Saturday, 22 December 2012

21/12/12 Missed Again

Wind conditions were marginal today with Windguru reporting knots speeds of just under double figures, and much stronger gusts.I'd contacted Neil 'Spirit Of Arun's skipper the night before, seeking advice, and he encouraged me to brave it as chances to get out were few and far between for the near future.
Target mark was,once again, the '*' with cod in mind. I left the harbour and 0715 and was the first boat on the mark.'Spirit' and 'Lynander' followed shortly and 'Sarah Louise' crept in around mid morning so I was in the right place.
Despite clear sunny weather , the sea was bumpy and the fishing was generally slow, especially on the flood,with the usual channels and dogs showing up. However, I did  have a brief moment of excitement when something bigger hit my cuttle bait and put up a good fight. Rather disappointingly, it turned out to be a small conger and not the hoped for, cod.
By mid afternoon I was getting fidgety and although John's crew (S-L)had caught a cod, i decided to head 'inside' and try one of Phil's marks for an hour or so.
Neil on 'Spirit' left for home unfortunately 'codless' ,but the 'big' news was from Dick on 'Lynander' who's patience had indeed paid off when his crew hauled up a cod of close to 30lb. Dick's own words..'the best fish I've had aboard my boat' .
Sticking with big baits myself, the last cast on 'Phil's' produced this nice spotted ray but i was once again slightly disappointed that I missed out on a cod.
I will crack these fish.
Today's sea was at times, quite rough. conditions that would have been quite uncomfortable in my little Orkney and , especially bearing in mind the distance i travelled (probably over 20 N.Ms) slow going.The Warrior however, took it all in it's stride and i was able to maintain quite high speeds over the chop and still feel very safe.I'm liking this boat a lot.

18/12/12 Cod Quest

My last trip out saw some serious cod activity for John on 'Sarah Louise' with two big fish, in the upper twenties,caught from the '*'.
I'd been advised that today's 5.6m tide might be a little too much for the mark as it's around 70-80 ft deep but, having started out near 'black ledge' and been plagued by channels and dogs, i chose to up anchor and head out there over the slack water period.
Having reached the mark John, was again in attendance and picking up a few of the intended target-big ones too.
Naturally, I just managed to catch more whiting(nicer ones this time to about 2lb) and dogs but another piece of the jigsaw falls into place and , with the extended range available with 'Jupiter', its now feesable to fish these 'far off' places.

13/12/12 No Pike Here.

A very slow days piking indeed, in typical Arun river piking fashion, with not a single take despite having top quality baits and covering quite a bit of ground.
The river was in reasonable condition, although most of the session was on the flooding tide, which I'm not particularly fond of. I can only assume that I didn't put a bait near a pike.Nice day to be out and about though.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

8/12/12 Dogs and Pins

My second run out in the boat and another attempt to tease a cod out of our generally, cod free waters. I joined mates Brian and Allan in the general area of the mud hole, not wishing to venture out too far, and succeeded in catching probably every dogfish and whiting in the sea.
Brian did latch on to a small cod but,it was the same story pretty much everywhere.Even 'Spirit' failed to latch on to a 'greenback' although some neighbours on the 'fishtail' did pick up one or two big cod. It would seem i may need to venture further afield next time.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

4/12/12 A Twenty

It's too windy to go and play with boats so , with dog in tow,I decided to investigate the state of the river following the recent rainfall, and whether it was feesable to have a crack at some pike. Stopping off at a convenient bridge on the journey up, it didn't actually look too bad. It was quite high, but the colour was dropping out so, i decided it was worth a try.
Although a crisp N.W wind was blowing in my face, it made a pleasant change for it not to be raining, and i settled back into the routine that is winter pike fishing on the rivers-not expecting too much, but always anticipating.
I chose to ignore the productive stretch from last season and , having had the luxury of finding a new access point afforded by some rather convenient parking, headed instead for the centre of the stretch.
The first take came on a sardine but unfortunately didn't stay attached for long enough for me to get a look- I suspect an upper single was the culprit and, at least it was an indication that they were feeding.
Very little else happened, as I hopped the rods along, until about lunch time, when the float with a big roach underneath it,  began to fidget.A proper run didn't really materialise, but i quickly tightened up anyway, and immedieately knew that I'd connected with something a bit special.
The pike chose to fight very close to the bank and proved quite lively and difficult to control initially.However, after a couple of aborted attempts to get her netted(one of which was thwarted by the dog wanting to play in the net himself)she slid in and was mine.
Definitely big enough to 'tube' and set up a self take shot with the camera, i weighed her in the net and she went 23lb 2oz .
A truly beautiful pike in tip top condition-my fourth '20' from this river and my biggest for quite a while.( I didn't get a twenty last season)
The dog stayed well clear during the quick photo ceremony, and the pike was duly slipped back successfully, and chose not to hang around in the shallows.
I stayed on for a couple more hours but, the temperature started to drop significantly and anyway, It was 'job done'.A few more like this wouldn't go amiss.

2/12/12 The Christening

With Jupiter safely ensconced on her mooring it was time to take advantage of a window in the weather, and take her out fishing.I still hadn't figured out how to work out how to use her chartplotter but, knowing that my mate Alan was out and about with his fishing club taking part in a comp on a due south bearing from the harbour, i headed out to meet them and get some idea of where i was. Once i'd found them on 'Black Ledge' it was a simple task to find my own spot-the general area where i'd caught last week's cod.
Actually I quickly sussed the GPS and although I didn't have the numbers, it was easy to estimate where to drop the pick down. Rather predictably it was a 'dog fest'on this mark, but i couldn't have cared less. The boat felt secure and had handled well-i was pleased.
Having got bored of the dogs, i decided to head over to #5 and drift for a bass on a shad.First drop down and up came this one of about 5-6lb on a 6inch 'manns and home poured jig head,to christen the new boat with a proper fish.
Shortly afterwards, my bass fishing buddy Clive turned up, reporting little success with spikey ones on distant marks. He too found one fish of a similar size on #5 but,  despite drifting together for a while in search of more fish-none were forthcoming and it was time to head home.
Indulging myself a little on the journey, with some playful showing off (because now i can) I 'buzzed'  'Spirit's' stern as we sailed in together through the harbour entrance-boy can this boat motor!

1/12/12 The Launch

With the help of friends Steve, Andy, Simon,Anne, and my ever patient wife, 'Jupiter' was towed to the public slipway in Littlehampton today at high tide for the inaugeral launch, and first sea trial. Although I'll admit to being slightly nervous about the whole operation, I needn't have been.
 After testing whether the VW camper had the ability to drag the boat back UP the steep slipway, which it succeeded in doing, with no issues, the boat was gingerly slid into the river and, low and behold , she floated!
In fact the whole operation went swimmingly well and after parking her up at the mooring, i treated my helpers to a swift cuppa, before venturing out of the harbour for a quick ride on quite a bumpy sea with Jan on board. Tomorrow, we go fishing.

26/11/12 Jupiter's Moon

In late September I visited the Sothampton boat show with the sole intention of getting a test run in a Warrior 175.Choosing which boat to go for had not been easy with so many variations, and differing opinions to consider.Also, taking the plunge buying brand new, with all the obvious financial considerations was a huge step.I was impressed with the test, and took some time on our annual holiday to France to think things over.
With the decision made, back in England in mid October I took my motor bike for a spin up the M6 to the Warrior factory at Leyland in Lancashire,and finalisied the specification.
A few days ago I received the call that the boat was ready, and a date to collect was fixed.
In the meantime,I'd sold my Orkney through WSF-the deal actually taking place only days after I'd visited Warrior's.The new owner bought it on spec and, as he lived in the North East, we arranged to meet when I collected my new boat.
So it was finally time to say goodbye to my trusty Orkney 520 Scooby 2.My son,  Jack joined me for the delivery drive to meet the new owner Andrew at the Warrior factory , and to collect my new boat-a 175 Export  model which I've named 'Jupiter's Moon'.
Bit of an epic journey really, with a total mileage of 540. Seeing the new boat for the first time inside the factory was breathtaking to say the least. She looked stunning............and huge.
Scooby's new owner seemed very pleased with his new acquisition, which was satisfying, as i'd spent quite a bit of time in the preceding days getting her ready. Despite the appalling weather conditions (severe flooding nationwide)the return run home proved uneventful and the boat, considering  it's size, towed easily. This may prove to be useful in the future as i intend to do a bit of travelling with her. Safely on the drive at home, she looks monsterously big and i need to get a couple of coats of teflon polish on her before she's moved to the mooring......

Friday, 30 November 2012

Past Highlights

First Ever Twenty

PbTidal River Pike

Double figure surf bass.
 Tidal River Twenty

First 'big' pike

Arun mullet.

Lured bass 7-13

My original blog was published on the Chelon Labrosus mullet forum which will close on the 1st December. I just hope I've managed to successfully download all my stuff and it's not lost in cyberspace. Anyway, here are a few pics from the past. BTW, If you read this blog, take a little time out to register as a follower and even leave a few remarks if you wish. I'd really like to know who's out there, and that all this one finger typing is not a complete waste of time. Stour Twenty Arun six Hamble six

Saturday, 17 November 2012

16/11/12 Scooby's Swansong.

Here's what I posted on WSF

Scooby 2-The Final Episode

  'Today was my final trip out in my trusty Orkney 520 'Scooby 2' before she is delivered to her new owner next week.She's been a cracking little boat. I bought her in October 2010, my first venture into inshore boat fishing, and we have shared over 80 fishing days together, mostly out of Littlehampton.As well as three double figure bass, her decks have seen tope and conger to 40lb plus , some excellent ray,hound, bream and plaice fishing, and a whole heap of fun and learning along the way, as well as one or two slightly 'iffy' moments as is the wont of the 'tyro' boat angler.
However,one specie that has eluded me personally, is decent cod.Last week I took my mate 'Rusty' out on a mission and, in typical fashion, he winkled out two double figure 'greenbacks'-a first for the boat.Despite the fact that I was chuffed to bits for my mate, and for my boat, I needed to get one for myself, and time was running out.
There were very few punters out today. Only a couple of privateers from my marina, and even the charters were a bit thin on the ground though it was reassuring to hear Neil (Spirit Of Arun) on the radio. What a help that guy's been these past couple of years.
Out of the river entrance by 0800 with just enough water over the bar on the huge tide, the selected marks were chosen for their 'heritage' with cod.Whole small cuttle, big cuttle strips and whole squid were the baits , rigged on 6/0 4/0 pennels. First drop down, and before i'd even set up my second rod, up came a pretty spotted ray and within minutes a screaming run resulted in a severed hooklength. I wonder what that was?
A steady procession of the inevitable dogfish throughout the day was punctuated by another 'spottie', a nice thornback and a 5lb bass which took a liking to a whole cuttle until, after the fourth mark move, I was the only boat left out there with only about 30 minutes to go before I'd have to leave to make the tide at the river entrance.There had been a cod reported by one of the boats out today, a nice one by all accounts,so i thought I might still be in with a chance.
I'd been tempted to up anchor and join a mate seen in the distance drifting a nearby reef for bass and, no doubt, baggin' a few and had to sit on my hands to prevent me doing so. I think it was just blind stubborness that made me sit it out.
'Last cast' I told myself out loud. (Why do anglers do that) I even cleared off the spare bait from the baitboard and began to resign myself to the fact that a cod wasn't going to happen along when suddenly, the squid rod gently rattled it's tip.'It's gonna be a ray' I thought as I tightened up but no, it started to bang it's head as Rusty had told me that cod do.....and rays don't!
When It surfaced I shouted out loud and punched the air (what a pillock) Yes it was a cod, and a reasonable one. 11lb she weighed, not a monster but, my first, decent enough and exactly what I wanted on the last cast, on the last trip out in my boat.Chuffed to bits.
The little Orkney seemed to have a bit more 'go' on the run home.Perhaps she was trying to tell me something.'

The cod was subsequently filletted at home,and we had it shallow fried in breadcrumbs with chips and peas for tea-it was after all, a Friday. Even the missus, who by her own admission is not a fish lover, was impressed.It tasted fantastic being only hours from the sea when eaten.

With my mate Alan's help, Scooby 2 was pulled out of the river for the last time today(Saturday 17th) and taken home for a good scrub up.She looks fine and is, this evening, being buffed up by my car valleting mate Alf, at the fire station.The prop will be dressed and painted this week, along with a fresh coat of white antifoul and then she'll be towed up to the Warrior factory where I'll meet up with her new owner, and my new boat.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

11/11/12 Scooby Gets last

Alas not for me, but for my crew.
Rusty's boat is not too well at the moment and out of the water for repairs, so i offered him a trip out in Scooby in search of those elusive cod-the like of which , excepting  small ones, have not yet graced Scooby's deck.
The areas around marks 28, 23 and north of  2 were chosen mostly for their heritage with 'green backs' and, on dropping the baits, I quickly became 'king of the rays' with a spotted, and two thornbacks to my cuttle strips . Russ meanwhile, entertained himself with doggies.The fishing was slow, especially over the slack, but the weather, and banter made for a pleasent day whilst we patiently waited for something special to arrive.
23 eventually proved to be the killer mark, and i was chuffed to bits to land Scooby's first ever decent cod for Russ-a tidy fish of 12 1/2lb on a half cuttle .
 Shortly afterwards a call on the mobile from Alan saw us up anchor, and head south in 'rescue mode' to assist my mate Ted, whos battery was completely flat leaving his Orkney 520 'dead in the water'.  Having a dual battery system on Scooby, my second battery was pressed into service and 'Wicken Lady' soon burst into life with skipper and crew looking suitably relieved, and journeying home to safety.A valuable lesson learned there.
Meanwhile Russ and me returned to 23 only for Russ to pick up a second slightly bigger cod, and for me to retain my ray 'crown' with a nice double figure undulate before there was enough water over the bar to get back to port.
Returning home in darkness we both agreed that it had been a splendid day's fishing and i was particularly pleased with, not only the cod, but Russ' compliments about my boat-despite the fact that it must have felt very small compared to his own craft.
5.5m tide.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

5/11/12 .Another Double Figure Bass.

Mark 29 was the chosen venue and some super cuttle from Fishyrob the bait for this one on what was a relatively small 4.9m tide A 7-00 start to catch the river bar saw me sliding down a frost covered pontoon ramp and having to break the ice on the boat cover.
I was the only marina boat out and, although calm to begin with, the wind did pick up well into double figure mph speeds ,during the day, from the SW which was not really a problem as most of the fishing was with the flood tide, and therefore 'wind with tide'.I was sheltered by the cuddy anyway.
If I'm honest, prime target was cod but, as last year showed, these 'off reef'' ground marks can throw up some good bass at this time of year, and i did have my favourite bass bait on the hooks.Reel clutches therefore were set loose in anticipation of a 'run' from something with a spikey dorsal fin.
A steady procession of dogs was punctuated by this really nice double figure undulate until, later in the afternoon, one of the Avets screamed into action and I knew immediately that i had a good bass on the other end.
10lb 4oz on the scales and 73cm on the tape-a fat and beautifully conditioned fish and my second double of the year.A quick deck pic was taken as I was desperate to get her back safely and after a minute of gripping her by the lip in the flow, she kicked hard and disappeared safely into the depths- i was one very happy bunny.
A second bass run did occur a short time later, which unfortunately, did not result in a netted fish. But at least it meant that there were more about and is indeed food for thought.
The 'BIG THREE' Spirit, Lynander and Jennifer's Pride were reporting bait smashing bream on the reefs and some small bass whilst drifting with lures. To end the day I decided to try a couple of drifts myself on the adjacent reef and this produced small bass almost immediately.
A great day to be out and a rewarding catch- I'm glad i decided to stick it out with the baits and not be tempted by lures on the reefs and, I'm also pleased that by hitting the 'off reef' ground, I avoided the 'bait robbers' dogs excepted.

2/11/12 The Farm Pond

With the rivers out of sorts and completely unsuitable for pike fishing, and the winds too strong to even think about a boat trip it was off ,once again, to my regular winter haunt, the farm pond, in search of roach. When i arrived three black labradors were going through the motions of 'search and retrieve' IN the pond itself.
Once they'd gone and fishing could commence it was clear that, despite the compact dimensions of this piece of water, the roach were willing to oblige and feed well.They also appear to have grown since last year as the average size was very good-perhaps 8oz.
Fishing the 8m pole and with just a pint of maggots, i put together a nice little bag of about fifteen fish, the bites dropping off with the temperature during the afternoon.
I like this sort of fishing.It's skillful,delicate and tremendous fun.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

26/10/12 First Pike.

My first pike trip of the year saw me at Pulborough #1 and  finding the river in pretty good shape considering the recent rainfall.Sardines on float paternosters were the tactics and apart from some eel trouble, and a dropped pike, just one long, lean, upper single turned up to kick off the new season.
Made a nice change to be back on the river and, as I say every year,I suspect the going's not going to be easy...........we'll see.

22/10/12 On the Edge

Primarily a trip targetting cod but, as it turned out, once again i had decent sport with the bream which seem to  reappear on our reef systems at this time of year. The sizes may not be a large as the spring fish but, the majority of bream i caught today, along with a few dogs, were of a reasonable size.Chosen location was 'the edge' and not far away from the usual charters who seemed to be hugging the reef proper. One cod did come up but in general, our results were similar.
Jennifer's Pride was located further west, fishing for plaice on the Eastborough Bank and with little success.It would appear that the door has closed on the plaice fishing for this year.
During the afternoon the visibility deteriorated to the point where i could only see 20to 30yds.Neil on Spirit kindly offered me an escort home if i could wait but i declined having to get back for work.
The return journey was VERY slow going and I had to stand and peer over the top of the cuddy to be able to see at all, as the windows were constantly obscured by moisture.
Without a radar reflector, Neil reported that I was very difficult to see, so this is something I need to consider for the new boat.
The new Suveran rods are proving to be superb in every way.Light, sensitive with a beautiful playing action, I cannot really fault them.They're a fine match with the Avet reels which a year on, and after some heavy use, and with little maintenance apart from a rinse under the tap after every trip,are still as good as new.

20/10/12 On the Beach

Some nice bass have been taken recently in the shoreham area on live whiting so tonight i thought i'd hit the beach and give it a go myself.No noticeable bites and only one solitary eel turned up to save the blank.

14/10/12 An Amazing Experience.

The plan today was to head to mark 5 and drift float fished livebaits for bass. On arrival once again, Clive was in attendance and I felt it only right to leave the mark to him and instead fish another section of the reef westwards.Clive's catch on the day was, as usual quite exceptional and once again I just felt as if i was in the wrong place. With a bit more gaul, i would have muscled in.Another local boat did so and scored good bass on lures but that's not really my style.
I feathered up scad, mackerel and pollack on the tail lure but my live baits remained untouched-I will get there in the end.
The disappointing fishing was forgotten however when this pod of about fifteen dolphins were located and remained with us  for about an hour. I'd called my mate Tim over on the radio to join in the fun and the excellent footage was shot by him.I've seen dolphins a couple of times before but have never been able to get so close, nor engage them in this way-fantastic stuff.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

10/10/12 Plaice In the Chop.

Eastborough bank was the chosen destination for today with the intention of plaice fishing in the smallish tide.On arrival, I had the whole mark to myself which was a different scene to my last visit however, I was soon joined by Lynander and Jennifer's Pride.
A good catch of plaice to about two pounds plus was steadily accumulated through the day but, big news from J.P was that his crew had taken three huge fish in the 6-7lb bracket. One of them took a whole squid which was used as a substitute bait when a crew member had ran out of ragworm.
Upon hearing this , I tried the bait myself, except that I just used the head of the squid.It did prodiuce a copuple more plaice, and they were of a better size so, food for thought for the future.
During the afternoon the winds increased considerably making things slightly uncomfortable. Steve on J.P commented on the radio that he'd like a bit more boat around him if he was me and I tend to agree.Despite  the conditions(a couple of waves did manage to reach the deck) and the painfully slow run home ,at no time did I feel unsafe in my little Orkney, but it felt good to make contact with dry land.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

7/10/12 Autumn Bream

A trip that began by fishing black ledge with little success,followed by a move to west Kingmere which produced a nice bag of reasonable sized bream.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

8/9/12 Plaice on 'Samax'

Following on from the successful Plaice trip a couple of days ago, Alex twisted my arm (it didn't take a lot) to join him on 'Samax', his Orkney 'Day Angler 19, for another trip down to the Eastborough bank as he wanted to satisfy his appetite for 'spotties'.

This time the mark was like the Southampton boat show as, by now, everyone had heard about what was going down. Most of the boats were from the west although there were a few L.A locals and the 'usual suspects' were there to be seen. Even Andy, who had intended to do a bass lure trip , was about crewing in Mark Gillen's 'Regis' out of Bognor.

It was actually a very sociable and friendly affair with everyone out to enjoy the weather, which was stunning, and the fishing, which was also pretty good.It also gave me a chance to see, In the flesh, a couple of boats which I'm interested in as an upgrade to Scooby 2. Both a Warrior 175 and a beautiful , and  very expensive looking Orkney 592 were spied showing off their lines,more than adequate beam, and impressive performance.

I was testing out some small circle hooks trying to reduce the number of deep hooked fish but soon changed back to standard  'J' hooks as Alex was conclusively out fishing me.Less hectic fishing than the last trip but good numbers of 'smaller' plaice came aboard with the exception  a really nice 3 1/2 lb fish that fell to the skipper.

Another thoroughly enjoyable trip out with Alex and yet again, more good stuff to eat.

Unfortunately, for my bank account,Alex was using an Abu Suveran rod and after having a bit of a swish with it on the boat, I proceeded to march in to 'Tropicana' the following day with some 'plastic' and buy a couple of the latest 'evo' models for myself -the 12lb and 20lb class versions.

There was nothing particularly wrong with my Sonik rods(sold within an hour on WSF) which have served me well for 70 plus boat trips but,the Suverans are in a different league altogether which, to be fair, they should be at twice the price.If they turn out to be as good as the 'Avet' reels, I'll be very pleased.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

6/9/12 Eastborough Plaice

Apart from an early season bash which produced some tiny plaice, this is a new one on me and something I've wanted to have a proper crack at for some time.
The word was out that plaice were showing in good numbers at Eastborough and by the time Andy and me arrrived at around mid day there were quite a few boats in attendance on the big bank.
Drifting with rag baited bead and spoon rigs , I had my biggest plaice ever on the first drop down- a nice fish of around 2lb.Unfortunately, it had swallowed the hook and during the process of trying to retrieve said hook , I managed to slice the top of my thumb off with the bait knife- what a pillock!!!
Trying to stop the bleeding with sticking plasters(note to self- get a decent first aid kit sorted) was particularly difficult and the boat soon looked like a war zone but, eventually with some paper towels that came with a morning cup of service station coffee, and some insulating tape that, thankfully my crew happened to have in his bag ( well done Drew), the deluge was stemmed and I was able to fish on albeit in a slightly awkward fashion.
The plaice continued to come to the boat with some more good'n amongst them and we eventually collated a catch of about 20 by which time we had the mark to ourselves!
With blood still oozing out of my makeshift dressing, i had to call it a day an hour or so early and we headed the ten miles back having only been fishing for about three and a half hours.Never mind. it was good sport and the end result made for some superb eating.