Saturday, December 13, 2014

On the perch again

As cold weather settled in and the weeds in the canal dropped to the bottom, a new perch season started.

And oh, how it started. Amazing days on the canal, hitting perch after perch on small softbaits rigged on a jighead or drop-shot. 
I am not saying that I got tons of huge fish everyday and everywhere, I really had to work for it. But the rewards were there, and they made the cold, the rain and the wind much more bearable.

One particular day has stuck with me though, ever since.

It was one of those mornings, after just 3 hours of sleep, that I grabbed my tackle in a hurry and sprinted for the fishing spot, only to find out when I got there that I picked up the wrong reel!
As if fishing wasn't hard enough as it was!

Started telling myself, as I was rigging my set-up, that maybe it's a good thing.
That maybe it will force me to pay more attention to my fishing and make me think outside the box for a change.

Easier said than done, though. Fishing with a finesse UL rod paired with a 2500 size reel, 20lb braid and a 2g jighead was nothing short of a burden. Luckily enough, there was little to no wind that day.

Tied a longer monofilament leader than usual to help the lure travel more freely to the bottom and started "casting".
Even though the YGK 20lb braid is very thin for its strength, it's not the 3lb one that I am used to.
Lost all the casting distance, precision and control over the lure. But it made me pay a lot more attention to the line and what it visually told me about what happens to the lure underwater (a very important thing when fishing with jigheads is to never take your eyes off the line - it will tell you more about bites,  lure movement, and underwater structures than your rod, regardless of how sensitive it is, ever will).

After half an hour of messing around with different leader lengths, jig head weights and lure types, I finally came to a satisfying result and found the fish soon after.

Only a couple of small ones at first, but very welcome nonetheless, given the conditions.
Soon enough the bigger perch started to appear, and after 10 good ones, I got hit by something I thought to be a pike at first, only to feel the trademark headshakes a few moments after, a sign that I was into a nice perch.
Turned out to be the best this year so far at 45cm, and, boy was I happy! Snapped a few photos fast and released the beast back into the water. 

The 2500 size reel looks like it's going to squish the poor striped creature

The rest of the day went pretty decent, ending with a big pike taking my 2 inch softbait and giving me a few seconds of joy on the light rod before she bit trough the leader and took off with my lure (I only fish with barbless hooks, so I am pretty sure she lost the hook pretty fast).

In the end, I lost count of the fish that I caught, but I'm pretty sure it was close to 50.
Not bad considering the fact that I was using half of my bass gear to catch them...

After almost a year of using it, I still can't believe how good this rod actually is. Check details Here

The season it's only mid-way trough, so I hope that the 45cm mark won't stand for too long as "best of the year". Even if it means that next time I'll have to bring a 3000 size reel and 25lb braid.

I hope it won't come to this though...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fishing in Lanzarote

First things first. Fishing License.

If you go on a holiday and want to spend some quiet time fishing without worrying about anything than this is the first thing you must think about.
Fines are high (300-400EUR) and what is worse, they will confiscate your fishing equipment! I know that this doesn't happen very often, but you don't want to be the exception. Especially that the license is only  around 15 EUR.

There is plenty of information on the internet about the license, but no address and direct info about where and how you will be able to get it.

So here we go.

In order to get your licence you must first download a form and fill it in. You can download it HERE.

Once you have printed and filled it in, you must go to the Cabildo building in Arrecife and request the license. The address for the Cabildo is  Avenida Fred Olsen, Las Palmas, Lanzarote (map HERE - although it says it is something else on the map, it's the building you are looking for, trust me).

Once you have forwarded the request, they will give you another form to take to a bank and pay the fee. A pain, I know, but still beats the hell out of loosing your gear and some extra hundreds of euro.

The nearest point where you can pay the fee, I foud it was HERE at Cajasiete. But you can pay at any bank or financial office.

Once you have paid, you'll have to go back to the Cabildo and present the receipt or stamp, and that's it! You got yourself a Recreational Fishing License.

Now for the fun part.

Lanzarote is one of the last almost untouched fishing grounds in Europe. The waters are rich in fish and the good spots are plenty. But finding them, getting to them and fishing them correctly is something entirely different.

If you only have a few hours to spare, I would suggest you take your LRF gear and try to find smaller fish (wich are abundant  near the beaches, breakwaters and piers!), some soft plastics, small metal jigs and minnows from 5 to 10cm and you are sorted! There are loads of bream, horse mackerell, small barracuda and bass and the ever present lizard fish.

The bigger fish (although in very good numbers) require longer trips, longer walks on impossible grounds,  heavier equipment than we use for bass and pollock and TIME - wich is exactly what we don't have when in holidays with the family.

I tried to go big but got put in my place right away.

First of all the lures that we normally use for bass are too small to convince any of the more decent fish to come out of the depths and bite them. You will need 14 to 20cm minnows and 13-14cm topwaters to trigger any good bites.

That being said you never know what's gonna happen on your next session even on lighter gear.

In the end I did managed to tempt a nice little Grouper on a trip to La Graciosa Island, casting the lure (a DUO Tide Minnow) over a very steep drop-off. I must say he put up a great fight for its size.

 Other than that I caught billions and trillions of lizard fish on every imaginable lure and technique. From 16cm minnows to 14cm topwaters and 60g jigs. They are everywhere and will eat anything!

I also caught a nice size White Bream on a 13cm Daiwa Shore Line Shiner on one of the trips o the West coast and had a few missed bites on the topwaters. Some impressive splashes around the lure that made my heart stop for a moment but none connected.

The biggest problem with these holiday trips is that you find the best spots, lures and techniques towards the end of the stay. In my case I had the most memorable fishing session on the last 3 hours of our stay.

I had about 20 takes on a 50g jig reeled in fast and near the surface. I connected with 5 fish, and landed none. Most of the fish were Garfish (and big ones - over 1 meter as I saw them jumping out of the water like crazy) and I suspect some Bonito and Bluefish.
Needles to say I left the island as happy as a dog going to the vet...

But all in all it was a great trip and I cannot wait to get back there again with the lesson learned.

P.S. - Need more gear!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

West Coast trip

All I can say about the West Coast of Ireland is that it has surpassed my expectations in all the possible ways! From breathtaking scenery, people's hospitality and most of all fishing!

It was far from being easy since the only guide I had was Google Earth (what a good friend that is for the exploring fisherman), but ended up having some of the best fishing experiences of my life!

Got up the first morning after 2 hours of sleep (what an overrated thing this sleeping habbit is, huh? ) and walked around a few miles to find me some bass. I was later to find out that I went in the wrong direction if it was bass I was after, but that's half the fun anyway.

After 3 hours of fishing in one of the best fishing grounds I ever layed my eyes upon, decided to check out a mark that appeared to look very interesting (at least from the satellite pictures).

I reached the mark after half an hour of walking alongside electric fences and old deserted houses, and I was not dissappointed! Everything around screamed "fish"!

I tried for bass in the shallow rocky area right in front of me, but it was only when I made a cast further right over a steep drop-off, that a pollock came out speeding from the deep, hit my lure - a Megabass x-120 SW, and jumped clear out of the water holding tight the shiny piece of plastic.

I nearly fell of the rock with excitement!

I landed the fish after a short but brutal fight. Looked every bit of 6 pounds. The camera was a long way back climbing the slippery wet rocks so I released him as soon as I could without taking any photos (long live the barbless trebles) , and fished on.

Switched to a Savage Gear Sandeel Slug after a series of shy follows and undecided bumps on the hard lure, and, on the first cast, I hooked an even better pollock than the first one. This was the first fish to peel line off my reel, and proved to be a new personal best for me at over 8 pounds. He even managed to put a serious bend on a brand new Savage Gear darting weedless hook, and, man, those things are tough!

In the next 20 minutes I caught 5 more fish, none over 3 pounds and then everything went silent as the tide dropped and exposed the rocks in front of me. 

Just in time for breakfast!

Next high tide was at 6pm so Adriana and I decided to head for a mark that produced nice bass last week.

As soon as we arrived I saw a big splash in front of the beach, so I grabbed the rods, clipped on a IMA Komomo 125 in a Bay Area Pro Blue colour for Adriana and proceeded to tie a new fluorocarbon leader for me. 

First cast in for her and it was fish on! After a thrilling fight she beached the fish nicely. Her first seabass!

Quick series of photos, a nice release (of course) and we got back to what we were doing: me tying leaders, and Adriana catching fish.

So yes, by the time I got my leader tied, she landed two nice bass in 3 casts...Talk about happiness!

In the next hour or so, neither of us got any hits, so it was time to move to another mark, 100m away.

Went there by myself since it was a rather dangerous descent on the slippery sharp rocks and in the end I did save my self esteem (or at least a part of it), by catching a nice Atlantic bass on the notorious Megabass Zonk 120.

Next morning I was on top of the pollock mark at first light, of course, but only caught one, on the first cast.

So after half an hour without any action I switched to a 7g jighead for my Sandeel Slug and on the first cast bouncing it between the boulders I had a nice tap and got my first Kerry wrasse.

What came after blew me away!

I had the most amazing two hours wrassing of my short saltwater fisherman's life, landing over 40 fish, none of them under 3 pounds with the biggest going well over the 5 pound mark.
Most of them fell to the Savage Gear Slug, but had to switch to my go-to wrasse lure (an Illex Gambit Paddle tail) just to save my slug stock from the wrecking teeth of the coloured soft plastic munching creatures.

What a way to end this perfect trip!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Tict Ice Cube IC-69F Rockin' Finess rod review

Even if it is a relatively unknown name in the freshwater fishing world, when it comes to saltwater fishing, especially LRF techniques, Tict is synonymous with cutting edge performance .
So to me, the decision of buying a Tict rod for small jigheads/small plastics applications made perfect sense.

I needed a rod that can efficiently work a 3-5cm softplastic on a 1-3g jighead, sensitive enough to detect the most subtle bites, but with enough backbone to muscle in a decent perch or an angry mackerel.
And I hit the jackpot with this model!


        Length: 6'9" (2.05 m)
        Weight: 64 g
        Lure weight: 0.1-3.5 g
        Line Power: 0.8-2.5 lb
        Action: Fast


When it comes to looks, the rod does not dissappoint! Slick, elegant, black coloured blank handle and reel seat, with silver guides and fittings. 
Nothing feels out of place or forced, everything fits perfectly in the big picture.

On a more careful inspection you will find all sort of small details, letting you know that even if there is nothing obvious and flashy about the design, still a great amount of thought, attention and effort was put in the fininshing touches.


The inverted reel seat (fuji IPS) has a carbon locking nut with aluminium trimmings that gives you a very good grip on the rod. It also allows you to easily rest your index finger on the blank if you are used to doing it, yet leaves no uncomfortable exposed threads.

The guides on this rod are Fuji TiSic - one of the lightest and toughest set of guides on the market.

Despite the fact that the diameter of the guides is very small, I never had any issues with the casting distance (on the contrary) or with braid/fluorocarbon knot passing trough the top guides.

The split grip handle gives the rod great manoeuvrability and sits very comfortable against your forearm.

Even though it's a solid tip rod, the bend on the blank is very natural, without any break in its curve.

When it comes to sensitivity, this is definitely one of the top performers in my collection. It took me a while to get used to the feeling of the solid carbon tip (being the first rod of this kind for me) but I must say that nothig passes unnoticed. From a tiny fish inhaling the lure as it sits still on the bottom, to small pieces of weed that tamper with the action of the paddletail  you fish with.

I used the rod mainly with small jigheads (2g) and 4-5cm softplastics, and I must say that it is perfect for it! Precise casting, very good lure control, and a fast response on the strike (even if you will have to strike a bit harder than used to - it is still a rod rated up to 3.5g!).

I also fished it with small metal jigs (up to 9g) and it performed remarcably well, even if it was clear that this is not what the rod was designed to do.

For its weight (and it is incredibly light at 64grams! ) the Ice Cube has a deceivingly high strenght and resistance, allowing me to lift from the water over branches or weedy banks many fish between 1.5 and 2 pounds on my first session.


All I can say is that I couldn't be happier with my choice.

A well designed, balanced and fitted JDM rod, that performs exactly as advertised, without any apparent flaws.

I know that, for the most of us, a LRF rod that costs this much is money out the window.

But if you are willing to go the extra mile, the Tict Ice Cube Rockin' Finess is as close as possible to the "perfect" finesse LRF rod that you can come across!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Trout fishing

It's been more than a year since I started fishing for trout in Ireland.

Granted, I have only fished on one river, in it's urban stretch.
But what a river!

Crystal clear waters that hold a very good population of nice size trout, both wild and stocked.

I figured out fast that I have to forget everything I thought I knew about trout fishing.
Long forgotten the small spinners (even though they still produce the odd fish), no more UL moderate action rods and ultrathin monofilament lines.

The fishing style, lures and the fish here require a rod stiff enough to twitch and jerk bigger and heavier lures (4-7cm minnows), fast enough to provide an instant hookset, but forgiving enough not to pull the hooks from a stronger and harder fighting fish.

Right now, I think I have reached a good compromise with a 6' fast action Light power rod, a 1000 size reel and 5-6lb fluorocarbon or low stretch abrasion resistant line. 
I will get more specific about brands and models in a future post.

Last season I managed to catch a good number of trout, with quite a decent average size, the vast majority of them on 4-5cm minnows. I also had a lot of fish caught on small soft plastics (actually I got the first ever trout here  on a 2 inch shad on a 1,5g jighead ), but that happened mostly when trout were very apathetic.

This year I only managed to hit the river about a dozen times, but with decent results.

As I expected, in the early season they prefered the bigger sized lures, 5 and 6cm ones getting the best results for me, but now as the weather and the water start to warm up, I had to reduce the dimensions slightly.

Fish are moving into shallow, faster moving water, so a smaller lure with a good balance and stability in strong currents is needed in order to efficiently fish these stretches.

I have been successfully using some 3.8cm minnows  for the last year, that produced fish regardless of weather, water level and clarity or fishes state of activity. It has been my go-to lure ever since I first fished with it (as I said before, more details in a future posts).

On top of that, for the last few weeks I started making lures again after almost 3 years being away from lurebuilding.
The first few models that I am testing, already caught me a good number of trout in the last three or four sessions. Needless to say, I am excited about the results! Still some fine tunning to be done, but nonetheless, I am very pleased!

It can still be considered early season, so I hope my results will improve in the next months, even though I know that the trout are getting fewer (sadly) and more aware of fishermen and their lures.

But if lure fishing was easy, we would probably grow bored with it and move to something more challenging.

Thankfully, it is not the case!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Welcome to!

I am writing this wishing I was out fishing.

I am not a good writer nor a great photographer, not even a great fisherman. These are not the reasons I started this blog.

The real reason is my absolute obsession with fishing (lure fishing, that is)!
An obsession that needs to find an outlet somewhere else, since I am not spending time fishing as half as much as I feel I should!

Yes, lure fishing gets you to that stage...

Where you cannot even take a bath in your own tub without thinking that you should at least test some of your newly bought or newly built lures in it.

Where whenever you have to decide between family holiday destinations, you inevitably take into consideration the fishing potential of each place you would visit.

It affects you and changes your perspective on a lot of things. You start appreciating every moment you get to spend outside, even without actually fishing.

Sunrises, sunsets, nice weather, the calm breeze, all have a different meaning for you and you cannot help to imagine yourself being on the water doing what you love.

Making that perfect cast. Waiting for the swirl and flash behind your lure and the unmistakable tap that travels from the tip of your rod to the tip of your toes, as vivid as an electric shock. 

This is what drives us away from the cozy warm sheets at stupid o'clock in the morning.
This is what keeps us awake at night, weeks before "that" fishing trip.
This is what makes us spend our hard earned money on shiny new gear.

In the end, we are all a bit mad...