Dad and lad first sailing. Keen fly enthusiast Jan returned, with his young lad Benjamin. Benjamin came pretty well trained already, it had to be said, and with just a couple of tweaks, was casting plenty far enough to catch fishes.
The fly aspect though, did create a dilemma. For the fly to be effective you need fairly shallow water. The fish however, are favouring 30 plus feet. I tried to find a compromise, but that actually had the effect of reducing the catch rate on the lures. A fine line, as it was important that Benjamin caught, to hold his interest. Truthfully mind, I think he was happiest luring cuttles to the boat. Most kids (and too many grown up's) love this interaction.
We managed four fish in total, all to the lure. All in size, but Jan insisted on just a single fish each for the table. I enjoy releasing them more than I enjoy killing them, so certainly did not argue. And the highlight... Jan asked Benjamin "What's better, fishing or Xbox?". The answer, genuine and from the heart. "Fishing".
2nd sailing, Dad and lad again. Although the lad wasn't really a lad in the typical sense, on account of the fact he was a full blown adult. Dan was treating his dad Peter. I could talk to these guys all day long. Peter once owned a lake, somewhere inland. And none other than Fred J Taylor was a regular visitor. Indeed, the lake is where angling legend Fred caught his biggest ever carp. Thats quite a claim to fame!! Unhappily, as soon as we cleared the marina entrance, dark clouds were evident on the horizon, and the NE wind we had enjoyed in the morning, was now 180 degrees opposite, from the South West, threatening to bring the doom laden clouds closer.
I checked on "RAIN ALARM". We would not be missing it. Best we might do is catch fish before it got to us. Which we did. Just two fish, one for Peter, one for Dan. I lost one. And then, it was upon us. With the first close rumble of thunder, I called all in, and we abandoned the session. A raked down open boat, where the only lightning conductors are the anglers, is no place to be on the open sea when the flashing begins.
Third and final sailing was delayed to 1600, to allow the storm to pass. As much as XCWEATHER struggles to predict the weather, my RAIN ALARM app is a sure thing, as it replicates the met office rain radar. It was clear the storm was in a band, and that band would clear after a short while. Actually even quicker than I imagined, as when the rain began it was accompanied by a spike in a now southerly wind to push it along. So, by the time we exited the marina, it was out onto a perfect summers later afternoon.
B.I.F, B.I.M and more recently WATERBEAR (first one is my gig, last two are music colleges) co-founder Bruce was back on board, after a far too lengthy absence, joined by uber regular Mark, who picked up a late cancellation. And that uber regularness, (spell checker telling me regularness isn't a word, but I'm going with it) really paid off today.
With the tide not yet full bore, I elected to look for a cod, until the flood increased in pace. The mark was alive with fish. Sadly, not cod, but endless shoals of horse mackerel. And plagued with cuttles. We gave it two drifts, before the screen on the GPS highlighted half a knot of tide. Time to start the bassing.
And what a session. We simply couldn't go wrong. Every place we stopped, bass. And quality fish. But check out this statistic. Mark was such a coiled spring, I was worried he might need lubrication. He hardly missed a bump. Of the 28 bass landed, he made 17. His best day's bassing yet on BIF1. Bruce started slowly. In part, due to faffing around trying to find the next leap forward with techniques etc. I like this, as it has often revealed stuff. A lot of the mini pirk approach we used to effectively in the spring of 2018 for that epic cod catch came from this kind of faffing around.
But in the end, as always, he conceded that the straight shad approach was clearly effective. He finished on five very good fish. And myself, I managed six. Mostly hampered by keep having to net fish. I will take that anytime. I will claim the biggest fish of the day though. Perhaps a shade over 5lb. The best session yet this year, and the sprat haven't even turned up yet.