Posts tagged: mackerel

Eastern Promise – Not Delivered

By , 12 July, 2011 16:16

After the drenching I got the other night, last night was a complete contrast – in weather and in results. With the calm conditions looking promising, I felt like having a go for a bass down on the East arm of Brighton Marina, so got down there about 8pm with the intention of bagging some mackerel for bait over high water and then to do some scratching until the early hours and fish mackerel head and guts over the 3am low water period.

It was a warm, clear evening with no wind and a flat calm, clear sea; as said completely different to the other night. It was nice just wearing a t shirt and jeans instead of the clobber I had previously worn and positively thrilling to have dry hands.

Unlike last time I fished the marina, I had made provision this time and had taken some frozen joeys with me, in case the mackerel didn’t show. Just as well really, as the buggers were conspicuous by their absence and the only fish activity I could see on the surface were probably scad.

Anyway, I set up the scratching rod with a size 4 two hook flapper baited with lugworm and chucked it out and almost immediately had a knock which resulted in a small dab – blank saved. Re-baited and then set up the bass rod with the usual long link running ledger, size 5/0 hooked through the snout of a mackerel head and guts which I lobbed out and sat back.

By about midnight, a brisk easterly picked up and made it feel a bit chilly in comparison to earlier – certainly enough to put an extra top on. The good thing that came with it was a bit more in the way of cloud cover.

The only action coming my way was on the scratching rod, with a few small bream and then on low water, lots of school bass taking a shine to the worm. There was one half hearted attempt at a run on the bass rod about half an hour before low which had the tip buried down for a brief few seconds and then nothing.

I gave it until about an hour after low before tiredness set in and I had an overwhelming desire to have a good kip. Looks like Thursday and/or Saturday will be my next outing when I’m hoping for more promising results.

Seaford 6.6.11

By , 8 June, 2011 16:32

Following on from my previous entry, I met up with Bill last night at a spot just opposite west View on Seaford beach and after the initial intros, we wondered onto the beach. We were about an hour before low water and intended to fish up and over high water and maybe some down. There was a bit of a South Westerly breeze blowing and the sea surface was just chopping up

I was beginning to set up when I noticed some mackerel just off the shoreline in very shallow water, I clipped on some feathers and had a few chucks, which resulted in some nice fresh bait for the night.

My two rods were then set up for the evening – one with a size 4, two hook flapper baited with luworm and the bass rod using a long link running ledger with a 4/0 pennel baited with launce or squid.

Picture of Bill's flounderBill was first in with a nice flounder and I followed this up with a lesser spotted dogfish which took a ledgered launce at a relatively close range. Bill then did tit-for-tat and pulled a dog of his own. Once darkness fell, bites were frequent and I was heartened when I saw a good tug on the bass rod and heard the ratchet chirp. Picture of whiting I struck into something that was very obviously not large and not exactly putting up the scrap of the century and was surprised on beaching it, to find a nice table sized whiting of all things. This was to be later joined by two more of about the same size – so that was lunch sorted then. These last two took the worm baits at about fifty yards well into the flood.

Picture of Bill's soleIt was around this time that I saw Bill walking back from the waters edge carrying what like a nice fish. I popped over and saw him clutching a very nice sole which he told me was his first. I was really pleased for Bill, it’s always a lovely feeling to get a new species under the belt, especially a tasty one like that. The photo shows a very placid and cooperative sole but what it doesn’t tell is the story of his ‘sole juggling’ act just moments before, as the critter leapt and slid around in his hands – a very funny thing to see. Personally, I think it should be a ‘must have’ in the next series of that shite TV show otherwise known as X Factor, it would certainly be a step up entertainment wise.

My next big moment was while I knelt to retrieve some bait from the bucket and felt something give ‘down below’ – not anatomically but my jeans beginning to fall apart. As I went to stand, there was the sound of old, bait soaked, manky fabric literally giving up the ghost and as I rose to the noise of rending cloth, I could see and feel that my nether area was ripped from ‘arse to breakfast time’. I now had the pleasure of that cooling breeze blowing around the man vegetables for the rest of the night.

On the fish front, I managed a couple of schoolie bass along with a few pout that took the worm baits but nothing else bothered the bigger bass bait for the rest of the night. As it neared high water time, the bites dried up and it went completely dead, apart from Bill who managed a new one for him – a bloody rockling.

I did however manage to get myself a nice boot full of cold water while trying to get my bucket filled, so not only did I have chilly parts, I now had bloody freezing, wet foot – which was nice. I was glad when we both agreed enough was enough and decided to pack up.

So that was Seaford done on Bill’s marathon fund raising and now he’s off to Shoreham for the next leg. We had a great session, with a few species and great company, I look forward to his next visit.

Please support Bill if you can, all donations to a good cause – the RNLI. Details of his trip, along with dates and venues can be found here:
Bill’s RNLI Marathon

Rotted Out Marina

By , 12 May, 2011 11:43

Picture of May rotHaving had a disastrous squid championship result, I thought I’d have a go on Tuesday morning to see if I could get my squid mojo back. I arrived on the West arm at about 5am just after high water to find that the dreaded May rot was as bad as ever. With a flat calm sea, the water should normally have been crystal clear – what I had in front of me resembled pea soup, a horrible murky green with clouds of particles swirling around. It was nicely topped off with a generous helping of foaming patches….mmmmm, what a delightful recipe.

I setup two rods – one with standard float gear and squid jig, while the other was rigged with some feathers in the hope that maybe some not so bright mackerel put in an appearance. I have to say though, that with the conditions, I wasn’t really hopeful of a result on either front. However, not to be defeated at the first gate, I decided to selflessly carry on in hope. I do feel that fishing and blanking is better than not fishing at all – and as they say, “you have to be in it to win it”.

Picture of May rotAs the morning wore on, I hoped that maybe the sea would clear out at least a bit. It soon became apparent that the sea was going to remain nasty, cloudy and full of crap, although there were some clear patches at adistance away from the wall. I did sling some feathers out into the patches searching for any mackerel that may have been hunting in the clear. This exercise only resulted in an aching arm and a sense of ‘Why?’ The water got cloudier and the foam hung about and gave no impression of moving on.

A breakthrouogh came at 10.30, when a solitary, terminally stupid mackerel wandered through the murk and found my feathers – the blank was saved! I carried on for what seemed like a lifetime, alternating between feathers and float with no reward. I eventually gave in and had my last cast before calling it a day and trudging off.

Hope to hell, that this bloody rot disappears soon, so that normal fishing can resume.

Sea Mistress

By , 19 April, 2011 18:36

Now, normally I would write up this report and insert pictures in a chronolgical order but to be honest, I couldn’t say with 100% certainty, which fish came from which wreck and at which time. Plus too many pictues and not enough text make it all look a bit messy, so to keep things tidy and to stop me blathering about on about anything and everything, I’ll give a bit of an outline and put up some nice pictures. Photos are curtesy of the resident photographer for the day, Mr Terry Hill.

Following my trip out on Friday, I had the opportunity to again set out to sea on Sunday – this time, aboard a private boat, ‘Sea Mistress’ skippered out of Newhaven by WSF member Terry Hill. We met up at about 8am at Newhaven and after a bacon butty and coffee at The Captain’s Table, Terry arranged for his boat to be trailered from the boat yard, down the slipway and into the water. We set about stowing our gear aboard, while Terry fuelled her up and did other stuff. We were joined by fellow forum member, Dave and once everything was ship-shape, we set off out of the harbour.

Terry opened up Sea Mistress once we were clear of the harbour confines and headed off to some wrecks in search of cod and pollack. Like Friday, the sea was mirror calm and with no hint of a breeze to ruffle the surface, we made good time. It wasn’t too long before we were over the first wreck and Terry set up the drift.

Tactics were the same – long flowing traces with artificial lures worked close to and over the wreck. Although the water was clear, it was evident that there was already a lot of the dreaded ‘May rot’ in the water which could have an effect on the fishing. Terry was the first into a fish and nice bass was soon aboard. Expectations were high and we were buoyed up by such an early result. Unfortunately, that was the only fish on that wreck, so after a few fruitless drifts, we were off to the next mark, a few more miles out.

Fishing was slow over the next couple of wrecks but Dave managed a couple of reasonable pollack, while I seemed to be attracting large pout for my efforts.

Terry started up the engine again and we were off, this time to a wreck some sixteen miles out. Progress was good, with a steady cruising speed only interupted by the wakes of occasional passing larger vessels. First couple of drifts, I was getting small snatches at my lure but couldn’t get anything to take it fully. It wasn’t long though before I boated my first ‘proper’ fish, a small but welcome pollack.

…and then not long afterwards, Terry got the first of the target fish of the day, a tidy codling.

With renewed vigour, we continued to work the lures but to no effect, apart from more pollack for me and a beautiful little tub gurnard for Dave.

I then boated a whiting of all things – all this way out and I still get bloody whiting. At least it was of a decent size anyway.

Another wreck later and although we still weren’t getting large numbers of fish, we sort of ticked over with bits and pieces. Dave then had his first bass of the session after a short tussle.

…and he followed this up a bit later with the biggest pollack of the day at a shade under the ten pound mark.

While he was doing the pollack – so to speak, I had my first codling of the day but unfortunately didn’t get a picture of it.

We fished on for a bit and did some wrecks on our way back to port but as the tide slackened off, the fishing died with it. We decided on some ground fishing on the shoals off Beachy Head, so swapped our artificials for ragworm fished on long traces with plenty of beads and colour, in the hope of attracting a plaice or two. Alas, this wasn’t to be the case and all we managed to attract were pin whiting and pout.

So it was with an Easterly breeze picking up and chopping the surface, we headed back to port. I attempted to fillet my catch on the return but this proved a little risky, so after one fish and deciding I’d like to go home with the same amount of fingers as I had when I left, I opted to fillet the rest at home.

Back at port, we unpacked the boat and did other nautical things with ropes and pipes before collecting up our assorted bits and pieces and going our seperate ways. A big thanks again to Terry for the day out and putting us on the fish.

Here’s the stuff I didn’t get around to preparing on the boat and is awaiting the filleting knife.

Lady of The lake

By , 16 April, 2011 15:18

FrankOne of the wardens from Brighton Marina, Frank was celebrating his birthday by having a trip out on one of the local charter boats, ‘Lady of The Lake‘, skippered by John Barrow. I had been lucky enough to be invited out by him to join his party, consisting of his daughter, sons and friends, along with some indiviuals (sorry, I didn’t catch your names) and two additional crew, Alan and John(2),to make up a full complement. To say I was excited is an understatement, as it was my first trip for quite a few years and I was keen to venture back into the boat fishing scene.

Picture of Lady of The LakeWe met up at The Tackle Box to stock up on any last minute items, after which, we were soon down by the boat loading up, making ready for the 7.30am departure. I have to say, Lady of The lake, a Tremlett 42, is a fantastic, sleek looking boat, is extremely roomy with a well set out deck and ample facilities. While we waited, we set up the rods to save time once at our destination. The basic tackle consisted of what is essentially a single hook paternoster with long flowing trace (sometimes known as a flying collar rig) and artificial lures such as sidewinders and shads.

looking back towards the marinaSoon, engines were fired up and we set off out of the marina and headed to the chosen marks, which were to be deep water wrecks out in the channel. The tactic for the day was to drift and work the lures in front of and over these wrecks in the hunt for the cod and pollack which inhabit these rusting hulks. Frank’s target and a great way to make his birthday better was to get his first cod, in fact he had said that he “Didn’t mind catching chickens for the rest of the day, providing I get my cod”. So, fingers were firmly crossed – and that went for all of us!

Another view of the coastAs we left the marina, we motored out onto a flat calm sea, which was going to make the jouney a lot quicker and a lot more comfortable than you would get on bumpier water – Perfect conditions for a great day out.

Soon, the engines were opened up more to a good cruising speed and we headed for our first wreck which I believe was some 20 odd miles out. I took the opportunity to go over my kit and make sure everything was in order, with all knots nice and secure and extra traces and rigs made up ready in case of losses caused by getting getting caught up in the submerged ironwork.

The anticipation mounted as the engines throttled back and John began positioning the boat over the first wreck. Once the drift was established, the buzzer was sounded which meant we were safe to drop our lures down to the bottom. I felt the lead hit the seabed and then I began the slow retrieve, working the gear up and over the wreck, waiting for the tell-tale pull down on the rod and the weight and power of a fish crash diving after taking the lure. Sadly, the first drift produced nothing – or the next, or the one after that. Hmmm.. disappointment all round.

Another view of the coastWe headed off to another wreck and this produced similar results apart from a couple of pout. I had one tentative take with a fish briefly on before it was lost. We then headed off to another mark, where I had my first proper take and after getting it to the surface, I had my first codling of about 4lbs aboard – thing were looking up at last.

The next drift saw my gear caught up in the wreck, the line was quickly wrapped around a cleat by John and I waited for the drifting boat to break the line – damn, my first loss. I quickly retackled in time to catch the next drift, which produced nothing for me but I believe a couple of pout to the others.

Frank and his codThe next drift saw me blank again but there was a shout from the other side of the boat and Frank’s long awaited cod was soon on the deck… and he was a very happy bunny.

Another couple of blank drifts and John decided to move onto another hulk which again produced zero results. Things were not looking good on the wreck front, so John asked Frank what he wanted to do (it was his day after all) – stick it out with the prospect of similar results, or move inshore and have a go for dabs and mackerel, so that at least some people went home with fish. Decison made, he motored back inshore and drifted over the ground just off the marina.

Tackle was changed – thanks Alan and John(2) for providing the lighter gear that I hadn’t taken with me. A spreader boom with beaded traces and size 2 hooks baited with lugworm were dropped over the side and before long, I had my first dab aboard – pity it fitted in the palm of my hand though! Things went very quiet and apart from a couple more undersize dabs and a couple of pin whiting, I had no more luck. The rest of the crew were bagging up on mackerel and Frank had a couple of lunker garfish. By 5pm, it was evident that we weren’t going to get anything decent, so it was time to had back into the marina and the end of the day.

Despite the lack of quality fish, it was a great day out with excellent company and great weather. Thanks again to Frank for the invite and to John and crew for helping out and making things run smoothly. I’ve now got the taste back for boat fishing, and am looking forward to making my next trip whenever that may be.

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