A beautiful morning
Three regular's responded to an unexpected sailing, called late the evening before on realising that not only was there a small window for getting out on the following mornings forecast, but that it corresponded with low tide, on a building cycle. I was very enthused by this, if a little nervous as to what swell we might find as we nosed out. To the point I couldnt sleep so well the night before. I will be fifty next year. I never expected to still get excited before a trip. It happens so rarely for me even with my international travels. But there is a shoal of bass out there that I am still getting to know, and I love puzzles...
Swell was there, but pretty much as forecast, maybe 3' max. Wind was calm. It all looked good. Except... I couldnt help but notice even in the gloom that clarity was not perfect. I pointed BIF1 west, into the swell, and bought her up as fast as I comfortably could. At about 18knts, she was right, not jumping off too many swells, to enable the guys to tackle up. As the light improved, I was happier that the visibility was enough to catch fish. But not great.
Spaghetti weed was another problem. My marks are often where two tidal paces meet, and this is also where flotsam tends to gather. The problem was less evident as a NW breeze sprung up, and pushed us across the tide a little. And the fish, well, they were there big time. Stacks of bait fish, and other marks, which I suspect are the newly arrived whiting. And here and there, small pockets of bass, some visibly attacking the bait shoals, as relayed by the technologies stuffed inside our Lowrance HDS7.
A tough session, this being the biggest we could manage...
But to get a take, was hard. Very. John I think was the first away, after changing to a fly with a small rattle inside it, created by Jono Makim flies. And Gareth, fishing an HTO mighty Minnow, was 2nd away. Neil and I, try as we might, simply failed to get anything other than the odd nudge. And they were often from mackerel, strangely very prevalent on this tide.
I tried a few places around, but they did not contain the amount of fishy action that this open ground, clean sand mark was showing on the sounder. So, we stuck with it. And slowly the bass count climbed, although every fish was well earned. By the time the SW breeze, which precedes the hell that is to come on the weekend (I even tied BIF1s nose down on leaving... one forecast gave gusts to 58 mph tomorrow, although that has since subsided) arrived, we were up to about 8 bass on the boat, recorded courtesy of the ever knoble John, who took pity on my story of the original one now living on the bottom of the marina below the boat and replaced the "Bass Counter" - a clicker which tally's upwards and means I dont have to keep remembering the score. But with the wind, and the bass all having been small, I suggested we head back to a spot near the marina, where there are less bass, but often a table fish.
And that is how the session ended. We managed another 4 bass at that mark. 3 smalls (Neil and I finally catching a bass here) and one of 48cm. A perfect table fish, which I think made Gareth very happy. Was I upset at the quality of the fishing? Well, we always aim to provide the best of what is available. We were on fish for sure, but we werent quite getting it right with persuading them to give themselves up. Most importantly. I got three very addicted guys out for their fix. They all went home with fish for tea (Gareth bass and mackerel, John and Neil mackerel) which is always a bonus. And we, as always, were a boat of smiles from beginning to end. Actually, I think it was really quite a perfect morning. Especially knowing that, with a week of heavy rain (significant on our inshore marks as the rivers spew their guts a long way out) and big big winds to come, just getting out, was pretty enjoyable.