Wow. Summer solstice been and gone already. The steady degradation of daylight hours, ever quickening, until we return to the gloom of winter. And just two sailings a day. On those very rare days that the wind allows. Much like summer really. Today afternoon winds curtailed a planned cuttlefish trip, which left just the first and second sailings.
First one, Max, Rene, Lee and Neil headed out with me. Seas were nicely calm and we had half an ebb tide down to low to play with. After finding better fish on deeper marks yesterday, I thought we would try that again. Max was very happy we did for sure. Another session of not many fish, and for those we got only two were over the legal size for killing. And one was over the BIF1 tiny contribution to future bass stocks maximum kill limit by a good way. A cracking 66cm fish for Max and very well earned.
The final tally was eleven bass landed. And a bonus reef pollack. Always nice to see, and hints of a bit of a recovery happening perhaps. As for the bass fishing, its all in a bit of state of flux at the moment. The clouds of sandeels have vanished, along with the huge shoals of gulls that made finding the fish so very easy. And yet, with the shore guiding I have been doing in between the viable sailings, I can already see the next big thing growing bigger daily. And more and more bass starting to turn their attentions to them. And of course, the spiders are popping like crazy, solonette are featuring in the diets (a big clue if you understand solonettes) and baby squid and bream are also all in the mix.
Second sailing, and Paul, Martyn, Tom and Andy were up. This sailing was all about the flood tide, and I really thought I would be able to plot up on a particular reef and catch bass for three hours. Of course, the bass had other plans. But my mind has been reeling since this same reef refused to hold fish on the early flood on previous afternoon sailings. We had searched previously in one direction. Today I decided to look in the other. Bang. Fish on.
One interesting thing. We got what is becoming a regular visit from the Sussex fisheries patrol vessel, operated by Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority. Which was great as they could once again see sizeable bass in the well (we were towards the end of the session and had five dead on board) and I could tell them of some of my recent observations on my recent shore jaunts. There is far more trickery happening on the marina arms than out at sea just now, with the silly season for easy bass on baits. (the spider crab peel) Lots of bags going back to the car in the dead of night. Lets see how big the fines are this year.
Not fast and furious, but steady, and with foodies on board, it was important to find table fish. Final tally was eleven once more, but more quality fish and five despatched on the road to bass Valhalla. Non stop laughter, sunshine, and an ever more bouncy sea all made for a great session. Guys were happy, I was happy. And late, for a job on the marina arms. Got to make back the losses from the overrun fuel tank replacement job somehow.