JEP article from 13th of December 2014 (photos at bottom of page)

Although there hasn't been a lot of angling going on this week there are things afoot in the world of fishing that are worthy of a mention. It was the Sinkers sea fishing clubs annual AGM this week where the new committee and officers were elected. For those of you that don't know, Sinkers are the biggest sea fishing club on the island, run mainly by a bunch of friends as it was when it was founded back in 1979 by a bunch of porters from the general hospital. I am very proud to have been elected as the clubs chairman, a post that has been held by Sid Reynolds for past decade or two. Sid is enjoying his retirement and the club wishes him all the best and good fishing, be it here or where he prefers on holidays abroad.

As a club we are very proud of our achievements, with members holding many of the Islands fishing records and even some British records. This week, as was mentioned in the Evening Post, our club and the Jersey open bass festival that we organise was mentioned in the House of Commons during a debate on the protection of bass. This is incredible really, to be commended in parliament for the benefits to the island that our competition brings, and that recreational angling is a major player in the countries economy and should be taken seriously. We are all hoping this debate will lead the fisheries departments to learn more about bass, and hopefully protect them so they do not get over exploited like the cod and other fish stocks did.

With the fishing in the winter being tough, be it because of the weather or the shear lack of fish about it is hard to drag yourself out the house to wet a line. But back by popular demand is the Golden Grasdos competition. This friendly competition used to be run quite a few years ago, and is back again and being organised by Sinkers and sponsored by the Leak & Bean take away in Cattle street. The competition will be run from 12.00 midday on Saturday the 27th of December, until midday the following day. The aim of the competition is to catch as many different species as possible, with no fish having to be kept all you need to do is photograph the fish for proof of capture. Once again catch and release fishing is the future for all fishing clubs, we always like to teach people to only tak the fish they are going to eat while they are Leak & Bean. If anyone is interested please pop into either the Leak & Bean or one of the tackle shops and ask for details.

Lastly I must apologise to my mate Andy Garnier for not mentioning his superb bass he caught a week or so ago whilst out conger fishing. Andy was trying a new mark for eels with his fishing pal Mark Richard when he fluked a lovely bass of 11lb 12oz. It just goes to show the fish are out there if we get a chance to try for them.

Bon temps,

Mick

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JEP article from 20th of December 2014 (photos at bottom of page)

Despite the foul weather there has still been a few of you out there wetting a line and catching some fish. The same old anglers are still catching the same old species, Alan Aubert, possibly the oldest angler we have on the island is still managing to catch some bass and squid from his boat. Alan and his step son Derek have had a great year in total, telling me he has landed between them six to seven hundred bass this year - I think it was more like three to four hundered - with all of them being tagged and released as part of the bass anglers sport-fishing society tagging programme. Even from the shore this week my young pal “Lanky” has been using his ultra light set up and catching some bass from the shore on tiny lures. The biggest problem most of these anglers have this time of year is the wind, as rain and cold doesn’t really bother us anglers its the wind that drives us mad making it almost impossible to fish light and keep contact with your lure.

The bait boys have been catching some more rays, which are still being landed in good numbers since the commercial ban has stopped them being landed locally. If you fancy getting off the sofa over Christmas and trying for a ray then get yourself down to St Catherines breakwater over the low water and fish a whole squid or whole large sandeel. There has been undulate and small eyed ray caught there this week by Rob Dingle, Daniel Ferguson. Brian Williams, one of Jerseys best plumbers, had a lovely small eyed ray from Greve de lecq this week. Brian is a great guy and a fantastic angler, and is also due to fit me a new sink this week so I am hoping for some mates-rates because he is such a nice guy.

The green lantern has returned! It has made its way back from China so myself and Bob will be out to try for the squid again over the Christmas period. Typically it seems the squid have slowed down a bit, although a customer told me he had twelve from Bonne nuit pier on Tuesday evening. The squid are usually here in good numbers from about October until mid December, but can be caught throughout the year if you are willing to put the time in.

Well I hope you all have a great Christmas and get some new tackle for next season. I remember when I was about 11 years old I had my first brand new fishing rod bought for me one Christmas. Not being able to wait until the spring I set my alarm clock for early boxing day morning and headed down to the Albert pier, new rod in hand and as eager as an excited 11 year old can be. Of course I struggled for bait, so I raided my mums fridge and took some turkey, ham and beef. Did I catch anything? No, of course not, and to be honest after about an hour I had eaten all my bait and was heading home.

Bonne temps,

Mick

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JEP article from 3rd of January 2015 (photos at bottom of page)

So it's the start of a new year and I am sure all us anglers are looking forward to the first of the Spring arrivals. Fishing this time of year is really for the dedicated and adventurous of us, but the fish are still out there if you are willing. The Golden Grasdos competition that was supposed to be run on the 27th of December was cancelled by the organisers at the eleventh hour due to the bad weather, a decision that was tough to make but safety must come first. Some of the guys, about eight or ten of them, had geared up ready for the comp decided to fish anyway. The conditions didn’t leave them many places to fish, but the winners were Del Carver and Daniel Ferguson who both had five species each. Terry Blampied came second with four species but had the biggest fish with a 20lb conger eel caught at St Catherines, which is his personal best eel to date so well done Terry. Daniel informed he he must have caught every pouting in St Helier harbour whilst he was trying to catch a whiting, but no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t get a whiting for love nor money.

Denis Smith and Shaun Gillard both braved the elements on the evening before new years eve. The guys headed for the breakwater to try for a ray, alas they didn’t catch any rays but had great fun on the pouting, both of them catching pouting over a pound and gaining them both good points for the Sinkers club points board. They both had dogfish too, in fact Denis had a doggy take a whole pouting that he had put out for a ray! Dogfish can be a pest, but in the winter they at least give you something to catch and landing one of over 2lb earns you good points in the club.

Lanky and his pal Ben Jones had been having some fantastic fishing this last week with their ultra light tackle. Both you youngster took some small lures for a venture around some of the piers, scratching their tiny lures around harbour walls, a great method for picking out decent fish even in the winter. Well the boys hit some lovely pollack, Bens best was just tipping the scales at 3lb, a great fish from the shore at anytime of year and on any tackle, but in the depths of winter and on a very light rod and reel is exceptional and I am sure gave him an amazing fight. The both nailed some good size bass too from two locations, Lanky with one of over 3lb and Ben with bass to over 2lb, again fantastic fishing by any standards.

My crazy old friend Willy Nieuwberg is a bit of a squid legend, he really does know how to find them and because he is retired he can go out at times when others are working of sleeping. Anyway, although the squid seem to have dropped off a bit with only a few now coming from some piers like Bonne Nuit and Boulay bay, and rock marks like White rock and La Moye. Willy had seven squid the day before new years, which is the most caught in one session that I have heard of this week. I will be out again soon with my trusty green lantern, the beast is ready to go, battery fully charged up and ready. I must just remember to make sure the lamp reaches the water this time!

Bon temps,

Mick

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JEP article from 10th of January 2015 (photos at bottom of page)

I am not jealous that “Haircut” and a bunch of my mates are off to Cuba this week for a jolly boys fishing trip, not jealous at all. They were all in my shop this week buying the last of their equipment for the trip, including sun glasses and hats! I know many of us anglers on the island love to travel around the world fishing, some of us sneak a rod in the bag when away with the wife and family, some of us plan mega fishing trips just for the boys. I cannot wait to hear how they get on next week, half a dozen fishing mad Jerseymen on Cuba fishing from the shore and boats for jacks, tuna and dorado – it makes a far cry from trying for a pouting or dogfish on the end of St Catherines breakwater in January! Best of luck guys, fly the Jersey flag high and bring back some great photos and memories.

Talking of pouting though, this week Mark Le Huquet had one of the biggest pouting I have heard of from the shore in a few years. Mark was fishing at St Caths and pulled out a monster pout of 2lb 5oz, an absolute beast for this species as normal a pouting of over 1lb is considered a big fish from the shore. A member of the cod family, these fish are generally used as great conger or undulate bait or thrown back as they are small, but if you ever catch one over a pound it is always worth taking them home as they taste beautiful, a very sweet white meat.

Bass nut Nigel Hamann has been at it again, showing us all how to do it even in January. Nigel went for a walk with his lure rod last weekend, flicking some soft lures whilst the sun was shining and the sea conditions allowed it. My eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw the picture of his 8lb 7oz bass, an amazing fish for any time of the year but in January it is outstanding and just goes to show they are still there if the weather lets us get out and try.

Daniel Ferguson had a surprise this week too when he went fishing with his buddy Alex Plaster to test Alexs new ultra light rod he had just purchased. Testing Alexs rod for him, Daniel only went and pulled out a 2lb thick lipped mullet on the second cast, and then shortly after catches a nice pollack too, both on Alexs new rod. So Alex now knows his rod works, and also knows not to let Daniel have a go with it, I believe the score was 2-0 to Daniel with Alex slightly miffed.

Among all the strange fish coming out, there are still some proper winter species out there to be caught. Rob Dingle has been putting the hours in trying for a flounder and managed a couple this week. These flatfish look just like a plaice but the orange spots are not as vibrant and supposedly they do not taste as good as plaice. Predominantly a winter species these fish are far more prolific in the UK where they feed in estuaries, and of course with us not have any rivers us local anglers have to find them near any freshwater outlets such as St Aubins harbour, the town harbour and any other places where fresh water runs into the sea. They are a task to catch here, I have tried countless times myself but never managed one.

Bon temps,

Mick

Andy Garnier with a funny looking conger!

Sam Chapon with a lovely undulate

Rob Dingle with a small eye

Brian Williams with a great Undulate from Greve

Rob with another shore small eye ray

Daniel Ferguson with another great Undulate from the breakwater