Flounder on Baited Metal

Enjoyed the Cornish Lure Festival 2022, as we always do.

This year it was just myself and Dan that travelled down together to compete in the Species Hunt category. This event seemed to reignite a lot of love for the CLF among the LRF community and there was quite a bit of buzz ahead of the weekend’s fishing. Most of the excitement was due to a new format and a dedicated head-to-head match in Falmouth, planned for the Saturday (CLF starts on Friday and ends on the Sunday at noon).

This posed an immediate challenge compared to previous years as we needed to be in Falmouth slap-bang in the centre of the weekend. It limited the areas we could fish or we would end up spending too much time travelling. It was a change of plan from normal. We focused on a couple of venues that we knew would hold a lot of different species, and avoided visiting specific spots for specific fish. In the main, this strategy worked and we started ticking off our targets.

Whether it was because we focused on a single spot without the usual time pressures, or whether it was because it was October (we’ve never fished CLF in October before), I don’t know, but things went pretty well, if not a bit predictable in the acquired species. Definitely the easiest we’ve managed to tick off the pelagic species to date. The only real highlight was spotting my first, active Topknot. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to identify that fact at the time. Only half an hour later, once the penny dropped on what I’d been observing (from some distance away). A missed opportunity, but one of the highlights of the weekend.

Another highlight was Dan and I working as a team. Again, I don’t know if this was because it was October, or because it was just two of us this time around, but we managed to stay neck-and-neck with each other right up to the end of fishing on Friday night. I think we ended on 11. With pelagics and Scorpos done it felt positive starting the second day.

We got thrown off our second mark. But not before I had secured a Black Bream. The bummer was Dan didn’t secure his before our unplanned exit. He most definitely would have. Getting derailed so early wasn’t the best start to Saturday. Apart from the bream we didn’t add anything ahead of the Falmouth event at noon.

I’m going to skip over the Falmouth event here as I’m still in two minds as to whether I enjoyed it or not. Lots of people did. It was a well planned and well executed event on every level. I just don’t like Falmouth. I didn’t like it before this event, and I don’t like it any more now. Having said that, it’s hard to remain quite as cold to the venue after seeing four fish caught that would be lifers for me – a Clingfish, Couches Bream, Ringneck Blenny and a Painted Goby. The Painted Goby being caught by myself and adding a life tick. Maybe I’ll soften!

During the Falmouth comp I added Shanny, Tompot Blenny and Sand Smelt to my weekend tally, taking me to 15.

We were faced with an unexpectedly blustery day on the Saturday. At our planned venue we were faced with almost violent sea conditions making fishing almost impossible with LRF gear. But I did snag a Flounder before getting kicked off my second venue of the weekend!

We ended up at a mark we’d not fished before, with a number of other LRFers before making our way to the ‘weigh-in’. I ended on 16 species, which equals my previous best, effectively in less time (due to the Falmouth comp). So I’m very happy with that performance. It was odd we didn’t stumble across any bonuses over the weekend (Painted Goby aside) but that’s species hunting.

Having had a few years out from this competition it was great to see so many new faces. Especially some younger ones. Great to see the enthusiasm. Can’t wait for next year.