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FISH OF THE MONTH COMPETITON - sponsored by CLOVEN HOOF...

August 13, 2018

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Catch report - 28/05/17

 Two painted males...

 

I left my shore based client at 05:30, after a less than satisfying overnight session, and headed down to the marina to meet Bruce. BIF1 was all ready to go, with fuel in her tanks. But where to go was the issue... We exited the marina on the last trickle of ebb, and decided to poke around the inshore reefs until the sea got a bit of a push on... Pretty slow as is to be expected, although one great thing was that Bruce caught a wrasse there. Thats two in a week now, at a spot where I have caught just one in three years, despite lots of fishing. 

 Capt Bruce fine tuning the drift. Precision is everything....

 

With a bit more pace to the tide we headed offshore. Our mission today was twofold. Keep finding little niches where fishes like to hide, and enjoy the boat and each other. Strangely I think I might have gotten more time fishing with Bruce before the boat project came along. And with both he and I busy with other business also, progress has been made more via text and email than the cozy pub meetings I was rather hoping for. 

 Poor little warrior... but certainly feisty...

 

The latter is never a problem. When I first met Bruce, I think around 2005 or 2006, we developed a rapport instantly. To this day I am not sure why. Bruce is kind, and patient. I can be quite cold, and very direct to the point. Bruce has had the midas touch with everything he enthuses about. My touch tends to turn things to stone... But one thing I know, is that when I am going fishing with Bruce, it puts a spring in my step. Which has been a very good thing today. As we headed out, it occurred to me I had been 24 hours without sleep... so far...

 

 I dont understand why my friend J didnt recognise me...

 

The former, is very much like shore fishing. When you are restricted to a 150 yard strip of often barren water for your fishing kicks, you very quickly learn how to tell the more fishy bits from the far less attractive, or possibly repugnant to fishes, bits. Without perhaps even realising it, the last three years I have effectively been shore luring afloat. And it is no bad thing. A kind of "through fresh eyes" approach when mapping out decades fished out (according to some) marks is finding us real quality fishing, especially with the standard boat set ups of 7-28gm rods making the whole experience a totally sporting one. I have had my friends squealing like pigs with excitement, as a largish bass tried and failed to eat a Heddon one knocker time and time again on Scooby a couple of years ago. Just one example that springs to mind. And I think today, neptune smiled upon us...

 Sleek... Apprentice bruiser...

 

It seems to always happen like this. A drift affected by wind pushed us off our usual mark. I had snapped up and was re-tackling with half an eye on the sounder when I noticed an unexpected rocky outcrop, well off the reef we were fishing. I put a flag on it. Once I had sorted out my tackle, Capt Bruce took us round to go back on the reef. As we passed fifty yards from the first mark, another unexpected outcrop. With fish marks. I could see what it was straight away. Many of the fissures inshore, run North to south. But most of the ledges and fissures that make up what I tongue in cheek call the offshore reefs run East to West. We have just found a sub ledge that runs North to south, a kind of L shape at the end of the drift Actually in an area where I had previously caught bass without explanation or reason. We agreed to check it out with a drift. And my rod was the first one over, a bar of silver responsible. Bruce retrieved unscathed, but had the sense to cast behind the drift, as we had already shot through the outcrop. Bang. Bruce had his bar of silver. 

 Locked up and regretting its HTO Mighty Minnow lunch...

 

But we had other areas to try as well while we had the precious tidal flow. A jaunt inshore, to visit a very heavy piece of ground that my friend Steve Smith had initially showed me a few days prior, grabbed Bruces imagination as much as it did mine that first time. A fishy mecca, and Bruce confirmed it with a smallish warrior of a bass, that had signs of having been in a net at some point. 

 Wrasse loving them as well...

 

Wrasse were particularly keen today. I think in part as we are experiencing rapidly warming seas now. Although the Greenwich bouy is recording 12 degrees, our sounder is saying consistently 15.5 plus inside 3 miles. Although as we have discovered to our great delight, the wrasse, especially the bigger ones, feed all through the winter, what we have now is late Spring, and a time of wrasse coupling. The increase in violent takes makes me suspect, as with lure caught bream which have to date been exclusively male, that the lures are being taken as a territorial response, rather than coz the wrasse fancy a sushi supper... The bream are now a complete pain, Very expensive paddle tail shads are coming back as sticks...

 Rough out there...

 

Bruce had family commitments and we returned to the marina for him to hop off. I thought about finding a boat buddy, but on such a stunning afternoon, I imagined everybody would already be doing something. So I headed out single handed. East side, not a lot happening at all. Still some rot in the water along there. West side, heaving with personal watercraft. Perfect boating weather on a bank holiday Sunday. I did manage to hook two bass, before a kayak and a rib moved right over the fish. With a blast of exhaust bubbles to show my disgust, I headed back to check out that L shape.   (I found out later it was a very good friend who had come over to say hello. But I was not wearing one of my conventional hats, and currently have the colour of a non-british national, coz thats what being in the sun all the time does for you. Last time I saw J, it was on the shingle of Dungeness in the depths of winter... he didn't recognise me so he didnt say anything. And was totally unaware he had parked on my shoal of spikey's.. :) )

 

I missed it on the first drift. Another thing I am learning is that where you have a ridge, you also can experience a variation in both current and direction. This is significant for two reasons. One, it makes setting up the drift I am always praying for very unlikely without a miracle steady NE breeze. And it also must have an affect on how the fish are laying on the reefs. That one is a work in progress. Thanks to quite a few hours on BIF's helm now, it did not matter that I missed it, as we can correct a missed drift by as much as 60 or 80 yards instantly. With a cast. That's shore luring afloat for you... And even before it landed, I was attached to 3lb of silver. Followed by a second on the very next, slightly adjusted cast. Next cast a 2.5lb wrasse did a great impression of a bass...

 

I really wanted to keep going. The wind swung to the East, and it reminded me that this wind was due to freshen. I also reminded myself that is was over 36 hours since my eyes were last closed. A whole load of fishing is how I work out my frustrations. After a day out with Bruce, and single handing myself onto some hard scraping spikeys, I no longer have a care in the world... And now, after some sleep, I will be letting someone else take the strain. Tomorrow I will be enjoying a day aboard Steve Greens super cat PROTEUS (Brigand Charters). I've wagered Steve will be a nanofil convert by the end of the day. Todays lure of choice... Once again... HTO Mighty Minnow....

 

 

 

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