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  • Writer's pictureRobin Howard

Brighton Inshore Fishing - Catch report 1st December 2020

Out with Colin for first sailing. Formerly not a lure angler, this sailing was the kind I love. The kind when it dawns on the customer, what all the fuss is about. Light line fishing rocks. Pure and simple. And yet, a long way from straight forward. I had initially cancelled this mornings sailing. Seas would have been quite safe, with a very strong Northerly, but lure control, virtually impossible. But on awaking, to not hear my roof getting smashed by wind, and investigating the current airspeed at Shoreham airport, to find just 8mph instead of 20 gusting 28, I called both sailings back on.

I wish this was a story where XCWEATHER was completely wrong, and we fished all day on mirror seas. Instead, we pushed East to find very localised wind. At the spot we tried, the wind was distinctly closer to the forecast, and it was hard work and a little bouncy. Happily, Colin caught his first three ever bass, all on the trot, so that target was ticked. But it simply wasnt a place I could teach more of the repertoire of techniques I intended, so we headed for calmer waters close in.

Here, it was a struggle. Theme of today was lots and lots of herring around, but very few predators chasing them. A complete turn around from the last few days. It meant we went down to some desperate measures although at lead Colin was getting a full overview. But the only other exciting thing to happen, before time was over, was... actually, VERY exciting...

We simultaneously hooked big things, with humping movements. I straight away knew what it was, but was shocked by the size of them. Squid. Not the October / November squid of maybe 6 inches long. But the summer wreck squid that grow into kilos of individual creature. Likely also drawn in by the mass of bait inshore at the moment. And amazingly, we managed to land them both, on shads. A very happy Colin returned with a very valuable catch, as calamari is one of his firm favourites. A very lovely guy who I hope returns when conditions allow me to show more of what is available to catch on silly rods.

Because of the poor conditions, and the poor fishing, and the distance he has to travel, I had cancelled 2nd sailing with Peter, and arranged to meet Mark for a shore session. However, he insisted he didnt mind staying in close, even if it meant there were no fish. With the sea really being pond calm for the first half a mile, I couldnt actually refuse. Of we went, a little late after all the messing around, with first drop at 1pm.

I had actually felt a bit more hopeful, when a friend fly fishing reported a mass of herring being attacked by gulls right in front of him over towards the pier. And they were there, in there thousands. Happy herrings. Happy that nothing else was eating them. After 45 minutes of only seeing herrings on the sounder, we gave in and went for a hunt.

The wind by now was very strong indeed, and our options were limited to finding places in the lee of structures. Basically, it meant we had to linger around the marina. Here at least some very small bass were to be found. One much better one to Mark. It may sound strange, but we were both really enjoying the tough fishing. It really focuses you as with far less chances, everyone counts. We had 12 over the next 45 minutes.

An then the wind began to lull, and the tide ease back, and slowly, other options became available. "Fancy bouncing some cod rock?" I offered. We did. A long drift, I was close to giving up, when my rod bounced over, as I was attempting to reload my vape with one hand. I fumbled the strike. Something solid was briefly on and then off. " Damn... " I said to Mark. "Something ju..." BANG... It had a second go. This time, it stayed on an an excellent condition coddie came on board.

Two more drifts, nothing happening. "Want to try for one of those big squid? " I offered Mark, as already I could see, further offshore was not only possible, but calling me. "Chance of cod out there as well". Mark still had not managed his 2020 coddie. He was top cod rod in 2018, with ten during the season, and was desperate to break the duck. "Ok" he offered. I like that in Mark. He is very agreeable.

A long drift. Two more small bass broke it up. And right at the end. BANG. Another double hook up of squid. Mine on a shad, Marks on a jig. We went around for the last drift of the day, with the setting sun. A mass of familiar fish appeared on the sounder. "We are entering a pouting shoal" I offered. Seconds later, both rods bouncing to their rattles, and a few dragged to the surface, 2 fairly hooked, 1 upside down. That is about the average for foul hooking pouting on shads. "Never know! I said. "Might be a coddie mooching through them". BANG. Marks rod goes over, and a familiar fight. Duck broken, and a new BIF1 record for the SMALLEST coddie caught upon her. But rounds it off to 20 for the season so far.

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