Posts tagged: eel

All Quiet in Seaford

By , 9 July, 2012 00:13

Picture of small thornback rayDue to crap weather mixed with work, my crap back and other commitments, it’s been ages since I’ve been out on the beaches, so on Friday night, I went out to Seaford beach to fish the tide up from the 8pm low water.

Once on the beach, I checked out the conditions which didn’t look too favourable. The sea was flat apart from small wavelets on the shore line, wind wasn’t doing much either. Water was clear with some colour in it.

Two rods deployed, one with a size 4 sole rig baited with black lugworm and the other with long link running ledger, terminating in a 6/0 baited with squid (I did want fresh mackerel but was busy yesterday and couldn’t get any).

Two cups of muddy coffee and two hours passed by before I got my first bite of the night – a couple of sharp taps followed by slight trembling on the rod tip. On retrieval, the culprit was identified as a small (and I mean small) thornback ray (pictured). Not exactly what I was looking for but at least it saved a potential blank and it’s another one crossed off the species list.

Next up was a small bootlace/snotty eel which luckily was only lip hooked, so I could shake the bloody thing off and release it before too much damage was done to the rig.

A short time later, I had a terrific pull down on the worm rod and once hooked, it seemed like a bit of weight on the end. As it reached the waters edge, any hopes I had of a decent flattie were completely shattered when it turned out to be a whiting – a decent sized whiting I’ll grant you but still a bloody whiting, in July? At this rate, it would seem we are going to be plagued by a resident, all year round whiting fest – oh deep joy!!

Anyway, I gave it another hour so before calling it a night with nowt else showing up, not even the slightest of twitches on the bass rod. My mojo is currently spiraling downwards but to be fair, I haven’t put in as many hours as I normally would due to other things needing my attention. Hopefully once all is settled, I’ll be back out with mucho gusto!

First 2012 Session

By , 3 January, 2012 12:31

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.

Martello Pick ‘n’ Mix

By , 3 September, 2011 14:34

It was back to Seaford beach on the bass hunt again last night, although this time I moved a little further East and fished a spot between the Martello tower and ‘The boats’. At 7.30pm – an hour and half before low water, I met up with fishing pal, Phil – well I think it was him, I couldn’t really see much of him through the thick fog that had blanketed the area. After confirming his identity and having a quick chat, we decided that we’d stick it out until the 3.20am high water, which would maximise our time with bait in the water and to fish the spread of a whole tide.

The sea was flat calm with barely a ripple apart from the small wavelets at the waters edge, which was hardly surprising, seeing as there was bugger all breeze to ruffle it. Did I mention the fog? It was foggy. In fact it was more like a drizzle and it wasn’t too long before our clothing was getting a bit damp through. What was surprising, was how warm it was, so warm that it was down to just a ‘T’ shirt under my floatie trousers.

On to the fishing! The plan was to fish live baits throughout the tide if possible, with the backup of big squid baits if no suitable pout of whiting were forthcoming. So the first thing was to set up the scratching rod with the usual size 4, two hook flapper baited with small sections of lugworm and flung it out while I set up the bass rod – long link running ledger with a bead above the running swivel. Doing it this way meant I could either clip on a trace with the pennel for using a squid, or leave it off and then use a slider for a live bait – two rigs in one.

The first couple of pout that came in really were a little too small and although, I could have used them, I would have preferred something a bit larger, so out went the worms again and the squid stayed on the bass rod. As Darkness proper set in, the bites stepped up and soon we were getting the whiting, although not as many as we would have got further West along the beach. I could have used these as livies but I really wanted pout.

Next fish was a snotty eel which swallowed the hook, luckily though, I managed to cut it free before it caused too much damage to the rig, so I got away with only having to tie on a new hook. A few more whiting came in to me, while Phil was getting whiting and pouts.

The fog seemed to get thicker even though a very light Southerly started to come up and was enough for me to have to add another layer over the ‘T’ shirt just top try and keep the damp out.

Picture of soleAt 11.30, Phil and I were having a chat, when I saw my rod tip rattle a few times, then fall still before a lovely little pull down a short time later. I lifted into what was obviously a fish and soon, I had a double shot on the pebbles – a whiting on the top hook and a gorgeous sole on the bottom one – so that was lunch sorted, Anna would be pleased – she do like her soles. This was actually my first sole of the year and I was beginning to wonder whether I would manage to bag one or not. I have to admit, that I really haven’t targeted them as much as I have before but you can normally bank on one turning up by ‘accident’ while fishing with worm. In the photo, it looks a bit like it’s raining or that there is crap all over the lens but that was ‘the fog’ (reminds me, damn that was a good film).

It wasn’t that long before Phil was in with a possible sole, until that it is, it turned out to be a white plastic bag – an easy mistake. Mind you, it was a particularly striking looking bag (Sorry Phil, couldn’t resist it mate).

Next up for me was a bass but alas, it were only a tiddler of a schoolie which had picked up the worm. Phil meanwhile, had brought in a small ray. He also caught a small pout that looked like it had gone through the wars, fins all ragged and deep lacerations down both flanks, so something had taken a fancy to it but I guess we’ll never know what it was.

The hours went on and nothing else of any note came to the shingle apart from more whiting (one of which was a keeper for me) and we got more and more damp from the fog. Phil called it a day shortly before 3am and as is usual, I just had to stay, even if it was just see over the high water period.

Just after Phil left, I had another double shot but this time it was a whiting and a small bream. Woohoo – I then had two double shots of suitably sized pout which were added to the bucket for use as live baits. So that I was prepared, I dismantled the scratching rod that had now done its job and packed it all away. I then put a pout on the slider rig, sent it out, sat back, poured a coffee and watched through the gloom for signs of predatory activity. After about 20 minutes, the rod tip started rattling away like crazy, so I stood by the rod, with hands resting on it gently and patiently waiting….bang! Just one hit… but no follow up, no dramatic pull down….nothing. I left the bait out there for another ten minutes before deciding to bring it in – it was dead and looking the worse for wear.

Next pout was slid out into the gloom and I sat and drank the last of my coffee. Half an hour went by and … bang!.. again one hit and nothing else. Another dead pout brought in and the substitute sent out in its place. That was to be the last bit of action as nothing else happened until I eventually admitted defeat and headed off home at about 5am.

So, no decent bass but an enjoyable session anyway, along with six species and the added bonus of a tasty lunch.

Dead Flat Seaford

By , 18 August, 2011 19:15

Picture of sunsetI was going to leave off fishing for a while to give the old back a rest but with the wind having swung around more Northerly and a flat calm sea, I couldn’t resist going out again last night for a spot of live-baiting at Seaford beach. I got there during the last of the daylight at just on low water and got everything set up.

The sea was flat calm, gin clear and no evidence of sea salad and noodles, so all in all looking too bad; no good really for static big baits but good for live-baiting. The wind was a just a gusty breeze from the North West which rippled the surface and whipped the cloud cover above along ata fair rate.

The plan was to have the bass rod ready and cast out with a gripper settled in and all ready to have the live-bait sent down on a slider. So with that done, I decided to hoof a worm bait out on a size 4, two hook flapper to see if anything was about yet. This could have ended in an embarrassingly inept disaster. As the lead was flying out, I saw that the line level on the ABU 6500 Sport Mag was getting dangerously low, so I slammed my thumb on the spool – just in time, there were only a few turns of line left! I’d forgotten that I’d recently begun stripping the reel but had stopped part way through. Now I don’t know why but for some strange reason, only known to those who inhabit my brain, I had tied a new shock leader on as normal. To think that the first cast and I could have spooled myself. It proves a point though – I can be a real tosser sometimes.

Picture of sunsetAnyway, with some line now back on the reel, the worm bait out all and the rest of the gear ready, I sat and had a coffee and generally chilled out. I managed to get a couple of pictures of the sunset over Newhaven which will join all the other ‘Sunset over Newhaven’ pictures I’ve taken. One of the drawbacks of being in Seaford, is that the only sunsets you get are in that direction; result? – they all look the same, apart from variation in the colours.

I digress – back on topic, once darkness fell, the pout came out to play and it wasn’t long before I had a few in the bucket. The first of the pout was promptly sent on its way on a slider and hopefully to tempt a bass.

Now, I hoped that some decent sole would hit the worm before any more pout and whiting got it. A bite! Leave it, let it develop, we know that sole need some time to get that worm down in that small mouth…wait, hands in pocket… something’s there (on the bait – not in my pocket)… just a bit longer…. pull down… lift rod – yup there’s summat there. Bring it in and instead of the anticipated flapping, muscular sole.. what do I have? A ball of slimy snot, a mangled trace and a bloody eel that’s what I’ve got. Hooray, I just love untangling stuff like this, it’s so satisfying – oh sod it, cut the line, cut the eel free and put on a new rig – it’s so much easier.

The next bit action had no fish involvement whatsoever, unless any of the people involved were called ‘Mr Fish’. It was about half midnight when I was aware of a loud crackling noise a couple of hundred yards to the East of me along Marina Parade. I looked over and could see something was well alight near to one of the shelters, I wasn’t too sure whether it was a car, rubbish fire or the shelter itself. I could also see two hooded oiks hanging around it. I phoned for the fire brigade and gave the information to the operator who said they would be along shortly. Meanwhile, the two oiks were dragging something from nearby – couldn’t see what it was and were taking it towards the fire. I then phoned for the police who arrived some time later.

Fire brigade turned up and extinguished whatever it was, while the two oiks watched for a while before skulking off into the garden area next to Hardwicke house. I updated the police who arrived, had a look around and buggered off, the brigade then went, so it was back to me just sitting on the beach not catching fish.

It wasn’t too long before I decided that enough was enough and it wasn’t going to be a fishy night. I’d given it until the hour or so after high water and there hadn’t been so much as a twitch from the live-bait to indicate a predator nearby. As said though, at least there was no sea salad and noodles that have been plaguing the fishing of late.

No fishing for the next few days but hopefully, the next session will be at least a bit more fishy.

Weeded Out

By , 2 June, 2011 15:19

I took the opportunity last night to fish down at Brighton Marina with the hope of bass and sole on the East arm. Armed with some lugworm and a box of squid, I walked out onto the arm and headed out and found a quiet spot at bay 40. There was a light South Westerly breeze which was enough to chop up the surface of the somewhat coloured water. It was a bright evening with virtually no cloud cover.

The intention was to try for some mackerel at towards last light and use heads and chunks for bait. I started off with some feathering and immediately hit a problem with weed, which although not visible, was obviously lying on the sea bed. Each retrieve brought the feathers back with clumps of what looked like fibrous and slimy cotton wool. Even keeping the hooks and lead away from the bottom, still brought the damn stuff back.

Picture of eel and weedAs light faded I rigged up a rod with a size 4 two hook flapper, baited it with the worm and cast it out. While I had a coffee, I saw the rod tip twitch a little, followed by slight tugging. I left it while I finished my drink and then retrieved a heavy weight, which turned out to be balls of the aforementioned crappy weed with a small eel amongst it. My rig was completely trashed by the critter and by the time I sorted it, I was left with one released eel and a ball of weed and snotty eel slime, the only thing I could do with it was to salvage the bits and cut the rest up for the bin. I attached a new baited rig and cast it back out in the hope that I had seen my last eel of the night – a hope that was dashed when, within minutes of the rig being out, it started to twitch and shortly after, another mass of slimy weed and even slimier eel hit the deck.

I didn’t bother trying again but carried on my quest for mackerel instead. Unfortunately, by the time darkness hit, I had cleared what seemed like the entire sea bed of weed and crap and landed precisely zero mackerel – good job I’d brought some squid along as a standby. The feathers were taken off and a rod was setup with a long link running ledger, 4/0 pennel and whole squid.

I lobbed it out about ten yards and sat back for another coffee. Within seconds, the rod tip was bouncing around to the rhythm of wave and weed. I hauled up pounds of the stuff which clung to the tackle like crap to a blanket – this was turning into the session from hell. I only hoped that the weed subsided with the rising tide.

In the meantime, the again re-deployed worm rod cunningly captured another eel which resulted in another trashed rig. For the next few hours, I alternated between clearing crap from the bass rig and the eel catching device. I must admit to feeling very disheartened, especially when Ryan and Pieman informed that it was pretty weed free up where they were in the 50’s. I toyed with the idea of moving along there but I really couldn’t be arsed and decided to stick it out. In the end, I wish I had moved.

By about 1am, I’d had enough and decided to sod off rather than waste my time anymore. So the the tally for the night was about a dozen eels, a shed load (literally) of weed and a very grumpy Vic.

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