Quick report from a three hour evening session with Neil and Dave yesterday over the ebb stage of a small tide. The trip was supposed to be all about plaice, but they stubbornly refused to play ball, with our drifts being less than half a knot and the wind carrying us unhelpfully across the tide. Plaice prefer the bait to come naturally, and are suspicious of a anything that approaches them from behind. Or maybe its just that they don't see our offerings so well in these conditions, as they sit buried in the sand facing 'up stream' scanning the horizon for unlucky prawns , worms and small fish bumbling down tide.
There are that many fish inshore I was still confident we'd find 20 or so in the first hour with a few larger ones in the mix, but try as we might we only raised half a dozen smaller ones ( just about legal, but we put them back as not worth faffing about with).
We tried some lug in case that made a difference, but Isomes were as good as anything, and noticeably Neil was getting most bites as he was working the Isomes with small twitches and was in total contact with the bottom at all times. Often a take will come as you raise the worm a foot for so from the sea bed, and this is particularly effective if you feel a depression in the sand, as this so often holds a fish. Light rods and fine braid or nano is essential to do this. 'Working' the Isome will double your catch rate and is much more interesting fishing.
It wasn't exactly lifting with fish , so we took it easy and enjoyed the slow pace, tried a few drifts a bit further out and covered a fair bit of ground in a lazy way. Noticeably, even though it was a small tide, and conventional wisdom would say 'go out further to find a bit more run', most fish were still 300 yards off the beach. Strange... but there is some reason the fatties are hanging around just off the swim buoys on the west beach.
By 7 Pm we had had enough mellowness, and we needed some rock n roll, so we headed over to the east side for the last hour and this proved to be a good decision. Neil had instant interest on the surface One Knocker , quickly getting a decent bass a bit shy of 4lb, on the boat, and another couple of chunky black backed fish a bit smaller. These fish are fit as fleas and we keep thinking they are bigger than they are. They shrink in the net. Dave had never caught a bass on a lure before and Neil and I were desperate for him to nail a clonker in the failing light. He dropped one, got a mackerel and finally landed a very small schoolie. So that's a partial success, and at least he now has confidence in lure fishing.
Foot note- Here is a picture of a crayfish from the river Wey Monday. My little boy was annoyed by the fact that they no longer exist in their millions as they have in previous years. he had to work hard with a mackerel on a string for a bucket full. This is very good news for the river which as been decimated by their predation of fish eggs and eating all available food. Does anyone know why their numbers are down?