Tag: waggler float

At the seaside

For the first half of August I was on holiday in Cornwall, catching up with family and going fishing most days.

My first job was to head up the nearby estuary to dig worms for bait. Lugworms live in fairly soft mud and sand; you dig where you see their casts. Ragworm seem to prefer coarse sand and shell grit. They don’t make casts so you choose an area and turn it over.

(If you try bait digging, make sure to backfill your holes – people sometimes leave craters and piles of sand all over the place. This is unsightly and also damages the worms’ habitat. The result is that future digging becomes less productive and there are fewer worms available for the estuary birds. Do it properly and there is no problem.)

Next morning my brother Ned and I were out at daybreak, using carp rods with 2oz leads to present the worms on the sand:

Cornwall rock fishing

Nothing happened for the first couple of hours. Just as I was saying it was about time we had a bite, something picked up my ragworm. Winding down slowly it was fish on, and a bit of a head banging fight ensued. It was a gilthead bream, a species I had always expected to catch here but which had always eluded me:

Gilthead bream

Soon after that, we had a tub gurnard each:

Tub gurnard

A couple of days later I was back in the same place. First cast produced a better sized gilthead:

Head of gilthead bream

After that it was quiet except for a couple of small bass and another gurnard. Packing up, I threw my unused mackerel and squid bait into the water and soon after a shoal of mullet came swarming round. I set up a makeshift float rig to present a bit of squid to them on a small hook. I then had a frustrating time as the mullet were apparently taking the bait but I kept missing them on the strike. Eventually I got one:


Next day I was back with proper mullet tackle (coarse fishing rod, 6lb line and waggler float), plus mackerel and bread for bait. Initially I couldn’t get a bite, despite odd fish showing in front of me. I guessed I was too visible sitting high up on the rocks, so I got lower and kept well back. More mullet now appeared, seemingly attracted by my mackerel and bread groundbait. I caught three of these hard-fighting fish, all at very close range (that’s my rod on the rocks with the float just visible a few feet out):

Mullet fishing
Mullet on waggler float

My niece Tess came with me for another dawn session. She caught this ballan wrasse on a lure fished deep close to the rocks:

Tess fishing
Tess's wrasse

She followed it up with a mackerel and the largest launce (greater sandeel) I have ever seen, which weighed in at 4oz. Launce feed on small fish, including sandeels, and she caught it on a metal sandeel imitation:

Mackerel and launce

As we were packing up, we saw a large, silvery fish jump three times way out to sea. To be visible at that range it must have been at least several pounds in weight. Quite possibly a bluefin tuna, but we will never know.

Pond life

A rather grey and rainy day found me exploring a small pond at Rib Valley for the first time. I took a waggler rod and maggots to test the small fish potential, plus a heavier outfit in case of carp.

The pond has a fringe of reeds along the far side:

Rib Valley pond

Also some beds of lilies:

Lily pads

The maggot rod close to the lilies got off to a flying start with a constant stream of fairly small but brightly coloured rudd:


I catapulted a few bits of bread out to float on the surface, hoping that this might attract the larger rudd. Some landed amongst the reeds, where after twenty minutes or so, gentle movements at the surface indicated that something was taking an interest. Watching more carefully, I could see a carp bumping and sucking at the bread. Occasionally it would gently take a piece, but it was cautious – never venturing out from the reeds – and it seemed reluctant to break the surface.

On my heavier rod I rigged up another float rig which would allow me to present bread either floating at the surface or sinking slowly. After a few attempts I landed it right amongst the reeds, with my bait floating in a small gap. The surface rocked gently as the carp approached, then there was a subtle swirl as it took the bait, the rod already bending as I picked it up. Only about 3 pounds, but I was glad of it:

Common carp

After that I went back to the maggot rod, throwing in some maggots and a few grains of sweetcorn with each cast to try and attract some larger fish. This seemed to work as the rudd were getting bigger, especially when I used a piece of corn as bait:

Large rudd

Sweetcorn also produced a couple more small carp:

Small carp
Head of common carp

It had been an enjoyable and interesting few hours.

First time fishing

Charlie came along with his dad Derek to try fishing for the first time. He had seen people fishing on his local canal and thought it looked like fun.

One of the first things he learned was how to bait the hook with a maggot. Not as easy as it looks and requires patience:

Baiting the hook

Once that was accomplished, the fish proved obliging. Here is Charlie with his first ever fish, a roach:

Charlie's roach

(I like the digital watch and Space Invaders tee shirt – that technology was brand new when I was his age!)

While Charlie fished, Derek was more interested in the FT:

Father and son fishing
Whip fishing

The roach is a fish that keeps your grey matter ticking over. We were getting plenty of bites but only connecting with a small proportion of them. To keep on catching, Charlie had to experiment with his fishing depth and the timing of his strike:

Roach on the whip

Next job was learning to use rod and reel:

Learning to use rod and reel

Then it was time to try the waggler rig. As usual, this proved tricky at first, with many stray casts, missed bites and lost fish. When Charlie eventually brought in a roach, it was evidence that his fishing skills were improving:

Roach on waggler
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