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After having blanked in my previous three trips over the last seven days, it was with a certain amount of trepidation I headed out to meet Keith at the crack of dawn this morning (8:40). My fingers were crossed that the fish gods had a plan in mind for me, and that I was due a reward...

We headed NE, meeting up with Paul B, Richie Campion and Callum (username Dumbass). Bumped into the Squid (Chris S) in the car park, met his lovely dogs, I certainly wouldn't want to get into an argument with them! After a cup of tea and a chat, we got our stuff together and made our way down to the mark.

The wind was all over the place, but not too strong, it was overcast and approaching low water. The plan was to fish HRF (Hard Rock Fish) style over rough ground, reefs, boulders etc with soft plastics for Wrasse, and maybe Pollack if they were around. I went armed with my newly acquired Bushwhacker 7ft 10-30g, with my Fireblood loaded with 25lb Powershot at .15mm. 2ft leader of 19lb Seaguar to a small strong clip completed the set up. The rod is spot on for fishing with soft lures, it has a lovely sensitive tip with power in reserve if required (it was!!), and comes at a price where you are not petrified of busting it when clambering over Wrasse territory.

Keith and I waded across to some rocks, whilst Callum (who we had to actually carry across a gulley last night as he doesn't have waders!!), Richie and Paul started closer in. I took a little while getting used to the wind, the ground and sussing what weight jighead I needed to twitch back along the bottom, but not bomb straight down into the heavy snags in front of me. Eventually I settled on a normal size Xlayer, rigged on a 10g ball jighead.

After about half hour or so, having just moved spots, I was retrieving slowly, odd flick of the tip, and had just manoeuvred the lure to run back alongside a large rock, when it went solid. This had happened a lot, as you are obviously going to jar the lure on weed and rock, so I didnt strike, I just kept the tip up and maintained tension, then felt a big kick - FISH ON! I had my drag locked up tight so I leant into the fish and it went quite mental. I had hooked it only about 3 rod lengths out, and luckily the fish didn't have much open ground to run into. It took line though as it bored down, trying to get its head into the rocks. The fight was a short and frantic affair, no more than a minute or so, but brutal. I then panicked a bit as I realised I didnt have my Boga, so shouted for Keith to come and land it with his. Luckily I managed to get it onto a rock next to me without too much bother just as Keith arrived. Anyway, my first soft lure caught Wrasse weighed in at 5lb 8oz! I was over the moon, a PB by a long way, and my first lure caught one by design, rather than the ones I've had as bycatch when bassing. The fish went back very strongly after a few photos, which Keith is going to post shortly. I am still buzzing now!

We fished on, and Paul had a lovely Pollack of a couple of pounds, then after a bacon roll we moved onto another spot for an hour of LRF, but alas, no more fish were taken. I wasn't bothered in the slightest of course! Its not the biggest fish in the world, there are certainly plenty of bigger ones around, and have been caught this year even, but I dont care, I'm made up.

Sorry for going on a bit, and as I said, photos to follow!
 

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Well done Mark and Paul, both cracking fish. I had a belting bite under my feet in a hole before the SP even touched the bottom but, today belongs to Mark Sleep and Paul B.

Here are some pics...

Lets not forget that this puts Mark in pole position for the 'Shore' Wrasse challenge right now. Who is gonna step up to the Mark ...LOL pun intended.



Really big, fat heavy Wrasse. Hit Mark hard at close range. Bushwhacker 7ft seemed well upto the job. Proper HRF rod as we forecast it would be.







Some of Paul's daytime soft lure Pollack.



 

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Great fish Mark, out of some very snaggy ground. As good an angling effort as I've seen in a good while.
 

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Superb work Mark. I blankety-blanked today, so just lovely to see that someone did a little better !!!

Awesome Pig !! I am yet to catch one !!
 

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She's a beaut Mark and nicely hooked too. They're great to look at as well, all those colours going on in there. Nice one!
 

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Great fish mark & paul, those wrasse certainly enjoy taking Xlayers. Thanks for sharing the catch with us.
 

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Mark - very jealous! Stunning fish, so no wonder you are made up, I would be! Very well done.
 

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Nice one Mark and Paul, sorry I missed out and what a great write up. see you guy's out soon.
 

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Great write up, great photos and above all a great fish!

Nicely done Mark.
 
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