I took Dave out today for his first go in the boat,to target black bream, despite the weather conditions looking decidedly 'iffy'.
We set of from the slip at about 6-00 a.m following a charter which literally crawled over the bar at the river entrance. It was useful to follow his course, despite the fact that my little boat only draws a few inches and could have 'sailed' through, we waited and watched as he negotiated the shallows keeping close to the West Works, as he exited the river 'proper'.Not surprising really, as the sounder dropped down to 4ft in places, despite being the regulation 'two hours after low....and you can go'.
The wind was already building as we headed out to East Ditch, and by the time we arrived, it had reached well into Force 4 on the anemometer.
East Ditch is approximately 4 nautical miles from Littlehampton. A true reef mark, It Is actually part of the reef system that begins with Bognor rocks in the west, and ends with the famous Kingmere rocks in the east.This can clearly be seen on the Admiralty chart for the area.
After the success of our last bream visit to the mark, I decided to drop the pick in the same spot just off the main reef, which has tackle munching 10ft pinacles in places-easier said than done.Despite the bumpiness, the boat sat well, and Dave hit a nice bream of about 2lb on his first drop, which in effect, was mission accomplished for me.
We continued to catch relatively steadily until a change of tactics to paternoster rig at slack tide, brought in a couple of double shots for me. Obviously having the baits just slightly up in the water made a difference as the bream tend to leave the bottom at slack tide.
On the flood the wind had been going with the tide, but as the slack set in the conditions had deteriorated (18 mph gusts), and become uncomfortable enough for me to decide to call it a day and head ashore at about 9-00a.m.
The boat could handle it but Dave admitted to me later that he was starting to 'feel it' a bit and I really didn't want to put my mate off coming out again.We'd caught about 12-15 bream, with a couple of 2lb bracket 'clonkers' and a solitary minuscule pouting.Interestingly, we counted about 13 vessels on the distant Black Ledge but, as we later found out, a good number of those boats were the L.A boat fishing club out on a 'jolly'.
The journey back was 'interesting' , max speed about 9kts and spray flying everywhere- I loved it.. and the boat didn't seem to mind.Back home for a cuppa and a sarnie until 1300 ,by which time the wind had dropped off nicely (law of the sod) then it was time for the back up plan.A trip up the river for that first mullet, this time with feet firmly on terra firma....well, mud actually.
I'd been disappointed to lose that first mullet last week although, Andy had returned to 'The Wall' on the following tide and scored his first of the year.Now it was my turn.
Tortington was the choice, but despite seeing numbers of mullet last week, few were showing on our arrival, and the tide hadn't really ebbed enough for my liking.We did manage to scramble down the bank and find a tiny section of mud on which to park ourselves and trot in the pacey flow. I did spot a couple of fish close in, though at that time, well downstream.
The mashed bread must have reached them however, because ten minutes after starting, my float buried , and I'd soon landed my first mullet of the year- a modest specimen of 2-12.
Nothing else showed so we relocated to a 'banker' back eddy at 'Tesco's'. I didn't fish but instead, kept Dave's swim, and a couple of mullet, supplied with mash, but despite one obvious bite, we couldn't level the score for my mate.
Back home around 1700, feeling somewhat 'knackered' by the day's events.