First sailing, and all regulars. Mark, Chris, Deyan and Shadi. And another demonstration of how it can be so easy to miss the fish, and have a poor trip. We didn't do that, but we could easily have on both sessions. The thing is, the fish are mostly small inshore just now, although I expect that to change with the imminent crab peel, and these fish are in mega shoals, with lots of no fish whatsoever between these big shoals. And they are focused on tiny fry, of which regular diary followers may remember me ranting about every year about this time. Except this year, I decided to confront the issues, and changing shad size and colour to get closer to the natural, saw what can happen when you put thinking into action.
Ninety two bass was the total, with just five being table fish from that tally. However, when you are fishing on effectively perch tackle, every fish is a wonder. We did mix it up, and took the first surface fish. I have re-armed my hard plastics with large singles, but watching one fish not get hooked up on an Axia Glide with just a single single on the tail, after really trying hard to eat it at least six times, I may have to have a re-think. I still prefer to miss these small fish on a single than limit their survival with trebles, as the lure comes back and the trebles cause damage often. A work in progress.
Tech was interesting. I have included an image I suspect is bream nests picked up by the side scan.
Some chunky mackerel also in among the shoals. It was a most enjoyable session. But what to do on the next one? Tide would be last of ebb, so I would start looking for a better fish a little further offshore. Joining Chris, who remained aboard, was regular Suntus, and new to BIF1 father and son Michael and Jim.
The plan for a bigger fish didnt go so well, and the time taken hunting them meant the tide was ever weaker. A lot of boats out today, with a competition taking place with the orkneys of the Hove Deep Sea Anglers (a highly recommend club btw, for lots of reasons, including a tidy cheap bar!!) out in force. This limited the options a little, and I began to worry, especially as we had new customers aboard. This year is clearly going to be a tough one for all service industries working on income from the "luxuries" section of all those household budgets. And repeat custom is the only thing that keeps the charter industry busy outside of the holiday periods. All these thoughts come to mind when half way through a session, just two wrasse have been boated.
Neptune may have felt my concerns, and this time had some pity. We were on just two wrasse, when Suntus's eagle eyes picked up a splash. Then a few more. Enough to work from, Suntus had beaten my new 2k tech in spotting a mega shoal. We got down to it. In the time remaining, the tide turned and removed the fish. However, a move to the regular early flood reef gave us a few top ups, and after the three hours was ended, the tally was fourty two bass. And table fish? Zero, sadly. Hurry up crabs. You must be very uncomfortable in those old shells... A hundred and thirty four bass in six hours.
Based on the forecast, with a fresh SW breeze coming in at 1400, third sailing was cancelled. And as I type, my bush is being caressed by that very same breeze. Well done XC. Accurate. I just wish I could say "as always".