First sailing, and the return of Ian and his charming wife Anny. Anny was there in observational role, and as camera girl, choosing not to fish on this occasion. This left Ian with the choice of whatever he wanted to fish for out of the current offerings. Squid, plaice and bass. He chose bass. We actually should have made double figures, but the fish were really playing finicky hard ball. Even the finger wasnt enough with many takes to secure the hook hold.
But some fish did get it wrong. Just 4 fish, with only one that would have been going up the road for a dinner. But... Annie is also a practicing Buddhist. And this is a time of no killing. Not even for food. So, that bass truly was saved by religion. How sweet is that ?
Next sailing, and it was Terry, Mo and Colin onboard. And I was very flattered indeed to find they were referrals from felloe berth holder Andy. The guys were keen to try light line fishing, and thats kind of my gig, so they were sent in the right direction. But boy, did I ever feel the pressure. We had decided to split the trip 50/50. Bass / Plaice. The bass werent in any more obliging mood, but happily Terry got a cracker. Around the 5lb mark, and spent from spawning. An escapee from the ongoing slaughter out on the windfarm sands. Two smaller ones accompanied, and that was it for the bass. Other than a mackerel. Chunker too. Onto the flatties.
Mostly, plaice are reliable, but they do like a bit of movement in the tide. As we started, we were on the top of the tide, and we really struggled to find fish, despite hopping around quite a bit, heading for areas where the tide might combine with the light wind to move us along. But it came to the last 45 minutes, before I finally found some happy to feed, tight inshore. We managed perhaps a dozen, with 8 of those chunky sized, and heading up the road. Not quite as exciting as I had hoped for, especially with such distinguished guests on board. But I suspect I will see them again. They tried the light line fishing, and I rather think they liked it.
Final sailing was, on paper, my easy time. Nice run off ebb all the way through. First bit on the plaice. 2nd bit on the bass. No problem. Onboard was Mathieu (Im not such a poor speller, he is of French lineage) and Bob. And even more fun, Bob had not fished before. I do like a nice blank canvas to throw my fishy knowledge upon.
Snag is, fishing was dire. The plaice we were supposed to drop straight onto, simply didnt want to know as a now light SW breeze was enough to blow us against and across the tide. Just 2 fell to me. I went out to deep water to hunt. Nothing. Several reliable banks. Uhuh... Crap!! I quickly taught Bob to cast (he had it really good in five goes) and declared we were going bass fishing.
Which was also going really badly. I fluffed a pluck, the guys had a pluck apiece, which woke them up to what they were looking for at least. But no hookups. I went to the extremes of my range before I had to concede that bass were off the menu. I headed to my big pout reef. And happily big pout were there. Mathieu was happy for something to cook, as he has a big interest in cuisine. Another drift, more pout. I was unhooking one for Bob (Bob's first ever fish in fact) when Mathieu's rod took on an interesting bend. Even better, the reel screamed an interesting scream. OMG. A really good bass had been browsing the pout. An epic battle followed, with a happy ending (leave it...) as 6.75lb of silver slipped into the net.
The guys were delighted. Mathieu especially looked fit to salivate. So, I put more than 2 meters between he and I, as I gently explained the boat rule of no bass over 5lb being killed. Poor Mathieu. He said "How wonderful" and "Yes, I completely understand" while all the time the eyes reminded me of that scene in Bambi, when Bambi's mother got shot... "You know what" I said. "We have just time for one more drift. Catch another one but make sure its smaller..."
we went through the pouting, and then, over the back of them, both Bob and Mathieu's rods slammed over. Last drift of the day, and not one, but two bass were battled to the surface, where I nabbed them both in the one net. If ever there was a great way to end the day, this had to be it. And Mathieu's kindness in releasing the old lady, meant Neptune granted him his ultimate wish. As for Bob, I think its fair to suggest, that Bob likes fishing.