First sailing, and it was a fast return for young Luc, who this morning was joined by Paul, who snatched a late cancellation spot. Bass was the main aim of the game, and again it was a bit of a struggle. Just five fish falling, others missed. Happily, three of them were perfect for the table, to give some return for efforts spent. Both guys fished hard, and very well. Indeed, Luc has already mastered the finger. A challenging but ultimately rewarding morning.
Next up, and new to BIF Thomas and Barry. Food was the order of the day, and on paper it was perfect. First strong push of flood tide. Plaice aplenty right. Yes. For the first four drops. Four happily plump table fish. Here we go... I thought... I thought wrong. Lots of chasing around looking in all their usual moody hidey holes. Just a single mackerel to add to it. Damn. After a while, I floated the idea of bassing. After all, if we were spending time not catching plaice, would it matter if we spent time not catching bass? But we did catch bass, albeit just 2. A reasonable gurnard joined the food collection. And young Barry only went and nailed a pretty rare thing. A very inshore pollack. Just a decade ago, a plague of these sized fish existed along the chalk reefs, just beyond the intertidal zone. Now, pretty unusual.
Final sailing, and that man Mark was joined by another man called Peter, and his eight year old lad Leo. And the target was... bass. But actually, there is a bit more to it than that. A huge part of the reason I somehow became a charter skipper, was my many many trips with Southsea skipper Peter Churchill. As well as improving my boat bait fishing no end, he also would often trust me to helm "Moonshine" while he pottered around sorting tackle for the next stop. Things like this lodge in the subconscious I'm pretty sure. He certainly helped a man who has always been nervous of boats, be less nervous of boats. And he also recommended me to his regular clients Peter and Leo, when Leo said he wanted some lure fishing.
Snag is... Cold water, green and very few bass about around the edges. And would Leo have the casting skills required to get plenty of ground covered, searching for those few bass that are about...?
Turns out, Peter had done a masterful job of teaching his boy how to whack a lure a long way. Amazing stuff. The lad truly has rod skills. A big relief. So, on the hunt. And hunt. And move and fish and move and fish and... you get the point. Boy, it was tough. Peter did briefly slam a good one. but two shakes and off. Annoying. That man Mark smashed into a really solid bruiser of a fish. Because thats how gurnards of a certain size, demand to be described. But as for bass... No play. Hmmm...
I dont like doing long transits as it eats into the fishing time hard. But one thing I have learned, if its not happening one end, go the other. A quick 4 mile sprint, and into different waters. Happily waters that did contain bass. We managed 7. all small, before I floated the idea, on now calm waters (crazy day of heavy clouds bringing their own micro weather systems along with them) of trying offshore a little for a better sized fish. Sadly, we didnt find one, but young Leo did at least get a little Ballan wrasse to reward his efforts. I would rate that session as tough, but I think fun was had, and I hope to reward Leo (and Peter) patience and rod skills once the bass are inshore in bigger numbers.