Hellooo.. Any one still out there? Been a while. Sort of feels weird writing a blog after so long. Almost as weird as finally finding some fish after so long. Last blog was end of January. We've had a drop of weather since then!! And some big changes. On that blog, I recall mentioning the mix of roe'd and skinny plaice. Well, thats changed!! Those that were skinny back then, are actually worth taking for the table now. And those that were roed, are now returned all skinny. What does that tell us? Well, as with many things last year, everything around 2 months late. Will that carry on through 2022? Why are you asking me? Im not a fish...
So, what else. Well, I took another week out in Portugal, where I terrorised a lot of large mouth black bass, and also caught my first Labrax of 2022, no less than 76 miles from the sea, up the River Guardiana. What a river!! Battles on despite immense commercial pressure. Sound familiar? Came back with hopes to sail in the first week of Match. Ha!! Some very bouncy investigative sailings last week, solo. For very little other than big warrior wrasses. And some good plaice fishing. And on the basis of that good plaice fishing, with clients fully briefed that it might just be plaice fishing, today we finally returned with a paying crew on board, and 3 sailings in the diary. Did I mention I often feel I am looked after by other worldly influences? Well, for 3 short hours of the first sailing, it certainly looked that way.
As we exited the marina, Phil the warden shouted out "Dolpins around". Well, at first I heard "Dogfish" and was wondering why he was so animated. But no, it was two VERY big and VERY bored dolphins that were waiting to ambush whatever vessel came out. Last year I was shown a technique for calling dolphins to the boat, and if they arent pre-occupied with feeding, it is amazingly effective. Not only did they come over, but because we interacted with them, boy, did they ever show off. I think it would have gone on for hours, but we did have other business. It wasnt easy to shake them off, and we saw them later giving a sailing yacht their attentions.
The plaice fishing was initially ok. Some smalls, one better one. A tiny gurnard, and, that creature many of us have been looking for, a bigger gurnard! Perhaps it will yet come. A few whiting, but not too bad, with the water reasonably clear. But as the tide slowed down (we were heading onto low) I took us to deeper waters, and rocks to prospect for squid and cod.
Squid was a goer, which is great as my first attempt on them this year. But coddies. I dont know. Maybe we didnt get a cod because of all the bass that kept grabbing the lures. Fifteen in total, with five killed, and other 42 + returned. Indeed, the two biggest were no less than 58cm. Quite a result after not seeing any for so long,. Certainly put smiles on Richard, Gary and Max's faces. Its been a long hard winter for sure. We all needed this.
2nd sailing, and I was joined by Mark and Peter. On paper, this should have been an awesome plaice session. But for the fact that the plaice disagreed. We did find a couple of very smalls. And some whiting. And a couple of dabs, and some more whiting. And just one more bass, a schoolie.
A very different session, where water clarity varied a lot. It was quite clear inshore, but out on the 3 mile line, it flooded heavy with rot, and some signs of colonisation already. I suspect "Find the viz hole" is a game all us lure enthusiasts might be playing sooner than I can ever remember. But with sea temps inshore on the surface going over 13 degrees, and the rot being linked to temperatures, I guess a super fast season might not be impossible? DIdnt help Mark and Peters session though, where zero fish were taken for the table.
IMAGE COPYRIGHT RICHARD HAFEZ
Final session, Brian bought along his 92 year old father in law, Jerry, and happily,, not for fishing but purely to give Jerry a bit more confidence on the wheel of a power boat. The pair of them have just invested in a Mayland 21, built on the blackwater estuary. I briefly had a Mayland 16 in my youth, and know them to be very seaworthy craft. We took a cruise down to Shoreham and back to Saltdean, with Brian and Jerry taking turns.
And then Brian did some mooring stuff. All confidence builders. They have both done their Powerboat courses, and Jerry has been a WAFI all his adult life, which is the reason I accepted their request. Training people on boats is deffo not something I want to get into. Im always happiest with the fish. But it was an inspirational honour to facilitate the request, and I wish Brian and Jerry the best experience possible with their new launch.
Still some dates available to the end of March, and plenty in April, which I will publish perhaps tonight. But feel free to make a request for a slot via sms to 07970 112774. Sailings are as of this weekend, 0630 - 1100 - 1500