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  • Writer's pictureRobin Howard

Brighton Inshore Fishing - Catch report 15th November 2021

First sailing was quite tough going it has to be said. Peter, Stewart, Mark and Fred, all returning for fishy frolics. Just, nobody told the fish. It started with a proper good go at squid and cod. Half successful. Seven squid landed. Just, no coddies. And then, as the tide got moving, ,off to hunt bass.

Except... the bass were distinctly difficult to find. And when we did find them, the shoals were small, and almost exclusively tight to structures. Further complicated by the positioning of nets at the moment. The autumn inshore is very heavily netted by commercial tangle netters mostly targeting flat fish. The reason for their sudden appearance is several fold. Firstly, byelaws aimed at protecting summer tourists from getting tangled up are seasonal, and the netters are now quite entitled to net right up to the beach in most locations. Secondly, those spider crabs, that you bait fisherman curse for snipping off your hook-lengths and stripping your baits, are actually one of the best things ever to happen to Sussex IMHO. Not only does the moult bring big fish into the shallowest of waters, but their numbers mean that only the most stubborn of tangle netters will put up with it. Plus, those same flatfish are more spread, with some of the better fishing out on the banks way off. Which is the third reason. Basically, there are a lot of fish in the edges. Please dont get too carried away with the idea that all the fish in the sea are being removed. The actual effort is actually less than when I first arrived in Brighton twenty years ago. And when you watch these guys unload, you will quickly appreciate, that compared to the trawlers some of these guys were once skippering, the tangle nets actually arent the great threat to our marine ecology.

What they are is a pain in the arse with the inevitable tackle losses when they are poorly marked nets, and I do very much worry about my hardware ending up in the crews hands when they are hauling. Im pretty sure I saw there was some work happening to make good marking of set nets mandatory. On the french side, they are very obvious indeed, with reflective tape and everything. If we had that this side, Im pretty sure there would be a lot less lost gear (swept up by trawlers) and a lot less of my gear lost in their nets. Most annoying, are those marked with a flag one end, and a buoy the other. Because instinctively I am looking for the other flag. Except it doesnt exist, and suddenly all the rods are locked over onto something extremely heavy and a little bit springy... Grrrr....

We managed to get a bass each for the table, for Stewart, Peter and Fred. From a grand total of just six bass. And those squid of course. Fresh squid are a very special thing it has to be said. As is the Allday breakfast at Cafe Zio, it has to be said. Mark and I enjoyed that, and then headed back collecting Lee, Steve and new to BIF1 David along the way.

Back out, and a reverse of the mornings session. We started off on the bass, and the bass we found. we managed to get to 12, although just three for the table. Three was enough to give each of the guys a very tasty, and valuable, reward for making the effort (Mark, as I, very rarely take fish). One nice suprise was a shad for David. Such a beautiful fish, I ask that they are hung from the lure for the photo, and then dropped off by reversing the shad over the water. This is to prevent scale loss, as they are a very delicate fish, and if handled, survival is likely to be affected.

Onto the squid and cod. Which produced... One squid... Hmm... We really gave it a good go. Which was rather worrying. Because I had invited some keen squiddy friends down to have a sunset into dark session. Here, Lewis, Mark, Mose and Mike came and assisted me (free of charge, I do not have the correct certification to take people out at night... Currently... ) in this research and development. Nocturnal squid sessions would rather increase my income stream in the wee hours. As would night sole sessions (bait) which I think I would rather enjoy also. But, thats all dependent on there being a product to sell. And based on both squid landed in the hour and a half session, I think there is a lot more work to go into it...

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