Thursday 31 August 2023

Appledore - Pachinkos and Pachymeters

7 years ago I caught a bass at Appledore on a popping frog believe it or not, and there was a good reason for that because it's rather rocky here, well it is in the main. Just in front of the lifeboat slip it is sandy so you could chuck out a bait I suppose, but the tides are so fast in this area might not be the best idea.

As much as I like lure fishing I've never done that good sea fishing so those fish that I have caught I remember like it was yesterday. The other bass I have caught in this area was at Instow and that took a sandeel lure literally by my feet. 


Hide tide was at 6.50am so I donned the waterproofs because surprise surprise it was raining again and I headed down to the slip which thankfully was just a minute walk.

There was a boat with a few anglers on it towards Greysands Beach which is situated at the far end of Westward Ho! Beach and around the northern and eastern side of the Northam Burrows. The beach itself is on the Taw and Torridge Estuary and it is a great place to feel free and embrace nature. Well it would be if it wasn't for the rain ☔☔☔, it was deserted which is unusual.


I did spot 2 bass jumping clear of the water but they were hundreds of metres out of reach. I chopped and changed lures throughout the hour and a half of chucking the lure around, but it was the Xorus Patchinko that that was riding the surface really well I stuck with mainly.

Sadly nothing doing which was a shame because the water looked good for a bite especially when every so often a load of fry would jump clear of the water. The rain increased intensity and with my hands feeling the cold once the birds nest of a knot arrived, I decided to head back for a hot shower and a cuppa. I might give it another go in the morning because well, I must be mad !!!

Wednesday 30 August 2023

Appledore - Pints and Piscicapturists

When we left Westward Ho !! after seeing my brother for a few drinks the sea was rather rough I must admit. The tide wasn't at its highest either I would imagine the RNLI pickup will be reversing sooner than later looking at this picture.

The rain had been on and off for most of the day where I did contemplate whether or not this would be the last summer holiday in the UK. You just cannot rely on the weather let alone the weather reports which have been beyond pathetic, planning is just not possible really.  



Anyway whilst I was in Westward Ho !! I nipped in to Summerlands Tackle for some small hooks and some BB shot and rigged up something more suited to the quarry.
 
I had planned to get up at 6.00am at high tide to chuck the bass lure around but after some food in the Beaver and some folk music at the Champ me and the Wife enjoyed the evening and watched MEG 2: The Trench. An easy watch lets put it that way, but for some reason I didn't sleep particularly well, not sure why, but 6.00am was just not going to happen. 



The sky had cleared over towards Greysands Beach so at least the mornings LRF will be a little more palatable because yesterday morning it was like a wet Autumn day.

I've almost got the rocks outside the accommodation to myself apart from the odd dog walker and net handler no one is mad enough to do what I've been doing. Still got to make the most of the time of work haven't I. Hopefully it might be nice enough to get the kids on their bodyboards again. Cornwall wasn't too bad thankfully. 



Anyway the scaling down worked but the only thing I could muster up was a few Goby's this size !! they were hooked up no problem with sadly one falling off. Nothing bigger than this showed this at all.

The rock pools here are not brilliant to be honest but it's about all I've got available to me. Still the sun was delivering some much needed warmth as it was still a bit windy still. I'm a bit rockpool out'ed now, but with hid tide at around 7.00am tomorrow I will get the proper lure gear out and try for a bass. 


Cobwebs blown away though, breathing sea air does have some advantages, because apparently sea air is full of negative ions these are charged particles abundant in sea spray, which, research suggests, improve our ability to absorb oxygen.

Also Sea air contains iodine, salt, and magnesium, encourages respiratory health and can reduce the symptoms of asthma, promote respiratory health, improve allergies and skin problems, and stimulate the immune system. Then again a decent pint does that too, where can I find one ?

Tuesday 29 August 2023

Appledore - Shannies and Summerlands

A change of tact is needed because I've had quite a few blennies attack the lure in the rockpools however I've not managed to hook-up yet. The weather is all over the shop at the moment with more bad than good so a beach day that was planned is now going to be tomorrow and we are not going to a meet up with my brother Chris instead.

Summerlands Tackle in Westward Ho !! has everything you need for sea fishing and coarse fishing so I'm going to nip in there to get some small hooks and some BB shot so I rig up something more suited to the quarry. I'd have banked far more fish by now if I had. 


They are extremely shy and aggressive at the same time but drop that lure in their hiding place they cannot resist but try and grab it in a split second. I've been really enjoying rock pooling it of late despite the drizzle because I've not got much more choice to get that fishing fix.

I will have another go for bass hopefully but I'm not sure the beach casting for smooth hounds is going to happen. 


So this mornings hour and a half was a blank, however on a more positive note, after meeting my brother we've dinner in the Beaver later and some live folk music at the Champ straight after, the fishing may be pants but better than working isn't it ?

Looe was seagull central with the noisy birds making a racket literally all day and early morning, here though was eerily quiet but the sounds of the tide going out was very therapeutic indeed. 

Monday 28 August 2023

Appledore - Beavers and Blennies

You might as well stay said the Wife, "yeap suits me" especially when I bumped in to a couple of my brothers friends Emma and Tom and they were enjoying the Marmalade Club House Band Jammin Session tooWith over 400 years of history, The Beaver Inn has been a longstanding pillar in the local fishing community and a favourite among tradesmen from the new world. The name ? , well apparently "The Beaver Inn," remains shrouded in the mists of time. 

Legend has it that the Press Gang used to gather sailors, pressing them into the King's service and wore beaver pelt hats, giving birth to our name and association with beavers. 

Appledore and Bideford's bustling history as massive trading ports, exchanging goods with the new world, including beaver pelts, further solidifies our connection to the name. 

In days past, The Beaver Inn played a crucial role in aiding captains, offloading their crew for safekeeping while they conducted trades in Bideford. During their stay, the women of Irsha Street entertained the crew with home-brewed beer until the ship's return journey.


Talking of Irsha Street the sun was illuminating the houses when we left and it was a lovely sight indeed shame the sun made a late appearance because it has been rare this week I must admit. Anyway after a few rum and cokes in the Beaver listening to the band I got back and decided to venture out to do some more rock pool LRF'ing the following morning.

The tides are less of an issue and that helps because it's a family holiday after all so we cannot plan the day around when I am going to be able to fish. 



A peer over the garden wall you see showed some really big rock pools and I thought I'd give them a bit of an explore before the rabble were up and ready to go. I've worked out where they are hiding and to be honest it's not that hard to discover where. 

There was some fry in each and every pool and it didn't take long to get the first interest in something that shot out of from under a rock. It was a small blenny I think that I felt on the end for a few seconds before it came off. I assume it was nibbling on the end of the lure getting nowhere near the hook. 


I'm sure something like a size 18 with a fake pinkie with a BB shot is the way to go but when they nail it they properly nail it however I'm sure it will increase hook up rates.

Anyway one Goby in about an hour and a half I might have another dabble in the morning because it was a bigger tide and I'm hoping there will be some new arrivals. I'll chuck the bass lure around as well hopefully you never know there may well be one about. 

Sunday 27 August 2023

Appledore - Fledglings and Floccinaucinihilipilification

My motivation is lacking at the minute because well the weather isn't the best now is it, so after the rather slow (1hr 50m) but small distance (60 odd miles) drive across country from Looe to Westward Ho!!! to leave the car on my brothers drive, we headed in for a bite to eat before heading to the next weeks accommodation on Appledore.

Chris is raving it up at Creamfields where judging by the participants on YouTube, I saw Carl Cox DJ before the majority in the crowd were even born but he is back tomorrow afternoon so hopefully we will get to catch up with him and his kids.  


He moved from Coventry 7 years ago I think and is a proper 'local' now because being a twin I get recognised now as well because he is part of the furniture here and a well known face, especially in the pubs.

The surfers were certainly enjoying themselves, Westward Ho !! seems to be in the middle of another building phase because the seaside resorts just seems to grow bigger and bigger every time we visit. Unlike Looe though the people have far exceeded its facilities.


Still Seabirds in Appledore is a nice cozy place to spend the next week and we could see the lifeboat anchored up in the rather choppy waters. 

Releasing a chocolate hostage has a nice vantage point and when the weather allows the garden will be a nice little spot to spend some time enjoying a beer or three. Now in I'm in Benidorm for a night and then have 4 nights with some mates at Wardy's Villa so once I'm back the diet needs to get back on track the booze reigned in a bit. 




John's of Appledore must be the most expensive and mediocre deli and shop in the entire world, the sausage rolls are Greg's quality and three times the price. The pasties, well don't bother, drive to Sarah's in Looe Cornwall instead, that's a proper pasty, not John's offering.

With the cost of living crisis going on ok I know business are struggling but they really are taking the pee charging top dollar for ordinary. 


At least the >100 mini's that came down Irsha Street brightened up the day with their air horns and proper engines. 

The modern interpretations looked out of place I must admit and I worked on the R50 mini as it was known many many moons ago. To be fair considering how long ago the modern version was designed it still looks relatively fresh today.  



We decided to have a quiet day where before making a Sunday Dinner I had a couple of hours chucking the lure around at high tide.

It did look perfect for a bass but despite swapping lure and trying lots of areas nothing was doing. I've caught a bass in this area in the past but despite having to avoid the swimmers and also swimmers with dogs who clearly didn't seem worried they could get a lure in the noggin, I ended up biteless before I had to head back and get the dinner on the go. 


The fledglings nesting in the door opposite had the best idea because the rain started hammering down and I had to make a swiftly retreat.

Lets hope the weather improves because plenty of things planned which sadly are scuppered when the weather doesn't play ball. There are some rock pools outside the gaff so I'm tempted to give those a go. Anyway some live music on later at the Beaver, that will do !!

Saturday 26 August 2023

Looe Cornwall - Giant Goby’s and Gobemouches

The 5p sized lure, tiny jig head and hook shows just how light the set-up is I use for rock pooling. I had plenty of follows and grabs last time but they were almost nibbling at the end of the lure rather than gobbling it down.

So a small inch long worm replicant reduced in size I was hoping this change would bank me a few more fish. Ok not the beasts I was after but at least the braid might be tickled even though it might not be pulled.


As I mentioned before we ventured down the costal path then a small steep and precarious route to a rocky area. The weather although mild was mixed in with the odd sprinkling of rain so a walk rather than a beach day was in order.

I'm not complaining though I get bored of beaches even though the kids still enjoy it till this day Limmicks Rocks was deserted and was probably one of the best places for skimming stones I've seen in a while. 


The rock pools were not the best but than I'd imagine anything that lives here would see less pressure and that may be a good thing. Half an hour down though without even a show of anything I wondered if it was wasted effort but then out of the blue WHAM !!! something shot of from under a rock and nailed the lure within a split second and then returned when it came.

At first I tried to get it out using the rod but I was worried I'd snap the light fluorocarbon hook link so in the end I teased it out from under its getaway using fingers and thumbs 😁

A proper beast of Giant Gobi which was about 10 times the scale of anything I'd caught from a rockpool before. It didn't like that it had been caught either and after all the blanking a most welcome sight I must admit.

A stunning creature and mad something this size lives in such a small rock pool. The more I fish these you can almost work out where the fish are going to be laying up.

I managed another one soon after but not as big but certainly the land of the Giant Goby’s a scale above the usual rock pool humdrum.

Even the Wife and kids seemed impressed which to be honest is rare when I target fish like this. The short lived stone loach quest being one of them !!! WHY ? if you have to ask that then you don't know the mind of an angler, some of us live for this !!

Friday 25 August 2023

Looe Cornwall - Harbours and Harengiforms

The pasties from Sarah's in Looe really are something else and the fact you can see them make them fresh on the premises is something you won't see elsewhere here, well not from what I can see anyway. These blue and white paper bags stand out a mile and the amount they sell everyday I assume Sarah retreats to a luxury yacht everyday. The shop opens till they run out, prepare to queue as well, but then there is a good reason for that. 

I had the beef and stilton this time and I tell you what if I lived down here I'd be the size of the house in no time. I'd need more restraint because not only are the pasties some of the best you'd ever taste the piping hot sausage rolls are like brick sized Lashford on steroids, seriously I doubt these could be bettered they are that good. !!

Anyway back to the fishing, naturally I took my fishing gear when I met up with a mate and his wife at the Fisherman's Arms in Looe in the evening, because I timed it just right to hit the harbour at dark. He owns a couple of holidays cottages here and almost home from home for them as they are down here that often.

I can see why they like it though because there is plenty to see and do on the doorstep and unlike many Cornish seaside towns apparently it is still busy out of holiday season. Shame the weather for our trip was mixed but thankfully we have had more good than bad.



The harbour is a lovely place to be when it's dark. The fish had other ideas though, because after chucking a small sidewinder lure around to match the hatch so to speak, because there are large pockets of sandeels milling around during the day, I feel like I was wasting my time.

You can see literally all the way to the bottom in some of the deeper swims where apart from minnow sized fish being chased by things around 3 or 4 inches long the bigger fish were nowhere to be seen.


Stupidly I didn't bring the LRF gear because I'm sure I'd have caught something because they did come up to the lure to take a look. I'm not sure what they were though so if I can be motivated I might have another go this evening.

We are having a walk up the costal path to Limmicks Rocks so hopefully there are some rock pools there I can give the LRF a go again. The lack of fish has been frustrating really but I've yet to see anyone else catch anything either. To be honest I'm only having a dabble here and there, still the harbour was a nice place to blank though, I left at 11.00pm where there was the odd wobbly straggler milling around, time for the off !!

Thursday 24 August 2023

Polperro Cornwall - Pasties and Passalorynchites

There is no denying Polperro is a Harbour village in Cornwall, pubs that peddle mediocre offerings from St Austell breweries when their catalogue has the odd gem amongst the humdrum, and every other shop is selling massed produced Cornish pasties.

The Three Pilchards food was very good indeed shame the tap offerings didn't raise the eyebrows. A stunning little village which lets me honest here has gone from a fishing village to a full on tourist trap for people like me and thee.

Many of the cottages are covered with a profusion of flowers in summer and the streets are so narrow they are banned to cars, which makes Polperro an ideal place to explore on foot. 

There are shops selling paintings, pottery, jewellery and lots more souvenirs for the visitor. There are also newsagents, bakeries and other shops selling everyday requirements. 

In addition, there are galleries and arts and crafts exhibitions. Polperro holds an Arts Festival in June each year. Other community events include the Water Carnival and the Furry Dance. You may see Morris men or Clog dancers in the village too. Polperro Fishermen’s Choir is famous throughout Cornwall. It gives open air performances on the quayside in the season. 

I'm amazed some of the business managed to stay open, many offering the same as the shop a few door away and like many costal towns very seasonal indeed. 



The village was notorious for smuggling activities during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Everyone conspired to hide the duty-free goods from the excise men.In the 19th century, pilchards were landed in large quantities in the village. The fish were processed and packed in factories near to the harbour. Many women and children were employed in cleaning and salting the fish. Pilchards were salted and cured and the oil was extracted using large screw presses. 

Afterwards they were packed in barrels ready for dispatch. Polperro is still a working fishing port and at high tide boats can be seen unloading their catch on the quays which are strewn with pots and nets. Boat building was one of the main businesses in Polperro for many years. 



After a spot of lunch a couple of pints and an explore of the model village and the various shops I had a window of opportunity to do a bit of LRF'ing. The main harbour wall was awash with crabbers however plenty of places to drop in a small lure between the boats and the wall.

Gin clear and under my polarised glasses could see the lure go right to the bottom. I tried 4 different places and even just at the harbour entrance as pictured here. I had two follows from something, one wrasse like the other Gobi I think but they disappeared as quickly as they appeared. 


The waters so clear though I'm sure that won't help. In-fact on route back to Looe walking alongside the harbour some small sea bass were milling around however cast anything new them the shot off like a rate of knots.

So there is only one thing for it and that is to give it a go around dusk in to dark with the lure. I'm sure that will be must best chance. The weather really has been kind to us like I mentioned, today as I scribble this it was meant to be peeing down and yet I'm looking out and blue sky is showing and it's clearing fast. 


There is probably a good reason my brother doesn't fish much because apart from the tide times you have to contend with, the fishing restrictions at certain times of the year, but these fish even the ones that live in the harbour are fished for a lot.

I'm sure off Looe pier with the baitcaster in to dark some fish would be willing to feed on bait even the dreaded dog fish, which incidentally there were 4 I counted head in Polperro Harbour. Bycatch for the fisherman mostly likely, but not nice to see just stationary on the bottom.  

Wednesday 23 August 2023

Looe Cornwall - Smugglers and Smeddums

The walk from Looe Harbour through to Hannafore where I wanted to fish around some rocks you walk past one of the oldest pubs in the UK, The Jolly Sailor. 

The pub was built in 1516 and sat on the banks of the river. Until about 120 years ago sea vessels used to moor right alongside the old part of the building, until land was reclaimed allowing for cottages adjacent to the pub to be built.

Now the Jolly was a regular smugglers’ haunt. There have been many stories of smuggling, Press Ganging and Crimping which is the practice of kidnapping people to serve as sailors by coercive techniques such as trickery, intimidation, or violence.

One such story is that ,during an unexpected raid by the Customs Officers, the quick-thinking landlady sat on an illicit keg of alcohol, thus concealing it beneath her petticoats and voluminous skirt. While the Customs Officers searched the premises, she calmly knitted, and they would not dare ask to see under a lady's skirt!

The pub as you see it today was two separate buildings until the early to mid 1900's. In the 1800's the old shack that was to the left of The Jolly was removed and a two storey building was erected (Glendale). There are some interesting beams inside The Jolly.

In 1588, the Spanish Armada fleet was attacked and shipwrecked off of the Coast of Cornwall. Some of those beams ended up in buildings around the town including The Jolly, the West Looe Church and The Smuggler's Cott.

The story goes... On 31st July 1588, word came that the Armada had been sighted and so an English force led by Sir Francis Drake and Lord Charles Howard left Plymouth to meet it. 

It is said that when Drake was told of its approach, he simply replied that he had plenty of time to finish his game of bowls before defeating the Spanish.

Relying on the skill of their gunners, Howard and Drake kept their distance and tried to bombard the Spanish flotilla with their heavy naval cannons. 

While they succeeded in damaging some of the Spanish ships, they were unable to penetrate the Armada’s half-moon defensive formation.

Over the next several days, the English continued to harass the Spanish Armada as it charged toward the English Channel. 

The two sides squared off in a pair of naval duels near the coasts of Portland Bill and the Isle of Wight, but both battles ended in stalemates. 

Oh the beer, well I've always been disappointed in the Ale offerings when you've got tourists to serve but Jail Ale which is Dartmoor Brewery's original beer ain't a bad pint, the Jolly serves that anyway, alongside Tribute which seems to be everywhere. About of the best of bad bunch anyway, The Fisherman Inn serves that too. 


A relatively early start this one because Looe gets busy in the summer months especially when the day was going to be a rather pleasant 21 degrees. 2 rods one with a float set-up and then a lure rod as well. It's a rather pleasant walk this in-fact I did it later on in the day with the family as well for a spot of lunch in the lovely small café in Hannafore. No rest for the wicked 25k steps covered 😀 

The tide was coming in fast and I had a few hours so with bait this time to try I was hoping something would turn up. 



It was gin clear though and after a natter to a walker who stopped me to ask where I was fishing he said, you'll be wasting your time mate, dusk and in to dark is the best bet. I'm getting that feeling already to be honest and I've yet to see anyone catch a fish.

Even in the harbour where I've had a little go down the harbour wall for an hour or so nothing and that was on the LRF gear. 


I fished a couple of rock marks and to be honest one in particular looked perfect and after losing a couple of lures I decided to try the float set-up out. 

Some strips of fish, crab and also cooked prawns were tried without even a nibble from anything which surprised me as it looked perfect for a bite. In desperation and to mix it up I rigged up a creature bait and dropped that in and around the rocks and over the rough ground.   


Nothing, hmmm not easy this sea fishing lark. I stopped longer than I thought I would be nearly 3 hours of fishing without anything to show for it.

I'm going to give the lure fishing a go in to dusk I think and then we've a trip to Polperro so I might bring the LRF gear to have a go down the harbour wall. I found a video on YouTube where an angler did exactly that and caught some fish, so I might as well try and follow in his footsteps.


We've been lucky with the weather really because it did look like it was more bad than good before we went but we've been rather lucky I must admit.

The is nothing like these seaside towns when the weather is good. So much to do at Looe too, I'd certainly come back again. Just a shame the pubs don't up their game and serve decent beer. I think many of them are owned by the big boys which doesn't help because massed produced offerings is about the best you are going to get. 


Anyway on to the next one !!

I need some luck !!
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