Of course, I hardly slept last night. I hate bad trips. By the time I finally fell asleep, I had a basic plan. Avoid rock. Find sand. And find the best viz. On waking, a message from one poorly customer, leaving me down to my old mate John. He had the best fish in Portugal, at maybe 5lb. Perhaps he could change my luck.
Not sure if it was him, or the sand approach, but we were straight away into fish. But... there is always a but right? These were very small whiting, mostly taking the isome with the Frolic / Isome combination rig. What I wanted was plaice, and gurnards. These banks were proven, so we kept at it. But on these banks, the waters were also quite coloured. I zoomed back on the GPS. I have maps that display depth lines in the same way as an ordinance survey map. If I was a plaice, where would I want to be...? Of course, its an absurd thing to say, because only a plaice knows where it wants to be, and I am not one, but, I did mark some banks rising quite swiftly. Something we dont have too many of inshore around Brighton.
These banks were kinder. We had a few small plaice, and a small gurnard, as well as far too many small whiting, plus one much better one, around 1lb. At this size, they are actually great fun to catch on the lure gear, but more were very small indeed. With half an hour to go, we moved to yet another spot I hadnt fished before.
Less pin whiting, and bang, finally the rod bent into something better. A long anticipated tub gurnard, around 2lb in weight. Not the big beast that will be there in numbers perhaps by the end of this month, but a quality fish, followed by three smaller ones. And then, time to go back in.
Heading back out, with James, Ian and Nick on board, I went straight to the same spot. I explained it was new to me, but it was as good as anywhere to start. So began a very enjoyable session. What had changed, was perhaps slightly improved clarity. Far less pin whiting, which meant less action. But when the rod did go over, quite often it would be a tidy gurnard, or far less often, a plaice. Indeed, James and I hit a brace at the same time, which suggests they have very specific places they like to gather.
On the bottom of the tide, the action dropped right off. We tried a few jumps around, and even came inshore, but inshore still more murkey than the frolic works well in, and likely full of pin whiting. We had at least a dozen in the 1lb - 2.5lb range, which for inshore lure fishing in the first week of February, is really not a bad three hours spent. I just feel bad for Ross and John the previous day that I chose rock, not sand. Now, again a long spell of no sailing, with both immense winds and heavy rainfall en route over the weekend. I blame Brexit. See you on the other side... I hope.