With zero interest in todays sailings, other than Bruce who finally managed to arrange a day off that coincided with perfect sailing weather, we decided to call it a board meeting. We also decided we had no range limits, as without paying customers, and both co-owners on board, we are insured beyond our 3 mile certification limits, to the limit of the boat. Which is coded for 20 miles.
I did need to tick some boxes though. Especially as I have the first "Family" session of this season on Saturday middle sailing. I just wanted to check a couple of drag spots, to ensure that the gurnard and plaice hadn't vanished. Plaice fishing this year is not as good as last, but the gurnards are making up for that. Hard fighting, and very tasty fishes. All good, we had a plaice and three gurnards in two short drifts.
I then wanted to go fish some rock I had been mapping out the previous day. On the way out, I had commented on the temperature. Over 11 degrees. It seems the wrasse finally are showing their approval... We had maybe 6 classic inshore ballans in three drifts. Something else lost. Seemed perhaps bass, but surely not...
HTO Frolic in 75gm. A very versatile lure for deeper waters
We then made a major decision. With the last of the ebb, We decided we would head to a wreck some 7 miles to the west. With a big spring flood about to start, it seemed like the right thing to do, to perhaps get some pollack for variety. It was a very good move. A flat calm ride at 28 knots, and we were there far quicker than I had even imagined. Onto the fishing. Some pots and some nets lay off the sides and back. It was always going to be a difficult drift. And it is a snaggy wreck. Very likely strewn with netting. Even HTO Frolics dont like ropes and twine. However, the fish marks on it were stunning. Something special was going to happen. But what it was, most certainly suprised me.
We got into a drift. Just as I said "fish showing" as the first purple/blue marks appeared on the screen, my rod slammed over. I am normally spot on at calling what is attached to the end of my, or my clients line. Each fish has its own unique characteristics when battling to throw a hook. But this one had it all. Initially very hard to get from the wreck. Then, giving up a bit, making me think the target, pollack. But then it went crash diving back down from mid-water. Not so pollack like. Tidy cod? Back up, but with hard, jagging resistance... Bass? No. instead my new PB Ballan Wrasse emerged from the depths. A clasically marked beauty. I love her (him?) very much. And was very happy to see it kick down to the depths on release. I hope one of you are lucky enough to admire her amazing sheen one day. Weighed at between 5lb 14oz and 6lb 4oz.
I think Neptune heard me think bass, because on the following drift, the beginning of what really was Bruce's day began... He was running a minnow, that had been repaired, so many times, and patched with bits cut out of various other minnows, that "Frankenminnow" was fast becoming a part of folk lore between Bruce and I. And Frankenminnow did a wonderful thing. It persuaded the first bass of 2018 to come to BIF1. All head, slimey, and thin, it rather reminded me of a late summer codling. I think we were quite happy to release that one to comply with the bass regulations.
Next drift, and while all I was getting into was a succession over the 3lb mark. Next drift, my turn. A 75gm HTO Frolic nailing a 4lb Pollack. Next drift, Frankenminnow nailed its twin. Next drift, Frankenminnow was no more. A victim to ghost netting from the feel of the snag. RIP Frankenminnow. You will not be forgotten. For days, probably...
The tide was pushing hard and fast now, and our drifts changed from idling along the wreck to being shot across its narrowest part. And with the fish tight to the wreck, it meant very short drifts. I began to tire. Bruce began to nap. We called it to head back in. Cooperman and Mark to pick up at 1515. We remounted our floating pontoon and headed for "piggies".
The afternoon session was, it has to be said, much tougher. We didnt have so much tide as I expected (when I checked later, the coefficients had dropped a lot on the afternoon) and we had to make long drags to find occasional gurnard and plaice, mostly small. We chopped around quite a few drags, but couldnt find one with frantic activity as we had enjoyed earlier. Bruce did nail a slightly better one. We ran the rock, but on the ebb, the wrasse were not playing. We headed west, and found a stack of pout to play with for a while. We tried a couple of squid spots. Nothing doing. And then, on what was supposed to be the last drift of the day, Cooperman and Mark spotted a fish splash. As i turned, we saw another. What? The guys fired shads. I fired a HTO 30gm boogie. The boogie one. The fish were... small schoolies. It could almost be summer...
1 space available 0630 sailing. I currently have all 4 spaces available for 15:30 sailing, but there is a possibility the wind will stiffen from the South east in the late afternoon, so that may not be viable. Sunday, I am condidering a 0530 sailing, but again, it all depends on what comes in tomorrow afternoon wind wise. 07970 112774 to get a space if the trps are on. 3 rods available Sunday morning. Then, it could be the following weekend before something is viable. And a lot will depend on the may rot situation. It was already colonising on the 6 mile line, and will only get worse for a few weeks.