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Helford Trip 2016

Discussion in 'Sea Fishing Forum - Shore, Boat & Kayak Fishing' started by Roger Melly, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. Roger Melly

    Roger Melly Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    Seeing as there has been so much talk about lack of reports, I thought I would put this report up.. our club 2015 trip to Helford in Cornwall, we booked 2 days, and they turned out better than we could have expected, not a lot of photos as the forum has many a thousand photos of Cod and Ling, just a few of a few of the lads and the area..

    We were aboard Blue Pointer, not a new Boat, but a large very seaworthy Aquastar,the owner/ skipper is Dan Gardener, and a more knowledgeable skipper I have ......never ever ... seen, he knows the grounds around The Manacles /Lizard area like the back of his hand.

    We always have a bit of a competition for our trips, day one largest fish, day two most species.

    Day one we sailed at 9.00am, and opted for 4 hrs wrecking, and 4 hours over what Dan called Hard Bumpy ground..


    The wrecking was hit and miss at first, we had a few Pollack, Cod , and Ling to about 12 lb on Shads and Firetail jellies, but nothing fantastic, we tried several wrecks, let me tell you , if you think Whitby has a good selection of wreck marks think again, the wrecks around Helford are so thick on the ground you only have a five to ten min sail from one to the next. The wreck marks were all in deep water from 250 to about 300 ft, which makes for a tiring day when you are winding up 10 or 12 oz of lead from that depth, plus fish.


    To be honest, the wrecking was a bit like Whitby... Cod Goggles, which really is OK when you want to fill a freezer, but IMO can be a bit boring when there are so many other species to target.

    After 4 hours and trying out a selection of artificials, we made a longer move and Dan suggested we try plain Hokkais with just a tip of squid,again over another wreck, this paid off well against Shads, scoring about 4 fish to the Hokkais to every 1 on Shads.
    One of us managed a specimen starfish on a shad, biggest I have seen .
    Day one we had Pollack to 11lb Cod, to about 8lb Ling, to 12 lb plus Pouting,and Whiting, there was a definite lack of Mackerel, which was a shame as I am sure with them we would have scored more Ling, we were using Pouting and Scad fillets, which work, but I think Mackies really have the edge for the bigger Ling.


    We spoke about day two and the species competition, this is where Dan excelled, he suggested we have limited drifts at each mark, 4 drifts maximum, so both sides of the boat had equal benefit and during the drift he would suggest what species to target on the next move, Dan seemed very keen on the species competition, as most of his crews wanted to bag up on Freezer fish, the species comp was something he could really get interested in as he spent a lot of his time mapping areas where different species were caught.

    We returned to Helford Passage that first day all having caught caught , nothing huge, in fact the biggest fish was only about 12 lb, but as they say, size isnt everything. The fish had all been kept in a large cool box on board, with an ice slurry, which kept them fresh ( dont see that very much in the UK ) they were all filleted on the way in, and Dan kept them in his home freezer for us .


    Day 2, Species Competition..

    We sailed at 9.00 am,on the way out of the estuary Dan asked if anybody had caught a Red Band fish, some of us had heard about them, nobody had seen one. Dan explained that he had found a mark, only about 50yds by 30 yds, with a muddy bottom in about 40 / 50 ft of water , it took careful positioning, but once on the mark we could target the Red Bands using very small Sabiki type Lures...and the first mark we hit was the Red Band mark,tackle was 10-15lb rods with 20 lb braid, or something close, very nice to use light gear ,Dan sorted out the drift, and suggested we all get the gear ready to drop as soon as he shouted, we were all armed with Sabikis or similar,and limited to 3 hooks all day whatever the species.

    Drop now shouted Dan, the water was about 50 ft deep,once down Dan shouted that we would feel the lead actually bury in the soft mud when it hit bottom, he was bang on, it could be pulled out with a gentle pull, and then could be felt dragging through the soft stuff. The Red Bands could hardly be felt attacking the Sabikis, just the most gentle of taps on the quivertips.
    e were all more or less into the red Bands at the same time, they really are the cutest of fish, looking at them closely you could see they were armed with needle sharp teeth but so small...... If they grew to be 5 or 6 feet long you certainly would not want one in the boat with you. We only had two drifts at that mark, just enough for everybody to manage at least one Red Band, then we were off.


    The sad thing about the Red Bands was that they didnt seem to survive being caught, and did not have the strength to return to the depths.

    Anyway, Dan shouted... next mark,5 mins, Haddock... we all changed rigs, using Ragworm, with a thin sliver of Whiting caught the day before, or Squid strip,the drift was set and Dan shouted drop now, we were using a selection of rigs, most of which were either 2 up 1 downs, or a variation of a single hook Portland Rig, baited with Rag and Squid tipping
    We dropped down and Dan shouted, should start getting bites....... now !

    How he knew beats me, but he was bang on, with the bait and rigs used I suppose any fish could have bitten, but yes, a few of us started to pick up Haddock, nothing else, just Haddock.... only perhaps up to 3 lb, but it was nice to see how the skipper could target species so accurately.

    After 3 drifts Dan shouted, wind up, Gurnard and Pout next... same rigs....after 10 mins Dan shouted Lines down, deeper water this time, probably 80 ft, beggar me, we started to pick up lovely little Red Gurnard, a few Tubs, and they were interspersed with Pouting , I would have expected maybe a Doggy or Whiting, but no, I asked Dan how he knew where what species would be, he replied it was just something he liked to mark up on his plotter when out and about, and over the years the knowledge just mounted up.

    The next drift I asked if we could cover some generally rough ground to see what else we could pick up . Dan agreed and after a short time he shouted drop now..this time we were using Hokkais, or 3 up plain hooks with beads and bling...we quickly started to wind in good sized Whiting, Poor Cod, Pouting, small Ling, Codling,Scad, a few smaller Pollack, this continued for a while, then Dan suggested a move inshore as the breeze was picking up, he knew a place where we could target Dab, then Plaice, Then Doggies... it was a good 15 min to the next mark, so we changed rigs again and had a bite to eat and a drink whilst moving.

    The same routine followed, once on the mark we dropped down, it took a second drift before the first Dab came aboard, then a few more, at the end of the second drift, Dan shouted, stay down, moving onto Plaice territory, within a minute I had a typical Plaice bite, tap tap Bang, missed it, so I gave a bit of line and waited, yes it came back and really hit the hook, not a big fish but pan size, so it went into the fish box with the other freezer fish, a couple more plaice came aboard....


    but no more Dabs, suddenly I had a fish on that didnt fight much, just a heavier weight on the line..... there"s your Doggy shouted Dan he was bang on, a Doggie of about 3 lb, came aboard and went straight back in again once unhooked.

    The day continued in the same manner until it was time to return to Helford Passage.


    In all we had 15 different species, the second day,including a couple of stray Mackerel that came along, the only ones we saw in two days.We never once saw a Wrasse, although when I later mentioned it Dan said we could have had as many as we wanted, it was just nobody mentioned it, and we had been running out of time anyway.
    Dan said that the Mackerel were very late this year, and a knock on effect was that the Bass, and Tope were also late as well..

    Boat Fishing in Cornwall is as different from Whitby as chalk and cheese, although the same Whitby Shadding tactics did bring Cod and Ling aboard , so different techniques do travel.

    Species list was..

    Poor Cod
    Red Band Fish http://britishseafishing.co.uk/red-bandfish/
    Red Gurnard
    Tub Gurnard

    The Helford River is a magical place,only the one charter boat, but lots of dingies, motor cruisers, private fishing boats, a couple of inshore netters and other craft moor up there, there is a small ferry that crosses the river from Helford Passage to Helford Village, and only the two pubs, one either side of the river.



    I can recommend Blue Pointer and Dan Gardener as a good choice if you are ever in
    the area.

    Thanks for taking the time to read.

  2. robq

    robq Rockling

    Really great report and pics :) thanks for sharing

    Those red band fish are curious little things :eek:
  3. Mick Gibson

    Mick Gibson Whitby Fishing Forum _ Simply The Best

    What a great report, thanks for taking the time to share. If we could only get regular reports half as good as what you have presented what a site this would be. Looking forward to reading more of your outings.

    Hopefully I'm in Whitby on Friday so who knows I might be in a position to provide a report of the day.
  4. rupert

    rupert Blenny

    Brilliant report - I really enjoyed reading that. :)

    I had never even heard of red band fish - I looked at the photo for a while and thought they were some sort of launce till I read further!

    Variety is the Spice of life and all that. Certainly plenty of variety on your trip, which made for very refreshing reading.

    Glad you had a great trip - it's certainly a fair old drive.
  5. Howard

    Howard Blenny

    Ace piece thanks. Surprised haddock are down there in numbers wish there were more of them up here although they do appear to be making a slow comeback.
    What a lovely looking port to go fishing from.
  6. dabcatcher

    dabcatcher Blenny

    i thoroughly enjoyed reading that, thanks.
  7. wilky

    wilky Blenny

    Roger I was one of those that had never heard of the red band fish, so I followed your link - interesting little fish. With there being no boat caught record, why not submit a claim?

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