First sailing was different to say the least. As I left my bungalow, the stillness of the air particularly caught my skin. As did the mildness. "Fantastic" I said to nobody at all. Which I was pleased about, as if somebody was lurking outside my house in the darkness at 05:30, I should imagine I wouldn't be talking to them. Well, actually I most certainly would be talking to them, but not by saying "Fantastic". At the boat, I quickly rigged the rods with surface lures. I happily went up the ramp, and greeted Mitch, Richard, David and Chris. We all commented on how the forecast had suggested a fair southerly breeze, and it had not happened. We were winners.
Until we came to the marina entrance. Clearly that Southerly had been blowing hard until 0529 this morning. The swells were big, and more frequent than I would have liked. But they were only swells, with nothing breaking on them, and with zero wind, and a forecast that suggested nothing heavy coming, I deemed it safe, and we went and climbed those hills.
The fishing was predictably hard going. Those ground swells really seem to put the fish off in the shallow places. I was hesitant to head out to the deeper spots, but lack of fish in close meant I pretty much had no choice. And ultimately the swells were no bigger really. And finally we found fish. Not loads, indeed, just six, with three for the table. Also a huge mackerel of 40cm for Richard, and Sunderland lad David's first cod outside of Sunderland, the 15th of the season for BIF1.
Next up, one of the last few Fins & Forks bookings. As much as I am sad to see these go, I have to say, they are very stressful, both for proprietor Mike King, and for me. Although I lose money when I have to cancel for weather, Mike loses significantly more. I am a charter skipper and have to accept that it goes with the job. Mike is a chef...
This one was not cancelled however, although I did warn Mike that rewards might be lean. These are not bass trips, but food trips. Variety is good. However, although previous sessions have been on target, this one fell short as predicted. Mackerel, no problem. Plaice, just one for the table. Bass, just three, all too small. And that was that. Will and his partner Charlotte were very good about it. Charlotte caught her first fish, Will caught his first bass, these were positives. And they survived the big seas, which just hinted at dropping as we retuned, with the ebbing tide.
Final sailing, Chris was back, along with Max and Martin. And it turned out to be the best session of the day, massively in part to the fact that the seas had flattened a lot, and we could now truly fish the lures maintaining contact. Not only that, but I scored the years first John Dory for BIF1. Very satisfying, with a ten bass total and smiles all round. Even some off the top at the end. A good way to end a hard day.