Wow. 9th April. The longest BIF1 and I have been apart since we began our relationship. The 6th December was the last time I revved her engine. And not being a salty sea dog, I have to say I was a little bit terrified. The worse thing you can do to a boat, is not use it. I did make arrangements with a fellow boat owner, who is about one thousand times handier than me with stuff, to top up the batteries. And he also spotted and took care of the anchor light, which had gotten wet and rotted. So, I was fairly confident that she would work. I had only left a quarter of a tank of fuel, so added another 80 litres to dilute the stale with good fresh stuff. Indeed, as it turned out, the only other thing non functional since I last saw her was the fuel gauge , which refused to suggest anything other than a quarter of a tank. I hope its something simple, hey Steve...
So, having finally returned from Portugal via Geneva, having endured a heavy lockdown including no fishing, and having been checked for covid no less than three times (fourth one in the morning) with negative result, and also having a needle for added security, it was time to just check on things. It is very hard to get going again, even after a week of wind. But after 3 months of trapped in paradise, I felt like the lad on his first day at school.
There is an element of riding a bike though. I had invited onboard to assist my quest, Jon and John. The idea was to make sure enough fish of the right species were where I expected them to be, with client bookings from this Sunday coming. First stop, a generic mark. There are still some cod showing in local nets, and with so few local nets being shot, that suggests to me they are worth a look. No cod, but the fish of the day, a cracking Gurnard for Jon.
This rather threw my plan, as I wasn't expecting to see big gurnard. But it did mean we needed to head to the gurnard banks to see if it was happening. Here, we had... Plaice. Nothing bigger than 1lb but at least they are in places (see what I did there) I would expect. Then, to have a look for bass. Took the 2nd stop to find them, and nothing bigger than 1lb also. But every tide will bring more. We had half a dozen, which had I stayed on the marks we found them, would have easily become 20 or more. But the point of the exercise was to see where everything was, and we moved off the fish to continue our quest.
But all in all, very successful. I now have a head full of ideas, and as we get more and more hours at sea, hopefully I can get on the pulse, and attempt to interpret what the spikey gits are planning this year. One things for sure, despite the cold air, being back on the helm on BIF1, made me pleased to be back in the UK. Looking forward to great things this season.