Yes, I had a trip out with Wayne aboard his 17-foot Wilson Flyer “TARYN”, scouring the back of the Isle of Wight for a Thresher shark. The tides were small, the wind was down so with two tubs of chum supplied by Wayne and another I brought down, we had more than enough to attract any predators. Mind you both of us would have used more if we had it. But there is only so much you can carry in a small boat. In late afternoon Wayne’s reel ticked away, and he tightened up on a shark that just lumbered its way against the 2.8 knot tide flow. About half an hour later and a mile travelled with the boat we managed to get it fairly close, and what I would call “manageable”. Then, for no reason, the hook pulled. It happens, but it would have been nice to see what it was. The strange thing was the bait was still hanging on the hook and completely unmarked, so we have no idea what the lumbering creature was. It simply never missed a tail beat or changed direction for the full half hour. We decided on a second day, but alas, aside from plenty of Mackerel, no shark run materialised. Fishing for Thresher shark is hit and miss at the best of times, but later in the week Wayne heard that on exactly the same day someone else fishing St.Catherine’s Point had also lost a Thresher. So they are there, but I guess for not much longer. The Porbeagle hang around until well into October, maybe later, but the Thresher vacate the premises sometime in September. The clock is ticking, and there has to be good weather coinciding with small tides.
Still on the ocean experience I had a day out with Mike aboard our own 17-footer “Hi Sea Drifter”. We anchored out on a wreck by the South Pullar buoy, out went bottom baits and a shark line but the tide was ripping, even on the neaps. We toughed it out for an hour catching loads of Mackerel in the chum slick but when the weed clogged lines we decided to head back inshore and search around a bit of rough ground we had seen earlier on the sounder. I won’t be saying where it is as the minute you tell one person, he tells another, and another etc. Before you know it the mark is hammered by everyone looking for some easy pickings. It’s not a million miles from a well-known mark everyone uses, but it does seem to hold some good mixed fishing. And so it proved, with squid baits outfishing fresh mackerel, we had some ten Smoothound into double figures and Thornback ray to the same, plus small Black Bream and the inevitable Dogfish. More Mackerel came in the chum trail as I fired out the shark line….just in case.
In contrast to the success on the briny, the freshwater session proved a disaster with a total blank!! Target was a “guaranteed” Catfish, apparently there were over 100 Cats in this tiny section of water, but aside from seeing the tail of one as it was digging in the clay bed I never got a single bite. I also tried for some carp to double figures that I spotted, but they were incredibly twitchy. I will probably have another go at trying to get a Catfish on film, but this is another species that starts to slow down around September. I was thinking about Barbel fishing, but all I seem to hear is the devastation caused by released Otters, ripping a mouthful out of the last of our big Barbel stocks, leaving the rest of the carcass. I don’t think the bright sparks that authorised the release have any idea how long it takes a Barbel (or Carp) to reach double figures, and while Carp are bred like rabbits just to supply and restock fisheries, as far as I know nobody is breeding Barbel to release into the rivers to replace all the fish killed by Otters. I did read somewhere that someone now wants to release Wolves back into Britain??? How dumb is that? They will obviously start locating domestic sheep and cattle, followed by your dog, cat, and eventually, maybe a rambler. It may seem quaint and nostalgic to think of Apex predators returning to our shores, but you might as well go the whole hog and reintroduce T-Rex and dinosaurs like Jurassic Park. It doesn’t end well.
Going back to Wayne’s lost shark, a couple of suggestions were that it could have been a giant Bluefin Tuna. I don’t think it was as a Bluefin, as having caught them, it is usually a total speed burn out on any reel. So I suggested to Wayne we ought to have an early September trip trying for a small Bluefin that often run in close to the Dorset coastline and have been seen by Divers. Then, blow me down with a Duck feather, Mike just showed me footage of a boat down in Penzance that had shown Bluefin Tuna busting on bait and leaping clear of the water, really close to shore. So…was it a Bluefin that took Wayne’s bait?? We will never know. But if the weather holds, we will be out again, trying to get some footage of sharks, Tuna, or whatever else comes along.
Mike was off down near Winchester at the weekend Festival, while I was kicking around wondering where to go. I try to avoid weekends as the world and his wife is either out on the ocean, or on the lakes. Then I recalled a film we did just over a year ago, down at Hampshire’s Rockbourne Trout fishery, on the edge of the New Forest near Fordingbridge. They had a tiny Clearwater stream that was overgrown, and last winter they had spent a lot of time clearing it to make a good section of fly fishing, ideal for the angler that want a bit of a challenge with a tiny rod. A phone call later revealed they had indeed completed much of the work, so I was soon in the car heading West. No wind, partly cloudy and warm airflow meant although low water conditions would doubtless make it tough, there should be insects around to spark up any trout’s interest. My rod was a small 8 foot, two pieces, throwing just a 4-weight floating line. Leader was 5lb, and the reel was about 3 inches in diameter. Fly was one of Sid Knight’s smaller Goldhead Damsel patterns. I knew big flies were out, and the smaller the nymph the better my chance. I started at the bottom of the stream section and found the tiny Browns almost impossible to get near. They were unbelievably spooky. But eventually I found slightly deeper pools with even larger occupants, and after getting the first fish I was into one of the best ultra-light flyrod sessions I have had. The upper stretch was like going back in time, with cool damp areas of dense woodland, a huge arena of various Butterflies, Dragonflies and insects, with wildflowers that obviously liked the areas that had been cleared. The Rockbourne team had laid boarded walkways alongside the stream and you have a mixture of both stocked and wild rainbows. Having filmed loads of river action I wanted to closeout with a mention about the lakes, and on Spring Lake I lifted into a 4-pounder that whistled the flyline out through the rod rings, with the tiny Wickham flyreel spinning wildly. So a great day was had, and all on a last minute hunch. For the coming week who knows what will be on the cards. I doubt it will be rivers, some of which are still painfully low, but we might do a stillwater, a beach for Undulate Rays, or even a boat trip. That’s the beauty of being an all-round fisherman, you can adapt and change species, getting the best you can from any given situation.
Now on to our film stats. As I sit typing this, Mike is on the next desk and points out to me yet another historic milestone passed. We have just seen our monthly viewing figures rise from over 600,000 to a whopping 700,000. Remember, ours are not those short time, viral views, but actually informative, often over 30 mins of prime fishing and filming, so to retain monthly viewing figures like that means we are getting a lot of people that actually do want to learn more about fishing and pick up tips. “Fish n’ Tips” I guess we’ll call it. Our age demographics show that the highest viewership comes from the age group 25/34 years of age, and the range covers everything from youngsters to 70/80 year olds. Many are starting to take up fishing because of our shows, others have decided to get back into fishing after a long layoff.
Either way there is little doubt that the Totally Awesome Fishing Show is the one to watch for all-round fishing. We now have so many brand new shows backed up that we are using a 4 foot whiteboard to chalk them up ready for scheduling. I may even start writing them down on the walls and ceiling as well !!
Going back to the sharks, although here at T/A we are after the Thresher and Mako sharks, the very same technique used for Blue sharks will work. There are now lots of anglers that want to give sharking a go, and if its Blues you want then very often all you need to buy is a couple of shark traces and a pack of balloons. Your usual boat gear, with 30/40lb mainline will probably be perfectly usable for catching this shark. What you might want to learn is the actual technique, and for that reason we made the instructional DVD “The Ultimate Guide to Blue Shark Fishing”. It’s about an hour long, and has everything in it, plus great action footage filmed down at Falmouth aboard “Hi Sea Drifter”. So if you are thinking of trying it between now and the end of October, a copy of this might boost your chances considerably.
September can be a great month for carp fishing at commercial day ticket waters. The bigger carp will now be aware that anglers often dump their leftover bait right in the margins from 4pm onwards, so check out our instructional DVD “Carp Trilogy” with old school methods that will work on these margin feeders. It’s not one of those tackle ramming DVD’s, but about baits and techniques. Again, there might be some snippets of information that help you put a fish on the bank, and that’s what T/A Fishing is all about. Check Mike’s shop on our website www.totallyaweomefishing.com
We still have some of the Sidewinder lures if you are shore or boat fishing, but don’t forget the smaller 4-inch sizes are ideal for Pike fishing and work out at a reasonable price per lure if you have a pack.
On the line front, you might want to try the Nomura Fluorocarbon, especially if you are getting into the Autumn Bass fishing. They don’t like to see thick leaders, so the Nomura Fluoro might give you the edge. Down off the south coast we have noticed an early run of Cod each autumn, even in September, particularly out on the Spoils/Foul Grounds area.
For that you might want to try some Sidewinder braid, as it definitely cuts through the water better, enabling lighter leads to be used, and it also means you can fish an area on a greater range of tidal conditions. You also don’t have to fill your entire reel with a spool of braid. I measure out around 120 metres of braid and just remove a bit of the mono line on a reel to top it off with the braid. Don’t take off too much, as braid is finer than most monofilament so you won’t need much space on the top of a spool to put 125 metres of braid. Mike has some 40lb Sidewinder silk braid on 250 metre spools, so that will allow you at least two fills from the one outlay. Just a few suggestions, but small pointers that might put the extra bend in a rod.
The weather seems to be settled, so get out there and see what is about, whether it’s flyrod, saltwater or fresh, you need to be “in it to win it”….Good Luck…
Having just about recovered from a 3 day festival on the weekend, it’s been back to the editing for me. I had a great weekend at BoomTown Fair just outside Winchester. But having only had minimal sleep for 3 nights, I needed some down time to recover. As I type this I have already edited both episodes for this week (that’s right, another double episode week coming your way). But now the challenge is to try and get ahead of myself and edit next weeks episodes too. As September approaches that means it’s back to teaching which leaves me very little time to edit videos. So getting ahead of myself is the key. However, there are also a number of other TAFishing jobs that I need to get done. We are currently in the process of organising a Carp fishing day out. We are still confirming the venue but the date is likely to be Saturday 12th September. So keep that date free if you can, next week hopefully we will be able to announce the venue and more details, but it should be fun and many of you have emailed wanting us to organise a fishing day out.
I have had so many of you asking me about Dropshot Diaries 3 and when I will be filming it. In the summer months I tend to target other species such as Carp, but I also like to get some Sea fishing done during these months as conditions tend to favour boat and beach fishing. HOWEVER, I did go down to the local river yesterday just to see if I still had it. In just a short hour long session I had 7 Perch, all fell to the Attractor Shad DS. I have now got these amazing dropshot lures in stock on our webshop. You can get them here. They are easily the most successful dropshot lure that I have used. They have such a good action, with a stiff nose-section and a supple tail section, it works incredible well with the dropshot rig and vertical jigging. I like to hook mine about 3-4mm from the nose. I cast out, let it settle for 5 seconds or so, and then using a constant retrieve on the reel and very light jigs (almost jigging the slack line) but ensuring that I keep constant tension on the line all the time. It usually isn’t long before a Perch can’t resist and slams into the lure. I have been using some different gear lately too for my Perch fishing but I will update you with that in Dropshot Diaries 3. If you want to watch the Dropshot Diaries series, then click here.
So we have had numerous emails regarding official TAFishing clothing and the caps and shirts/hoodies that myself and Graeme wear in the videos. We can now reveal that we have a completely new online shop dedicated to TAFishing official merchandise! We have a range of T-shirts, hoodies, backpacks, cups/mugs and more. All in a range of colours. It’s called Spreadshirt and the link to our particular shop can be found here. Choose what clothing you like, and colours and help represent THE AWESOME ARMY! Send in your pics of you wearing TAF gear and holding a fish and we will repost it on our social media!
Today I am off Carp fishing on the fly, I have never tried this before so I am looking forward to the experience. For me it won’t be about the size of the fish, I just want to catch one on a fly rod! Good luck to anyone out fishing this week. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.