Two back to back whole boat charters for this sunny Sunday, reminiscent of those days back in May this year, rather than October 2017, which sits in my head as being horrific for lack of sailing days due to wind and rain. Truly stunning autumnal weather, makes the job so much nicer, and easier. I also remembered to pack my trusty Olympus TG-3
First customer, was a lovely couple I actually worked for before, back quite a few years now, when I would get through the lean shore guiding months crewing for Ray Burns on the charter vessel "Grey Viking". (strange, how I guess the concept really did stay in my head, of chartering one day. Back then, it was absolutely not a conscious thought. AnnaMarie and her partner Ross, had booked when they realised the association, having enjoyed my fussing over them on that distant past trip. Very flattering. And the session went stunningly well. We began what I guess is the standard session. Mixing it up with cod and bass.
I popped to the productive cod spot first thing, as with such amazing weather, there was bound to be a big turnout from the marina's private boat anglers, and the mark is a good mark for pretty much everything that swims on our patch at times. Just one other boat anchored, and quite clear of the bits I like to hunt in. Didnt take too long before Annamaria found herself attached to a cracker, weighed later on kitchen scales a little under 8lb. A few more drifts, but with no more action and more boats arriving, I decided to head out to some rock to hunt a bigger bass. And bigger bass we found, with Ross nailing one in the 6-7lb class, (over my kill max size of 5lb.. lucky bass). Others were less lucky however. And with plenty of mackerel bye catch, I could see them planning the recipe's even as we headed back in.
2nd sailing, and I had a fantastic mix of South African, local sussex, and Italian characters on board. Luke,. Phil and Claudio. I think I dont need to explain the banter was constant. As was the quality fishing. We started close, and with smaller fish, but with plenty of boats around now, I began to explore the places less popular. Boat traffic, strangely especially on the offshore (for me) marks, can really rock fish. Not so amazing really. These are shallow marks, and fish are truly wild, with only eating, surviving, and occasionally shagging to consider. A bit like myself before I became a responsible member of the charter boat community. This means they are free to focus on these things. And surviving, they are actually quite good at. Swimming away at high speed is one of their strategies in 30' of water.
It paid off nicely. We found the table fish. We found mackerel. We laughed, a lot. And then, with fifty minutes of the session remaining, and most of the private boats returned to port, we went cod hunting. Just two boats on the spot, both at anchor. I set up a drift to pass between them. First drop down, and Claudia found himself attached to a proper nodder... a fish around the 6lb mark to round off a truly superb day afloat. Perfect.