Wednesday, 9 September 2015

7/9/14 Busman's Holiday Part 2

'Jupiter's Moon' has an almost identical twin on the marina in the shape of Rusty's recently acquired 175 Export-'Untouchable'-the only other resident Warrior in Littlehampton.
The initial plan was to get together for a wrecking trip but, as Russ had tried it yesterday, and found it hard going, we decided instead to hit the banks 'down west' and try for the elusive turbot.
My experience of turbot fishing locally is that it takes endless patience. They are much sought after ,not exactly thick on the ground and my only success have been where I have continually drifted a mark all day long for a return of perhaps half a dozen fish to the boat- and that was a 'red letter' session.
Having sourced the mackerel , we tried  a small bank first, with little success, before moving to a much larger bank to anchor up for blonde ray-a favourite of mine.
It's an eye opener , at times how heavily we small boaters rely on our electronic 'trickery' to get us exactly where we want to be.
The particular bank we'd chosen to target is one I'm very familiar with on my own equipment , and have indeed taken some seriously good blondes from in the past. However, simply faced with a different chart plotter with  a different style of mapping- I was completely at a loss when trying to locate my favourite 'spot' .
In short, I didn't have a clue where we were and the boat could have been on the moon for all I knew, but we can't have been far off  because Russ's baits were hit by a couple of spotted ray and a small blonde.
 Relocating once again to the 'smaller bank' I took a modest bass whilst messing about with the spinning rod and plastic,before we once again anchored up to try with static baits.
The going was slow, which  is often the way when fishing these banks but, at least we weren't plagued by cat sharks.
 My first bite, when it finally came, was typically 'big ray'-very delicate,  but the initial stages of the fight were a complete contrast with, what was obviously a decent fish stealing line and diving strongly.
Its been over a year since I've had one and forgotten just how well they go.
Unfortunately after a while it became clear that the ray had 'tail wrapped' which completely killed the 'scrap' and it then became a 'war of attrition' winching the big fish slowly against the powerful tide flow.
I'll admit to being a bit nervous as I was geared for turbot with a 4/0 a 20lb trace but my biggest concern was that I'd tied the leader on with a, new to me, slim line leader knot which I'm testing for shark fishing,and wasn't confident as the strain on the gear was quite considerable.
 I needn't have worried as it survived the battle( a good test for the knot) but, I was more than relieved to finally see the big ray slip over the rim of the net.
I've caught bigger specimens but, thanks to Russ, was exceptionally pleased to finally get a decent picture of me holding one instead of a 'deck shot'- a splendid fish of 24lb 4oz which made my day.
I'm sure if we'd given them more time we'd have caught one or two more but , in a similar fashion to turbot, these blondes aren't exactly everywhere, but are extremely rewarding when they do turn up.
So, despite the general lack of action ( I couldn't care less really) another really enjoyable day afloat and huge thanks to Russ for letting me sit in the 'passenger' seat. It's certainly a comfortable ride in those Warriors.
24lb 4oz
I know for sure that I'm not completely wasting my time and that there are a handful of you 'out there' reading all this drivel. I'd really appreciate hearing from you especially if you'd like to share your own experiences. Get in touch on here, or by email at

6/9/15 Busman's Holiday Part 1

9lb bass

 11lb pollack

A cracking day's fishing with my mate Brian on board the Marruig-his 19ft Orkney.
I don't often fish on other people's boats but, being able to sit back, take it easy, and let somebody else do all the work and worrying is always a pleasure.
Brian took me to one of his 'secret' marks ( I would never dare ask where LOL) and we settled down to a morning of drifting with lures.
With relatively shallow water I opted for a light spinning rod and  40-60g Fiiish Minnows fished direct although as the tide increased I moved up to a 90g head on a 160 Minnow to stay 'vertical'
 It wasn't hectic fishing but cod,  bass to nine pounds ,and  pollack to eleven pounds (superb scrap ) hit the lures along with the ubiquitous pouting, some of them very fat indeed.
After thoroughly tiring ourselves out with the active stuff, we opted to 'drop the pick' on some 'messy' ground, chill out and sit watching bottom rods with cuttle baits.
We were after cod but a trio of feisty hard fighting conger turned up instead and , I didn't complain, I love the things.
Fresh cod baked with capers and home made chips for dinner made for a fitting end to a superb day-cheers Brian........always a 'blast' mate.

4.8 m tide, #15.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

4/9/15 Dogged Determination

I can think of so many instances in fishing where my stubborn nature has eventually paid off. I can't call it patience because in reality, I'm not the most patient of anglers, and tend to be a bit of a fidget.
 This is possibly  why I'll never succeed as a specimen carp angler, nor ever catch a barbel from the River Arun unless by a stroke of extreme good fortune.
No 'stubbornness' is a different kettle of fish altogether.
Today I went mullet fishing whilst still standing on 'terra firma' as opposed to being afloat-the first time I've done so this year.
My favourite low tide mark seemed to be pretty devoid of mullet activity although one or two could occasionally be seen milling about up and down stream so, although my confidence wasn't very high, I decided to give it a go anyway.
The last of the ebbing tide didn't produce a bite but, with the water level slowly rising and the flow slowing almost to a halt, a few whelms were evident in the general vicinity of my swim indicating the presence of mullet.
I like this state  of the tide because usually, the water colours up sufficiently to prevent the fish from being spooked by my clumsy movements in the gloopy bankside mud, and they can often get very close indeed before detecting me.
I tend to target a couple of small 'promontories' in the river bank which cause slack areas , especially on the first of the flood. The mullet like to skulk in this 'dead' water and can often be tempted to feed, to a degree.
The only down side being, because the bait is moving very little, they appear to be aware that there is no rush to take it. Bites can be extremely delicate fooling one into thinking that tiny fish, such as smelt, are pecking at the bait but often,this is not the case.
Having hooked and landed so many mullet over the years in this exact situation, I know better. However, this doesn't mean to say that the fishing is easy and I can recall multiple occasions when I've failed to connect with these most infuriating of mullet.
Today was no exception- I just could not hit their delicate twitches and even 'sail aways' with the float appearing to glide across the surface, though not submerging, were missed.
 It's almost as if they can detect when you are about to strike and a millisecond beforehand,  cunningly spit out the bait-ba****ds.
Once the flood tide flows in earnest , usually they seem to disappear, probably moving off upstream, and if you haven't caught by then, its 'game over' -the chance has been missed, and its time to pack up.
Frequently, without wishing to blow my own trumpet, by this time I'ld hopefully already had a mullet or two on the ebb so if I fail in this 'still water' I don't usually mind. It's always been a rather pleasant, if somewhat challenging way to finish a mullet session on this stretch .
Today, thus far, I had blanked, and wasn't best pleased.
For some reason, when it came to packing up time,  I didn't follow the customary 'de-tackling' process, nor did I throw the remains of my bread mash ground bait into the river, before walking back to the van 'just in case' I came across a few 'stragglers' I suppose.
Well, those 'stragglers' did indeed appear but, as is customary with mullet following the flood at this location, they weren't 'stopping' for a 'look'. They always seem to  have something to do upstream at this state of tide and this behaviour has always mystified me.
As I watched them sail past me I noticed one or two double back to the shallows-perhaps stopping for a snack in merely inches of water , their angular tails cutting the surface rather like a mini shark fin.
By now the tide was at half flood, pushing in strongly and the current was extremely fast. I sent the float down and when it disappeared , on about the fourth or fifth run, I was so keyed up, the strike, which I'm delighted to say 'connected,' lifted the poor mullet completely clear of the water.
Thankfully, the 'shock' didn't seem to harm the fish and, after the usual spirited fight, this modest three pounder graced my net to make me one very 'happy bunny' indeed.
 It was with one big smile, and no small amount of satisfaction that I watched him glide back into his regular environment, none the worse for the experience.
Sometimes, persistence does pay off.

2/9/15 Pure Frustration


 Jupiter's sister craft...Rusty's 'Untouchable'
 The day began by testing out a theory.........I like theories. The grand Idea was to attempt to attract mackerel shoals to the boat by using a sack of shark chum. To cut a long story short, it didn't work. Well, at least not well enough to notice any improvement in the mackerel catch. I got about a dozen or so , and put half in the bait tank, but it all took a bit longer than expected.
Arriving at the first mark I met up with marina neighbour 'Rusty' aboard Jupiter's sister craft- an almost identical 175 Export. He'd 'wasted' far less time than me , and caught more mackerel completely blowing my theory out of the window.
I guess you can't fish for what isn't there!
I drifted a 'livey' under a float on one rod and vertical jigged a 140 Fiiish Minnow on the other for just one small bass, and this rather nice cod on the artificial.
My live mackerel were left well alone but Russ did better, picking up a couple of mid sized bass on the same method -one on a scad.
The going was generally pretty slow so I relocated west finding another popular reef mark completely deserted.
This time the live mackerel were less than three times but I just could not connect. For whatever reason the hook just did not get a hold yet the mackerel either came back dead, or just not there any more-intensely frustrating but that is fishing.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

27/8/15 Dave's Roach

Another session in the river boat with Dave targeting the roach.
Small they might be , but the fishing is no less enjoyable nor challenging. Quiver tipping with red maggots and crumb ground bait had the desired effect and we made a modest catch of roach and dace with Dave getting the best fish- this scale perfect and plump roach of exactly one pound.


I then returned to the 'wild camp' on the  Dorset Stour for the bank holiday where it rained persistently the whole week-end.
 Because of the very limited bank access,I could only really fish in just one, shallow  swim. Plenty of small fish, among them some nice roach, 'played ball' highlighted by a chub ,of a couple of pounds, taken in darkness,  on bread flake.
Its a very pleasant place to spend time and must surely be the only 'camp site' in the south of England that is completely empty at this time of year. I hope to revisit some time in the autumn /winter when the vegetation has died down and swim access might be improved-target will be pike.