First up, and the return of Tim, Paul, Jay, and new to BIF1, Ben, Jay's son. Heading out, there was news that despite the arms and the beaches being as busy as I have ever seen them, thanks to much publicity about the huge shoals pushing the whitebait to the beaches, both on social media fishing circles, and in the wider news media, but very few fish. This has been the final piece in the perfect storm, for concentrating fishing effort. The other two pieces, a mackerel drought from the shore pretty much everywhere on the south coast, plus Dover Harbour Board's decision to prohibit fishing during the pandemic, and finding a multitude of reasons to maintain the ban, meaning the many hundreds of regular anglers there, finding their way to Brighton town.
In actual fact, had they been fishing Hove beaches, they would have all filled their transit vans. looking at the bird activity along there, which was enough to take my crew offshore a little, on fairly flat seas. And it was a good move. But whereas the day before, most of the fish were over the 42cm, on this day, too many were around 40cm. Not that it mattered, as we had a limited desire for a fish dinner on board. And those desires were of course fulfilled. But the actual count, was 17 bass landed, plus a bonus wrasse. Mackerel, although present, along with horse mackerel, were significantly less plaguey than the day prior.
Next up, return of Mark and Damo, plus young Dylan, from the previous day, along with Mike, his godfather. Off we set, to expected good results. Except... Let me fill in here. There was a match on the marina wall today, palace pier club. Some of our most experienced and highly skilled marina bait anglers. And many blanked. The sterile thing was happening. We struggled. Happily. Dylan had two table requests. Cuttle and Mackerel. Three cuttle and two large mackerel were the best the whole boat could manage. Indeed, it got so tough, along with rain. that I phoned the other half of the next charter (Mark and Damo had booked for that one also) and gave them the option of re-scheduling. Not because of bouncy seas, or even because of the rain, but purely because I hate taking people out knowing full well we will struggle.
But on the other hand, many are just out for the air and the boat ride, with the catching less important. Happily. my guys were not of this ilk. and wanted to catch fish, and appreciated being given the option. Mark and Damo also agreed that there wasnt much point, and I began to look forward to another early bath. And then, everything changed...
Well, not everything. But Mark hit a good fish, with screaming reel, which turned into a nice table bass. And then, Damo, who's rod had been bending all session to cuttlefish, suddenly let out a yelp. That wasnt any cuttle... He worked the fish perfectly, being patient and allowing the fish to swim itself up under constant pressure. The nest slipped under a nice long fish, likely around 6lb. Which was, kind of awersome. and brings our cod count to 7 this season, suggesting we have a cod season after all.
That was the last bit of excitement before it was time to head in. But it was enough for Mark and Damo to change their minds. They did want to head out after all. So, of course, we did. And yet... Not so much had changed. Marks jacket had changed, to a proper waterproof (Musto gortex. Highly recommended). But the fish remained absent. Some mackerel to feathers for Mark for bait, and also another nice bass to Mark. Damo remained with a constant stream of cuttles. And I blanked!! After two hours of this, nobody argued with me, when I suggested they save their last hours money for their planned Nando's experience and me for the slightly earlier bath.
Dont be too distressed if you are imminently out with me. The sterile sea. always follows a time of plenty. Tomorrow, is always, a different day. And I still have one space on the 0630 sailing. If you can be on the West boat ramp (Zizzi) for 0615, come find out how different. SMS to 07970 112774 prior.