Promises….

By , On 18 July, 2015 09:49

Weed in the surfLooking at the conditions yesterday, it tempted me into hitting the shingle once again, in search of the silver spikey one. The plan was to get setup at low water and fish the tide up and over high water, which was a little after 1am. One rod, one bait and hopefully target achieved, the prospects looked promising.

I was on the shingle bang on low water and although the sea conditions looked great with a good amount of surf churned up by the gusting South Westerly breeze. What I didn’t like was the amount of weed in the water, big clumps of the stuff just where I wanted my bait to be. Not to be deterred, I set up with the familiar long link running ledger, ending with a 6/0 hook loaded with a whole squid. I sent this out into the turbulent water and settled in for the wait.

Lovely sunsetFrom the off, this was a battle of the weed. No more than a minute or two after casting a bait out, the line looked like granny’s washing line, lumps of weed clinging on and dragging everything down and along in the current. I spent more time bringing in clumps of this shit and clearing it than I did actually fishing. There was the ‘orrible clingy muck that’s like wet cotton wool and then that nasty, slimy ‘Seaford spaghetti’ type, stringy stuff. Thankfully it did ease off throughout the evening but was always there. At least there was a gorgeous sunset to cheer things up in this weed festooned, fish-less period.

SmoothoundFirst fish didn’t arrive until the sun had gone and darkness had fallen. At around 9.45 I had a half arsed attempt at a pull down bite which resulted in a very brief tussle in the waves and weed followed by a smoothound pup of around the 3lbs mark up on the beach. Not a massive fish but at least it was a fish – another on the plus side was that the dreaded blank had been avoided. A quick photo and then the unavoidable lower leg soaking while putting it back.

It was not long after this that I had a visit from one of the local beach foxes that was taking an interest in my bait bucket. Didn’t last long though, it obviously thought there were better offerings further along, as it scuttled off pronto.

BassAnother two hours of line clearing and general annoyance followed before I felt a distinct tapping through the rod, I lifted into it and…..nothing… arse!! I left the bait out and as quick as you like, more tapping and this time it was fish on. Through the waves and up the beach it came, it nicely proportioned school bass of about 1½lbs. Not big but a bass – target species caught. Quick photo shot and then more lower leg wetting while releasing it.

Sadly, that was the last fish of the night, even the ‘golden’ period following high water produced nothing. So surprisingly, it was a very quiet session in what should have been very productive conditions. It’s often like that though – it promises everything but in fact delivers very little.

Ah well, I seem to be back in the swing of things now and I’m looking forward to the next stint, wherever that may be.

Saved By A Pup

By , On 17 July, 2015 10:43

Picture of Seaford beachDecided to have another session at Seaford beach on Wednesday evening, to keep the momentum going in my return to shingle mania. However, there was a snag to my plan, having decided too late in the day to get any worm, I only had frozen squid available on the bait menu.

Looking out of the window, I could see it was not ideal for big bait fishing – calm with only the slightest of wavelet action. Although there a tiny band of colour in the margins, it was mainly clear. Ah, well nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say.

I hit my preferred spot at about 8pm and having missed low water, I knew it was going to be a tough wait, to see if anything happened over high water later on.

A ledger rig was set up, baited with squid on a 5/0 and chucked out about twenty or so yards. The bait sat out there and did…. nothing, no interest at all, not even the slightest of knocks to show that small stuff was having a nibble.

While waiting, I was joined by a guy who had popped over for a look, ‘Lighthouse Si’, a fellow member of WSF and LISA . We had a good old chin wag and talked about everything fishy, locally. Once Si had departed, I set about waiting for nothing again.

Picture of smoothoundOnce darkness fell, I had a cunning plan and changed tactics. I removed the ledge setup and replaced it with a simple two hook flapper baited with little squid strips and hoofed it out in the hope of some small pout. While waiting, I quickly made up a simple live bait rig and once done, I waited again.

I was somewhat surprised that I wasn’t even get a hint of anything that could be used as a bait, there was just nothing at all. It was almost certain that this was going to be a blankety blank session.

At gone 1am there was suddenly movement in the rod tip and I was thinking this could just do it. When I brought the rig back in, I was disappointed to see that it had the smallest of smoothound pups dangling from it. It was at this point, knowing that the deadly blank had been avoided, I thought that home and bed were the best idea I’d had all night.

Woof Woof

By , On 9 July, 2015 11:10

Picture of smoothoundRecently, having given myself a good kick up the arse, I’ve started to get the motivation back to get out on that beach and get some fishing time in. Up until now, I’ve done a couple of makkie sessions with Alex and the latest one got that old ‘shingle itch’ going again.

Picture of smoothoundNow yesterday was not the best of days to kick off the re-kindled career but needs must. Although the tides were crap, we’d had a bit of a good blow overnight and the earlier part of the day, so I reckoned on a decent amount of movement in the water. The plan was to get out onto the beach for about 11pm and fish the first few hours of the flood to see what, if anything was about.

Conditions were ok, the wind had dropped and had shifted Northerly which was flattening the surface out, although there was still a residual swell which was making a few breakers.

Armed with a box of squid, I settled in familiar spot on Seaford beach and rigged up with a long link running ledger ending in a 6/0 loaded with whole squid. This was gently swung out into the white water (what little there was) and the wait began. From the off, weed was a problem close in, loads of fine stuff that began building up on the line, along with larger clumps of wrack.

Picture of dogfishNothing happened over low water apart from the weed and I had to wait until an hour into the flood when there was an almighty pull down that took me by surprise and almost had the rod out of my hand. Proper fish on!! It went well and I though “First fish of the year and it’s gonna be a decent bass”. Well, this thing went all over the bloody place and as it neared the breaking water, I was thinking, “Please don’t come off in the surf, just don’t”. Anyway, I got things all timed nicely and as a largish wave receded, I could see the glint of something on the shingle, not the expected bass but a bloody smut!

I know I shouldn’t have been disappointed to have this as my first fish of the year, as it would usually be a bloody whiting, rockling or similar unworthiness but I was a tad peeved that it wasn’t Mr. Bass. Anyhow, it was a lovely looking fish which I guesstimate to have been around 5lbs or thereabout. Unhooked, quick couple of pics and back it went.

Nothing else came in the next two hours apart from the odd bits of weed and paper, so I was happy to see the rod tip bounce a few times – another fish on and beached, this time time another dog variety in the shape of a skinny LSD. Again, unhooked, photo’d and back in.

By 3.30, the last of my squid had gone and it was time to make the long journey home (hehe!!). Summing up, I was pretty pleased with the first ‘proper’ fishing trip of the year. Two species, no crap and an enjoyable evening back where I belong.

First Time In A While

By , On 20 June, 2015 06:07

Picture of bringing some inHaving not ventured out onto the shingle in quite some time, I thought it time to get back out there and start hitting the fish again. I knew Alex was itching to get out there too, so last Friday, we did a very short evening stint around high water to see what we could muster.

Picture of Alex and gurnardI set Alex up with a set of small feathers and got him working them right and it wasn’t long before he was into his first mackerel of the year, which for some strange reason known only to himself, he called ‘Kevin’. This was followed up with a small, pretty little tub gurnard which had found the lures to be all too enticing.

Picture of Alex and KevinsWe didn’t have to wait too long before the kid was in again, this time with a trio of mackerel, which he also called ‘Kevin’. Just when we thought we might get a decent number for BBQ’s and for freezing, the fish decided otherwise and the session went absolutely dead, with no more getting beached.

Anyway, we left the beach content with four Kevins in the bucket, a smile on our faces and much talk of returning in the near future to have a few more in. With the summer holidays coming up very soon, we’re both keen to do some late evening/night sessions, Alex wants to get his first bass and I’m still chasing the elusive double figure Billy.

I realise now, just how much I’ve missed being out there and I am determined to make it a great second half to the year and start chasing some quality fish.

A warning and Advice

By , On 18 July, 2014 10:21

This is somewhat of a serious post but please bear with me.

On Sunday just gone, I was bimbling around at home when I got a sudden pain in the chest. I thought it was down to me having shifted some stuff around in the house and maybe pulled a muscle. Was it that or something more sinister? I was in two minds what to do.

I thought about having a brandy and laying down for a while and rest it. I then considered the more sinister options and so to cover bases, I had two puffs of my GTN spray (out of date) and chewed an aspirin… no result. Another two puffs.. no result. Something in the intelligent part of my brain said “Wanker, dial the 9’s”, So I did.

Ambulance arrived, hooked up to ECG, which showed nothing. Second paramedic turned up and was put on ECG again. This the time the words from them were “Not good, we need to get going”. Oh fuck!

Blues and twos straight away. By now the pains were like nothing I’ve EVER experienced, Pretty much how I would expect to feel if I was being crushed under a car.

After about 10 miles and with 2.5 to go until we got to the hospital, the crew are told to turn around and go to Hastings, which is over 30 miles in opposite direction. Control were told by the crew “He won’t make it that far, were coming to Brighton – now”.

Anyway, was cleared for Brighton, arrived, straight to A&E and straight to theatre, where blockage was cleared (large blood clot) and stent implanted.

NHS have been beyond excellent, from call taker, medics, doctors, nurses, HCAs, to the domestic staff. Every single one did their bit. Hats off to you for making sure I’m still here.

The moral of the story?… any bad, unexplained chest pains, please ring 9’s you guys and gals – no fucking around. As I was told, they’d rather check you out and find it’s indigestion, than turn up to a stiff. I was lucky that I listened to the intelligent portion of my brain that told me to pick up the phone. I wasn’t that far off being brown bread. If you have a GTN spray, check the expiry date, if out of date, get a new one!

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