I always try and be positive when fishing and not be too negative if there are not many fish around. I tell myself it will always be better next time, it usually is, and last time is quickly forgotten. This year however is becoming a real challenge because of the unusual bad weather we are experiencing. High winds and cold seas are contributing to making shore fishing more difficult than usual. Fishing in my view is eighty percent luck and twenty percent skill, this is what makes the sport such a challenge. You have to lure the fish to your bait. If it was just a case of chucking any old bait in on any size hook and line and dragging a huge fish out after two minutes then there would be no space on the shoreline for us as everyone would be doing it.
Trial and error is the history of fishing, both saltwater and freshwater; if nobody had tried worms then we would not be using them. The same goes for tackle if we do not experiment then there is no progress. The ideal time to experiment is when the fish are scarce. There have been several instances lately where this has been the case, the first one being the last competition I took part in at Puntas De Calnegre. I had drawn a peg number where the sea was very rough with a strong westerly wind blowing. I made a huge mistake of being drawn into doing what most of my fellow competitors were doing, casting as far as possible. This was bad on two counts. Firstly the wind was taking my line far away from where I wanted it and secondly it was still daylight and the fish were not feeding out at eighty to a hundred metres and with the sea being so rough they probably would not feed there at all that night. I took stock and as after one hour no one around me had caught anything over minimum size I decided to bring both lines in and change spools to thicker line and fish two to three metres in as I had a hunch the Lubina (Sea Bass) would be still feeding from the morsels in the sand being raked back from the shore by the waves. Correct move, ten minutes later and one thirty centimetre Lubina in my bucket and ninth overall. Had I done this from the start it is possible I would have caught more as after dark only one more fish was caught again down to the weather. Knowing the Lubina feed up to dusk near the shore line it would have been more sensible to try and catch them instead of taking the chance of fishing for other species at a distance and wrapping and tangling tackle up.
Another two instances of experimenting with different methods came about a couple of weeks ago when once again Luigi Mateos and I were being filmed for some forthcoming DVD’s. We started filming at two in the afternoon and by seven we had not caught any fish. We had every worm bait possible with us but nothing bite wise, the sea was perfect and we should have been catching. We decided to try some different things that we had seen and heard about. We were fishing four rods, two close to the shore and two as far out as possible, I had seen Matt Hayes on TV a while back fishing a river in France for migrating Bass and he tipped his worm bait with sweet corn, this worked as an attractor and he caught, so I gave it a go here in the Mediterranean. Threaded my worm onto the hook and line and covered the hook point with a piece of sweet corn, I Cast in five metres and bingo, Lubina. Now was it luck or was it because it was something that had attracted the fish to the bait? The latter I think as I have tried it a few times now and it worked again…..Thanks Matt.
This is what angling is all about it, it is a huge learning curve and no matter how long you have been fishing you can learn something every day. Gather information at every opportunity and watch what others around you are doing. You may pick up some useful ideas. Meanwhile Luigi was promising us he would catch a Magret (Striped Sea Bream) in the next ten minutes, he used a flat weight of eighty grams and a very long bottom hook length around one hundred and thirty centimetres on a two hook paternoster with sand worm bait. He cast out to the hundred metre mark and then reeled in fast, four turns of the reel every minute. The flat weight stirring up the sandy seabed as he reeled in. Again a fish. He was jubilant and it was a Magret. The hook length was tangled badly but it had served its purpose and once again I had learnt something. In the near future I am trying out some motor oil flavour acrylic ragworms and a new type of weight that is in effect a method feeder as it stores worms until it lands on the sea bed, presenting several worms around the hook bait worm. I will let you know. Good fishing.
Copyright © Gary Smith & Luigi Mateos