Sodding curveballs

The tides yesterday were such that I could get my stuff done here from early morning and then head out for a quick dangle over the LW late afternoon - in a freshening, when are we ever going to bloody well get rid of them east wind. I had arranged to meet Blair Woodland who was in fact one of our clients over at Thatch Cottage Fishing Lodge in Ireland - he lives in Devon and holy cow can the guy fish well. I don't want to embarrass him, but Blair is one of those blokes who is a natural angler (and he's only been at it a couple of years), and he's a thoroughly nice bloke as well. Best of luck with your plans Blair, hope it all works out for you...........

I fancied seeing a few bass about as much as me deciding that One Direction are in fact pretty cool, so the rough plan was to be fishing for wrasse by about an hour and a half before LW and then on the turn until we began to lose the light. OK, so I could do without the increasing east winds, but as long as it's not rough I find them fine for wrasse - so you know when you've kinda got the session planned in your head before you actually go fishing, as in you've got a pretty good feeling for how things might pan out? So just how good is fishing at throwing you curveballs to keep on reminding you that you ain't remotely close to knowing it all? Talk about everything not going as I had imagined it might!!

I thought the wrassing might be a little slow until the tide turned, but nope, from the first drop down and they are on. Blair's first couple of fish were crackers, indeed his first drop down produced one hell of a scrap on the Major Craft Skyroad 9' 10-30g he's just bought (nice one). I shot a few photos and then managed to get in among a few fish myself, and sure enough the closer we got to LW, the less bites we were getting.

Blair was using one of those Z-Man Punch CrawZ in the California Craw colour I think it was, and the more I use them or see them being used, it's becoming increasingly obvious that these Z-Man plastics slay wrasse big time. I like how they are essentially impossible to trash, albeit they are not without their quirks when rigging up, and I notice that they are prone to being ripped clean off the hook a little more than most other soft lures. The other day I did start messing around with threading a needle through the eye of the hook and literally tying the lure to the hook with 12lb mono, and it did work ok save for changing lures requires careful snipping. But the thing about them that I am convinced really appeals to wrasse is that they are so buoyant - I have turned to using mainly 14g bullet/cone leads with these Z-Man lures because of this, and although I can't prove it, I'm positive this extra buoyancy they have when you bump them along the bottom appeals that bit more to the wrasse. I tend to rig mine on a 1/0 or 2/0 Varivas "Monster Class" (yes!!) weedless hook, and for the life of me I can't recall these hooks bending out on me. Class bits of kit.

Anyway, so we're catching wrasse fairly consistently until just before LW when it goes noticeably quiet. No worries I say, things should pick up again as the tide starts flooding properly - which they categorically didn't!! Talk about the fishing doing exactly what I didn't expect it to do, and most bites I got on the flood tide were extremely finicky and without any real confidence. We caught a few small fish on that early flood tide, but at this spot I have hammered them on the turn of the tide before - but not yesterday. On the way home I was thinking of a million different reasons as to why the fishing did pretty much the opposite of what I thought it might, but as much as I delved into my head and came up with any number of theories, yet again I come back to fishing being what it is - it's us trying to get one up on nature. Sometimes we do, but more often we don't, and to be honest that suits me just fine.