Noooo... 1st September? The magical month of August already gone?? My life quickening...?? Your lives quickening... But actually, I am kind of glad August is away. Usually one of the gems of the fishing year, this one, was basically cooked into a tragic excuse of an August. Great for bronzed bodies, terrible for catching bass. Dont get me wrong, I am a huge fan of bronzed bodies. Other peoples. But personally its better for my finances to be finding bass.
So, into my 54th September. September's have rather changed though. Septembers in my childhood, were about fogs, drizzles, grey cloud and heavy dews. Mellowness, that allowed field mushrooms to grow in the cow pastures by Benfleet Creek, that my father and I would collect together. Rare moments indeed for my childhood, and extra treasured for that. Septembers now, are much drier, warmer. Coats are more for October than September, even afloat. I suspect there are no more field mushrooms on the Hadleigh downs. Perhaps no longer cows either. The farmer, whom we once rented the rough shooting on parts of his land for a bottle of scotch every christmas, must be long since passed.
Once again, I was able to snatch first sailing by second guessing the forecast. Except, it was definitely closer to the forecast and distinctly was more ENE than NE to begin with, and ended with the worse case scenario, of Easterly on a newly flooding tide, which meant we actually came in 20 minutes early. And yet, in that time regulars David, Stewart and Peter, plus their friend new to BIF1 Brandon, landed 24 fish. David fished exceptionally well today, his hours spent on BIF1 really showing. I think he had at least ten of those. Brandon was rewarded with the biggest fish of the day. And the fish were pretty much all over the 42cm. They were lucky though, as only 2 fish were required for the table. I also unhooked one which had what appeared to be a horrific cancerous growth on its lower jaw. Absolutely horrible. No photo of that, as you might be eating at some point after reading this.
Bycatch was interesting today. I spent most of the session running a shad around, as a comparison. Interestingly as a consequence, I caught very few bass today. I did hit a snag, just as we were about to go around on the drift. I banged the tip a few times, and then thought I would use the boat to release it as we were moving anyhow. I tightened up, started the engine, as my rod hand got pulled down in a sequence of lunges. I quickly turned off the engine, and tightened into what was clearly a big fish. Some more lunges gave the game away. "Big ray" I said. "Undulate". Because always the big ones are undulates, right? Wrong. A very big Thornback came to the net. Well into double figures, sadly I left my scales at the scene of a river weighing a couple of weeks ago. So, BIG is the best I can say. All in all, great fishing in terrible conditions, and shared by a great crew. Top morning.