Another shot at the plaice..

What a cracking day!, next to no wind to speak of and the sun was even shining, it doesn't get any better in February.

It was too good an opportunity to miss, so myself and my yak fishing partner set out to fish the grounds that'd provided me with some fish earlier in the week.

I paddled directly to my previous mark, how I love GPS!. No real change in tactics, though I changed my rig slightly, still of the wishbone variety rigged with size 1 hooks.

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I fished two rigs, one with green and black bead which apparently works well over mussel beds, the other was yellow and red beads which is supposed to work over sandy sea beds... how could I go wrong!

The first three hours were very quiet, with the odd bite here and there, nothing solid. It was positively warm out there, so it was a case of feet up and enjoy the day. However, as the tide began to ease there was a series of solid tugs on one of the rods. After letting the bite develop for a few minutes I slowly tightened up and felt the weight of a fish. A smallish plaice came to the yak, spitting the hook out once on my lap!. It wasn't big enough to keep, so a quick photo and it was duly returned.

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I started to register a few more bites here and there, though not as prolific as my session earlier in the week. Another good set of bites produced a better fish, good enough to keep which was a definite bonus.

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Sadly my fishing partner wasn't having any luck, despite fishing close and using similar rigs I don't think he had so much as a bite, that's fishing for you!!

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Well I certainly cannot complain, despite being somewhat early in the season I've managed four plaice this week. Hopefully they'll increase in numbers and size during the latter half of next month.

There must have been 15-20 anglers fishing along the shoreline. I was fishing around 500-600m out and the difference was clearly apparent. I don't believe a single plaice was caught from the shore, I've been there and it's very frustrating - the benefits of fishing from a kayak are clearly apparent at times like these.

Please feel free to comment.

Kayak Fishing for Plaice

Despite it still being still somewhat early as far as the plaice season goes, plaice have been caught, unfortunately not by me. The weather forecast was looking great so I put in a days holiday, not wanting to miss a rare break in what has been a blustery couple of weeks.

Eastney is the local plaice grounds though I've yet to catch a plaice there, though in all fairness I've only fished it two times, both times in early February. It was an early start, getting up at 5am, loading up in the dark before taking a drive along the coast.

Arriving at Eastney the sea was flat with barely a breath of wind being present. It was pretty misty though I expected this to clear up fairly quickly.

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I choice to fish along the 'blocks', a set of old WWII defences. Most of them sit below the water, though the strong tide run causes quite some turbulence above the blocks. It fishes well for bass during the summer months, though I was hoping it'd produce some plaice or school bass for me today.

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It proved rather disappointing, so I raised anchor and headed of to a small area of deep water about a mile offshore. I only lasted about an hour in that location, again it proved fruitless and I'd still yet to have so much as a bite!.

Using the last of the ebb I paddled into the main bay locating myself close to a couple local fishing boats. Baits for the day were wishbones filled with rag and tipped off with squid. As the target species was plaice it was the rig to fish, anything else would be a bonus.

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It was becoming a wee bit frustrating after four hours of fishing, with not so much as a bite to show for it. However, the weather was cracking and the conditions was just perfect so I lay back and tried not to complain too much!

The quiet session continued, though earlier I'd spotted a yak fisherman in the distance so I paddled over to say hello. Turned out to Ian, someone I'd chatted to via this blog. Well done on catching that plaice!, that really didn't do my moral any good...

After Ian had packed up and gone I moved to what was my final mark of the session, and it continued as the day had started, not so much as a bite. It was around mid-afternoon and I was literally nodding off and contemplating calling it a day.

Well blow me!, a decent bite which continued for a couple of minutes. On tightening up there was a weight of a fish, deep joy!!, however is came off halfway up, not so good. The bites then came hard and fast, though that didn't stop me dropping the next three fish as well!!!, one literally inches from my fingertips. My sense of humour had failed completely at this point, and I was desperately short on bait, though a further hook-up proved much luckier. The result?, a nice fat plaice just over 2lb.
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I'd barely baited up and cast out when the other rod started nodding away, left for a while before tightening up, another plaice came to the surface. Smaller than the previous fish but a keeper.

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No sooner than the plaice had come onto the feed they'd gone quiet once more. The remainder of the day finished as it had started, deadly quiet with no further bites. The weather held throughout the day making is a cracking session lasting over seven hours.

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Roll on the next trip, hopefully the plaice fishing will continue to improve over the next three to four weeks.
 
Please feel free to comment.

A days Plaice fishing

I still think that it's a little early for plaice, they are being caught, though not in any great numbers. Today's venue was Eastney, I tried this exact spot this time last year with no success. My fishing partner picked up a plaice over 2lbs at this venue just 24 hours before, so there was some hope!


The conditions were just about ideal, light winds with plenty of sun, it was almost warm out there!.
I took along a selection of bait, ragworm, squid, razor fish and peeler crab legs. The rig was a running ledger setup with a small spoon and a combination of coloured beads. The trace was almost three feet long. The fishing took place at anchor as opposed to the drift, as the tide is quiet fierce at this particular.


A combination of baits were tried, the bulk being made up of ragworm, though the hook tippings were varied between squid, razorfish and crab.

Within half an hour there were signs of a fish messing with the bait, light plucks here and there... classic plaice bites. I tightened up after a couple of minutes and began to retrieve with the weight of a decent fish on the end!. However, only metres from the kayak the fish slipped off, disappointing to say the least.


Plaice have a nasty habit of holding the bait, not being hooked, and spitting it out close to the surface. Unfortunately this turned out to be the only chance of the session. My fishing partner also dropped a fish on the retrieve, no doubt a plaice.

So unfortunately my first plaice trip of the year failed to produce a fish, hopefully I'll put that right before the plaice season passes me by. Here's a photo of the plaice caught the day before, sadly not by me!


Please feel free to comment.

Strobe Light

Most of my fishing tends to be at night, often alone. In order to minimise the risk of ending up in a body bag I've purchased some extra gear lately, mainly with a view to safety.

The main purchase was a handheld VHF radio, an ICOM IC-M33, which I'll review in due course. Another new purchase arrived today in the form of a strobe light.

Flares are good thing to carry on board, though they only last so long and their supply is limited. This strobe light on the other hand, has a far superior lifespan once activated - 15 hours!


SPECIFICATION:

Visibility - 3.4 km.
Light intensity - 0.75 candela.
Waterproof - 50 meter deep.
Type - Arm Strap.
Power source - Alkaline Battery 1.5V C Type.

Flash Performance - Continuous Flashing for first 15 hrs.
Switch - Magnetic Reed Switch outside case.
Measurement - 39mm diam x 127 mm long.
Weight - 88gm without battery but with arm strap.

It comes with a Velcro arm strap, though I removed this and attached it to an existing plastic mount on my PFD using two tywraps.


Operation is straight forward with a full width rotary switch at the base. The switch is magnetic and isolated from the internals of the unit, and will therefore not degrade with exposure to saltwater.

I've tried it indoors and its flash is impressively bright.

It's cheap to purchase and not obtrusive when worn on my PFD, money well spent, hopefully it'll not be required though it's there should the unfortunate ever happen.

I've since acquired a second strobe light, an AQ-4 manufactured by the Norwegian company Jotron. It's slightly larger than the first, though it's SOLAS and US Coastguard approved - waterproof to 300m!. Operation is with a sliding switch on the side of the unit.

I've secured this one to the rear of my PFD utilising an existing accessory mount. Despite it's location I'm quite able to activate it should the situation require it.


SPECIFICATION:
Manually activated.
High intensity xenon flash strobe light. Light weight.
Waterproof to 300m (option of 500 m).
Flash rate: 50 flashes per minute.
Operation up to 12 hours at 15°C with decreased flash rate at the end of the battery life.

As a follow up to the question below:
"Hello mate, just wondering if where you have positioned your strobe light is the best place. In the event you have capsized and you are in the water, your PFD will ride up and put the flashing strobe in line with your eyes, destroying your night vision."
 
The position of the front strobe is such that, even should the PFD ride up once in the water the strobe is still situated below and behind my chin. The result being that the strobe does not hamper my vision, on the contrary it may even assist it. A positive effort has to be made to look down to make eye contact with the strobe unit.
 
Please feel free to comment.