• Robin Howard

Brighton Inshore Fishing - Catch report 20th April 2021

When Covid first arrived in the UK, coinciding with my return after my first recce of Portuguese fishing, I remember the fear. And clearly, so did everybody else, as that first lockdown, was observed even without the police particularly needing to be involved. The streets were empty, simply because everybody was hiding from this unseen assassin. Except, not everybody did hide. Not everybody could hide. And for some, not only could they not hide, they had to knowingly enter contamination. They were the doctors and the nurses of the Covid wards. To do that, and to see the devastation that followed the huge increase in infections and yet crack on day after day, is simply impossible to comprehend for anyone that was not in those wards. But one thing I can comprehend, is the sheer bravery of entering this environment, day after day.

So, when I was hearing Nurse Mose, who was working among the infected, and continues to work among them, talking of how tired many became, and remembering the news some time when I was abroad, that despite his very own life being saved (his words) by the brave heroes, the government can only afford a 1 percent pay rise, and out of respect of doing a job I could not even entertain for selfish and self preserving reasons, any covid Doctors and Nurses will only ever pay half the rates I charge, from now until eternity. And bollock's to Boris for not fighting your corner. Disgusting.

With that out of the way, on to the fishing. Accompanying Mose was none other than that man Mark. The addiction is truly out of control. And after he finished fishing with me, he set off to fish... the marina arm. But before then, fun was to be had. Mose wanted squid, and Mark happy to bass, so the ground to fish was easy. But Mose wanted plaice also, which Mark is a great fan of, so from a planning point of view, it was a no brainer. But, still a little rocked by the previous days poor fishing, I reminded them it was early season, with thickening rot, and it might be patchy.

We reached the mark and deployed the gear. Mose has way more squid experience than myself, having grown up on the Adriatic coast in Italy, and Mark needs no further training, so an easy session for myself. And blow me, (leave it, meant in original, traditional context) if we didn't tick the box's of plaice and bass on the first drift. As I netted Mark's bass, Mose's rod slammed over to a decent sized male Loligo Forbessi (spring squid) . Result.

A further four bass fell, before all went quiet, and no further squid, despite effort, and one briefly hooked but dropped. Time to go chase a plaice. But would they play? First spot, not hot. Second spot, bingo. Plaice and whiting. Yip. April tings. Entertaining in February, a pain in April. But chunky plaice, and Nurse Mose went away a happy man, as did Mark, because, he had some fishing to go and do...

Second sailing, and it was returning Biffers Chris and Paul, Now buoyed by the success of the mornings sailing, I was more upbeat. Doh!! Why do I do that. This sailing was a bit of a grueler. Another split session, just two bass of no big size. And the plaice, were suddenly playing hardball. A few moves and we found them, but sizes were distinctly down on the earlier session. Some more whiting, and Chris had the cutest little Tub gurnard. But overall, disappointing.

Final session began much as the 2nd. This crew, long time regular Joe, bought along forager Adam and... Incredibly a customer from 33 years ago when I worked in a shop called Penge Angling (Rayleigh) , Vince. I have to admit, I did not recognise him. But actually, it bought back a flood of memories. Amazing. Dont leave it so long next time Vince... We did tick one wish, of Joe to catch a squid, with a medium sized one being tricked by the Tronixrpro jig in Brighton Pink. But bass, were not having it. So, onto the plaice. Which also was looking very dire indeed. Happily though, fortunes changed when the tide began its Westwards flow. More whiting jumped on the hooks, and then finally the plaice began to fall. This was Adams big wish. To tick off plaice on a lure, so I was very pleased when he started nailing them. Indeed, everybody caught plaice. I manages two crackers of 47 and 49 cm, on consecutive casts. Mackerel also were there. And in the last 45 minutes, the fish well went from one lonely squid, to a great feast for all. Then, a journey through suddenly thick fog. For fun, I ran on bearings noted when I noticed the fog thickening, rather than GPS. Pretty damned accurately I'm proud to say.

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