First sailing, and although still present, the wind was distinctly less than yesterdays nightmare. On board were regulars Ryan, Scott and Stuart who had booked the whole boat. Out we headed, but really not very far before we hit a wall of seagulls, and marks aplenty on the sounder.
First brace of table fish were the first two fish landed, which bode well. But the fish were on the move. Well, the bait was on the move, and the predators followed. Which meant we followed too. Never so fast and furious, none the less, enough action to keep it all interesting
Not just bass either. Stuart bagged both a cracking wrasse, and his Axia Mighty Minnow also snagged a squid by its tentacle. Good stuff, especially as he has a barbecue to attend tomorrow. Four bass taken for the table also, with one rod release only. And a final total of eighteen. Not too bad at all and a lot better than the previous day.
I went to breakfast a little worried. The wind had actually been increasing toward the end of the sailing, instead of dropping as the forecast had suggested. We all went for breakfast, and there we also met the next sailing, Mark, and what I thought was Mickey + 1. Except there were three of them. Was it my first cock up of the year...?
Actually no. Mickey and I went through the message trail, and we found the problem. A genuine miscommunication. No one at fault. So, what to do... Mark resolved the dilemma. Which spurred me on to add another session, to the end of the day. As he selflessly volunteered to give up his space on the trip, that Luz and his lad Billy might enjoy the sailing, on account of them travelling all the way from, Kingston. Why couldnt they all go you are wondering? Because already the other crew member was aboard, having a fob for the marina gate. My mechanic Chris. There is irony in this, as you will see below...
On exiting the marina, I was pleased to find the wind had dropped off a lot. However, the sailing was actually quite tough. The first request was squid. Young Billy sorted that one quite quickly But the bass were playing hard ball. The plaice fishing was better, but a lot of small fish. Back to the bass, and just one table fish to my rod, which I killed and donated. Billy was very unlucky when a decent tub gurnard found itself unhooked the wrong side of the gunnel.
Third sailing, and I was quite excited. It was a Czech family, new to BIF1, and I do like to practice my Czech (Long story...). On board was Olda, his wife Sharka, and Zdenek, with his wife Olga. The brief was, to catch species to show Zdenek, a keen river trout angler back in Czech, an idea of what swims in La Manche
We started on plaice. And again plenty of smalls, until, my own rod really slammed over in a way only a big plaice or a ray can do. This time, it was a clonking plaice. I forgot to measure it, but it looked every bit as big as the 50cm fish from a few days back, And a small tub gurnard, to show some beauty.
Onto the bass. One small one fairly quickly, then on the hunt. As I bought BIF1 across the wind, bought the control lever back to neutral, and, after waiting for the revs to drop into reverse to stop the boat, I got a horrendous banging noise instead. Yikes. I pulled back to neutral, and tried forward. Clunk... Engaged... Neutral... pause... Reverse... CLUNK CLUNK CLUNK CLUNK back to neutral. The guys continued fishing as I made a hurried call to my mechanic Chris, from the previous sailing. Hood off, and a video link, confirmed she had to come out of the water, with a possible gear box removal in the offing. Damn..
With no brakes, and a deadline on getting BIF1 into the inner harbour where the hoist is, my crew agreed to end the session there. En route back in, it occurred to me, zero brakes. Hmmm... "Olda... You see that boat hook...". Olda sprang into action. I discovered BIF1 glides really really smoothly. And quickly. But with some hysterical athletics by all. We managed to not only stop., but disembark the guys. All except Olda. I was hanging onto him for the petrol pontoon as we awaited the lock gates to open.
Despite creeping round at just three knots, and hitting neutral by the rubbing deck, we still came to the dock at two knots. What an amazing design of hull, that it glides so. Just what I didn't want for the lock. When the marina duty manager advised me, that with my situation he could come out in the work boat and give me an accompanied push through, I jumped at it. And said a very fond and thankful farewell to Olda, who needed to re-join his family. How lucky am I? I would have been screwed without him there.
And that is the end of the day. I had to cancel the extra sailing, which had sold out within minutes. And all of tomorrows. And as I type, likely quite a few more, as she wont be lifted until Tuesday at the earliest. No idea when Chris can get to it either. Although... that luck. A couple of days ago, I hosted someone who is where I was five years ago. A guy with a boat, just getting going. It might just be, that we link up Monday onwards for the period of BIF1 being in dry dock. All may not be lost. Consider all is lost just now, but let, at the back of your mind, the fact that Fishyrob luck, does seem to be a thing dwell. . Im going to see if the boat is suitable for my ways tomorrow. Perhaps, there is a phoenix to at least honour the bookings. As always, time will tell...