Fish of the day - 9.5lb
I was quite excited for the first sailing today. Excited. Hmm... Not the right word. I am actually excited by every sailing, coz the buzz of the unknown still goes humming in my head each time we slip out of the marina mouth. Maybe, interested? Concerned? Thing was, I had billed this session as exclusively hunting coddies. Quite a risky thing to do, with far less cod than bass about. However, it was the first time the wind was gentle enough, and in a good position for slow drifts across the cod marks.
With me were Simon, Al and his lad Charlie, and Mark, returned after recent illness, and very happy to be back out, if a little weakened. We began our drift, and I was very happy with both angle and speed. Which is perhaps why Charlie found himself attached to a big head nodder on the very first one. Having already warned the crew that a single cod makes for the session to be considered a good one, I could relax already. And also, I noticed for the first time for a long time, shoals of either herring or sprat. This is often the key. to the bigger cod finding their way to Sussex waters. Exciting times, if the weather lets me play.
Next run through, Mark tested his stitches with a nice codling. Then. Simon found the smallest one of the day. Couple of drifts without too much, and then Al's rod was hooped over to something a bit special. Not the double figure cod I was hoping for, but finally an undulate likely around double figures. Our 4th one on lures on BIF1, and the 2nd one hooked in the last week or so, as Armando lost one at the net a few days back.
It slowed, and I began slicing the mark to find their new location. We drifted quite long, to some much heavier ground, where suddenly, Mark's rod whammed over. Clearly something big. Then Charlies rod also slammed over. A double hook up!! Doesn't often happen when cod fishing in Sussex... But here it was happening. We weighed Marks fish on board, at 9.5lb. And Charlie;s, probably around 5lb. A great brace. But the final action of the session, the remaining drifts fish-less. Did not matter. A great session.
Afternoon I had regular Jon, with his new to BIF1 friend Glen , and frequent flyers Lee and Paul. Bass were the main event. We left the marina and instantly masses of bass were showing on the first reef. We set in, among a couple of other boats, and began casting the HTO mighty minnows. Fish on, all across the board, except for Jon on the fly. In a couple of drifts, we landed maybe fifteen fish. All smalls. "Time to move" I said. This season, when so many smalls, I move off them to look for big. Big do not enjoy the company of loads of kids, I have slowly come to recognise from my time afloat.
It was a great move. Far less fish, but far bigger fish, for everyone, except Jon. a;though he did managed a very big star fish. And stubborn as ever, despite everyone around landing quality fish. he stuck to his guns on the fly rod. However, it would seem, as last year, the fly rod is suddenly ineffective.
For the final hour, we took the cod gamble, and this time, Jon did break out his lure rod. However, the gamble did not pay off, with one exception. Not a cod, but hopefully the first of this winters big gurnard. Last winter, when the bass left, the blow was very much softened by these very tasty, very pretty, and very sporting fish. Even without the cod on this 2nd sailing, the quality bassing earlier meant smiles all round at the departure. A very good day.
Likely the last good day for a little while. The forecast suggesting no sailing for a while. The forecast does change a liot, and quickly though. As I sat to write this, Thursday was looking viable. As I now close this blog entry, already worsened and very unlikely. The flip side of the best job in the world. Still, shore guiding is on to the end of this month at least. Then if it keeps blowing, time to consider foreign climes perhaps...