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Lrf, Needlefish and bloomin cold winters !

Cold isn’t it?.. This time last year we were enjoying temperatures here of over 20 degrees Celsius….however I wouldn’t say that the early season fishing benefitted from the unseasonably warm late March. This year is the total opposite, with the Jetstream sitting around 400 miles or so south of the British Isles we are trapped in a seemingly icy bubble of misery !
It’s been a dire old winter, and due to my own lack of enthusiasm I have barely fished at all.
If I had got out early winter I could have enjoyed some success with the colder water species such as Whiting, but my head wasn’t in the right place and it all passed me by.

But now I’m looking forward to the coming season, my eldest Son has been bitten by the fishing bug, and has already been out bait fishing with his friend despite the freezing temperatures ! In fact he has started as he means to go on and shown his old Dad up by scratching out an odd fish against the odds and weather conditions. His enthusiasm should help drive me on and his growing confidence and competence will mean I can concentrate a bit more on my own fishing again rather than having to instruct him in the basics.

I have been gearing up to try some new methods as well. While I was absent from the coast last year my friends were struggling to find any consistent Bass fishing mostly due to the appalling weather conditions we were experiencing as well as the apparent lack of fish in the usual haunts. This led them to experiment with alternative approaches, one of which was the American surfcasting method of Needlefish lures. The Americans use these lures to devastating effect on their native Striped Bass and for many are a go to method. To look at a Needlefish lure is to wonder what all the fuss is about. It is to all intents simply a straight piece of wood with a couple of sets of treble hooks attached front and rear. You cast it out and you wind it in just like any other lure, but with one or two differences or advantages. The first is that they cast a long way when coupled with the right rod and braid set up, meaning that adverse conditions can be overcome as the lure will punch through the wind, the second is the slight twitching action that is produced by the clever shaping of the head and eye area. What is produced on the retrieve is a very realistic swimming action. Now at the moment I can comment no further as to the effectiveness of these lures until I have had a seasons worth of use from them and then I can report back my findings, but if my friends brief findings with the Needlefish towards the end of last season are anything to go by, then I have high expectations…..

LRF will of course continue to be a large part of my fishing, especially now that Son is in tow and my other three children will be demanding Dads attention when it comes to catching fish. There is no denying that Lrf is a most effective way of keeping the youngsters interested, and probably above all other methods due to the physical contact they feel all the way through to the quarry from hand to lure to fish, very exiting for them, and probably teaches them more than using other remote more detached methods could ever do. The joy I personally get from seeing them catch is more of a buzz than I could ever get from catching fish myself too, having passed on certain knowledge and taught them such a simple joy as catching fish, teaching them to understand and learn about the species and to respect an conserve them for the future. 

Of course all this is academic without some fishing taking place, and I could wax lyrical until the cows come home about what I’m going to do and what might happen…
I predict it’s going to be a late start this year, I’m guessing things will start to warm up air temperature wise around the second week of April, based on certain meteorological observations…. but how quickly the sea temperature will follow suit I don’t know….at the moment the sea surface temperature in the Solent is hovering around 5 degrees…much lower than this time in many previous years so it could be as late as a May start….Anecdotal evidence suggests that we may be in for a very hot summer which will hopefully benefit the fishing, but as I’ve said it’s all academic until we get there.

I’ve changed the look of the Blog for this year, partly because I thought the old look was getting a bit stale and also to give me some renewed enthusiasm to record my thoughts and experiences regularly again, new dust, new broom and all that !

So here’s looking forward to some fishing, old and new styles….watch this space !

Thanks for reading

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