- Vic Fisher's sea angling journal - http://www.vicfisher.co.uk -

Martello Malaise

I wish I’d gone to Edinburgh Road at Seaford beach but didn’t and went to the Martello (also known as the canon) instead in search of bass and maybe a lucky¬† codling. Arrived on the beach by about 9.30 having shot home first after work to load up the car (should have done it before I went to work). Sea was lumpy with a fresh Westerly breeze helping to push some largish waves up the beach. The plan was to fish up to the 1.30am high water and down and hour or so.

The bass rod was set up with a running ledger and 5/0 pennel baited with squid but with the option of live baiting. This was done by just adding a free running swivel above a bead which was above the weight. A hook length with a 5/0 on one end and a snap swivel on the other was made ready. If a suitable live bait was caught, the procedure would be to retrieve the squid and unclip the hook length, cast the weight out, let it settle and then clip the snap swivel onto the main line, stick the live bait on the 5/0 and let it slide out into the water.

A scratching rod was set up with a two hook flapper – one size 1/0 hook and one size 4, both baited with lugworm and sent out beyond the waves which were crashing up the beach. It wasn’t long before the scratching rod was bouncing around and two whiting were brought in – too big for a bait and too small for table, so back they went. This was pretty much the theme for the next hour or so and while I was busy with the whiting, the squid was busy doing absolutely nothing just sitting out there being ignored.

By about 11.30, the breeze died right down until there was nothing. The sea started to flatten out, leaving just the swell running the occasional larger wave up the beach. This was just what the doctor ordered, as the next two fish were an ideal sized pout and whiting.  The pout was sent out on the slider reasonably close in just outside the main waves. While the whiting stayed in the bucket (with water in it, I might add), I quickly rigged up a DVice on a running ledger, stuck the whiting in it with a 5/0 and chucked it out at distance.

The incoming tide had pushed me back up the beach to an area where there was loads of washed up and rotting seaweed (nice) which was covered in clouds of small flies. They were annoying enough anyway but each time I used my headlight, it was like being in a bloody sand blasting booth! They were an absolute bloody nightmare, ended up moving my gear further back up the beach and out of the way.

I then sat back, smugly, drinking coffee and thinking I was in with a chance. This was not to be the case, as although I imagine the baits were having a lovely swim around, they remained untouched. Once the tell tale signs of movement ceased, it was time to bring them in – both expired. Ah well, back to the squid and the worm it is then.

The squid remained apparently unattractive, while the worm worms did well with more whiting, until the rig was trashed by a ‘snotty’ eel which managed to turn my nicely made rig into a tight ball of line and snot that was only good for being cut up and the components retrieved. The eel was successfully removed from its own mess and sent back to where it came from. A new rig was clipped on, baited and re-cast.

Another bite, another ‘snotty’ and another wrecked rig. Yet another rig clipped on, baited and re-cast. A few more whiting and then a bass, yeah, a bass only trouble it was, it probably weighed less than the lead I was using. That was it then, high water came and went and no more fish brought in, it just died completely.

I stuck it out until about 3am before calling it a night. It really was quite a disappointment, I had had high hopes of a reasonable fish but I guess that’s fishing for you – sometimes you strike gold and some times you don’t.