Publicity For a Friend

By , On 5 October, 2015 11:23

sarahThought I’d post a shameless plug for my dear friend Sarah and her singing. If you’re after a fantastic, soloist singer for your events, then look no further than Sarah St. John.

“Sarah comes from a background of Musical Theatre, where she has performed as leading lady in such classics as ‘My Fair Lady’, ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, ‘Anything Goes’ and ‘Hello Dolly’.

She now performs as a Solo Vocalist to a backing of fully orchestrated, big band, professionally recorded tracks.

With her own PA sound system and liquid style, she provides a subtle mix of soft Popular Jazz, Slow Swing and Show Tunes (The Great American Songbook) to accompany your afternoon or evening event, be it a Wedding, Formal or Private Dinner, Luncheon, Reception, Garden Party or Corporate Event and can be as ‘unobtrusive and completely background’ or as to the fore & ‘cocktail lounge style’ as you wish”.


RIP Maurice

By , On 25 August, 2015 09:08

mauriceJust found out in this Daily Mail Article, that an old mate was one of the victims in the Shoreham air show disaster. He was the chauffeur, driving his beloved Daimler Limo that got hit. He will be known by many of you who fished Brighton Marina back in the day, when Maurice worked security there.

That is where I first met him many years ago when I was a copper in Brighton and worked a response car in that area. We spent many an hour in the security hut, chin wagging and swilling countless gallons of tea and coffee. Being ex military and ex police, he was never short of old stories to tell and laugh over.

I would always pop in for cuppa with him, Mick, Terry, Adrian and the rest of the crew, whenever I fished at the marina but only after I fished because I knew that if I went in beforehand, I’d never get to actually fish.

Also spent time fussing over and generally tinkering with his small collection of classic cars, which he regularly hired out to film and TV companies.

He was an exceptionally good guy, who was always first on hand to help out anyone, wherever he could.

RIP Maurice. My sincerest condolences and sympathy go to his family and friends and to all who have suffered in this tragedy. Thoughts are also with the emergency services involved and the difficult and awful task they have.


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.

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