By way of a change ,I started off by heading out to #6 with the intention of fishing the ebb by drifting feathers to pick up some bait fish to use for bass.After several unproductive runs through and, hearing on the radio that 'Jennifer's Pride ' , also in the locale, was picking up quality bream, I changed tactics and set the pick down on some pretty 'heavy' ground .
It was a wise choice as the action began immediately and once again I soon lost count of the decent sized bream that were coming to the boat, with not one fish below a pound in weight, and most in the 1 1/2 to 2 1/2lb range.
A plucky pouting also showed and this was sent down on a 'portland' rig on a second rod, just in case something bigger with spikes might be around, but this proved to be a fruitless exercise.
As the tide slackened, bites began to slow down eventually grinding to a halt.I experimented with a float rig trotting down last of the tide, and tried drifting again with feathers but to no avail and it seemed to me more productive to spend the 'slack' period, which for some strange reason seemed to last forever on this tide,scanning the area with the sonar.
Eventually, as the tide began it's flood, i settled on an interesting 'lump' to the west of the reef around #5. From the first drop the bream 'kicked off' -mostly males and again, a very good size.I seem to have refined the technique so that the hook up rate to bites is now much improved.Regularly lifting the rig off the bottom invariably induces a take and allowing the bites to develop, rather than wasting time trying to strike at 'taps on the tip' also seems far more productive.Size 1 vikings seem to be the optimum hook size stuffed to the brim with squid strip, and i'm now convinced that Malcolm's (Tropicana) 14mm floating beads , on a longer than usual trace,are making a difference.
Bites did eventually tail off at the mark leaving only a few dogs to 'clean up' however, there was a brief visit by some shoaling fish on the surface causing a bit of a commotion.I didn't find out what they were(mackerel , bass or perhaps even mullet which i've witnessed in similar open sea conditions before) as i couldn't get a lure attached quickly enough before they disappeared. I really must get that spinning rod, fully made up , on board for future outings.
By 6-00p.m the gloom and drizzle had descended upon me and with visibility down to a few hundred yards, a flat calm sea and not another soul in sight,I felt that tremendous thrill of being completely isolated.But there was more than enough water to get over the bar, and time to go home.
I'd had about 30 plus bream, all decent with the best at 2-14. most were returned but a nice box was taken home for friends along with a half full baler of roe-later eaten spread on buttered toast-superb!
I had a little bit of a problem, eventually overcome, as i approached the marina when the engine died, and the warning buzzer sounded. A plastic bag had blocked the cooling intake and the engine had overheated. Luckily no damage was done and at least I know that the warning system works correctly.
Listening to the radio Steve, on Jennifer's Pride had reported poor sport on the flood at #6 so it was lucky that i was restless and moved marks.Over on #12 Neil on 'Spirit' had a 'luring ' crew and had done well with bass including what i believe, at the time of writing, was a double on a mackerel tail bait.Food for thought for the next outing.
On the last trip Dave had mentioned that we probably take for granted the quality of bream fishing that we have over here In Littlehampton. I know no different, so he may have a point but,after my third consecutive bream trip. i'm still enjoying catching these feisty little blighters.
I make no apologies for talking tackle.If Dave Lumb is allowed to mention it on his blog, then I see no reason why I shouldn't do the same.
Having given the Daiwa Kenzaki 12/20 rod a good try out, I decided that it didn't suit me and it's now been sold on and been replaced with a third Sonik SK4-this time an 8/12 lb class version.Not hugely different from the 12/20lb model , it has to be said,but it's a fine light rod especially suited for bream, and bass live bait methods. With the 20/30, which i think will handle anything I'm ever likely to come across out there short of a porbeagle shark(I kid you not)this range of three rods, plus a spinning rod should cover all the angles.
I have tried Dave W's uptider, but it's a little unwieldy in such a confined space and as all the Soniks cast so well anyway, I feel no need to go down that route.
Another L/H Avet SX is also on it's way from the U.S.A to go on the new Sonik,and the Abu 7001 was shifted on 'The Piker's Pit' to fund it (partially).It's a pity that after using the extremely well engineered Avets, other 'lesser' reels are just no fun to use and in fact, I now have only one Abu left-a 6501 that will sit on my light surf rod.
So, the boat fishing kit is pretty much sorted......for the time being.
As for the boat itself, I've made a few changes to the layout in an attempt to better balance the outfit. The auxiliary engine, has been moved under the cuddy in front of the crew seat where it will remain securely strapped to the buoyancy chamber until needed.The second 'bait tank' battery has also been moved up front to the crew locker.
The boat certainly sits better, the weight on the port side balancing out laterally my not inconsiderable frame at the starboard helm....but it hasn't really increased the top speed noticeably.I guess I'm still pushing along the same weight.There may be some hull drag issues but I'll know in a couple of weeks as she's coming out to go up to Scotland.
The bait tank, when in use, will have to remain at the stern, and it's weight when full will mean that any live baiting activities will have to be carried out fishing solo-not an issue as i'm usually out on my own anyway.I tried it next to the crew seat but it just doesn't work. The feed and outlet pipes will not clear the gunwale.
The handrails fitted in the winter give a far more secure feeling when in the cockpit -another fine piece of work from 'Stainless Steve'.
So the boat is now pretty much how I want it and I'll be endeavouring to get as much use out of her as possible over the coming season-hopefully with a few fish on board as well.
0900-1800 HW 0934 5.2M