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