Amazing how beautiful Brighton becomes, when we get a glimpse of the perfect summer weather. The sea, now over twenty one degrees inshore, changes colour for sure. With the sunlight reflecting back from the white cliffs, fishing along the east side just lifts you. A mass of tranquillity, wherever you look. With clean blue skies, little things, like the old windmill, over past Rottingdean, become works of art, with the symmetry of intense azure skies framing above, and those amazing gleaming chalk cliffs below. further made by the intense green blue sea. Which is perhaps why the whitebait, anchovy and sand eel shoals are enjoying it so much. Or, it could actually be yet more scum, decaying may rot, adding to the plankton rich slow tide areas. Whatever the reason, that's what's is happening. A zillion gulls cant be wrong.
This should be a straight forward thing. Go drift the shoals, catch the fish. Stacks of smalls, with a few 45-50's among them. Distinct in their open water colours, grey and silver. But rarely beasts... So, after thinking about this a lot, it now becomes a customer choice. Trophy or action. Not that it will last forever. First sailing, Steve, Jerome and Stelios. They actually didnt get that choice as we went for trophy, as the birds werent really much, which meant the big build up massacre that makes the fishing fast and furious wasnt really happening. And the fishing was quite slow. with just five bass landed in the session, and two for the table.
Second sailing, and a lot of fun. I always get a bit anxious when I know I have parents and youngsters coming on board. It is so critical to keep some kind of constant action happening, and when you only fish lures, this can be challenging without resorting to chasing mackerel. But welcoming Angela, her son Dylan, and Dylan's good friend Harry on board, I straight away new I could relax. They were beaming from the first moment, so the "smiles guaranteed" promise was complete.
With the last run of the ebb to play with, I decided to target plaice a big further out, where there would still be enough tide to push us along in the breathless seas. And it was a great plan. Plaice a plenty, with some crackers among them. Harry especially showed a very innate ability. He out fished my rod, not just in numbers, but in size, with two really cracking fish, deep and thick with meat. A long mackerel and a couple of gurnard also to keep the interest.
Happy that the rod handling skills were there, it was time to progress again to the rocks, to see if we could get the guys casting. And we could. In no time their rods were whistling, and lures flying great distances. Right on the low tide though, sadly bass were not playing, just a lone gurnard and some curious cuttlefish. But the main agenda, which was to give a new sea fishing experience, especially for Dylan who is collating his journey into sea fishing for a school project, was achieved. And I think we all had a lot of fun doing it.
Third and final sailing, Martin was returning to BIF1, and with him, Fern and Ian. And the main objective was to get Fern and Ian addicted to bass fishing, that future trips would be all the same crew. Martin had booked the trip for the first push of flood, and that meant, the zillion birds were now doing their thing.
So, of course, we joined them. Fish were having it. To avoid the horse mackerel marking below, we fished surface and shallow. Strangely, the gulls are rarely interested in the lures in this scenario. They are pre-occupied in spotting whatever it is they are looking for that the shoals do, to make for an easier feed. Same like the bass quite often, but of course, with so many there, plenty did come and get on our hooks.
Actually a little larger than I expected. Quality shcoolies, with table fish among them, Up to the 50cm mark. But, as the tide was at its strongest, I offered the option of a trophy drift for an hour, and return to these fish if it didnt happen. Just one bronzed beauty in the rocks, not huge, But Ian's PB, and enough to get him very hooked on bass fishing.
And then Fern. Fern did what most women and first time anglers (which Fern is not) do really well. Listen. Very quickly she had the casting tweaked to excellent. She got the hang of the retrieve also very quickly, and her first fish of many, of course fell to her new found skills. I would now grade her, a very competent lure angler. Will we see them again? Im thinking... yes...