First sailing, and young Nick and Richard had returned, bringing with them a BIF1 virgin , Matt. Not that it mattered. Matt had rod skills, and five minutes of instruction meant he was fingering like a pro.
And wow, what a session. I left alone the places where recently the sessions have been quite low numbers of fish, and revisited some marks I didnt fish for a couple of years. Well, they have recovered well for me leaving them alone.
Tally for the first session, was twenty seven bass. But the best bit, was only six were below the 42cm size limit. Not that we kept them all of course. That would be illegal. The max six fish were killed, and all others released. We even squeezed in a drift over a plaice bank to top up food stocks, but from a dozen landed, just one tidy one. Mackerel abundant everywhere though so plenty of fish in the wells.
On returning to the dock, two gentlemen approached, with slightly serious faces. Both were wearing auto inflate life jackets. They both were wearing the same dark blue outfits. Either I was about to get a hard sell from one of the boat brokerages, or INTERPOL had finally caught up with me...
It actually turned out to be neither. These two gentlemen, produced upon request, ID suggesting they worked for Southern IFCA. And they wanted to check the fish bags. Happily, being a staunch fan of the current restrictions, they are religiously enforced, with the added measure of slot sizes on BIF1, 42 to 59cm. But I was perplexed, as last time we had a rib run up to us, it had a beautiful blonde. "She left" was the explanation. And as such, SIFCA is short one member of staff. All applications to the office in Shoreham port.
Next sailing, and I was very happy to welcome the return of Paul, and Orett and Nick, as well as new to BIF1, Peter. And with somewhat of a dilemma, as we were faced with both a stiff NW breeze and an ever dying tide. I took a punt on returning to where we had done well in the morning, and actually, it played out quite well.
Not the numbers, but the sizes were impressive, We managed to kill eight of the 14 we landed, for max bags all round, but of the remaining six, three would have been for the table otherwise. Thats a hell of a lot of fun on 28gm gear. Lots of mackerel bye-catch, but Nick asked if he could run some feathers to top up on the pot.
I really dont enjoy feathers being worked on a busy boat. As well as the safety aspect of so many points, there is also the prospect of a full house spinning up everybody in a matter of seconds. Frustrating all round. But with everyone in a smiley happy mood, especially as the wind abated on the new flood tide, I said it was ok. I fitted a 56gm mighty minnow as a weight, to add to the catch potential.
Im quite pleased I did. Because as we continued to catch bass, Nick took another dozen mackerel. A good feed for a large household such as his. But he got tired of it, and Orlett took over. Just as the mackerel got scarce. Then, suddenly, his rod lunged over and began nodding in an unmistakable way. A cod, and a good one by the looks of it.
Orlett did a great job of staying calm, and pumped the fish up. A couple of times it crashed back down, in the way a cod does, if not hindered by a heavy lead. Reel screaming, heart in mouth stuff. Pumped back up again, and then, big relief for everyone as it slipped over the net. Very next drift, he bumped a second. And then it was time to return.
Third sailing was a complete cock up by me, as I had booked the guys onto the wrong day. Happily rectified, but leaving me with a space. Normally I would advertise it, but actually, with my ex wife and dog currently visiting, I was happy to take the afternoon off. Hence such an early blog.