First sailing I spent, with a lovely lady called Honor. Actually Dr Honor something or other, but I didn't actually catch the surname. Because I was very nervous. I had to pay Honor £150 for 40 minutes of her time. Money well spent. She was great.
Honor was giving me my ML5 medical examination. I passed. I am officially fit. And can continue as a skipper for a further five years. Happy days. Although, half an hour later, as I trucked 76 litres of liquid gold up the ramp on a pretty high tide, I felt a lot less fit. Taking me a while to get in the stride. Nothing that a quick chicken sandwich break at the top, before beginning the descent on the other side, couldn't fix.
Onto the sailing. I was joined by JJ, who enjoys travelling around for his fishing, both in UK and abroad. He was happy despite my warnings of patchy fishing inshore right now, as his first FIVE trips of the year (on other vessels) had been blown out. And joining him, we had Geoffrey returning to us. Also, happy to breathe air, but would also be happy to try out his new filleting knives he has recently invested in..
Everything looked great for a bass. And with good info on some recent hauls in the edges to investigate, we gave it a really good go. Despite some serious effort, just one small to show for it., although it did christen JJ's new Savage gear rod. Lovely bit of kit as well. The dearer one. Cant remember the model. Can remember the curve under load.
Which was to show itself further when, after conceding we weren't finding any bass, we targeted plaice for the last hour. Except this was no plaice. Another thornback ray emerged from the depths. Indeed the plaice were playing hardball, and only two for the table. One being a cracker bulging with meat. Geoffrey would be playing with his sharp steel.
JJ remained for 2nd sailing, and Geoffrey said goodbye, to be replaced by Martin. And I had a plan. A great plan, for this sailing. Tail end of the ebb, low tide, and early push of flood. Obvious really. Go fish for bass, until the new tide is enough to fish for plaice. This plan started well, as Martin had a quality schoolie (yes... that is a contradiction. I don't care. Its early season. Give me a break....) quite quickly. But where I thought we might encounter some proper fishing was barren, save for pouting galore. Strange mark that one. I love it.
Happily, the final part of the plan came together nicely. Not only did JJ return home with half a dozen very plump plaice, but Martin also raised a ray from the depths. Im starting to wonder, after seeing that roclworm swimming around, if they might be a bit worm obsessed. And of course, only a ray really knows, so it is a question I will never answer. Or will I? Because perhaps with better observation, we can develop the art of rays on lures. Clearly very capable sight feeders. My next thought , have we finally found a use for those horrific pre-rigged jelly crabs from WISH that turn up on my boat from time to time. I know a Peter that might like to find out. And I also have a water wolf underwater camera winging its way to me. I don't like not knowing what is gong on.