Night time is the right time, After-Dark Predator Fishing

In the last blog I introduced Sasame’s new Junglegym range and talked about some recent test sessions with the new gear on the local canal. Among the catches was a rather memorable Pike of around 15lb caught in the dark on a lure. This got me thinking again about just how active these predators become once the sun sets and are we missing a trick by packing up and going home just as the fish are switching on? Now I don’t proclaim to be a strict Pike angler and only really fish for them now and again but up until then I’d never really had much success with them once the sun had set. Lots of thoughts go around my head and I question do all predators instinctively use the cover of darkness to ambush their prey? I know from my Bass fishing experience that this top salt water predator is highly active in the dark and without question fishing at night for them can be highly productive.

Now I said last week that it was time to switch species and start targeting the Bass and despite managing to hook and subsequently lose a nice fish on a popper last Friday evening I am still yet to land one this season. Now this doesn’t phase me too much as some of my best fishing is had in the Autumn and winter months and besides, here at Bluezone we have been working on some big projects so that has kept me more than busy! Continuing this train of thought I’d like to look at last winter as it was here when I first got the bug for night fishing with lures. I’ve now begun trying to think more like a predator and feel this tactic is slowly filtering in to my other angling styles, bagging me some bonus specimens.

These days a big part of my fishing revolves around the use of soft plastic lures and the versatility these offer makes them a great choice for night fishing. Last Winter began very mild and big female bass were schooled up in the local estuaries, you just had to find them at fish for them at the right time. The nights drew in fast and it was a case that to fish the most productive gullies, at peak times, you would have to be fishing in total darkness. Now If I’m honest I never initially planned to night fish with lures it was just a case that in winter it was dark most of the time I wanted to fish!

Now I’m no stranger to night fishing and very much enjoy shore fishing at night with bait. Though what did surprise me is just how productive lures and in particular soft plastics can be at night. At first it’s hard to believe that a fish can see a lure in the dark and until I started catching, I admit that I was skeptical. It’s like anything you do in fishing you can never truly be confident with what your doing until you have landed a fish and this was no exception.blogger-image--84341218

I was having success on the Fiiish Black Minnow and Crazy Eel patterns and having caught a bunch of fish on them both here and in Ireland I was confident they were the way forward. Being so versatile they allowed me to bump them in the tide, slowly twitch them, sink and draw or just straight retrieve them to find what worked best. The slow retrieve is a tactic I’ve been replicating with the Junglegym Be Free Texas Rig and I’ve got to admit it is exciting casting into the abyss knowing it could all kick off any minute!

I remember hitting this chunk last winter just as I was lifting the lure out the water. It was so close that I felt the leader knot come through the tip so it’s important to constantly check your drag (and your knots) so you don’t get caught off guard. And yes, you guessed the lure; I like the disturbance these paddle tails make and by using a slow exaggerated sink and draw I feel I can maximise their potential in the dark when perhaps more disturbance will get you more attention.


One thing I will say about lure fishing at night is be prepared to lose more gear. Over fairly clean ground that I thought I knew well it’s not uncommon to lose five or six lures a session so it’s important to carry enough to compensate for this. Frustrating as it may be tying on new leaders and leaving expensive tackle in the rocks I can assure you it’s far more frustrating having to cut a productive trip short because you didn’t bring enough! I put this down to the way I fish soft plastics at night as unlike with hard lures that tend to be fished just under the surface, with softs I like to work all of the water column in a slow sink and draw motion. This means you’re fishing deep which lends itself well to finding snags and as I’m also reluctant to use my headlight it can be quite easy to get disoriented and simply cast where you’d otherwise avoid if you could see.

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Once a fish is hooked I’ll then use my light to help me safely move around whilst I’m playing it. If I’m changing lures or checking knots I’ll aim towards land as the fish come in so close If you don’t then you will spook them. This one fell to a Sandeel pattern in close to a very snaggy gully and without a decent LED headlight I would of struggled extracting her. You need to see where your braids going so you can keep the fish heading the right direction so I prefer bright yellow braid. I have been using the Sasame Dyneema Samuline in 0.16mm which is around 16lb breaking strain and very thin, though if you’re a bit unsure of the ground then probably wise to carry a spare spool of 0.20 or heavier. What I like about the Dyneema is it’s so bright that it shows up very well under the light of a headlight which is exactly what you want when night fishing and even fishing lures through surf and chop in the day. By seeing exactly where your braid is you can impart the correct movement of the tip to really feel the lure working, just don’t forget to put a nice long Fluorocarbon leader on.

For me the allure of night fishing isn’t just about these wonderful fish it’s also simply the pleasure of experiencing that moment. It’s an eerie and satisfying feeling casting into the unknown and your mind can really run away from you as you anticipate what could happen. Often you don’t see the fish until it’s been landed which just adds to the mystery of it. Even if you don’t catch you can often be greeted by a sight like this as you head back to the car and what a sight those first light big skies can be.


Predator Fishing with the New Junglegym range

Well what an up and down month May has been and it certainly feels like the weather has been against us for much of the time so far. For the majority of us who are only able to fish at the weekends it has been hit and miss at best with the dreaded easterlies seemingly making an appearance most Friday afternoons! That being said here at Bluezone HQ we have had more than enough to keep us busy in the meantime. Our website is now fully up and running and we have a constant stream of new tackle items being added to the site. Among the new arrivals was a range of LRF and light game tackle from Sasame that is branded under the name Junglegym. While Neil is predominantly a boat angler I’m a lure fisherman at heart so I was certainly intrigued by this innovative range, as were several other anglers who we work with.

As I understand, the Junglegym brand is quite big in Japan but as is usually the way it has taken some time for it to filter its way over to us. The cat is out of the bag now though and we’re pleased to say we have the full range in stock and there’s more on its way from Japan too, including some exciting new mini 3-5g LRF casting jigs from SHOUT – but more on them once they arrive!

Anyway back to the fishing…we met up with Ant Glascoe Jr from Savage Gear at the opening of the new Gerrys Of Morecambe store last month. As you may or may not know Ant is a Savage Gear consultant and knows a thing or two about catching big predatory fish. Well that’s kind of got to be on your CV to be employed by Savage Gear I think! We loaded Ant up with some of the new gear and here’s what he had to say after using it on a recent Perch expedition.


A real killer combo for Perch, perfect for keeping your Lures close to the snags. Getting some great results on the Beans! the stoppers act as a bolt rig and no need to strike. The Savage Gear 3D Bleak Real Tail is a perfect combo, for dormant Perch this rig is kept and controlled close hard on the bottom.
Ant Glascoe JR


You can see the way Ant has rigged his lure and the extra freedom of movement offered to it as a result of the ring on the hook. Another thing I like about the Ring Rockers is the relatively wide gape of these hooks once they have been rigged weedless. When fishing for Pike and Perch you do need that extra gape to push through the body of the plastic to give yourself a better chance of hooking up. I’m still yet to use these hooks sea fishing but looking at the rigging of this it looks killer for Wrasse and Bass to me and the finer wired versions go as small as size 6 which would suit LRF styles very nicely.

Ant hasn’t been alone in testing out these new rigging systems as I’ve also been out and about targeting Pike on the River Exe and Exeter Canal. I switched the Ring Rockers to Tenka trebles and combined these with the Beans sinkers. They are a great way of adding weight to the lure when you’re fishing into weed and want to move away from standard jig head presentations. The fact there’s sizes from 3.5g right up to 28g means you can find the perfect weight required to slowly sink your plastic lure. It’s simple to set up too you simply slide the wire through the slot on the sinker above your clip and then reattach your clip, incidentally there is even a Clip in the range to go with it!


I found the sinker actually locks into place onto the crimped loop on the wire so there isn’t need for a Stopper like you do with mono/flurocarbon Perch set-ups. I have been targeting the Exeter Canal which is notoriously deep and quite weedy at this time of the year so this approach has been working well. The Pike here seem to like big plastic lures presented deep and on a slow retrieve. I have found the actual lure choice to be less important than the method in which it is retrieved. Too fast and you’ll simply pull it past them and not fast enough and you will snag the weed, It takes some practice but making sure your lure is the correct weight will certainly make it easier!

Here’s a nice double figured Pike caught at night on a slow retrieved Twin Tail, rigged with a single size 6 Tenka Treble.

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With excellent Pike fishing on my doorstep I’d almost given no thought to the start of the Bass season. With lots of reports of decent Bass now being caught I know deep down it’s time to switch species so I’ll be targeting Bass over the next few weeks while testing and reviewing the new products arriving in our warehouse.

Until next time, tight lines all!

Bluezone Team members take 1st and 2nd place at EFSA 2015 German Championships!

This Wednesday the EFSA German Championships were held out of Northney Marina, Hayling Island. This annual 2 day event which is held in different countries each year sees German anglers travelling to compete against England in a species hunt. With a poor forecast it was a challenge to find sheltered ground as conditions certainly left a lot to be desired. Strong Southerly winds on the first day meant the boats were forced to seek what shelter they could in the shadow of the Isle of Wight.

I caught up with EFSA England’s Ray Barron who took 1st place at the event after boating a total of 9 fish on the first day and 17 on day two!


It was tough fishing but luckily conditions did improve on the second day and I was able to catch enough fish to win the event. I had 9 on the first day and the nearest to me had 5, so I was pleased with the result!

Ray was using his Artico X-Power, which is fast making a name for itself as a great all round boat rod as we saw with Jim Whippy’s 20lb Cod a couple weeks back! If you haven’t seen that yet then check out Big Cod on Artico X Power

Ray told me he had the rod closed to its smallest length of 3.0m when fishing for the larger species such as Thornbacks and Smoothhound but then fully extended it to 3.8m to fish for the smaller species. Ray explained that he did this as the extra length enabled him better bite detection from the smaller fish such as Wrasse and Bream. A crafty tactic that enabled him to switch styles very quickly which could have been key to his success in the event.

Hook choice were Sasame’s F-955 Worm in size 2 and the F-724 Chinu ringed in size 4, used to present Mackerel, Squid and worm baits which were used by all the competitors.

Second place in the event was secured by EFSA England’s Perry Dack who used an Artico LA150 which is a rod designed for exactly these kind of events. Again being extendable Perry was able to increase the range he needed to fish. Top fishing to the pair of them!