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A watched pot never boils

Discussion in 'Sea Fishing Forum - Shore, Boat & Kayak Fishing' started by rupert, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. rupert

    rupert Blenny

    ………and a watched fishing float never goes under either – but turn your back for a second and if it’s going to go, you can bet your bottom dollar it will vanish the one moment your concentration wanders. :blindfold: That’s certainly how it felt for me last Saturday, when we were out float fishing launce for the pollock and bass!

    The plan for the day had been a two pronged approach. We (John Hudson and I) were to target tope for part of the day providing we could locate and source a few fresh mackerel. I’d brought along half a dozen supermarket mackerel purchased at the end of the previous day, so we could get a start, but we would need to bolster these with fresh baits, to tope fish for any length of time.

    As we feathered for launce, we saw a number of gannets dive-bombing only a few hundred metres away, so we wound in and sped towards the wheeling terns and gannets. Six metres beneath the boat we encountered mackerel, but these where no longer or thicker than our thumbs – absolutely miniscule joeys and far too small for bait. Interestingly, the launce had risen right up the water column and although the boat was in 18 to 20 metres of water, the launce and mackerel were all within the top quarter of the sea. The wooden courge was relatively easy to fill and sufficient launce were soon held captive. These varied in size from pencil size to what a few of what John and I call ‘snake’ launce, similar in dimension to a stick of rock. There was also one solitary decent mackerel. These things have just been so unpredictable this year – I’ve never known a year for mackerel, or lack of them, like 2009! :suspious:

    Once we got float fishing, the gin clear clarity of the sea reminded me of the West coast of Scotland. This was the first time this year, when the dappled surface calmed, that I could peer over the side of the boat in 12 feet of water and still see the seabed. These conditions would up the anti in favour of our quarry. Our baits would be clearly visible to the predatory fish waiting to ambush from below, but they would be unforgiving to crude presentation. Longer traces, giving the bait more free movement would be the order for the day.

    My first bite came in under ten minutes of starting. One of those unmissable looking bites where the float steams away into the depths. The wind down met with no resistance, but the float resurfaced briefly, before stabbing down again, as the fish came back to take the launce once more. Right. This time then! Wind down – nothing. This happened three times in quick succession before the fish finally moved on. :angry: I cursed out loud asking how many chances did I need?

    The boat was repositioned, so we could cover the same underwater ledge again, but the drift seemed to be taking us in a slightly different direction to the last. I glanced down at the fish finder to check the depth and on looking back up couldn’t see my float! The yellow top was no more than 10 metres from the boat last time I looked, but was now no-where to be seen. This time, the wind down connected and I immediately knew that I’d hooked a decent pollock. The crash dives feel like something else on a spinning rod and at times, some of the dives hooped the rod right over and pulled the rod tip completely underwater. Pollock really are at their best on a spinning rod and a true sporting fish. Provided you don’t let your float go too far from the boat and you keep your rod high, you can maintain a fairly vertical fight and keep them away from the troublesome kelp. After a spirited tussle, the bronze flanks showed and John netted this fish for me, a beauty of 9¼ lbs.


    Another smaller 4lb pollock fell to me, and then John had a small bass. By midday we’d had a few pollock and bass aboard, but between us, missed loads more bites. The fish were certainly there, but they were being cute (or were we just being incompetent??). Meanwhile we listened to reports over the VHF of how some of the other private boats were fairing; plenty of ling, a good deal of lost tackle and one or two nice cod were reported from the wrecks.

    As we’d had our strings pulled nicely in the morning, a quick move was in order to see if we could bag a Bridlington tope on one of the banks near the Smithwick sands in the afternoon. Three uptide rods were set up for tope and the fourth rod set up with a smaller hook and mackerel strip for a thornback. John had managed this beauty from the same mark when we fished with ‘Browny’ a couple of years ago – so this 14lb thornback from 2006 was the target to beat!


    The supermarket mackerel, despite being bought from the ‘fresh’ fish counter the previous afternoon and being refrigerated until the morning looked dire. The colour had washed out the flanks and the bellies had a jaundiced yellow hue. :vomit: Yuck. Is there any wonder mackerel has such a poor culinary reputation??….The tope must have shared these same views and despite trying a tail section of the one fresh mackerel and even trying some of the giant snake launce as live baits, the uptiders remained undisturbed. By mid afternoon, I was having second thoughts about our chances with such low grade mackerel, so it was agreed that we up anchor and make the best of the last hour we had available, whilst we had some good launce left.

    Soon we were back float fishing in the same area, but the fish were not having it. We had only 50 minutes fishing time left before we needed to start heading back in and as ever, I wanted just one more fish! At the end of the ‘trot’, winding the bait in quickly for a few turns of the handle to lift the launce towards the surface can sometimes trigger a reaction, but even this tactic failed to help.

    On one of the drifts the boat came into some shallow water and I suggested to John that we fish this shallow drift as long as we safely could. The water was around 6’ deep, but shallowing, so the stop knot was re-adjusted and I cast parallel to the shore. We needed to keep our wits about us in the shallow water and I glanced back to check the depth over the side. Hang on, where’s my float gone? The wind down connected and the solid resistance and run immediately spelt bass and quite a nice one too. (I find the fight is just the opposite of pollock’s vertical crash dives, a bass’s run is a much horizontal experience). Meanwhile, the boat was getting nearer the rocks and John had the dilemma of what to man first - the landing net or the outboard! The bass was scooped up in the nick of time enabling John to take the boat back into deeper water again. This one weighed 5¼ lbs, a really handsome looking fish and the best bass of the day and looking back, I now regret not getting a picture of it, as it would only have taken a moment. In the last few minutes I managed two more small schoolies, before we had to wrap up and call an end to what had been a cracking day.

    Lessons learnt for me – don’t watch your float – you’ll get far more bites! :embarrass: Don’t be in a rush to get back fishing, sacrifice a moment and take the photo opportunities when they present themselves. :yes:
  2. mattylamb

    mattylamb Rockling

    awesome report again rupert. sounds like a great day and you are dead right about getting bites when you are not concentrating!
  3. smokey

    smokey Rockling

    Superb report as usual Rupert :cool: :happy: tight lines
  4. dan the pollock

    dan the pollock Rockling

    great report
  5. carpyken

    carpyken New Member

    What a fantastic report, some of us are only just cutting our baby teeth on live launce fishing, it really is an exciting way of fishing, I still have to learn how to keep them out of the kelp yet though :happy:
  6. Sambo

    Sambo To the MAX!

    As always a fantastic report Rupert, that Pollock is a beauty :cool: I really fancy doing some float fishing with livebaits but I have really struggled to find the baits when required. I'll definitely be float fishing plenty next summer though :yes:
  7. newdave

    newdave Guest

    great report Rupert, as Kens says we are novices at this game, but my experience on the first attempt was the same, after studiously watching the float for some time i got a bit bored & stuck the rod in the rest whilst I had a sandwich. next minute the other lads are shouting & i turn round to see the rod doing a war dance & line being pulled from the drag. I picked it up & it was definitely a good fish but came off before i saw it. It was going sideways at speed & did not take me down into the kelp so i presume it was a Bass.

    I also learned that you can be too hasty striking as well, the session i had at whitby catching pollock & coalie, i lost about the first 3 fish, then Glenn suggested i give it more time, by letting the float go down a couple of feet i managed to hook nearly 100% from then on.

    bait collection is definitely the problem for us yakkers, the 3 mile trip to the smithicks to get bait is not a problem but it takes a fair bit of time out of the day, what we are able to collect easily are billet & pollock pars, have you tried those as livebait ?
  8. go go gadget

    go go gadget Rockling

    fantastic report rupert, cheers for sharing it
  9. Supersonic

    Supersonic Whitby Bass Club

    Great report mate, I really enjoyed reading that :yes: :happy:

    It's so true about not watching out, the fish always bite when you're not ready for some reason. About a month ago I was fishing from the acropods at Scarborough, hadn't had a touch for two hours... but as soon as our lass had a wonder over with some hot food and I was securely holding it in both hands the tip went banging over :hurt: of course I missed the bite. Same again on Saturday, 3 hours without a touch on the beach... I wonder 5 yards to talk to Andy and my rod nearly gets ripped out the rest. Gone. :sick:

    It is nice when you go for a slash or something and get back to find slack line everywhere. That's happened before for me and I got a nice Smoothy so shouldn't complain too much :cheesy:
  10. ducky

    ducky maybe one day...

    What a great report. It took me a wile to read. But dam its worth it. Well done
  11. adrenalin.

    adrenalin. Blenny

    top report once again :embarrass:
  12. Baramundi Bob

    Baramundi Bob Super Leeds United !!!

    As always, a quality report Rupert. It looked like a great day out and well done on the big pollack.
  13. langy

    langy Rockling

    great report :)
  14. rupert

    rupert Blenny

    "what we are able to collect easily are billet & pollock pars, have you tried those as livebait ?"

    Spawny - No, I haven't tried them, but I can't see why they shouldn't catch, as long as they remain wick. The test might be how resilient they are, both in storage and in use.

    The tiny joeys I tried a few weeks back croaked in the courge before we got to the mark and the sprats I feathered croaked in a bucket on deck, before they even got near it!

    The sprats, shallow fried in seasoned flour and a squeeze of lemon over, made a fantastic starter for tea that evening though. :hungry: :hungry:
  15. Baramundi Bob

    Baramundi Bob Super Leeds United !!!

    They store well and do work. Young Dan has used them to good effect.
  16. biscuitlad

    biscuitlad Guest

    Thanks for the write up Rupert. Can you tell us how you hook the launce?
  17. Lindisfarne

    Lindisfarne New Member

    Excellent report, I love float fishing but struggle with my stop knots :hurt:........

    I think we have all noticed a decline in the Mackerel stocks this summer. There's a few schools of thought as to the shortage but I think it will become clearer over the next few months. Iv'e heard mutterings of a shift in tidal currents that took place in early spring that took our Mackerel stocks North towards Iceland rather than them following the normal flow and migrating Southwards down through the North Sea. ????
  18. rupert

    rupert Blenny

    I use a single 2/0 Owner hook. It's been a really lucky hook too - I've used the same one all summer!!!
    Put it through the top jaw only of the launce, immediately above the point where the top and bottom jaws meet, so the hook point is uppermost above the head of the eel. This way allows the launce to breath and the hook has a good hold of the bait for a nice gentle cast and shouldn't get ripped off at the first enquiry.

    Hooking the fish on launce can be a bit hit and miss. Some days you connect with over 80% or more of bites, other day's it's nearer 50/50. On these difficult days when I'm missing bites, I've tried waiting longer before winding down and also using smaller baits, but it rarely improves the ratio. For some reason, when bites have plentiful I've connected with more than when bites have been hard to come by.
  19. Howard

    Howard Blenny

    When we had some joeys the other week they kept alive with the eels fine for a couple of hours. As well as billets Ive been told by a proven "bass pair team"that small whiting work well too. These thing should be all over shortly.Unless they dont show like the mackys!
  20. Benq23

    Benq23 Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    great report mate, would like to have a go livebaiting myself but never got round to it this year
    know exactly what you mean about fish biting when your not looking, when i used to coarse fish, a sure fire way of seeing if you were going to get a bite was to put the rod down and pour a coffee, sure enough, every bloody time the float went under :)
    I think the little buggers have periscopes

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