Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Autumn Bass Fishing

Autumn Bass Fishing

Many anglers target bass throughout July and August but come September and October the number of bass anglers dwindle. I don’t understand why because autumn is still a fantastic time to catch them, especially with the prolonged warmer weather we've experienced this year.

Here are some tips to help you do catch some now!

Neap tides

Lots of sea anglers say that spring tides are best for catching bass. This is not the case & you will have just as much, if not more, success catching bass during neap tides. There’s more depth of water at low tide during neap tides and bass can be found closer to the shore than during spring tides at this state of the tide. Fish low tide and the first couple of hours of the flood as this is the time they will be actively seeking food. Rock marks are best when fishing neap tides, although don’t ignore other, more open, marks.

Spring tides            

During the bigger, spring, tides it is better to fish the more open sandy/shingle type beaches. Fish the flood tide and the first couple of hours of the ebb. Look out for any gullies or dips on the beach at low tide as this is where bass will search for food as the tide comes in. On shingle beaches a good place to fish your bait at high tide is where the shingle meets the sand. Surf beaches also tend to be productive during spring tides and it’s usually best to fish just beyond the third wave.

The right marks

Some marks produce well at low tide and nothing at all at high, and visa versa. This kind of knowledge is difficult to obtain as bass anglers closely guard their favourite marks but local tackle shops should be able to give some general advice. In reality there’s no easy route to finding bass. It can be a case of fishing different marks at different states of the tides to find out which ones produce and when. I’d advise that you fish near rocky marks or beaches that have gullies, surf or any obvious feature where bass hunt for food.

Best baits

All kinds of different baits for bass, be it prawns, peeler crabs, sandeel, mackerel, lugworm, ragworm or squid are all very effective baits. Autumn is a great time to catch the bigger, solitary, bass and a squid, double squid or a livebait, such as pout, are brilliant baits.


Don’t ignore lures. Big double-figure bass can be caught on a lures when fishing over a reef in autumn. To limit losing too many lures when fishing over reefs or rocky marks, use surface poppers or shallow diving lures. A great alternative is to use a Texas rig – the hook point is buried inside a soft plastic lure so it doesn’t snag but easily sets into the mouth of bass when they attack the bait.

Best times of day

Dawn, dusk and darkness are the best times to be fishing for bass, although some marks can be prolific during the day. Again, you’ll only find out which marks produce at certain times of the day by putting in the time fishing.

Martin Noble

Tackle and Rigs

You don’t need fancy rigs for bass. A simple running ledger rig is all that is required. A 2 oz lead running along the main line, followed by a bead, swivel, a 2 ft 12/15lb hook link and a size 3/0 hook is simple but effective. When fishing rocky marks tie a longer length of line than the hook link to the lead and to the other end tie on a swivel which runs along the main line. By doing this it ensures that the lead bounces on rocks when retrieving, minimising the hook becoming snagged.

A rod with a casting weight of between 1 and 3 oz with a multiplier but a carp rod and fixed spool rod is also ideal. Make sure you rinse the reels in freshwater after use to wash all the salt away.

How far to cast

It really depends on what type of mark you are fishing. If you know approximately where the gullies and underwater feature are, then it pays to cast just beyond them and let the tide roll the lead and bait into them. In general, though, there’s no need to cast far out. Bass can be caught just a few yards out – most bass can be caught from the shore within a 40-yard cast.

Adam Wells


Hopefully some of these tips are helpful but, as with any type of fishing, there are no guarantees. You could be fishing the best mark in the country in ideal conditions but still blank for reasons that are hard to fathom. We all blank from time to time, but when you do manage to land a bass it is well worth the time and effort.

If you do catch a few, just be mindful of their sharp gill plates and dorsal fin spikes when hooking them.

Steve Perry

Just remember the minimum size to take a Bass home is now 42cm & only one Bass per day is allowed to be taken home!

Friday, 10 June 2016

Looking after your Ragworm

Looking after your Ragworm

Keep your rag cool!

Keep your ragworm wrapped in their newspaper and put them in a small cool box along with any frozen baits you may have. Try and keep the lid on when you are not using it and keep it out of the sun. 

This ‘extreme coolbox discipline’ will help keep your ragworm alive during your session & even for several fishing sessions if necessary! 

Ragworm left in a hot vehicle on a sunny day exposed to high temperatures will die within a matter minutes - Don't leave them in there unless they are in a cool bag!

10 Minutes in a hot car will kill your Ragworm!

Dead ragworms will seriously affect the lifespan of the others - remove any dead rag asap!

Remove any dead ragworm!

If buying in advance always store your rag in a cool dark place!

Even a cool room in your house or garage is not cool enough during the summer months!
Ideally if you can store them in a fridge at a temperature of around 5-10*c  this will keep them alive & fresh for your session!

Ragworm stored in fridge

Noble's Fishing

Monday, 18 January 2016

Cod fishing from the shore and beach

Cod fishing from the shore and beach

Make no mistake - fishing for cod is one of the most difficult branches of shore angling to attempt.
A decent cast is required to reach feeding fish
It's mostly because in recent years cod have been scarce. The species is rarely found really close to the shore, and almost invariably a decent cast is required to reach feeding fish.
There is a saying that all the cod caught are hooked by a third of anglers fishing, and this is because casting is such an important element of cod fishing. A basic standard of casting ability and some local knowledge is essential, so cod are not the starting point for the novice sea angler.
So, if you are a total beginner, before you turn your attention to catching cod it is advisable to learn the basic shore angling skills first. Priorities to focus on include obtaining suitable tackle, learning to cast and understanding your local venues.
Joining an angling club and fishing in events is an effective way of learning basic shore angling skills.
During winter the weather conditions add to the difficulty of casting far enough to reach the fish and keeping a bait out there, so your choice of venue becomes of major importance. Dashing off to the hottest cod beach is pointless if your casting skill and range does not allow you to pass the breakers. So you will first have to consider venues where distance is less of a priority. Rock marks and piers are the best choice, because they offer easier access to deep water and the fish. If you don't consider piers or rocks, then get some casting lessons.
The next problem to overcome is imagination. Lots of sea anglers allow themselves to be carried away by the excitement of it all. Rumours are part and parcel of the winter cod season, and a large number of anglers are totally screwed by their imagination. You will get better results if you can resist the temptation to believe everything you hear and just stick to facts and logic.
Staying realistic may not be easy...

It is important to choose a venue that suits your casting ability.

It is important to choose a venue that suits your casting ability

1. A strong onshore wind (gale) can exaggerate the difficulties of catching fish from the shore, so be realistic about your abilities when you arrive at a venue. Will you be able to fish effectively? If not, move to a venue where you can. Are conditions as bad as they appear? Get out of the car and watch the sea for a few minutes before abandoning a venue.
2. A cod is not a cod until it grows to around 6lb. Prior to that it is called a codling or a Tommy cod, although in many regions all codling are called cod. Cod caught by shore anglers are usually codling, often less than 3lb.
3. Cod are a shoal species, but as individual fish grow, the number in the shoal decreases. Once a codling reaches 3lb, it is big enough to be trapped by the commercial gill net mesh and that's when a dramatic decrease in numbers occurs.
4. As a cod grows bigger, its food intake increases and it switches to a fish diet and moves offshore. When there are lots of cod, an overspill of the bigger fish reaches the shoreline.
5. Size of fish is often exaggerated by anglers.
6. Lucky anglers are very often those who have made the most effort for success. That may seem like bad news to some, but now for the good news. In lots of regions of the UK codling are being caught in numbers from known venues. These are the places to fish, so do some research and be prepared to travel or walk to a productive spot.
7. Best time to target the fish is at night because, like most fish, cod venture closer to the shore in darkness because they feel more secure, as do the small fish that they eat. In daylight the sun penetrates the sea and this deters fish from entering the shallows. Fishing at night increases your chances of catching a cod, I would say, by 100 per cent, depending upon region and venue. That apart, you are also likely to catch more whiting and other species because they, too, prefer darkness to daylight for travelling inshore. If you are limited to fishing in daylight, look for venues with rough and coloured water because this encourages fish inshore.
8. The best time to fish for codling on most venues is obviously when they are present, but the state of the tide affects this. A majority of venues produce codling during the strongest spring high tides, because fish and fish food activity are at their greatest. However, the strongest spring high and low tides can make some venues difficult to fish, and these are best tackled during the less powerful neap tides. The fish use the flood and ebb tides to travel to and from a supply of food. Slack water periods are rarely very productive, but again there are exceptions. This is why local knowledge as to where and when cod are present is so important. It can be learned, and is consistent.
9. The weather plays its part and, in general, an onshore wind and a coloured sea will be most productive in daylight. A calm, clear sea with an offshore wind is best at night.
Fishing at night is usually more productive for cod.

Fishing at night is usually more productive for cod

Thanks to the Far East, our fishing tackle is no longer expensive, and, although quality is totally controlled by price, the most basic tackle will enable you to fish, allbeit at a starter level.
You can purchase a rod and reel for as little as £50, but this will offer limited casting range and durability. Spending £150 on a better quality outfit is a better option if you are serious about taking up shore angling. The cost does not end there, because all the other tackle will cost as much, if not more, than your rod and reel.
Basic shore tackle, suitable for cod and other species, includes a beachcaster 12ft to 15ft in length, rated to cast between 5oz and 8oz. A wide range of rod lengths and casting ratings are available, and most novice buyers will benefit from advice from a dealer or an experienced angler.
Two types of reel are used for shore fishing – the fixed-spool and the multiplier. The former is the easier of the two for the beginner to operate because its spool does not spin, so there is less risk of an overrun and line tangles.

Tackle for fishing from a clean shore (no rocks) involves the use of line of 12-18lb breaking strain (0.33mm-0.38mm diameter) and a lead weight of 5-6oz (150-175g), so your reel needs to be of a suitable size and capacity to make it capable of maximum distance casts with this combination. Heavier line (25-30lb) and a larger capacity reel is required for rough ground. Line as light as 15lb breaking strain will not cast a 5oz-plus lead weight safely, so a short (two-rod) length of stronger line called a shockleader (60lb/0.70mm) is essential to take the strain of casting.
Other required items include a seat/tackle box to sit on and store your spare gear in the dry, as well as warm waterproof clothing and a tripod to position your rod. The latter can be invaluable to position the rod tip high above the waves and prevent wind and swell hitting the line or gathering weed. You will require a headlamp if fishing after dark.

Various accessories are needed, such as terminal tackle, a knife, scissors, bait cotton, spare line, hooks, links and swivels. Terminal gear includes a selection of rigs in a rig wallet, plus lead weights, both breakout and fixed wired, to combat strong tide and wind.
Rigs can be complicated, but the simplest is the one-hook monofilament paternoster, and most tackle dealers will have these in a range of hook sizes.
The novice can buy ready-made rigs and then copy them.
Hooks between size 1 and 6/0 are the most suitable for shore cod fishing, depending on the size of the bait and the fish targeted. Long-shank Aberdeen hooks in size 1 to 3/0 are suitable for baiting with lugworms, and the larger patterns for whole squid or crab baits. In general one large bait is often preferred for cod, and a Pennell rig is favourite. The Pennell has two hooks on a single hooklength, with a hook placed at each end of the bait.
Best baits are lugworms, squid and peeler crabs, although other baits catch codling in some regions but are not so effective countrywide. ‘A large bait for a big fish’ holds true for cod because it helps prevent small nuisance fish taking your offering.
It is not unusual to catch a big fish on a small bait aimed at whiting and dabs.

Beginners to cod fishing from the beach or shore will do well using a straightforward Pennell rig, just like the one pictured above. Using a Breakaway Imp will help streamline the rig and bait and therefore help you cast much further.

1 Being in the right place at the right time is how to catch cod. You can fish for marathon periods to be sure you are fishing when the cod arrive, or you can target venues at the peak weather, tides and times. It is not an exact science, but it is more productive than fishing without any regard to tides and weather.
2 Obtaining a supply of lugworms in winter is not easy, especially when the cod are around, because demand is greater, daylight shorter and the weather bad, making worms scarce. Dealer loyalty will help you obtain a regular supply of fresh lugworms. Failing that, you can keep a supply of frozen baits, such as calamari squid, peeler crabs, shellfish, black lug and farmed prawns – they're not so good as fresh lugworm, but they will get you fishing.

3 of the top Cod baits - Lugworm, Peeler Crab & Squid

Using 2 or 3 rods will improve your chances
3 With casting range critical, balanced tackle is essential in terms of the mainline diameter, the casting weight, bait size and terminal tackle streamlining. Large hookbaits will cut down on casting distance. Rigs incorporating a bait clip device will cast further than those without, simply because a bait flapping around will slow the lead weight's speed. Pinned close behind the lead weight, a bait is less of a hindrance and will cast further.
Heavier lead weights of 6oz and 7oz can improve your casting into a head wind, sink quicker and hold the bottom far more effectively.
4 Once cast, a bait leaks scent and juices into the water and, hopefully, fish will home in on the scent trail. The size of your bait and the timing of each cast is important in terms of maximising the bait's potential. Retrieving too soon or leaving your bait out too long, so it becomes washed out or eaten by crabs, effectively reduces the likelihood of a catch. Renew your bait completely every cast, because recasting a washed-out bait is the most common mistake of the novice cod angler.
5 Using two rods increases the odds of a catch. You can also fish at two different ranges with different baits. Other options to make your session more active include using a second rod armed with either a livebait rig for a big fish or multi-hook rig for smaller species. Remember, fishing just for a big cod with a big bait can be very slow on occasions.
6 Cod bites are usually positive, and sometimes you have very little alternative to striking as your rod is pulled off the rod-rest. However, slack line bites are notoriously difficult to hook. In all cases, taking your time when confronted with a bite will improve your chances of hooking a fish. Most cod caught by shore anglers will weigh less than 3lb.

12lb Shore caught Cod during the day

Cod caught at night
You do not require a licence to fish for sea fish from the shore. You can fish from almost any shore venues, but exceptions include MoD firing ranges, HM Customs-controlled areas and docks. There are few private beaches.
There are no laws governing tackle, so you can use as many rods as you wish and as many hooks. Most anglers prefer two rods and a maximum of three hooks per rod, but cod fishing is often done with one bait held by two hooks, called a Pennell rig.
UK law determines the size of the fish you can remove from the sea, with legal minimum sizes for lots of species set by DEFRA and the local sea fisheries committees. The minimum size at which you can remove and kill a cod from the sea is 35cm. This is not just for competition anglers. Measured from nose to tail, fish under this size must be returned. Keeping undersized fish is against UK law and carries a considerable fine.
What is a realistic target for the cod angler? Much depends upon where you live and fish, but a double-figure cod from the shore is a prize indeed.
It is a fact that the odd large fish that is dying is often caught from the shore. Called a ‘slink’ among other local names diseased and emaciated cod are not suitable for eating, so check your fish over before taking it for the table.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Why Fishing Hook Size Is So Important

Why Fishing Hook Size Is So Important

If you use the wrong hook pattern or size of hook, the chances are that you will struggle to successfully catch your target species when sea fishing.
If you know what species you are likely to encounter, then you are already well on the way to choosing the correct hook. Equally important is the bait that the hook is going to hold.
Mounting a large cocktail of a crab and mussels should be done on hooks that have a wide gape, while a single sandeel will sit better on a long-shank hook. Hooks that have tiny barbs along the shank can help to hold a worm in position, especially during a powerful cast.
Hook sizes can be very confusing to some newcomers to angling.
The smallest hook you will probably encounter in a shore situation will be a size 8. Anything smaller than this is usually used by coarse anglers.
The sizes move up as the hook becomes bigger. For example, from an 8, the size will increase to a 6, then 4, 2 and finally a size 1. As the size increase continues, after a size 1 we come to a 1/0, then moving further up the scale to a 2/0, 3/0, 4/0, 5/0 and 6/0.
A hook that is bigger than a 6/0 is usually considered for targeting larger species such as sharks and conger eels, simply because they may be needed to hold a large fish bait like a whole mackerel flapper or two or three whole squid.

Know Your Hook

One of the very strongest knots to use to tie hooks is the Half Blood knot

Match the size of bait to the hook

Depending on what species you are targeting, you must match the hook size to the bait you are using.
For example, flatfish prefer a crab bait or a bunch of maddies tipped off with a sliver of mackerel. Limerick hooks have a wide gape, and a size 2 can easily hold a decent peeler crab bait and still have enough of the hook point showing.
An Aberdeen pattern in a size 2 or 1 is ideal for threading several small ragworms with their tails left hanging. A small piece of squid or mackerel can then be hung on the point.
Smaller round species, such as pout and rockling, can be caught using Aberdeen patterns, but even smaller still in a 4 or a 6. Larger round fish, such as cod, pollack and coalfish, like a larger bait and a size 2/0 up to a 6/0 will easily fit into their larger mouths.
Smoothhounds and rays have relatively small mouths compared to their size, so a size 1 to 2/0 will be adequate. The pattern depends on whether you are using crabs or sandeels.

Know the common hook patterns

Five types you should have:

In the event of a fish being deeply hooked, are there any hooks that might be safely left in the fish to corrode away naturally?

While the use of barbless hooks would probably be better for catch and release purposes, they are not really effective. Tides and wave movement that occur on the shore can make keeping a fish hooked on a barbless version difficult.
If a fish is deeply hooked and you intend to release it, then you should always cut the snood as close to the hook as possible. Forcing your fingers down the throat of a fish or pulling at the hook will probably result in its subsequent death.
Hooks that are best used for this purpose are modern, chemically-etched carbon types. Forged steel or thick stainless steel hooks should not be left in a fish.
There have been many arguments as to whether or not hooks left in a fish actually corrode away, but the general feeling among anglers is that the acids in a fish’s gut help to pass the hook. Larger hooks may take longer, so if you intend to practice catch and release during a session, use smaller patterns that if left may even be passed through the fish’s digestive system.
Another alternative would be to use a circle hook, as these tend to hook a fish in the corner or scissors of the mouth. Commercial longliners use them and they make unhooking a fish much easier. On the other hand, circle hooks are more difficult to bait up with delicate worms or sandeels.
Disgorgers are very effective. Now that match anglers are adopting catch and release in the majority of contests, a high percentage of fish are going back alive with no need to leave the hook in them.

How to tie a Shockleader Knot

How to tie a Shockleader Knot

Shockleaders are a necessary requirement for all sea anglers as they allow you to cast heavy rigs long distances, but the problem in using them lies with knowing just how to tie a shockleader on to the reel's mainline. A question we are ofter asked in the shop.
With a little bit of practice, tying a typical shockleader knot is actually quite easy, and it's detailed right here, below.
Leaders are essential to avoid breaking the mainline during casting. You need at least 50lb line with a 150g sinker to be safe and 60lb with a 170g sinker.
To cast a reasonable distance and fish effectively, a 15-20lb mainline is enough on sand / shingle beaches and therefore you need to join the two. Keep the knot in the thick leader line as small as possible, so a simple overhand knot is a good choice...

1. Tie a simple overhand knot on the 50lb or 60lb leader line

2. Put the end of the mainline through the overhand knot before it is pulled tight

3. Wet the overhand knotwith saliva and pull it really tight

4. Pull about 20cm of mainline through the overhand knot, then make a loop near the overhand

5. Take the loose end of mainline about six times around the leader

6. Take the loose end of the mainline back towards the loop and put it through the loop

7. Put the mainline around the leader line twice for additional security

8. Gently pull on the mainline behind the overhand knot on the leader line and the loose end of the mainline. This takes out any slack and beds the coils neatly into position

9. Wet the whole knot and pull the mainline behind the overhand knot to tighten up the coils

10. Pull the loose end of the mainline to make sure the coils are tight and give the overhand knot on the leader an extra pull to make it really tight

11. The finished knot should look neat with the mainline coils close together to minimise any chance of slippage

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Cod Fishing Bait Tips

Cod Fishing Bait Tips

With plenty of early Cod being caught, here's some top baits that will help improve your chances of a decent Cod catch!

Lugworm – On its day the Blow or black lugworm (lug) will out fish anything you can lay your hands on. I’ve had to go home before today because I’ve sickened myself watching others catch fish whilst I couldn’t get a bite simply because I had no lugworm in my bait bucket. If the cod are hunting lugworm no other bait will do. A fantastic fishing bait if there are small codlings (1-2 pounds) about.

Mussel – A very underrated cod bait. Mussels are abundant along the shore line on the north east coast of England and offer an angler as much free bait as he needs (but only take what you need and avoid the babies – they are your next years supply). Excellent for cod fishing in heavy seas or when there is fresh water about. No north east rock angler should leave home without mussel in his bait bucket. Elasticated cotton is essential for keeping them on the hook, another method often used is to freeze them onto a hook and carry the snood in a bait flask to keep the mussel frozen until required. Then simply hook the snood onto your rig and cast in whilst the mussel is still frozen.

Frozen Black Lug - Another great cod bait is the black lugworm. Many anglers fish these worms fresh whilst still alive but some anglers think they make great cod bait after being frozen and wrapped in newspaper. For several months of the winter cod season black gulley worm is one of the best cod baits on our coastline. They are usually available in packs of 10 from your local angling shop. Demand is usually high hence the price of between 3 and 4 pound for ten.

Ragworm – The normal ragworm is also a great bait for beachcasting for cod on the north east coast of England. It also makes one of the very best bass baits when fishing in the surf from beaches throughout the summer and autumn months. A decent supply can be found in most tackle shops with farmed ragworm proving as good a fishing bait if not better than rag dug from the shore. Ragworm seems to catch fish best on the sand or over shallow scars. Some days you won’t catch fish without it.

Razor Fish – Seems to be a decent fishing bait for north east rock anglers when used from the shore especially after very heavy seas. Makes a great cocktail bait and many anglers swear it often sorts out the better fish.

Squid – Again very underrated but used for tipping off a cocktail bait often including lugworm the squid can add that final bit of flavour that tempts the bigger cod from the north east coast. If your going fishing and your hunting that specimen cod be sure to include squid in your bait selection. Small calamari squid used whole are also a top fishing bait especially for the double figure cod.