Truly Madly deeply – The Art of Dredging with Saltwater Flies or at least trying too
Jul21

Truly Madly deeply – The Art of Dredging with Saltwater Flies or at least trying too

Fly fishing in deep water is not easy . It requires patience and heaps of practice but the rewards are out there if you can master this discipline . I have a few techniques and observations I can share within this blog . I hope it all makes sense and gets you motivated to get down on it !  Fly fishing in 50 to 60 foot of water with 1.5 knots of tide , wind over tide is an art form and something that I have been trying to perfect for some time now . Its requires a great deal of patience , intuition and a sixth sense to figure just where your fly may be  in the water column at any given time  . I still have a long way to go to be able to say that I have nailed it . The problem with being the skipper all the time is its hard for me to spend a great deal of time with a fly rod in my hand. I can fish a lure rod quite effectively while controlling the boat around the rocks , the fly rod is long and time consuming and the fly line catches every conceivable snag around the consul. .Sometimes if I don’t actually get on the bow and have a cast and watch the way that the wind and tide are working and the angle and decent of the fly line . I just don’t know what I need to do with the boat and how best to set up the drifts for a client. Lure fishing transformed my catches   7 years ago and even more so the mighty Fiiish Minnow .The ability to hold a lure down in the tide and control its depth via a mixture of density , tide , wind and retrieve opened my fishery and my results bloomed , at last I was catching those bigger Bass that I had only ever bumped into once or twice a year at best when I fished the fly rod  . It was an piffany so to speak  A Paddle tail shad catches big fish with almost zero input from the angler at times , when my clients over work the lures despite my advice I have been known to use shock tactics to get the message to’ mellow it out’ by proclaiming that’ if i put a rod in the rod holder and let the lure flutter away out there  it will catch more fish than everyone else on the boat combined ‘ That tends to get the message across . The ability of these minnows to scour the depths and cover so much new water also brought...

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Fiiish Crazy eel
Jul19

Fiiish Crazy eel

There are plenty of signs that Im getting older , my beard is grey , my eyesight is diminishing , a couple of rouge hairs have even sprouted in my ears . Perhaps more worrying is the fact that I am becoming somewhat set in my ways . The crazy eel might be another example of this.  Its been around for a couple of years now ,my ever kind sponsors Fiiish  UK sent me a batch to play around with and if I am honest I didn’t really take to the lure which did leave me feeling slightly awkward . Everything I read or saw on the internet suggested that I needed impart massive movements into the rod and fish the lure way faster than my normal super slow approach . The result being that when I did use the lure I only ever landed small Bass . I don’t think this big ones like to burn more fuel than is absolutely necessary .Well this year after a chance encounter on the water I have finally got to grips with the crazy eel and actually I think that it is now sitting level with Fiiish Minnows when it comes to my catches .   So whats changed ? We have some really cool new colours out there .I personally love the gold bodies , it just looks like the real thing . I am also becoming increasingly confident with the pure white bodies . Bass love white lures and wrasse don’t , I love a big wrasse but they do chew through so many of my soft lures over the course of a fishing season . If people want to catch them thats fine with me but personally I would not set my alarm for 3 am to pursue them . I want Bass and big ones preferably !  At this stage I have been almost exclusively fishing the 150 mm version . Thats big enough to tempt momma but small enough to entertain and 2 lb bass . Its the way I fish the eel that I think has made all the difference , rather than sweep the rod or impatiently crank the lure I have taken to slow Fiiish minnow style retrieves with the occasional mellow sweep , or at times even dead sticking the lure and letting it flutter about on the tide ,  a light wind against tide is perfect for this as it allows you to fish the lure downstream of the boat”  on the hang ” .You can retrieve the lure 50 feet then open the bail arm and let it drift away from the boat on the tide . One...

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5 Nautilus years on Zen2
Jul10

5 Nautilus years on Zen2

Over the years I have had plenty of clients ask me about how well my fly reels have performed and it seems that over the last few trips everyone has been asking me . So I decided it certainly deserves a mention on my blog . Over the last 12 years I have used and abused so many reels in the saltwater . Vosslers are dead and drags seized , greys rotted out , Abels are solid workhorses but rather heavy and too expensive  . The original Nautilus CCF reels had drag issues , I have trashed my hatch reels with salt build ups and sticky drags . I have a Tibor Pacific that sounds like a tractor . I dread to think how much money I have blown away over the years through a mixture of hard fishing and periods of neglect ?   The Nautilus FWX reels are by no means at the top of the range . Actually the drags were never designed to stop a GT but they do us fine here in the Uk , well thats mostly true , a big Pollock has astonishing power when it takes a dive back down and if and when I hook into double figure Pollock on the fly I do have to palm the FWX , that said I actually quite enjoy that feeling of loss of control , it adds to the excitement in a way . The maintenance schedule on my nautilus reels has been non existent , they will often get a hose over when I get home but thats it . I cringe when I think of how many rods and reels I have worn through , broken ,even lost overboard ( That leads into a good story to tell later ) So 5 years later I find myself considering an upgrade to the latest equivalent , the X frame , but if I am honest it would just be a flight of fancy all the while my reels are working 100 % and my bank balance remains somewhat sticky . So that concludes my 5 year review of the Nautilus reels on Zen2 10 out 0f 10 . I wish I could say the same for so many other bits of kit that just could not take the constant abuse .   Fly rod overboard  One day a few  years ago I shared the boat with a client , we were both fly fishing . I decided to give the fly rod a rest . so I wound all the line and some of the leader into the rings . I just had 3 foot of leader dangling outside the rod tip ....

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Homelands , hopes and fears
Jun06

Homelands , hopes and fears

After the disappointing Eddystone campaign I really needed a good days fishing so yesterday I went out with fingers crossed  . The tides are dropping out into weak neaps . I have found that the evening flood tides best suit this situation so I decided to fish 1 pm to 9 pm .  My first suggestion was we try surface lures in around 35 foot of water and the first cast of the first drift pulled a big bass straight to the top . The take was huge . This was a much needed big bass with a Patchinko in its mouth. Over the years I have learned that big fish are so often lost due to over tight drags , if you hook a bass cleanly in the top lip you can easily rip a big enough hole in the mouth that a good headshake will throw the hook, my screw up but my drag was set too tight , as I fumbled for the drag the fish pulled hard and she was gone ! GUTTED ! My diary is down this year and a big bass with a surface lure in its mouth is always good for business . The next cast produced a big boil at the side of the boat , despite the lack of fish on the fish finder there were obviously a few Bass around . An hour or two trying various spots had produced nothing more than Pollock . So it was time to move on to an old favourite of mine , the ebb tide was pretty much done and we drifted at only 0.5 knots over the ground . When we  drift large open areas I try to cover as much water as possible by long range casting in opposite directions with one guy either end of the boat . Steve was on the bow casting out into open water and Mac was at the blunt end casting towards the shore . I call this a ‘searching drift’ .  Steve soon  hooked and landed a lovely Bass on the Fiiish 150 Blue rigged with the 30 g jig head . After my tight drag screw up earlier in the day I could not have been more concerned that Steve did not suffer the same fate and I loosened  his drag twice during the fight . When you hook a fish at long range theres only so much pressure you can exert on a fishes mouth , as the fish gets closer I loosen off , I would rather spend a couple of extra minutes with a loose drag than haul hard and pop the hook. I know I am  labouring...

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Bass fishing Eddystone May 2017
May31

Bass fishing Eddystone May 2017

May 2017 signalled my 5 th visit to Plymouth , well 6 actually as in 2015 I fished May and September. Every year is slightly different and I always have a few hard days but enough great days to keep me returning year after year. The Stone is a unique place it has an atmosphere of its own . It can be crowded when the bite is on and it can be tedious when the bite is off , one thing that has remained consistent has been the vast volume of fish out there , if these fish were there to feed we would land hundreds of fish in a day. Finding the fish is the easy part , catching them can be a whole different ball game . I can only ponder as to why these fish are there in such numbers , the volume of sand eel  out there can be equally staggering but the weird thing is that the Launce live at one end of the reef and the Bass live at the other  , its rare to find the bass attacking these shoals or at least I have never seen it . I will never forget my last day of my 2016 campain, we were struggling and after several fruitless hours we decided it was time to move off and try and make the best of a bad situation and fish for Pollock or anything that might put a bend in our rods . I moved off the reef and fished about 6 miles away . Things were equally torturous and my 6 mile diversion resulted in one cuckoo wrasse on the boat , things were going from bad to worse .I felt frustrated and embarrassed . As we fished the deep water my eye kept glancing towards the lighthouse and despite the additional cost of the fuel I decided to head back . It was boiling hot , flat calm and slack water . The vast shoal of bass had decided to sunbathe and soak up a few rays of sun and even better we had the place to ourselves . I’ve seen this elsewhere and its always an amazing spectacle when it happens . They started chasing tiny baitfish on the surface , it was awesome to see so many bass shooting past the bow of the boat . We landed plenty and the day had turned into a success .You have to play the long game on the Stone and wait for the bite .   So I have just returned from what I must say has been a very tough 10 day campaign, 4...

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2017 Mission Statement
Mar21

2017 Mission Statement

Zen2 , always on a mission . I cant believe its actually spring at last ! Obviously 2016 was somewhat of a disaster for me from July onwards thanks to that wipe out at the skatepark This has been the longest winter ever for me . I just cant wait to get out there again under the cliffs , out on the reefs and most importantly having a good giggle with you guys ! Every year I need new challenges and goals to keep it fresh . This year I will be spending a great deal more time out on the North Coast of Cornwall fishing out of Hayle and pointing Zen2 West towards to Lands end . The scenery and potential on that stretch of coast is truly epic . In a way it represents the last un turned stone of West Cornwall for me . This approach of never sitting still keeps me excited and hopefully that excitement is felt by you guys .If I am not learning I go stale , thats the way I am wired . By booking Zen2 you can never be 100 % sure what we will be doing until its time to launch . Heaven forbid the day I am stuck in Falmouth with limited options flogging the manacles . I love the reef but there is so much more out there and the wind swings around 360 degrees . Rendering falmouth bay un fishable for days and sometimes weeks at a time . Tackle wise I will continue with Fiiish lures , The Majorcraft Syroads have done us proud . I have brand new Certate Heavy duty reels all ready to go . Fly Rods from Hardy and Sage , Nautilus reels , Flies homegrown as always .We have the amazing Garmin Panoptix system on the boat . This has proved itself invaluable already and it would be a tough day were I to go back to traditional historical data fish finder systems . I get a live feed under my boat . I want to see more fly guys tussling big fish on Zen2 . Its hard to believe I was 100 % fly only a few years ago . If I had the same number of fly guys I used to have on the boat we would see so many more big Bass and Pollock bending fly rods double . Its down to me to get those fly guys motivated. Its a shame that I pulled out from the St Mawes Fly fishing festival but once I was forced to share the room with fools I was left...

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A new  horizon for bass ?
Mar01

A new horizon for bass ?

I confess that I wrote this blog on December 16 th . So I am rather late publishing but it still seems relevant or perhaps more so ?   Today Im just back from the Cornwall IFCA meeting and I have a big grin on my face , at last after God knows how many years of campaigning I was there to witness the show of hands from committee members supporting the netting ban inside our estuaries. This is just one more huge stepping stone on the way to a well managed bass fishery capable of supporting a large number of low impact high yield stakeholders . Hook and line commercial fishermen will be just as encouraged by this as the most hardened shore anglers who catch and release all Bass. Its been the week of weeks in Bass management and campaigning and I can honestly say I feel quite emotional about whats happening. I remember perhaps 8 years ago things were looking so grim. I honestly did wonder if my son would ever have a bass fishery out there in his adulthood. The implications of the new legislation from Brussels this week is collosal . It wasn’t so long ago that we had the increase in minimum landing size , introduction of  bag limits , close seasons , monthly catch allowances for commercial harvesting . Things are heading in the right direction after decades of neglectful management. Plus we have had the added bonus of mild winters enhancing Juvenile mortality figures , talking of which the man , the legend Derek Goodwin was there to witness the meeting . He is one of the countless hidden heroes in the story of Bass conservation and a true gentleman who has been taking samples of  Year 0 class bass for decades.   At that meeting today I realised that I knew at least a third of the committee members , most  of the IFCA staff and likewise most of the anglers there to witness the meeting. This is the result of years of dogged harassment on my part. I tend to have far more enthusiasm than base knowledge but I made it a personal mission to pester everyone I could about bass years ago . I remember then CIFCA chief officer  Eddy Derryman and his next in command  invited me to a private meeting following years of endless emails and phone calls from me . I focused on the MLS if i remember correctly . I was confronted  with the reality that I faced a wall of bureaucracy and numerous departments , MMO , DEFRA , CIFCA . My head was spinning !! I was certainly...

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2017 tides
Dec07

2017 tides

Ok here we have the 2017 tidal curves.These are always popular .  I always seek those up curves from neaps to spring tides first when booking charters on Zen2  then fill in the gaps therafter . Lets hope for a  great year. Lets hope I don’t break any arms or dislocate any shoulders in 2017 ! I will remember 2016 for the wrong reasons, a few of those big bass we landed helped with the memories ....

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Garmin Panoptix ( Sight fishing at 70 feet)
Nov24

Garmin Panoptix ( Sight fishing at 70 feet)

There’s nothing more exquisite than watching a fish intercept your fly or lure , rejections are almost as exciting as takes from fish , perhaps more so ? . Im lucky enough to have spent quite some time tropical flats fishing over the years and the sight fishing aspect is the major pull , you just cant beat watching a fish eat your bait   . These days Im far more focused on my domestic bass fishing and the pursuit finds me fishing all manner of depths and locations. Once I find fish in more than 50 foot of water I tend to focus almost exclusively on vertical fishing with metal jigs or Fiiish lures  . I often fish heavy ground with all manner of nasty pinnacles and snaggy lure munchers , snagging the bottom has become par for the course when the tides ripping hard and the fish are hugging the bottom or tight in behind the lumps . I have lost upto 20 lures and leaders  in a session between myself and my clients . If the fish are hard on the ground you have to get that lure right in amongst them , somedays they wont budge from the sea bed  . In the old days  I would have to intercept the information the fish finder displays and then try to fish the ground accordingly  with a huge element of guesswork  or even worse try to convey that information to my clients quickly . The problem with traditional sonar is all the data is historical . With Panoptix you get a live feed , its like watching your lure on a TV screen . I can track the bottom and constantly adjust the lure to suit . That in itself is already revolutionising my vertical jigging , theres nothing  more exciting is watching the fish , swimming back and forth below the boat . I can see a fish 30 feet to port or starboard accelerate towards the lure , whats quite shocking is just how many fish will come along and inspect my offering before turning away . It has to be seen to be believed just how many fish are sniffing your baits without you ever knowing . its almost depressing to see so many rejections take place down there. Mackerel shoals are fascinating to watch , they take the form of tornado as they swim around in circles and flutter from one side of the boat to the other . Sharks are big blobs on the screen that just linger or circle slowly . As time goes by I can actually see the different rhythms and formations fish of down there .  ...

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A call to ” Arms ” !!
Sep30

A call to ” Arms ” !!

The day started so well on the 30 th july , a dawn patrol out of mylor and plenty of good quality bass landed on surface lures, big bass hitting a Patchinko has to be regarded as the ultimate start to a day  . Later in the day I had my traditional bass Fishermans afternoon kip and decided to go to the skatepark for a session in the bowl , at 7 pm I pushed it too hard , the back wheels skidded out and I slammed side on into the face of the bowl , my humerus bone snapped clean in two .   I actually called Matt jones and Mac while I awaited the ambulance to tell him the bad news, zen 2 would not be launching on Sunday morning . That was 10 weeks ago now , my arms healing well . It has been as painful mentally as it has physically . I have an x ray next Wednesday . My gut feeling is that the doctors will tell me that its time to start physiotherapy . My greatest challenge now will be to rebuild the muscles and get the mobility back in my arm . I  am desperate to get back out there and  have been rescheduling bookings into November. Its the prime month for catching bass on the south coast and I have no intention of missing it but given that I can not lift the weight of my arm its going to be a fight .     I have pretty much disappeared from the radar for for 10 weeks now but I need to reach out and ask for help . We have seen so many changes in commercial and recreational bass fishing legislation recently , mostly for the better and I believe we are starting to see the positive benefits on the water , there remains one stone that has not been overturned and now at last the one thing that has always and depressed me the most in the fishery is under the spotlight . I have always made this my personal mission and I (amongst other people )  have been harassing Cornwall Ifca to sort this out for years . This is the big opportunity to end the disgusting practice of netting inside our estuaries , the small community of fishermen and poachers out there know this has been coming and I imagine most of them have realised that their days are numbered , we have a new MLS , closed seasons , shut the pair trawling down , bag limits , commercial catch limits . You cant expect to make the...

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Garmin Panoptix — Shark fishing Cornwall
Jul08

Garmin Panoptix — Shark fishing Cornwall

Changing your whole marine electrons system over is quite a big thing  and even more so when you depend on the kit day in and day out . I remember when I switched from a PC to a Mac it was a big jump into the unknown . Like wise switching from my previous system to  Garmin Panoptix does take a little time to adjust too . Old dogs and new tricks springs to mind ! Two days ago I headed out too sea with the newly installed Panoptix Down transducer . I did have a quick play with the system the day before and I figured  that based on what I was seeing on screen when pollock fishing , shark fishing with the system could be rather exciting. I was right !   With the Panoptix we could clearly watch our baits descend down through the water column to the required depths and then set them accordingly . We had one bait set at 30 foot and another at 60 , as is often the way with shark fishing the next thing to do is wait . Three hours later the first shark showed up . I was busy  relaxing on the bow of the boat soaking up some rays , Sam changed his bait and as he dropped it down the first shark grabbed hold of it . I ran back to the consul and yes there was the shark clearly circling on screen as Sam tussled . Much to our surprise it turned out to be a Porbeagle , first shark of the year and its a Porby !! An amazing start to my sharking year .   It was the capture of the next shark that really did bring home the capabilities of Panoptix , as this time we saw the fish circling below prior to the hook up. Its pretty exciting watching your bait drop down onto the nose of a fish , at first I dropped too deep I could clearly see my bait below the fish , I reeled  up the bait perhaps 5 winds of the reel to get it at the correct height and then we were hooked up again .   Two sharks landed and one lost would not be what I would call a great days fishing but the fact that Sam  had a Porbeagle and I had an amazing new toy to play with certainly made up for it. This is the beginning of my time with Panoptix . For slow jigging  or working heavy lures over nasty ground its going to be mind blowing,  as we will be able to watch the jigs...

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The moon pulled up an acre of Bass
Jun06

The moon pulled up an acre of Bass

Happy weather , Happy fish . Thats always been the way with Bass but regardless I can say hand on heart that I have never seen Bass in such huge concentrations. Add to that I have also never seen so many 38 – 40 cm fish out there mixing it up with the big girls. In the last 2 weeks I have witnessed a huge shoals in locations  where I normally mark dozens. Likewise the Eddystone was rammed with fish and yesterday I spent 4 hours in the company of the largest shoal of Bass I have ever seen. The surface layer was solid with tiny Bass chasing Micro fry . I made my first cast and let my Fiiish Minnow Blue 25 g flutter down to around 20 foot . This produced a very hard fighting 3 kilo fish . I landed 14 fish in all shapes and sizes , with 5 solid fish in that mix . No clients to enjoy the spectacle , my diary  has flatlined after 5 busy years , just me doing what I love to do regardless of the ”Bass apathy” out there with recreational anglers. So whats happening out there ? A successful Bass fisherman needs to be an eternal optimist , its the optimism that gets you out of bed at 2 Am to get to the water in time for sunrise. I think that the 5 mild winters we have just experienced   have given juvenile Bass the best chance of surviving that first critical year of life. The closure of the pelagic fleet for the last 2 years must be starting to pay dividends. Perhaps Im just a Bass fishing Guide in Cornwall kidding himself  , but I do know that I have not seen these volumes of Bass since 2009.   Give the skipper some ! Its rare for me to be able to get away from the consul , get onto the bow and pick up a fly rod these days . But I managed to sneak a few casts on the Eddystone and land a couple of Bass . I still find new challenges and milestones without a flight or trip to Heathrow  . My  first Bass on fly from the Eddystone felt good !        ...

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Magic numbers
May20

Magic numbers

13 is the Magic number if you fish for Bass in the Uk. Once that sea temperature hits 13 degrees everything just seems to come to life .  11 Degrees may mark the beginning , but 13 is far more exciting . We have just clipped the magic 13 in the West Country . Thats it , its game on from now until Christmas !! There has been a lot of negativity about Bass stocks and the state of the fishery over the last year . I have become friends with a number of hook and line commercial hook and line Bass fishermen over the years and the word I am hearing from across the West is that the size of the shoals on the reefs are larger than we have seen for a good few years . Make of it what you may , I will just enjoy myself while it lasts .   This is great news and will hopefully encourage UK bass fishermen to get out there and fish hard for Bass in 2016 . We should not talk ourselves out of bass fishing just because elements of EU/ UK fisheries policy understandably disappoint us right now . We have seen more positive steps to preserve bass stocks in the last 3 years than we would have imagined was possible . The minimum landing size has increased . Commercial catches are now capped for the first time ever . The pair trawling fleet has been closed for 2 years and we have not encountered a cold winter for 4 or 5 years , so future stocks may well be receiving a much needed boost right now . I need to put the negativity behind me and get back to doing what I love so deeply and that is fish for Bass in Cornwall and preferably with a 9 weight fly rod in my hand ! For the first time in years diary has spaces on prime tides in Prime months. Please don’t let these golden tides slip away. Its just too much fun out there not to be out there fishing for them. Cheers Austen Goldsmith...

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Skating on thin ice
Apr27

Skating on thin ice

Back in the 70’s I was a keen skateboarder or at least I was until around 1979/ 1980  . I was a lonely skater , an only child with no mates to skate with other than one lad who I would see for a week every summer ”Miles Merckel ”  he lived close to the famous Southsea Skatepark . We have remained friends to this day , although he does now live in Australia . I remember how daunting the big bowl was there . I think I dropped in once , hurt myself and never tried it again . My grandfather always  spoilt me rotten so I owned an Alva deck , tracker trucks and kryptonic wheels. Its only now that I realise just how expensive these things were in the 1970 ‘s . I thought I was a great skateboarder but 38 years later I realise I was pretty crap ! Despite my arthritic knees , middle aged spread and increased scene of self preservation I think that  after the last 6 months of obsessive behaviour I am a better skateboarded now than I was as a child. It all started last November in Florida . My son took his board  to the skatepark at Cocoa Beach .  As it happens my arthritis was killing me , the long flight and the days of pacing around theme parks was taking its toll . I was popping ibuprofen every 4 hours day after day. I was hobbling for England  . I met this big American guy at the skatepark  , he looked like a retired american footballer , big frame , heavy guy  , carrying a few extra pounds . He opened his bag and too my surprise started to pad up and put a helmet on. He dropped into the bowl and started grinding the metal on his trucks on what was a very steep serious piece of concrete . That was it . If he can do it so can I . The next day I went to the skateshop bought a board , full set of pads and helmet , we do silly things when we go on holiday , we become someone else ,actually  think its the real us enjoying a chance to exist .   The last 6 months has been an amazing chapter I actually feel quite emotional writing about ,yes thats a slight welling in my eyes , it will pass in a moment . I have always had a great relationship with my son and this skate chapter has brought us even closer together . My diary has been very open this winter , we have had...

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An easy investment
Apr27

An easy investment

Last night after at least 3 minutes of pre planning I did an presentation to Mounts Bay Angling association on Saltwater Fly fishing . I guess I had about 20 people there of all ages . Hopefully inspiring the next generation rather than boring them too tears !? Its funny because as I stood there jabbering on about this quirky form of fishing it really struck me  just how odd it is ! Its only when you stand in front of a group of normal people that you realise what an eccentric you have become ! Its now 16 years since I first cast some fluff into saltwater and 14 years since my first ever bass on the fly . The first one came to me after approximately 20 trips to various locations along the Cornish coastline that I guessed would do the trick. I cant really convey just how desperate I was to land one .  The irony was that my first  bass came to me at 11 at night on a small black sand eel fly off Porthleven beach . Walking distance from our old cottage in the heart of the village. I killed my first bass and took it home , it was about 5 or 6 pounds so a great bass to start with and even more so on the fly  . I took the fish upstairs , woke cally up and proudly displayed it too her by the side of the bed . I just couldn’t wait until the morning to share the glory , suffice to say she would rather have waited until the morning and made that clear. I jokingly say that  “‘ Saltwater Fly fishing is for people who think they are so clever that they have to make it hard for themselves !” I think that can be true at times and I do encounter some vanity and elitism within fly fishing. I like to think that my intense relationship with the sport over the years has given me sufficient man hours to get that one out of my system and I would be the first to admit that I have had my elitist chapter where I thought that I was a superior species of fisherman and anything else was below me .  I have also learned that true water craft and knowledge can be owned by anyone and the ability to cast some feathers 80 or 100 foot does not make you a true ”waterman ” just a good caster . There was a 12 year old lad there last night , keen as mustard , he has brought his home tied saltwater flies to...

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EXTINCTION
Feb16

EXTINCTION

I don’t bother with the local rags but when I saw the wealthy fisherman /  businessman Chris Bean looking glum faced on the front cover of last weeks West Briton I just had to grab a copy and find out what the article tiled”  EXTINCTION ” was all about . It was a classic example of the rhetoric that has gotten Bass stocks into the state they are now. Hook and line guys take a fraction of the numbers that the inshore gill netters do. The H & L guys I know go to sea to find Bass while other fishermen such as Chris Bean will stay close to the shore line and in some instances lay nets worryingly close to Bass Nursery Areas .  A very depressed local commercial fisherman  told me of the 600 Kgs Chris landed in a day , spitting distance from Gillan Creek , an area I used to fish with clients that has strangely gone down hill for the last few years ! That is just the tip of the iceberg and one of countless big days these inshore netters have .     So I replied to the article , my reply can be seen below . Someone had to do it and get a few home truths into the hearts and minds of the readership . ”Bass stocks in crisis” would have been a far better sub heading with regards to” excitction ”!...

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2016 Tidal Curves
Dec18

2016 Tidal Curves

Here they are , all those lovely tidal curves brimming with possibilities !! Its mid winter , Christmas is next week . I get a warm glow in my heart  looking at those tidal curves . It reminds me that spring will soon be here and all those great customers , friends and adventures with it !   Merry Christmas   Oz  ...

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Nightmare or Dream come true?
Dec14

Nightmare or Dream come true?

Zen2 is a great example of a low impact high yield fishing business but a ban on catch and release Bass fishing until July may destroy it ? These are exciting and worrying times in the history of European Bass , stocks are low , something is finally being done to address this problem . I think we are all aware by now that finally after decades of neglect and spineless management policies throughout Europe our beloved Bass are now at the top of the list of priorities and the hottest topic in fisheries .Recreational anglers and organisations such as UKBASS have been relentless in pursuit of a better deal for Bass as a species and also Bass Anglers. I have been active for sometime now and have become something of a thorn in the side of Cornwall IFCA over the years . I have hassled and irritated the officers , pushed for private meetings , attended fisheries meetings and taken on the gill netters head on both on the water and at the table . We know the statistics about the value of recreational angling . Im not anti commercial fishing. I am anti bad fisheries management . I also own a small boat licensed for hook and line commercial fishing . 2016 will see the tenth anniversary of my Bass guiding business. The first time I took someone Bass fishing I charged him £ 60 for a full day of shore fishing, it makes me smile when I look back ! I think in 2006 I did 10 days guiding . Ten years later I charge an average of £320 a day I own a sports boat modified to be an MCA coded charter. boat . I fish guide for Bass 100 – 120 days a year. If you take into consideration the additional revenue I bring to this small Cornish Village in terms of holiday accommodation , meals in the local restaurants , beers in the pubs , pasties in the bakery ! I have worked the figure to be in excess of £ 70,000 . ( I spent £9,000 at Tescos in Helston on fuel for my boat last year !! ) One of the biggest names in hook and line Cornish Bass fishing wrote an article for one of the local newspapers earlier this year, moaning about the 42 CM minimum landing size . According to that article I think he made around £ 10,000 a year from harvesting Bass . But now the business that I have worked incredibly hard to build up over 10 years faces uncertaintity .Completely banning all Bass fishing...

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Fathers and sons ( and daughters )
Aug03

Fathers and sons ( and daughters )

Fishing blogs tend to be all about how awesome everything is , well not today  , today was so bad fishing wise that I just did the honest thing and told my clients I was wasting their money and my time , we agreed on an half day tariff , had lunch together at Castaways and I dropped the guys off , bid them farewell , hoped they were serious about a return trip in October and went home to my own family . Its a fascinating experience to be the skipper of a boat when you share the day with a father and his son . Its a special time for my customers and in a funny kind of way I become part of that dynamic for a day . I get an up close insight into the lives and relationships of these two people over the 8 hour day ,life is short and our chances to be together can be limited , if clients also choose to do B & B at my place ,so much greater is the experience and the insight  . Mike and his son Dan have gone home now . It was great to observe the closeness of  29 year old doctor and his 60 something father . I came away wishing I was as close as that to my father and determined too stay as close as I am now to my own son . Mikes son was a son to be proud of , handsome,  gifted and respectful , a man who didn’t rush to reply as he digested information, the guy has an obviously great future ahead of him , It a couple of months now since I fished with Kevin and his  daughter . Likewise I came away from the day with great feeling from sharing a day out on the Cornish coastline with such a close family unit. Kevin has 7  children  , yet he choose his daughter to fish the day . She was lovely and bloody determined to catch fish . Her excitement and his pride beam out of the photo Charles came along with his son Sam . He was 11 years old and keen as mustard . He had first Bass of the day on a surface lure . If i can get a moment like that early in the day its a huge relief to me. The three of us fished together and that day Sam landed more Bass than myself and his dad , he also landed the best fish of the day . To say he was excited was an understatement ! Apparently he was on a high for days. When I have had a...

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Treble hooks suck !
Jul26

Treble hooks suck !

Im not too sure how long it is now since I made the decision to switch to single hooks on my hard lures ? I guess it has to be a couple of years now . I do still have a few lures in the box with treble hooks but as they corrode they always get replaced with single hooks . Heres the reasons why and my  findings and feelings on the subject Fish care  If you fish with treble hooks its only a matter of time until you will experience fish getting hooked in the eye , gills ,face . Its pretty grim to witness . In the old days I was 100 % catch and release . I do ponder as to how many Bass I sent swimming off to a watery grave or at the very least seriously affected their chances in the harsh world I returned them too ? How well can a one eyed Bass hunt or avoid predators ? The vast majority of the fish I catch annually are returned. I owe it to myself and the fish to make this process as pain free and stress free as possible(for a fish and angler !)  . I want that fish to survive the event and get bigger and hopefully return to my hook in a few years time . I hate that solemn feeling when I return a messed up fish and the sense of farce  around the event .   Fewer lost fish  Making the switch to single hooks  required a leap of faith . I remember a long discussion years ago on the UKBASS forum . A few guys waded in and were quick to discount the idea, suggesting that the net result of the switch would be less fish landed. I completely disagree with this now  having hooked and landed so many on singles and lost so many  fish on trebles .Its logical . If I cast a hard lure its invariably a surface lure . Bass will slash and swipe at this and try to stun the prey . With treble hooks we often hook our fish in the cheeks or flanks , sometimes even the tail ! When a Bass attacks a lure with a single hook it will often take quite a few hits before its is on , but when its on, `ITS ON  ,  its hooked fair and square in the mouth. I am now playing a fish on a size 2/0 hook ,  with trebles I may be playing a 10 lb bass on one size 2 prong hooked in the cheek  . No thanks !! You will...

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Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival 2015 ( THE SALT)
Jul06

Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival 2015 ( THE SALT)

Help !! This crazy lady with a crazy idea just wont leave me alone !! Let me explain.   September is prime season for Fly fishing for Bass in the UK and as result I am on the water day after day. The ansaphone machine bleeps and flashes at me in an attempt to get my attention   , the emails start to pile up . I should take a day off but I don’t. I have a terrible fishing addiction and equally terrible bank balance  so I just keep fishing away , day after day . Its the storm before the winter calm for me . I am a hamster and my cheeks are full of nuts this time of year !!! Last September a lady from St Mawes on Roseland Peninsular called me . This rather well spoken lady who I didn’t know caught me off guard , tired and rather unreceptive . My tired hamster brain just could not accommodate anything that she had to say. She wanted to organise a Saltwater Fly fishing Festival and wanted all the help I could afford her . What did I do ? Im afraid I coped out I sent her in the direction of another person ” Fly fishing guide ”  that I thought might be better equipped to help via his esteemed list of fishing dignitaries .  Its amazing that Amellia is still determined to make this happen as she has had nothing but time wasting and demands for money to deal with . Amelia Whittacker knows very little about fishing , yet alone Saltwater Fly fishing . She runs a successful Bed and Breakfast in St Mawes . This well spoken , determined lady is obviously one of life’s organisers and she does run other ” Festivals ” . Something about saltwater fly fishing scene has captured her imagination , she is hell bent on getting a festival going . Its time for me to make up for my lack of input at the early stages and get involved and also look for other guys I know or respect to help out . It’s a good thing and it could be great fun . 100 Quid , Bloody 100 Quid !! Every time I bring up the subject of the festival I get hit with the same reply . At first I was somewhat in agreement  as I just couldn’t get my head around ” THE SALT ” . I recently met up with Amelia and her partner Tim . By the time we were finished I realised that £ 100 for a 4 day  event with various BBQ , Live music , drinks...

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Zen2 Bass Fishing May  & June 2015
Jun29

Zen2 Bass Fishing May & June 2015

May The anual pilgrimage to the Eddystone marks the beginning of my ” True Bass fishing season .  This year was a game of cat and mouse with the constantly changing weather , Days were lost to high winds but we did strike Gold on a number of occasions ,we managed to get out there most of the time  . Most seats were taken by zen2 regulars  and those that I now regard as friends . The locals were not surprised to see us out there and were quite friendly . Fishing the ”Stone ”can be quite 2 dimensional at this time of the year , 10 days of doing the same short drift is enough to drive any man insane and by the time were done Im aching to get back to my hidden coves and reefs of West Cornwall  . When you look at the fish finder you have to rub your eyes and make sure your not dreaming. These fish are not there to feed , if they were we would land 200 a day , if they were they would be decimated in no time . We play a long game , not disimilar  to a carp angler in his bivvy , we wait for the green light when the fish feed and endure the hours in between . The lake is crowded with other Carp anglers too ! Its a very different game to my normal mode. The water is busy with boats , both commercial and recreational . One thing that I did find rather disturbing was the number of Bass being retained by so called recreational anglers  . The new 3 fish limit wash being openly ignored , we kept a tiny number of fish . I think the local commercials are quite cool with Zen2 for that reason . I tread carefully and treat the fishery with respect and understand the way the place works  . I always take the long route up tide to start the next drift . I do what I can to avoid spooking the shoal (even if some the other guys just steam over the top of the fish and fry them with 800 Hz fish finders ) Theres always the potential for something special to happen on the Eddystone , it has a an allure an mystique quite unique and for that reason I will no doubt be back next May . Nick C fishes the Eddystone commercially and knows every boil and contour after so many years out there both above and below the water surface . He has a generous nature and warm smile and has a lifetime...

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Used and Abused  # 2 – Braids and Tapered leaders
Apr23

Used and Abused # 2 – Braids and Tapered leaders

There has been a lot of talk of the FG Knot recently or call it the FC knot ? Its been around a good few years , we used it for GT fishing , it was fiddly and I lazily relied on our guide to do the dirty work and re tie our leaders .Here is a good video with the latest simplified version Its tricky on a boat when we are sloshing back and forth on a tidal rip. My drifts are short and often close to jaggedy rocks so burying my head in complicated knots is not an option at times . We fish the Fiiish Minnows almost exclusively once we get into 30 foot or more . We fish them around all kinds of nasty snags . Lure loses are par for the course Im afraid , fortune favours the brave and sometimes you have to get that lure right into the the bears cave if you want to hook that big one.   After several seasons fishing with the Minnows and re tying an average of 10 leaders a day . I would guess  that somedays I have even retied 20 leaders for customers . I knew I had to find a better system . The first change was the braided lines. I switched from 20 pound to 35 Pound breaking strain . I use Sunline Castaway. Its not cheap, its not even the smoothest 8 strand on the market, It almost feels half way between 4 and 8 strand , think of it as 6 strand . It just doesn’t seem to fatigue the same way other 8 strands do. Talking of which I remember fishing with Ben Field a couple of years ago , we had a slow day for Bass. I hooked what was very obviously a very good Bass , my 8 strand line parted in the middle . That was my last time using that particular brand of silky smooth braid. For any lure over 12 g I would say 35 lb Castaway is fine . We can still cast far enough. The next upgrade was my Flurocarbon leader . As time has gone by my fear of using heavy Flurocarbon line has reduced . I went from 15 to 19 and then from 25 to 35 Lb . I always use Seguar . Its not cheap and I get through around 10 spools a year . So we now have 35 lb Braid ,30 to 35 lb Leader at around 3 foot long .The next step in the leader is the stainless steel leader ring . I have used the seguar 3 mm leader rings for years now....

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Used and Abused #1 Daiwa on  Zen2 (season 3  )
Apr22

Used and Abused #1 Daiwa on Zen2 (season 3 )

In this day and age every review or mention of fishing tackle tends to focus on the  new , whats hip and in many cases what is effectively untested gear . Nice photos, nice words but often full of speculation rather than experience.  I’ve been in the game for over a decade now and somethings never change. Daiwa sponsor me or should I say Zen2 . We use and abuse  Daiwa gear , not exclusively I should add  . I like to flirt with other products from time to time . It can be tricky being sponsored and being able to speak your mind in a negative way about your ” donor” gear. If and when I come up against a product that lets me down or doesn’t suit my  style of fishing I will always be honest and tell the guys I work with .This may not be what they want to hear but I don’t feel comfortable playing  games with the truth.   I may not go public and rant and rave about how bad something was , theres retaining integrity then these plain stupidity ! So hopefully this precursor to a product review will set the tone . It’s spring and I am now making my preparations for the intense season ahead . I had the first Bass of spring  a couple of days ago, My first spring Bass has come from the exact same reef and even the same part of that large reef  3 years in a row !! Zen2 will be out there hunting Bass for somewhere in the region of 120 days a year , well it has the last 2 years . I will be pretty depressed if I don’t achieve the target again this year . I still have plenty of gaps to fill in the diary but then that happens every year . They should fill !! ?? GULP . I want to look at the gear Ive been using over the last few years , there are products that I dont rate but as I explained I prefer to keep stum and focus on the goodies . Daiwa Certate reels  We use the 2500 series and 300 Series Certates on Zen2 , its actually the Pollock that put the real strain on the reels and we certainly have landed plenty now . The drag systems have been 100 % faultless to date ,they also have a very powerful drag system (Certainly powerful enough for UK Bass Pollock .Cod etc ) Bail arms are still clicking over perfectly and the reels are still light and silent to wind. This was a very pleasant surprise. I did wonder if they would...

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Macro River Macro Trout Macro lens
Apr04

Macro River Macro Trout Macro lens

Photography wise today was a disaster , but if your brave enough to take an old battered  400 D and a Canon 50 mm fixed  F2.8 down the river then high wastage is forgivable  But non the less a canon F 2.8 will always throw out something a bit special if you just keep clicking away. Talking of rivers my 10 year old  son fell in the river this evening, fully clothed , fell off a rope swing face down in front of all his buddies. He thought it was hilarious. 20 mins later he was shivering and his lips were blue. Oh the trials of life eh !! He started to wimpier . That was time to finish our pints in the beer tent and take the boy home for a hot shower !     The best thing about today ( other than Oli face planting in the river ) was fishing with Dave Sharples on my local stream . He moved to Australia a few years ago and I just assumed I would never  see him again , well just like me he realised that it is hard to shake off your Englishness and Australia is not quite the pot of gold you expected it to be . Its been 5 years or so since I last saw him. A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a conversation about suitable rods for stream fishing . The Reddington Butterstick came up. Its a fiberglass , super soft floppy (Retro ??)  fly rod . I ended up ordering 3 of them from the guys at Guide Fly fishing . Today Dave and I met up and took out our  comedy fly rods down to the stream . I must say that at first I was horrified ! In modern terms the phrase would have been WTF !! Two hours later I realised that all this hype around fiberglass rods was completely justified once you learn to slow everything down and let the rod do the talking . Dave has the 7.6 / 3 wt andI have the 6 foot 2 Weight , both are  great to fish with . On my patch the 6 foot 2 weight wins , they are a tad soft for flicking out tungsten nymphs but for dry fly  or light nyphing we both thought the slower softer feel of the rod was be perfect , actually after 2 0r 4 hours clink and dink fishing tight streams  with floppy glass there was no going back. Fly fishing is all feel or at least it should be . Tiny streams streams deliver that in abundance . The fishing was the worst...

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Something old , Something new
Mar11

Something old , Something new

This time every year I find myself sitting at the vice tying flies . The vast majority of which will be used on the boat over the season , after years of pontification I finally got my act together , clamped my vice onto the table , tied my arse in the chair and tied up dozens of new patterns, many of which have been trapped in my head for years . Something old something , new , something borrowed and yes there are a few Blue ones awaiting release from the kitchen  . I have been obsessed and completely absorbed in the process. It hasn’t been easy , there is a big difference between bashing out 20 clousers and crafting  dozens of Tarpon  flies . Last time I tied a fly in public was 2010 in Galway . As I sit here tying these flies , all that data from the trips around the globe is manifesting itself in front of me . Its been great fun scraping the rust away . I should have around 20 patterns online soon . I have 10 or 12 here ready to go . I just need to try and get a half decent stock of these flies before I release all of my puppies .`I hate owing people flies . The first time I released the Livebait fly online I sold 350 in 2 days . It was a disaster . I only had 36 in stock , some people had to wait months !!   My traditional fly tying heroes . Tim Bosrski , Enrico Puglisi and Bob Popovics need a mention and I can see its influence over my tastes  . Florida Keys guide Don Gable introduced me Pete Smiths Fox Fur Tarpon fly and his luscious toads in 2009 . I have had a great deal of respect for his efficient tying methods . I now tie toads ”V Style” This is a direct  SS Flies influence ,  thanks ! Mobility and resistance are high on my list so expect to see a few  synthetic muddler style flies , on the subject of which Johnny King deserves a mention, that guy amazes me with highly polished perfection  . Jono Makim has emerged from the shadows over the last few years . I admire his deceivers and this has influenced my approach to finishing off the head of a fly. That one was one of the toughest challenges and still work in progress !!   First out of the closet is the Black Death Tarpon Crab . Ive never seen one out there but no doubt some bright spark will take great pleasure in showing me one someone...

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C-Bass Project on Zen2
Feb24

C-Bass Project on Zen2

Im not used to so many positive things happening around Bass and today was hopefully another good day for the future of the species .  This afternoon I attended a meeting deep in the heart of the commercial fishing world, the Sea fish training room at Newlyn. I was absolutely amazed to find the room full of people from both recreational and commercial fishing , it was the number of commercial fishermen in attendance that really shocked me , it does beg the question , were those guys there concerned about the future of the wonderful species or were they simply concerned about their livelihoods ? I guess the two go hand in hand , are these inshore guys willing to contribute to the campaign to save Bass or do they think they can slip through the radar  ? Lets see ?  I have attended a few fisheries meetings and one thing that amazes me is just how little so many of these professional Bass fishermen actually know about the species and the changes in the stock dynamic . These guys are generally playing catch up and are  now keen to show their faces at all meetings involving Bass , suddenly I think they realise that if they may need to  start playing the violins and drowning out the scientists . The closure of the offshore fleet will have made them realise they could be next  on the hit list . Anyway enough of that and onto  C-Bass   The project is a mixture of both electronic tags and also traditional tags . The electronic tags are limited to a hundred or so, we viewed the data from a few electronically tagged fish  that have been captured and it was quite amazing to see just how much territory these fish do cover , one fish went from North France across to East coast of England , then across to Holland where the fish laid up in an estuary for sometime , then eventually West and I think was landed in Dorset .  I am excited to be one the first 5 guys on the project. I received an invite a few months ago. I jumped at the chance . I understand that the project will widen out to involve more people later in the year . So today I joined 3 of the 5 ”taggers” after the meting and had some training with tagging the bass . Just for the record these Bass were all from CEFAs tanks rather than wild fish , the big one was 67 cm and the fattest most obese Bass I have ever seen , you could tell it had lived on cake and burgers in a tank....

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First Decade
Feb18

First Decade

It has only this week suddenly dawned on me that I have managed to pull this off for 10 years ! I have just had a quick scroll back through some images from various chapters within the last decade , some of which seem like 20 years ago. I guess that means I have been keeping busy . Ten years ago I launched uksaltwaterflies.com from the spare bedroom at our old house overlooking Porthleven harbour . I had run out of options in Cornwall as every other avenue had back fired on me so I decided to follow my heart  . In the early days Cally went to work and I looked after our baby boy 3 days a week . (He’s not a baby now , he’s talking too his mate on his mobile phone !!) It was hard work juggling a website and a baby . The business grew 2 fold year on year from 2005 to 2009 it was an exciting chapter and I worked my nuts off .  Then the recession found its way to my door. The fishing trips seemed to balance on a knife edge as more and more people put a stop to the exotic holidays in the salt. I had a great run of luck but I knew that that chapter was drawing to a close. 6 or 8 weeks a year out of the country was starting take a toll on my heart. I just seemed to miss my family more with each new trip. . 7 years of fishing 2 – 3 weeks on Cape Cod was starting to wear thin too. Ive landed every Striped Bass I ever need too . I had a deal with the landlady of my base camp on the Cape. It was simple . I said the day she solicted  my customers was the day it ended , she let me down  , it broke my heart to be let down by someone I had come to treat as family.  Cape Cod was over . I said goodbye to that lady knowing I would never return .     I think the greatest pinnacle of my travels was the second trip to St Josephs Atol in the Seychelles, Everything about that trip was epic. We had great bone fishing in the flats , we fished for GT’s with Popping gear, we drank ice cold beers at lunchtime . I slept out on deck under the stars and listened to music on my first generation i Pod staring up into space every night .Cally was heavily pregnant with our  daughter and holding the fort at home .  It was the great company...

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Photo Memories  2014
Dec19

Photo Memories 2014

”And so this is Christmas another year gone ”! Time to look back at some photos from this year aboard Zen2 . So many great people so many great days !  Bring on 2015 !!!!!   Merry Christmas  Austen    [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”1″ gal_title=”2015″]  

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A forgotten fish
Dec18

A forgotten fish

I have just been flicking through some photos from this year and  I found this one . Its a fish I had completely forgotten about in the blur of days at sea chasing Bass in Devon and Cornwall . The first thing I notice  I look so bloody happy  !  These fish just excite us so much . The second and more significant thing was a friend in the background. He’s a rod and line , lure fishing commercial bass fisherman , the passion and knowledge I have for bass is eclipsed by that man. I share the water with these guys . We share and exchange knowledge  . We also share the same future if Bass are not rescued from the industrial scale and abusive fishing practices that are taking place out there . We don’t agree on everything but theres so much common ground . This amazing silver fish has been left for dead by the bureaucrats in Europe.  This should concern the man in the background as much as the grinning charter skipper  in the foreground . Im afraid we share the same fate . Can we work together to save Bass...

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Fiiish Minnow Finesse Part 3 — Precision and Stealth
Dec17

Fiiish Minnow Finesse Part 3 — Precision and Stealth

Today the windows and doors a rattling and the lights occasionally flicker as a storm passes over lands end . Twenty four hours ago we were heading out at 20 knots over a flat calm sea with high hopes. The great thing about fishing this deep into the winter is that you can quite easily find yourself fishing at dusk and a dawn in the same session. You have to drop everything and grab those holes in the weather and make the most of the day . Were always learning and improving and that was certainly the case this year . At times the fishing was tough and we had to dig deep to get the results. My target for Zen2 is 10 or more Bass a day. I always maintain you learn more from the hard days than you do the bonanza days , we  could quite feasibly sit in the Falmouth Harbour limits and catch 20 twinkles every day . I hunt big bass on lure and fly , we catch plenty of small ones but always in the pursuit of quality Bass fishing. The words for the day yesterday and perhaps this year were  PRECISION and STEALTH  . This has really hit me hard this year. We all know that accuracy helps , positioning of a Fly or lure or Bait can make a big difference , we all know that if you drive over a shoal of fish in shallow water in your boat its not exactly going to improve the fishing ,(BASS DONT LIKE BOATS !!)  likewise running down the beach then wading out into the water before fishing the margins is a mugs game ! Bass will often hide out in incredibly specific spots on a reef at a certain stage in the tide. I remember fishing a shoal of quality  bass tucked into the bottom edge of a small reef one day in July. We landed an 8 lb fish from that corner .  The next day I returned to that tiny spot perhaps 20 foot wide and yes there they were again, we landed an 8 lb fish and my PB at 13 lb according to the BASS ruler and lost a very large Bass on the surface . I have been fishing this area for a few years and certainly had a few ”proper ”  bass  from this spot but I know understand how it ‘occasionally ” works at this location .   I have finally got to grips with another spot this season.  I think a few guys who have fished with me this year will know the spot pretty quickly from the description and possibly grimace at the...

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2015 Tidal Curves
Dec08

2015 Tidal Curves

Ok here we have the 2015 tidal curves , I always seek those up curves from neaps to spring tides first when booking charters on Zen2 . Lets hope for another great year !!                                     ...

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The Division Bell is Ringing
Nov12

The Division Bell is Ringing

Do you know what the division Bell is  ?   It just seems to me that a Bell is tolling right now . I have backed off from political blogs these days . I live in a small corner of the UK ,surrounded by commercial fishermen , many of whom share the same reefs , slipways, pubs or car parks as I do . I have said a couple of things I regret but I stand true to a great deal of what I thought and said about the harvesting of Bass before. I read back through a few old blogs of mine recently ,  thats what a blog was supposed to be , a diary ,a record of events, a place to scribble thoughts and feelings as the bloggers journey unfolds.  This life on the water has brought me closer and closer to the very people that I once blanket categorised as the bad guys.  I like to think I have a far more balanced understanding of who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. As each day goes by I realise that recreational anglers and the majority of hook and line commercial fishermen have a vast amount in common and equally good reason to fear for the future of Bass. We all LOVE Bass , bass fishing and the coastal world that bass fishing takes us too.  When I scroll though my list of friends and acquaintances on my mobile phone I now have commercial Bass fishermen and recreational Bass lobbyers alongside one another and I speak to them all fairly often . Its that common love of Bass working its magic again ! We know about the Sea Angling 2012 Survey . We know about the ICES report and the recommendation to cut bass landings by 80 % in order to avoid a disaster . So what is happening ? Well its embarrassing ! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry  . Im glad its not me that has to stand up and present the latest recommendations and look another human being in the eye . These pathetic half baked suggestions will hardly make any difference what so ever. I will link to a Bass Blog rather than simply repeat the same words .http://www.ukbass.com/bass-press-release-sea-bass-dont-let-the-eu-off-the-hook/ I could rant on about MLS- Pair Trawlers – Hopelessly useless proposal of a one bag limit on recreational anglers and the insult it delivers . I wont , what I dream or at least ponder endlessly about is commercial and recreational fishermen working together . I think we need each other and the common enemy is bad management...

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Stargazy Squid
Oct16

Stargazy Squid

If ever I come home full of excitement and try to capture the feeling while its there for my blog , it will normally be some report of a big Bass , perhaps hectic sport or maybe just a great day with great company on Zen2 . Well today I did come home with a spring in my step and the feeling that perhaps everything is falling into place.  I have put aside every spare penny this year following my decision to take up commercial fishing during the winter months . I cant spend 6 months of the year out on the water surrounded by all that marine life and beauty and the other 6 months trapped indoors. There have been times when I wish I was a grizzly bear . I could just sleep in a cave and awake in the spring .   This was not an overnight decision it was the result of perhaps 2 years consideration . This 10 year journey into the world of self employment via fishing has had many chapters and I have  done some amazing things , travelled the world and fished alongside hundreds of people , just an incredible decade both professionally and personally. Being booted off a building site for being the worlds worst carpenter  in 2004 was one of the best things that ever happened to me ! The fishing thing all started because I had exhausted every other traditional avenue , in the end I just thought Fuck it I will follow my heart . This continues ! At 630 am  Sam and I launched my work boat Stargazy into the black remains of the night . I was still rigging the navigation lights at 10 pm last night . I needed to test out the Suzuki DF 25 engine one more time following a fair amount of fiddling with different propellors to suit the hull.  We’re still not really there yet. I think I may need to upgrade to a 30 hp engine ? My knowledge of squid fishing is limited at best . I do however get to spy on the squidders as I come and go on Zen2 . I also have a few friends out there on the water , the inevitable result of spending so much time in the same office space as the commercial fishermen . Its hard to stay hating people when they always smile and wave at you as you by !  Sam and I drifted around keeping an eye on the other boats and how they fish for squid. We landed only 5 . I did however bump...

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People Power
Oct09

People Power

I fished with Ross from Alderney Angling and his brother Sam the other day . You cant beat it when the fish are on the first reef you visit , highly fizzed up and aggressive. It makes my job so much easier . I can relax a little and just watch the drama unfold rather than try to find the fish as I so often have to do. Great to see young and old faces aboard the boat. I fished with Michael the week before , this is our 3rd season fishing together , Mikes just turned 83 years old , he still casts a surface lure and works it well. I do have to choose a nice calm  spot to fish with this true gentleman ! (Sir Michael actually !)     Mark R (Below) Is a regular and now a great friend , we have such a laugh together , we share the same silly sense of humour. Mark has been through so much in the time I have known him , he has fought for his life twice with bone marrow treatments , he values every day and adores his family and so he should . Its these people that make this job so special . As each year goes by my list of good friends who charter Zen2 lengthens . Its the thought of fishing with these guys next year that will get me through the long dark winter !! Saltwater fly fishing requires steely grit and determination , you need to be far more aggressive in your technique , both in terms of casting and also how you work the fly through the water and also cover the water with your fly. As the season for customer  traffic on Zen2  starts to slow down and the days shorten I find myself just that bit more appreciative of every day afloat.   Zen2 will continue to charter for my hardcore clients all winter . My other boat Stargazy will be launching very soon. This is a massive new chapter in my life . I will be commercial fishing for Mackerel and Squid during the winter months . I will do anything to be able to stay out on the water  . I miss the people but refuse to miss out on the scenery !! Thanks for reading Oz  ...

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Gold Bars
Oct01

Gold Bars

September was crap ! What a wash out it was. I cant remember a worse one ever. We only had one bass over 6 Lb from a month of solid fishing , not even that many around either . Well its now October , the days are getting much shorter , the air is clammy and damp after 6 pm at night . Even the air is getting ‘Bassy” This is it now , let prime season begin .The last couple of days have been 10 plus Bass days and  after a month of endless 42 – 45 cm fish a few decent fish have decided to show up . At last i have some Gas to cook with .  I just love Bass when they take on those golden Autumn colours , today we had several golden bass, they are all so fat and healthy right now, its been a great year for baitfish and it shows up in the girths and the strength of the fish when hooked. The fish are still in the shallows and really responding to surface lures . Talking of which Ive been experimenting with the MegaBass X lush . I read a very negative blog about this surface chugger. Well first cast of this lure yesterday resulted in a near miss from a large Bass and 10 more fish landed . Likewise today this lure stood out to the fish. Obviously Bass don’t read blogs ! Its an odd surface lure but great for beginners , just draw it across the surface with a straight retrieve and add the occasional dampened  plop and splash , thats all that you need to do. `Bass seem willing to do the rest for you ! if your looking for a choppy water surface lure  , then this may well be the one for you !! Its unquestionably the people that make this job so special and especialy guys like Mark who have become regulars and fish with me year on year . At the end of this month my diary will completely bottom out, thats it game over . Yes there will be a few charters here and there but fundamentally thats it. The fact that there will be thousands of tons of Bass swimming past my front doorstep  between now and Christmas will have no influence over bookings. Ive flogged the ” Fortune favours the brave ” motto to death trying to get the message across with little impact. Well at last I have just accepted that fact . I have decided to give up worrying about it any more .   It will all fall...

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”Inanity ”
Sep06

”Inanity ”

It quite funny really how we can all get sucked into all the hype and commercially driven excitement in  magazines or ” Blogs ”. I can be just as easily led up the garden path as anyone else and take the odd look at a blog to see which  latest ” must have ”  lure is being heralded . I can easily forget that I have a load of great unfashionable lures jammed into the archtrave of the door to my fishing warehouse, come stock , room come disaster zone . All this talk of lures and tackle is inane . What if I  wrote about the sunrise across Mounts bay , the porpoises and the reflections on the water and the community of cranky, weird  , crusty old gits I often share the water with?  What about Nigel Hill eh ? Who’s Nigel anyone reading may ask. Well Nigel is one in 10 million  . The real deal , as Cornish as they get . He lives for that reef and to be on the water . Saltwater runs through his veins , and it seems to leave him with a permanent smile on his face . At certain times of the year I may meet this fisherman every day ,its is  ritual that I cherish . We were recently out of sync. He was fishing early doors and I was fishing PM shifts . After 3 weeks I start to worry about the old goat  . I actually made calls to people to check that he was ok !  Suffice to say he was fine . I would miss Nigel out there . I used to have a complete and utter disregard for bass commercials , its hard to hate people when they are so nice to you !  The deep West  is far less friendly . Proper Pirate country down there , Penzance is rough tough town , Newlyn is a serious fishing port . I updated my lifeboat training this week . I shared the class with two , 50 year old career trawler men , those guys are hard men ! 10 days at sea  and 2 days off, 2 hours on and one hours kip . Imagine that ? We came different worlds . I would not dare question their philosophy towards marine management or the environment for fear of a verbal kicking , regardless I had a great deal of respect for these guys , they were both very polite and had a strong moral code . Band of brothers stuff , proper men that work the sea . Back to the Penzance fishermen...

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Go Big !! Fiiish Minnow finesse Part 2
Aug22

Go Big !! Fiiish Minnow finesse Part 2

Here we are now getting towards the end of August . Its been a great summer. A zillion Tons of Whitebait and Mackerel are drifting back and forth on the tides. Its great to see so much life in the water but it can cause problems at times, theres so much food around that the Bass are just feeding in short intense bursts then laying up in between . It can be hard to tempt a 15 year old fish to eat some plasterzole when it has a bounty full supply of real food all around it . A great bass angler and friend who I suspect would rather not be named told me that the larger Fiiish Minnows have a profound effect on larger Bass . Not being the brightest pin it took about 6 weeks for this important information to sink in . First cast of a 160 mm /30 g Fiish Minnow produced this huge Bass . What more can I say !!   WhatI love about the 160/30 g Combo is the way it flutters in the tide .These days I prefer to fish a big bait up above the fish rather than fish a smaller bait down amongst the shoal. The bulky 160 body almost offsets the lead jig head adding buoyancy . This means the lure sinks slower than say a 25 g /120 body or my traditional go to Fiiish Minnow the 140 m / 40 g combo. By dropping the bulk to weight ratio we can fish the lures slower  MUCH SLOWER ! This slow larger approach seems to be the catalyst for great things . It also means we are snagging far fewer lures these days . So the added expense of the 160 Minnows is counter balanced by the reduced fatalities. Also by fishing big lures we pick up far fewer ” crap fish” . I hate ripping my baits on baby wrasse and Juvenile Pollock . The 160 bodies are lasting far longer than the 120 bodies without a shadow of a doubt . ”BIG BASS DONT LIKE  BOATS”  If my boat is drifting at 1.5 knots (wind and tide together ) I will make a very long cast across and up tide and slowly retrieve the lure . Fluttering the bait mid water . Obviously there are times when a short cast may be required depending on the structure around us and whereI think the fish may be laying . Once that lure (Or Fly ) is close to the boat I ditch it and re cast . Every day I say the same things over and over , one phrase...

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Thats My Boy !
Aug16

Thats My Boy !

These days I get quite a few Father and Son bookings. I really enjoy watching the dynamic . Its often feels an honour to be part of something so precious . In most case these guys don’t get to fish together too often , its a special time.  One question people ask me on an almost daily basis is ‘`does my son fish ‘ I explain that I was guilty a year or 2 ago of being a somewhat over enthusiastic parent with the Surfing . I wanted the next Kelly Slater for a son . My enthusiasm backfired and as it stands Oli despite having great balance and a natural surfing stance has not got the surfing bug , quite the opposite possibly ? Lessons were learned and I have been so careful to avoid any form of pressure with fishing . I dream that one day Oliver and I can share a skiff in Cuba or the florida Keys and fish for the Giant Tarpon .   So today we went Perch fishing . I planted a tiny seed in his mind and then let it germinate. He was now dead keen to catch a few Perch on the small lure rod that I gave him months ago and dully placed in his bedroom !! (Im not pushy , honest !!) So there we were , father and son , doing the fishing thing together . It was a real joy to watch his natural flair and ability. The guy has the X factor, he’s not too patient and not too impatient either , his casting was better within 1/2 and hour than some middle aged guys who turn up to fish on my boat at times . It funny . I often ask people I fish with the same question . That being ” Did you fish when you were a child?” Honestly I don’t know why I ask it. I ask the same question in the hope that one day i will get it wrong. I ALWAYS know if a guy I fish with fished as a child. Late starters are generally clumsy and don’t seem to connect . Its the simple things that we take for granted that phase them . Back to the story , so there we are fishing away . Oliver has not landed a Perch as yet despite almost continuous attacks on our 3 inch D fin shad . My smallest jig hooks were still way too big for these little green thugs . After so many loses I had a quick cast . I landed a fish . I also...

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Cod don’t take poppers
Aug03

Cod don’t take poppers

If theres one thing that defines Bass fishing its fishing disturbance lures and flies on the surface , its just the best ! I never tire of watching Bass large or small follow and boil around a surface lure before sucking it, the next fish may just smash the lure at like a torpedo . I had one Bass take the lure in the air the other day !  It also makes the process of ”Guiding” that much easier as I can interpret exactly what my clients are doing with the fly or lure rather than try to guess what the lures doing based on how they are using their hands to work the rod and reel or strip the fly  . The last few days have all been about surface lures , actually despite my best efforts I cant actually find any bass willing to hit anything else . Its all a bit weird out there right now .Acres of white bait but only a couple of reefs that are holding resident fish . Ive had to resort to fishing the same spot 80 % of the time for the last 4 days . Im amazed that the fish are still tolerating our presence and have not moved on . I set myself a target of 10 Bass per day and we seem to be teetering around that number everyday. One day we never raised a Bass all day . I hate that when it happens , clients sympathetically say to me ” Hey Austen thats why we call it fishing and not catching” Yes I know that but its not something I ever get used too , yes Zen 2 is an awesome boat , the rods and reels too boot and the scenery can be epic . No matter how you dress it up , clients want to catch Bass .Fancy photos of scenery and casting , close ups of lures are no replacement  for big fish and happy smiling anglers   The next day we hooked a Bass  first cast . What can you do !? Lure of the week    Daiwa Pop and skater 11 Ghost Olive  I recently purchased one of these Daiwa lures , Daiwa UK sponsor Zen2 but in this instance I just figured I would grab one of these while  I was purchasing a Hearty Rise landing net . Credit where its due . I purchased the net etc from Monster Tackle in Jersey . Its how you deal with lifes screw ups that defines custom service. We had a problem with UK customs . Joe kept in touch and...

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July speed blog
Jul30

July speed blog

Speed blogging time of the year for me , lets see if I can ”bang one out ” in 10 mins , theres so much happening and so many stories to tell and yet I have just no spare time whatsoever .  .  Not that the world is hanging on my every word and desperately awaiting the next exciting installment but I have met so many people recently that do read my blog i guess i should try to do something. Ok Im wasting time ! No mackerel ? No Basking Sharks ? The month has been a little hit and miss . I don’t think we had any Bass blanks but Ive certainly had to work for the fish , theres so little bait around that the fish just wont stay put in any one spot. They are searching and we are hunting too. Where are the mackerel ? Where are the Basking Sharks ? This must stem from a shift in the food pyramid this year . I think those intense winter storms are still affecting the balance of the sea in our part of the world.  Oz lands a Hog !  This fish was the hardest tussling Bass I have ever encountered in UK water. Most big bass are so often pre occupied with shaking the hook from their mouths they don’t realise they are slowly being dragged to the landing net. This one hit me like a freight train and tussled me good and hard for what seems like 10 minuites  but was probably more like 5 or 6  !! I fished with Martin and his son, it transpires they had never cast a rod before , just mackereling I taught them both too cast (luckily they picked it up pretty fast ) We headed off to a mark where I connected a Bass virgin to an 8 pounder the day before. I could clearly make out the big blobs on the sounder in the exact same spot at the same stage of the colossal spring tide . After an hour Martin had a big fish on the Fiiish Minnow 140 / 40 g Blue.  Not a bad start to a bass fishing trip . An hour went by and we must have drifted over the Pod of Bass 30 times. They had lock jaw.   Nick Collins had told me of the success he has with big Bass on the larger Fiiish Minnows. I switched to the 30 g / 160 mm dirty Blue. I wanted to experiment with this lure so grabbed a spare rod from the rack . (My first attempt at...

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Someone flicked the switch  !
Jul08

Someone flicked the switch !

June can be a sketchy month down here . The large Spring Bass have been and gone , where do they go ? I just don’t know  . Once we go into Summer mode I would regard any bass over 7 Lb as exceptional . I also believe the Bass will become far more ” house trained” and will stick to their favourite spots provided the larder stays stocked and they don’t get harassed by seals or humans . These resident fish form the basis of  a days summer fishing for me , if i find happy ”slob bass” then that makes my job far easier .  September and October can provide me with big fish . Soon after  Christmas lights of Mousehole harbour are switched on and miles of  monofilamnet gilnets  are deployed on the Western reefs . Cornwall will attract vast numbers of 1- 2  KG fish  prior to spawning The glut of fish on the market sends the price tumbling . Steve Cullen and I fished together one day last week , all hopes of a shark on the bait or Fly were dashed by a stiff  Southerly breeze , we slogged it out for 2 hours before opting for plan B and heading inshore to Fly fish for Bass . Steve is a Demon caster , a rare commodity  these days , as more and more Salt water fly fishermen go to the dark side and pick up the lure rod in preference to the Fly . If you want to catch on the Fly you need to have patience , skill and self discipline . You cant catch a Bass on the Fly with a lure rod in your hand !!    June 2014 was a tough month and certainly not the first one I have experienced . Well the good news is it July . Its as if someone just flicked the switch , vast shoals of whitebait are now in Falmouth Bay. Mackerel and Bass are hitting these shoals hard , a few quiet shore marks I visit have resident shoals of Bass and these fellas are very friendly indeed. I am now booked solid for the next fews weeks , if the weather  remains stable I think that we are going to have a lot of fun ! The brains fried already . It becomes hard to remember who with ,  where or when I  fished as the days start to almost overlap. I finished late on Monday and early today. I slept in my van last night . Im not knocking it but it is pretty demanding, my clients go home...

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Shallow water tactics on bright sunny days
Jun16

Shallow water tactics on bright sunny days

Today I fished with Roger , Dave and Dave . These guys friendships span back to the school days and its always a pleasure to become part of the gang for a day. I have a job to do but I always enjoy the banter . Its a busy task managing 3 guys and a boat on the drift in shallow water around submerged rocks . You drop you guard at your peril ! I rarely fish in such circumstances . When we struggle to find the fish I hunt for them with my rod as much as I do with the boat. Todays sport was sufficiently busy to keep me on the console full time. I re tie all the leaders , change the lures and keep the guys supplied with a fresh rod as soon as a rod goes out of action. We made the decision to fish for fun in the shallows rather than slog it out for Large Bass on the reefs . I just love those white sand beaches and rough ground patches . It reminds me of the Permit grounds on Los Roques or even Seychelles at times I find Bass will stick to the cover of the darker patches of weed and rough ground like a limpet on these brights sunny days. Low tide and high sun enables you to identify the sweet spots with ease A great presentation if possible is cast the lure to the perimeters of these reefs and draw the fish out. They may hit you by the side of the boat but invariably they have followed the lure out into the open water from their hidey holes . Roger is great friends with Robin Morley the Marketing Director at Daiwa UK . It was Robin who referred the guys to me. As it happens today the killer lure really did turn out to be the Daiwa D Tail 4 inch we landed fish after fish on this soft plastic . These lures are softer than soft , super mobile . The pearl white has what I suspect is a UV colouring, They are quite unique. I like to rig them with the Decoy Bachi 5 g Jig heads , size 2 / 0 hook. In my opinion the rig better with jig heads than they do weedless style. When the sun is high in the sky and Im fishing shallow water then I prefer to lengthen the 15 lb Fluro leaders to 5 foot and fish small baits and quite often work them a little faster . Tap – Tap – Tap ,Take up the slack ....

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Glimpses of Zen
Jun12

Glimpses of Zen

Today was one of those dreamy summer  days, it did however have a nightmare start with a Bass of double figure proportions lost at the net  . I can’t recall ever losing a Bass that big at the landing net before today . I can still see that fish swimming away back into the depths now . We were both very sad to see that one slide away.  Whenever we hook a big bass I urge (scream politely ) at the person playing the fish to back off the drag As a Bass gets closer  to the boat the pressure increases on the hook and the mouths start to rip if located in the wrong spot . The second you release the pressure with a large hook hole thats it , game over ! We pushed it hard today , burned a large amout of fuel and hunted the far off corners of West Cornwall . Several hours after the lost Bass we found some fish willing to feed. At slack water a shoal appeared on the surface . They looked pure white in the bright sunshine and electric blue water. Just stunning. Ive never seen Bass catch the light like that before . We did manage t land a couple of fish on surface lures. They absolutely refused to eat my fly. I could strip the fly and watch a pod of 20 bass speed up and slow down in sync with my left hand !!   Heres a very short film . What a joy its is to be in Cornwall in the summer .          ...

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Sunset and Sunrise with Mike Ladle
May29

Sunset and Sunrise with Mike Ladle

Life can be very short so don’t ever waste time when it comes to doing the things you love to do or spending quality time with people you love or admire .  This was brought  home to me this week when I discovered that lovely guy I fished with 10 days ago on the Eddystone suddenly and unexpectedly died while still on his fishing holiday in the West Country. His wife told me he loved his day fishing with me aboard Zen2. He had a heart disease with no idea whatsoever , gone in a split second . Just like that! I found a new friend that day and lost him within 72 hours . So after many aborted days fishing with Mike over the years  hell or high water would not have stopped me from heading down to Dorset for a couple of sessions with the Author of ” Hooked on Bass” Mike Ladle . What a gentleman he is ,a great fisherman and a great waterman too  . He is like an old mountain goat with silver hair . I struggled to keep up with him as we scaled the cliffs and stumbled over the boulders . Im involved with a couple of writing projects so I wont blow my words on the blog page . 8 Hours driving , 7 hours fishing , 4 hours sleeping . I guess the other 5 hours must have been spent chatting about fishing ?   Mike landed a 5 lb Mullet Second cast a was quite content to just watch them graze on seaweed maggots while we discussed Bass fishing and put the world to rights. I met a hero of mine and made a new friend , so it was well worth the effort . I landed with a very nice Kelpy  Golden Bass on the Dot crawler fished super slow. (Gotta show these Dorzzet boys where they are going wrong !!) Don’t waste  a moment !! No one ever wishes they had spent more time cutting the grass or washing the car when its time to leave this mortal coil !  ...

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Dolphins !!
May22

Dolphins !!

They bring so much joy to us and often seem to know when were having a tough day and need cheering up !! They are as fascinated by us as were by them. Catching Double figure Bass is quite Joyful too ! What an amazing start to the new Bass season !    ...

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Fiiish Minnow Finesse (Part 1 of many )
May22

Fiiish Minnow Finesse (Part 1 of many )

When someone invests hard earned cash and free time on a trip on Zen2 the last ting I want to do is take any chances .Failure is not an option !!!(It happens but not too often) I use Fiiish Minnow extensively for mid depth reef fishing or tidal race work and the Kaki  colour always fills me with confidence.  I prefer Fly fishing or shallow water soft plastic or surface lure work , thats my heritage with Bass , but the Fiiish Minnow style has transformed my catches . Add to this the 2013 upgraded code on the boat and I can  access offshore reefs that ” other guides can not reach” We zig zag from the shallows to offshore and back again all day every day . It makes for a day of mixed methods and styles of fishing. Some may think that fishing a Fiiish Minnow (Paddle tail lures ) is easy ,well yes it can be, but I have learned that there is an INTENSE level of finesse and technique with this style of fishing. I am learning all the time. I can sit at the helm and watch a client work a fly or surface lure and dish out various instructions and easily identify  good and bad technique. When we fish Paddle tails I often need to actually fish and feel whats going on below the surface . I often get the client to cast at the same time as me ”in sync” . He or she will follow my lead while I try to unpick the lock and find the fish or the retrieve and angle thats working . Its so hard to teach someone this method without a rod in your hand. I recently experienced a master class from a commercial rod and line Bass fisherman. This guy is a legend on the water. I wont name him out of respect for his privacy, a few reading this (assuming anyone does ) will know his name. Anyway I am heading off course here, Casting and retrieving can wait for another day and  that’s complicated ! This was all about the lure colour. I tend to stick with what I’m confident with rather than take chances , perhaps to my expense at times. Early this year we saw a couple of good Bass seduced on Zen2  by the Orange Fiiish , fishing super slow close to the bottom. The Kaki and Blues were ignored. Last week we played cat and mouse with a  vast  shoal of fish, imagine a shoal so tight that the fish finder misreads the depth. I see bass on my finder...

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A sneaky rig for sneaky Bass
Apr11

A sneaky rig for sneaky Bass

Zen2 sneaky rig Its amazing how long we hold events in our minds like hi Definition video clips ,and yet other things just fade away . I can still see that side on take from a 7 lb Bass in 2006 as if it happened seconds ago. I can still see that bow wave to the 10 feet to left of the lure , next the spines were breaking the surface. Then the explosion. An exquisite moment to cherish .  I have seen so many bass take surface lures but that one will always be wedged in my mind . Sometimes things don’t always fall into place . There are plenty of times when they will follow a lure , swirl , slap it with their tails but refuse to eat the bait. These days can be most frustrating . They won’t quite hit. you can almost imagine just how alien and un natural a hard plastic lure must feel in the mouth in comparison with a natural bait. Soft plastics have a wonderful soft ‘’ Organic’ texture. You can work a Sluggo or Waveworm through the surface film and they will often take Bass either from the top or inches below , a fish that will turn away from a hard lure will slap a soft bait and then come back and engulf it. I’m a big fan of waveworms these baits have a high salt content and are very dense so they cast miles . They sink fast and get amongst the fish without the assistance of jig heads. They are inevitably quite hard to keep close to the surface. I had the idea of rigging soft plastics with foam popper heads that I use for fly fishing. As soon as  I looked at the action of the lure on the top and just knew it was going to be a killer method. These days if I come across Bass that wont quite commit to a full assault I fish my ‘Zen2 rig’ . The real sneaky way to fish this lure is to pop the across the top and as soon as you sense there are fish following just stop retrieving and leave a little slack out there past the tip. Just let the slugbait drop back through the water column. Have faith and I promise you that a Bass will come back around and swim off with the bait. It’s really exciting when you pause and wait for that take . I had a rather smug grin on my face the first time I watched one of my clients catch a a decent fish just...

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4.8 Dot Crawler – The Game changer for 2014
Apr09

4.8 Dot Crawler – The Game changer for 2014

Im quite excited about this ugly lump Plastazole .I think it will be a serious game changer or  at least enhancer in 2014   , it has so many positive attributes crammed into a mould . I’ve already stumbled upon something quite unique that this lure can do  .I just need the Bass to show up and make the same discovery . The Dot Crawler is very dense and has amazing aerodynamic abilities , thats the long winded way of saying it casts miles ! It flies out. I mean this lure will cast as far as quite a few hard lures . It sinks fast , Not too fast but an impatient weightless soft plastic fisherman like myself  will find it pleasing to use . The sink rate will be perfect for Kayak and Boat fishermen . I find many weedless weightless baits soon curve up as soon as the boat starts to drift or we have wind against tide forcing my unweighted Sluggo or Xlayer up through the column. Colour wise Im a happy Bunny if I have anything olive with a pearly or Yellowy belly , The Xlayer Ayu was a classic  for that reason. Remember the Arkansas Shiner Sluggo  ?  The Fiiish Minnow Kaki is a Classic colour combo .  The Dot Crawler Ayu is spot on colour wise and fills me with confidence when i watch it swim past my rod tip. The shape is just so clever and thought through. That long extended skittle shape sends it cutting through the air, when fished subsurface it all balances out perfectly and swims nice and horizontal . The rear weighting seems to effect how it works on the surface if you work it fast. The heavy end seems to anchor the butt firmly in the surface while the front end waggles (Think soft rubbery Patchinko ! )So heres the fun twist with this lure Sluggos are excellent if you work them weightless and twitch them across the surface (Like a surface lure ) They do however tend to lack casting weight  in the smaller sizes and will fly back at you in an onshore wind. The Mighty waveform has the density to cast miles but it doesn’t quite cut the mustard if you surface twitch it .The Dot Crawler as we know , will cast into infinity . What I discovered was that if you go straight into a retrieve when it lands, High stick the rod and work it in the walk the dog style . It will stay up and slash and splash around on the top , its the best looking  small...

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Wild Trout fishing West  Cornwall
Apr05

Wild Trout fishing West Cornwall

Once you hit 5 degrees West on the map the finger of land between North and South coast starts to narrow and with it the streams . This is the end of the road for Trout Fishing in the UK. Its amazing once you start to research and try to unlock the secrets of river fly fishing in West Cornwall from the comfort of your I pad just how little information there is out there , its bloody amazing in this day and age. . No grace and favour or credit cards needed down here , no season or day tickets required , just the willingness to go out there and root around on your own , make a few mistakes , drive down the wrong tracks , get moaned at by grumpy old spinsters that smell of wet dogs like I did the other day. Every spring the cabin fever gets the better of me and I start to look for ways to entertain and stimulate myself prior to the arrival of decent numbers of Bass. I may fly fish for Pike on Porth and Argl Resevior,( Theres something wrong with West Cornish Pike they have the aggression and fight of a wet tea cloth ??) I may travel up to Chew and go Pike Fly fishing (Now they fight !! ) , go to Waterville Ireland and fish for Bass , last year it was Gilthead Bream in the Helford river . The reality is that just around the time I start to get everything sorted out and make discoveries ,the weather changes , the diary starts to fill with Bass fishing charters and everything goes on hold again. This year feels different. I don’t just feel that I am killing time I feel something very strong within. My obsessive gene has really found a new focal point. Fly fishing fast flowing water for Brown Trout , its all happening very fast , all I can do is go with the flow and see where this takes me. All I know is I am lost in it right now , Its like realising you have been ignoring birdsong for years Its currently deafening to my ears, likewise the simple sound of water flowing fast over stones has me completely hypnotised. Suddenly I get it after all these years . My trips to the River Cober have been very productive so far, Its all upstream nymph fishing this early in the season , Fly fishing narrow streams under the canopy of trees can be quite tough going. Casting needs to be pretty tidy at times. Bow and Arrow...

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Fiiish Sponsors Zen2
Mar07

Fiiish Sponsors Zen2

Ok its official ! This will not come as a massive surprise to the anyone who has lure fished with me over the last couple of seasons. Fiiish UK and I are working together . 2013 was a great year and the mighty Fiiish Minnow certainly helped to make it even better. Its a Killer lure !! This all started when Fred the designer sent me a few samples to try out in July 2011. I was instantly taken by the lure , so were the bass on the Lizard Peninsular ! I will borrow my own words here …. As a guide I’m always on the lookout for a lure that will catch an idiot a bass’ so to speak ‘. I don’t want to look into a tackle box and have to choose between 30 different sizes ,shapes and colours of lure. I would rather just have one killer lure that covers the bases . Fiiiish Minnows do that ! What does this mean ? It means more of the same hopefully. I have a few media / creative projects lining up by the look of things. I hope to be able to share some of the methods that we have figured with Paddle tail shads over the last few years on Zen2 . (Not all of them mind you .I need to keep something back ! ) It will be great to work with Fiiish , cross promote and hopefully develelop ideas ? Lets see where it takes us ! Nick Roberts from Fiiish Uk / Topwater has so much enthusiasm for the product and the UK Bass fishing / lure fishing scene. I think he has made a significant contribution to where we are right now in the Uk ” Tackle trade” . Its a miracle he manages to get to sleep at night with so much energy. That Spring vibe is here ! Thanks for reading...

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Still a Fly Guy – Still a Fly Guide
Mar01

Still a Fly Guy – Still a Fly Guide

This is the gritty time of the year , spiritually , financially but mostly spriritually . Days are spent just hoping for a year as great as the last and the diary to be full . My 200 mile long office , all those sunsets and sunrises spent drifting on Zen2 are replaced with an unhealthy amount of time spent at home watching last years pennies slip away again . Watching all the cyber worms-wiggle on my screen . Trying to stay motivated and willing the calendar pages to flip faster .Its always tough ,add this 2014 winter to the mix and it has been extra hard . So today I shook off the winter dust ,hitched up Zen2 and traveled up to the South West Fly Show . It felt like a return to a very familiar world where I am known for my saltwater craft , lots of old faces and warm handshakes. Plenty of people I have not seen for several years . I felt excited to bring my pride and joy along with me and show her off. Being so far West is a double edged sword. It provides me with a special place to live and work but it does make it tougher to keep the diary full all year. I could not survive without lure Anglers in addition to fly . I am as much a fly guy as lure guy these days and proud of my abilities in both disciplines and also proud of what I set out to do down here. A few familiar faces , some spring sunshine and all the winter Blues are soon blown away...

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A living worth scraping
Feb20

A living worth scraping

I love the feel, atmosphere and philosophy behind this film . This film inspires me on a number of levels . It seems wrong when you see so much crap receive so much recognition and traffic on Youtube or Vimeo and yet a film like this that has won awards has less than 100 ,000 hits. Somehow I would guess that Micky Smith is not to worried. He doesn’t seem the type ! Quote …… If i only scrape a living , at least its a living worth scraping (I can relate to that !) Darkside Of The Lens from mickey smith on...

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Daiwa Certate Porn
Feb13

Daiwa Certate Porn

Last September a crew of 3 professional film makers made their way down to Cornwall to film with me . I certainly felt the pressure as I knew that we had 2 days to get this done and a pretty substantial budget was allocated. Aaron from Bearleft TV and his henchmen were great fun to work with, we also had a local crew providing a very expensive remote control camera drone . I was excited !! I enlisted the help of my friend/ guide  Joel Squires, reasons being selfish and unselfish. I wanted to share the burden of pressure to catch fish. I also figured he looks pretty photogenic, he’s tall and slim .Im shockingly handsome but only from the neck up . He’s a good angler and I like the guy and if this helps him along then I would be killing multiple birds with one stone.   Shore filming  Day one we fished up on the north Coast. The conditions were spot on for shore plugging, the swell ,light , wind direction and tide were perfection personified . We thrashed that water for 8 or 9 hours tirelessly . The conditions were just so amazing that each time I cast that bloody lure I expected a hit but alas were were skunked and all in Hi Definition !!  I must say that despite our failure to hook anything whatsoever the footage more than makes up for it. Those fly by shots on the drone cam are quite unique. I have never seen anything of this standard in fishing in the Uk before. It would be nice to get more acknowledgement  but as I have learned in 9 years of making my living from fishing I am far my likely to please the lynch mob of wanna be guides , blaggers and pundits with a failure than any success’s. Hey ho thats life in the UK ! The wind was due to drop and the forecast for Tuesday was text book boat fishing perfection. Its payback time ! We launched the boat around 7 am . The film crew were set to arrive and start filming us fishing , zooming in from the shore and hopefully get some great ariel shots. The fishing Gods decided to make up for our pain and disappointment from Monday and a shoal of thousands , yes thousands of Bass were there , ready and willing to perform for the camera.  I could go on and on about the day , this is the internet so I guess anyone reading this will be starting to get an itchy mouse finger , so I...

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Stinky Water  Bass Fishing -(Part 2 )
Jan23

Stinky Water Bass Fishing -(Part 2 )

Continued form Part 1 – Shallow water Bass  I remember one particular Bass around 6 lb . I  fished the bay from dark into dawn. I worked a gurgler(Surface )  fly on floating line. After a while I decided to move 40 yards along the beach. If I move location along the beach I will often cast the line out onto the water rather than leave the line piled up in the line tray, its far less prone to tangles and falling out of the tray around your feet. This time I cast out the fly and the put the rod across my shoulder , in the same fashion as a soldier would do with a rifle. As I walked along the beach I suddenly felt the tug and hit .  I had hooked a fish with my back turned to the water ! Was it the smooth snaking action of the lure on the surface rather than my step strip splash splash retrieve  ? Was it the curve of the line across the water  created by my change of direction ? I guess it was both. Happy days indeed . I remember I was back home in Porthleven by 7 . 30 Am The smell of Cornish Pasties filled the air. It was  going to be a gorgeous summers day and I  had already landed a very decent Bass on the Fly , forgive me for being sentimental ! I forgot to say something important. These Bass Marks fish really well on neap tides. Into the Blue  There is a light that you get just before day break . Everything is a grey Blue  Colour. Thats the time I love to be fishing , it can be exquisite . If I can combine optimum stage of the tide over a reef with the 15 Minute Blue Grey Hazy start to the day ,   then its quite likely thats when it will happen . I have had some amazing fish from his ground in the middle of the day in bright sunshine . I do however tend to find the fish will drop back into 20 foot or so once the sun starts to rise past 10 O Clock in the sky.  Muggy grey days with light winds are great . I remember a veil of Fog engulfed Mounts Bay for around 4 days one July.  I fished the same shallow reef every day and every day we had Bass on the fly . Bass can sometimes become obsessed with Gammarus (Sand hoppers )  Weed rots When the air is thick with the sweet smell of rotting weed...

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Skinny Water Bass Fishing  – Part 1
Jan23

Skinny Water Bass Fishing – Part 1

So much has changed since I started fly fishing for Bass , in the old days all I had was my trusty copy of Mike ladles classic book ‘ Hooked on Bass’ and  a pile of Ordinance survey maps and that was it . I had no background in sea fishing . I was also a terrible fly caster . These days we have Google earth and anyone who aspires to catch bass can survey potential areas from the comfort of the living room or on the train . Once you start to understand what works ,where and how it looks from space you can pretty much find bass marks without ever getting your feet wet . If I find a location that looks good I then try to find images of the beach or the area. Google earthling has changed everything. I can look at areas and know they will produce bass if the structure is obvious.  When I started out I think I went fishing 20 times before I landed a Bass on the fly. I must have covered the whole Cornish coastline looking and then it was ironic that my first six pound bar of silver was landed from my home beach of Porthleven at 11.30 at night using a black a silver sand eel fly . Just writing this brings all the memories flooding back . I couldn’t contain my excitement and I actually took the dead Bass up into our bedroom and proudly displayed it to a half sleep girlfriend . A month later I fished in Ireland and had bass to 11 lb ,not bad for  beginner !     Fly and Lure fishing for Bass – Part 1 of Many  Shallow Rocky reefs If there’s one thing I would try to covey is that if you want  to catch a Bass on the fly you need to find places where the fly will work to your advantage . In the right situation the fly will completely eclipse every other method. I have seen this countless times over the years both from the shore and from my boat.  Bass are incredibly resourceful fish , they feed in so many different types of location. One Bass speciality is hunting in shallow reefs . Bass love to forage through bouldery weedy areas that dry out at low tide and cover up again on the flood. This is the perfect territory for a fly fisherman to make maximum use of the fly rod. We can present a lifelike imitation right into the middle of the feeding area, we can control the depth and movement of the...

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12 is a magic number
Jan23

12 is a magic number

  The Golden rule of Twelfth’s    The 6 hour tide speeds and slows down . This curve is the curve by which our fish live. The rules change every day but I find that maximum flow generally coincides with maximum bites from fish. Its feeding time . Its pretty obvious stuff  once you have been doing it for a while but there are plenty out there who seek this knowledge ,so hopefully a few readers will find this helpful .Just understanding this simple fact will help you to identify the optimum stage of the tide and quite often maximum fish activity regardless of species. Divide a 6 hour tide into 12 units. Up or down it makes no difference, the tide does not just flood in at the same rate. The tide will have peak flow during hour 3 & 4 of the cycle. Hour 1 = 1 /12th Hour 2 = 2 /12th Hour 3 = 3 /12th Hour 4 = 3 /12th Hour 5 = 2 /12th Hour 6 = 1 /12th   The dreaded neap tide Everyone looks to the big spring tides when making plans. These days I get as excited by a gutless neap as I do raging Spring tide. If I can figure out how this will affect the fish I can plan  accordingly The reality is that most of my best SHORE BASS have come from neap tides .Big Bass are lazy creatures and if they find a quiet spot where they can escape the attention of predators and a supply of food they will hold out. When you move you are vulnerable, when you stay put you can focus on staying safe. During these smaller tides the baitfish will tend to stay in one place also and are less susceptible to the effects of strong currents.  Look for deeper holes close to the shore and you may find a big bass hiding out. I have seen bass buried in the weed on low water, completely motionless, if you find plenty of weed growth and boulders then I would be very optimistic.  Imagine a Salmon in a deep pool just out of the main current.  These same neap tides can be great for Bone fishing; the tide does not go high enough for Sharks and other predators to access the upper reaches of the flats and does not completely drain out on low water.  The fish can stay put or only have to move a small distance. A Thirty pound Permit may need a spring tide to access the same water that the Bones can access on neaps. So if wanted Permit...

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Riding High – A season on the Fly
Dec20

Riding High – A season on the Fly

Am I alone on this ?? If Im honest I find the whole Flats dude / Fly Dude thing quite annoying . This video for all that I find irritating also inspires me . I have fished for Tarpon in Costa Rica- Cuba – Venezuela – Mexico – Belize . I spent 3 days in the Florida Keys in 2010 . It was those 3 days that I really loved. We did’nt even boat a fish, you name it , it went wrong , it was inspiring and intimidating , technical Fly fishing .Just casting at and hooking those submarines was enough fuel my desire to return . Im stealing a phrase but its great one ” There are 2 words that describe hooking a Giant Tarpon , Those words are ”Fucking Hell” . The day you stop saying that when you hook one is the day to quit Tarpon Fishing !” Great cinematography , Good fun and an amazing fish as the star !   Riding High: A Season on the Fly from Waterline Media on...

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Orion Slider ”LE EXAMEN”
Dec13

Orion Slider ”LE EXAMEN”

Heres a quick review of the Orion Slider 28 g , this is my way of saying thanks to Eric for taking the time to knock out a few lures for me while there are still a few bass around before they head off to the haunted forrest where the pair Trawlers await . Alex First introduced me to Orions two years  ago . Im slow to learn so it took a further 12 months for me to finally digest the information and order my first batch. I was pleasantly surprised to realise that Eric was actually a customer of mine and has been ordering  gear from uksaltwaterflies.com for several years  . He suggested that he made my lures and I tied him a batch of custom flies , rather than soil the trade with cash . I loved the idea and was soon packaging up some home brew flies and wondering about all those big French Bass eating my Flatwings and Livebait flies ! ORION SLIDER 28 g LE EXAMEN!! Orion are made in France as you may have gathered by now. Eric supplies lures for the hardcore GT Popping fraternity and also the Bass guys. All lures are custom builds and he offers a range of paint jobs that you choose at the time of ordering. This is an old school experience . The lures don’t turn up the next day , they often take weeks to leave France. I think the waiting almost adds to the enjoyment of the experience , a bit like the good old days when you sent your holiday snaps off to be processed from Bonus print or super snaps ! SIZE The orion 28 g Slider is a big lure by UK standards at 140 mm and quite chunky , the Patchinko would be an obvious comparison lure at 135 and slightly thinner in the mid section . I rig Patchinkos with the Decoy 2/0 Plugging singles. I will have to look for an alternative for this lure as its  just that bit larger. I had my previous ” lost at sea” 28 Slider rigged with trebles. A Bass around 3 Kg wolfed it down out on Mounts Bay and demolished its gill rakers in the process and paid for its greed with its life. The lure was completely inhaled. That fish really wanted that lure , no question !! WEIGHT It casts a long way . I think my expression was ” Holy Shit !! ” When I first sent it into orbit ,its a big 28 grams ! When this lure hits the water its either going to ring the...

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2014 tidal graphs and how to use the data
Dec11

2014 tidal graphs and how to use the data

CLICK ON THE IMAGES FOR A FULL SCALE IMAGE – LOGGED IN MEMBERS CAN VIEW THE FULL COLLECTION OF TIDES FOR THE YEAR AND READ THE ARTICLE -TIGHT LINES !!    We have to try to quantify things in order to make plans so I guess the best we can do is go with what we know but then be prepaired to have to eat humble pie from time to time.  We also have the issue of Shore Vs Boat . This article relates very much to my own area and the way I fish . I would love to hear from other bass fisherman to find out if they agree with some of my findings.(If only to get some assurance that somebody can be bothered to read all my stuff ) I should also re cover my butt by explaining that I have no hard data to back any of my words . I have never kept a dairy but I have maneged to escape and fish quite a few tides for Bass in the last 10 years. Springs ? Point a gun at a Bass fishermans head and tell him to choose a spring or neap to go bassfishing and I would expect most of them to choose a spring tide . There are however other factors . Do you want to catch lots of Bass or a Big one ?  Are you fishing from the shore or afloat ? If I fish from the boat then I would choose a larger tide. The main reason being that certain reefs and Bars will have excellent current through them as the tide thunders past. Rips form in places that are lifeless during small tides. The bass will gravitate towards these features and light up as the currents swirl over and around them. Baitfish will be funnelled out of control and soon become lunch. Things change fast when fishing the big tides. The boat enables us to move with the fish or chop and change locations as one mark lights up and another slows down. If we are just fly fishing then getting the fly down in front of the fish can be an issue on the Springs.  So fly fishermen who want big bass should consider fishing with me on the neaps. These big tides stand out like a sore thumb on the tide tables . I sometimes look upon them as ‘Fools Gold ‘ Dont forget we have big Spings and small Springs !! Just to confuse matters. These days I prefer the moderate springs Neaps Slob tides for Big Slob Bass ?? I may get confused by what makes for the ultimate bassfishing tide but ...

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2013 In a nutshell
Dec09

2013 In a nutshell

2013 Has been an amazing year and in a way I don’t want this year to end.  I cant complain about the bookings on Zen2 or the weather . It was a massive learning curve and the number of new waypoints on my GPS has exploded around the county. We started the season on the Eddystone launching from Plymouth . We fished Falmouth Bay and Lizard, Roseland ,  Porthleven and Mounts Bay, St Ives 7 Stones, Padstow and Newquay . One area of Cornwall I wont name  has been bugging me for years, well were now fishing there and the results have been spectacular . This opens up a whole new chapter and I think that I will be headed that way a great deal more in 2014. I have 200 miles of coastline to keep me wondering what’s around the next corner. Couches Bream on Fiiish Minnow 7 LB Wrasse when filming with Sky Bass soup Spring Fishing with Ben Ben on Zen Spring Bass Last Pollack of the day Brian this spring Nice fish on the fly Clints first shark Another Couches Dawn on the Stone Steve R getiing Stoned Awesome Even more awesome Steve was the man this day First ever Bass ! Nice Then Edward Then another This was an epic end to the day Fiiish for a change My mates Graham started with this And ended with this Graham again Hes a nutter ! Sams the man Sams chuffed Slow jigging Matts pollack Gilt 1 Gilt 2 Alex Pollack James is on fire ! Freezing cold day wrasse Another Couches on lure James (again) James Pollack Roseland James Blue Shark No stopping this guy Joel Mark lets the skipper have some Miguels Bass takes Patchinko at dawn 100 % comitment Dawn July Mikes snub nosed bass Andrews 8 My go New winter grounds are working Cod on Fiiish while Bassing Nice Wrasse Great fun I love these fish Last Cast of the day Micro Blue on fly Waiting for the first shark of the day Great start to July Simons becoming a regular ! Mike Pollack Mike bass Filming conservation piece for Sky TV Thats my boy Worth the journey west Toms 2 nd trip of 2013 Tyson Jackson hits a 6 UGLY ! Ivans 8 (what a morning that was 0 Alex – Heartyrise BC Another Couches Brean on FM More Couches Zen2 does Plymouth Marks Pollack on fly Moody November New Logo for Zen Salmon and trout charity day All this love and attention to Zen2 does come with a price tag. Its been very hard to keep the retail side flowing smoothly. I have...

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Dropshotting in the salt
Nov18

Dropshotting in the salt

Dropshotting in the salt (So far ) The last month has been very quiet on Zen2 , she has sat there gathering dust or should I say leaves. The bookings really did tail off towards the middle of October , the few days booked were lost to rough seas anyway. I jumped for joy when 2 bookings coincided with perfectly calm seas and at last we were on a mission ! James has been on a few trips with me this year. That  horrendous cold spring made for a slow start , we did however have an  epic day together in September . James is a good ‘ thinking ‘ angler and keen to experiment while aboard.   I pass on  my knowledge to a large number of clients but I do also capitalise on the experience of a percentage of my boat partners that grace the decks on Zen2  We also have a good giggle when we fish so he makes for the perfect customer really . James and I discussed dropshotting earlier in the year. I did try it but my initial  trials were disappointing. It does have its limitations and when the wind blows hard and the tide rips the boat along at high speed on the drift  it becomes difficult to add the necessary finesse to the method. The one thing that dropshotting  allows you to do which is bloody critical at times on a boat that drifting is it allows you to leave the lure in the hotspot(Strike zone if your American ! ) ,  for example . Some spots I fish have very strong currents, the Bass and other species will often be found deep down tucked away out of the current hiding behind a rock or pinnacle. Traditionally I will be driving close to the pinnacle and then casting or dropping  a weighted paddle tail, into the zone , counting it down and then trying to judge the depth, feel for snags and then retrieve the lure .it’s a constant juggling act between getting the lure into the ‘’Zone ’’ and  losing lures . On Zen2 I got through roughly 600 Fiiish minnows this season ! Were only keeping the lure in the sweet spot for a short time due to physics . So if we can drop lures in the zone , leave them there and wiggle them while drifting away its going to increase the chances of a hit .   Saturday was a slow start .  We had zero wind and a tide that refused to kick off . Slack water seemed to last an eternity. I tried a number...

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Zen2 2013 ” The movie ”
Nov13

Zen2 2013 ” The movie ”

What a great year it has been , so many great days  aboard Zen2 . So many great fish !  Long days they are. I would say the average day works out at around 13 hours start to finish.  Most days the alarm goes off around 4 am . I have to take every booking that comes my way . The winter is a quiet time for bookings. Were loaded with Bass but Joe public just won’t make his way down the A 30. So Winter is the time to look back and reflect upon those sunrises and sunsets and Bass in the shallows .   Enjoy !...

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Bass Fishing Cornwall October blog
Oct11

Bass Fishing Cornwall October blog

Ive worked my nads  off this summer ! Its been amazing, exhausting, exciting, funny, sad, easy , hard, humorous, serious and a whole lot more.  Now I have a van that needs a service. Ive spent a grand on the traior  repairs and tyres  this week and the Suzuki DF 150 is just about ready for its 400 hour service. The ironic twist of the knife is that come October the mother load of Bass start to arrive in West Cornwall and the punters vanish! (Time for some winter deals ! Im not missing the best part of the year ) 48 hours ago Khem and I fly fished on the Lizard and landed 9 Bass to the  gurgler  fly on floating lines in 8 foot of water. This drreamy sunset was a wonderful end to what has been a dream run of bookings and weather. Khems a jammy git ! Its becoming a regular theme when we fish together.  Hes a very competent all round angler but that aside he still has a lucky streak . Take Sunday for example. I tried a new drift for Blue Sharks, perhaps brave with a client , but I did have Jammy Khem not a regular punter ! After 5 hours without a bite I decided the best idea would be to go for Bass and try and make it up to the guy. The lifting of the chum bag very much signals the end of the session or the loss of hope . I lifted the bag Khem and had a solid run from what turned out to be a 60 lb shark. These fish tussle really well on the major craft jiggiing rods , saying that the fish was ready to land with 6 minuites. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aruddko_5hY I just this week finally took the plunge and invested in a gorgeous 2.9 ghz I Mac. I have had that in my mind all summer, its my way of rewarding myself for all those 3 am alarm calls an 12 -13 hour days with 8 of them bobbing about on zen2 . 400 Fiiish Minnows – 6 Spools of 20 lb seguar – 10 spools of 20 lb Braid- 3  broken lure rods – 2 fly lines and God knows how many saltwater flies later I had the time  today to compile all the video clips and test out the I Mac’s video editing capabilites. Its been a joy to use the Mac and even more of a joy to throw the clips together. So many memories , there are parts of the film that make me feel quite emotional. There is only...

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The dark side of lure fishing
Sep05

The dark side of lure fishing

I think the technical phrase for the fishing right now is ” Its going off dude !! ” Bass are hammering herring fry in shallows and deep water . Yesterday was epic for Topwater lure fishing  and today was pretty close . We had 17 on the lure and fly . It was a long day but in true Matt Hayes style it all came together for a photo finish with the trophy fish to end the day. John was over the moon when this strong chunky 60 CM Bass sucked in his Z Claw There is however an element of sadness that goes hand in hand with the joy as the best fish of the day , the photo finish Bass bled to death on the boat and we had no choice but to bring her home.  The death of that fish just changed the atmosphere on the boat  as soon as we saw it bleeding like that . I also had to bring home 2 Bass yesterday through gill damage from trebles , so that’s 3 Bass in 2 days fishing.  On Zen2 we do take the odd fish home but only between 45 and 55 cm . I want to select my fish not bring home the unlucky casualties . I switched to barbless a couple of years back and have never looked back . I think its time to make Zen2 a Treble free boat . Ironically I ordered some Decoy Plugging singles from Mick in Jersey last night . One day too late for this fish possibly . I will let anyone that may be reading know how I get on with singles over the next couple of months . Based on the last few days I wont have to wait long to test them...

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Zen2 Summer update
Aug14

Zen2 Summer update

Its the halfway point in the season for me , or at least the main season , time for a report on what’s been going on. After the trauma of 2012 both financially and climatically 2013 is a dream come true.  The fishing has been excellent . This joyous Summer has made everything make sense . June started slowly , the water temperatures stubbornly remained low. Any fish we landed were all falling to winter tactics, Paddle tails in rips fished deep and slow were the go to method for me for week on end, then this wonderful weather arrived and the water temperatures shot up. The sea came to life and the summer bass games began in full earnest . I love fly and Topwater lure fishing and at last the Bass were pouncing on my Z Claw 500 g again. Its also a great deal cheaper , surface lures are rarely lost ! Here are a few photos of fish from the summer , Check out those Cooches Bream , they are awesome fish ! Khem Struck Silver straight away, Pressure off me ! Zen2 Shark Fishing Falmouth bay I always love to get my teeth into learning new methods and skills. Im not alone, its the nature of the sport . I had planned to start doing some shark fishing in 2013  but it was a chance encounter with fellow UKBASS member Jeff Smith that kick-started operation Shark ahead of schedule . I bumped into Jeff on Mylor slipway in early June , despite the low water temperatures they had landed 8 shark to 100 LB plus . He hit the nail on the head in a sentence I can still hear his words now ” Austen you’ve got to get into this ! We’ve dragged our boat 300 miles to fish here !!” Well that was it . Obsessive researching began there and then . The amazing thing about our shark fishing down in Cornwall is that it all happens so close to shore. I can see my Bass marks quite clearly while drifting for Sharks  . We can realistically target  Sharks and Bass on the same charter !! I can go one mile out from the manacles reef and find 250 foot of water !  I don’t know how many hours or days went into researching all aspects of sharking but it soon became apparent that the way that 99 % of people shark fish doesn’t suit me or my approach to fishing  if you spend any time on Youtube you will see 50 lb Blue Sharks being landed on 80 lb Class rods. Were targeting fish that...

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Zen2 Does the Camel
Aug13

Zen2 Does the Camel

This video was shot up on the Camel estuary back in July , what a day it turned out to be. I fished with Tyson Jackson . The Go Pro chest mount really works well when fly fishing . Music by Prodigy . Cheers Oz

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Never give up
Jul12

Never give up

I think its official  My brain is now fully fried, I have done so many days on the water  over the last 2 months . I can no longer tell you who I fished with the day before or what day it is., I remember the fish but the names and faces are becoming blurred. I have to grab every charter I can . I cant afford to turn work away . So before I forget the names again I fished with Simon and Scott today, two very good natured local chaps, keen to grab any new tricks I can pass on . It was a tough old day , the tides are diminishing, the sun was intense, not a cloud in the sky, not even any wind to help us along the way . I insisted we fished a late shift from 1.30 – 9 . 30 PM . I also explained  that the first half of the day could be super tough but the dusk had been producing a late evening bite all week .  I wasn’t far off ! Scott was dead keen to get his first  Bass on a lure. Despite all my efforts and changes of location and drifts,  Scott remained Bassless and the clock  was ticking very loudly as dusk slid away towards night  ! Simon and I had one a piece . I just had the feeling that Scott was destined for a bass on a surface  lure . I did my best to pass one the various retrieves required for Allie Mag slider  = slide and reel  , Patchinko  = tap and slap  and Z claw has the  tight retrieve . Towards the end of the day Scott had the lure working well Well  one the very last cast of the day he did it, a half decent bass hit the Oion surface lure I could go back to the harbour content. I just love doing this job. It really is an honour to get to share something I am so passionate about and call it my  job. Tomorrow I fush with a Jamie again , this guys the best fly fisherman I have ever met . So never give up , always try to include dawn or dusk in a days fishing and keep working those topwater lures. Its like throwing a stick for a dog , Bass  just  have to play fetch ! Cheers Oz    ...

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3 Days on Zen2
Jul07

3 Days on Zen2

I just figured I would bash out a blog  before I collapse with exhaustion or the kids come home from the beach  . The last 3 days with Ivan , Alex and Andrew have been a pleasure , a real mixture of events , some serious mileage at sea and  hours on the water , very early starts , a  BQQ in the garden and a seriously  big Shark that we saw breach this morning !! Friday Shark fishing out of Falmouth You just would not believe the number of hours that went into preparing Zen2 for the first Shark fishing session of 2013. I think I spent 20 man hours sorting tackle , bait etc. Suffice to say I now have enough chum for the next 3 or 4 Shark trips stashed away in the freezers . We headed out to sea with perfect conditions. We allowed ourselves 1 hour on the Bass before heading further out into deeper water . You don’t need to go far out before you hit 240 feet . We set up the drift set up the chum, conditions were perfect ,  fixed the baits to GT popping outfits modified for sharking. Listen to music, jigged up Haddock  and Mackerel in 240 feet while awaiting the first run . Well it never happened ! The boys will be back in August for some sweet revenge ! Saturday Mounts Bay I love launching from Porthleven. Its a 3 minute drive to the slipway in the morning. Porthleven just looks magical from the water . At 24 Knots we can access epic rips and reefs . Traffic and congestion on the drifts is never an issue on far West Reefs  .  Launching from Porthleven can be more complicated tides wise but the fishing can be sensational at times . After a Shark less day I wanted to pull the stops for the boys. We did a little bit of everything , We landed a couple of Bass in shallow water a couple of good wrasse and big Pollack . I worked my butt of and went 30 % over my daily fuel budget . We were all so shattered after fishing and BBQ that all 4 of us were asleep by 9 pm, ready for the 3 AM start on Sunday . Sunday Location x ! OK time for another launch site and another Bay . We were fishing Top Water Lures in  shallow water by 5 AM today . I was somewhat  surprised and concerned that we had not raised a fish by 6 .30 AM . This was the last of the 3 days with the guys, the weather had been stunning , the fishing...

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Fortune favours the brave
Jun21

Fortune favours the brave

Super quick blog today. I really should be feeding the kids or changing my smelly socks ( I thought those £ 200 Durbury Boots were breathable ??!!) Oh well I look the part !! Two very happy guys  returned to Land today following a great day.  8 Bass including 2 proper handsome  fish  , a load of wrasse on Sps in shallow water  and plenty of Pollack up to 11 lb. Khem Struck Silver straight away, Pressure off me !  Fortune favours the brave and that was then plan for today following a slow Bass day on Wednesday  . We have been fly fishing 48 hours before  and just found small bass tight to the shore so opted to lure fish in deeper water today   The fact that Zen2 has this amazing license now  enables me to cover the whole coast of Cornwall . This changes the game and that was always the  dream . I can now go where my gut feelings take me or shelter from 25 Knots in any direction.  Ive been scratching the surface of Cornwalls fishing. I still am and always will. In the last month we have  fished Mevagissey – Plymouth – Padstow – Porthleven and Falmouth . Bloody awesome ! Today I tried a brand new location with Khem .Today’s tide was the perfect tide . I was just so glad to be able to sneak out on such a perfect tide before the weather changes. We are right on the up curve out of Neaps into spring tides, not a mega spring tide , they can be chaotic. Just a nice one ! The fishfinder was showing Bass and bait but certainly no large numbers of fish . The first few drifts were clumsy and fruitless. I managed to find the right slot for the boat . The Bass were tucked in behind a giant pinnacle, just like Salmon in a pool of a River . As soon as we had the drift sorted we hooked Khems best bass of the day. We were casting 40 g Fiiish Minnows and slow retrieving in 40 foot. The Bass  was landed and measured, photographed and released.  70 cm and chunky. That’s great fish to start the day. As a guide its such a relief  when you nail  a big fish so early on. From that point forward you cant go wrong .   The Bass were still there on the screen but they refused to feed, we headed off another 6 miles or so and waited for the flood. Gannets were diving and the tide started ripping. We landed a further 7 Bass on the flood.  My  good friend...

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Bass Fishing Padstow and Porthleven
Jun09

Bass Fishing Padstow and Porthleven

I have been saltwater Fly fishing on the Camel Estuary for several years now. Its a unique place and I am still haunted and bothered by the memory  a very large Bass I hooked and lost on the fly there on my first ever visit. This fish was hooked and swam straight towards the boat. If I had the landing net to hand I could have scooped it up, but alas this fish just came along side the boat turned and the fly fell simply out of her mouth ! Mike B and I spent many sessions on the camel ,  launching Zen 1 at Rock. I always wanted to add Padstow to the portfolio of launch sites for Zen2 . Despite my coding I still had further hoops to jump through with Padstow Harbour masters. You can not operate out of this area and I would advise anyone looking at a Saltwater Fly fishing guide on the Camel to enquire ! (Wink) Its all starting to fall into place at last ! On Tuesday I fulfilled part of the dream by getting Zen2 all sorted for the Camel and Padstow . I was joined by Tyson Jackson for a few hours. The sun was shining, the tides building and the boat was already on the pontoon. We headed a few miles out to sea . First cast of the lure and we were into fish. I looked at the fish finder and it was solid with Bass !! Here we go ! Over the course of the afternoon we landed over 36 bass plus a number of very large Wrasse. We mixed it up between Fly and lure fishing . All the fish were in around 20 – 40 foot depths and close the bottom , holding just out of the current . Fiiish Minnow 40 g was the best lure , fly wise , the DNA Livebait XL in size 2/0 hook was the winner I shot plenty of footage on the Go Pro and knocked out a quick video. Hopefully you will understand why I’m rather excited about this new chapter !! Back home to Porthlven Good things don’t always last and the next couple of days out of Padstow were far less productive. The Camel turned green with the Algae blooms and it was time to pull Zen2 out of the pond and drag her home. I had 2 more days booked . The NE winds were perfect for Porthleven fishing. I had a feeling that this could work out. I had a few very nice bass out in Mounts Bay a week or so before. Ben Field...

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Eddystone Reef
May27

Eddystone Reef

Here I am home with my family for 24  hours, a day lost to crappy  weather means a unexpected chance to return home  . The back of a van or a sofa in a shared caravan will be replaced by my own bed and a warm body beside me for one night . The sea temperatures still refuse to budge. I actually had to de ice my van window on Saturday morning at 4 am ! That’s insane ! After several lost charters or days spent sheltering in the lee of the land over the last few weeks it was with a great feeling of excitement that I found myself heading out to the Stone as dawn broke. The eddystone lighthouse on the horizon and 250,000 sleeping souls and a few no doubt still in nightclubs behind me. The water temperature seems to be stuck on 10 degrees , not best. Its typical of my luck. Yesterday was just the kind of dawn that you dream about. A full moon glowing above and with it a big spring tide , almost no wind . I was pretty sure any bass landed would be worked for and I wasn’t wrong. There may be vast quantities of baitfish out there but as it stands the payload of bass has yet to arrive, spring is 6 weeks late and so are the bass. Working paddletails through rips and dropping the baits behind the structure in fast currents , guessing the drop and depth of your lure in relation to the depth takes practice. The guys did well . It can be hard at times to convey something that comes with time spent and countless lures lost, Re tying leaders and replacing lost Lures as your boat drifts fast through short drifts requires patience and intense concentration . My feeling is that the reefs I fish closer to home are more complicated and have far more quirks (and rocks that stick out !) I’m reasonably accustomed to negotiating my way around treacherous reefs, that doesn’t mean I plan on relaxing one bit . We did Ok and landed a few fish .All the fish were around the same size, certainly no big girls, regardless I felt very happy to see some silver .  This week was spent in the company of really nice people , some were old faces and some new. When the fishing is tough it helps to have good souls alongside you . Daiwa kindly sent me 4 of the 7 foot Tournament rods (Rated 14 to 42 g lure ) to fish with along the lush Caldia 2500 reels. These rods are really...

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Good karma !
May16

Good karma !

Today started with a family Breakfast of Porridge and Leftfieds ‘ Inspection’ at deafening volume. I thought dads were supposed to tell the kids to turn the music down ? Not in this household ! The joy of a sunny morning and the prospect few hours fishing for Bass got the better of me . Things have been deathly slow in Bass department in West Cornwall  , these water Temperature refuse to rise. Im bored of Pollack or Wrasse I want Bass I want Bass Bass Bass ! Porthleven slipway is a  2 minute drive, its always a welcome luxury to launch on the front door step rather than tow  Zen2 to Plymouth or Falmouth . If a picture says a thousand words then I suppose a video says more, even a crap one like mine ! They are here ! At last they are back .  I had half forgotten just how Dam cool Bass are , those pectoral fins all lit up electric Blue, Those silver scales. That nodding dog sensation on the rod tip that tells you  have a bass . The line rising up through the water column when a Bass heads towards the surface to shake the lure. They are great to eat , but releasing these fish leaves  a better taste in my mouth ! The 3 Bass I landed this morning all went back. I need plenty of  good karma...

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Gilthead Bream
May15

Gilthead Bream

Rod rests !! Bait ! What’s happening too me?? As I write this I leave the sweet sticky pungent essence of today’s bait fishing all over the keyboard. Bait may be a 4 letter word but so what . I have no ‘Gilt Trip ‘ . The slow start to the Bass migration this year combined with my absence from Cape Cod this spring has all come together and at last after so many years of missing the run .I’m on a Bream mission. Yes I did it ! I purchased a rod tripod !! The 7 foot Daiwa Tournament rods and Daiwa 2500 series Calidas look like a pair of racing cars lined up ready for the big race ! If you thought that Bass anglers were secretive then you  have seen nothing. Most Gilthead Bream anglers speak in hushed voices when discussing locations and tactics. Given that this amazing fish has zero protection , no bag limits, no size limits . Its hardly a surprise. I could get very political about the netting that takes place in our Estuary systems. I will save my energies for hassling Cornwall IFCA , it seems there policy with Gilthead Bream is to do nothing whatsoever and then figure it all out when its destroyed . my current bream fishing seems to entail lots of  photography and very little catching myself. Im doing the same thing as the other guys . I just seem to be a bit cursed right now. I will get through it ! Just look at the colours on this fish . As I looked through the view finder today I wondered if that would be picked up by the camera I’m absolutely memorized by this fish ! My current approach is bait , if we see more fish running , or they don’t get gillnetted by some tosser then I will start to try and catch them with a Fly or lure. Today was very tough going indeed . One gilthead Bream landed between 4 of us fishing 2 rods each . I had really hoped to get some decent photos of a Gilthead being released in all its resplendence. I can do better but I must say I was rather chuffed with the photos today. I think they are an amazing fish to catch and release and very photogenic . Sam did a first class job of landing , holding and releasing this exotic thug for me today .   Cheers Austen...

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Bassfishing the Eddystone
Apr27

Bassfishing the Eddystone

A year ago I made my first trip out Bass Fishing on the Eddystone . The conditions were just perfect , the tide was ripping through the reef , the sun was defused through early morning  haze. within the first half hour we were photographing and releasing a stunning double figure Bass .It was a defining moment for me.   The seeds of a new obsession were definitely sewn that day. In the South West of England these reefs are the migratory waypoints hard wired into the brains of Bass. Reefs like the Eddystone , Manacles, Runnelstone are the equivalent of Kings Cross Station or  St Pancreas . The tide rips through the heavy structure and Bass will be found hiding out behind the big rocks in  the same manner as a  salmon in a fast flowing river. I love my mellow relaxed light lure fishing and fly fishing tight to the shore , twitching X Layers or stripping a DNA Livebait fly through 6 foot of water with no other boats within sight is joy.   These reefs are very different however and require intense concentration and coordination between skipper and angler  .They are challenging areas to work the boat . This week was the first chance of the year to take Zen2 up to Plymouth and fish the reefs and mess around close to the shore. My pride and joy looked somewhat out gunned by the various Princess’s, Sunseeker’s and million Dollar  yachts . I have mixed feelings about the City of Plymouth.  Once you get out on the water at dawn and head out past the break water you soon leave this sprawling city asleep behind you. One thing I love about this area is the contrast between its wonderful rugged beaches and headlands and the hustle and bustle  of 250,000 people living their lives. The water Temperature still refuses to hit double figure and the fishing was predictably slow. The bait Balls at sea were just staggering. I cant remember seeing so many launce on the fishfinder. Its only a matter of time now before those Bass come back inshore . The Dinner plate is full and brimming out there . I just wish someone would ring the dinner Bell . I will be back here soon and next time I have a feeling we will strike Silver “”!! In the words of the great philosopher arnold Schwarzenegger. ” I’ll be back ” !! Thanks for reading Austen Goldsmith www.Bassfishingcornwall.com...

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Fiiish Minnows back on Zen2
Mar28

Fiiish Minnows back on Zen2

I would hope that sometime soon spring will make an appearance and we will see the inshore sea  temperatures start to rise and with it a gigantic megashoal of double figure Bass steaming towards the shore leaving a huge bow wave behind them !! Well we can dream of such things. Perhaps if we headed across the pond to the America where commercial fishing for Bass is closely managed we could see such a sight .  Winter is the time for pipedreams and preparation ! Theres a huge great big box of Fiiish Black minnows at my feet. Various sizes but only 2 colours. I like to keep it simple when Im fishing. My quest for the ultimate fishing system has left me with a massive pile of soft plastics in all manner of shapes and sizes . Fred the creator of Fiiish sent me a few samples to fish with in 2011.  The Bass loved them. I only had a few samples and alas they went to a water grave quite quickly. Fish with me on the Cornish Rips and you will understand what heavy structure means ! I don’t really know what it is about this lure but fish just seem to be fascinated by it ?  All the time that lure is down there below you feel knocks  and bumps as  a shoal of assassins follow the lure . Wrasse go nuts for Fiish Black minnows , as I rediscovered this winter when fishing with Alex and Andrew. Some people may wonder why I have re embraced Fiiish Minnows again. Well the easiest way to explain this would be to copy and paste my own words from a recent email As a guide I’m always on the lookout for a lure that will catch an idiot a bass’ so to speak ‘. I don’t want to look into a  tackle box and have to choose between 30 different sizes ,shapes and colours of lure.  I would rather just have one killer lure that covers the bases . Fiiiish Minnows do that ! For boat fishing  I find the 25 g x 12o mm Fiiish Minnnow and the 40 g x 140 mm the optimum lure weight and size. I think the 140 mm will be my go to paddletail shad this season . Soon we will be sacrificing our rubber minnows to the sea in our quest . For more information on Bass Fishing in Cornwall click here  www.bassfishingcornwall.com If you want to purchase Fiiish Minnows look here ! www.ukbassfishing.com...

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Cornish Lure Festival 2013
Mar24

Cornish Lure Festival 2013

Zen2 / Bassfishingcornwall.com sponsors Bass section on Cornish Lure festival 2013 Two years ago when I saw Ben Field  launch the Cornish Lure Festival I was mighty impressed . I sat on the side-lines wishing I had had the vision and confidence to make it happen myself. What a great idea it was and what a great way to showcase this wonderful corner of England.Lets be honest 2012 was a bit of a disaster fishing wise and weather wise, despite that Cornwall came up trumps  . The clouds parted and some great fish were landed. The contemporary catch and release format just falls in line with everything I feel about recreational sea fishing,  having witnessed the fruits of modern thinking and fisheries management in America and Australia. I would love to see the same modern approach adopted by ‘traditional’ Angling clubs.. The concept of anglers actively hunting down and killing those priceless big female Bass and killing for a competition saddens me I offered to add a prize to the Bass competition and supply a £ 360 Credit for fishing on Zen2 . Ben accepted and I’m very pleased to be involved and really hope to see this festival an even bigger success than it was last year. So come on down. The waters lovely down here ! If you need B & B . and guided Bass fishing . Please get in touch To find out more about the competition follow this link http://www.lurefestival.co.uk/  ...

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Cornish Bass Flies
Mar21

Cornish Bass Flies

Well at last they are here and they are amazingly well tied. . The guys at Fulling Mill asked me 18 months ago to  provide  a selection of my favourite Bass Fly Patterns.I have fine tuned my flies over the years .  Too many options leads to more time spent gazing into  a fly box or hoping that a change of fly will make fish appear out of nowhere. I like a simple life and a fly that I have confidence in based on my experiences  on the water. I hate stiff lifeless flies. I like a fly that breathes life with or without input from the angler. I don’t think Bass will  always chase food  at lightening speed , they often cruise around casually or drift on the tide looking sneak up on prey and just suck them in . A fly that looks good static will be an attractive easy meal. Oz’s Livebait fly LINK Size 2 Tiemco 811 s Hook Yes its a sand eel  I developed the fly out of desperation on Cape Cod for  use in skinny water where the splash of a heavy fly will spook fish. Truth is that a number of my ‘ Trouty’ clients struggle with heavy flies. This is feather light and aerodynamic. Its also insanely effective and we have landed thousands of Bass using it both here and across the pond. Ultra light  easy casting fly Great in skinny water The go to fly on bright sunny days Good over all ground Oz’s Eurobass Clouser LINK Size 1 TMC 811s Hook Bass love to eat juvenile Pollack, Pollack love to eat Pollack ! I fish this fly close to rocks and heavy ground where baby Pollack hide. Bass can be quite territorial during the summer months and I believe they will stay put and happily dine on the local population of ‘Pollockus Irritatus’. If Im not catching on Sandeel Patterns this is my second choice.  It also seems to find the better fish !! Great off the rocks as it sinks Good dirty water fly Finds better fish Killer fly for Pollack Oz’s Eurobass Goby LINK Siz2 2/0 Mustad Tarpon Hook This  Tarpon influenced fly landed me my best shore fly Bass in 2008 . It has also saved my bacon a couple of times on the boat . Fish this over bouldery beaches on floating lines where all the gobys and other critters hide, Its my first choice for night fishing also. It may be a good night fly but that big black profile has also worked for me on very bright days. Oz’s Cornish Bass Fly LINK Size 2/0 Mustad Tarpon Hook This...

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Fly fishing mojo is back
Mar11

Fly fishing mojo is back

The last couple of years I have been somewhat obsessed with lure fishing for Bass.  My fly rods have seen far less action.  Obsessing over lure for a couple of seasons was a very positive thing. I have gained so much new knowledge and understanding of my fishing area . I took the knowledge of shallow ground saltwater fly fishing in Cornwall and applied it to weedless soft plasics. I think its now time to transpose that knowledge gained with the lure rod back to the fly.   Part of this ‘ return to the source’ has involved rooting out all the publications that fed my original hunger for knowledge  . I have been  so transfixed on todays latest most ‘LIKED’ photo on Facebook( while watching my back) or rambling through the ramblings on fishing forums I quite simply forgot just how much true knowledge and wisdom was im my bookcase. If the articles I have recently written for TSF are half as good as some of these Bass fishing classics then I would regard that as a huge result. So here are a few publications that have influenced me over the years Hooked on Bass – Ladle and Vaughan – First Published 1988 This really is the Bible for anyone in pursuit of euro Bass.  Alan Vaughan and Mike Ladle  captured my imagination and enlightened me . Reading chapter 5 Shallow Rocky shores changed everything for me. A fly fisherman has to choose the battleground far more carefully than a bait or lure angler . I still get emails from guys who ask me where they should be saltwater fly fishing for Bass .  In the old days I told them to buy a Ordinance survey map and read hooked on Bass chapter 5 , these days I would suggest they do just the same and then also reference Google Earth.     ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————– Pop Fleyes by Bob Popovics  Published 2001 I have not opened this book up for years . I had just forgotten what a huge influence this has been on my saltwater fly tying  . To coin a phrase from the thinking mans TV series X Factor . Mate you nailed it !! Bobs patterns were cutting edge at the time and stand as a testament to just how little the art of saltwater fly tying for cold water species has evolved. Bob looked closely at the major baitfish that Stripers and Bluefish feed on and them created lifelike patterns. I cant find a baitfish pattern that doesn’t derive  a strong influence from patterns in the book. Dave Skoks mushmouth is there and named a generic baitfish. I had a...

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Zen2 Bass Fishing – Cracking  the code
Mar02

Zen2 Bass Fishing – Cracking the code

ZEN 2 @ Padstow – Plymouth – St Ives – Falmouth – Penzance Today its hard for me to contain my excitement. I small sticker and a certificate arrived with the mornings post.   This is something I have been working towards for 18 months. Its been really tough going at times and the expense involved has been staggering. Sometimes you go so far down the road you just have to keep going. You have invested so much that you can not turn back . Well I’ve done it !! Zen2 is the first boat of its kind to achieve MCA  CAT 4 Status. I have also spent a great deal of time and money upgrading my charter  skippers ticket to take my Bass fishing clients to the places that fill me with awe . We have 200 miles or so of coastline in Cornwall . My previous operational area was tiny in comparison . MY OFFICE HAS JUST INCREASED IN SIZE BY 200 % I Can now take my punters to all those hard-core locations that I have been fishing alone or with my mates 2012 was a tough year for me Bass fishing in Cornwall. You name it we had it, screwed up water temperatures, Wind , rain, rain,rain. I remember sitting on my boat with clients in Falmouth Bay and the water was the colour of milky coffee. (We did actually catch a Bass that day .)I took a call from a mate of mine who had landed 30 Bass fishing the gin clear waters on the North coast. It was very depressing to say the least. Most charter boats are stuck to one Port ,so if the wind takes a turn for the worst they are stuck. Zen2 can now launch from multiple ports . I know plenty of places with good fishing where we can tuck in close to shore and stay safe. SE winds are a nightmare on the South coast and have become my worst enemy in Falmouth Bay, so now when it blows from the South East we will be launching at StIves or Padstow.   This is a massive step for me. So where do you want to go Bass fishing in Cornwall in 2013 ? We now have 200 Miles of coastline and endless possibilities !  http://www.bassfishingcornwall.com/    ...

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Bait & Birds = Bass
Jan09

Bait & Birds = Bass

They say a picture can say a thousand  words. Well this was taken by Matt Spence during his post christmas break . Apparantly this blitz happened daily for  a whole week !! The sprats come through west cornwall in vast shoals and the blitzing starts. This time of year you have to try to drop eveything , grab the gear and go fishing as soon as the weather breaks. The baitfish shoals are here. The Bass are shoaling up ready to spawn . These days I would far rather fish for Bass on my own boat in Cornwall than stand on a skiff with a guide chain smoking and constantly clearing his throat and spitting  into the water while pointing out a bonefish for me to cast towards  !! ( Why do Cubans , Mexicans, Costa Ricans spit all day ? )It a tough one for me when it comes to guiding in deep winter and its the locals and my buddies who can cash in on the action. Im determined to get the message across to all those potential clients ‘ out of county’ Speak to me lets go fishing . Were loaded ” I don’t think we have had a bad days fishing all winter ! Stuff happens this time of year and usually good ! We had Cod – Bass – Pollack and some very decent Wrasse  on the same short drift yesterday . Fortune favours the brave in the winter. What about Saltwater Fly fishing some may ask ? Well these fish were all landed in 45 foot of water. Where are the fly guys ?? I think they are all at home thinking that Bass are a summer species . I always leave the slipway with a sense of occasion in deep winter . It feels as though you are stealing extra days from the year.  You are more likely to see Gannets diving and Herring Gulls circling bait than any other time of the year , you never be quite sure what will grab your lure in the winter and there’s something nice about coming home in from the cold and lighting a fire!   Cheers Oz www.ukbassfishing.com...

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2013 Tidal Curves
Jan02

2013 Tidal Curves

Here we have the 2013 Tidal curves. I find these simple graphs very easy to understand. The peaks are often  best for boat fishing and the troughs are better for shore fishing as the bass stay closer to shore and move less on the tide.  The upcurve out of neaps towards springs will always be my favourite stage of the tidal month . Rather than repeat myself I will just suggest this page may be worth a read.http://zen-sportfishing.com/2011/12/bass-fishing-tides/...

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Christmas Bass
Dec21

Christmas Bass

A Hearty Rise lure rod bent completely double a good size Bass thumping away. An excited skipper scrambling for the landing net . That sudden realisation that this is a good Bass and you have only been fishing for a couple of minutes. Well that’s what we had today. Two guys lucky enough to be able to drop everything and cash in on a break in the weather.  Clint struck Gold last time I took him fishing and I guess  he  it again today. Two personal best Bass for him on the same day . Cornwall Bass Zen2 Madshad 130 deep does it again The fish have moved out into deeper water say 35 – 60 foot, I was quite suprised to see the water temps have dropped down to 10 Degrees this side of  Christmas. A  Slow retrieved Madness Madshad / 50 g Jig head  close to the bottom , Savagear Sandeel 42 g fished mid water were our weapons today. Not complicated find the correct angle to cast against the current , Mix up your retrieve speed, try casting either uptide or down tide of structure depending on the stage of the tide .Uptide around slack water and down tide as the tide starts to build its force and the fish start to tuck behind structure to save energy. Bass fishing in West Cornwall is epic in the Winter. Its a simple as that !The greatest challenge I face is getting the message across to people and getting bums on seats on Zen2 this time of year . Thousands of tons of Bass are here prior to spawning.  Here I am 20 Miles from Lands End. It can feel pretty cut off down here at times.  I have pretty much cleaned my self out financially setting all this up  . I believe Zen2 is the most cutting edge Bass fishing  charter boat in the UK. Today we headed back through a large following swell at 24 Knots. After 6 weeks off the water I had almost forgotten what an amazing vessel she is.  Its been a tough year for me . Taking this boat out and sharing in Clints excitement helped remind me of what this is all about.   Merry Christmas   Austen Goldsmith www.ukbassfishing.com www.uksaltwaterflies.com  ...

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Cornish  Bass Massacre
Dec19

Cornish Bass Massacre

  Cornish  Bass Massacre has begun – THIS HAS TO STOP !! One Mevagissy boat apparently netted 5600 Pounds (2500 Kilos)  of our  Bass last week . At an average of 3 lb per fish that’s 1866 Dead Bass . These fish that will achieve up to  £ 16 per Kilo in prime condition as line caught are being sold at £ 2 a Kilo  as the market floods with net damaged Bass,. These reports depress me , disgust and make me question why I would be so reckless as to try and derive a living from bass fishing ?? Some of the locations I fish I get to share the water with the community of guys who catch fish with hand lines or rod and line. They wont be receiving Christmas cards from me but I still have a passing respect for the way they work . They sell Bass for top prices. If a commercial rod and line angler lands 20 Bass he’s done ok. £ 320  A fair days pay with relatively low impact on the resourse.  I let my clients take a bass from Zen2  at £ 160 per Kilo with a strict slot size of 45 – 55 CM . One Bass per day per man , no more .   So what can we do about this  ? The Runnel Stone Reef and the Manacles reef are ’ No Net zones’’ These were created to protect future of the fleet of line caught Bass fishermen who derive their incomes as I have described.  We need to vastly extend these areas to protect Bass from this wasteful greedy short sighted form of harvesting. it’s a crime as far as I am concerned . What ever happened to the Eddystone reef why is this not protected ? We need a complete review of netting practices in Cornwall. Don’t let me begin to tell you whats happening to juvenile fish in our estuaries Who can help us save these fish from such a wastful death ? Cornwall IFCA  http://www.cornwall-ifca.gov.uk/   are in charge of local fisheries policy. If you look at the homepage you will find written what is effectively their mission statement. Our Role ‘’Cornwall IFCA will lead, champion and manage a sustainable marine environment and inshore fisheries. It will do this by successfully securing the right balance between social, environmental and economic benefits to ensure healthy seas, sustainable fisheries and a viable future.’’ Why Now ??? Trust me I think that this is the correct time to be doing this. Apparently policy is under review right now. I meet these guys on the water . I email...

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Daiwa Ryoga 2020 L
Nov23

Daiwa Ryoga 2020 L

Well its getting cold out there the water temps will start to drop also, so its time to get my winter fishing outfits sorted.  The fishing in Cornwall really kicks into gear from this point onwards. Bring on the those Cod. Bring on those huge great Wrasse that amaze me every time they come up from the depths .More importantly bring on those crisp high pressure days with blue skies. A coating of ice on my outboard in the morning was the  signal of a great day ahead last winter.  Fishing ultra light vertical was a revelation . We pushed the Armageddon ML 66 to its limits I fished a  Baitcaster outfit also. Too be honest provided you don’t high stick,  most flimsy rods will work. Once you start pushing the gear hard its the reels that start to buckle and fold under the pressure. So enter the Daiwa Ryoga ! I purchased this reel a couple of months ago at a moment of weakness . When you take the plunge and invest in top quality no compromise kit you rarely regret it. The Ryoga is a stunning example of angling engineering, every person who has touched and felt this reel splutters at the $ 600 + Price tag but also understands , just turn the handle , click the spool release , turn the drag lever or feel the drag . The level wind is perfection. I cant comment about casting with the reel  my experience has been all vertical so far.  The drag system is rated to 6.5 kilos . That’s more than enough . Once you start to use this kind of gear you can never go back. I think that more and more boat anglers are going to wake up and smell the coffee . Boat fishing doesn’t need to be all about filling a box with fillets and fishing shark rods for 10 lb fish .   Cheers Oz www.ukbassfishing.com...

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Rambo 5 launches
Nov21

Rambo 5 launches

I’m inspired ! This little rigs going to catch me some bass !!  I’m just back from my first launch of the new Rib. The inevitable maiden voyage hiccups are out of the way.  The funny thing with boats is the second they are in the water they shrink. A 3.8 M rib feels very small after a year aboard  Zen2. I liken Rib fishing to Kayak fishing. (Without all the paddling ) They have  the ability to sneak in and out of likely looking Bass fishing marks . You can almost bounce off the rocks . They use very little fuel !!  You can launch in all manner of weird and wonderful places . When the birds start diving and the bass are blitzing you can step on the gas and get to the action. I do find kayaking frustrating at times ! My first ever boat was a small zodiac tender with an inflatable floor . I never felt at home on her. Standing up felt like standing on a water bed in the middle of the sea. The Aluminum Floor on the xpro Defender  feels really solid . The boat feels very stable indeed. I was able to stand up and fish while the boat sloshed around in the chop .  As I edged towards the mouth of the Fal Estuary I was greeted by a fresh South West at around 18 mph. The sea was choppy as we had wind against tide, I could have headed out but I had only a limited window to fish so I headed back in for cover and tucked in tight to the shore (I still cant believe I never had a single fish  !!?) The fishing was completely and utterly dead today , the recent rain had turned the estuary to the colour of strong tea. I could not buy a bite . I was absorbed by the experience of small Rib fishing . Im really excited about all the places I can launch the Xpro 3 D Tender in Cornwall. I cant wait for the opportunity to go Bass fishing . That’s the sea trials over with next launch will be somewhere a little more hardcore Here’s a list of my conclusions from today Positives Very stable platform Fast boat Stealthy fishing Low running costs Easy launching from multiple locations Fits into the garage on trailer Negatives WET!!! I took a bit of a soaking heading beam on through the chop Bumpy (see above ) Limited deck space Only room for 2 anglers...

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The ”Black Ops’ begin
Nov18

The ”Black Ops’ begin

West Cornwall is now loaded with Bass ! Its time to get out there. Its prime season as the mother load of fish converge in the far west prior to spawning. I have a feeling that they will head off early to the spawning grounds this year. So between now and January West Cornwall is certainly the place to be. Where are my punters ? I blame the public perception of Bass as a summer species on the Angling Press. It seems that every June the Bass articles start to turn up in the magazines . Oh well at least its not crowded on the water ! Lets me introduce you to my new weapon in the quest for Bass. My big boat Zen2 is an awesome beast . I love here , its a almost a year since I picked her up from Poole Docks . The more I use my boat the more I appreciate what an amazing machine she is. She is however pretty expensive to run. I would say the running cost are around £ 100 – £ 120 per day . As I said before this time of the year I have a lack of clients and the fishing can be sensational. My new Rib will be an affordable alternative to the big boat. It also opens up so many possibilities . New launching areas, the ability to fish in ” Stealth mode” The ability to tip toe around the gnarly rocks where that mother bass may be hiding. I have a brand new Yamaha 15 HP 2 Stroke and trailer. The boat is light enough for 2 guys to lift off the trailer and carry to the waters edge. I may also fit wheels on the transom. I have a spare transducer so I may well rig the Humminbird GPS Fish finder  Side scanner on sometime soon . If you want to check out the range of Ribs from XPro these are the guys to contact as they import them . http://www.seaswift.co.uk/ribs-inflatables/ribs_xpro_commando.html Well shes ready for action and the bass are here. We have a huge low pressure system approaching and its going to blow a hooley all week . I will just have to be patient and wait for the right day to launch . Im excited !! Cheers...

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November Bass fishing in Cornwall
Nov16

November Bass fishing in Cornwall

  When I head out to sea between November and April I never know whats going to happen but I tell you this is the time of year that I expect big things .  A few days ago I fished in bright sunshine . Mike  and I landed  18 or so Bass in shallow water over white sand all schoolies and all good fun on lights rods and xlayer ayu’s .  All the joys of summer in the middle of winter ! Today as we headed out the low grey cloud , the fresh South easterly and a huge spring tide gave the mission  a feeling of purpose.  That feeling strengthened when  I spotted Gannets diving like crazy . This was a sight for sore eyes as 2012 has been a slog at times . A pod of 60 or more porpoises were turning a shoal of herrings into an explosion of fish scales and oil. I  scrabbled for my video camera. The battery was flat ! Its winter time perhaps I should stick the camera on charge ! Today I was joined by Clint and Matt. Not a charter just 3 guys capitalising on the Winter bounty and a gap in the weather . We fished 42 g Savage gear sandeels sink and draw over heavy ground in around 40 foot of water.  Drifting side on to structure , casting as close as possible to the huge pinnacles . Sometimes you find the bass up tide and sometimes down. The stronger the tide the more likely they are to tuck in behind out of the current. He who flirts with danger catches the most fish ! So learning how to work these lures will catch you more fish. Controlled drops catch fish and save lures When I fish paddle tails I start by finding out what the sink rate is. First of all look at the fish finder and note the depth, drop the lure down and count it to the bottom. If its 20 seconds then I would cast and drop 10 seconds, get in touch and retrieve a few yards , then stop and drop for another 5 seconds . Keep flirting with the bottom and try to work the lures as slow as you dare. If you lose a few lures cheer yourself up and consider how many hundreds of pounds worth of boilies a Carp fisherman uses each season, These soft baits are ammo !! Its warfare and there will be casualties ! Tackle Tarts corner Clint had a couple of rods from Hearty Rise . I must say that I was very impressed indeed. The French fish the same way...

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The one that got away
Oct04

The one that got away

Some days the fishing can be quite forgettable. Some days I get to fish with unforgettable  people. Was it the  curve down out of solid spring tides toward  neaps. that has slowed the fishing over the last 48  hours ?  I suspect that may be the case . We only landed 3 bass today, non worthy of a photo. We lost a very nice bass at one stage during the day. Is it the fish we lose that keep us fishing rather than the ones we land ? I had the honour of fishing with Michael today. His life story is quite fascinating and he has a truly generous special way about himself. I get the feeling he will have touched lots of people through his life’s journey. I really hope we get to fish together sometime again. Perhaps the Big Bass that Michael lost today was lost for a reason...

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25 th September
Sep25

25 th September

I don’t know what it is that makes this day so special , lets just say that the fact that I had to cancel Steve Pitts 2 days aboard zen 2  through bad weather wasn’t going to stop me wetting a line over high water.  as I approached this Bass fishing mark I commented to my mate Sam that this is a special day of the year. I landed a 9 lb Bass from this very location in 2008 on the fly . I also had an 8 1/4 pound fish from a very similar mark on the same day in 2006. I have had great shore fishing around the second set of neaps in September so many times now. These are critical tides of my year . This mark lay bare of weed and gin clear and fishless a week ago. In the space of the week huge piles of seaweed had been deposited on the beach and a classic rot was starting. The water at my feet was chocolate brown, give this mark a few days and it should be brimming with Mullet feeding on sandhoppers and maggots. We fished without a swirl or sign for a good half hour. I fished the Waveworm Bamboo stick high in the water, rod tip vertical , a twitchy semi fast retrieve to keep the lure dimppling the surface.  This Bass hit the lure on the first twitch after landing. The surface take was violent and left a huge hole in the sea in its wake . This was a good fish and I knew that straight away.  A good tussle on injection SP 73 as you would expect. I thought she could clip 9 pounds . I slid her up over the weed . She was mine !! She needed help so I took the plunge ! Sam did the honours with the camera and we measured her at 72 CM. A very chunky broad fish , I would expect that fish to be  over the 8 pound mark. I resisted the temptation to injure her with a boga for the sake of statistics. She had been out of the water for too long already. Getting the fish back into the water was very tricky . I slid her over the weed . She was obviously in need of a little help as she lay side ways in the water , looking rather worse for wear .  Its hard for a lot of anglers to believe or understand what I did . I stripped  down to pants  and took the plunge . I waded upto my arm pits in the dirty brown...

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Bass Fishing St Ives Cornwall
Sep20

Bass Fishing St Ives Cornwall

I may have been fishing almost every day for the last month . I may have a pile of emails , messages, paperwork to catch up on but regardless I went fishing today  , Big tides , lightish winds and an opportunity to fish awesome new ground made the decision easy   . I fished with Mark , a client / friend who has done 4 days over the last 2 weeks and Malcolm . This wasnt a guide day this was a chance to hit some new marks and finally wet a line with a fellow Bass fanatic,  Malcolm Gilbert.  Malcolm was once a full time rod and line commercial Bass fisherman working the reefs of the West. Malcolm has seen the glory days and also the demise of our fishery over the last 40 years. He quit Bass and switched over to catching , Blast freezing and selling Sandeels to tackle shops. He sold Ammo Baits Ltd in 2007 and took early retierment . I think his career and success is an apt testement to the value of recreational angling versus commercial.  Malcolms involvement with the lobbying against the mis managed Bass fishery is well known to Bass anglers and he continues to soldier on. I hope that both of us get to see some serious changes in Bass managament poilcy in our lifetimes . Who knows ? Fishing Lanching Zen2 in Hayle went well. I could do it single handed which is good to know. The current was fierce as the tide ebbed out of the estuary  . We were soon heading out  towards the outer Stones. The wind was far greater than the prediction at around 16mph. Wind against  big tide made for a very lumpy slightly unerving sea. The wash around the rocks was awe inspiring. This is a serious place to fish , my boat rocked and bobbed about like a cork in a turbulant River.  The height gunnels on the boat provide a sense of security when you fish these places. Fishing was slow to start. We eventually found the fish and we landed 6 Bass for the session . Not an epic day but Ok !  These were all in the 50 – 55 Cm Bracket. The bass everywhere are going nutty for surface lures right now  . I had 4 on the Patchinko 500 g and one on Sawamura One up shad. Mark Slogged it out on the fly rod but for some reason he just could not seem to hook any Silvers , just the enevitable  Brown ones ! When I fish these special places like this it just brings it home that I have...

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Changing seasons changing fortunes
Sep15

Changing seasons changing fortunes

  Its an ironic twist that the year I invest so much heart soul and hard currency into the boat and  guiding that I get hit with endless  wind and rain and  fewer numbers of fish . Things are certainly getting better all the time. More fish and bigger fish turning up.  It should just get better and better from this point forward . I bloody hope so !  I will now head out to sea with a great sense of anticipation. Check out this Cod we had today, fishing Madshad Pearl Iwashi 50 g jig heads, 60 foot of water.  This was a quick break from Bass for half an hour that turned good. I had a 6 lb Wrasse  a couple of days ago on the same Madshad  . We had warsse , Bass , Cod and Pollack today. We landed fish on surface lures , fly , xlayers, Vertical jigging shads, Casting shads and I even had a couple of fish using Shimano Butterly Jigs !!  If you can cast a mean fly line but also understand that sometimes its best to put the fly  rod down for an hour then come on down we can do some serious fishing ! I really must get a guest book going !  Mark can cast a mean line. Here he is proving the point ! See you again soon guys...

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No Mans Land
Sep03

No Mans Land

Sometimes you just have to get these things written down while the emotion and excitement is still there.  I landed this fine Bass a few hours ago fishing a madness 130 Shad with through a treacherous  powerful tidal race in 35 foot of water . Today was a day off from guiding , so with the perfect conditions I went fishing  , Mike and I decided to try and complete our fly fishing film. I had other motives ! With the light winds and strong tides I wanted to fish the tide race that I have been dreaming for a very long time. I must have spent so many hours gazing at the charts in the depths of Winter imagining zen2 out on this spot  . The long journey West towards Lands end and the longships was forgotten as soon as I set sight upon the sheer power and magnitude of the Tidal Rip. I have only fished this area a handful of times and lets just say that my stomach was in knots for a couple of hours until I settled into the place. I maintain that in West Cornwall you  may have to look at areas that are a good distance from quaint fishing harbours full of small boats ready to Gillnet at the first hint  of Bass in the area  or charter skippers willing to clonk big Bass on the head to keep the punters sweet (Not on my boat  ! ) You could not dream of fishing this place without sunshine and good quality sunglasses. Granite Boulders the size of VW Beetles swept alongside and underneath the boat as we bobbed up and down like a cork in the rapids . The ebb tide was just too powerful to fish effectively . We did manage to land a couple of Double figure Pollack using soft plastics but there was just no sign of a Bass. Slack water came and went with no action whatsoever , we fished weedless soft baits close to the shore through the weed beds . With no tide , no wind and bright sunshine this was a waste of time . The tide turned to flood and the same reef became far more fishable . I cast shads close to the huge protruding rocks , expecting any Bass to be tucked in behind , out of the tide. I was right ! I lost what felt like an average Bass. The next take was gentle. It felt like a bass and it felt solid as it swam in the current . I saw Silver Below and yelled at Mike to get...

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Zero 2 Hero !
Aug31

Zero 2 Hero !

  Zero to Hero ! But never for long ! No Bait , No Birds and no Bass ! That’s been my slogan this summer . Given the lack of bait I have seen this year  in Falmouth Bay its hardly surprising that the Bass seem to be reluctant to hang around   .  Summer 2012 is almost out of the way  and I will be glad to see the back of it. I’m sure Autumn will be a different story . I cant wait for November , hopefully West Cornwall will be loaded with Bass as they congregate prior to spawning. I just spent a couple of days fishing with Peter . He made his way down from Rutland to fish with me. Our first day was torture. We had one schoolie Bass for 8 hours hard labour. Day 2 was starting to look like it could be worse. I think we had landed one  small Pollack from 3 hours fishing . Fortunately these painful days are rare . or at least every other year they are !   When  you have played you best cards by mid morning what do you do ? The answer is keep moving and keep thinking and try to keep smiling. The tide turned back over ito the flood the wind just started to cause a nice ripple. We fished fly and Topwater lures and weedless soft plastics , we  landed 14 Bass over the next couple of hours . Peter left happy I went home for a well earned  cup of tea. Thankyou Waveworm – Z Claw 500 g – DNA Livebait Fly – Sayori Shad Pearl white   Cheers Oz www.uksaltwaterflies.com      ...

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50 Seconds of Joy
Aug24

50 Seconds of Joy

This little video wont win any awards, doesn’t feature bent rods and Bass . It does however remind me of why I do this and what else happens when we go fishing this far West .   Cheers   Oz Bass fishing Cornwall from Zen-Sportfishing on...

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Let the games begin !
Aug08

Let the games begin !

At last I have seem to have consistent fishing to work with. The last month has been a roller coaster ride . We had great days and I had to endure a few really crap days . The classic guide phrase ” You should have been here last week” came in handy . Sometimes it was a case of you should have been here 12 hours ago .   Low water temperatures and shite weather made for challenging conditions ,we had a lovely break in the weather during mid July.  The sea temperature went from 13 to 17 degrees . I fished 12 days in a row and witnessed the fishing go from painful to wonderful. I spotted 12 Basking Sharks in a week , saw 2 Sea otters and my first Sunfish of 2012. The mackerel blitzing was insane at times . Then the weather turned  for the worse and the bait fish retreated to the depths , the Gannets stopped diving the Gulls and Terns were no longer squawking and tracking the bait across the top.  This was like spring fishing in the middle of summer. Back to square one on a daily basis. I have become a big fan of the Super Xlayer Aura Shad rigged on the Owner Darter Jig Heads, fish these fast over sand bottom areas on bright days . If Im over heavy reefs or kelp then darker colours fished slower have been working . The Fakey Dog has been my favourite top water lure on calm days. After 10 years of use I still cant find a better lure than the classic Allie Mag Slier Sand eel 105 mm . As a guide its the best topwater lure you can hand a client , walking the dog with sammys , Patchinkos, Z Claws requires  skill , a skill we take for granted once we have been lure fishing for a while. This week has been a real mixture of experiences. On Monday I fished with Grandad , Dad and grandson. 3 generations aboard zen2 . We landed 16 Bass plus pollack , garfish and Mackerel . Watching an 11 year old catch his first ever bass and getting paid to do so takes some beating . Zen2 is a huge investment and gamble. I dont know about the financial prospects but I do know about the spiritual ! Tuesday it was lashing with rain and blowing 20 mph . We postponed the zen2 trip for Thursday. I must be mad . I cancel a boat trip then go out kayaking ! I teamed up with my old friend Simon Everett for a paddle...

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One day like this
Jul23

One day like this

  Fly fishing for Bass in Cornwall I knew today was going to be a great day . I just knew it ! I even blasted Elbows – One day like this  through the hi-fi at 7.30 AM . (Its a rural setting )  The long overdue warm settled weather has completely transformed the sea . Chocolate brown water has become gin clear , Gannets are diving , the sea is in bloom . I have had the experience of fishing for Bass within casting distance of basking sharks twice this week. It seems that the ocean was just as frustrated by the terrible weather as me, we both have some catching up to do. A week ago the idea of catching 10 Bass on the fly and wearing shorts and T shirts was seemed like a pipe dream.   I fished with Jamie today, Its just over a week since we first fished together. We managed to extract 5 Bass from shitty brown water while the wind and rain did its best to crush our spirits This  polite young lad has the makings of a great fisherman, no actually he is a great fisherman. I get to fish with all kinds of people . This lad  has a talent that I have not encountered before, As a guide its a real pleasure when you and the client work as a team  uncovering the secrets together.  It doesn’t happen everyday and to find that level of  guide / client communication with someone so young is quite remarkable. What was so special about today was the clarity of the water , the high sun and the fact that the fish were swimming so tight to the shore.  We were able to spot single fish , pods and shoals as they cruised over the weed and across the white sand. Casting sparse flies into skinny water and catching fish . What more can I say. Saltwater Fly fishing for Bass is my roots and on the right day there’s nothing better ! Cheers Oz www.uksaltwaterflies.com    ...

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Summertime blues
Jul09

Summertime blues

Its Monday morning Im shattered dehydrated after 3 long hard days fishing.  Friday was all about experimentation and testing an amazing new location . The last 2 days were guided days and I worked my nuts off to find a few hungry Bass. The Fal estuary and Falmouth Bay suffered from horrendous rainfall and dirty run off on Friday night. In all my years fishing the bay I have never seen the water so dirty. I mean a cross between coffee and vegetable soup .  We managed a few Bass, no trophies . The Pollack and wrasse were willing to play ball . Its funny how many people really want to catch wrasse when I take them fishing. Im a single species zealot but I am starting to quite like the ‘ Bluetooths ” . June has always been a sticky month down here when it comes to Bassfishing in far West Cornwall (Yes its July but everythings late this year )  , we get a spring run and then a dip in numbers and fish sizes. July often marks the beginning of the consistent summer fishing . Autumn and winter marks the beginning of the prime time and this is when I beg to be out there fishing . On a positive note Its a bit tough on the soul when you know that Devon and East Cornwall is full of Bass right now.  Drifting close to the shore working soft platics under  wild Cornish cliffs  takes some beating .You cant always deliver trophy fish but you can always cram information and knowledge into you customers brains. You can be hard working and professional . The guys phoned me up while on route home and booked 2 more days in October. It will be great to fish with the guys again when we are in prime season . Lets hope it doesn’t rain !! Cheers   Oz www.ukbassfishing.com...

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A Bass from the edge of my world
Jul06

A Bass from the edge of my world

Today was a very special day for me, not from the point of view of huge  Bass landed or hooked . This was a day I had been waiting  for .I have been studying the charts and walking the headlands of the far West and this location has been in my mind constantly, almost taunting me , I have lost count of the number of aborted missions where the wind and tides have conspired to keep me away . Weeks turn into Months rapidly! Today after so much fantasising we were there. A couple of good buddies and I  , guys I knew I could fish with and trust to be able to handle themselves out on the water as we go over the rapids. Jon is a good friend and fanatical bass fishermen, we often share information when we meet on the water or speak by phone. Sam has become a friend over the course of this winter, he has grown up fishing these waters in the far West.  There are certain places in Cornwall that inspire me and even scare me. The tide races on a few of the most Southerly headlands are epic. Upgrading to Zen2 is what this is all about. The solid build and huge freeboard install confidence when you head toward a churning tidal race with its standing wave; the noise of thousands of tons of seawater being regurgitated and churned over the reefs is awesome.   I’m convinced there are still areas that have not been fished out by the commercials in the  far West  , places where the currents are so fierce that no Gillnetter would dare lay his traps. Places that lay sufficiently far away from the small fishing villages that very few of the small boats that target bass daily will be able to reach with ease. In West Cornwall many of the reefs that attract Bass are constantly covered with small ‘putt putt ‘ fishing boats. These boats and the quirky characters skippering them  may be a Cornish treasure but not to me . I smile I say hello , they are generally OK with me . They kill Bass and sell them to fishmongers. They kill the 9 pound bass that coud return next year as a double figure Bass. While we photograph and release them . We all need friends when we are at sea so its best to be polite and that’s what I do. So what did we catch ? Well nothing special really . We had a load of Pollack in depths ranging from 15 foot to 110 Sizes ranged from 2 – 9 lb...

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Think Pink
Jul02

Think Pink

Does it matter about the colour of you lure ? Can you shock a fish into eating your lure ? Do violent colours provoke violent reactions ??  I often find that when the fishing’s tough the fly will out fish the lure, perhaps the sublte presentation and lifelike action seals the deal ? Not always ! When its grey and over cast and you have grumpy fish in front of you , perhaps its time to try shock tactics !! ?? When the fishing’s hard you have to work much harder (Obviously ) What does happen is that the guys you take fishing actually learn tons of stuff during the 8 hours.. We may not always be able to find hungry Bass but I can pass on plenty of tips. Things I take for granted are often the things that a client will take home to their own patch of water . That could be a retrieve or how to swim a lure across and down or how to work a topwater and convert swirls into Bass . The tougher the fishing the more things we try so the more techniques we cover in the day. I fished with Ian and Martyn recently. The sky was moody and ominous . I did remind the guys that you can go 6 hours without a Bass and then catch a dozen in half an hour and go back with heads held high and that’s the way it went for us. When we fished for Stripers last month we fished under light veil of cloud. If we chucked a White  9 ” sluggo and other assorted lures into the shoals the Bass were barely interested . As soon as we chucked a fluorescent Pink Slug into the shoal a Bass would hit the lure in an instant. I have fished the Pink sluggo as a topwater over here before and soon ran out of faith. I’m naturally impatient . The moody skies prompted me to try the Pinky . As we slid the fluoro pink  6 inch sluggo across the top I commented to Ian that I was losing faith , Bang ! You know the rest of the story ! Working Soft Baits as a surface lures Rig a sluggo or Gaint Xlayer, Hogy  weedless. I fish a size 4/0 Owner Wide gape plus . Headwinds are pretty tough but cross shore or offshore winds are fine. Keep the rod tip high and twitch the sluggo through the surface. Delicate slide and pause is the killer retrieve . The softbait will slide forward and the curve off to one side. When A bass hits the lure let...

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