Wednesday, 29 June 2011

29/6/11 Mullet Before Teatime.........

I was chatting to Andy the other day and he mentioned that he was feeling a bit' fished out'.
I do understand what he means. Sometimes you can just do a bit too much fishing.....................What on Earth am I talking about! 
 However, this afternoon, feeling more than a little knackered, having helped the Mrs at her new allotment, I did have to make the effort a bit and drag myself out for a short session before tea time. I'd intended to nip over to the boat to do 'stuff', and fish for mullet on the west bank but, as i drove over the bridge, I spied Drew bending over in the mud obviously doing a bit of crabbing, in the distance. A quick U turn and I was back on the east side of the river Initially just to have a chat with my buddy.
Andy has been getting more than his fair share of hounds , the past couple of nights, from our local beaches which is why he was chasing the pincered ones. A few mullet were showing in swims nearby, so I decided to grab my gear , and stay in the area.
First trot down to a group of fish produced a missed bite. 'That would have Impressed him', I thought to myself. Second trot , I didn't miss the bite and out came this little mullet of probably and pound and a half. Splendid.

After losing one a few minutes later, the tide had gone slack, we'd moved downstream chasing whelms and I was starting to get some very finicky bites which I thought were the usual tiddler mullet. Eventually the float did bury itself properly and the culprit was this little 'fatty' at 3-06.
Job done and home for tea.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

28/6/11 Stormy Weather-Eastborough Bank

1000-1300  HW 0946 4.7m

Eastborough Head buoy is , I've been told, 9 miles out from L.A. I prefer to think of it as about 7 1/2 nautical miles as It doesn't sound so scary!
I whizzed out there at breakneck speed on a flat sea, stopping for some mackerel about half way and noticing a couple of charters doing some drifting over , what might possibly have been, East Ditch (mental note made).
Arriving at the mark, that eerie bell on the buoy was clanging away so I decided to anchor up on the sandbank in 35ft, far enough away to be just out of earshot. Mackerel flapper on 10/0 circle on the heavy, and fillet on 6/0 on the light.
It didn't take long for bites to materialise and start up was this ten pound small eyed ray which I had to photograph, In order to to identify, as it's a first for me.

Next up was the tope(double plus) which I successfully managed to release at the side of the boat with a simple twist of the long nosed pliers .I love  tope, and will be spending a lot more time (and money in fuel) targeting these spectacular fish.Remember so far, I've only had doubles which in the grand scheme of things are mere 'tiddlers' , but they've been tremendous fun.
A few bumps occasionally signalled something small was attacking the flapper baits but a more significant thump had me giving slack line, and eventually connecting with this nice bass of  6 1/2 lb and my first decent example on the boat.
She scared me a little when she went back as i think I shocked her a bit by managing to drop her in the sea from the weigh bag.She floated along on the tide belly up for a while but, eventually I was hugely relieved to see a  kick of her tail....and she was off.
All the above came to the flapper bait with the circle hook , and all three were cleanly hooked, and easily unhooked and released. I'm definitely going to develop my fishing with these hooks as It does make life so much easier....................................and long as I can remember not to strike!
A doggie came to the light rod but then the wind whipped up a little, and a storm complete with thunder and forked lightning looked imminent, so I chickened out, and hi-tailed it home in order to make the tide at the entrance, tucking under the cuddy to shelter from the deluge in the process.Only my back got wet.
 Ted was out over the Spur and had decided to do the same thing at the same time so we met at the river mouth and motored in together. It must have looked pretty cool- the brace of 520's
Made the bar o.k but didn't quite make the mooring and had to return later this evening to move , and spruce her up.

Monday, 27 June 2011

26/6/11 Fishing With Jack-Black Ledge, East Ditch.

0900-1630  HW  0751 4.3m

I've been waiting to take my son, Jack out for a fishing trip in my boat for a long time and as he was visiting this week-end, and the weather was perfect, It gave us an ideal opportunity.
I had taken him fishing before when he was a youngster, but he didn't really take to it although he does like to do a bit from a kayak near to his Devon home and has had some success with bass and mackerel. I think, like a lot of non anglers, he only sees a point to it if you've got a chance of taking something for the pot which is fair enough.
When we arrived at the marina it was engulfed in thick fog and, If it wasn't for the fact that a few boats were already missing from their moorings, I may have been a little bit dubious about going out in such conditions. Jack didn't seem to be bothered and, as the sea was calm, we headed off anyway thinking that the sun would soon burn off the gloom.
First stop was just east of The Winter Knoll where Jack dropped a set of feathers down for some bait and within a few minutes he'd landed more mackerel than he'd ever caught in all his combined fishing trips of the past. The shoals were clearly showing up on the sounder and, some nice joey sized ones came up too, ideal if kept alive and also perfect pike bait size.
Apparently getting mackerel hasn't been that easy of late so we were a bit fortunate to have stumbled across so many so quickly. We soon had enough so moved on to our first anchor mark at Black Ditch.
A few small bream showed up nipping at the baits with only one, of a couple of pounds, worth taking  but  I caught a thornback of around 5-6lb to add variety. Rather stupidly I poked my finger around in the Thornie's mouth a bit searching for the hook, and paid the price with quite a few nasty lacerations when it decided to clamp on. Lesson learned.
As the tide slackened things quietened down considerably, so we moved to East Ditch-in fact just off the reef proper as there were a few boats about in the still murky conditions. The tide was still slack so I decided to drop over a mackerel flapper on a 6/0.It didn't take long before another thornback came up, but a much better one of about 10lb
followed later by a rather lively tope (around 15lb) also on a flapper(luckily lip hooked), which proved to be quite a handful in the boat.
Jack picked up a doggie but I really wanted him to connect with something decent so rigged him up with a flapper on a 10/0 circle to commercial mono tope rig. This might sound like an extremely big hook but circles are sized quite differently and ,as both the rays had swallowed the 6/0 hooks, I wanted to try and avoid this happening again if possible and also, if tope were about, I didn't want any bite offs.
The flapper worked and before long a tentative bite produced this lovely 14lb undulate neatly hooked in the scissors.
A quick turn of the circle and it dropped out, a far more satisfactory outcome . I shall be using circles a lot more in the future.
The fog did finally burn off giving us a view of the coast but, the boat never quite turned in the tide, as the easterly wind was pushing the hull in the opposite direction, so we packed up and headed home around 4-30, an hour later than planned.
Terrific trip and great to finally do some 'Father and Son 'stuff with Jack who really enjoyed the fishing, and proved to be excellent crew despite having little previous experience.

24/6/11 Blank !

A short mullet session that started at the west bank, and finished down at the black boat shed and not one mullet was even spied let alone caught. It was cold and windy and my heart wasn't really in it but I gave it a go anyway.
Interestingly the following day, I took Jack up the river in the boat for a bit of an explore and the mullet, although a little thin on the ground, were to be found a ways upriver on Barnard's bend, south of Ford and a few on the sewer bend.

Monday, 20 June 2011

20/6/11 Window Of Opportunity...West Ditch

1300-1630  HW 1526  5.5
A brief respite from the recent strong winds saw me heading out to West Ditch today.
To begin with, I just drifted around studying the fish finder and playing with a set of feathers. No mackerel, but a small pollack turned up however, it was more valuable to get an idea of what the ground was like under the boat.
Eventually I anchored her up, though in the slack tide not really where I wanted her. My baits were probably on the edge of the reef.
Light rod on small pieces of cuttle and squid, heavy on whole squid.
Bites were regular throughout the session-the inevitable run of dogfish, small pout, a pollack of a couple of pounds, a couple of smallish bream(bit disappointed by their absence) but cream of the crop-three decent(double figure) smoothound all falling to the whole squid bait which was intended for bass. Even on the heavy outfit, they pulled nicely and were great sport.
A steady swell actually caused me to feel a bit 'Iffy' at one stage and by 1630 the wind picked up a little, it had started to rain, so I headed for home.
It would appear that the bream are thinning out on the reefs now. Apparently they've done their breeding and most will head off into deeper water.

19/6/11 Back For Another Go

I caught my first, and best, tidal river carp in 2006
-a superb 20lb plus common. Since then I've had occasional attempts at trying to catch a few more, usually at the beginning of the coarse fishing season, and with some limited success.
I'm not really an enthusiastic carp angler, and indeed have never pursued the still water variety, but despite not reaching really impressive sizes, river carp do hold a fascination for me.
Dave Nevatt returned to the scene of Friday's carp fest last night and scored with two fish. I could've kicked myself for not joining him but instead, decided I'd try after work this evening.
Tide was ebbing, which is how we like it, but I wasn't that confident that they'd still be around.
To my surprise I picked up a run on the first cast, hooked up, had it on for a few seconds, definitely a carp, and then she was gone. Bugger. Missed my chance again. Fished on into darkness but nothing further happened.
Back to the drawing board for this little project.

Friday, 17 June 2011

17/6/11 Tidal River Carp

 Not really ideal weather for fishing today as it pelted down all day. When I joined Dave on the Adur around lunchtime he'd already had two nice carp to 15lb at low tide from a pre-baited swim and whilst I blanked during the afternoon, he managed another two more to 12lb at the top of the tide.
Lovely, colourful, hard fighting fish and from the same swim where Dave had had similar success, in similar weather conditions some three seasons back. Good on yer mate.
Dave Nevatt joined us for some lively banter whilst we huddled under the brollies, drinking tea and scoffing sausage sandwiches, but by about 1900 we, and the dog, had had enough, were soaked through, and ended the session early.
Great crack to have a social with my mates and well done Dave , yet again, on some excellent river carping.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

16/6/11 Good Move. Tesco's.

1130-1330  HW 1229 5.7
It's the start of the coarse fishing season so what do Dave and me decide to do?..................................Go mullet fishing of course.
Actually It was Dave's idea and I just came along for a couple of hours after finishing my chores. Conditions were again perfect-dull and wet with the river showing plenty of colour from the remains of the ebb. We had to score.
When I arrived Dave was on the mud flats and although a few fish were showing, there weren't enough to fire me up. I suggested a short move upstream to another intertidal mud flat where, from previous experience, I thought the blighters might be hiding.
They were indeed in attendance, in numbers, and in the mood. Dave quietly settled down on the flood defence whilst I paddled out over the sedge trying not to do an impression of a scarecrow.
 My mate got the first and experienced a challenging tussle from a nice fish at 4 3/4lb and shortly after I beached a three pounder to even things up.
Both captures seemed to kill our swims, and the incoming salt water increased visibility sufficiently to curtail any further activity, so we knocked of for lunch.
The coarse fish can wait until tomorrow.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

15/6/11 Tesco's Mullet.

1030-1330  HW 1138 L.A-5.6m
Out with Dave today for a spot of HW mulleting on the Tesco's stretch. Conditions were perfect-dull, overcast and with a little drizzle.
Dave had been fishing for an hour or two before I arrived after work and had already reported fish present to me over the phone. He'd lost a fish and it was clear to me that there were plenty still about and they were in feeding mood. I started at the lower end where several fish were whelming and the bites were almost Instantaneous, though difficult to hit in the still water conditions. Eventually I connected, and bagged a two pounder which killed the swim dead.
Repositioning at the top end gave us both ,Impossible to hit bites, but Dave connected with another two pounder and reducing my bait size to a tiny morsel, I landed a huge mullet of about 12oz.I suspect that the small fish were , with their tiny mouths, the cause of all the tricky takes. I've experienced these small mullet on several occasions at slack water and they are always a challenge. Quite why they only appear at this state of the tide is a mystery .

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

14/6/11 Weeded. Charlie's Mark, Black Ledge.

Todays little trip really showed the advantage of having the boat on the mooring. Realistically, I only had about three hours spare from 1030-1330 .
Started off at Charlie's mark or thereabouts, with the intention of trying for some hounds, but began by feathering up a couple of fresh mackerel. Only dogfish showed and the weed was a serious issue perhaps due to the amount of pair trawler activity there is of late.
A move to deeper water was in order and ,looking on the chart plotter, Phil's Skate mark was nearest and only a ten minute run at flat out speed on the calm water.
Anchoring up, I was immediately concerned by some pair trawlers in the vicinity and decided to get out of their way. I settled at Black Ledge for the last couple of hours. It wasn't hectic but I managed bream, dogs, a small thornback and a bonus spotted ray so, all told, a very pleasant trip out in beautiful weather.

Friday, 10 June 2011

10/6/11 Splendid Isolation..........East Ditch

0900-1400   HW 0630 4.9m
A small window of opportunity in the weather saw me heading out today solo to the East Ditch where Alex had reported some good fishing  earlier in the week.
Although I do enjoy fishing with other people and Indeed have a really good group of close  buddies,  I still prefer to go it alone sometimes. I enjoy my own company and the freedom to make my own choices and try my own experiments.There's also something quite exiting about being four miles out,on an open sea, in a small boat, all on 'yer todd'
I wasn't entirely alone on East Ditch.When I arrived Ted was already in position in his 520 albeit , a quarter of a mile away from my chosen mark. We had a chat on channel 8, and I continued to monitor other boats on this wavelength which proved to be very useful and somewhat entertaining due to the lively banter.
Nobody was catching that much on this small tide and Indeed my own mark was proving to be a bit slow . A few small bream and dozens of nuisance pout, one of which was tried as a livebait, showed early on and over the slack water period very little happened at all. I decided that, as everyone else seemed to be in the same boat, I'd be patient stick to the mark and see what developed. This paid off as eventually a wave of really good sized (2-3lb) bream came through and I managed to bag a couple before the wind kicked up (18mph) and I was forced to return home.I'd managed to dodge some pretty hairy weather all morning.
Met up with a few new faces in the marina Including 'Pinchers' and Les(who worryingly recognised me from a pike pic on the net) and neighbouring owner Brian who'd actually had some really good bream and a double figure bass on the Kingmere. Most boats however,returned pretty average catches so I wasn't too disappointed with my own results.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

9/6/11 Another Quickie.

A Similar sort of post work session to yesterday, in similarly windy, bright conditions, although I did spend a bit more time trying to unsuccessfully locate some fish today in the murky water. In the end I settled for fishing blind in yesterday's swim but to no avail.A short move upstream to another promontory produced a bite and a dropped fish just as I was ready to call it quits.
Of course I had to hang on a little longer, despite the advancing flood, and yet another tentative bite produced this sparkling three pounder which initially surprised me with a powerful mid river run.I must be out of practice with these mullet to allow such relatively average fish take command but, after turning her head, she glided in to the bank quite easily.Job done.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

8/6/11 A Beautiful Brace...............West Bank.

With my recent enthusiasm for Inshore boat fishing, I've rather neglected the mullet fishing on the river so far this summer.Today however, with winds reaching 30 mph on the anemometer, and some pretty spectacular seas out back, there was absolutely no chance of playing Captain Pugwash so, I decided to nip up the river for a bank session, having finished my extra work around lunch time.( I've now got to find the money for the mooring fees)
The tide was bottoming out, and the water was showing quite a thick 'mustardy' colour with low visibility which is just how I like it. Parking up at the marina (goes with the mooring) I walked up the west bank which was quite sheltered from the strong south westerly wind. Peering into the murky water , I just managed to glimpse one fish in the shallows.
That was enough evidence for me. They were there and I'd been given the mark.
Within minutes of the mash working it's magic, I'd hooked a small mullet which was on for just a few seconds leaving a  scale on the otherwise bare hook.I hadn't disturbed the swim, so in with a spoonful of mash which was immediately followed by a sizable whelm indicating that they were still around.
Ten minutes later ,after a positive bite, I was in again and this one was not going to break free.The mullet put a nice bend in the 'Preston' and quickly took me out to the centre of the river, but as the tide was only just beginning to flood and there was barely any noticable flow , this wasn't too much of a problem and I soon gained control and beached a nice fish at 4-06.
I'm finding beaching  far less dicey than netting, and am doing it a lot with recent mullet.As long as the margins are relatively snag free, and there is a comfortable surface on which to drag the fish it beats messing around with a landing net which is only really needed to weigh the fish.
As time was limited ,and once again the fish was played away from the take zone, I decided to stick it out in the same spot. This was to pay off in twenty minutes or so but the next bite was hardly a bite at all.The float barely moved, and then stayed partially submerged for a few seconds before I decide to strike and hit home run.
Another spirited fight ensued but it was obvious that this was a slightly more powerful mullet. It came in at 5-02 and rounded off the session nicely.Another beautiful fish  in pristine, scale perfect condition as can be seen if you open up the pic.
 The flood proper kicked in , I was hungry so called it a day.I'd only been fishing for an hour.Wouldn't it be nice If mulleting was always like this.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

2/6/11 Scooby's Got a New Home.....Charlie's Mark

Trailering the Orkney and launching it from the slipway in Littlehampton hasn't proved to be too much of a problem but, it does involve  having someone else along to help out which isn't always possible. Also, it's quite a time consuming operation and requires me to run a 4WD vehicle, essential if I'm to get the boat in and out at any time of tide.
I thought about it for about five minutes....and then dived straight in.Rent a hole in the water at Littlehampton Marina....and flog the Pajero.The cost of running the truck won't cover the cost of an annual mooring, but it'll go some way ,especially as I've chosen the cheaper option of a restricted mooring which dries at low water.
I'll need to be a little more mindful of timing my trips but, the boat should get a lot more use and I'll be able to go out on my own on short little outings when the conditions are favourable.When I do need to get her out for cleaning, which will be a regular occurance until I anti-foul her, with careful timing, I can use the camper which also has a tow hitch.
I dropped the boat in on Tuesday,parted with my 'hard earned',was shown to my mooring and the smallest boat in the marina was ready to go. Today Thursday,I had a couple of spare hours so I tested her out on a short solo trip just a mile or two offshore, trying firstly to find the Frode wreck(unsuccessfully),feather up a couple of mackerel, and then fished at anchor for 45 minutes near Charlie's mark, which gave a me a doggie and a nice scraper double smoothound on squid.Solo photography is not going to be easy!
The boat really flew on the flat water with just me on board(17kts ground speed recorded), helped no doubt by leaving the second engine behind as well.The engine is faulty at the moment but will be returned to the transom when fixed and will probably help with weight distribution when I'm running solo as it lives on the port side, and the helm is on the starboard .
Popped back in with three hours left until LW but , could have left it a bit longer if necessary but i'm still learning.A six hour trip is about optimum.
Had a quick word with Ted who was on his Orkney at the Arun View on the way in and it was nice to thank him in person, and from my boat, for the help he's given me.The whole operation was very easy and convenient so we'll have to see how things pan out and how often the boat get's used.

1/6/11 A Day Out On the Fairy.

Had a long day out today on Rusty's boat -The Sea Fairy.
We started on a reef mark which fished a bit slow in general.However, a few bream, doggies, hounds, wrasse, pout came up to the boat before we decided on a move away out west to a sand bank.Drifting with mackerel lasks intended for turbot produced this fluke bass for me, plus small tope and a thornback for the skipper , but still it was hard fishing.
Third location was a very shallow reef clearly marked by turbulent over falls. Russ lost a really nice bass here on a pirk, and apart from a pollack-nothing else showed its face.A few mackerel sprinkled in for good measure gave us ten species for the day but, the wind really ground us down and I think we were both relieved to get in after being out for a whole tide cycle.
A day of experimentation and lots learned.