Sunday, April 17, 2016

Does Size Matter?

Does Size Matter?

With our part of the Mediterranean being over fished, such that some drastic new regulations have been introduced (see here), would you rather keep throwing your standard medium sized lures in the hope of a decent bass or blue fish or try a different approach?
I've been like most of you, getting up before the crack of dawn to get to different locations with the same 'standard' set of minnows and topwaters hoping for some good fishing but mostly end up heading home having blanked yet again.
I can count the number of fish I have caught like this in the past 2 years on one hand! Granted I don't get out like some others that have more spare time but I do get out there most Friday or Saturday mornings.

I recently came to the conclusion that spending heaps of money on the latest 'best fish catching Japanese lure' that just hit the market and of course that must have rod, reel and fancy braid that will send my lure far out to where the fish hopefully are (yes I know, most fish are caught relatively close to the shore) after all the more water you cover, the better the chance of catching - well it's easy to convince yourself that it's true when your not catching much.
So what's the point of spending your hard earned money and spending hours and hours going from reef to reef and location to location if your not catching? It could get somewhat depressing!

Now there might not be that many decent sized fish out there but there are still loads of smaller ones and, caught on the right gear, can put up a fight worthy of larger fish on heavier gear. It's all about the fight - that is if you, and I hope you do, practice catch and release.
Since I started using my light game setup I haven't blanked once. So far it's been about 5 fish per session and I'll tell you, those sea bream - wow do they fight and all the way in! Last session, on Friday morning at Ga'ash, I had 3 small grouper, a sea bream, a marmir (striped sea bream) and a small bass which put up a great fight such that I thought it was much larger than it was.

Small Bass on a Rapala Mini Fat Rap

Small Bass on a Rapala Mini Fat Rap

What's not to like about light game fishing? If you are fed up blanking with your regular setup then take some gentle advice and buy some ultra light gear and give light game fishing a try.
So does size matter? Not if it's caught on the right gear!

Tight lines!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Update on the New Fishing Regulations

Update on the New Fishing Regulations

As you are probably aware from a previous blog post, Israel Fishing Reforms for the Mediterranean, new regulations have been passed through the Knesset to help protect fish stocks. There have since been some minor changes that basically allow recreational fishing from the shore. Below is my translation from an update via a Hebrew application for smart phones (which by the way I recommend getting), Anglers Meeting:

Who is Allowed to Fish:

  • Fishing from the shore with a rod
  • Trawlers in a depth of more than 40 meters
  • Encircling net fishing
  • Long lining with floating hooks

Who is Forbidden to Fish:

  • Rod fishing from a kayak
  • Rod fishing from a boat
  • Free diving with a spear gun
  • Gill netting where the net is strung out over a straight line
  • Any form of net fishing
  • Bottom long lining

The above regulations are in effect from the 1st of April until the 31st of May.
You can use the Sea Watch application on your smart phone to report any infractions.

You can also help the fish stocks by practicing catch and release.

Tight lines!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Light Game Fishing

Light Game Fishing

I must admit that the term 'Light Game Fishing' sounds much better than the term 'Ultra Light Fishing'. I mean ultra light can imply almost anything so long as you use very light tackle, whereas light game expresses exactly the kind of fishing you are doing and the type of fish you are targeting and, without specifically mentioning it, that you would be using artificial lures.
Game fish are usually predators and whilst it is possible to catch predators on traditional bait it becomes rather difficult trying to imagine throwing a lead weight, or float, with a big enough piece of bait to attract a predator using very light tackle. It just seems so much more logical to use artificial baits such as minnows, topwaters and soft plastics; most of which mimic an injured baitfish or crustacean. These artificial baits for light game fishing usually weigh in the region of between 0.5-8 grams; actually 8 grams is a bit on the heavy side with most of my fishing done with lures in the region of 2-6 grams.

You don't actually need very light tackle for light game fishing but the lighter your setup the easier it will be to cast the smaller lighter lures that some of the light game fish love (one of my favorites is the Rapala CD-1).
For my last session I wasn't sure of what to expect so I opted for my Maya Feather (3-15g) rod with a Shimano Aernos XT C300 loaded with some of the new Sufix Nanobraid in 4lb (it actually breaks at around 6lb). I wanted to see what the new Nanobraid was like so this swayed me for the 'upper end' of light game fishing. It also allowed me to take some larger lures in the hope that there were going to be some bass or blue fish around. No bass or blue fish but I had this nice grouper on a 12g Megabass X-120 SW in rainbow white:

26cm Grouper

26cm Grouper

After spending about 3 hours with the larger lures and only the above grouper to show for it, I switched to a smaller lure - a Duo Tetra Works TOTO48 in red and gold. Weighing in at 3.7g with supplied trebles (I replace all my trebles with Decoy 27 singles), it casts great. Although a sinking lure I had no problems fishing it over very rough shallow ground; one of the reasons is probably because I mount the belly hook upwards so that it doesn't snag easily as it bounces over the rocks. It might seem a bit daft to mount it this way as logic would say that the hook point is shielded by the lure's body but as you can see in a couple of the photos there is no problem with hooking fish.

Saddled Bream

Saddled Bream

This TOTO48 in red and gold was certainly slaying the fish - another saddled bream and a baby grouper:

Small Saddled Bream

Small Saddled Bream

Baby Grouper

Baby Grouper

Why spend your time trying to catch fish that just aren't there most of the time (our part of the Mediterranean is way over fished)? After a while it only starts to get you down. Better to target the fish that are there. They might be smaller but on light tackle they fight just as hard as larger fish do on heavier gear. You might even hook into a beast now and then:

a 1.8Kg blue runner

A Lovely Sized and Healthy Looking 1.8Kg Blue Runner

Tight lines!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Israel Fishing Reforms for the Mediterranean

Israel Fishing Reforms for the Mediterranean

The fishing over the last few years has been getting worse. We are not catching the amount of fish that we did even a couple of years ago.
Talking to some older guys, they tell of times when there were plenty of fish to catch and good sized ones at that!
So what has happened and what is to be done about the situation?

Below is a YouTube video from October 2013 explaining what has been happening in the last few years and suggested solutions on how to reverse the situation. It is a serious lecture on how it affects everyone who has an interest in fishing - from the commercial to the sports fishermen. It is only in Hebrew but its content will probably be more of an interest to local anglers who will obviously understand what is being communicated.

Recently, at the end of last December, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, with the help of other interested parties, succeeded in getting a law passed which will help to ensure that our local fish stocks stabilize and hopefully increase over the coming years.
The summary is as follows:

  • a breeding season moratorium on all fishing from June until August
  • a trawling ban in April and May in waters shallower than 40 meters (where young fish are found)
  • a total ban on destructive bottom trawling using tires or other weights

You can read the full article in English by clicking on the following link 2016 The Year of the Fish or a condensed form in Hebrew using this link: דגים באחריות (Fishing with Responsibility). The Hebrew website also contains a wealth of information that will help you be better informed about what is happening along Israel's Mediterranean coastline. They also have an English version of their main page here.
You can also visit the Hebrew version of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel's 'Sea' section of their website using the following link: החברה להגנה הטבע (Society for the Protection of Nature).

So let's hope that these new regulations will be enforced and that we will start to see a recovery of our fish stocks so that, not only us, but our children as well will be able to enjoy fishing for many years to come.
You can download an application for your Android smartphones to report any infractions of the above regulations: Sea Watch and you can read about it on the SPNI's website (in English): The new App from SPNI is here to rock the boat.

Practice catch and release and try and encourage those that you fish with to do the same.

By way of an encouraging finish to this blog post have a look at Erez Cohen's YouTube Channel where he has quite a few videos of different styles of fishing in Israel - mostly lure fishing - and all catch and release.

Tight lines!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Braid Diameters and Breaking Strains

Braid Diameters and Breaking Strains

In my last post I mentioned that I had ordered some 4lb Sufix Nanobraid mainly out of frustration whilst waiting for a seller in Japan to ship the YGK X3 that I had ordered.
So the Nanobraid arrived quite quickly and being somewhat inquisitive I took it to work to check its diameter in our quality control department. The packaging has a claimed breaking strain of 4lb and a claimed diameter of 0.08mm - great I thought to myself "It will fit nicely on my new Shimano Rarenium 1000S, but I might have to put some backing on so I will check its actual diameter so I will know roughly how much backing I will need."
Got to QC and measured the line on our Quadra-Chek 2000 optical measuring machine - 0.18mm - what! It's meant to be 0.08mm! Check it again but still the same results.

Sufix Nanobraid on the Quadra-Chek 2000

Sufix Nanobraid on the Quadra-Chek 2000

Next I checked it on another measuring machine, a Mitutoyo Absolute which is a device which puts a slight pressure on things being measured. It gave a reading of 0.15mm, which given the slight pressure on the line explains the difference but still way more than the claimed 0.08mm

Sufix Nanobraid on the Mitutoyo Absolute

Sufix Nanobraid on the Mitutoyo Absolute

A little bit disheartened I got home and loaded the Nanobraid on the Rarenium to see how much would go on. The Rarenium 1000S has a claimed capacity of 100 meters for a line diameter of 0.148mm (PE 0.8). Okay at least I will be able to get 100 meters on there - not as good as 135 meters (the amount I bought) but good enough.
So I proceeded with loading the line but the spool filled up pretty quickly and there still seemed to be a lot left on the Sufix spool. No worries; I didn't cut the line but instead went outside, rested the rod against something stable and walked down the [deserted] path unspooling the remaining line as I paced 1 meter steps. The line finally came to an end after 50 steps - that's approximately 50 meters - that means there was only about 75 meters on the Rarenium! Doing a quick reverse calculation, assuming Shimano's line capacity chart was pretty accurate, then it means that the 4lb Nanobraid really does have a diameter of between 0.15-0.18mm.

I then decided to test the Nanobraid's breaking strain. Using a very non-scientific method - basically a digital scale and a carrier bag with groceries in it (weighed each time, starting at 4 pounds) I slowly lifted to bag with a length of Nanobraid tied to a couple of lure clips with a double Palomar knot with the digital scales on the other end of the line.
The line lifted the 4lb bag no problem but did eventually break at just over 6lb. Not what a braided line of 0.15mm should break at - or should it?

PowerPro has always been a sort of standard for braided lines with its image of being a strong (everybody knows that it breaks above its stated breaking strain), abrasion resistant, albeit rough, dependable line.
Have a look at this chart on the WSF Forums for an explanation of PowerPro's correct sizes and breaking strains. Yes there is a bit of a confusion between the labeling of US and EU lines.
According to the above chart PowerPro 10lb line has a diameter of 0.15mm, which is what it also says on the spool of 10lb that I have. But is it really 0.15mm? I took my spool of PowerPro 10lb line to our QC and measured it on both the Quadra-Chek 2000 and the Mitutoyo Absolute - they gave readings between 0.22-0.25mm. A bit more than stated on the spool! No wonder that PowerPro has a reputation of breaking above it's claimed breaking strain if its diameter is actually about 65% more than stated; which means that the average of 0.18mm for the Nanobraid 4lb, which actually breaks at 6lb, isn't so bad after all!

Is it just Sufix and PowerPro that apparently artificially exaggerate how thin their lines are? I recently bought some Daiwa J-Braid in 10lb and its claimed diameter is 0.15mm but its actual diameter is between 0.16-0.19mm (not too bad of a difference from its claimed diameter) and it actually breaks at about 12lb so kudos to Daiwa for being pretty accurate on their labeling.

I suppose the reason I am a bit frustrated with all of this is because, having bought the Rarenium 1000S, which has a shallow spool and therefore a lower line capacity, I wanted to get a thin line that would give me at least 100 meters in case I hooked into that fish of a lifetime and not have to worry about getting spooled on an ultra light set up.
Now I'm waiting for the YGK X3 PE 4 (it should be around 0.11mm but I will check anyway) to arrive so that I can hopefully get some decent thin line on my new Rarenium 1000S.

Tight lines!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

News Snippets

News Snippets

Lots of things have been happening lately and I haven't really had the time to share them - so now seems a good time to let you know what has been happening.

The first thing you will have noticed is a link to Fish-Factor via their Logo which you can find on the right of the Blog. If you are viewing this on a mobile device then it is at the bottom of the page (Blogger has its own ways of displaying the mobile version which limits me as to how things will be displayed).
The reason I added the link to Fish-Factor is because I believe that they are a good place to buy from - offering us lure guys access to good tackle at reasonable prices and not having to wait for up to a month to receive stuff ordered from abroad. Sure they don't have everything but their stock is growing and the more of us that buy from them will mean that they will be encouraged to stock more diverse stuff.
Their website is only in Hebrew but for those of you reading this who live in Israel I'm sure that you can all manage Hebrew well enough to navigate their website.

At the beginning of the year I bought myself a Penn Clash 2500 and some Daiwa J-Braid in 10lb to go with it.
I've only used the Clash a couple of times but both it and the J-Braid feel very nice together. The reel is smooth and the braid knots very well, feels not too limp, casts great and doesn't seem to lose its color (yet). More to come when I have used them both for a couple of months or so.

After writing a little opinion piece about Fish-Factor last time, I took the plunge and ordered (at a very good discount after 'sharing') a Shimano Rarenium 1000s.
They shipped it the same day and it arrived in the mail very well packaged. It took me a while cutting through all the bubble wrap :-)
The only problem I have is that a couple of weeks before ordering the Rarenium, I had ordered some YGK G-soul X3 in PE 4 from an eBay seller in Japan hoping it would arrive about the same time as the Rarenium (Fish-Factor doesn't have any ultra light lines at the moment). The seller wrote and said that he didn't have it in stock but not to worry as he would get some from the supplier in a couple of days and then he would ship it to me. I'm still waiting for him to receive it! So in desperation I ordered from another eBay seller (this time in the USA) some of the relatively new Sufix Nanobraid (not to be confused with Berkley's Nanofil) in 4lb test, which the seller shipped the same day. Both the X3 and the Nanobraid are 3 carrier braids with the Nanobraid having a very tight weave. We will see how they perform when they eventually arrive....
It is interesting to note that the main Sufix website seems to be for international customers and doesn't list the lower breaking strain lines whilst the parent company's (Rapala) USA website lists breaking strains from 2lb. Strange but there is a marketing issue between the American market and the European one. Have a look at the Rapala link above and this one which is the Sufix International website. Have a close look at the image of the spool of Nanobraid on both sites and compare the printed info about breaking strains and diameters. Did you notice that both sites show a spool with a diameter of 0.04mm? But you will also notice that the American (Rapala) site has the breaking strain marked at 2lb test whilst the Sufix site has the same diameter line marked at 2.8kg/6lb test!!
From postings on the WSF forum it is clear that the American breaking strains are more accurate (PowerPro is used as an example) than the artificially inflated European ones - go figure!

The fishing has been a bit slow the last few months but last week a couple of buddies, Omer and Eran, and I got up for an early morning session on one of the breakwaters in North Tel Aviv.
The fishing was quite intense for about an hour with fish hooked and fish lost. I had 2 spit the hook, one of which was a small blue fish that broke the surface quite close to me. The other I'm not sure but it put a good bend in my X-Ride and took line from a quite tight drag on the Clash 2500. Perhaps the drag was too tight and the hooked pulled on that initial run - who knows? Both Omer and Eran had fish spit hooks but Omer also lost 3 20g casting jigs to fish with sharp teeth - he now uses a wire leader!
There were some other lure guys about 40 meters from us and they too were losing fish to hooks coming free, but one guy did manage a blue fish of about a kilo and a small Spanish mackerel. Omer only managed to land a small grouper and Eran a blue fish and a whopper of a puffer fish - all 3 of which were released.

Omer went out this morning and had this nice looking Spanish mackerel:

Omer's Spanish Mackerel

Omer's Spanish Mackerel

My birthday is coming up in April so perhaps I can treat myself to a new rod - a Palms Pinwheel PMGS-73 need to be nice to my wife first... :-)

Tight lines!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Fish-Factor

Fish-Factor

Those of us who love lure fishing seem to have this desire to buy new lures or gear on quite a regular basis. We usually convince ourselves that we really need it as it will enable us to catch more fish. Of course we don't really need the latest flashy lure from Japan nor that fancy extra smooth spinning reel but we somehow press the 'Buy Now' button anyway and then wait in anticipation for the item of our choosing to [eventually] arrive in the mail.
Here in Israel there is not that great a choice when it comes to satisfying our hunger for new shiny bits of fishing tackle. If you do manage to find what you are after, chances are it is way more expensive than you can find it for on the likes of eBay or some Japanese online tackle shop. Of course you have to take into account the shipping costs and, if it is an expensive item (more than $75 including the shipping costs) it will get stuck in customs waiting for Israel Post to send an employee to go get it for you. Yes, you will have to pay for this service and the VAT on the item.
I had this very experience 3 years ago when I bought a rod from a shop in Cyprus for a very reasonable price and was extremely pleased with myself until the rod arrived and I had to pay nearly 200 Shekels VAT and service charge. You can read about my experience here.

So it was a nice surprise to find, purely by chance, an online retailer selling very good quality spinning gear here in Israel that offers tackle at prices that are cheaper than eBay and that is even before any dreaded import or service charges that you might incur when buying from abroad.
Fish-Factor offers tackle at very good prices without the hassle of having to wait for who knows how long and maybe having to pay extra when the package finally does arrive.
With Fish-Factor you are offered a straight discount on the recommended retail price in Israel but, more than that, if you 'Like' it you then get an additional discount and, this gets better, if you 'Share' it you get an even better discount. I don't honestly know how long this system will last but I know that I am going to take advantage of it by ordering a Shimano Rarenium Ci4+ 1000 at a discounted price of 880 Shekels instead of the recommended retail price of 1,400 Shekels. I know that you can find it on eBay at around 800 Shekels but then you have to add shipping costs and, as mentioned earlier, probably VAT and a service charge. So what is a better option? For me it's a 'no-brainer'!

Personally I think we should support our local tackle shops and in this day and age, Fish-Factor is a local tackle shop so I am going to give them my support and wish them all the best in a business model that I hope succeeds which, can only really benefit us as lure anglers.

I have taken the unusual step of translating this post into Hebrew (with the help of my oldest son - thank you Eldan).

Tight lines!

לאלו שאוהבים דייג עם ז'רז'ורים יש את הרצון לקנות עוד ועוד ז'רז'ורים חדשים או ציוד בצורה קבועה. אנו משכנעים את עצמנו שאנו צריכים אותם כי הם יעזרו לנו לתפוס עוד דגים. כמובן שאנו לא כל כך צריכים את הז'רז'ור החדש והנוצץ מיפן ולא את ה"רולר" החלק והיוקרתי, אך אנו בכל זאת לוחצים על כפתור ה"Buy Now" ואז מחכים בקוצר רוח שהחפץ שבחרנו בסופו של דבר יגיע בדואר.
כאן בישראל אין ממש הרבה אפשרויות בכדי לספק את הרעב שלנו לחפצי הדייג המבריקים. אם אתם מצליחים למצוא מה שאתם מחפשים, הוא כנראה יהיה יקר יותר מאתרים כמו eBay או חנויות דייג יפניות. כמובן שצריך לכלול את התשלום על המשלוח ואם הוא יקר מ-75$ כולל דמי המשלוח, הוא יתקע במכס ודואר ישראל יצטרך לשלוח מישהו להוציא את זה בשבילכם. ככה שצריך לשלם עבוד השירות של דואר ישראל ומע"מ.
זה מה שקרה לי לפני 3 שנים כשקניתי חכה מחנות בקפריסין עבוד מחיר סביר והייתי שמח מאוד עד שהחכה הגיעה והייתי צריך לשלם כמעט 200 שקלים נוספים עבוד מע"מ ושירות. אתם יכולים לקרוא על סיפור זה here

היה נחמד למצוא במקרה אתר אינטרנט שמוכר ציוד דייג וז'רז'ורים באיכות גבוהה פה בישראל במחירים נמוכים מב eBay לפני התשלומים של המע"מ ושירות צריך לשלם כשקונים מחו"ל. תלוי בנסיבות.
האתר Fish-Factor מציע ציוד במחיר ממש טוב בלי הטרחה של לחכות מי יודע כמה זמן ואולי לשלם עוד כסף כשהחבילה מגיעה.
אצל Fish-Factor יש הנחה ממחיר הקמעונאות. בנוסף לזה, אם אתם עושים "לייק" אתם מקבלים עוד הנחה של 21 אחוז או אם אתם לוחצים על "שתפו", תקבלו הנחה של 37 אחוז לומר את האמת, אני לא בטוח כמה זמן כל זה ימשך אבל אני יודע שאני אנצל את ההזדמנות כדי לקנות Shimano Rarenium Ci4+ 1000 בסביבות 880 שקלים במקום מחיר הקמעונאות שהוא 1,400 שקלים. אני יודע שאפשר למצוא את זה ב- eBay בסביבות 800 שקלים אבל אז צריך להוסיף דמי משלוח וכמו שציינתי מקודם, כנראה גם מע"מ ושירות. אז מה טוב יותר? לדעתי זה מובן מאליו.

אישית, אני חושב שאנו צריכים לתמוך בחנויות הציוד המקומיות ובימים אילו Fish-Factor היא חנות מקומית אז אני עומד לתמוך בהם ואני מאחל להם את הטוב ביותר במודל עסקי שאני מקווה שיצליח ובעקרון עוזר לנו, דייגי הז'רז'ורים.

חוטים מתוחים!