Posted 06:24, 14 November 2014
- It’s not yet 4am yet we’re fishing a lonely estuary mark over on the south coast of Ireland earlier this year. Steve “Stee” Richardson is perhaps thirty yards upstream from me, perched on his favourite rocky outcrop, and we’re fishing various soft plastics in the current and of course hoping for an Irish beast of a bass. I love these early morning starts and I love that first light period as a new day starts once more. Headlamps off course.
- And I also love a decent cup of coffee to keep me going, but since it’s lure fishing I am travelling as light as I can and that pleasure is going to have to wait until we stop later on at a petrol station to grab a breakfast roll and that essential hot drink. Those days of carrying a lovely big flask of coffee in my great big bait fishing rucksack are long gone. No hot drinks out here at 4am, although I’d pay good money for one right now.
- What’s that wafting in the gentle breeze? All is still dark but I can’t hear the familiar sound of Stee who was once Steve’s rod whooshing through on the cast. I can smell coffee though. Am I dreaming? I might well have mentally had a few cups of the stuff already, but have those mental delights become so real that I can really and truly actually smell coffee now? I stop fishing and sniff the breeze with due care and attention. Nope, I’m not dreaming, that’s definitely coffee I can smell.
- The selfish, heartless, secretive, manipulative bastard. He’s got bloody coffee with him and he’s keeping it bloody quiet.
- I go ninja. In the darkness I stealthily creep off my rock and make my way towards Stee who was once Steve who was once a friend of mine. I’m so quiet you couldn’t hear me if I was a yard away from you, because I’ve watched Predator a hundred times and I know how to move like Arnie and his team. I creep up on Stee who was one Steve, let my eyes adjust to the fact that the utter bastard really does have coffee with him and the fact that he’s drinking it from some cup/flask looking thing that I’ve never seen before, and then I bash him over the head with my Boga, fling him in the tide and acquire his coffee holding implement.
- OK, so the last paragraph isn’t really true, but I did ask into the darkness if firstly he was really drinking coffee, and secondly how on earth he got a hot cup of coffee out here onto the rocks - cue giggles in the dark from Stee who was once Steve. “What, you mean you haven’t got one of these Lifeventure mug things Henry?” “No Stee who was once Steve, I haven’t, obviously, or else I’d be drinking a bloody cup of lovely hot coffee myself and sniggering back at you instead”. “You carry on and enjoy that lovely hot drink, don’t you worry about me for one second”. What on earth is a Lifeventure thermal mug anyway?
- The best thing since sliced bread, that’s what it is, and obviously during that particular week, Stee who was once Steve obviously didn’t delight in placing himself upwind of me on as many occasions as possible as he opened the lid on a lovely cup of coffee. You know when you’ve been fishing for an hour or so and the idea of a quick sit down and get it together for five minutes really appeals? Well it’s always a whole lot better with a nice hot drink is it not?
- Around £10 (check here on Amazon for example) buys you this ingenious Lifeventure Thermal Mug. Yes, like you I am sure I have a few of those plastic thermal mugs that have a little hole in the lid and are perfect for the car etc., and yes, I have owned any number of very good but fairly heavy and bulky stainless steel flasks that keep hot drinks so hot you scald yourself every single time you take that first sip. But what I have never owned is a thermal mug that seals up tight, is small enough to fit in my lure fishing rucksack (it’s essentially a one mug of hot drink thermal mug), keeps a drink nice and hot for a couple of hours (that’s all I am after really), and basically makes my day or night session a whole lot better.
- I obviously have one here now, albeit it’s a replacement because I got frightfully overexcited and started to carry mine on my lure belt in a water bottle holder as per above. To have that hot cup of coffee at my side like a pistol was wonderfully comforting and potentially life changing, or at least it was until on another Ireland trip this year the bloody thing must have upped and floated away in the current when I waded out to fish. I remember somewhat smugly grinning at my mates as I went to grab my thermal mug that was meant to be sitting by my side, only to find it gone. I think I cried. You will be pleased to know that I managed to pull myself together and get through the week without my Lifeventure thermal mug, but I won’t be making that mistake again.
- Proper stainless steel flasks keep drinks much hotter for longer, but for my lure fishing I just like the idea of one mug of whatever hot drink I want to take, indeed the other day I filled my Lifeventure mug up with some homemade roasted butternut squash, chilli and coconut soup that I had made a couple of days before. Epic, and a mug of that out on the rocks was something else. Without doubt the best roughly £10 fishing related thing I have bought this year, and Stee who was once Steve can giggle away on his rock no more. I bet he hasn’t got the zip up Lifeventure Thermal Mug Jacket that I clip onto my rucksack, because I have. Beat that………….
Posted 08:26, 12 November 2014
- Quite apart from this being the first IMA lure I ever owned, the Komomo SF-125 was the lure that introduced me to the whole concept of long casting, really shallow diving hard lures. If certain lures almost “place” you in your lure fishing growth, then you’re in the same boat as me, but I accept of course that those lure anglers who have been doing it before they were even conceived will turn their nose up at this. What, you mean you didn’t know about these kinds of lures all along? Shame be upon you “beginner”!!
- Around the time I first came across this rather nice looking IMA lure on the Bass Lures stand at the CLA Game Fair (can’t remember the year, but it was the first time Bass Lures took a stand there), most of my getting into bass fishing was based around fishing with Graham over in Wexford - and for the most part I reckoned I turned to the Maria Chase BW and happened to catch a few fish on it. I distinctly remember Graham catching good bass on the very shallow diving but lousy casting Storm Jointed Thunderstick, and the moment I saw that Komomo SF-125 on the shelf, it made sense to me - as in I was in continual state of what on earth does this and that lure actually do, plus how deep do they dive etc. - but from the off the SF-125 didn’t confuse me. Look at and it just says shallow diving, and that meant a lot to somebody like me who was just really getting into the whole thing.
- It could have been another lure, but by chance it happened to be this Komomo SF-125 that woke me up to the fact that those areas of shallow broken ground could in fact be pretty effectively fished even if you did have to cast a relatively long way to do so. And of course it’s always going to help when you get a new lure and it catches fish for you almost straight away. We all know how much lure fishing is about confidence, and my first SF-125 in the cotton candy colour worked for me from the off. Why the cotton candy? From memory it was the only one on the shelf at the Bass Lures stand, and of course I had built up a lot of confidence in those bright, shiny lures via that holographic pink/pearl colour Maria Chase BW I had been using so much already. I reckon that one SF-125 has single handedly influenced my tending to so often turn to cotton candy/bright colours in bright conditions, because from the off it worked for me and at the end of the day I can’t help but be influenced by what catches me fish.
- I remember a session we fished in Wexford where there were acres of shallow, weedy, broken ground in front of us. The tide was ebbing, the sea was flat and the sun was high and bright. The only lure I had that could remotely deal with this sort of shallow ground was that cotton candy SF-125, and even then I had to lift my rod tip up and slow right down to stop it snagging up. This was before the use of weedless soft plastics for me, and also before I had come across any other hard lures that could swim really shallow and cast well.
- Bearing in mind that I had little experience of trying to actually fish an area like that, as in before I became of aware of long range shallow divers I would have most likely looked for the slightly deeper water to fish through, I was over the moon at catching a nice bass that session. I also have a very strong mental image of a good fish essentially beaching itself on a shallow rock right in front of me as it came at the SF-125 so hard. To this day it’s a rarity when I go bass fishing without at least one Komomo SF-125 in my box. These days they are an upgraded version of the original, but extra casting technology aside, in my mind they will always make perfect sense to me as a simple to use, long casting, shallow diving hard lure that smashes bass. I did once hook what I thought was the bass of a lifetime on the Wexford coastline very early one morning, only to see an 8lb pollack in my headlamp with my lure in its back. Some scrap!!
- So how do you fish this lure? Well I can assure you that there are far better lure anglers out there than me who I am sure are fishing this SF-125 in a whole lot of different ways, but for me it’s simply a case of whacking it out and winding it in. What, you mean you don’t do all kinds of weird and wonderful things to it? Well I don’t. I cast it out and wind it straight back at whatever speed I think might work, and if I need to get the lure up a little shallower again I simply lift my rod tip up and slow down. I have always been convinced that a higher rod increases the head action on the lure, but perhaps that’s just a confidence thing again?
- There are of course plenty of other long casting, shallow diving hard lures out there, plus of course the whole soft plastics thing is coming into bass fishing so strongly. There are lures that cast better than the SF-125 and there are lures that swim shallower if needs be. If you catch the SF-125 right it’s a bloody missile, but then so are some of the other similar kinds of lures out there. For me it’s simply a case that over time this easy to understand hard lures has caught me and the anglers I know a heap of bass. I know it works, I feel supremely confident when I’ve got it on, and yes, I’ve got a few different colours squirrelled away these days………….
Posted 08:09, 10 November 2014
- First blog post of the week, and so you know in case you want to stop reading - this is not about fishing. Nope, this is about something I read on the BBC website over the weekend that left me utterly at a loss, and to be honest, wishing that the perpetrators could be taken outside, publicly flogged, and then put down like rabid dogs. A Monday Rant?
- Have a read of this BBC page here - “Twitter troll targets Claudia Winkleman's daughter” - now the fact that I happen to watch Strictly Come Dancing with my wife and girls on a Saturday night I suppose has something to do with my eye falling on the link that said Claudia Winkleman in it, as in she has not co-presented the show for the last couple of weeks and we were wondering why. Well their eight year old daughter was apparently pretty badly burnt whilst out trick or treating, and as any of you parents here would know all about, you stop at nothing to look after your children.
- Now how could anybody in their right mind feel anything other than sympathy for that family? Sure, we hear about it because the mother is a TV presenter, but that aside, it’s nothing more than common human decency to feel sympathy for what has happened, and of course when you read about something like that you hope that the little girl makes a full and speedy recovery. Perfectly normal yes?
- Read that article and tell me you don’t feel sick at some of the cruel, twisted and sick comments that were put up online by these so called “Twitter trolls”. How could anybody in their right mind think like that, and then go and post stuff like that online? The fact that people write this stuff is sad enough, but the fact that anybody out there can actually think like that in the first place and then actually articulate those thoughts as written words in a public domain is what I find the most twisted about this pathetic state of affairs - how could anybody read about what happened to an innocent child and feel anything but sympathy and compassion? It’s sick, end of.
- You know full well that if those sick people were found, you’d have to drag them kicking and screaming into the sunlight and watch as they cowered because they weren’t hiding behind the anonymity of a keyboard and a computer screen. I am all for the internet and free speech, but I believe that scum like this should be found and then held accountable for their actions. Why in the hell should people like that be allowed to get away with posting such? I despise how easy it is these days to write such spiteful and hateful stuff as this yet remain safe and warm behind a screen and not have the courage to stand up for your convictions. Twitter trolls? That’s besmirching the good name of trolls if you ask me. Pure scum, and I see no reason why people who can think and write like that deserve to continue living in what most of us believe is a relatively civilised society.
- And I suppose I must discuss the England rugby, but not without first saying well done to Ireland for their rather magnificent victory over the Boks - as a lad said on my Facebook page, at least you Irish have wound them up properly for our game next weekend!! Cheers lads!! As much as I love watching England play rugby, and as much as the first twenty minutes or so were pretty damn exciting from our point of view (epic first try, as good as it gets), the underlying feeling I get when we play a team as experienced, patient, skilful and just so bloody intelligent as the All Blacks is one of men versus boys. I have no doubt that within English rugby we have the talent to win a World Cup again, but look at the All Blacks and how many caps the team has and how that experience and time together results in this group of players who know how to win games of rugby in so many different ways. It’s frightening enough when they flood a turnover like a pack of wolves on a kill, but what gets me is the lack of panic they show, save for the last World Cup final though that they so nearly blew. Is that the hope we must cling to?