After a lay off for a couple of weeks or so, I’ve been eager to get back out on to the beach. Normally around this time of year, the fishing on open beaches can be best described as …err crap and so with little hope of anything decent, I headed off to Seaford beach yesterday evening. It was a bit of a last minute decision, so I didn’t get there until just on high water at 5.30pm or so. Bait wise, I had to rely on some ragworm that had been languishing in my bait fridge for a while, which were surprisingly still active (just) and some frozen party squid obtained from a local shop, ‘Tools & Tackle‘ in Newhaven.
I used just the one rod, set up with a simple size 2 two hook flapper and baited with ragworm. The sea was a tad rough with a brisk South Westerly blowing straight into my face but undeterred, I cast out over the breakers and waited. Due to the strong wind I kept one hand on the rod to prevent the possibility of it being toppled over in the tripod,
It wasn’t long before the first fish of the year was brought ashore and it just had to be a bloody slug (rockling) which infest the waters at this time of year, so it was no real surprise there. I re-baited, cast out and waited again.
In a brief lull in the wind, I left the rod in the tripod and grabbed myself a cup of very welcome coffee. On turning back to the rod, I was just in time to see the whole lot starting to topple over; I was in time to save it from crashing into the shingle. I initially thought it was huge breaker or maybe weed that had caused it but that thought left my mind as I felt something unknown tugging from the other end. Codling perhaps?… bass?… It was certainly pulling back, whatever it was. I brought the creature through the breakers and onto the shingle – an eel but a biggun though. Luckily it was neatly hooked through the lower jaw and so was easy to release without too much damage to the rig. On holding it, I would say that it went at least 2½, maybe even 3lbs and certainly, if the law didn’t forbid keeping of eels, it would have been going home with me. Alas though, they have to be returned, so that was what I did and watched it slither back into the waves.
Next up was a brace of whiting but unlike the good sized keepers we’ve had recently, they were just pins. It was a mixed double of whiting and another slug shortly after – again, the whiting was a pin.
The wind speed started to increase and as the tide dropped, it became more perilous to get near the waters edge for casting. Very large breakers started to sweep, making the fine shingle/sand more unstable under foot.
With the tide dropping quickly and the sea getting lumpier by the second as the wind increased, I decided it wasn’t really worth staying any longer and so packed everything up and was back on my way home by about 8 pm. It had been a very short session but I had at least kicked off my 2012 season with three species unfortunately they won’t count in the species hunt competition on a fishing site I frequent because I didn’t bother taking any pictures.