Clear sky, majestic sun setting behind the horizon and murmur of sea waves… actually more of a rumble of sea waves, caused by gusty, north wind. Even standing right by another person you needed to scream in order to be heard. Did I mention yet the temperature of roughly 10C? I was having hard time figuring whether these are precisely conditions that you need to properly test the gear, or the ones that should make you abandon even thinking about it. Nonetheless we got to the shore with a great team and even if it was raining, it would not have stopped us! We wanted to test our new products and we were ready for sea trials, though a more proper term in this case would be a marine proving ground.
The plan was simple: two first days were to be dedicated to surfcasting. Since this season you can purchase first series of surfcasting gear branded by Mikado. There is a wide variety of hooks, leaders, rids, balls, beads, sequins and snaps in the range. On top of that there are new reels like Litus and Estoril and a top-shelf pole Surf Max. Our guides through the “marine bottom angling” world, were our three, local plucky team members that prove themselves every single contest they take part in, at the same time showcasing how reliable our equipment really is. I won’t even continue writing about that any more, as to list all the successes of theirs, all the prizes and medals they gathered – I would need to add at least a few dozens of lines to this article, that was supposed to be about garfish angling. We will get back to their successes in a separate article.
There is one proper method to catch a garfish – spinning. It is a worthy opponent that provides lots of excitement during hauling. It might not be a really large fish, yet if you haven’t had a chance to duel with it before, trust me – it does not give up easily. Its impressive leaps above the surface require lots of skill and cold blood. The equipment plays quite an important role here too. It has to be strong and allow to load it up with up to 40 g worth of lures on one hand, on the other it needs to absorb all the tricks that, in a way cute, fish has in its sleeve. While gathering all the gear for the trip, we unanimously agreed that we should pick the Excellence Sea Trout rods, as they will cope with the challenge best. They were effortlessly delivering spoons as heavy as 30 or 40 g into really far spots. There was no point, really to try to use lighter ones in such conditions. Main lures that we decide to go for were the Belona spoons. They are designed particularly for the short time when those fish (belona is the Polish name of the Garfish) show up in Polish coastal waters. What makes them so special? It surely is their slender shape and size of the treble hook, that are smaller than what we would normally use with such a lure. Its another advantage is a fact that the mentioned treble hook is distanced form the lure with a piece of fluorocarbon. Such a construction allows to steadily strike the attacking fish and pierce through its long and narrow mouth. Then there were the never-failing Black Crystal reels with an… yes – you guessed it: Octa spooled on it. You know quite well by now that we are addicted to it.;-) Given the strong wind and high waves, I cannot imagine using a line other than a thin braid that allows to cast far. Lack of any stretch provided 100% control over baits and strikes. The entire set was topped up with a fluorocarbon Prime with a Mikado Snap tied to it (you HAVE TO try it – there will be no coming back though).
Since we are done with a gear description, it is high time to get back to what we all waited for – sea spinning. After quick rigging, we jumped into our waders set off to the sea. First strikes taught us that it won’t be easy and that you need to try hard in order to succeed in such conditions. Angling was hard – there were no strikes at all at the beginning. We even started to wonder if the locals are not right, saying that there is absolutely no chance to catch a single garfish from a shore with such a wave. The only issue was that you could forget about leaving the port on a boat in such weather. There was no other way to do it – we needed to keep going. Eventually, our effort got rewarded and a first garfish was caught. Then another one and another. After briefly 30-40 mins each of us had at least one fish scored.
After return to the camp and a quick meal, the crew began preparations for the evening barbeque. Mikado Fishing Team, besides angling, also likes to integrate. I was not meant to get warm by the heat of a burning coal. Marcin checked the weather forecast and noticed that there will be a window between 20:00 and 21:00 with some calmer wind. We could not miss that. Our, still wet, waders got back to the trunk, while we – dressed up in warm thermo, got into the car. The fishery was 30 minutes driving away so we had maximum 1-hour fishing. It definitely was worth it. Even though calmer wind was still stronger than during the day, we caught two more garfish, this time exceeding 75 cm of length. Those experiences made us sure that, despite harsh conditions and lack of any chance to catch a single fish in opinion of local anglers, the persistence and strong will are being rewarded with beautiful fish. Another day of sea manoeuvres, welcomed us with clouds and light showers; as is if gale-force-wind and white-water waves weren’t enough already. We were determined, full of optimism and we believed in out gear, that we knew, we could rely on, though. Excellences casted our Belona spoons far past first shoal and the fluorocarbon extension worked well, allowing us to strike all fish with ease. Angling itself seemed very much alike the asp one – far casts and quick lure leading are after all well known to us from lowland rivers. It was not a first time we were wading either. Only the waves seemed to be unfamiliarly big.;)
Garfish are in a class by themselves. Fast, slender… and those eyes you could stare into for hours, if it wasn’t for a fact that we were doing our best to return them back to the sea as quickly as possible. It did bless us with heaps of them, despite being so rough, after all. But don’t believe only what you went through in this article – check out the video and see how did we catch those unusual fish. You will also find there Marcin and Arek telling you in details how did we get ready to catch them. Do it quick, as garfish will shortly depart our waters for many, long months.
Mikado Fishing Team