There are times, rarely, but always after a good long run of being on the water, where I can sense a change. Today was one of them, and instead of a report about a real struggle on the bass on the second and third sailings, after a cracking first sailing, instead I remembered that I am a light line lure operation, not a bass boat, and we mixed things up a little.
The lucky guys that enjoyed the mirror calm seas and eagerly feeding fish on the first sailing, were Nick, Martin and Garry, all returning. One was missing, under the weather last minute, which left plenty of space. Mirror calm seas, once more it was all about the surface lures, and subs.
Twenty one we reached, a fish or two every drift, in about two hours. Plus a little cod. Max kill, and plenty more table plus released. A friend who doesn't get down to his boat so much these days called me, and I explained where we were, and what we were up to. He headed over, but misjudged the start of the drift and came over it hard.
The fishing died instantly. And the co-incidence was too much, it must have been my friends boat scaring them off the mark right? I beat myself up for inviting him over, and killing the great sport, as I scurried around trying to find where they had run to. Then another friend rang "I'm struggling Rob"... It truly was a co-incidence. They had simply done something else. Some greater rewards were calling the bass to some place as yet unknown. Nothing to do with the other boat.
I have witnessed this often, and almost always it is one either the smallest (as today) tide of the cycle, or the biggest. And it always happens just as my confidence and ego is at an all time high after a really great run on the bass. So, when Mark, Natalie and Dave turned up for 2nd sailing, I floated an alternative agenda, after explaining if we hunted bass it might likely be a story of woe. "How about a cod hunt, followed by a plaice and gurnard session". Everyone was enthusiastic, and off we went.
It was absolutely the right thing to do. The cod hunt went well, although once more it was without finding a table fish. We all had one, which when you think about recent years, highlights at least the numbers around. And then onto the banks. As I began to move, a noise from above caught my ear. I looked up. At extreme height, a flight of storks, or cranes. Maybe eight birds. Anyone else see these? We also encountered a resting grey seal. I see this one around a lot, often on the shingle between the pier and the marina, on the rare quiet moments.
Thirteen plaice, with a couple for the table, and umpteen gurnards, which were really hard biting and hard fighting. None really for the table though. A couple of mackerel also, as Dave is slowly being converted to being a fish eater by Natalie. The bass was a success, and Dave is now very happy to eat bass. Lets see what he thinks of mackerel, which although very tasty, is very much a "fishy" fish.
Final sailing, James, Chris, Victor and Dean were all happy to play the same game. While we had good tide moving, I started on the plaice. Similar numbers, and again lots of gurnards happening. Then I tried a patch of rough ground for a cod, but it was without result. It took a run in closer to find just the one, for Dean, and probably the biggest one we have seen to date. I have stopped counting, as these codlets are many, and yet, I feel as if we are not having a cod run. A friend had a double figure fish not too far offshore today, so perhaps better ones are still en-route.