Today’s challenge was to gather some mackerel for a sort of ‘Parent’s help out day’ our son’s school, whereby Anna would show the kids how the fish was cooked and then let them taste it. So with rod and feathers in hand, I headed off to Brighton Marina for sunrise this morning to bag a dozen. Hmm – ever wished you’d never volunteered for something?
I got to the West arm at about 4am and started chucking the feathers out and got one almost immediately – looked like this was going to be an easy task, I thought. I had spoken to soon and obviously put the mockers on the morning. Over the next two hours, I only connected with two more mackerel, which to my dismay, dropped off at the wall. By 6am, the water was dropping fast, was starting to colour up and was choking in weed, so I decided on a move over to the East arm to try there. A short dash later saw me over on the other wall and chucking feathers there.
The water there was also choked, with large rafts of that ‘orrible ‘spaghetti’ weed we had for so long last year. Anyhow, I carried on and after a few casts, had another two mackerel on, only to drop at the wall again. I changed over to some slightly larger lures and started with them, thinking that the slightly larger hooks wouldn’t pull out as easily.
A few casts later and there was a fish on but felt different, very un-mackerel like, I got it up the wall and saw that there was a quantity of weed with a small fish buried in it all. As I pulled the weed off, I saw that the fish was a small Lesser weever which had been foul hooked. I know most would recognise this poisonous little bugger but some may not, so thought I’d get a picture just to act as a reminder for everyone to be aware. DO NOT HANDLE THEM, the black dorsal fin and gill covers have spines that will inject venom when picked up. They are often mistaken for small Pout when caught in low light situations or when covered in weed. Please make sure you know what a fish is before handling, unhooking etc. I very carefully unhooked the creature with pliers and lobbed it back before continuing with my efforts.
By 8am, I had only had one more fish which managed to get off the hook soon after it had taken the lure. With the water dropping ever faster, this looked like being a fruitless activity and decided to call it a day, so walked back to the car with the one solitary fish looking lost in a rather large and optimistic bucket. A total contrast to a week ago when the place was alive with mackerel.
The one benefit of my failure was that I would get to sit at home with a coffee, instead of standing in the school looking like a muppet, while Anna cooked fish for the little darlings who would in all probability not eat it anyway – result!