I will explain - bear in mind that tiny little "incident" has really got to me, and mostly because I am not sure I want to believe that something so seemingly insignificant could be the difference between catching and not catching. Our first afternoon over in Ireland the other day, and we made the call to go smash a load of pollack due to such flat, calm and clear conditions. Cian decided on a rock mark he has fished plenty over the years........
So Cian and I are stood almost side by side fishing for pollack. We have both got exactly the same soft plastic and jig head on - a Mann's Hard Nose 5'' Freefall Worm rigged on an Owner 3/8oz (10g) Darter Type jig head. We are both fishing them in the same way - sink and draw, and fully expecting any bites/hits to come on the drop - as the lure drops down through the water column after you have lifted/drawn it up and allowed it to drop back down. We are both using 8' bass-type lure rods (different makes and weight ratings), with 20lb braid mainlines and small spinning reels. We are both covering roughly the same bits of water. But there is one noticeable difference.............
I am smashing fish and Cian is not. He is not even getting a bite. Now anybody who knows me will know that I am not remotely competitive when it comes to my fishing, indeed how can I be when I spend most of my time watching people catch fish with a camera and not a fishing rod in my hand. But Ireland is my time to fish a bit. And I want to know why Cian is not catching pollack - the guy is an awesome angler, and we both know that it is nothing to do with any greater "ability" on my part or anything like that. We swap fishing rods. Cian starts catching fish on mine, and I now can't get a bite on his. So it can't be the different rods.
This is really getting to me now. We swap back and I start catching or getting bites from pollack literally every drop on my own rod, whilst Cian stops getting any hits on his. We know the lure and jig head set up is obviously a killer, but why is it working on my rod and not Cian's ? I love it when fishing makes you think on the spot and do all you can to problem solve. Engaging the grey matter is what does it for me. When I handed Cian's rod back I noticed a couple of perhaps minor differences in the way we had actually set our gear up.
I had tied a say 6' 20lb mono (not fluoro) leader to the end of my 20lb braid, and I was not using any kind of lure clip - not for any other reason than I was banking on losing a load of gear on the pollack (which I didn't in the end), and I could see no reason why I should throw away a load of little lure clips/links in the bottom. But Cian had no mono or fluoro leader on, and he was using a (very small) JB lure clip - one of the best ones around if you ask me. The guy owns Absolute Fishing over in Tramore, and it makes me feel a whole lot better when a tackle shop owner uses exactly the same gear as he sells to his customers.
I suggested to Cian that it might be worth trying on a leader and forgetting all about the lure clip - as mine was set up (more by chance rather than skill remember). Had to be worth a go, just to see if it could make any difference at all. I could think of no other variable. And it did work. Immediately. Cian started hooking pollack from the first drop down once he had tied a leader on and removed his lure clip. By a quick process of elimination we had narrowed down what we could see as being the only difference between me catching and Cian not doing so.
To see these couple of tiny variables work so immediately and so effectively really struck home to me. I do tend to use a lure clip nearly all the time, but this was the first ever time when I had had cause to question whether that tiny little bit of metal wire might have been causing the soft plastic to behave ever so slightly differently - and to the point where the pollack in this instance would not take the lure fished with a clip. So now what from here ? The mind boggles once more. How can fishing ever get boring when you are learning like this all the time ? How could any angler out there ever purport to know it all ? Impossible if you ask me.
I had some of my family down over the weekend, staying with us at the new house. I don't see them very often and it was huge fun, but I got up before everybody on Sunday morning and managed a very short trip out on the rocks with some mates. Not a sniff, but the light was pretty cool - to the point where I took photos far more than actually fishing. Honestly, there is something really special about the light over here in south east Cornwall. There are a few fish around though, because Mark landed a few nice bass later on in the day.