Thursday, August 27, 2015

Do Single Hooks Affect a Lure's Action?

Do Single Hooks Affect a Lure's Action?

There are probably a lot of lure anglers that want to know if replacing the treble hooks that come as standard on the majority of hardbaits with single hooks will affect the lure's action. The simple answer is yes but, and there always seems to be a 'but', how much and to the lure's detriment or not?
That last part of the question might be a bit surprising and I will deal with it later; but in the meantime whilst the majority of lures have no discernible difference in their action at all, there are definitely lures that will not swim at all well with single hooks, for instance the Tackle House Feed Shallow 105 retrieves like a small piece of driftwood when rigged with single hooks. Another is the Payo Shohoku - a great lure with an incredible action provided that you keep the original trebles on it.

For those of you that want some good reasons for switching to singles you can read a previous blog here.
I'm not the kind of guy that is satisfied with standard issue stuff or is like a sheep and has a 'follow the crowd' mentality. I like to think out of the box and apply alternatives to run of the mill situations. Okay I could keep the original trebles on my lures and be a happy camper - but that's not me and anyway where's the fun in that. It's only when you start to think differently that new horizons open up and better ways of doing things are found. Where would us lure guys be if others before us hadn't thought differently and experimented with new ideas?

So getting back to the point: After having to fish with the Shallow Feed 105 and its trebles and not enjoying being a sheep nor the thought that I was stuck with things the way they were, I decided to put some thought to the matter. It seems that the Feed Shallow 105 is dependent on the drag and weight that the trebles provide to give the lure its action.
So I dug out a couple of trebles that were one size larger than the originals (which are a #3) and set to work. I first took a pair of pliers and carefully bent one of the prongs so that it would hang straight when attached to the lure and then cut off the two other prongs and ground them down carefully using a small grinder. I then coated the cut parts of the hook with epoxy glue to prevent premature corrosion. I weighed both lures, as the point of the exercise was to give back the lure the weight (and hopefully the drag) that the single hooks couldn't provide and with the modified trebles the lure had gained 0.5 of a gram - so far so good.

Feed Shallow 105 with Modified Hooks

Tackle House Feed Shallow 105 with Modified Hooks

So how does the modified Feed Shallow 105 swim? Pretty good! I took two of them to our kibbutz swimming pool to test them. One had the original #3 trebles and the other the modified #2 trebles that you can see in the photo above.
The original one had, as expected, a good steady side-to-side head-rolling action whilst the modified one with the cut trebles also had the same side-to-side head-rolling action but was not as steady as its counterpart (probably due to the lack of drag that only one of three prongs provide). This you might think would be a negative feature. Not at all - on a slightly faster retrieve the modified lure started to swim randomly erratic when it would suddenly dart to the left or to the right still whilst continuing with its trademark head-roll. I immediately saw a frightened baitfish not knowing which way to turn in its frantic effort to evade being eaten. This was a real eye-opener and I was excited to get out onto the reefs to try it anew.
Okay so the downside is that in rougher conditions it might become unstable and not swim as it should but when I did take it to the reefs, on a morning when there was a decent swell running, I didn't notice any problems at all. I didn't catch anything on it but then I didn't catch anything on the other lures I tried either - our part of the Mediterranean Sea is quite over-fished so blanks are unfortunately quite a common occurrence.

Ima/Duo Nabarone Slim with Single Hooks

Ima/Duo Nabarone Slim with Single Hooks


Out of interest I tried a similar experiment with two Ima/Duo Naborone Slims that I recently bought. Again the one with the original trebles had a great action and was very steady in the water even on a fast retrieve but the single hooked one had a far more impressive action. At a slow to medium speed retrieve it was very similar to the trebled hooked one but up the speed a little and the lure starts to have this characteristic similar to the modified Feed Shallow 105 in that it would randomly dart either to the left or to the right whilst still keeping its normal action. It would even jump a few millimeters out of the water every so often if the retrieve speed was increased a bit more. So realistic of a fleeing baitfish that it impressed me that much that I even wrote to Ima about my observations - and got a nice reply saying that my email would be forwarded to their testing team - who said "Don't rock the boat."?

So, do single hooks affect hardbaits? Sometimes yes - and for the better!

Tight lines!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Line Diameters and Breaking Strains

Line Diameters and Breaking Strains

I grew up in the UK and have until recently always bought fishing lines according to their stated breaking strains.
So when I came to Israel and started to get interesting in fishing after a few years I naturally bought some mono to get me started in my newfound hobby. I always liked to fish light and so opted for some Berkley Trilene Maxx in the 4.7 Kg breaking strain. It felt nice and claimed to be thin for its breaking strain at 0.20mm. I like to test things so that's what I did and found out, unscientifically, that it actually broke at 3.7 Kg. So, okay that's 1Kg less than stated but I figured that a manufacturer should be more accurate with its labeling.

Fast forward a few years and I'm now using braid. PowerPro for the first few years and I always bought it on eBay from Shimreels - a very reputable dealer. PowerPro labels its products very nicely and the breaking strain is always more than stated so I felt good using their product.

PowerPro

PowerPro

PowerPro Diameter

PowerPro Diameter

But about a year and a half ago I registered with the World Sea Fishing Forum (an excellent source for info and help) and came across this 'sticky' thread:
Power Pro**CORRECT** breaking strains and diameters
After seeing the information there, and several people's recommendations in other related threads to ignore breaking strains and just look at the stated diameter, I got to thinking....
I had just bought some 16 lb YGK G-soul Upgrade PE X8 and was really impressed with how thin it was - I mean really thin.

G-soul Upgrade X8

G-soul Upgrade X8

I took some to our lab at work and measured it at 0.014mm (there is no stated diameter on the packaging); but then, as usual, I started testing it and it would not hold any knot at more than 7lb — something is wrong somewhere!

G-soul Upgrade X8 Max 16 lb

G-soul Upgrade X8 Max 16 lb

That's when I noticed that the label on the actual spool states "Max 16 lb #0.8"
I wanted to know what this "Max 16 lb" meant - I mean what is "Max 16 lb"? I actually found the reasoning for the labeling on their parent company website:
Line Technology ⌈The Difference in Line Strength Is a Matter of Weight⌋ with a sub-heading: The Deceptiveness of Line Labellings
It is quite technical but what they are basically saying is that they label their product (G-soul Upgrade X8 in my case) with a maximum breaking strain (far above reality for some reason) to help anglers that want to compete in IGFA record claims; see here for an explanation of their world record application.

There is a general consensus that the Japanese line manufacturers' method of using the PE rating can easily be converted to a breaking strain in pounds simply by multiplying the PE number by 10. For example my G-soul Upgrade with a stated PE #0.8 is actually about 8 lb breaking strain, which just happens to be about the same as my non-scientific test results.
So try and forget breaking strain claims but try and get used to the stated diameter or the PE number (if you are thinking of buying Japanese lines).

Tight lines!

Monday, May 25, 2015

First Fish of the Year (at last!)

First Fish of the Year (at last!)

Well it certainly has been quite a while. In fact I can't honestly remember the last time I actually caught a fish (save for the great time I had with my youngest at the end of last summer) and it wasn't for the lack of trying!
My fishing buddy, Omer, and I have been out loads of times over the autumn, winter and spring months with virtually nothing to show for our efforts. Omer did manage a couple of fish and I had a couple of takes but no hook-ups. So it was a great adrenaline rush to hook into my first fish of the year.
It happened that Omer wasn't feeling too good and so I called up Eyal whom I had met on a fishing trip a couple of weeks earlier. We agreed to meet on the beach at Sidney Alley at about 04:45 (just before first light) this last Sunday morning (Shavuot Holiday). I got there before him and made a few casts with a Lucky Craft Gunfish 75 in Aurora Ghost Wakasagi color on my ultra light gear. Nothing doing. So when Eyal arrived just before 5 he suggested we move up a little bit to where there are some shallow reefs and a sort of lagoon. I cast out about 35 meters and after a couple of walk-the-dog strokes I hit what seemed like a rock. I thought to myself "How can I snag a topwater?". The 'snag' started to shake its head vigorously and head off on a short run. It was actually quite difficult knowing how much line he was taking as the 'clicker' on my drag was inoperative due to some grease and it was still sort of dark. I could only guess what was happening by the direction of the line and the curve of my rod.
As the light started to get better I could see that there was a small rock sticking out of the water and I had to steer the fish away from there several times. The fish felt big and it was certainly a powerful one - this wasn't going to be an easy or short fight.

The fight seemed to last a long time and i was thinking to myself that I really wanted to see what i had hooked and at the same time to to try to hard to get him in as I didn't want the line (I was using 5lb PowerPro) to break and lose, not only the fish but my lure.
The light was getting better by now and I could see that I had him pretty close the shore and could actually see his dorsal and tail fin. I was hoping it was a sea bass or even a blue fish but the shape of what I could see wasn't either of them.
I could now see that it wasn't going to be easy landing him as there were no waves to assist me in washing him ashore and that there was a bit of a drop off just half a meter from the shore's edge. I called to Eyal to se if he had a landing net. He duly brought it over and I remember saying to myself "What's that - a shrimp net?". It was tiny but all that we had. Eyal is pretty new to lure fishing and his first attempt/thrust to net the fish had me worried. I told him to give me the net and that I would manage okay by myself - I didn't want him startling the fish into a last minute surge for freedom. After a couple more minutes, the fish still had a lot of fight left in him, I managed to turn him and get his head and most of his body over the net and a gentle lift and he was mine. A lovely sized and healthy looking 1.8 Kg blue runner!

a 1.8Kg blue runner

A Lovely Sized and Healthy Looking 1.8 Kg Blue Runner

The feeling of having broken such a long dry period with such a fish is indescribable! And I even managed a small grouper on a Rapala ultra light minnow later in the morning:

A small grouper caught on a Rapala ULM04

A Small Grouper Caught on a Rapala ULM04

Eyal also managed a small grouper on a Toby like spoon and a small octopus on a pink Ryobi Trapper Minnow.

A small octopus caught on a Ryobi minnow

A Small Octopus Caught on a Pink Ryobi Trapper Minnow

So a great way to begin again and gain some encouragement to keep going knowing that although the Mediterranean is somewhat over-fished, there are still some great fish to catch and with that I hope that I will have some more catch reports in the near future :-)

Tight lines!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fishing With My [nearly] 3 Year Old

Fishing With My [nearly] 3 Year Old

Part of the fun of fishing is going through your tackle at home, organizing it, checking it and preparing which stuff you will need for the next fishing trip.
Over the past year or so my youngest boy has always taken an interest in what I happen to be doing with my tackle, especially the lures. Many times he wants a specific one to play with. So being a loving father, I take the hooks off and let him play with it/them (he has his favorites) encouraging him to look after it as "daddy needs it to go fishing with".

Over the last few months he has told me that he "wants to go fishing with daddy.", so last Sunday I took the day off work (Sunday is a regular working day in Israel) and took him and his elder brother to the beach.
We left early to avoid the rush hour and got there by 7:30 am; found a good spot without having to walk too far and I set up the ultra-light gear that I knew would be easy for him to handle.

Fishing with Orad

Fishing with Orad (my [nearly] 3 year old)

After trying a few small lures I tied on a Rapala CD-1 and we were quickly into the fish (it was mostly me doing the fishing at this time) and his bucket of sea water soon had some occupants.

A Small Bluefish on a Rapala CD-1

A Small Bluefish on a Rapala CD-1

A Small Bluefish

A Small Bluefish and Others

Those small bluefish certainly put up a good fight - about one in three shook the hook with some of them jumping clean out of the water and shaking themselves vigorously.
After a while I switched tactics and tied on a small hook with a small sinker, baited the hook with small pieces of chicken so that Orad could start to fulfill his desire to 'fish with daddy'. As soon as the bait was in the water we were getting bites and managed to land a few small (to him they were big!) whiting.
He thoroughly enjoyed himself and was keen to take the caught fish and, after I unhooked them, put them in his bucket. Every so often we would put the fish back in the sea - not a good idea to keep fish in a bucket in the hot sun and 32°C temperatures!

A Quick Photo of Some of the Fish Before being Released

A Quick Photo of Some of the Fish Before Being Released

It was a wonderful day and I'm sure he will want to 'fish with daddy' again. For next time I am going to have to teach him how to cast....

Tight lines!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Single Hooks on Hardbaits

Single Hooks on Hardbaits

I've been wanting to write something on using single hooks on hardbaits for sometime now but decided to wait until I could gain some experience first. I have been using single hooks on all my lures now for more than two years and so I would like to share with you what I have learned.
First though I would like to clarify what I mean by hardbaits. Folks tend to use different names for the same thing depending on where they live or come from. Brits generally refers to hardbaits as plugs or hardlures, our American cousins have all sorts of subdivisions - stickbaits, jerkbaits, twitchbaits, slashbaits, wakebaits, minnows, shads - the list seems endless. I will lump them all together, including poppers and walk-the-dog lures, as simply referring to them as hardbaits or the more generic term: lures.

The idea behind replacing treble hooks with single ones stems from two main concerns: one is making the lure less likely to snag and the other is causing the least amount of damage to the fish. 'Catch and Release' is gaining popularity and so it makes sense to return the fish in as a healthy condition as possible. How many times have you hooked a fish and the second (or third) treble has embedded itself in the fish's body, head or even its eye?
Fish are not the only ones to suffer injuries from treble hooks - how many times have you heard stories from fellow anglers about a struggling fish and the extra treble hooking them? Another frustrating situation is using a landing net to lift the fish out of the water then trying to remove the hooks both from the fish and the landing net - you manage to get the hook out of the fish and then the one out from the landing net only to have the free treble get caught in the net!

Treble in My Finger

Treble in My Finger

I have lost quite a few lures to the rocks and reefs. Shore fishing here in Israel is mostly over very rough shallow ground and even shallow runners like the Tackle House Feed Shallow get snagged. It is no fun loosing expensive lures! Single lures go a long way in helping to keep your lure from getting snagged. I regularly fish with my friend Omer who still uses trebles and he manages to snag his lures at least a couple of times every session. He is quite intrepid and not afraid to wade out over the submerged reefs to try, mostly successfully, to unsnag his lure. I, on the other hand, very rarely get my lures snagged.

A Selection of Lures that I have Replaced their Treble Hooks with Single Hooks

A Selection of Lures that I have Replaced their Treble Hooks with Single Hooks

My favorite hooks are the 'Decoy Pluggin' Single 27' they make them in a wide range of sizes and are definitely good quality hooks. Ones to avoid are the 'Gamakatsu Saltwater Plugging 53 Salt'; they come with something they call 'Hyper Shield' but I have only had bad experience with them. Although they are marketed specifically for saltwater the majority that I have used turn black on their first session and rust very quickly. However the 'Gamakatsu Seabass 56' withstands saltwater just fine and I haven't as yet noticed any signs of rust at all.

Some of the available single hooks for lures

Some of the Available Single Hooks for Lures

Rusty Gamakatsu 53 Salt Hooks

Rusty Gamakatsu 53 Salt Hooks (the one on the right is a new unused one)

I do have a few lures with VMC Siwash Saltwater hooks (open eyed hooks that you close with pliers) replacing the tail treble. I did try them as belly hooks but they don't have the free movement that regular single lure hooks have which are mounted using the original split ring (you can't really mount a siwash with a split ring as they will point to the side rather in a vertical orientation).
I ought to point out here that single lure hooks have a larger eyes to fit over the lure's split rings and are offset so that it will hang straight rather to the left or right. Siwash hooks on the other hand have the eye as a regular hook does since you don't need to use a split ring.

Siwash Hook

Siwash Hook

I've been using single hooks on all my lures, hardbaits, spoons and casting jigs for a couple of years now and although I haven't caught tons of fish I have caught enough to be able to say that single hooks, for me anyway, are a much better choice than trebles - both for me and for the fish.
As a rule of thumb the tail hook should always be mounted facing upwards. It just makes sense that way; the belly hook[s] are a bit of a different story however as how you mount them will depend on what you want. If you have more confidence that you will get more hookups having the hooks facing downwards then by all means mount them that way; if however you are fishing over rough ground, where you are afraid that your lure will get snagged, then mount them facing upwards - you will still catch fish on them.

Worth noting is that for some reason the VMC siwash hook sizes seem to have a size rating of their very own. I have, as you can see from the photo below, a packet of #1 VMC Siwash Saltwater Hooks; however if I put them next to a comparative sized Decoy hook then it is actually a size #2/0 rather than the stated size #1 - go figure!

Hook Sizes

With regards to which hook size to use as a replacement for the original trebles, a good starting place is to check the size of the single hook against the original treble hook. You can do this by simply placing the single hook over the treble hook and check that the distance between the hook point and the shank of the single hook is the same as the overall width of the treble hook; although most times a size smaller is preferred.
After mounting the single hooks check that the can't get hung up on each other not that they can swing up and get stuck on the top (back) of the lure. Sometimes lures, especially 'saltwater' versions, come with larger treble hooks than their freshwater counterparts, and using the above method for checking which single hook size will result in a size, or even two, too big. Don't be afraid to downsize - especially on the belly hook. You can keep the larger single hook on the tail if you want to; just make sure that the hooks won't get hung up on each other. At the end of this post there is a chart listing several popular hardbaits with their suggested single hook sizes.

Below are some photos of a Rapala Saltwater X-Rap 10 with its original size #3 trebles (the freshwater version uses a #4 & and a #5) and #3/0 singles - which are obviously too big. The correct size replacement single hooks for the X-Rap 10 are in actual fact two #2/0's but you can even use #1/0's if you are targeting smaller species.

Measuring Replacement Single Hooks

Measuring Replacement Single Hooks

Single Hooks that are too Big

Single Hooks that are too Big

Single Hooks that are too Big

Correct Sized Single Hooks

Correct Sized Single Hooks

Some Misconceptions

There is a misconception that a treble hook will give a better hookset than a single hook simply by the fact that a treble has three hook points whereas a single hook, by its very nature of only have the one point, has a lesser chance of hooking the fish.
Actually the physics tell a different story. By way of an illustration let's suppose that you have a piece of wood in which you have slightly embedded (to stop them falling over) three nails close enough to each other so that a single hammer blow would strike all three at the same time. Then let's suppose that there is a single nail also slightly embedded in the same piece of wood. Which would take the least amount of effort to drive into the wood - the three nails or the single nail? Of course the answer is the single nail. The same is true for hooks - a single hook will penetrate a fish's mouth (especially a hard bony mouth - think of most mid-water predators) easier than a treble of the same overall size.
Another misconception is that a treble, when embedded in a fish's mouth, will give a more secure hookup than a comparatively sized single.
Have a look at the photo below, which shows a saltwater X-Rap 10, its original treble and the replacement singles, and it is pretty obvious that the single has a wider gape and is constructed from heavier gauge wire than the original treble. This means that the single will have a better, stronger hold on a fighting, thrashing fish than the weaker treble which, I'm sure you have heard from other, if not from personal experience, can even straighten out with the resulting loss of a fish of a lifetime.

Gape Comparison

Gape Comparison

The Jokers in the Pack

Suspending Lures

It might not be so obvious but switching to single hooks will affect the buoyancy of your suspending lures and they will probably need some of those Storm Suspendots™ to restore the lure's ability to suspend (you can even switch the split rings to heavy duty ones to adjust the buoyancy). Do remember though that to successfully get a lure to suspend at any given depth will depend upon at least two important factors: the salinity and temperature of the water.

Lures That Don't Like Single Hooks

Another point worth mentioning, and it is something that I have only recently become aware of, and that is that not all lures will swim properly with single hooks.
First of all, for the record, out of all the lures that I have (more than my wife knows) - minnows, poppers, walk-the-dogs etc. I have only come across one that will just not swim properly without its original treble hooks and that is the Tackle House Feed Shallow 105. Its older sibling, the 128 swims just fine with singles but the 105 won't! It turns on its side, wallows and just plain simply looks like a piece of towed drift wood. Put its original trebles back on (which presumably imparts enough drag to give it its swimming characteristics) and it transforms immediately into a bass killer!

Since one of my reasons for using single hooks is out of concern for the welfare of the fish that I catch I have crimped the barbs on the treble hooks of the Feed Shallow 105 since I can't use singles on this particular lure.

Feed Shallow 105 with crimped treble hooks

Feed Shallow 105 with crimped treble hooks

Actually, crimping the barbs on hooks, whether single or treble, is a good idea; it is better for the fish but it is also good for you - if you do manage to fishhook yourself it is easy to remove the hook; it is also easy to remove hooks that have got themselves caught up in a landing net after having successfully landed your fish.

Crimping the Barbs on Treble Hooks

Crimping the Barbs on Treble Hooks

Popular Hardbaits and their Suggested Single Hook Sizes
Manufacturer's NameCode NameSize & Number of Hooks
The above are suggestions only and can be varied depending on circumstances
and for most 'slim' 120/125 size lures I use #2 singles.
DaiwaSaltiga Minnow SAM14#1 x 3
DaiwaSaltiga Minnow SAM12#1/0 x 2
HalcoRoosta Popper 80#1/0 x 2
ImaHound 125F Glide#1 x 3
ImaHound 100F Sonic#1/0 x 2
ImaNabarone#1 x 3
ImaSalt Skimmer#1 x 2
ImaSasuke SF-95#2 x 2
Lucky CraftGunfish 95#1 x 2
Lucky CraftGunfish 65#6 x 2
MegabassX-140SW#2 x 3
MegabassX-120SW#2 x 3
RapalaMaxRap 17#1/0 x 3
RapalaMaxRap 15#1 x 3
RapalaMaxRap 13#1 x 3
RapalaMaxRap 11#2 x 2
RapalaX-Rap 10#1/0 x 2 (#2/0 are also possible)
StormChug Bug 11#3/0 x 2
StormChug Bug 08#2 x 2
SebileSplasher 90#2/0 x 2
ShimanoExsense Silent Assassin 129#1 x 3
Tackle HouseFeed Shallow 128#1 x 3
XorusPatchinko II#2/0 x 2
XorusPatchinko 100#4 x 2

Tight lines!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summer Musings

Summer Musings

The fishing slows down a bit here in Israel during the summer months. The bigger fish move further out to deeper waters and the waves seem to be mostly higher, coupled with something I've never noticed before - that the sea level is higher too (only about 30cm) but all together it makes it a bit difficult to get out onto our favorite reefs.
Of course there are other spots to fish from and since the main target species have mostly moved out to sea, it offers a chance to change tactics and downsize for the smaller species.
I did have some fun and managed to catch a couple of small barracuda - one on an Ima Duo Nabarone that I found washed up on the beach which I cleaned up and repainted (nothing fancy just some dull green and purple auto spray - which just goes to show that a lure doesn't have to be all fancy and shiny!) The other on a Savage Gear Pencil Prey 80, which I switched to standard treble for a single hook.
The Pencil Prey is a slow sinking plastic lure and I was a bit wary of it getting snagged easily on our shallow reefs so after rigging it with a single hook I found a nice long rocky stretch of calm water between the beach and the reefs and proceeded to work it over and around the rocks - even allowing it to settle on the bottom a number of times to try and get it snagged. It worked great! Not once did it snag and it gave me a real confidence boost in fishing it over our 'lure graveyard' reefs. Not only is it a lure with a great action (you can work it several ways) it is now pretty well snag proof.

Barracuda on a repainted Ima Duo Nabarone

Barracuda on a Repainted Ima Duo Nabarone

Barracuda on a Pencil Prey 80

Barracuda on a Pencil Prey 80

So with changing tactics a bit I set of one morning at the beginning of August with my light gear (a Maya Feather, 3-15g; Shimano Aernos XT C3000 loaded with 8lb white PowerPro and a selection of small lures.
Having arrived at the Poleg beach half and hour or so before first light, I started with a small Gunfish topwater and then as the light levels started to increase, and I could make out the reefs (I'm still getting to know the southern end of the Poleg beach) I switched a few medium sized lures a few times as I made my way across the various reef formations gradually working my way further south.

Nothing doing! So I get out a Rapala Ultra Light Minnow 04 and cast it over the edge of the shallow reef and immediately I had strikes but no hookups. I changed locations to a rocky inlet and caught my first of 3 small sea bream. I then switched to some very small soft plastic grubs and again lots of hits but no hookups - these little pesky fish even bit the tails off of 2 of the grubs! Then I had the second of the sea bream with it engulfing the grub completely in its mouth.

Small sea bream on a soft plastic grub

Small Sea Bream on a Soft Plastic Grub

After having some fun with the grubs I moved back up the beach and switched to a small (3.5g) kastmaster type lure and, like the grubs before, I was have lots of hits but only after several casts did I actually manage to hook a fish. I say a fish because I really don't what it was. It was small full bodied, whitish sides with a pale green back. I did take a photo but it didn't come out at all well :-(
I then switched to a BlueBlue Mini SeaRide in pink and fished it over a small section of the beach where the sea had carved out a large area between 2 stretches of reef. The water was only about 1 meter deep but on every cast I could see (polarized sun glasses are great) several small fish hitting it on every cast. This was just before 10am and I was getting ready to call it a day (the sun was getting really quite hot I didn't bring any sun screen with me). There was an older lady stretching herself out in the water where I was fishing so I was careful where I was casting. She didn't stay long so I made a good long cast (the SeaRide casts a mile!) and started to work to lure with a twitch and sink and draw and had a good take with a small sea bass hooked nicely on the assist hook.

Small sea bass on a BlueBlue Mini SeaRide

Small Sea Bass on a BlueBlue Mini SeaRide

I had a great time that day with 7 small fish all released and I attained some more knowledge and experience :-)
I am using single hooks on all my lures now and haven't lost a single fish but have gained from better hooksets, less damage to the fish and, mostly for me, more confidence in fishing over really rough ground knowing that these single hook lures don't snag very easily at all!

Now I'm looking forward to the end of the summer when things start to cool down a bit and the bluefish and bigger sea bass start to show up.

Tight lines!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Blue Runners in the Morning

Blue Runners in the Morning

So after quite a while of not catching anything (but still enjoying the time spent) I arranged with a friend to go to Herzlia marina early one Saturday morning and fish from the breakwater there.
We got to the breakwater about an hour before first light and made our way down the rocks to the water's edge. We tried poppers, pencils and minnows but nothing until just after 6am when it was already quite light, just before the sun started to rise over the top of the breakater.
I had already clipped on a Rapala X-Rap 10, after trying a small Halco Roosta popper, and after a few cast I had a fish on.

I wasn't expecting to see a small blue runner as I thought the X-Rap was too big for them but here it was, firmly hooked in the mouth. At exactly the same moment another angler fishing next to us also had one but his was on a small Kastmaster type lure. Then Omer switched his minnow for an 11g Thomson Nordic Herring (a small metal casting jig) and almost immediately was into his first of five blue runners. I switched to a 22g original Abu Krill (the new Abu Garcia ones tend to rust quite quickly in salt water) and was soon into another blue runner.

Abu Krill and Nordic Herring photo herring-krill_zps6a37a3a6.jpg

An original Abu Krill and a Nordic Herring

Over the next half an hour or forty minutes we had 9 blue runners between us and, although not that big, were enough for the frying pan and a spicy sauce. I usually practice catch and release but the blue runners are abundant at this time of year and so a few for the table won't have any adverse affect on their population.

Blue runners photo small_bluerunners_zps549409fb.jpg

Cleaning the fish before heading home

Cleaning the fish before heading home

By way of interest, the X-Rap was rigged with two Gamakatsu single lure hooks and the first blue runner had the belly hook firmly embedded in its mouth. I mention this as the belly hook was rigged facing upwards, to reduce snagging on shallow reefs, and I wasn't sure if it would allow a good hookset - that first blue runner gave me confidence to continue rigging them facing upwards!

Modified X-Rap 10 photo modified_x-rap_zps65ba273d.jpg

A modified X-Rap with upward facing single hooks

We did try again for blue runners on a couple of consecutive Saturday mornings but we didn't hit any more shoals like that first time. No reason to give up though especially when there are reports in the Israel Fishing Forum of others at differing locations having good success.

Tight lines!