Ticker's World

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What's Occurring... Locally?

Posted by Derek Townsend on June 21, 2012 at 8:00 AM

As far back as I can remember, light tackle fishing in all its guises was the driving force that determined my tactics, tackle and techniques when seeking whatever species was the “flavour” of the season whether bass, rays, cod, flounder etc. The basic principal was to challenge the selected species on gear that was as light and as practical to match its known performance, and cope with the sea, weather, ground conditions met on the day, the intention being to “enjoy” to the full each individual encounter from setting the hook, playing, to landing and ultimately, a safe and healthy return.

A knowledgeable angler doesn’t worry about “blanking”, provided he/she has thought through a strategy and done all that is within their capabilities to secure a successful outcome. Lack of contact is accepted as a natural phenomenon, the cause probably down to conditions or events outside even the practised angler’s control.


On a personal note, I cannot remember such a persistently bad start to a year in my lifetime as we have been subjected to in 2012, although that could be the consequences of age depreciation of the memory recall faculty!!

Everything these days associated with climate and weather seems to be tagged with one of the following prefix “THE COLDEST, THE HOTTEST, THE DRIEST or THE WETTEST...SINCE RECORDS BEGAN!!” Apart from infrequent, pleasant interludes, the prominent feature right into June, usually a peak weather month blessed with warm, benevolent days, westerly and south westerly winds creating palatable bassy conditions, has been dogged by a mixture of drought, torrential downpours, culminating in the extreme storm conditions recently endured. The predominant wind direction has been from the east.


To say that the widespread perception is that this unseasonal weather has had a detrimental effect on sea fishing results is an understatement, with certain species absent or long overdue in their appearance at expected locations. If the reports are accurate, a prime example is the absence of species such as Golden Grey Mullet in any numbers at regular venues like Llangenith, Mackerel shoals in previous seasons densities at venues in and around Port Talbot and Porthcawl.


Fortunately the stable fodder of Rays and Smooth-hounds have kept the interest of many, providing sport to the right technique and bait, filling in the gaps, but after a time even these species must wear out their welcome. A change is as good as a rest, as they say.


One species that appears to be doing well despite the machinations of the Jet Stream, present in goodly numbers, at least locally in and around Porthcawl and the river Ogmore, are the mullets. Their presence in dense shoals have been reported at both locations, so a good opportunity to put to work the floats and the flies, if anything, they are more reliable than most of the alternative “sport” species.


It has become a bit of an obsession, checking the various weather forecast sites on a daily basis, tracking the weather systems, looking for the elusive but important combination of wind direction/strength, compatible mixture of tidal volume, sea/weather activity all coinciding with either the sociable time of early morning at dawn or late evening at dusk. It has never been easy to meet the latter conditions in past years but, often as not, if not perfect then compromises on times, maybe tidal volume, have been enough to sponsor a serious outing with at least half a chance of success.


2012, so far, has been different! All through the “official” spring into summer season of 2012 the “ideal” combinations of tidal and weather considerations have been disrupted in one way or another to such an extent that even making allowances or compromising “ideals” in order to at least justify, perhaps, something positive out of a trip to the shore has not been an option.


Sunday 17th June offered the best combination of circumstances to date, a partially feasible but by no means “gold plated” opportunity for some “serious” bass fishing, albeit at best, having to compromise on the volume of the tide and time of low water, certainly not the best of choices.


Calculated low water was 1148 am and the tidal volume circa 35.9 ft (Swansea T.T.’s), both criteria way off “perfect” but at long last, the forecast offered WSW winds of a comfortable 9 dropping to 6mph which on a preferred neap tide of 30-34 ft would have allowed up to 2.5 hours fishing with a very slow, hardly noticeable movement in the flood. The tidal volume on the day nudging 36 ft, meant that time at the mark would be restricted to a maximum of 1 ½ -1 ¾’s of an hour after the turn at low water, before speed of the inrush of active water ended any credible fishing.


First compromise was accepting the time of LW, second compromise was the volume (height) of tide which experience promised would incur a short duration stay at this usually productive location.


My companion Grogg and I set up at the mark and were ready to fish at one hour before LW, a deliberate calculation to extend the amount of fishing time. A week or so ago we had enjoyed an unusually productive crabbing session both in quality and quantity, so both were armed with the pick of the crop (mainly softies) from the frozen hoard.


If the time and tidal volume was against us at least we had WSW winds of comfortable proportions and the best of Edible and Velvet Swimmer Baits on our side, carried in “about the person” pouches either hanging from the chest or attached to the waist belt of the Barbour coat. This was from the outset, a planned “military-like”, light tackle, minimalist operation including only Rod, Reel and all the ancillaries like spare hooks, traces, 2 ounce leads etc carried about the person, conveniently organised in the pockets of our individual jackets, as the demands of the mark involved standing in the water, carrying out baiting-up or replacing lost tackle to keep “out of water” time to the minimum.


The swells and the temperament of the breaking waves promised much, but the colour of the water was not the milky grey I had craved for and knew from experience was paramount...the final “guarantee”. Far from cleaning up or dispersing the density of the natural phenomenon “Solids in suspension”, the recent bout of ferocious storms appeared to have aggravated the situation and the water tables between the “off white” crests of the incoming waves were an unpalatable “toffee” colour.


The sum total of the mornings experience were two easily identifiable bites on the sensitive pad of the index finger (Holding the rod!) but rusty reflexes didn’t do me any favours. As to whether these were bass interest, or other species, is speculation but instinct suggests they were bass, at least, that is what I prefer to think!


No results, but the “ice” has been broken and no doubt Grogg and I will be revisiting this mark again when Times and Tides do not call for compromises!!


Best regards,


Ticker (Derek)


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Reply Jim
7:07 AM on March 2, 2015 
My name is Jim and am originally from Canada, but now living in the UK... I have always loved ice fishing, and as it happens, was just reading the great story about the Abu Pimpel 2, by Derek Townsend, and was very intrigued because I have an original Pimpel 2 myself, in very good condition. I have never used it, and truth be told, the line and hook that are on it are probably also original, but it is not brand new in the box or anything, it's just sitting around gathering dust (so to speak, I wouldn't let it get dusty) because I haven't been ice fishing since moving here more than 15 years ago. Ironically, I have just became close friends with a young lad from Norway and was talking about getting back into ice fishing... anyway, it was a great article and it has inspired me to possibly do something with this old rod now. Many thanks.
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