Out with regular Martin for both of todays sailings. Heading out, it was actually a stiffer NE wind than forecast, and actually, very chilly. Happily, having been prewarned of the temperature when I popped to fuel up the previous evening, I had additional layers on, which just about kept me going all day. But it was close. Same I feel for Martin, who complained of feeling a little broken. But by action or by cold winds with a short wave that meant spray onboard when transiting. The price we pay for fishable deck space. Besides, the sea is still quite warm, at 12.5 degrees inshore.
It was clear first point of action would have to be to go and have a look see if those whiting gobbling bass were still out on the sand. With the tide about to ebb, and the wind pushing offshore, it looked to me like it might be the prefect combination to run the ridge that they seemed to favour the previous time. And blow me, if there wasnt a rod and line commercial bass boat (its ok, these are the good guys) fishing it. I am sure he would prefer to be out on the wrecks where the bigger fish are likely shoaling, but that wind is harsh. It also showed I WASNT the first person ever to discover the bass holding potential of this feature. I guess I will have to pull my flag out of the sea bed. Happily, with two swift 48cm perfect table fish in the well on the first drift, all the following fish were released. And there were a lot, with over fifty percent above the 42cm line. Commercials had reason to fear the impact of recreational prior to the 2 fish restrictions. Although I would pont out I have run a 2 fish limit since 2006.
Definite patches of different ages hanging together, and the fish were behaving quite differently to the previous time. That time, we had 30 feet of bass in fifty feet of water, Today, smaller packs of fish roaming around. Where you caught a 35 cm fish, you would catch a few 35 cm fish. Where they were 50cm, you caught a few 50cm. Sadly, where the 5lb+ best fish of the day got caught, it was alone. But great action. I noticed the commercial drifting the full length of the ridge, so cut our drift down to half of it that toes were not trodden on. I also noticed my colleague Iain, moving from reef to reef, hunting. When he spotted me, the radio spluttered into life. "Any good out there Robin?" We had just netted our fiftieth fish... "Wow... Mind if we join you?" He also had a client onboard. and there is nothing worse than struggling to find fish for a paying customer. "Plenty here" I offered. First drift, and both his customer and himslelf were away.
We got to 101, when another vessel came in, and actually dropped an anchor between Iain and myself. But the timing was perfect, as the alarm sounded that a very very welcome hot coffee and a quick bite. Cherry Tree was closed, but happily the laughing dog, with Bandit in attendance, and somehow seeming to look younger than the last time, was open for yummy bagels. We decided to play a different game on the 2nd sailing. Looking for bigger bass, cod and squid. We did find a nice patch of quality bass, and were already up to 11 when Iain radioed as he headed back in. The pair had got to 70 odd bass and were very grateful. And they also had... a squid.
I had been quite determined not to go back to that spot, but I too had been suspicious that a patch of unhittable pulls might have been squid when fishing it on 1st sailing. So, of course we went there and Martyn tried the squid jig. I fished the bass. and t was more than Martyn could take when I began to contact them again. We got to 25, when we remembered with 40 minutes still to go, we wanted to try for a cod. Which we did, to no avail. But, very cold, very happy, and very arm achy, we were both happy to head in.