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Come to Jersey for a guided bass fishing trip

If you've read much of this blog, you've probably noticed that Jersey- where I'm based- offers some truly fabulous fishing. And we all take full advantage of it! As the most Southerly place in the British Isles, Jersey anglers benefit from warmer weather than do our friends on the mainland, and we experience warmer average sea temperatures year-round. As such, bass tend to be a much more common presence in our waters and for longer.

Whatever your lure angling skill level, I'd be delighted to welcome you to Jersey to come fishing. As one of the owners of Monster Tackle, a lot of my time is spent being involved with different fishing tackle and different techniques. I thought I could make use of that knowledge and a lifetime spent fishing local waters to offer anglers the chance to come to this exceptional bass habitat and fish for that wonderful species with someone familiar with the local grounds. This is not a service offered by Monster Tackle, but rather on a solely individual basis by one of its owners. 

People newer to the sport will receive as much or as little advice and guidance as they may want to receive. Bass are never guaranteed, but are strongly anticipated and of course are always the primary target. We also enjoy exceptional wrasse fishing, and can offer more generalised or light lure fishing from rocks, beach or pier. 

Monster Tackle  

I divide our fishing time between boat, shore and kayak. If you'd like to come and sample some Jersey bass fishing, send me a message via our website and I'd be happy to discuss some options with you via email or phone. As a qualified guide with Jersey Heritage, I can even guide you to an offshore tower which we have used ourselves as a base of operations many times over the last decade. There can be few more spectacular places to spend a night, and with bunkbeds, a warm fire, fridge and oven and bass fishing metres away from the door, Seymour Tower is a once in a lifetime experience. 

If you like your fishing from a kayak, this can be accomodated. We fish weekly from kayaks, and they offer one of the best ways to access some of Jersey's truly unique coastline. Whether you would want to bring your own, or whether you'd like us to arrange one for you, this is a great way to explore this beautiful island and catch bass while you do it! 

Monster Tackle Kayak

 

Monster Tackle Kayak

And for those who want to get further offshore, I can offer trips out on a fully commercially-coded RIB, with a qualified skipper. Jersey is surrounded by reefs and the fishing they offer can be truly extraordinary. This is not the typical charter boat angling- there's no steaming out for hours to the middle of nowhere and then plonking lures down to depths of 60 feet or more. We fish inshore reefs with exactly the same tackle we use from shore, and our target fishing grounds are rocks and weed beds that are fully visible. The results can be amazing! Here's an idea of how it looks! 

Monster Tackle RIB

Using a RIB also allows us to reach some of the jaw-dropping reefs that surround Jersey. L'Ecrehous is truly incredible- with houses built there and only a few miles from France (but still less than 20 minutes motoring on a RIB), this is a mindblowing place to fish for bass.

Ecrehous

 

Yet another stunning reef off a different part of the Island is the Minquiers. Also with houses built on it, this reef is actually larger than the island of Jersey itself, although only a small proportion of its huge size is ever above water.

 

We also fish a great deal on our beautiful neighbour Sark. As one of the smallest Channel Islands, it has no cars, and it is truly a lure fishing paradise of the highest order. Sark has some of the most stunning scenery in the British Isles. If you'd like to arrange a combination of fishing in Jersey and Sark, or base yourself one or the other, this can easily be arranged. As transport there is by bicycle or by foot, it is certainly a healthy place to enjoy lure fishing, but with an average of five empty beaches to every angler, you won't need to elbow aside anyone for a fishing spot! 

Monster Tackle Sark

Please contact me to discuss your perfect bass fishing holiday. I'd be delighted to talk through your options, your favoured techniques and precisely how and when you'd like to come and enjoy the lure fishing trip of a lifetime! 

Some ideas on mixing and matching Soft Plastics

Now if you have to spend your hard-earned on some SP's and heads, you may well not want to start messing about with them in case they a) don't work, b) don't fit. Luckily, I have done that messing about for you!

It is rare for us to use the body/matching head from one manufacturer now because we find mixing them up works a lot better. I have no idea if this is a common practice, but it has certainly been working well since last summer. We've had a great deal of fish over 4lb from shore, kayak and boat and countless schoolies as well, so given that we're lucky enough to be able to catch bass in large enough numbers, I think it's possible to distinguish between fluke and meaningful trends for the most part so I'm confident these mods are having a positive effect on catch results.

Obviously this all has taken some trial and error, and also me being in the fortunate position of being able to cast a beady eye up and down Monster Tackle's shelves, where I've been able to identify obvious matches that look like they'll go together. I've always started from the principal that the body is the key- the best softies are the ones that move the best. However, we all have SP's we like but aren't large enough, don't cast far enough or don't sink the right way for this mark or that mark. Fiiish Black Minnows were amongst the first to be experimented on. As we have all the many variations here, I soon noticed that the 160 Bodies and 140 heads could in some cases make an improved lure. Here is a 160 Kaki/Glitter body with a 20g BM140 shore jighead. 

Monster Tackle Fiiish Black Minnow 140 

The 160 size Fiiish Black Minnows and the matching series of heads are way over the rating for my rod, but I wanted to be able to have the benefit of the bigger body size to attract the better bass at particular marks. The two fit together, and all within the rating for my rod as well! Lovely body-centric action too, as it doesn't have a massive jighead plunging it to the seabed the second it lands. Worked from the off too. 

Monster Tackle Fiiish Black Minnow 140

The principal is the same if you want to add a 40g jighead to a 160 body. 

At about the same time, I thought about wanting to customise Savage saltwater sandeels. Locally, I don't think there is another soft lure that catches quite as many bass (apart from maybe the Crazy Sandeel more recently) as the Savage eels. Have always used and loved them, and as we had all the Savage loose bodies and heads in one place, as well as heads and bodies from other manufacturers, I started to mix and match a bit. Once again, the constraints of my rod and particular marks meant that I don't always want to use the 42g Savage heads, but I do want to use the brilliant bodies and not the smaller 10cm size. I found that the Sakura Makaira heads at 21g were brilliant alternatives, and I was soon getting a lot of fish on this hybrid. Whereas the 42g would be sinking too fast for particular marks, this combo was absolutely spot-on, and still capable of long casting. 

Monster Tackle Savage Gear Saltwater Sandeel 

Success with these led me to start looking at a reverse. Sakura do some brilliant soft bodies, for example the Majik Eel. These have always done very well for us. But again, I'm fussy about sink rates and casting distances, so it was time to start mixing and matching again. I took my favourite Sakura body- the bigger Majik Eel- and mixed it with a 16g Savage sandeel head. Here is is next to a CS150 20g head for comparison. 

Monster Tackle Savage Gear Saltwater Sandeel

I think a large part of the CS's effectiveness is that very long body. I could now have the benefit of that using the Majik Eel at times I wanted a different colour scheme than that offered by Fiiish, and with a paddle tail to boot which I often prefer, and match those characteristics with a slightly lighter head. Have had masses of bass on this combo. 

It also suggested to me that when I don't want to use the 10g or the 20g Crazy, I could have a perfect middle-ground. Enter the 16g Savage head mixed with a CS150 body, next to the 20g CS150 and the big Crazy Sandeel 220 for comparison. 

Monster Tackle Savage Gear Saltwater Sandeel 

We were using this hybrid in the trip report above, and wow is it getting some fish. Can have the benefit of the CS body action, insert the Fiiish Crazy Sandeel rattle etc and have a great middle point between the CS100, CS150 and CS220. The problem is now my fishing buddies have all started doing it!:( Here are the three regular Crazy Sandeel sizes- as you can see, there is quite a size difference from the 100 to the 220.

Monster Tackle Fiiish Crazy Sandeel 150 220

Another real hybrid that has been catching is the 'FrankenWorm'. I love Senkos, but don't always like messing about with Texas or Carolina rigging. If the bass are coming thick and fast, and I lose a rig, I want to be up and running in seconds. So I created the following:

Monster Tackle Gary Yamamoto Senko 

Gary Yamamoto Swimming Senko matched with a Sakura Fish 21G Jighead. Very nose heavy so casts like a missile, and brilliant for working over beaches/estuaries because it clearly creates a nice little puff of sand when it bounces along the bottom. I've watched it do this, and have a GoPro video somewhere which I'll dig out. It looks sensational. Also terrific off kayaks or boats because it is a great sinker. I match a lot of Senkos up with jigheads for the above reasons, and I find them far more effective than texas senkos. 

Nice session, caught on video!

Here's a little fishing session I shot a video of. Some nice fish were taken, all on soft plastics. 

View video here

Latest Kayak Trip- lots of fish!

Lovely trip out on the kayak. In sunny and mostly flat conditions, it was a challenge at the first mark wading through the pollack! I had around 20 in the space of an hour, every one of them caught on a Sidewinder Sandeel. It was absolutely hectic fishing, but incredible fun. Pollack can really hit the lure hard, and while the subsequent fight isn't always that brilliant, quite a few of these fish were up to 3.5lb and gave a very good account of themselves.

After a while playing with the pollack, I paddled over to a different spot where I could see some water breaking into rocks. After arriving and switching to Fiiish Crazy Sandeel 150s, within a few minutes, I'd hooked up to a small schoolie but he jiggled himself off the hook a few feet from the yak. 

A good sign though. So I persisted at the spot and within quarter of an hour I had a much better fight on my hands. With my reel spooled with YGK braid, I could feel everything going on transmitted through the line. The fish was shaking its head furiously, and as he was directly underneath the kayak was free to to take off on really surging dives. A wonderful fight. Finally managed to get hom on the yak for a quick photo (never easy to accomplish on a bobbing kayak in a current!). 

Monster Tackle Fiiish Crazy Sandeel 150

 Back you go!  

Monster Tackle Fiiish Black Minnow 120

All in all, a brilliant couple of hours. 

Great session

Nothing makes me want to drop everything quicker than a nice swell forecast. Especially with the fishing being as good as it has lately. Sun, cloud, tide size, wind- not so bothered about any of that, it's the swell size that gets me excited. Even better when it's a nice big westerly swell, as we can then access some reefs which are not only fully exposed to the swell, being on the west coast here, but also then offer a huge buffer against it, apart from channels where it can pour through very fast but in a nicely controlled manner into a kind of lagoon. Yesterday, all these things came together, so it was out at dawn and motoring out at 30 knots straight to the reefs! Got there and it was already looking absolutely perfect. Very smooth seas, just the occasional huge rolling swell come in and then nothing again for a while. Perfect.

Monster Tackle Fiiish Black Minnow 

Only had time to say "this looks great", before my friend has nailed a fish on his first chuck. I'm on net duty then it looks like and I've not even had time to wet a lure. Lovely fish to kick off. 

Monster Tackle Tackle House Feed Shallow

10 minutes later my friend is on again and his rod is really bent double. Not a fast moving fish, but when it wants to go, it's gone so there's clearly some good weight there. With some careful playing to make sure she doesn't get back to the rocky area, after a while there's a lovely 7lb'er to admire. 

Monster Tackle Tackle House Feed Shallow

Back you go then!

Monster Tackle Tackle House Feed Shallow

After a while, we shifted off round the corner into a calmer but still fast-flowing eddy, I swap to Crazy Sandeel 150s. Fired the C/Sandeel into a run, let it shoot towards some rocks and jerked it every so often, Bang! 

Monster Tackle Fiiish Black Minnow 140

Finally opened my account. A few more fish followed, but all of them wrasse. 

Monster Tackle Fiiish Crazy Sandeel 150

Moving again, we've only got a little bit left of the best part of the tide, and the swell has long since died off. Everything will have been nicely shaken up down there though, it's the calm after the storm, so I'm still happy there will be fish around. The dinner bell has already been rung, which is what I want the swell for in the first place. 

Monster Tackle Fiiish Black Minnow

Then the sky turns dark and it starts to drizzle. Just a few more casts and we'll be done, and then I get walloped again. Not really making any huge runs this one, but I can feel his head nodding away like mad. Lovely feeling, felt really in touch with what was going on with the fish. Nice size too, and beautiful golden gill plates. Ordinarily would've been made up with it, but my friend has properly spanked me today so this is a face-saver! Lovely scrap though!

Monster Tackle Fiiish Black Minnow

Back you go!

Monster Tackle Fiiish Black Minnow

What a great August it's been so far. And we're not even into the best part of the season!

Schoolie-filled weekend, and then the pay-off!

Started off the weekend with lots of schoolies from the kayak. Light winds and strong currents were perfect, and conditions looked very settled as we prepared to set off. The water clarity was very good as the tide dropped, so that made it easy to aim casts precisely for likely-looking areas of week and rock around which the water was ebbing. There were plenty of terns diving here, there and everywhere so that filled us with even more confidence!

Monster Tackle Fiiish Black Minnow 120 

Using my Tackle House 128 Plus, which has already accounted for over a dozen bass in the last month, and Sammy 128's, the lively little bass were providing some terrific sport. All released safely as well, which is always a concern with the very active smaller fish. The one pictured below was especially memorable, as it made several jumps entirely out of the water. Every time it did so, the Feed Shallow was rattling away like a pair of maracas!

Monster Tackle Tackle House Feed Shallow 128 Plus Halfbeak

Lots of schoolies are always huge fun, but happily on Sunday, the fish were a better average size. I had two fish weighing a couple of pounds which fell to the brilliant Savage Gear saltwater sandeel in Dirty Silver cast almost on top of some rocks and then brought back on a very fast retrieve. Before long, a much bigger fish showed up. I'd switched to a Duo Tide Minnow 175 in Ocean Bait, and used a jerky slow retrieve near to some rocks. After a surprisingly gentle take, the fish stormed off, stripping line. After an incredible fight lasting several minutes, I had my prize! A very special fish, an one of the best of 2015 so far. Went 76cm, equating to approximately 7.5lb.

Monster Tackle Duo Tide Minnow

All of these fish were taken using my Sakura Gunner 2012FD reel, which had been equipped with some braid I was starting to worry had seen a few too many tough sessions and was starting to look a bit worn-out and thin on the spool. Fortunately, the timing couldn't have been better in this respect, as we have recently stocked up on some stunning braids fresh off the plane from Tokyo! 

While I wasn't sure whether to treat myself to some Sunline or some YGK G-Soul WX8 , I finally opted for the YGK. These are the two premier line manufacturers in the world, so at this level of ultra performance it is simply down to a very thin personal preference. While I have used, loved and trusted Sunline for many years, YGK has a huge buzz about it at the moment so I simply had to try a spool. And it performed incredibly. Casting is incredible with this line- it's just so smooth flying off the spool you almost feel the lure isn't even attached. Even fighting the large fish above, it felt comfortably tough enough not to give out. Most of all, it had been sensitive enough in the first place to allow the Tide Minnow to be carefully worked in precisely the manner I know the bigger bass in this area prefer. 

Amazing amazing line. I simply cannot recommend it enough.

August so far...

August has produced some stupendous fishing thus far! With a lot of gloomily overcast days and some massive spring tides, the fishing has been absolutely outstanding from shore, boat and kayak. 

Since receiving a big supply of Tackle House Feed Shallows (and with more on the way), we have been using these old favourites to great effect. There is no other lure that bass seem to take so quickly after they hit the water- with a number of these large fish, they were striking within seconds of the lure landing and within a crank or two of the reel. Just so effective at this time of the season when baitfish are so prevalent. 

Also taking fish have been Duo Tide Minnows- with their extraordinary casting range, these are essential items to have when the wind is against you but you suspect the fish may be feeding that little bit further out. Again, a perfect lure for when mackerel, fry and sandeels are plentiful and bass are feeding in the upper levels of the water column.

Monster Tackle Tackle House Feed Shallow 128

Monster Tackle Tackle House Feed Shallow 128 Ayu

This bass, caught from a kayak, was taken on a Tackle House P-Boy. These are ideal for kayaking, especially in situations where birds can be seen diving just out of range of normal lures. With a P-Boy, you can cast huge huge distances and make sure you can cast to a hotspot as and when it becomes obvious where they are. 

Monster Tackle Tackle House P-Boy Casting Jig

Happily, as well as lots of bass some other local marine wildlife has been making its presence known while we've been out fishing.

 An incredible Sunfish. 

Monster Tackle Tackle House Feed Shallow 128 Surface Bass Lure 

First trip using a Feed Shallow 128 Plus- Good results

After our big delivery of Tackle House lures earlier this week, I spent a bit of time taking a few images of the new lures. One particularly caught my eye, which is one of the new 128 Plus lures.

Tackle House Feed Shallow 128 Plus SH Halfbeak Monster Tackle

 

This is the beautiful Tackle House Feed Shallow 128 Plus in the SH Halfbeak colour. These Plus models have an extra bit of weight making them that much more castable than the terrific original 128 Feeds, so they're perfect for when there's a breeze or you're going to a mark where a little more distance is required on casts. After taking some shots I decided had to take one of these 128 Plus Feed Shallows for a quick fish. 

The weather was due to turn so no time for much a session, but headed to a spot at low tide and it looked fairly promising. Lots of weed banks visible through the water, and a nice overcast evening, so things felt promising. The black skies didn't look quite as promising, and so this promised to be a short session, but luckily after the first few casts with my new 128 Plus it was fish on! Managed to get this angry-looking bass to the net, a quick photo, and then back he went. 

 

 

Tackle House Feed Shallow 128 Plus Monster Tackle

 

There was just time to bag a colourful wrasse on a Fiiiish Black Minnow 120 before it was time to head home! Cracking little session!

Fiiish Black Minnow 120 Monster Tackle

Fun weekend with plenty of bass

We had some lovely warm weather over the weekend, with light breezes and it was very overcast. Added to that, the tides were just coming out of some Springs so the tidal flow wasn't going to be massive. All in all, perfect bass conditions! 

Had several fish, all caught on a 120 Fiiish Black Minnow fished very slowly in about 6 metres of water. I was casting the lures towards some kelpy rocks and allowed to bounce very slowly along the bottom. Unusually, no wrasse or pollack were making themselves known, and wrasse are inevitably keen to attack a lure fished this way in such terrain. Since the start of July, wrasse have been very conspicuously absent from the usual places we would expect to see them. 

Here's a couple of shots of the fish just before they were released to fight another day. 

 

 

 

 

New Tackle House lures!

We've just had a huge supply of Tackle House lures, including the new Feed Shallow 155! We also have a selection of TH's brilliant casting jig, the legendary P-Boy. These never last long on the shelves so don't dilly-dally!