My first attempt at a lure rod casting video

I am trying out a new camera system to see how or if it might work for me as a fishing photographer, and it happens to have the ability to shoot video on the camera - so I thought I’d give it a quick go the other day when I was shooting some stills of one of our clients over in Ireland. Now of course it helps that Nathaniel can cast and fish very well, and of course I very much “see” as a stills photographer, but I thought it would be interesting to put together a short lure rod casting video. Off to get my tux ready for the Oscar’s ceremony……

Rest assured that I am not going to be telling my two professional film-making brothers that I have had a crack at filming and editing, but above is the result of my first ever go at a bit of (very basic) editing especially, indeed I got it into my head when I woke up at 4am yesterday morning with my bouncing brain syndrome that I should have a go. By 4.30am I was watching a really exciting? How To video on using iMovie, and a while later I had put this rather dodgy excuse for a casting video together.

If you read this blog then you will know I am obsessed with lure fishing rods, and whilst I only have so much time I can devote to this unpaid blog (indeed I could not do it if I didn’t have slight sleeping issues!!), I thought it might be helpful to show a lure rod being put through its paces during a couple of casts. The rod in question is the awesome Major Craft Skyroad 9’ 10-30g (review here) because we have some available for our clients to use on these Irish co-guided fishing trips, and Nathaniel was so smitten with the rod that he ended up buying one off Cian at Absolute Fishing while he was with us last week. I am pretty sure Nathaniel was casting the IMA Komomo II when I shot this dodgy video, and it weighs around 15g I believe.

I don’t know if you realised, but now is a good time to buy fishing tackle from a Euro country like Ireland. Yes, Cian is a mate, but nope, I have no arrangement with him if you buy gear from Absolute Fishing. I believe in good customer service, advice and selling via personal experience, and as such I have all the time in the world for what he does with his business over in the middle of bass country on the south coast of Ireland. I am back to that part of Ireland in a couple of weeks and I am trying to work out how I can go into Cian’s shop but at the same time resist my growing urge to drop some wedge on the higher speed Daiwa Certate 3000 spinning reel. Do I need one? No, but I want one.

Anyway, your thoughts on my first attempt a little video are most welcome, but before you collapse with laughter at how wildly exciting and professional it is(n’t), please bear in mind that whilst I know what I like when I watch something, I have essentially zero idea how to go about putting this sort of stuff together. It always fascinated me when we were filming how the process went from being out and about shooting the stuff to ending up on screen as a finished article as such, but I was the bloke talking crap to the camera and the talented people would then take that footage and make it into something. You all have a good weekend. Does the recent weather we have been getting here in south east Cornwall mean that what passed for summer is over? Roll on the next few months, I love this time of year for bass fishing.

Coast HL44 Dual Colour LED headlamp review (under £30 delivered)

Via my increasing interest in lure fishing for bass at night, I have been on the lookout for a headlamp that would do a few specific things for me - I want it to be lightweight, I want it to run off AAA batteries (I always have plenty of them lying around), I don’t want it to be very expensive, and above all, I want a red light on the headlamp that doesn’t require me to recycle through a hundred and fifty different white light variations to get to it. I can’t tell you whether bass really do run for cover if they see a bright white light come on when you’re fishing, but the general consensus seems to be that if you need a bit of light to change lures etc., you’re better off using a dimmer red light to do so.

Go looking for a headlamp like this though and it’s not easy. Sure, you can find any number of them that have little red lights, but now find one that has its own dedicated switch to turn that red light on and off - am I the only person who wants this facility? I asked around on Facebook for some help with this, and I ended up buying a couple of different lightweight headlamps and then returning them because they didn’t have the red light switch and having to go through god knows how many lighthouse-like white light options to get there drove me mad from the off. And then somebody recommended that I take a look at the Coast HL44 Dual Colour LED headlamp - my profound thanks.

Any of you who here who have been shore fishing for many years now will I am sure remember those old headlamps we used to use that had those great big, heavy battery packs we had to wear on belts around the waist, plus of course the expensive halogen bulbs that would blow at any time. LED headlamps have been a godsend if you ask me, and whilst this pretty cheap Coast HL44 Dual Colour LED headlamp doesn’t feel quite as well put together as say my very impressive (and more expensive) LED Lenser one, it’s doing me just fine. It’s pretty lightweight for a headlamp with a 3xAAA battery pack on the back of the strap, and I have used it in some serious rain without any hassle so far. Gone are my days of shining a headlamp on reflective rod tips for hours on end, and for the most part I can easily get where to I need to be on the dimmer white light setting (and the brighter setting is very bright). I haven’t changed batteries yet although I always keep a spare set of three in my camera rucksack.

The clickable switch for the red LED sits underneath the actual light part of the headlamp - with the white light switch sitting on top - and for close up work and moving around a bit over rocks etc., that red LED is doing me just fine. So simple to turn on and off and I love not having to cycle through the various white light options to get there. I can’t think of anything I don’t like about this Coast HL44 Dual Colour LED headlamp, and for the price it won’t bother me hugely if it does end up failing on me. So good so far, and for under £30 delivered I reckon it’s good value for money - I bought mine here if that is any help.

I have put a gallery together of a bunch of photos from those two co-guided Ireland trips I did over the last couple of weeks. When I look at these photographs I am reminded of just how much fun these trips are, and I hope that comes across. 

 

Below is a look at my features in the new issue of Sea Angler which is out this week.

I've had a gutful of treble hooks and I am increasingly convinced they lose us fish

This is not another post about barbless v barbed hooks, rather I am increasingly struggling to see what the benefits really are to using treble hooks on our lures - and although I have no way of proving it, in my own mind I am coming to the conclusion that although logic says that all those extra hook points should result in less lost fish, in reality I believe treble hooks lose us more fish than single hooks do. And yes, as an angler who intends to release the fish he catches, I am increasingly uncomfortable with the way that even barbless trebles can and do stick into a fish all over the place. I don’t intend for you to agree with me here, but I just don’t think that treble hooks are giving us the hook-hold that they suggest they are……

OK, so most hard lure we buy come festooned with treble hooks, but aside from the odd limited edition Japanese lure with really good hooks, for the most part it’s not as if these trebles are of the finest quality. But they are there, the lure is rigged, and we can fish with the lure without doing anything other than clipping or tying it on - a part of the package if you like, albeit no hard or soft lure of mine goes into the water with any barbs on the hook(s). All hooks are going to rust up eventually, and whilst I am sure that most of us here have had to buy some replacement trebles at some point or another, for the most part it is not remotely cheap to go replacing the hooks on your lures.

And of course it’s not remotely cheap to go replacing the treble hooks that come on your lures with specialist single hooks designed for lure fishing, and although I haven’t tried that many yet, for the most part they have rusted up too quickly for my liking - but I ain’t giving up. I like the look of the VMC barbless single hooks - those are next on my list to try - and I also hear good things about the Seaspin single hooks. This is not about fish welfare here because it has to be a personal thing how you want to go about your fishing, rather a couple of lost bass from my recent Kerry co-guiding trip with John Quinlan have really got into my head, and especially as I was not fishing myself and could therefore really watch everything that happened. It’s only a gut feeling at the end of the day, but I am struggling to remember having a bass come off a (barbless) single hook that you would use on say a Black Minnow, senko etc. Sure, the odd fish has done me, but plain and simply come off?

Would those two bass in particular have stayed on if the lure (IMA Komomo SF125 in the cotton candy colour) had been rigged with specialist single lure hooks? I don’t know, but I increasingly believe that single hooks give a better hook-hold than trebles, and whilst some fish simply come off, my confidence levels are higher when I am fishing with a single hook. Arse about face? Perhaps, but I just don’t like treble hooks for a number of different reasons, albeit it’s not as if we are about to see all these lovely hard lures being sold pre-rigged with specialist single hooks (and credit to companies such as Seaspin who I believe sell a few of their hard lures rigged with singles).

My head says that single hooks on a surface lure could prove problematic with the way that bass can slash at the topwater stuff, but I think back to a co-guiding trip last year when Blair nailed a bass off the top on an IMA Salt Skimmer rigged with single hooks. No worries. I also know that me having to kill one single bass which absolutely engulfed a Skimmer last week on another of these co-guiding trips is not even a drop in the ocean when compared to commercial landings, but aside from the odd deeper-hooked pollack that had to come on board for a bit of work to get the (single) hook out, it really struck me on that insane inshore pollock session (see here) that for the most part it was a case of leaning over the side of the boat, very easily slipping the barbless single hook out, and then watching the pollack flip their tails and swim back down to the reef.

There is no easy way around this save for me to take a punt on buying a load of  single hooks, rigging the hard lures that I fish with the most with those hooks, and then fishing with them exclusively. I can’t afford to go rigging all my hard lures with single hooks (I have a couple!!), but like you I am sure, I gravitate to certain hard lures more than others, and it’s these ones I will rig up and fish with. I have caught bass on hard lures rigged with single hooks before, but I want to fish with them more and in some ways I have had enough of treble hooks. Nope, I am not finished with them because I need to give singles some exclusive use, but I’m going to go with it and see how it pans out longer-term.

I don't see how the fishing experience can get much more fun than this

OK, so I am a little biased because I love coming to Ireland and I passionately believe in these co-guided trips that John Quinlan and I are running out of Thatch Cottage Fishing Lodge here in Kerry, but it has really struck home to me the amount of smiling and laughing that goes on during our trips - and I wonder if you were to take the whole fishing experience (fish, place, people etc.) and examine it whether you could actually have more fun doing anything else anywhere else. Take a look at the photo below and see how much that one bass taken off the top means to our client Paul Guest. He then went on to take his first ever salmon on the fly a few hours after that early morning bass fishing. A little biased? OK, I’m completely biased. I absolutely bloody love this guiding work with John, and I reckon we are offering something pretty damn unique - and hell yes, I am damn proud of what we do……

These last four days have been an absolute blast, but then the four day trip before this one was brilliant as well. Catching bass from the shore takes hard work, and we’ve had all kinds of bass fishing from tough to good, but if these trips were about bass only then I don’t think I would be so into doing them. The more I learn about this unique part of Kerry, the more I am coming to realise just how much fishing there really is, and how many options we have for our clients. Think about the amount of anglers who chase salmon and have never actually caught one, yet within fifteen minutes from prime bass fishing there is a remarkably consistent salmon river that threw up two fish and a couple of hooked and losts - granted, you need the right water conditions to go and do this salmon fishing, but due to a dumping of rain the other night, we got those conditions, and because of how John works his river fishing, save for our clients needing to buy a one day salmon license, it’s all part of the package.

I am heading for home today - a night staying closer to Rosslare and then the 9am ferry tomorrow morning and back home in time for the second warm up game between England and France, whilst listening to the last test on TMS enroute. John and I are running some more co-guided trips in October over what are potentially the best bass fishing tides of the year out here, and we have a place or two left that I will get up here in due course. In the meantime though, if you are interested in coming along and having a huge amount of fun in one of the most special places you could imagine, get in touch with me here. You all have a good weekend, and may your fishing be even half as fun as what we have been having out here.