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  • Writer's pictureRobin Howard

Brighton Inshore Fishing - Catch report 9th June 2020

First sailing. and Andrew and his eight year old lad Finlay flattered me by getting up stupidly early to come fish with me. So keen was Finlay to get among the fishes, that he was the one dragging his dad out of bed to get going. Every day is different out there, so I was just hopeful that we might get among the bass. We did have one very positive advantage. As eight year olds go, Finlay was a pretty tidy caster.

And here, a little highlighting of the impact of parenting. Something I had a go at in my younger days. Not so great at it as it turns out, so take this advice or do not. But every action a parent makes, even one that seems quite insignificant at the time, leaves a deep and everlasting imprint on the child. Andrew had made his angling journey in a way many did. Multipliers to fixed spool, rather than the more usual reverse scenario. As a result, he was a right hander on the handle. And this had been passed on, to son. Remember this, when training your child. Open their minds to left and right hand, and in anticipation of future interests in fly fishing, train them to cast with both arms... ;)

The fishing was quite hard. Andrew nailed finger power, and was fishing really well. It showed, as the few fish that did wish to open their mouths, were hit well. Finlay was disadvantaged. To comply with coding, and to make my boat uber safe, my free board has to be high. Hence the rails all around (remember this when booking a boat. A couple of pirate operations have sprung up along the coast. If the boat is coded, it will have raised sides, or rails, or wire. Anything low, no go...) and poor Finlay was having to keep his rod high. This leaves less room to strike. Vertical jigging was kinder to him, and he was very happy with a ballan wrasse that grabbed his shad. And he did a masterful job of landing a bass for me, so got rights to model with it.

Next up, was Yvette. She wanted her first bass on the fly. I had many reservations, as the #10 gear can seem very overwhelming and I have had many book for their first bass on the fly, but buckle as the switch from trout and #5 gear to bass, #10 gear and the rapid retrieves often required is a huge leap. But if anyone could make that leap it was this lovely lady. A keen keep fit enthusiast, and with lots of room, and more importantly no other eyes upon her, it took her a whole 10 minutes to find her style with the rod. Distinctly different to my untrained method of dumping the line out there, hers looked much more like the proper way to do it with plenty enough distance to catch, which, despite the poor bassing currently, she did!! Mission accomplished. And a quick drift at the end of the session, resulted in two fat plaice for the table. The bass fishing may be poor currently, the bream fishing tailing off as the bigger fish finish nesting and wander off to where they go, but the plaice fishing is at status excellent...

Final back to back 6 hours sailing, was interesting. More consultancy than hardcore angling session. Henry had made the plunge into being a boat owner, so wanted, as well as techniques advice on setting marks, what to look for, how to approach it etc etc. Something I had thought about doing prior. And after this experience, will never attempt again. Not that it wasnt fun. It was a hell of a lot of fun. Henry and I clicked, and then we both relaxed, and we found we could be ourselves. Which gave me the confidence to be open and honest about several aspects of the vessel in relation to angling. Quicksilver / Arvour / etc owners will now hate me. But I understand why you all like to throw the anchor in... I couldnt believe how much this boat "sailed" on the cabin. Which means you struggled to keep her beam on. This, combined with a non-chirp sonar. was like having my arms and legs cut off. I suddenly felt useless. And definitely could not put a catch together with these tools.

We did go through the motions. We worked on the sonar to get it to an acceptable level of use. we lost all the noise, but persuaded it to tell us when we were on rock or when we were on sand, which is a critical part of it all. We set up the GPS to run tracks, and we did manage to hit a couple of bass. But after a couple of hours, I was homesick. "How about we run the 2nd half of the session on BIF1 for contrast?" I asked. "I would love that" Henry replied. I breathed a huge sigh of relief, as a tonne of weight ascended from my frame so fast, my legs felt weak.

With the Quicksilver, the journey into a sloppy sea had been painful, slow, and I was feeling quite sick. With the pirate, we were not in the troughs, but over the top of them. Speed wise, the boats are well matched. The quicksilver is quite capable of 30 knots, even with the 115hp engine. Same as the pirate with 140 hp. And here is the clue. The pirate needs the extra HP because of its heavy lay up. And this weight / Speed combination means it masters sloppy seas, instead of being dominated by them. Im not sure what the hulls of the Quicksilver were designed from, but I am very aware the pirate hull is modelled on the E-boats that were the rapid response vessels in the channel during the 2nd world war.

Still a big struggle on the fishing front, other than the plaice which were obliging. But enough action that Henry really had the finger power nailed by the end of the session. I think lots of positives. But I also could see, that Henry was likely to have been having a big conversation with his wife on his return home, about how the sunbathing deck is much bigger on a pirate... A really great session, and a huge eye opener for both he and I. I realise now, I am only guiding afloat because of the pirate. Anything wheel house, we simply wouldn't be able to tap half the fish we do.

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