an angler.
Flounder just epitomise LRF (Light Rock Fishing) to me… Quirky looking, surprisingly aggressive and fight so well on light tackle. Knowing that they start to come back from spawning in May, could I catch an early one? A trip to Cornwall was on the cards…
Flounder return from their spawning grounds in deeper water, hungry and aggressive. They have successfully served their purpose for another year and spend the rest of spring and summer building back up their fat reserves. Although they aren’t traditionally targeted by most anglers in these months, for me, this is the best time to find them. These fish are lean and fit, ready to take on any prey they can get their jaws around!
Recently, I had badgered Jon Owens (Jonny Lerfer on Facebook and Instagram) to order the Magbite Blading Jigheads in, and of course he came up with the goods. These jigheads scream flounder, bass and gurnard to me, so I was excited to try them out. They have a thick, strong hook, with a small blade underneath coming from an extended lead head. Flatfish love bling and these seemed perfect. I couldn’t wait to give them a dipping.
Keitech make exceptional soft plastic lures. I have tried and caught on most but there was one I had eyes on that day. The Mini Wag is a perfect worm imitation, especially in natural pink. Scented with squid like most Keitech lures, it has a mad wriggling tail. Unlike your average curl tail it wiggles from the middle of the tail, not the end, so it’s really unusual. Combined with the Bladed Jighead, I had a combo with great potential, but could I find the fish?
The tide was pushing in around the harbour and with it, hopefully some predators. I often find flounder will hug the structure, skirting the base of the harbour walls hunting for any fleeing prawns, fish and worms in the onrushing tide.
In classic Cornish fashion, myself and Jon were sharing the quay with tourists from across the UK. There were a variety of accents, ordering drinks and enjoying chips and pasties. Cornwall has a love hate relationship with the tourists that make their way to the county every year – they cause chaos but the money is vital for the locals. As angling tourists though, me and Jon were more interested in the life below the waterline rather than expanding our waistlines.
I flicked the lure out, letting it drop so I could work it along the base of the wall, jigging up and then stopping regularly. The tide was pushing over the slipway, created a vortex of swirling food, an ideal ambush spot for a bass or flounder I thought.
The technique is super simple.. Let the lure hit the bottom and leave it for a few seconds. Once the slack is tightened, I then flick the rod tip gently to lift the lure and spark it into action. A couple of turns of the reel bring lure closer, covering the ground, after that I let it sink back down and stop again. For any bottom dwelling species, this is the ultimate lure technique – stop go, stop go, stop go. It keeps the lure in the strike zone.
After lots of casts working my way around the harbour, about half way in the rod bent round into substantial weight. The fish had taken the lure on the drop and as I tightened the slack I set the hook. This felt good! There were no bass like headshakes, only the resistance of an angry flatfish!
Spring flounder are far more aggressive and active than in winter, they hit lures with ferocity and fight hard. This fish was no different. It went on a number of drag ripping runs, giving it hell to avoid being netted. The hookhold was strong though in the flatfish’s bony jaws. With a now captivated audience of tourists it was in the net. My first decent lure caught flounder of the year.
We moved out of the way of the now gathering holiday makers, onto some steps to get photos. Other than scorpion fish and gurnard, flounder are my favourite muse. If you get the angle right – photographed from their bottom jaw up – you can really capture their moody nature. Photograph them from the other side and they look a little dorky – these are quirky fish after all!
After admiring the fish’s mottled markings, burgundy spots and bony head, I held the flounder in the water. The fish caught it’s breath and kicked away powerfully. The tactic had worked first time and this was the earliest in Spring I had caught a flounder. Everything bodes well for a great season to come.
The set up ROD – Majorcraft N-One NSL-S662H/AJI 0.8-12g REEL – Shimano Stradic 1000 MAINLINE – Majorcraft Dangan Braid 8lb LEADER – Majorcraft Fluoro leader 4lb Find more articles like this on my blog – www.benbassettfishing.home.blog
My first memory of ‘fishing’ was crabbing with my father and brother. Ok, not what you would call fishing today, but that was nearly 30 years ago.
I then got into fishing a bit more seriously at school where we had our own lake, mainly stocked with silvers and bream, but one legendary carp called Big Bertha. I never did catch Bertha, but did spend most of my free time silver bashing with a simple set up, hook and a little stick float and using bread moulded around the hook.
I did however, manage to win a school fishing match, with 1st prize being an old keep net, by catching a dinner plate sized bream. Once I left school for college, the fishing died off as I focused on studies and life.
However, the fishing shows on TV – Matt Hayes Fishing etc. soon had my interest peaked and I went carp fishing a couple of times with a friend and loved it, but didn’t have the money to get any kit. My father knew I really wanted to do it and managed to find an almost complete carp starter set up 2nd hand off of eBay. That was it, I was down the bank every moment I could.
Not really knowing what I was doing, throwing out big balls of ground bait wrapped around a method, with sweetcorn on the hair. I would manage a few carp every now and again, with the biggest being around 18lbs. While I was waiting for the alarms to scream off I would have a little whip, and amuse myself silver bashing. Due to work, life and getting frustrated with not really catching, I eventually reduced the amount of time on the bank and finally stopped, chucked the gear in the shed and forgot about it.
Move ahead about 10 years and I moved house and found the gear in the shed, most of which the mice had gotten to, but thought why not go out on the bank again. So, I visited the fishery that I had previously been to. It had all changed, new owners, landscaped, new fish stops, lakes redesigned.
Honestly, I didn’t enjoy it as before and didn’t catch. This led me to visit the local Angling Direct store to ask for advice. Not only did they point me to my now favourite commercial fishery that is 2 miles from my house, but also introduced me to Steve, an amazing angler who works at Hinders Baits, who also happens to share my name. With his advice and direction, I caught some carp on my 1st trip. Nothing to call home about, but enough to get me hooked on the sport again. I met Steve a few times on the bank and his tips and direction, especially around tight, accurate and consistent casting, soon had me catching more carp but, I wanted more. So I booked a personal 1 to 1 tuition with Steve, not only did I learn a lot, but I had the best days fishing of my life (up to that point!), catching some stunning carp.
We ended the day on 37 carp on the bank. From there and with Steve taking me under his wing, I have been consistently improving. With my average day session catch rate going from 7 carp to 50.
About a year later, I met up with Steve for day session at the local fishery and he surprised me with the opportunity to join the Hinders Bait family as a Product Field Tester, which of course I jumped at. Just after that, I was doing some promotion work with Steve at the local fishery, getting some video content for some new products. The aim of the day was to do some filming, not really go for the numbers and get the content we needed. This quickly changed to one of the best sessions of my life. While we got the content, it soon became apparent that the conditions were perfect, the carp were on the feed and we were in the right spot. 9 hours later, a few retakes on camera, and I had landed over 120 carp. My arms hurts, my back hurt, but the smile on my face said it all. A day I will never forget.
I also had the opportunity to do some proper carp fishing with Steve at Linear Fisheries, with the direct aim of beating my old PB of 18 Lbs. Which over 2 nights / 3 days we managed to do, not once, or twice but 3 times in succession, with my new PB now standing at 25Lbs. What an amazing session. Since then I have been learning and absorbing all the angling knowledge from Steve and Hinders so that I can improve my techniques and catch rates.
That’s my fishing career up to now. Still more to learn, new fisheries to visit and more fish to catch. Feed tight, Fish tight, Steve.