First sailing was with Asia ,pronounced ASHIA, as she was very quick to tell me. This rather set the scene for the session. For the first time ever, since running BIF1 in May 2017, I had a client, whom I truly struggled to communicate with. A real nemesis situation, and for someone like me, terrifying. I am used to people not hearing, or not understanding, and I have a myriad of people tricks (learned in my former corporate life for persuading people why they should be doing my work while I played pool in the pub...) to get around them. I would go as far as to say, I can accommodate ANYBODY on my boat and give them good service. But with Asia, all my tricks were being stonewalled.
And then, she touched the "DO NOT TOUCH" button. "Its very frustrating watching the guide catch fish" she offered... I think possibly a deliberate bait in the battle of minds that was developing, and a very well presented bait it was. Fishyrob rose and took it without hesitation. We were now in a unique situation. I was fairly screaming my frustrations at this poor Polish lady. Even as the words were leaving my mouth, with much sarcasm, which also never helps, I knew I was wrong. I have very big experience of various Eastern European and Russian cultures, and English sarcasm simply isnt understood, always being translated too literally. I had to take another track. In these situations, I find honesty the best policy.
I carefully explained to her how I felt about the situation. And she also calmed, and told me the full reason why she was here. It was all about species, and here I was pushing her onto bass, which she actually didnt want. It turns out she is an admin on a facebook page for Eastern European lure enthusiasts, and she had very specific requirements. She was particularly hunting Plaice and Garfish, and would quite enjoy fishing for a cuttlefish. I carefully recapped her requirements, and a big, beautiful smile crept over her face. I recognised the smile. Its one of relief when someone feels they are finally being understood. And my face mirrored hers. We were going to be friends after all.
Sadly though, I had to explain that the plaice fishing had dropped off a cliff, and even the garfish, usually so prevelant, were rarely chasing back the shads when bassing. We had a go, but without results. And despite her claiming she "did not want bass" her very endearing whoops of sheer pleasure, showed she is no different from any other angler. The sheer thrill of a big fish putting distance between it and you on a screaming drag, is simply amazing. And she had some nice bass... which might explain our last conversation... "Robin, you have space for me 0930 tomorrow?" ... "Certainly Asia" (with a broad smile)... "And you will let me come back?" ... "I would be honored..." Confirmation we had everything at a lovely place again.
Next sailing was a family fun day. Originally Bruce's idea, and originally Bruce's responsibility, I always have an element of trepidation about these sessions. So much depends on the attention span of the nippers. And that all depends on how excited they are about fishing. I need not have stressed with this crew. Paul, Fay, Archie and Alfie were all spot on. Keen to enjoy as well. Paul I knew from Essex days, but for Fay, Archie and Alfie it was their first time fishing. Sounds daunting, but actually, as long as they listen (something I impressed on them when I was checking them out chatting en route to the boat) its a far simpler task than you might imagine. Especially vertical jigging, which is what I had planned for them.
Everything went beautifully to plan. Mackerel were very happy to keep the kids rods bending, and on the jigs, one at a time, it is possible to entertain without the full slaughter of feather rods. Garfish and scad added variety. I was expecting to see their rods slam over to a good bass at any time, but the only bass to the frolics chose Fay's rod instead (pheremone thing?). Meanwhile, I kept Paul exclusively on the bass. And although not fast and furious, it paid off with a couple of nice fish. Which for a lad from Essex, where bass fishing was mostly destroyed as early as the late 80's by over-fishing and lack of regulations on netting and trawling estuaries, it was a real away day. I really enjoyed the session, and I think this lovely crew all did also, which I guess is the main aim...
Final sailing and it was back out with Mark on board. Seeing his regular weekend slot was in jeopardy, he snatched the last sailing. Bream were having it. And one of the most spectacular sunsets I have seen in a very long time. Worth being out there just for that. There were immense shoals of whitebait that appeared late in the session towards darkness, and some bass amongst them. I witnessed some bass behaviour I had not seen before. So many whitebait, that some bass simple swim over the shoal, wait for predators from below to push up the small silver fish, and simply sip them in from the "fish jet" that results, without hardly moving a fin. And yet, these same fish currently refuse to take regular topwaters. I have some tiny ones somewhere, that I bought to catch Bluefish in Oz, that might show a solution. If the weather lets me at them...