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 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
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
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.