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Hunter Gathering - aka epic dinner at Bruce's


Oh my aching tummy. I have just fed the family and the dog to bursting on: anchovies fried whitebait style , sushi mackerel , sushimi bass, pan fired bass with its skin off and crispy fish skins. I have made one 50 cm bass , two mackerel and some beach harvested anchovies got a long long way.

Yesterday Rob and I were out with three customers on the boat and we had a stack of bass, all smalls. But I did have a 50 cm fish which came some for tea. I take maybe 3 or 4 bass a year and, when I do knock one on the head, I do make a song and a dance about it. Its all 'Dad' s making dinner ' at my place. So he got put in the fidge over night and a new fillet knife was purchased- a proper bendy chef's one that cost 60 quid too.

The forecast today was borderline and Rob called it a 'shingle day' and we decided to meet on Brighton beach this morning to see what could be done. Of course the sea was flat as a good ale this morning and Rob could have been out with customers on BIF 1 all day long. But we made the best of a bad do, and considered ourselves lucky with the perfect conditions for beach lure fishing. Adam my mate and I got down for the top of the tide and Rob had already magic'd out 7 bass in 30 minutes. Birds were wheeling and diving in the way that you know fish are in front of you and this, unhelpfully, makes your hands shake as you try to tackle up.

To cut along story short Adam caught three, I lost count, but between 15 and 20 and Rob had 37. The difference in catch rate was due to two things- experience ( finesse on the retrieve) and simply distance. Rob routinely out fishes me three to one, and also catches the bigger fish. ( you'll see a 4lb fish on his timeline today for example). It's all in the way you work that lure, which is down to practice, confidence art and talent.

Adam and I managed no takable bass, but a lot of mackerel as a by catch and after a couple of hours we had had the best of it. At the end of the session I picked up a pound or so of anchovies that had been pushed onto the shingle by the bass.

So I tried a sashimi recipe on some of the bass fillet (raw but sort of 'cooked' by marinading in acidy lemon juice with seasoning and peppers) fully raw sushi'd mackerel with mustard and soy sauce. I also deep fired the anchovies whitebait style and pan fired the bass skin off. It was all fantastic.

A decent bottle of white wine and a corking end to a glorious day. What could possibly be better?

By the way- if you fancy some of this- contact Rob and get him to guide you on the beach. You'll learn stuff that will set you up for a lifetime of bass fishing. Don't struggle alone !!


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