Posts tagged: thornback

Sole & Lobster Lunch

By , 20 July, 2010 14:34

lobster - click for larger imageLast night was going to be a session at Seaford beach but the wind dropping as it did, it meant that there would be little in the way of any surf, so a change of plan saw me opting to go to Brighton Marina instead. The Tackle Box had no fresh lugworm but a visit to The Peacehaven Angler secured some quality worm for the evening. Just before I was setting off, I got a call from Eddy at The Tackle Box to say that a customer had cancelled their order and there was two packs of worm on offer.

I got onto the East arm by 7.30pm, an hour and a half after high water and got myself a space up at bay 31. I set up a rod with feathers to get some mackerel for the bass and another rod was set up with a size 4 two hook sole rig baited with worm and cast out about fifty yards. While that rod did its work, I set about getting some mackerel which didn’t seem to be that abundant.

It was a beautiful evening to be out – warm, with absolutely no breeze, slightly overcast sky and an oily calm sea.  Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the worm rod pull down, I struck and the first fish of the evening was soon on the deck – a bream of around 20cm which went straight back. Another one was added to the tally a short while later. In the mean time, I managed half a dozen mackerel which was enough for the session.

While taking the feathers off and setting up the bass rod, I saw the other rod making the movements that meant the dreaded weed. I decided to bring it in before the weed built up too much and was soon dragging a heavy weight in. As it got near the base of the wall, I felt the ‘weed’ pulling back in jerking bursts and instead of the expected ball of crap, I saw a lovely lobster flapping away. It was carefully hauled up the wall and was soon in its new home – a bucket. Normally they get themselves tangled up in the line but this one was fairly hooked in the mouth parts after dining on the presented worm. They are usually found in the craggy parts near the wall base not out in the open fifty yards out. If I caught nothing else during night, I wouldn’t be bothered as Anna and I would be having a beautiful dinner anyway.

A few more bream were brought in but they were all in the 20cm bracket, so got their freedom. A break from the bream came in the shape of a small thornback ray just as darkness fell, this was followed by two schoolie bass in quick succession before it all went quiet for a long period. The bass baits remained untouched apart from nibbling by whatever micro beasties were lurking in the vicinity.

All chances of a decent bass were blown when a group set up not far down from me and proceeded to make more noise than a noisy thing and insisted on lighting up the whole area like blackpool with unnecessarily bright lights, shining them everywhere and on to the water about them and me.

sole - click for larger imageWith this in mind, I packed up bassing and continued with the sole rig which brought in a few more small bream. While awaiting the next capture, I busied myself, changing the water in the lobster bucket and generally sorting through kit and making sure all rubbish was put away in a bag. I suppose it was half an hour later, when I retrieved to re-bait and noticed that there was a fish on, I was well pleased when I saw that it was a nice plump sole of 28cm – oh what a lunch we were going to have!

Apart from the noise and light show along from me, it was a deathly quiet night and at times I could hear what seemed to be the noise of a Dolphin or Porpoise surfacing some way off, a slosh and whoosh sort of sound. Fish-wise, a couple more schoolie bass fell to the worm bait, along with one small ‘Bootlace’ eel and another small thornback.

By 3am, things had died down and no more bites were coming, so it was with thoughts of a decent lunch, and happy at having had a good night’s fishing, I packed up and headed for home. Once home, I put an air pump in the lobster bucket to keep it  aerated and tucked it into the fridge along with the sole.

Seaford Bass Success

By , 12 July, 2010 10:58

bass - click for larger imageI was thinking the other day that I haven’t fished Seaford Beach since January, so decided to have a go there last night to see what’s about. Not being able to rely on catching mackerel there, I decided to continue my launce (sandeel) for bass experiment. I had some left over lugworm as well and thought I’d use that up on a scratching rig.

When I got to the beach, it was about two hours into the flood tide and I saw that there was some weed present but didn’t look too bad and was certainly fishable. The sea was pretty calm with just a small swell and a bit of movement surf-wise. There was no wind to speak of and the sky was cloudy with sun breaking through at times.

I set up the scratching rig first, a size 4, two hook flapper baited with the lugworm which I cast out about fifty yards. I then set about the bass rod which I would use later on and used a long link running ledger combined with an eight foot trace and a 4/0 pennel to be baited with the launce. These were frozen ‘Ammo’ and were a pretty good size, being about six inches in length and thick bodied. Since I started using these, I have found that the larger sized launce seem to work better than the smaller ones which have caught significantly less fish.

First fish to be landed came in about three hours after low water and it was a double shot of a school bass and a small weever. Next in was a small thornback ray, shortly followed by a small Tub gurnard – all these came in before full darkness and fell to the lugworm. Once dark, I had another hit which turned out to be another school bass.

By about 10pm and four hours into the tide, the weed started to become a problem – long strands of the ‘Spaghetti’ weed got caught up on the hook, sinker and leader knot. The best way to deal with this was to abandon the scratching rod and concentrate on the bass gear which I had by now deployed. While packing the other rod up, I heard the ratchet on the bass reel scream off as a fish took line. I picked up the rod and felt the fish pulling strongly and struck into it. A short while later, a bass of around 2½lbs was on the beach but before I could reach it, the hook fell free and the next wave took the fish back. Ah well, at least I knew there were fish  there.

I re-baited with a fresh launce and cast out again just beyond the breaking waves. Almost immediately I saw the rod lurch over and the reel sing again, I lifted into the fish which was on for a brief moment before going free – arse! Another fresh launce was cast out but nothing touched it – or so I thought. The rod was moving in a wave-weed like manner but when I retrieved it, I found a spider crab firmly attached. Unfortunately it wasn’t peeling, so went back.

By now, it was about an hour before high water and the weed was getting to be a real problem; at least on this rig, there was no leader knot to worry about as it was a straight through line. I saw the rod moving and was about to bring it in, when it dramatically arched over and the reel screamed’ I picked it up and felt a reasonable fish on the other end. As it got nearer the beach, I let the waves carry the fish closer to land and soon a nice fish was on the beach – success! It measured 52cm  and weighed in at a shade over 3lbs – not huge but very satisfying for my first session there in six months.

The weed become intolerable around high water and the place was just unfishable – huge rafts of it could be seen in the waves and after a minute in the water, line and terminal tackle were smothered and being dragged along by the weight of weed in the current. I was down to my last launce anyway, so chucked it to give the fish a free meal on me before packing up for the night.

Given that there was a nice variety of fish (although on the small side), I may give the marina a rest for a while and concentrate on Seaford a bit more along with Newhaven for the sole.

Marina de Merde

By , 7 July, 2010 17:00

Sunset over East arm of Brighton Marina - click for larger imageAfter a crap night on Monday when a blank was saved by two eels, I again had session on the east arm of Brighton Marina, this time with another WSF member, Phil. I got there at about 8pm and walked out to bay 58 to find that the whole end was devoid of people apart from some lone soul at the very end bay. Weather-wise, it was sunny but with a brisk West South Westerly wind which was forecast to drop later. The sea was a bit lumpy but had cleared substantially since Monday, still with weed visible but nowhere near as bad.

The plan was to fish mackerel heads on the bottom for bass and use a second outfit for anything else around that would take a worm bait. I’d been unable to get any lugworm but had a quantity of good sized king ragworm. While waiting for Phil, I had a go for some fresh mackerel but this transpired to wasted energy as someone had forgotten to invite the mackerel. That being the case, we would have to settle for frozen.

Once Phil arrived and serious fishing got underway, I used a long link running ledger with 8′ trace ending in a 5/0 hook and mackerel head for the bass and a size 4 two hook sole rig for scratching.

Phil's thornback rayAs the evening wore on, the wind increased, the temperature dropped, the sea got lumpier and filled up with weed; the really ‘orrible slimy shit like weed we’ve been plagued with. By around 3am, the sea was starting to spout up the wall and the weed was getting worse – things were not looking good and it was time to call it a night. The results? Phil had the one and only fish of the night, a pretty little thornback ray (pictured right). As for me? … the first blank of the year…blox.

Bright Brighton Bass

By , 28 June, 2010 10:35

Sundays at Brighton Marina, especially sunny ones can be purgatory when it comes to serious fishing. You can generally never find your ‘hotspot’  or favourite bay, the place is noisy and quite frankly, the behaviour of some can only be described as disgusting. Anyway, I thought I’d take advantage of  the England v Germany match and hit the marina after the game yesterday in the hope that it may not be way too crowded as normal. I was pleasantly surprised when I got to the East arm – there were hardly any people on there at at all. Weather-wise, it was a flat calm, clear sea, bright sunshine with no wind – not ideal  for fishing in the day but I hoped that once dark it wouldn’t be too bad.

I walked out to my favoured bay and started to set up, one rod geared for bass, with a long link running ledger ending in a 3/0 hook to be baited with mackerel once I’d caught them. The idea was to feather for mackerel on the other rod until I had enough and then set that one up with a size 4 two hook sole rig baited with lugworm. As it happens, it was hard work getting the mackerel and they didn’t show until it was almost dark when I managed to bag half a dozen.

The bass rod was baited up with mackerel chunk and cast out before I swapped the feathers for the sole rig on the second rod, baited up and cast that out. First hit was a schoolie bass that took the lugworm. The next to come up was a small palm sized thornback ray, also on the lug.

As  the evening wore on, the bass rod refused to twitch and nothing appeared to be interested in the mackerel bait – not even crabs, the only time it moved was when I retrieved to re-bait! The lug was proving to be a hit though as I had a steady stream of fish: schoolie bass, Pout and Small thornbacks, not great but at least I was busy.

High water arrived (about 1am) and went with nothing spectacular to report. The bait ran out at about 3am and that was my cue to leave with a final tally of 8 bass, the biggest at 35cm, a few Pout and half a dozen small thornbacks. The next trip will probably be a prawn and float and float session, although before that, I do have a mission to bag some mackerel for Anna’s cooking demo at Alex’s school on Wednesday. This will be a first light episode that morning, so I hope that the bloody mackerel oblige and show up.

Mixed Bag

By , 21 May, 2010 19:43

black bream - click for larger imageAfter managing some sole the other night, I thought I’d have another go last night, so with bait in a bucket, I headed off to Brighton Marina after work, arriving on the East arm at around 8.30pm. From the off, I wasn’t expecting much, seeing how the Mayrot (an algae bloom) had discoloured the water turning it cloudy and just plain nasty. Anyway, as I was there, I thought might as well carry on and see what was about, if anything, so I tackled up one rod with a two hook size 4 sole rig baited with lugworm and ragworm and sent that out. At one point, I did consider using the second rod for bass but as I only had a few manky sandeels, I thought I’d have a thrash with some feathers on the off-chance of mackerel but after a few casts, it became obvious that nothing was going to see the damn things through the murk in order to be tempted, so took them off and replaced them with another sole rig, similarly baited and sent that out too.

Weather-wise, it was warm, absolutely zero wind with a flat calm sea, a beautiful night to be out and found it odd that I was the only one out there, with no one else within sight.

Fishing itself was a bit sporadic with busy moments interspersed with no action at all, nothing of any size was landed but there was a bit of variety in species caught and landed my first bream of the year which was surprising considering the state of the water. I packed in at about 3.30am with the final tally being:  one bream, two schoolie bass, two slip soles, one small thornback, countless, rockling and Pout.

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