Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Ticker gets done like a kipper

I've got a good friend who for the sake of this blog post shall be called Ticker. Now Ticker is one hell of an angler and he is also incredibly open-minded when it comes to methods and techniques, but up until now he had never had a proper go at this wrassing on plastics lark. We spoke about it and I set up a trip for Weds afternoon to coincide with about half tide up at a mark in south Cornwall where I knew we could have a decent crack at both wrasse and bass. Things were looking good with the conditions when we got there, and with no other anglers in site we could wander the rocks at will. Ticker has plenty of fishing gear himself, but for this trip I lent him that stunning Major Craft 7'6'' Hard Rock rod for the wrasse fishing and the Argento RV 8'6'' for the bass fishing - yes of course you can press the "little" Major Craft rod into bass fishing, but I knew Ticker was very keen to have a thrash with the Argento RV especially............

Anyway, after slipping and sliding our way down the muddy slope (summer ?), we made our way across the rocks to a big gully I wanted to fish first. I delved into my box of tricks and showed Ticker how easy it was to tie a Texas rig and then I gave him a particular soft plastic that seems to work well more often than not. I explained how this wrasse fishing is an incredibly simple way to fish and I quickly showed him how one can bump, trundle and shake the lure along the bottom. Ticker was immediately taken by how you can search so much terrain out with a Texas rig and he went to my right to start working a great looking gully.

I'm fishing away and getting a few somewhat timid bangs from the wrasse, but after a few minutes I look round to see Ticker hooked hard into what has to be a pretty tidy fish judging by the bend in the rod. Just as I start jumping for joy on the spot that this is going to be Ticker's first wrasse on a plastic, everything suddenly goes horribly slack. Done on a rocky ledge, but Ticker's buzzed up because he knows the fish are here. He saw the wrasse and gave it a decent size, but what can you do ? Set up a new leader and Texas rig and he's fishing again. Fish on again pretty quickly but once more the little swine ran Ticker over a sharp ledge and bust his braid. It's the name of the game with fishing directly into and over rocks, and especially when they are as sharp and "ledgy" as the place we were fishing. Ticker shows a remarkable self-control with his temper I must say.............

Now the wrasse fishing could hardly be called epic, but a few pollack on the drop and the retrieve bent the rods more times than the wrasse. We tried all manner of sizes and colours of lures, but for some reason the wrasse seemed reluctant to really commit to the lures and Ticker was without actually landing his first wrasse on a soft lure. Close to high water and they went off the feed like a light bulb going out, so Ticker set up the 8'6'' Argento RV that I had lent him and clipped on one of his beloved MegaBass X140 hard lures that had some kind of chartreuse back on it. I think the smile on Ticker's face was testament to how shocked he was with the rod's casting abilities. I moved over to a ledge to put a lure over some of the shallower ground but then could not get away from the pollack which kept hitting me right at my feet. Got to laugh though as they launched themselves time and time again at the lure. So I move back and set myself up just to the left of Ticker.

Now Ticker is very comfortable with bass fishing and can put a lure out a country mile if needs be. I look over at just the right moment to see Ticker get absolutely hammered by a bass that slams into his X140 in exactly the way that a decent fish does on a fast retrieved hard lure - no messing around, it hits the lure and starts running almost before you can lift into it. Ticker fishes with a nice tight drag but the fish took line straight way and the rod's right over, but then everything goes that horrible slack again. Busted on a rock, in fact Ticker hooked the fish over a particularly prominent patch of reef almost exactly where I got done last year. Gutted was not the word. I am not about to speculate on the size of a fish that neither of us ever saw, and yes, it's always the biggest fish which gets away, but I can't remember a bass hitting like that for a while. I did catch a small bass right at my feet on one of those IMA Hound 125F Glide lures with the dark grey sides and chartreuse top and bottom (is there something to chartreuse in bass fishing ?), but in truth it was small conciliation.

On the plus side Ticker did not get involved in any downwards cliff running or deep saltwater cleansing of fishing tackle this time around (don't ask !!). The moral of this story ? Fishing is what it is, and from time to time it's going to give us a kicking. Could Ticker have done anything to prevent losing those fish ? Not if you ask me. Put it down to bad luck and the sport of fishing making sure to keep us in check so we don't get too big for our boots. Ticker will be back though, of that I am sure.................