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  • Robin Howard (a.k.a. Fishyrob)

Catch Report - 31/05/2017


Something very calming about fishing in fog...

Today, I was mostly testing endurance. My endurance. And handover periods, as we needed to get our heads around what a reasonable gap between sessions might be. I had two excellent anglers on board, and after the previous outing, I was very excited indeed at the prospects. Neil Perry, my drone man, who is returning the favour by getting involved in the promotional phase of the BIF project on my return from Russia, I have fished with many times. Clive Hodges, is the genius that solved my wrasse dilemma. Thanks to his frequent invites aboard his 19' Orkney Day angler out of Littlehampton, I bought the tactic back to our reefs, and suddenly was catching the wrasse that I knew had to be there, but had mostly eluded me on lures. Today I had an excellent plan. Early start, out with the first trickle of ebb, onto the outer reef whilst the tide was ripping across it, and bag quality bass after quality bass.

For a shore guide, as I am in heart and soul, it hurts suggesting we leave fish of these caliber to go look for something bigger...

It was a great plan. So great, that it was clear Neptune was going to do something about it. After all, we cant even take one for our tea at the moment. So, he thought about what options were available to him... "Hold back the worms from the bait beds... hide all the mackerel and pout"... ah... they dont use bait... So, instead, he dug into his spell bag, and cast "SEA FOG". Very effective, as I HATE sea fog. I watched the commercial boys slip their lines and head out, and I have to admit I was VERY tempted, as I really wanted that first rush of strong tide. But the fog was pretty heavy. Clear enough to creep out and fish close in, which of course is BIF1's specialty, although in a live "customer" situation, I would not even be allowed to do that. "Fair weather" is the only weather we can set out in. Our CAT 5 20 mile coding states "Area Category 5 – to sea, within 20 miles from a nominated departure point named in the certificate in favourable weather and daylight.", (winds to force 6... sod that...) . But this wasnt a live situation, the plan was perfectly safe with visibility at 200 meters, and we did it...

The bug, is in the tug...

The fishing was actually really quite good. Plenty of fish there, up to maybe the 4lb mark. Big smiles all around. An then, the sun finally broke through the fog. There was a bit of a battle for the next 20 minutes, but ultimately nothing can mess with a huge ball of ignited solar gases , and suddenly we had three miles viz. "This is great fishing, and we can sit on these fish for the next 2 hours" I explained.. "Or we can head to the reef where its likely we will find 5lb+ fish". "Reef please" came the reply. I am not suprised, as both have had plenty of big bass on lures. But in the "live" situation, I think perhaps I would not venture to move with less experienced rods on board. Especially as how the rest of the day turned out.

Goldisny... A first for BIF1

We headed out at 25 knots. Less than ten minutes later, I was back down to stealth mode, and creeping into position. I knew we were on the ebb, and the wind was non-existent, so we would get a pretty straight drift. Well, as much as the currents on these reefs allows. Its quite frustrating sometimes. Just as you think you are on the perfect line to intercept a really sexy bit, "La Manche" burps and sends you fifty yards off it. Netpune up to his tricks once more. "Ok guys... the fish are often focused up this end" I explained. We all went in... Bouncing nicely along the top, wandering occasionally off the drop, and back on the top.. the perfect drift for prospecting. As we went off the drop, I cast one long, to bring it back all along the drop off. But it didnt get far when it was slammed. A very spirited 6lb fish regretting its sushi snack.

Apologies for not displaying this one better. Best one of the day......

Released, we carried on. We couldnt have asked for a better start. We continued to run along the reef, but no more action or marks. So, we went for a second run. Right on target, marks showed. Bass chasing food up through the layers. But zero takes. Third run, no marks. Already the tide had dropped from 0.9 on the first drift, to 0.7 on the second, to 0.6 on the third. The tide had lost its bite. I hope to find where they go to when they leave at some point. All further R & D projects...

Thank god for our emergency services...

We continued to drift in hope. Odd nice wrasse kept us on our toes. Bangs and tugs from bream and pouting kept us focused. We went through a pouting tower on one occasion, and it did bring smiles to faces as 12oz pouting threw themselves willingly onto our shads. But something that was interesting, is that if you unhooked the pout with a flick, everyone will swim back down. I think a lot to do with the fact that, on the light gear, even a 12oz pouting needs to be played instead of just hauled to the surface as is the way on lead gear. So, in its battle, it is likely decompressing a lot more, and also the fairly shallow water means its chances of recovery on release are quite high. I have noticed before when I used to livebait from the shore, that a pout handled to unhook, would live a fraction of the time of one shaken off the hook into the bucket. The same would seem to apply at sea, and now our advice will be to shake pouting off the hook if possible on BIF1. Why? Pout are bass food, and we want our bass to grow BIG :) But in all seriousness, the sea gets enough abuse. If we can get fish to go back with a good chance of survival, we will do what is necessary. I also managed a new species for BIF1. A Goldsinny. And my first ever one on a lure.

It was clear it wasnt happening. We popped in for elevensies. Its amazing how a coffee and a quick bite can revive the appetite to get back on the rods. By this time, the tide was almost bottomed out. We tried a few drifts inshore as we waited for the new flood, and found a few more bass. Next, we headed back out to the outer reef. It wasnt happening. The fish had gone. And were not coming back on the new flood. I guess as the tides drop smaller and smaller, there isnt enough flow to make whatever is special for those fish special at that location. More food for thought. I also needed to end the session at 4pm. As I wanted to time how a turnaround might work. I had arranged for my postman James to meet me at 5pm for a session into dark. So, we cruised in at 25 knots. Eight minutes later, I was saying goodbye. Whilst tidying up, I heard chatter about a medivac, and after I popped home to grab a rod and reel for James, slurped a cup of tea, and headed back, I saw the Coastguard chopper in the emergency landing spot at the bottom of my hill. Its nice to know such people are looking out for us, and are clearly extremely efficient in what they do. I just hope the casualty is in a good way. I would say an hour is about right for a turnaround, especially if I dont pop home. So, now we begin scheduling better, important as the order book steadily fills.

Simply wow...

The session with James was dire. Very few small bass around inshore. Some wrasse offshore which was something at least. And one inshore, as happened earlier with Clive getting one. This is really good news as in the last three years with Scooby I had only ever caught one on that spot. Seems like some kind of recovery. Tough fishing though. . However, he did get to witness an amazing sunset on a mirror sea. Its an incredibly spiritual thing. And he was very happy for his speed boat ride. And I was left scratching my head about what to do with neap tides...


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