Navionics should be an important part to every anglers tackle box. It works best when you have a large water you need to cover like lakes, reseviours, and the sea. Most of the time fish will be stuck to structure this could be anything. For example depth changes will hold fish. Navionics has a setting called sonar chart this will show you the depth changes and the shapes of the bottom. This can show you where the predators will be holding up out of the current waiting for baifish behind underwater mountains, sat in crevaces etc etc.
accompanied to this they have the relief shading setting. this really benefits sea anglers as it shows rocks, sandbanks and drops. In the photo below you can see the structure. This can make finding marks an absolute breeze and should be one of the first things you reach for when searching for marks.
Hopefully you can see the importance of navionics for finding marks and actively searching for fish. Paired up with a fish finder, sidescan or livescope system and you are on for a winner! crucial on the reservoirs
hope you enjoyed this read and its showed how important and how much of a bargain you can get by using navionics.
So if you read my last blog know that been fishing with a close mate of mine who runs a charter boat, well today we left the rivers and went back to his prime, the sea! Whilst waiting for the punters to arrive we were talking and both know what to expect due to it being October we had the chance at literally anything! my expectations for this trip was NOT what it turned out to be. Upon arrival of the mark we dropped down baits, squid for me uptiding hoping for a late bass or hound, and ever so quickly i was blessed with a slack line bite i knew it was something proper, the tide was ripping and my mind was racing, big bass? hound? ray? blue shark?! When i finally managed to bully the big girl up in the water column Dan did a sterling job of netting her, hook was out in seconds and returned to live another day.
As expected whilst waiting for the tide to sort itself out it went pretty quiet, apart from a super interesting bite on a clients rod, no big head shakes, no line taken but a very interesting bite indeed. As he picked the rod up, an guided him and helped him with the best way to play the fish, the big net was put in hand and we were all on the edges of our seats. When it came up everyone was shocked, this was the first time id ever seen one of these, never mind hold it. It was a Dover sole! in ramsgate! Dans only had one of these on the boat before and a super rare catch for this area. Holding one was something to experience slimy like a snake and moves like one an interesting fish, a very interesting fish.
A little bit later on the boat and i got another very heave bite, big rod tip movement, i kept watching it for 5 mins, id seen this bite before i knew what it was so i didn’t want to rush it, but as it just kept bobbing away instead of going solid i thought id just pick it up, as i struck into the fish and caught up with all the slack line i felt it… rod bent in double heavy shakes and a cruising fish, i knew this was a ray so instead of wearing myself out i just applied pressure and waited for it to glide up in the tide, finally netted and landed my first spiky rat since around march nice to get back on track just in time for winter. If you haven’t tried rays on light tackle i suggest it its super fun! i posted a video a couple months ago on it.
This made a really fun video, apologies about the wind noise but if you’d like to know how to use your time wisely at this time of the year then give the video a watch there might be something for you to learn in there!
Towards the beginning of last month, my Dad and I headed to our local mark on the River Crouch in search of anything that would bite. We’ve fished the Crouch, with mixed success about a dozen times in the last few years because it’s only 10 minutes from home. We’ve caught the usual bass, whiting, dogfish and even a cod but the Thornback Rays, which the river is renowned for have never played ball with us. With my dad working away in Switzerland and myself headed north for university, this was to be one of our last fishing sessions together of the year.
High tide was around 6:30 however we had to leave at 5:30 because I was heading out for dinner. We arrived at South Fambridge around 1 o’clock and made our way along the river towards an area known as the saltings. Although it’s about a 15 minute walk from where you park, the fishing is much better and the area of marsh means that your fishing away from the sea wall where you can get caught in rocks and weed. If you’re looking at fishing the saltings then make sure to check the height of the tide because anything over about 5.2m and you might be getting wet feet.
By 1:15 our first rods had been cast in. We were planning on fishing 2 rods with bigger baits out for the skate, 1 rod on a 2 hook flapper for anything that bites and 1 rod on a float with ragworm as we’d heard that this was working well for the late bass. For this reason I hadn’t packed a 4th beach caster, instead I packed an old 12ft carp rod which I thought would be more suitable for float fishing.
We hadn’t anticipated the strong winds. Upon arriving realising the strength of the wind, we decided that it would be too difficult to fish with the float. I wasn’t sure whether the carp rod would be able to cope with the heavier leads needed to hold bottom in the strong tides but rigged it up with an up and over rig anyway and baited up with a chunk of herring.
While rigging up my second rod, I hadn’t noticed the line slacken on my other rod rigged up with a 2 hook flapper. I tightened the line back up to the lead then the rod tip just hooped over. It was a classic ray bite. I excitedly picked the rod back up and started reeling. The fish didn’t put up much of a fight, as people say it can be almost like reeling in a carrier bag. It’s safe to say that I was delighted with my capture, it was the first ray that either of us had caught from the Crouch. We were surprised to catch it on the top hook of the 2 hook flapper which I had baited with only a three inch piece of ragworm.
The herring on our up and over rigs wasn’t proving successful so we both opted to change over to squid. I pulled the head off the squid and stuffed it into the body before hooking it and wrapping it with bait elastic. I was really happy with the presentation. The squid had been in the water for about half an hour and I was debating bringing it in to put fresh bait on. Before I could decide, my rod hooped over and I was into my second skate of the day. This one felt much bigger and was darting left and right. It was putting a great bend into my 12ft carp rod. The tide still wasn’t in much and so we had to drag the fish a little way up the bank. As I was lifting the fish up the bank, the hook link snapped leaving the fish stranded on the clay. Without much hesitation I made my way down the slippery mud to unhook the fish and get a quick photo before slipping it back.
It was about an hour before any other bites came. It was finally my dad’s turn to catch one. We were both standing by my rods when his rod hooped over and my dad rushed to his rod, nearly slipping in his haste. It was his first ever thornback ray from the shore and he was absolutely chuffed. This fish also fell to a whole squid.
Shortly after slipping that fish back, I had another bite which resulted in another beautiful ray. This one fell to a whole ragworm and put up a great scrap on my 12ft carp rod.
Around half an hour later, I was rebaiting one of my rods. I looked up and my other rod was on the floor along with the tripod. What had happened? Had it blown over? I picked up the rod and something pulled back. I noticed the line wasn’t where I had cast. The fish had kited around about 50ft to the left and would have swam over my over line had I not just reeled it in to change the bait. It was probably the smallest one of the day but more than welcome.
Despite our best efforts, the last hour was drawing to a close and it was time to start packing up. As I mentioned at the start of the blog, I was heading out to dinner with some friends so we had to call it a day a little earlier than high tide. My dad went to reel his first rod in, ready to pack it away however the fish had other plans. He was hooked up but the fish on the end had given no indication that it was there. He reeled it in and it turned out to be the biggest fish of the day and brought out total fish count to six.
We finished packing up in a hurry as the fish had put us slightly behind schedule. It was a great afternoon spent with my dad and the fishing made it even better. It might be our last proper fishing session together of the year so it was great to end things on a high note with some amazing fish caught.
All Aboard!! Welcome back to another instalment of the JT Carpers blog, this week we have something a bit different to usual, an awesome little social sea fishing trip with the miniature comedian himself Jon over on the North Star!
So, usually we book a trip with Jon once a year, for something a bit different than the usual carping and also this man is just awesome, complete bonkers but awesome none the less, this time we decided to book the whole boat out to ourselves and get a group of us going. This time we had myself, Jack, My Dad, Mike, Eddie, Billy and Brandon. We were originally booked in for last year but due to restrictions etc we had to postpone it to this year.
We set off early to meet up with Captain Small at around 6.45am, Jon is based in Canvey Island from the Lobster Smack pub, I will leave a link to his Facebook at the end of the blog, if you ever fancied a trip then 100% go with this man, in the unfortunate event that you don’t catch anything just being around him will make the day a memorable one believe me.
So, after a short boat trip out we arrived at our first spot of the day and it wasn’t long before we were into our first fish and it went to my dad with his first ever Dab, awesome little fish and one we haven’t seen on the boat before so we were already off to a great start.
The action continued consistently for the next hour or two with Billy landing 3 fish and all being different species, firstly a small bass, followed by a pouting and then finally a lovely whiting, once again apart from the whiting all fish I hadn’t seen in the flesh before so a really good start.
As a group we continued to catch several fish between us, my first fish of the trip being this lovely little dogfish, not a new species for myself but they always put a up a good account of themselves and are always welcome on board because let’s face it, they are cool looking creatures! And kind of cute too.
Whiting were being caught left and right with a few dogfish thrown in, when the action dried up Jon would move us onto the next spot, this just shows how eager and decent of a Captain he is, some Captains would just sit on a spot all day and happily take your money, Jon is a firm believer in making the day as special and memorable for everyone as possible and this shines through with his attitude and willingness to help everyone, top man!
This continued throughout the day as when a spot dried up, we were onto the next one. Jack got amongst the action too with some lovely Bass and some cracking little dogfish! I also went on to land myself a new P.B Dab as it is currently the only dab I have ever caught, honestly despite what the picture looks like I was actually very happy with the capture!
Mike & Eddie were having a tough time of it on the other side of the boat, it always baffles me how you can be fishing all of 2 feet away from someone else yet they will catch quite a few fish whilst you may sneak the odd 1 or 2 out.
With the action drying up once again we moved onto our last spot of the day and what a spot it was! Within a minute of being on the new spot Eddie was into only his 2nd fish of the day! When he landed it, he was met with this awesome little Bass, a great fish to end the day on or so we thought, the bites just kept on coming! For everyone around the boat too, bass after bass after bass, Mike was also into a bass too so all in all this last spot really paid off.
Dad was met with a few dogfish and a lovely little pouting, Brandon was continuously catching throughout the day and had a good few on the last spot too, so all in all the final spot really paid off with everyone catching numerous fish.
To top the whole trip off, Jack caught himself a Sea Anemone (I believe that is what they are called?) Or as Jon liked to call them, the arseholes of the sea, quite fitting that Jack would catch a rather large arsehole 🙂
With that our time was up and we were on our way back into dock, what a fantastic day it was, I believe we had in excess of 40 fish between us and top rod going to Dad with him catching the most throughout the day, we are all eagerly excited for our next trip out with the legend that is Jon in the summer of next year to try and get amongst some awesome looking tope!
So once again thank you for reading our little blog, we love hearing the responses and feedback from you guys it really means a lot.
On the day before this i planned to meet up with a mate and go to a super well known mark that is crazy good for things like wrasse. I’ve always wanted to fish this spot as its the best wrasse spot near me unfortunately there is about a 20ft drop so you have to headline or get a dropnet… which i don’t own… that was the scariest part of this session!
Whilst my mate was tying up rigs and baiting up i had already started fishing i had to use a 3oz lead on a 5-20g lure rod just to reach the water because the wind was that strong! after perfecting the rig i smashed a white curly tail on and started jigging. it was a lovely day with a large swell and brilliant water clarity. Within 10 minutes i was in!
With screaming runs and powerful head shakes i knew this fish was a good one! I lowered off on the drag and let the fish run, i was super scared of it getting into a snag, thankfully it didn’t and when it emerged from the bottom i saw it, the colour, size, and aggression was awesome i was shaking s i hand lined the fish up with braid cutting through my hands at every grab but i wasn’t bothered i was too focused on getting the fish in my paws.
She was up and in my hands we poured water over a piece of plastic to keep her off the hard concrete and got the hook out, i was astonished, it was my dream fish and i had it in my hand! i was ecstatic
Throughout the rest of the day we didn’t have anything apart from another small wrasse and a pouting aka conger live bait!
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.
Whilst I am waiting for my new kayak to turn up I decided to have a trip with my mate on his sib and we ended up having a brilliant day! with loads and loads of fish showing!
As we hauled the engine and equipment up the beach and pumped up the boat we were gagging to get it and the weather looked absolutely perfect with no swell at all, like a millpond, flatter than a lake! until we found the underwater rocks! As we motored away from the populated beach spirits were high, conditions were perfect and it was all set in stone. As we reached our first spot is was very very shallow but we still managed 1 small schoolie bass before deciding to move a bit further out into deeper water. In the deeper water, it didn’t take long to bag the first Smoothounds on spider peeler crab and a few more bass on fresh dug local lugworm.
The day was going well we found shoals of bass and a good amount of hounds sat off on the rocks. After about a couple of bass in the first morning, my mate was into a good bite with a hard fight we were sure it was a bass due to the head shaking and when it showed it was a lovely legal bass.
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.
So on this day, I went out for an evening fishing trip from 16:00 – 20:00, I was out on my buddy charter that runs out of Ramsgate called “better days”. I arrived at the marina early to try and see if there was any mullet and if there was I was going to have a cast for them with my fly rod which is something I’ve wanted to do for ages. Unfortunately, despite the crystal clear blue water I failed to notice any feeding mullet at all!
So off we went the engine roaring to life and the vessel starting to move, Dan called in for permission to leave the harbour and the fishing journey had started! it was a pleasant day to be on the water with the flat calm seas rolling in and lots of fish coming aboard. the first hound came up within a matter of minutes and they just didn’t stop coming! the bite really really improved as the tide started to slacken off. with many hounds showing, a few dogs and one bass and a super pretty gurnard decided to show its face taking 2 prawns. I felt like we did pretty well especially considering the NE winds.
I made a video on this day covering most of the catches all the way from 16:00 – 20:00 check it out here!