Trip #94 – Go Small or Go Home
Contrary to the popular saying “Go big or Go home”, after some trial and error on one my most recent trips (before the blustery onset of winter) size definitely does matter. The tides were looking favourable and on the whole I don’t mind an early start, it also meant that I would be home well before lunch. So when the alarm went at 5, I was up and out the door not long after, driving my way down to Lyme Regis. This early in the morning parking was free, but I had enough change to cover a few hours, if the fish felt like actually biting. I was starting to become disillusioned with constantly blanking while spinning, and was hoping a different stretch of beach may help to break my duck.
|Nice to get out so early.|
Today I would be starting along the Cobb and the beach to the right of it. There was a bit of a swell, but otherwise the water was a nice clear blue. My setup today was simple, I swapped my shock leader to 25lb amnesia, rather than the hefty 40lb I has been using over the ledges a few weeks earlier. Also instead of going for my preferred Panic Prey I would be using a Jelly Minnow and bouncing it back along the bottom. Indeed, this was confirmed to be the correct approach by another angler who told me he “had cleaned up” using the very same lure a few days previous. I’m always dubious of anyone admittingthey “cleaned up”. As a reasonably confident coarse angler the term clean up means A LOT of fish, but this new venture in to sea fishingeant I was learning to adjust my expectations.
After 30 minutes of casting around off the Cobb I hadn’t had so much as a take. The other angler walked passed and told me to try off the beach, and there were fishing moving. You don’t have to tell me twice! I wound in and headed around to the beach and sure as the sea, there were fish being chased through the surf! Actual fish! Not figments of my imagination. I cast beyond them and bumped my lure across the shingle. Nothing. Another 15 minutes followed and I was yet to get a bite, despite watching the fish move in the top layers. Switching to the Panic Prey I hoped it would make a difference. 2 clear follows on the first few casts but no takes. I continued using the surface lure for the next hour or so, when I remembered I needed to buy a car park ticket. I paid for a few more hours, but in the process nipped over to The Tackle Box to ask for some advice. The chap in the shop was really helpful, and after asking him several questions it was clear that the lures I had started using were far too big. I ended up buying a SeaSpin Pro Q90 and a small 7cm Rapala.
|A massive jellyfish washed up as I began fishing|
Walking back down to the beach I clipped up the Sea Spin and began casting out. It is a very light lure and subsequently my casts were rather reduced in distance. Still, I managed 25-30 yards and I could see the lure bobbing around on the surface. I began retrieving and with a bit of a rod tip wiggle the lure was really starting to look great. So great that I saw a Bass following the lure and watched it break the surface, but turn away at the last minute. Damn!
I recast of the same area, and began the same retrieve pattern! Within 10 seconds, something out of the blue had come up and nailed this new little lure! This was my first ever shore caught fish using a plug, so naturally my heart was in my mouth! I brought to the shore a Bass of around 2 1/2lbs. Not a monster by any stretch, but I was over the moon to have caught something, and better yet my intended species. After unhooking the fish and quickly photographing it I slipped it back. It charged off, back out to sea!
|I was over the moon to catch my first Bass on a lure.|
Looking out at the water there was quite a lot of movement just beyond the swell (it wasn’t even swell, just slow rolling waves), but it was difficult to work out if it was Bass moving or Mullet, or both. I didn’t have the equipment for Mullet though, I will be packing some next time!
After 10 minutes I moved 10 – 15 yards to my right and began casting, I had another take straight away, although this fish tore off and shook the hook in seconds! I carried on fishing like this for the next hour, but didn’t manage another fish (sadly). Still I hadn’t blanked, so this was definitely a positive result for me. I also think I gained a greater understanding of what the fish take in this region, and I had been over gunning it with big lures, massively reducing my chances.
Again, I was in danger of getting caught out by the absolute mental cost of parking in Lyme, so had to call it a day. However I am looking forward to returning next spring/summer to try and catch a few more. Although, thanks to the EU those fish will all be returned too! No supper for me!
Anyway, lure fishing in Lyme Regis (now that I’m getting to grips with it) is a really exciting way to fish. The use of surface lures means you are watching all the action, so a lot of the time your heart is in your mouth! The explosion of LRF lure fishing has also meant that the market is flooded with an enormous amount of lightweight, affordable and reliable gear which opens up this kind of fishing to so many more people (the lures I used weigh no more than 10/12 grams). If you fancy a few hours, some fresh air and some potentially heart racing action I fully recommend this style fishing!