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  • Writer's pictureRobin Howard

Brighton Inshore Fishing - Catch report 12th May 2024

First sailing, and my pleasure to welcome back Dave, Natalie, Max and Lee. Off we set, on a sailing that, had I taken the forecast I had got seriously, would not have happened. No stiff Easterly, but a fairly gentle North easterly greeted us as we exited the marina entrance. A pretty good wind. But the tide I was less excited about. The three hours down to bottom has been a struggle to date. My guess for the best sailing today was the second sailing, all about the flood.

And it was going true to expectations. Up to an hour and fifty minutes into the three hour session, the tally was three smalls and I was already in my head wondering how to blog yet another dire session. I headed off for a small lump of structure, that has saved my bacon in the past.

And yet it wasn't the lump that saved the session. It was the observant eyes of Dave. "Look at all those birds over there" he said, perhaps not quite realising the significance of what was happening. I looked across to see a gannet pop back up whilst seagulls were getting about as excited as a frenzied bird can get.

Dropping uptide, I also immediately noticed likely why this bait was here. I was above a lip of rock, two ridges running parallel with a sand channel running down the middle. And the sounder was suggesting sand eels a plenty. Accompanied by many hundreds of bass. The guys dropped and the rods bent. And it remained like that for the rest of the session.

During the previous quieter moments, fish wise as the chat rarely stops on BIF1, Dave was bemoaning he still had not broken the 5lb barrier. "It will come" we all encouraged him. Perhaps we did not realise how soon. The fish that were coming up were a good mix of ages, from 1lb to 4lb mostly. Biggest though, was, and rightly seeing as his eyes had bought us to it, to Dave. At 61.5cm, the B.A.S.S. "Weight for it" article suggests around 5lb 13oz or so. Well done Dave.

Everyone fished well, and the fish did begin to thin as the tide dropped away to zero. Finally tally was 88 bass, a good many of those over the 42cm. A big value crop for a commercial rod and liner. But an invaluable crop for me, as it meant four big smiles departing my vessel, already planning their returns. On a year where the brunt of the cost of living crisis is really hitting peoples disposable incomes, those 88 bass were far more valuable than any auction house could have given me, in the long run.

I was much more relaxed about the second sailing. All flood, and I had a plan. Snag was, it was a really really poor plan in the end. Poor Mark, Lee and Pedro. Imagine, I am all bubbling about the amazing fishing, and this time as we headed out, it was into a fairly stiff South Easterly. That keeps me in the lee of Seaford head, as anything out from there, such as where we had just hit a bundle of fish, is lumpy. I tore around east to west, but just one schoolie, to Mark, and even that dropped off on the lift. Such a contrast. And Mark was booked in for the following sailing also. Lee was taking his own boat out, so I offered him to come tight with me for third sailing. Although I hadn't really done much to show I knew what I was doing on this one...

Third sailing, and joining Mark were newly qualified doctors, James and Lance, recently introduced to fishing, and their friend, regular angler but new to BIF1, Paddy.

I was in a bit of a quandary. The boys had come to Brighton to celebrate their recent exam results, prior to working 18 hours a day for a crust after this summer. And the main event was the bass fishing... What if it failed? We came out of the marina entrance into... flat calm. Had you been watching, you would have noticed a worry line vanish on my forehead.

With no restraints from the wind, I knew where I wanted to be prospecting. Rather than head straight there, I checked a few places along the way. Just one schoolie and two wrasse to show for it. Lots of boats out breaming, which is good to see. After an hour, with the tide now ebbing full bore, I decided to see if it was all still going on. I pulled really slowly onto the head of the gulley. And it lit up with bait being smashed by bass. Guys didnt even reach bottom.

They stayed until the final alarm. The final tally was 90 exactly. Lots of table fish, but everyone was returning. Neptune clearly appreciated the doctors efforts. Mark had a lot of them as you would expect. Lee, on his boat, also got among them which I felt justified his faith in me. Just poor Pedro who missed out. But he didn't really miss out so much, because he sent me pictures of an amazing meal he enjoyed in "Bocanas", the amazing value seafood restaurant in Lewes Road. Had he not come for the fishing, he would not have stopped for the dinner. And it looked AMAZING! And 179 bass for the day. Also AMAZING.

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