New Kit & the Sea Angling Classic
AN EXCITING OPPORTUNITY
As I’ve mentioned in past blogs, I really enjoy fishing the Broads and other waterways from my boat and kayak, often using electronics to locate new and prolific areas to fish. One company’s products I’ve been really interested in is Lowrance. The easy-to-operate Elite series catching my eye. I wanted a unit that’s compact, quick, and easy to set up that I can easily move from boat to kayak, to suit my fishing plans. After chatting with Lowrance HQ, I was invited to join the Ambassadors team, getting the opportunity to work with some of the latest equipment. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get started.
A few weeks later my first unit arrived. The Elite FS7, and like a kid at Christmas full of excitement, I had to get out there and put it to the test. Seeking out new areas for Broadland perch.
A period of cooler weather moved in and I took the opportunity to get out there. Armed with some prototype lures and four hours to spare I set off down river, scanning the banks and trees for areas likely to hold fish. It wasn’t long until I found what I was looking for… the Sidescan picked up a submerged structure along the bank. Coupled with deep water and a rock hard bottom. Lily pads, harbouring a buffet of rudd fry, bordered the swim. I knew there would be big perch nearby.
I started to work the swim, covering the structure and pad fringes with the new lures. I fished low and slow, grazing the deck with small hops, drags and bounces. I figured the fish may be lethargic this early in the evening. A change of colour bought the first bites of the day. A dozen or so small perch to around 10oz.
As conditions cooled off the activity increased, and it wasn’t long until I hit a better stamp of fish. Thump! The rod tip hunched over with an aggressive summer take and I hooked up with my first decent perch of the evening. The fight was immense on light tackle as the fish made dogged runs towards the lilies. I believed I was into a real specimen, and was surprised as a feisty high one emerged.
I was thrilled to find a better stamp and continued to fish, adding some more quality perch to the tally. The fishing eventually quietened down and I contemplated moving. Instead, I stopped and sat back, thinking about my strategy. Instead of a swim change I would change the boat angle slightly and cover a different line of attack. I cast deep into the snags, a risky move. Suddenly! The tip slammed round and I was in.
The fish ran, instantly convincing me it was a pike. Then a big flank broke the surface far from the boat. I maintained the pressure, teasing the fish closer, when it began to kite towards the pads. With the pressure on I steered the fish clear and netted my prize. A beautifully proportioned old perch which in later months would likely breeze 3lb. At this time of year, a comfortable mid 2. I slipped the fish back, and enjoyed another hour or so of action before heading back to the marina, content with a very rewarding evening and great test of the tackle.
The road trip begins and for the first leg I headed to Hayling Island to check out the Sea Angling Classic and meet the rest of the Lowrance team. One of the sponsors for the event.
The Sea Angling Classic is a new event with 30 boats competing across the Solent and £20,000 of prizes up for grabs. The aim of the competition ticked all the right boxes, with conservation in mind, and the data collected being used to better understand our coastal species. Checking out the teams, there were some impressive boats and tech on display. With five species to try and bank during the competition the lads would certainly need it. Many marine retailers set up with the latest equipment on display, while the Angling Trust was on hand offering tuition for new anglers. The National Mullet Club ran demos and tuitions on the bank, with a rare opportunity to fish in the usually private marina. It was a fantastic, relaxed atmosphere, and while I wasn’t fishing the event, I was keen to see how the lads got on and grab a few casts in the morning and evening.
Mullet on the fly was my mission during the duration of the show. Something totally new to me, which I was keen to learn. Unfortunately, despite the expert advice from Colin Macleod and the NMC, they didn’t play ball and I left having only managed to lose a few fish. I’ll certainly try again on my local waters for this fascinating species, and look forward to learning a new style.
Now I’m heading off for the second leg of my journey, targeting wrasse on the South Devon coast… Stay tuned.