For all the different lure fishing methods I continue to learn about and enjoy, my heart still pumps the most when the sea conditions are bouncing. There is of course a fine line between fishable conditions and too rough, but that extra adrenaline pumping through the body as the sea crashes around you in a barely contained fury will always do it for me.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect early on Saturday morning, but if the forecast was right then Mark and I had a brief window before another proper storm howled in. We reckoned we could find some clearish water, but I woke up way before my alarm clock went off with my brain ticking about how we might actually find the conditions, and to be honest when we started fishing at about 6.45am the sea was firstly a tad livelier than I imagined it was going to be, and secondly, you could just sense things building up almost by the minute. But it was fishable...........
Mark landed a bass on his first cast, and as anybody knows, don't you then start thinking about what might happen with the target species showing itself so quickly. Well things didn't happen, although I categorically refuse to believe that Mark's bass was the only fish around the other morning. Sure, a bunch of fish jumping on the lures would have been great, but to me it was just the most awesome few hours. I love punching lures into the wind and my heart pumps that bit more when the sea is lashing around with the kind of intent that tells you there's a bit of serious stuff coming right up. And of course I can't help but start hyperventilating when you get crashing sea conditions combined with a drop or two of decent light. Fishing ? I can't when it looks like this. My need to record what I see via the medium of photography is as much as my need to go fishing.
I have never felt remotely comfortable trying to dictate to other anglers about what is safe and what isn't. We fish, therefore we make our own minds up, and from time to time we are going to make mistakes. I made a mistake on Saturday morning and I got lucky to come away with a couple of bruises. I spotted a rock that looked perfect to give me a bit of height advantage on the cast to try and get over the weedy/coloured water that was starting to become more prevalent as the tide dropped, so onto the perch I clambered.
I launched a cast out there. Holy cow those IMA Hound Glides fly into anything, but as the lure landed I saw a pretty serious looking wave starting to bear down on me. I left the bale arm open, scrambled/jumped/fell off my rocky perch back towards the shore and then got hit in the back by the wave. It knocks me over onto some more rocks, my waders start to fill up and my shins are shouting at me, but I quickly realise I am actually in no great danger and pick myself up. I then do what every bloke does in this sort of situation - I look around to see if Mark has been witness to my ineptitude, realise he hasn't, shake the water out of my face, feel that all too familiar feeling of cold water working their way down the front of my waders, and tell myself that I won't be doing that kind of thing again - which we all know is complete rubbish.
Why ? Because it's exciting. No, I don't want to hurt myself or get into serious trouble, but yes, a hint of danger certainly stirs the soul and it's a part of my fishing. Is that wrong ? Well it's my choice and I wouldn't dream of telling you how to lead your life. I made a mistake, I misjudged the situation and I got away with it, but to be honest it was more of a storm in a teacup rather than anything very dangerous. I'm not stupid and I don't take any risks that I deem to be daft.
But yes, I love fishing when the sea is showing us who the boss really is, and although one single fish hardly makes for epic fishing, it was in fact a few hours that will remain long in my memory. Standing safely above the increasing maelstrom later on, but having to regularly turn your back as the sea drenches you again and again, and giggling all the time. Wondering how on earth you might actually go about landing a big bass if you go and hook one, but worries be damned because this is fishing to stir the soul, to remind you that you are still very much alive and kicking, and to tell you that for all you muster up to throw at the fish that may or may not be swimming around in that beautiful white water, you're still a mile away from getting the better of nature.
I was using a brand new spinning reel for the first time on Saturday morning - the Shimano AR-C Aero C14+ 4000 (phew), and nope, it's not cheap, but wow it's as if the bearings run on butter it's so ridiculously smooth. Seriously, the Sustains have freaked me out enough this year, and increasingly the slightly larger 4000 model, but this brand new and even lighter weight AR-C Aero C14+ reel (255g) feels perhaps a little more "together" again if that is possible. I see no reason why this slightly different looking spinning reel (narrower spool, "bulkier" look ?) won't work long-term for "our" lure fishing in saltwater, but give me some time with it and I will report back. First trip out and the reel feels pretty damn serious already, with no hint of a wind knot into some ever livelier winds (using 20lb Sufix 832 braid), the drag feels awesome when you pull line off (how I wish it had been big fish trying to take my line), plus all manner of winching power. It's a different look to get used to, but it's just so light and it feels very well balanced on a lure rod around the 9' length. A reel to take to Morocco I feel................
And yes, I am doing some work with Shimano, so yes, they have kindly sent me this new reel to have a play with and see how it might or might not work out for my fishing. Should that preclude me from telling you about it ? Later this week I will try and get a review up of the Bassboots chest waders that I have had here for a fair while now.
Monday Morning Metal Madness - You're a 13 year old boy in his first year at public school with a thing for heavy metal, but you're on the hunt for faster and heavier music. You've got a tape playing ghetto blaster and you want to grow your hair long but school rules forbid it. It's 1986 and you read about, save up for and then buy the cassette of a brand new album called "Reign in Blood" by a US thrash metal band called Slayer. This is it. This is what you have been looking for. It's a life-changer of an album. I can remember where and when I first heard the tape, and I can distinctly recall being absolutely freaked out when that first track "Angel of Death" came blasting out of my boom box. Twenty seven years ago and this twenty eight minute long thrash metal album that has yet to be bettered by anybody still gives me tingles down my spine.