Simon was up for first outing. We greeted, walked onto the boat, and were chatting away. We set up the rods, and I headed out. First stop, was some deeper water where yesterdays bigger fish were found. Perhaps they might still be there. The bank / dip scenario is still a work in progress, and today was the day when the knowledge leaped up a few clicks. Chatting away to Simon, I explained that the two small fish we managed was not what I expected. I could see fish, but it was the same old problem of them not wanting to open their mouths. "I've got a spot inshore" I suggested, and of course, Simon was happy to check it out.
It was about this time that I discovered I had never met Simon before, in my life. In my defense, it is that time of year when sunglasses and baseball cap all make everybody look the same to me , but I was actually thinking Simon was one of my frequent flyers up until that moment. Other than the usual advice about the finger, as a data transfer system for so much more than just bites, he was a natural for what we do. And it showed, with more fish, quality schoolies fell. Does anyone remember me complaining about too much food in the water last year? Well, its here again. Immense shoals of brit giving the fish endless options.
Last year, I learned to avoid the brit. To fish for bass that might be crabbing or prawning or chasing pouting or flatfish. To completely ignore the constant gulls, and splat splat of schoolies smashing the tiny herring fry. And this year, its paying off. After a few small fish in close, I decided to run back to the bank, with the tide dropped away. We rigged with the prototype 56gm HTO Mighty Minnows, which all these bigger fish have fallen to. The big difference now, was we utilised the tactics I use in close. Casting, full range. Simons rod skills, his great interpretation of finger power, really came into play. In the reverse of yesterdays situation, I had to watch as Simon banged out 3 crackers, to my one. Not monsters, but who needs monsters when these honey's are plenty strong enough to give the reel screaming runs we live for.
It was so exciting. In one moment, a double hook up. Out at sea, fishing , with the buzz of fish, I netted mine, and waited until Simon's emerged from the depths. In the net, and both fish were hauled inside BIF1. It was automatic, to set up the camera in remote mode, support the bass one hand one knee, and tap the control app on my phone. It was only after it occurred to me, we had just blatantly broken social distancing. But then, I guess really not a major breach, compared to say, Dominic Cummings.
Sadly, time is a constant, and it was time to say farewell. Not for long I am guessing. If any kind of frequent flyer scheme emerges ano virus, I feel confident Simon will be in the scheme by then. Simon off, and now, a trip that has been more on and off, than a working ladies underwear in the early hours of a Saturday morning, it was time to finally welcome Dean, proprietor of Purbeck Angling. Dean regularly drinks tea with bass legends such as Dr Mike Ladle in his premise. No pressure then.
Straight away, I explained my routines for catching up this end. Dean is no slacker when it comes to catching bass with an impressive tally from the purbecks, and Chesil beach. But those are sandeel hunters. Mackerel smashers. Here in the inshore, whitebait, spratt and herring are more frequently encountered than sandeel. And with the britt issue, the need to trigger the kill instinct is greater than ever. And with the first mark being shallow and snaggy, I also offered a 28gm HTO Mighty minnow. I really would have liked to use the new 14gm HTO Mighty Minnows, but I haven't managed to acquire any prototypes of those yet. Dean was content to continue with his Fiish black minnow. I knew what would happen. It always happens. It did happen. But we will get to that.
We began dancing through some of the inshore reefs. Had the weather been overcast, with perhaps some light rain, and the profusion of personal water craft not been out and about, I think we would have done well. But with the new flood, these were all still very shallow and the activity not conducive to great bassing. But as soon as we left the hustle and bustle of Brighton shingle, things got better. Good action. And then we found a sweet spot, with nice numbers of quality fish. A really great session. And the thing? The thing was, that Dean was using, and loving, the HTO mighty minnow. And another thing, he is now a fully trained up and certified, devotee of finger power. I wait with baited breath (pun intended) for news of how finger power fares in darkest Dorset.
Next, the return of Tariq. Its always fun when Tariq is onboard. And this time, with plenty of fish included. I knew he wanted bream, and with the first of the ebb just getting away, I planned a routine whereby we would fish the bream until the tide got away with a bit of force, and then go hit a banker as it got fast. That was the plan. The plan, actually held and came together nicely.
The bream were numerous and fast and furious. Once I beat Tariq's habit of striking out of him, he really got in the swing. A true breaming machine. Including a belter for up this end. A fish you might more normally see on the Kingmere. Vast majority were small silver discs, suggesting the breeding is all but over. but four bream in total on their way back up the road to Surrey. Then, onto the bass hunt. Which also went rather well. Tariq nailed his new personal best, and we continued to find bass at pretty much all the spots we visited. Bar the very last two, which were rather hampered by a stiff SE breeze popping up and putting some swell on. We went in on the time, but I made the call to cancel the final session. I still struggle with having to charge what I charge, and if its likely to not be happening, I would rather you bought that money to me another time when the fishing is likely to be better.