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......