I got back into Plymouth airport late yesterday afternoon - it is so cool to be arriving back at my local airport instead of the more usual Heathrow, especially when my wife and two girls are there to pick me up. It is so easy to do this trip, and when time and weather allows I have every intention to head back out to Jersey to do a load more bass related stuff, plus of course get in amongst the excellent shore and other boat fishing. There is some great stuff over there, including big blondes, tope and bream from the boats. The Channel Islands are so accessible to many of us, and trips over there can be really cheap.
I am in serious debt to the people who went so far out their way to help me over in Jersey - a huge thanks to you all. This kind of trip just reaffirms to me just why fishing is the greatest sport on earth, for the people involved in it are without doubt the best there are. So many of the local anglers will do all they can to help visitors out. The buzz around modern bass fishing continues to grow.......
Above is Trevor Sangan with a nice bass that he caught late on Saturday evening - the fishing really picked up big time as that tide began to push hard, and we landed a few nice bass in amongst the rocks. But we then lost the light and had to run for home. Trevor is continuing to use and abuse the Tackle House Feed Shallow lure, indeed he had it virtually welded to the end of his line over in Ireland and he continues to smash bass with it back home. What a lure - it ain't cheap, but it works. You can get hold of them here. I would not head out lure fishing now without a couple in my box, I feel that confident with them - exactly like I do with the Maria Chase BW in the holo silver colour. To have a few lures you trust implicitly really gives my confidence levels an extra kick.
Here's a sight for the tackle junkies among you, and I include me here - a fistful of gorgeous red Tenyru rods. This brief trip visit back to Jersey really struck home to me how forward thinking a lot of these anglers are when it comes to their bass fishing. They are so close to the coast of France, and I know a lot of the bass fishing expertise over there travels across to Jersey, and the guys then mix and match it with their own fishing. It is easy to slate expensive gear as being too much when you haven't tried it, but when you start fishing with purpose designed and built bassing gear, it is a different world, and my eyes have really been opening up another notch this year.
I bought a bunch of bass lures from Mick, including two different sizes of the Duo Tide Minnow SLD-F, and some more Tackle House Feed Shallow lures. These shallow diving minnows have different actions under the water and they can both be lethal at times. I really like ultra-shallow diving minnows for a lot of bass fishing and I also have a problem with lures - many of you are suffering with this addiction, and some of us are going to have to seek help.
Sunday morning was like a different world - blowing a monster and lashing down with rain, but we managed to get out on the boats for a few hours in amongst the rocks where there was a bit of shelter. There was a real chop on the water and the light levels were very low, so I really fancied a popper might do the trick. It might only have been a small bass, but I nailed one on a Lucky Craft G-Splash popper right over a patch of rough ground. Trevor caught one as well, but we then ran back to port as the wind picked up even more. But within a couple of hours the sun was out and the wind had dropped down - by then though I was having to pack up and head for the airport.
I simply would not head out bass fishing any more without a lip-grab tool for holding onto the fish. I have not been spiked once this year because I can secure this tool onto the bottom lip of the fish and then keep it nice and relaxed in the water ready for some photos. The fish stays calm and comes to no harm, I get my shots, and then the bass goes back very strongly. I use the highly efficient Berkley Pistol Trigger Grip and it works perfectly every single time. More anglers should carry something like this - bass are spiky as hell, and it makes for far easier unhooking, recovery and then releasing if you can grip the fish safely and securely.
Here's a shot of the sun going down on the Minquiers from Friday evening - I put my rod and reel against the sky and shot a few frames just before the sun dipped below the horizon. Friday night was something seriously special and I feel so lucky to have visited a place like that. I will never forget that barbecue under the stars. Fishing and visiting wild, out of the way places really gets me going. Too much to do and too little time.