I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my trips to Key West but I’m getting older, my joints are creaking and cracking and to be honest I don’t think I’d have the strength to fight a giant Tarpon or Grouper these days.
Fishing for Carp has become a very popular branch of the sport here in the UK, both for those anglers trying to catch a monster and also for competition fishermen. Many lakes have been built just to satisfy the demand for carp fishing.
Having lived in and around London for most of my life I have now moved some 100 miles north, near to the city of Leicester and just a couple of miles from my all-time favourite freshwater fishery, the Glebe Fishery. Containing 8 lakes, this fishery is a favourite of many UK match anglers and the waters are host to a number of important fishing competitions each year.
Living so close to the fishery and fishing the lakes several times a week I’m often asked what baits are working, what fish are being caught etc etc, so I’ve started writing a blog, www.rosscoe.co.uk, that has up to date information about the fishing, together with some hints and tips on methods to try and what baits to bring when visiting this amazing fishery.
Whilst I was browsing around Amazon the other day I came across a so-called “fishing kit” supposedly for youngsters and beginners. It was awful, it even contained lead shot which have been illegal here in the UK for at least the last 20 years. I determined that I could put together a much better fishing kit than anything on Amazon, so I’ve also started building my site that features fishing tackle for beginners. It’s a work in progress, there’s lots more to be added but it does have a few decent, suitable kits suitable for beginners and youngsters.
The weather forecast was spot on, not a breath of wind and the A team consisting of Lemon Geoff, Chris the Wrasse and Robber were out with Captain Manny.
This time we found the Thread Fin Herrings there were millions in a weed line; my guess is that they were spawning and within 15 minutes we filled the bait well.
Using 6 hook Sabiki rigs it was often 6 fish every cast.
Captain Manny who is Cuban decided on a very long run in fact 44 miles to a place where few white men know about, except Keith and Roy because they had been there with Manny a couple of years ago.
Its amazing miles of ocean with hardly any fish then an oasis of fish over a wreck or just a few rocks.
This location was a small sharp drop off where the water went from 220” to 230” along a shelf.
It was just over an hour away and a very pleasant ride in near calm conditions.
The fish finder was showing a few fish and Captain Manny skilfully positioned the boat so we could fish down the drop off.
The plan was a couple of flat lines fished with threadfins on the top and then bottom rigs with a 6 ounce sinker, the current and the colour were perfect and we were optimistic.
Last time Keith and I fished this spot we bagged up on Huge Mutton snappers and some Tuna then we were plagued with sharks.
Robber had a cunning plan quickly hatched, the fish showing on the scanner were off the bottom and big, Amberjacks were first option and in 220” of water could be very painful so he told Chris to have first drop whilst Robber played with setting up the flat lines.
What a good choice, within seconds of the bait hitting 220” Chris was into a powerful fish that Robber told him would be a big Mutton Snapper or Grouper.
15 minutes of grunting later an AJ came to the surface.
A great fish but not target species and now an aching back was mentioned.
Robber during this time had pulled the hook on two Tunas and was not a happy bunny.
Lemon Geoff was next on the bottom rig and it was the same story, more pain.
Robbers skilfully landed a Tuna after a hectic fight and guess what he had foul hooked it in the cheek.
Sweat was now falling off the crew and it was decided we would time the quickest AJ landed.
Everyone had a go and we got it down to less than 10 minutes per fish, but the pain was showing, even Robber looked like he had been thrown overboard he was that wet with sweat.
Lemon Geoff had sweat falling off his nose and this was cooling the reel.
In between Robber who was concentrating on the flat lines hooked another fish that smoked the reel, after a fierce battle it was a nice King Fish, guess what foul hooked again, he is lucky.
Robber being a nice person let Chris and Lemon fish the flat lines and almost immediately they had a double hook up with fish that headed straight down.
Different fights to a Tuna so it was guess the species time.
We all got it wrong because after 20minutes of sweating and even more grunting two big amberjacks were in sight. These were on 12lbs outfits with 20lb braid and as you can see they really can bend rods.
Cutting to the chase, the shipmates landed 4 Tunas, 1 King Fish and 13 Amberjacks, that meant at least one fish was being fought all the time they were out there.
What a fantastic day as eight of the AJs were taken off the surface.
Lemon Geoff was told that one of his surface fish was an Amberjack his little face dropped a mile after a 20 minute fight, however Robber had seen that it was a Tuna when it took the bait.
Eventually big smiles all round as Lemon saw the funny side.
What a great day, the shipmates had a long run home and were very tired, they clocked 96 miles from leaving the dock, this adventure is for men only.
Chris the Wrasse was promoted to Chris the AJ.
Lemon Geoff was promoted to sergeant and Robber is still an Admiral.
The shipmates were rested and ready for another Big Adventure, tactics and meticulous planning was the order of the day.
Off shore fishing had been slow and with slow tides and low tides around midday a decision to go shark fishing on the flats was made.
Captain Mike aboard the Coolcast was going to take us to a secret location that few white men knew. It seems that I was one of them because I had been there before.
The A team today was Cruncher Robin, Chris the Wrasse and Robber Marlow it was hot and humid but the shipmates were now hardened and were pacing themselves.
The secret location was a long winding channel with flats both sides, the problem was it was between flats with only a couple of feet of water available to gain access.
Captain Mike skilfully got us into position and our fresh Barracuda and Bonito were hung over the side to attract our target species.
After about 30 minutes the chum slick was about ½ mile long snaking its way over the flats, which were at high tide averaging 4 ft of water. Visibility was excellent and soon our first customer arrived, it was a Lemon shark and we decided that only one of us at a time would target a fish until we hopefully had several to go at.
To cut to the chase sport became hectic and we were soon into double figures with several fish approaching 100lbs being skilfully released.
Robbers arm was playing up so it was down to Chris to keep the count going up.
In case anybody is feeling sorry for Robber Marlow and his “bad arm”, DON’T. The bad arm only comes into play when he’s hooked an average size fish and can’t be bothered to play it. The arm is particularly bad when he hooks an amberjack and he was most upset when I was sharing a boat with him a few years back. He attempted to pass the rod over only for me to refuse….the reel handle was on the wrong side…I’m left handed !. I also remember him going out with Dave Burr tuna fishing around the shrimp boats. That day there were a lot of bonito around (they’re like little tuna and fight like hell). Poor Dave had to land so many bonito that he was proper poorly for the next three days.
Robin also had some great fish including a couple of black tip that really smoked our 12 and 20lb outfits.
Chris was awarded a special prize by landing a shark with his hook through the eye of a hook that had previously broken off, an amazing rare picture.
The Tide turned and we moved up the channel a few hundred yards to a better location.
It wasn’t long before we had several more sharks around the boat but way out on the flats were two real monsters.
One was a Lemon the other was a big Bull shark that looked like a mini black submarine.
These big fish aren’t stupid and are always out of range.
Robber caught a nice Jack and quickly had it out on the edge of the flat under a balloon.
This should have done the trick but despite some major chasing the big bull shark did not catch the Jack and it gave up.
We needed a new Indian trick.
Robin soon had the answer he hooked and landed a Barracuda and a fresh fillet was soon out there.
The big Lemon picked up Crunchers bait and the reel smoked as about 200yds of line disappeared off the spool, then disaster, the hook broke in half and it was gone.
Robber had been studying the big Bull shark and noticed that now and again it left the flat and disappeared into the channel, a new tactic was employed.
A sizable piece of Barracuda was cast way down the channel and it wasn’t long before the beast was sizing it up.
These big sharks aren’t stupid and over the years we have found that the wire puts them off, so we use short pieces of around 20” and strike quickly.
The beast picked up the bait and Robber set the hook, the first run was over 200yds and it was looking like Robber would be spooled out.
The beast stopped for a few seconds, but then raced off with another 100yds, the situation was now critical as the bottom of the spool was showing and there was no time to pull the anchor to follow it.
Robber used another Indian trick and did the opposite to what most anglers would do, he reduced the drag rather than increasing it and it did the trick the Beast stopped.
This time there was no bad arm and slowly the beast was pulled back to wards the boat, it was a major effort with some very serious drag on the reel and sweat from Robbers nose dripping on the spool to cool it down.
Eventually after 45 minutes it was along side, a magnificent Bull shark estimated at 200lbs plus.
The photographs do not do it justice regarding its size. Another Personal Best for Robber.
We finished the day with 26 sharks of various species, 1 Barracuda and several smaller fish, a fantastic day for the crewmates.
The B team were out with Captain Jack, Keith and Lemon Geoff was the crew.
They also went shark fishing in Jew Fish Basin, it was a slow start but eventually the customers turned up and they also had some great sport landing 14 sharks of various species.
Everyone was tired out so we dined at the Raw Bar eating some of our fish from the previous day, it was awesome and the perfect end to another great day in paradise.
Catching BIG saltwater fish on light fishing tackle