Just a single sailing, with frequent flyer Mark on board, and new to BIF1 Ashley. With a month since my last sailing due to winds, I had no idea what to expect, other than plaice, which were most likely. But far from ideal plaice conditions, with a small tide, and sailing pretty much just before low meaning we wouldn't get much tidal flow.
We set out, and initially had a little play on a cod spot. The first few should be making their way back from spawning any day, and then I hope to find consistent sport until they finally depart the inshore reefs towards the end of April. Alas, no cod. And conspicuously, one of the biggest changes, no whiting either to fill the gaps between better fish. I was missing them...
With the first trickle of flood, I relocated us to a spot I am definitely calling Cracker bank from this point always. I will even rename my PLAICE 4 marker on my GPS. For some reason, this patch of sand simply delivers bigger plaice. Far less plaice, but too many 3lb + fish for it to be a coincidence. We even nailed four thornbacks here back in the summer last year, also on the isome technique. And last year, the same Mark who now catches the first and biggest plaice on this trip, had encountered two beasts in consecutive drifts, that we still debate today. Both dropped off, almost up. Nothing like the fight of a thornback or undulate. Much more powerful, but very flattie like. 5lb+ plaice, or decent turbot...? We will never know. But I got both the spots marked, and try them every time. This time, just a small one for Ashley, but at least a fish. And his first flattie on lures.
Wind was holding us back, so that we were hardly moving. Not great for plaice, but often good for another spot a little further west, where literally anything can be caught. Today, it was one of the much missed this winter jumbo Tub gurnard. Beautiful, hard fighting, and delicious, Mark was almost as pleased with this as his 3lb 4oz plaice.
But it was hard work drifiting the spot, and a commercial came to collect his whelk pots. Thats a lot of percussion disturbance, so we came back to try some plaice spots further inshore. And more plaice we did find, but not in the same size as from "Cracker bank". With brilliant sunshine all day, was a bonus. A very pleasant day to be a charter skipper.