Saturday, 30 April 2011

29/4/11 Breaming. Frode,East Ditch,Phil's Skate Mark.

  0930-1715  HW 0955 4.7m
Due to the changing northerly winds this trip was a bit of a last minute decision .Windguru seems to be all over the place with it's forecasts so I relied on what I could see at the back of the house to make my decision.
We started by heading to the Frode, and once again attempt to locate what, I think , is it's boiler, which we found on a previous trip.Several passes were made of both the wreck and 'boiler' numbers, but to no avail.We tried drifting with lures and a bold mackerel took my 'norden' so It was on with a set of feathers and In no time at all I had half a dozen or so of the critters on board.
With nothing further showing, we decided to relocate to a new mark -East Ditch. On arriving an Orkney Day Angler was drifting the mark,fishing float fished live mackerel and spinning. I called 'Laure Anne' up on the radio and skipper Clive, who was extremely friendly,came over for a chat and gave us a couple of pointers.
50yds north of us were some big pinnacles which fished well for bream on the bigger tides, and 'our spot' , on a down ward slope, was a good smoothound mark.
It took a while for things to get moving but when it did, we were into some excellent bream fishing. I'm not quite sure how many we landed-possibly 40 odd, and we had some really good sized fish among them .Plenty in the two pound bracket and topped by a 'three' for Andy, all on squid baits.
The bream seemed to dominate the show and, apart from a couple of pout and dogs to Andy, a dog and a garfish for me, no other species showed up.The wind backed right off  and it got very warm in the middle of the day but it wouldn't last.
As the tide turned we decided on a move but not before we had a difficult time retrieving the grapnel. The boat wouldn't shift it and eventually we both had to haul it up by hand.It had become snagged in , what looked like, an old gill net  complete with a tangled mess of rope which weighed a ton.I did eventually manage to free it hanging precariously over the bow and the great 'lump' fell from sight , returning to the depths.
Our last mark was 'Phil's Skate Mark' and by then the wind had picked up to a Force 4, with white tops showing.I was a little apprehensive continually monitoring the wind's strength on my anemometer. The boat, however, took it all in it's stride and not once did we feel threatened. A few more bream showed Immediately and then, just by way of a change, I landed a nice little spotted ray to finish off the day.
We upped anchor, without a problem this time, at 1715 and bumped our way in at 9-10 knots with the cuddy fending off the worst of the spray.An exhilarating ride home but, It was a pleasant feeling to be motoring on the flat calm water once we'd finally reached the river mouth.

Friday, 22 April 2011

21/4/11 Undulation.....The Edge, Kingmere Spur Wreck.

Back out again today in the unseasonably fine weather and headed Immediately for the Edge where we soon picked up a few small hounds and bream and Andy added a couple of dogs, which I cleverly avoided, to the tally.
In general a few more fish came to the boat than yesterday but,highlight was me finally getting a double figure Undulate which I've managed to find for my crew on recent trips but have been unlucky enough not to connect with myself.Got it on the light rod with a size 4 bream hook but it gave no real trouble although it wasn't the prettiest Undulate that's been aboard.Andy added a dab and garfish for variety but meanwhile over on black ledge, Rusty was doing a little better with the bream.
The tide still gave us a bit of trouble as It increased in strength, although a few bream were still showing up,but we decided to relocate to the Kingmere Spur and drift with gills.Nothing really happened until we closed in on the wreck when we both seized a pollack each, and I managed to add a codling and mackerel both of which were previously spotted on the sounder.
No calamities today although I did manage to 'litter' the 'spur' with a home made dan buoy that simply didn't work and sunk never to be seen again-maybe it'll turn up-back to the drawing board on this one.

1100-1730  HW 1429 -6.0

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

20/4/11 BIG tide. Edge,Kingmere

HW- 1344 6.1m  fishing time   1130-1700

Took Rusty out with me today for his first outing on my boat and learnt a little about big tides.Forgive the pun.
WE started the day drifting on Nordens down at the spur wreck where I nicked a nice 3lb pollack which I wished I'd taken a pic of as It's colours were outstanding.Nothing much more happened so we relocated at the edge where I had sport with bream and rusty picked up small hounds and dogs.The big tide proved to be too much of a handful and we found it difficult to keep our baits down on the bottom and get any sort of bites.
After a while we decided to have another go at drifting and selected the mid reef near some pots- an area showing some big pinnacles, but apart from another pollack to my rod on a white sidewinder little else showed.
We finished up back at the Edge which produced another couple of bream to my rod including a 2 pounder taken for tea(see before and after pics), and a fine double figure Undulate to my crew.
A little less fish, and a bit more difficult than recent trips but still-good fishing.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

15/4/11 Hectic Fishing..Frode, The Edge.

Favourable weather conditions allowed Andy and me another chance to get out in the boat today and we'd planned an early start at the slipway for just after 7-00am.Unfortunately,after launching, I struggled to start the engine and when it did eventually run, proceeded to cut out just as we were leaving the harbour entrance-not the best place to have a problem with your boat as expressed by the look on Andy's face when the motor died (priceless).
I did manage to get her running again but, decided to recover the boat , and return home to fix the problem with a full tool kit, which I assumed to be a blocked fuel line. Imagine my embarrassment when, on arriving back at the house, I found that I'd connected the fuel line the wrong way round after recently refuelling the tank. (What a Pillock!)Still, I won't be doing that again in a hurry so, lesson learnt.Drew put it down to a senior moment now that I've entered the 'saga' zone.........cheeky pup!
Anyway, back to the slip and we were on our way out again by 9-00 and heading to the Frode in an attempt to firstly, find the wreck, and drift over it with gills and jigs.I managed to catch a couple of garfish here, one actually taking the jig, but no bass,our target,were forthcoming.
We did however,stumble across a prominent feature, probably the wreck's boiler , but difficult to say as there is debris scattered over a wide area of the sea bed.The sounder showed a lot of fish on it's lee side but, although marking it as a waypoint on the gps(001), despite several attempts, we failed to find it a second time. It would be worth returning to this mark in the future with a dan buoy.
Next step in the plan was to head for the Kingmere and do a spot of bream fishing at anchor.So many boats, ten in total, were concentrated on the west of the reef, that it proved too much of a temptation not to join them,however as it was the first time I'd ever anchored with the grapnel,I was concerned about getting too cosy so we decided to keep to our own space and fish an area that appeared to be just off the reef on rough ground.I'm not sure where this 'tip' came from but, it would prove to be a wise move.
I needn't have worried about the grapnel as, having paid out the correct amount of line, she held fast in the now strongly ebbing tide.Bait was squid, in various portion sizes and,I opted to use a double pat rig with size 4 hooks on the 12/20 for the bream,a larger single hook running rig on the 20/30, and was soon into the bites......and the fish.What followed was some of the most hectic fishing I've ever experienced and some superb fish came to the boat.
I did well hitting the bream bites taking a good bag of fish including a couple of  two pounders and a pb of 2-14 and the odd mackerel and garfish also hit the rig on the way down. I also hit smoothounds to about 7lb, plenty of dogs, and tiny thornback and an equally tiny plaice.
Andy was 'king of the rays' taking two 11lb undulates(beautifully marked rays), nice thornback and I believe his first ever spotted ray.He also did well with the dogs and hounds with a highlight of a double figure hound on his spinning rod giving him a tremendous battle.
As the tide slackened the fishing slowed a little and I chose to feather up a few more mackerel for bait and food purposes. Back on the baits once the flood kicked in, and the bream seemed to be less common(possibly different ground make up) but sport continued with the dogs and hounds.
At times it was difficult looking after two rods each,and we rarely had a quiet moment for a coffee and a sarnie so by 5-30 , both of us being fair knackered(charter skippers must sleep well), we called a halt to proceedings and headed ashore with some of the 'fleet' as the tide gave enough depth at the river entrance for safe passage.It was very interesting to watch 'spirit' crawl slowly through the river mouth at a snail's pace, but the sounder revealed the reason why-only 4 to 5ft showing in places.
 I chose not to use the Alderney ring with the grapnel beacause of possible snagging but, it proved to be an easy weight to haul and not too difficult to dislodge. Depth of water ranged from 40-50ft.
We had prepared for quite low temperatures but in the afternoon the sun broke through and it actually became quite warm-enough to give us both quite a tan on our mugs.Sea state was 'mill pond ' calm, ruffling up a bit with a slight afternoon breeze.
We must have had a hundred fish to the boat and  nine different species and it was particularly interesting to see the division of species between us. I hammered the bream but fared less well on the rays which Andy's baits excelled at attracting.At the end of the day it's what comes to the boat that counts and I was extremely pleased with the results.
So a truly fantastic day's fishing, the best in fact that either of us had experienced on an Inshore boat and a nice contrast,species and methods wise, to last week's outing.Two very good trips and this little boat is proving to be a lot of fun.
Naturally the mark was noted on the plotter for a future visit and shall henceforth be known as 'The Edge'

HW 0942   5.2m

Thursday, 7 April 2011

7/4/11 Drifting ...............Kingmere East

A few days ago Andy and me had a fruitless attempt to catch a bass from, quite nice surf, at the river mouth . To be fair, it's still a little early for this sort of caper.
The surf is no more, and warm calm days have been the nature of recent weather so it was time to get out in the boat and hunt bass.Apart from a couple of winter launches where, to be honest, I was just messing around learning to handle the boat and it's associated kit, this is the first 'proper' sea fishing trip that I've done having now had the tub parked on my drive for over six months. Hopefully, I'll build up my confidence over the summer and be able to extend my  'sea' season well into the winter months this year.
With a high water at 1400, we launched from the slip at about 1030 and headed out to the Kingmere reef, and in particular the 'bass drift' mark.Several boats were present when we arrived Including three rod and line commercials, and 'Spirit of Arun' all fishing artificials , and not an anchor rope in sight.
I was reluctant to get too close to the fleet, so we  decided to sit back and watch and choose our own spot.Heading for a group of 'working ' birds and starting on a 60g Norden pirk converted with a circle hook, I soon had a thump and the first bass to the boat- the tiddler of about a pound in the picture.Three more quickly followed to 3lb, plus a bonus pollack, and Andy's shad also produced a nice fish of around the same size.
As the tide slowed we decided to move to the 'Spur wreck' where we picked up a handful of pollack to three pounds, and a tiny,  but feisty codling all on white 115 redgills.
We finished the day joining up with the commercials,and taking our turn in a very organised and well mannered short drift taking a few more small bass.Moving a short distance away to do our own thing,a huge shoal of larger fish suddenly appeared at the surface and Andy watched one take his white gill right in front of our eyes. A really good fish of between 6-7lb (he actually forgot to weigh it)that gave him an epic scrap on his light spinning rod and new £13 'lidl reel' (bargain)and allowed me the chance to christen my new boat net.By the time we'd dealt with that bass the shoal had completely disappeared.
We called it a day shortly after at about 4-30 having had a terrific sun soaked session and taking a small bass each, from the dozen or so caught, for the pot.Had mine for tea baked with a knob of butter.
I couldn't help failing to notice that, both the commercials, and Spirit's crew, were kitted out with multi gill rigs probably weighted with a pirk, and were sometimes bagging up.It was interesting to see how the boats shadowed Spirit, and that when a shoal was located, how tightly packed both the fish and boats were.In the end we took advantage of this ourselves.
I enjoyed the drifting Immensely, and the GPS wasn't that difficult to get to grips enabling us to  accurately repeat drifts, even when we were on our own.So, a few more trips out like this wouldn't go amiss.
HW 1411  5.5m