Although the recent South Westerlies have subsided and the seas have calmed considerably, I thought I’d go anyway and have a bassing and scratching session last night. Armed with a couple of boxes of squid and some ragworm, I headed over to Seaford Beach. I arrived at about 8pm – an hour or so before low water and found a calm sea with a few gentle breaking waves to stir things up, virtually no wind, just a light breeze and a slightly overcast sky.
To start with, I set up the scratching rod with a size 4, two hook flapper baited with the worm and sent that out. I planned to start with the bass rod just after low water and into the dusk, so I set it up in readiness with a long link running ledger with a 5/0 pennel.
It wasn’t long before the scratcher showed signs of activity and the first retrieve brought in a double shot of a small dab and a micro smooth hound. I re-cast and within seconds, it was on the go again, only this time, it was small school bass of about a pound. In the following hour or so, I had another four similar sized bass and another dab.
At about 9.30, I deployed the bass rod, just lobbing the bait beyond what breaking waves there were. I kept the scratcher out as well, which brought in a few small pout to add to the tally.
Bang on the stroke of 11pm was when the squid was hit hard, hooping the rod over and after a spirited little fight, a plump bass was on the shingle. It went around 2½lbs and 46cm. A quick re-bait and cast and just in time to see the scratcher rod tip pull down which resulted in a small thornback ray hitting the beach. At this point, I decided to abandon the scratcher and concentrate on the bass rod. After packing the rod away, I saw that there was a huge slack line on the bass rod and after a frantic wind in, another bass of about a pound was on the beach.
Half an hour later, the bass rod trembled in my hand and then the tip slammed down hard and the fish shot off to the right, then out before spitting the bait, leaving the squid in tatters. Another good bite was missed, some twenty minutes later while distracted with my coffee.
1.15am and just over four hours into the flood tide there was a repeated tapping on the rod tip before a good pull down and it was another fish on. There wasn’t so much spirit in this one just some dogged tugging and dead weight – until it was on the shoreline, when it took off a bit before being gently slid up the shingle. A better fish this one at 54cm and 4lbs on the nose.
Re-bait, re-cast and re-coffee while awaiting the next one – hopefully. By now, it was actually quite warm and a really pleasant night to be out. The sea had flattened out even more and I wasn’t expecting much else to happen, when suddenly, bang! The rod tip went over and another fish was on but as quick as it came, it went, leaving another shredded squid.
With about half an hour to go before high water, thoughts of packing up were in my mind, when out of the blue I had another take and shortly after, a three pounder emerged out of the wavelets and onto the beach. The last squid was impaled on the hooks and lobbed out, where it remained untouched until it was time to go.
This turned out to be quite a night – especially when I hadn’t expected so much action. Just goes to show that sometimes, fish don’t always conform to the predictions on times, states of tide and weather. The next trips to this beach will be purely bass in an attempt to get that allusive ‘double’. It’s there and it’s waiting.