Recently a good friend of mine offered me the chance to go out for the day on his boat for a spot of fishing. How could I refuse ? A day in work, or a day fishing ? So early the following morning we we set sail on “Barbera Lyn” , an Offshore 160 , launched from Afan Boat club, Port Talbot. The conditions were fantastic ; clear blue skies, little or no wind, with a 3ft swell and large tables in between. Tony has a fantastic set up , where he is able to do most things on his boat single handed, so I was just there for the ride.
We arrived on the first mark , a favorite of Tonys , at Sker Rocks. Unfortunately after 3 attempts it became clear that because of the fast tide we were not going to be able to anchor . So Tony decided we would try his second choice, the Ferry buoy off Porthcawl, a popular mark with most of the local boat anglers throughout the year due to its reputation for churning out big Cod in Winter & large bass in the summer. In fact just 6 weeks previously a 33lb cod had been taken on that very same mark by a local chip shop owner. So after managing to set the anchor at the second attempt, we proceeded to tackle up. As I mentioned before Tony had everything on board so it was time to choose my weapon. I have never been a fan of multiplier reels, so it was with great delight that I chose to use the New Rovex Ceratec 6000 reels matched with Shimano Vengeance 12lb class downtiders that Tony had bought from us recently. With their pearlescent finish, 5 bearings & aluminium spools I was looking forward to putting them through their paces. It didn’t take long either. I attached a 2 hook paternoster to the 20lb braided mainline, along with 6 ounce of lead weight and baited both size 1/0 hooks with sandeel , hoping to attract a bite straight away from the abundance of dogfish that usually patrol this mark. As soon as I put the rod in the quick set rodholder the tip of my rod arced over violently. This wasn’t a Dogfish bite. I grabbed the rod, & as it bent round again I struck and attempted to reel in. However the fish had other ideas. The spool Started to spin, as the fish took line & headed down tide. I had no idea what I had hooked into, but was enjoying the fight as I slackened off the drag and let the fish run. The reel was really smooth in retrieve, and the drag with its many settings perfect for handling hard fighting fish. Slowly I gained line on the reel , so that eventually I manageed to get it to the surface. I saw the flick of grey tail, a splash and then the line went slack ! I didn’t get a great look at what it was , but by a process of elimination it could only have been one thing. The fish had managed to bite through my 30lb Maxima hooklength. I was gutted, my own fault. I had heard & seen pictures of the recent catches of Spurdogs to 14lb on Porthcawl Pier on frozen sandeel but thought it unlikely that I would catch one, so hadn’t used any heavier hooklength. Spurdogs have a reputation for biting through even the heaviest of hooklengths so I only had myself to blame. Perhaps if I hadn’t taken so long to get the fish to the surface I could have netted it before it had chance to bite through ‘
Another trace was attached , with sandeel again in the hope it would come back. In the meantime Tony was fishing big lugworm baits on long flowing traces with 4/0 hooks, & in a very short period of time he had boated 4 codling to 4lb. We both baited up another rod, with worm & sandeel baits & the bites just kept coming. As the tide slackened the Dogfish arrived, and the Sandeel baits were substituted for more lugworm. This however didnt seem to deter the Dogfish which didn’t seem to be that fussy. As the tide built up to high, the bites for me dropped off, but Tony just kept catching. The only thing I can put it down to is that Tony was using long flowing single hooklengths, whereas I was using 2 hook partenosters with short hooklengths. I wan’t too disppointed though, as e had a great day, with plenty of fish, laughs and Bovril.
The time came to up Anchor & head back in.The sea wasnow like a mirror , so it tookus no time at all to make the slip & due to Tonysingenuitythe boat was up o the trailer & in the compound before yopu could say smoked halibut. All in all a great day. I am now looking forward to another invite later in the year, whenwe will
hopefully target Bass, bream and other species. Roll on the Summer !
With the tides right and window in the weather I decided it was time to do a spot of beach fishing , and in particular try out the new Iridium Surf rods. With a North Westerly wind blowing we headed to Aberavon Beach, a local clean ground venue, perfect for using these kinds of rods. William was trying out his brand new Iridium Tristar, while I opted for the lighter Iridium Surf One. At 14 foot 3 piece , both rods are built in the continental style , with lightweight slimline blanks and lowrider guides.
We were using 3 hook rigs and 5 ounces as the medium size tide was on the way out. There was quite a strong tidal pull, but the wind had dropped so the surf wasn’t too heavy. The rods are rated 100-200g (3-7oz) and both cast 5 ounces easily enough, with plenty of stiffness in the butt of both rods, yet they were easy to load in a straightforward overhead cast , will you able to put out three hook clip down rigs 90 – 130 yards.
The tips of both rods sat nicely in the tide, although the Surf One , with the softer tip was bent over, with the first 2 foot at right angles to the rest of the rod in the rip, whilst the Tristar easily dealt with it. This didn’t take away any of the bite detection, as it was easy to pot the finicky biting dogs, pin whiting and dabs as they latched onto our small frozen lug and sandeel baits. The Surf One was great fun to use ,the bites exagerated by the quiver style tip, and you feel you could hold the lightweight blank all day. The Tristar was a lot stiffer in the tip, so I could imagine the rod could be used at many different venues in lots of different conditions.
End result was 6 dogs, 3 pin whiting and a dab, not a bad 3 hours work. Definitley impressed with both rods and looking forward to many more sessions with both this coming winter.
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