How much can change in 24 hours... How dark and dank the charter industry can be... Remember the playground? Seems some people think those rules remain. Small minded folk, of course. Those that aren't thinking very far ahead. Or at all for that matter. What am I banging on about? Remember last nights blog... ? Well, it seems that my ideas, worked with another skipper and boat, are a bit too much for some people. With bookings thin on the ground for the bait fleet, hackles were raised. Very very grey ones mostly, it has to be said.
I got a message yesterday evening from Captain Tony. He had been harassed all day. Withheld phone numbers making direct threats. A third enquiry from the MCA as a "concerned member of public" was making them do some work (although I think that chap is now boy who cried wolf to them, as Tony's CAT3 coding on his vessel, plus his skippers certification, is all in order for night passage. Just not for multiple days. Well, we like our squidding, but four hours really is plenty...)
To top it all, likely the same "concerned member of the public" meant Tony got a call to go meet with the premier marina management team. By now, Tony, a very non confrontational warm hearted family guy, had really had enough. He told them to terminate his mooring, and returned to the river at Newhaven, where he remains the only charter vessel still operating there to the best of my knowledge. And where he will continue to get my full support, and all family bait bookings that I have previously passed on to the rest of the Brighton fleet. I don't feel it is right, that other skippers get to say who does and who does not berth at #Premiermarinas Brighton. It should really be down to Mike Hatch, who is overall manager. Not someone that feels upset by change. Not someone jealous of alliances. Not someone worried by new, much needed younger blood and fresh eyes entering the fleet. Those sort of narcissistic tendencies should be challenged, not pandered to. If bullies are to win, should we not stop sending aid to Ukraine immediately?
Although all of this came at Tony, the end result was, I was, for at least twenty minutes, without a boat to realise my ambitions with Cephalopods. Twenty minutes, because what to do about it was a no brainer. Through all of this, one skipper had welcomed Tony, right from back in the summer when we were working from his offshore 25. The same skipper I crewed for, back in the days when his trips were busier due to cod, and my then shore guiding was quiet because of very little to chase along the edges. Ray Burns, and Grey Viking. A quick explanation of the story, an agreement on price, and next time it all looks good, we will be fishing squid once again, and now with the capacity for TEN anglers.
Just one problem... the terrible results of the very first (and sadly last) trip on the Starfish 8. Just seven squid and two small cuttle... And yet, as you can read in the last blog, I already had thoughts about how to improve the score. Today, I managed to get back Joao and David from that poor trip. Knowing full well I was going in to dark, to avoid any complications whatsoever, I also made it a free trip. I can pretty much crash into the marina walls drunk on meths and it wont be a problem, if money isnt changing hands. Not that I drink meths. Well, perhaps really good home made stuff.
I went out alone before this, once the swells died down (all bass sailings were cancelled due to a huge groundswell) to work out more about certain bits of rough ground. As with all species, the more time you spend with them, the more you understand them. And as with all self employment, the more effort you put into your job, the greater the rewards. Ten squid and a small cuttle fell to my rods, plus a bonus cod and a bass of a couple of pounds, on a rod using a shad as a weight. Encouraging.
The main event. We headed out at the allotted time, and we caught lots of squid. Actually, for our three hours at sea, we landed 26 squid and five cuttles. Still not many forbessi, the bulk being vulgaris, which means still greater numbers to come as the season progresses. But I was very happy with that result. Very happy with the timings of the trip as well, as light plays a hugely important role in the movements of squid, both in the water column and in the depths they seek. And very happy indeed with my understanding of how the squid lay on the ground.
So, if you would like to add yourself to the Whatsapp group where the cephalopod only trips are actioned, simply text your name and the word SQUID to 07970 112774 where you will be added to the group, as long as you have WHATSAPP on your phone. Sessions aboard GREY VIKING will be four hours port to port, at £80 per angler. Maximum ten people. Minimum 6 people to run a session. The potential for 500 squid hauls, is very very there. And the good bit, I dont wash the boat down afterwards...