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!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Energizer Vision HD+ Focus Headlight Review

Energizer Vision HD+ Focus Headlight Review

I have been searching for a decent headtorch (the word headlight, for me, conjures up the main front lights on a car) for quite some time now. I have bought a few cheap ones from China, always with the anticipation that they will meet my needs but they always fail to do so. Most are of a very poor build quality with the on/off switch being the worst culprit - sometimes it will work and most times only sporadically which, when wading in the dark over shallow reefs, the need for 'instant' light is very important.
My personal needs in a headtorch are quite basic: I need a 'red' light so I can change lures without having that momentary blindness when switching of a normal 'white' light. Red light is easy on the eyes and will not spook close-in jittery fish; and, if you are fishing a 'secret' mark, will not alert others to your location (for some anglers their 'mark' is a well guarded secret).

One of the main problems with headtorches is that the on/off button has to be pressed several times to cycle through the various option to get to the type of light that you desire - and which angler needs that very annoying 'flashing' mode?
After doing some serious research on the Internet I came across a headtorch that met my needs entirely without breaking the bank. I must admit that I was very surprised to find one. Actually it was even better than I thought it could be. I'm referring to the Energizer Vision HD+ Focus Headlight.

Energizer Vision HD+ Focus Headlight

Energizer Vision HD+ Focus Headlight

There are a couple of things I really appreciate about this headtorch. One being that the 'red light' is the first to activate when the on/off button is pressed. I always switch off my headtorch when fishing so as not to spook any fish that might be nearby and when I want to change lures it is great that with the first press of the on/off button I have the 'red light' that I need - no cycling through 3 or 4 light options and especially that very annoying flashing mode!
The other thing I like is that there is a 3 or 4 second timer built into the on/off switch. First press, red light, next press (withing the 3 or 4 seconds of the timer) gives 'high beam white light', next quick press give 'low beam white light'. Wait more than the 3 or 4 seconds and the next press switches the light off - just brilliant!
Actually the headtorch has 2 buttons. The right one is the main on/off switch whereas the left button, when held down will slowly and smoothly, cycle through various levels of brightness and numbers of lamps lit. When the button is released it will remember the setting and when the button is pressed again it will remember the last state giving you the level of light that you 'programmed' previously. Energizer call this 'Focus'. I'm not entirely sure about that, as to my untrained eye, I didn't see any difference in focus only in the amount of light the torch was giving out - which for me is just what I need as I can press the left button when I need that preset amount of light without having to cycle through the different modes to get to the light setting that I will need for specific circumstances.

Here are the specifications as listed on their website:

PRODUCT SPECS

  • 3 white LEDs
  • 2 red LEDs
  • Spot & Area light modes
  • Digital Focus
  • Dimming
  • Next push off
  • Adjustable elastic headband
  • Pivoting head
  • Shatter proof lens
  • Weatherproof
  • Survives a 1 meter drop
  • Designed to last 15 years
  • 3 x AAA Alkaline batteries included
  • New and improved vs. previous range, Up to 4X brighter vs. ordinary LED's

What impressed me was the certification of its ability to survive a fall; that it is water resistant and it has been designed to last - unlike the cheap ones from China found on eBay. I also like the fact that it is not a mobile spot lamp which lights up the entire area for miles around. With a stated 250 Lumens it is plenty powerful enough for my fishing needs.

Now that I have given it loads of praise it is time to address a little design flaw.
I reckon that the shape of my forehead is average in that it does not have any slope but fairly flat and perpendicular. The problem I had with this Energizer Headlamp was that it's normal position points the beam on a near parallel trajectory with the ground with the next click setting pointing the beam about 2 meters ahead, which for my needs was too close to be useful whilst walking over an open clear area. I needed the beam to point about 5 meters ahead, with a good spread of light to allow me to walk at a good pace. The closer beam angle (the first click stop) is fine for traversing rough ground and rocks where you need to walk slower and more methodically and is also just right for changing lures (with the 'red' light). So I had to modify the torch a little to achieve my desired needs for walking over open ground.

Headtorch Modification

Headtorch Modification

You can see in the above photo that I have installed 2 small [yellow] rubber grommets which limit the resting point of the torch's standard (closed) position (there are 4 click stops to give a variety of beam positions).
I simply determined the best place for the grommets to sit and drilled 2 small holes which allowed me to insert the grommets in place. I then trimmed the length of the grommet's spikes to a length that gave me the desired angle giving the beam a distance of about 5 meters at it's standard position.

Source of Rubber Grommets

Source of Rubber Grommets

In the photo above you can see where I managed to source the grommets. It is a diaphragm made for escape masks. I simply cut off 2 of the spikes and trimmed them to shape. They fit nicely on the torch and I don't even feel them whilst wearing it.
It is a bit of a shame that Energizer didn't make the click stops finer in their adjustments. Never mind though as I now have a headtorch, or should I say headlight that meets all of my needs.

Tight lines!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Major Craft X-Ride XRS-892L 7-23g Review

Major Craft X-Ride XRS-892L 7-23g Review

Major Craft have produced some very good value for money rods. My first one was a Solpara 10-30g, classed as an economy rod it was however still a very good rod, didn't break the bank and caught me loads of fish. An excellent rod for someone just starting out with lure fishing and doesn't want to spend too much.
However, I like to fish light. Heavier lures just don't sit too well with me and although I have a Major Craft Solpara 15-42g rod, I hardly ever use it - I just feel it's hard work and after a couple of hours or so I'm wishing that I had left it at home.

X-Ride Detail

X-Ride Detail

Then I read a review on Henry Gilbey's blog of the Major Craft X-Ride XRS-962ML 9'6'' 10-30g and was very impressed but didn't want a 10-30g rod. So I started looking at a lighter weight X-Ride and settled on the X-Ride XRS-892L 7-23g, which I managed to find on eBay from a seller in Japan that was offering it at a very reasonable price of 1000 Shekels including shipping. I knew from previous experience that I would have to pay another 300 Shekels or so for VAT etcetera when it got to Israel. It would still work out 500 Shekels cheaper than buying it from a tackle shop in Israel and so it was ordered. It arrived about 5 days later and, after paying the taxes, I got it home and was amazed at how much craftsmanship had gone into the rod.
It is constructed from Toray high modulus and low resin carbon utilizing Fuji Titanium KR-frame SIC ring small guide setting (the rings on the upper part of the rod are amazingly small but are designed that way to help straighten out the line for smoother, tangle free longer casts (according to the Fuji website). In the five months that I have been using it I have never had any issues with line tangles or wind knots - so it probably does work for the better although I need my reading glasses to thread the line through them!
The handle is also Fuji and is the VSS type reel seat + KDPS nut and hard EVA - which to a layman just means that it is very comfortable to use and sits beautifully in the hand.
The handle is also quit short compared to other rods a mere 32 centimeters from the reel foot to the butt end, which for me is near perfect as I always seem to struggle with longer handles that annoyingly get caught in the straps of my backpack when making a cast.

X-Ride Handle

X-Ride Handle

It is very light compared to the other rods that I have and at only 125 grams it feels as if it is an extension of my arm - not like a rod at all. Coupled with a Shimano Aernos XT C3000 loaded with G-soul Upgrade PE 0.8 (real breaking strain about 8lb see here) it sends hard lures flying!

The X-Ride is rated for lures from 7 grams to 23 grams and line from 0.6 to 1.5 PE (that's about 6lb to 15lb although on the rod it says 6-12lb but I'm not going to argue).
I started off with hard lures in the 12-15 gram range and quickly found that the rod has a strange characteristic - the harder you try the worse the cast is; but cast smooth and gentle, letting the rod load up and the X-Ride does it for you. Get it wrong and the lure will fly with a tail wobble, get it right and it's like an arrow flying through the air.
So after I got used to casting the lighter weight lures I then tried some heavier ones but getting up to around 19 grams it really felt like the rod was reaching its maximum and I didn't want to end up with a broken tip as some other Major Craft owners had done recently, according to a few posts on the World Sea Fishing Forum. I didn't want to chance it and anyway, lures from 7 grams to 15 grams were right up my street for the kind of fishing I do, so I was very satisfied with my new X-Ride. A real pleasure to use and it never left me feeling like I need to put it down for a bit for a little rest.

So after a while of using the X-Ride and feeling that I was somewhat restricted to lures up to 19 grams I seriously considered buying a Yamaga Blanks Early Plus 7-32g so that I could use some of my heavier lures. It's not a cheap rod but I figured that I could afford it and it would be a rod that would give me a greater variety in the lures that I could use.
After a few weeks of being sure about getting the Early Plus I decided to give the X-Ride a good hammering with a couple of 20 gram lures to really find out how the rod responds to lures near its maximum casting weight and to know for certain if I really needed a new rod or not.
I took with me a homemade topwater that somebody had kindly given me and I had previously weighed it and written on its belly "20g" - or rather that is what I saw when I was hurriedly getting my selection of lures ready for a Friday morning session. After an hour or so I clipped on the homemade topwater and for some reason (which I found out later) it just felt heavy when casting and so I only made about ten to fifteen casts with the lure. I wasn't pushing the rod too much as the lure felt heavy and I still wasn't so confident in the X-Ride's ability; the X-Ride however was getting it out there quite well in spite of everything.
After casting the homemade topwater for a while I clipped on a 19 gram Payo SeaShot minnow and it just felt light and very comfortable to cast. The rod was making an easy job of getting it out. I was really impressed that my initial fears of using a 19 gram lure were quickly evaporating - the lure just felt sweet as the X-Ride effortlessly cast it out time after time.

When I got home and weighed the '20 gram' homemade topwater and found out that it was actually 26 grams instead of the 20 grams that I had thought that it weighed, I was a bit dumbfounded. Here I was thinking that the X-Ride couldn't handle anything remotely near its claimed maximum casting weight and I had inadvertently been casting a lure 3 grams over that - and without any major complaints from the rod. Okay I wasn't pushing it too hard but still, casting a lure 10 grams over what I thought was its comfortable maximum and I would say successfully, finally made me come to the conclusion that the Major Craft X-Ride XRS-892L 7-23g is a fine bit of kit and can handle lures up to its max comfortably.
I would further add that the rod is not only easy to cast all day but it handles all sorts of lures just about perfect - for my style of fishing anyway. Topwaters are a joy to use with the X-Ride; just a gentle, short, firm movement of the wrist and a lure like the Daiwa Morethan Scouter happily walks-the-dog with seemingly no effort. The rod gives tremendous feedback when using sub-surface minnows such that you can feel every movement and changes in current, little eddies and the like. It also gives not only great feedback whilst fighting a fish but has enough power in it to easily control the fish and bring it to the net without commotion.

So do I need a more expensive 'better' rod like the Yamaga Blanks Early Plus? It's not even in my thinking anymore. The Major Craft X-Ride XRS-892L 7-23g is far more than I could dream of and suits my style of lure fishing to a T.

Tight lines!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Shallow Diving X-Rap 10

Shallow Diving X-Rap 10

The Rapala X-Rap 10 is a classic lure. It has almost everything that a lure of this size could want - a great action on a steady retrieve and give it some sharp twitches with a long pause in between then it becomes a killer. You can also slash it aggressively and it comes alive as a frightened, fleeing baitfish. It is also relatively cheap - much cheaper than the likes of the Japanese lures that are so popular (the Japanese lures are actually very good and effective fish catchers but not everybody has that kind of money to risk losing one on snaggy shallow ground).
The X-Rap 10 is also quite a good caster if you get the timing right. It suspends in the water column on the pause (the X-Rap saltwater version has larger, heavier saltwater grade hooks that help the lure suspend in saltwater where the freshwater version would just float up to the surface) and you can feel the vibration through your rod tip as you work it. A great lure that everyone should have in his lure box.

So I said that the X-Rap 10 is a lure that has almost everything. So what's missing?
It has a diving depth of about 1.2 meters - which is fine if you fish waters that have that kind of depth but what if you want to fish it over shallow reefs?

I managed to get the X-Rap 10 to dive to around 30~40cm with the rod tip down and a very shallow 10cm with the rod tip up.
So how did I do it? With some patience and a small fine hobby file.

Modified X-Rap 10 Lip

Modified X-Rap 10 Lip

When doing any modifications do it slowly and carefully.
I took 3mm off the front of the lip, keeping it straight without rounding the corners at all and purposely didn't touch the sides as I wanted to retain the X-Rap's impressive action. You can see the modified one next to an original the the photo above.

So how does it perform?
With the reduced lip length it first of all casts a little bit farther and, as I only removed material from the front of the lip, it still has a very impressive action, both on a steady retrieve and in twitching and slashing. It also swims at a depth where I have no worries about fishing it over the shallow reefs that we have here in Israel.
Over all I'm happy with the results such that I did the same modifications to another one in my collection.
Now all I have to do is get out and catch on them.....

Tight lines!

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!