Fish of the day for Don
Another brief one coz this weather keeps on going so I am feeling it a bit. Might be some breeze in the week, so anyone waiting on river jobs, let me know. It will seem like a dream compared to 15 hour days at sea, plus two hours of cleaning boat, paperwork and this blog. And it is a real shame, as I had blast today. Fantastic clients all day (which isnt hard. I havent had anybody I wouldnt want back on my boat and we have been running a full year almost with our accidental early start last year) and now it feels like summer out there. A species list which reads like a july day. Visibility came good as well. Not sure if the mayrot is thinning, or if it is simply calm seas, but the fish were also a lot more in the mood to play today.
First proper bass this year on BIF1. Hopefully, the first of many...
First session, my one client cancelled short notice, waking up feeling ill. I know he is a tee-total, so I wasnt even slightly angry. But very quickly I was sad for what he was missing, as I took the session with an empty boat. And I am so very happy I did. With more and more schoolies around, and the river with decent fish in it already, I felt inspired to go and check some rock right on my Western limits. I would not have done this with paying clients on board because it was a long shot. But you know... sometimes they pay off.
Luis and Jaz with plaice...
Since I last fished this mark, I acquired new maps, which display contour lines. I already had marks for where fish consistently appeared. And it had always bugged me why they were where they were. There seemed to be nothing special to hold them there. But now, paying attention to the mark on my plotter for the first time, there was a very obvious feature. Very!! And truly a eureka moment. I had 4 bass to 4lb before the drift changed with the stiff NE wind and I couldnt shoot up the feature as well as before. I also had a nice wrasse. And a good tub gurnard, which with foodies on board for the rest of the day went into the fish well to be kept alive until considered for consumption or release.
A cracking Tub for Andy
I came back in to meet long time friend Andy, with his daughter Jasmine, and the ever smiley Luis. With the tide now in the first of the flood, I opted for plaice drifting. However, this wasnt a great choice at all, as with tiny tidal coefficients, and an opposing wind, we hardly got moving enough to induce a take on the isomes. Eventually the wind dropped, and the tide pushed a bit harder, and a few fish began to feed. Including a cracker for Jaz.
Best plaice of the day for Jaz
We did actually try a couple of bits of rock while we waited for the tide to move, but nothing much doing at all, other than a few pout and a squid lost at the surface by Andy. and a belter of a gurnard also to Andy.
When the session finished, I quizzed Luis hard if he had enjoyed himself. I always try and put myself in my clients shoes, and he had been very much looking forward to the trip. The fishing had only been so so, but then I remembered when I was his age. Just a ride on a big diesel chug chug to catch flounders and eels in the thames estuary was a huge wow for me. And his eyes suggested his enthusiastic nods were not deceiving ones.
Pretty calm out there today from 10...
Next on board, to join Jaz and Andy was Don. We clicked instantly. An American who has recently moved to Watford with his job. Not just an American. A Californian... who LOVES his fishing... All I can imagine, is he loves his job as much as I love mine. We began on the rocks this time. I found some fishy marks with the tide moving a bit harder, and somehow, they turned into a cracking bream for Don. Black bream, when they nest, chase off anything they might be considering a threat to their eggs. Even the deadly double hooked frolic. When they try to bite the tail of that, they get a surprise.
We tried a few rock spots, but it was slow. I took them to my favourite jumbo pout spot, to get them all bent into fish. A winner every time, but sometimes with suprises. Such as the 21 codling in a day back in March. Always worth a check if the fishing is slow. And with BIF1's 30 knot top end, doesnt take long to flip about. Which is why we went back to the plaice, which were just about happy enough to feed to keep peoples anticipation up. Which is the dividing line between fishing and boring. If the anticipation goes, fishing really can be boring.
The final session had to be shortened, due to a bus replacement service affecting Andy and Jaz's journey home. We declared it a two hour session, and I said I was happy to do that, as long as the first hour was all about the bass. They happily agreed, and I enthusiastically sped out to the mark from my first session with myself. Were there bass? So many. But getting them to hit the shads was a problem. It took a while to dawn on me that the few that were coming up were coming to Jaz. Of course... she was on metal. I swapped Andy over to metal, and he joined in the fun. Just to make sure, I stayed on the shad, and very few of the final total of 13 were mine. Jaz lost another 4lb fish at the net. It slipped the hook as I was trying to land it one handed. If I had the strength in one arm to push the net through the water quicker, it would have been landed, as it hung there stunned for a second. But then, it powered away.
The final hour for the plaice was not good. I chose an area which just two short week ago were rammed with quality gurnard and plaice. Total catch for the drags were two winkles, a hermit crab, and a baby clam. And then back in. Other incidental species today were mackerel and garfish. Its suddenly summer.
Empty boat 1st sailing, all about bass. 2nd sailing, mixing it up. 2 spaces. 3rd sailing - empty - will think about what to do based on first 2 sailings. 4th sailing, 1 space. All about bass. 07970 112774 to get on board... Brief one... who was I kidding...
Fishing makes for great bonding time. It was a fantastic day. Happy birthday Andy.