Posts tagged: whiting

Slow Night At Seaford

By , 28 September, 2011 13:28

After some recent appalling sessions at Seaford beach that have not been worthy of a report, I decided to give it another go on Monday night. Bait was in short supply and could get no fresh worm locally but managed to get a few ragworm from ‘Tools and tackle’ in Newhaven, along with some squid.

So after finishing work that evening, I shot home, packed the car and was down on the beach by about 8.30pm. I opted to fish by the boats, just along from the Martello and was surprised to see that it was empty down there. In fact the only other lights I saw were further down to the West.

There was a slight (very) South westerly breeze but wasn’t really enough to put a lot of movement in the water, just the odd wave but generally calm. Sky was overcast and it was quite warm out. Sea looked relatively clear and free from the dreaded ‘sea salad and noodles’. I intended to fish what was left of the flood tide, up and over the 11pm’ish high water.

I set up one rod with a simple paternoster, with a single 5/0 hook but hair rigged with a size 4 baited with worm. The intention being to hook a small pout or whiting and leave it out as a live bait. The other ‘bass’ rod was set up with a long link running ledger and 5/0 pennel baited with whole squid.

It wasn’t long before the live bait rod was rattling away, signifying that it had done its job and the bait was now sat out there at distance awaiting the interest of any passing predatory fish.

After a long wait until about two hours before high water, the fist ‘proper’ fish of the night turned up, a small school bass of about 1½lbs which took the squid at around 20 yards out. It was quickly returned and another squid sent out to approximately the same distance but I had to wait another hour and a couple of bait changes before the next one obliged and that was a similar sized bass which conveniently spat the hook just as I landed it, so it was simple process of just nudging it back into the waves.

About an hour before high water and just after the change in the current direction, big floating rafts of tangled, slimy ‘sea’ noodles’ started passing by at about the distance I wanted my big baits. The stuff must have been backed up against the wall at Splash Point and then washed back Westwards with the ebb current. I couldn’t believe it, going from completely free to almost unfishable in just a few short minutes! Anyway, I carried on but it became a real nuisance and there wasn’t much point in continuing – I could see that there was still tons of the stuff to come by, so packed up the bass rod.

None of the live baits were touched at all and never really showed any signs of being worried about being snaffled. To be honest, the thought of trying to bring any sizeable, fighting fish in through the floating masses gave me a bit of a shudder.

… and so, I packed up all my gear and thought about getting back there in a day or so, when hopefully it would have cleared.

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.

Disappointment at Seaford

By , 26 August, 2011 17:25

On Wednesday, I wanted to get out for an evening/night session, so loaded up the car and headed for my usual spot at Seaford beach, getting there at about 7pm. High tide was at about 8pm and the plan was to fish over high and then fish the ebb down to the 2.30am low water and an hour or so back up.

What little wind there was, came from the back of the beach which made the sea a little flat, although there were some small waves which gave a bit of movement. I was going to stick to the big bait principle in an ‘all or nothing’ approach to bagging a decent bass but thought I might stick a scratching rig out in the hope of maybe getting a sole after dark.

Bass rod was set up with a long link running ledger, 6/0-4/0 pennel, loaded with whole squid and cast out. The scratcher was rigged with a size 4, two hook flapper baited with lugworm.

Soon after I got there, a mate, Phil turned up and set up to the east of me. First off, he had a shot with some feathers in an attempt to bag some mackerel for bait but after half an hour of thrashing around, he gave up and began to set up his serious fishing outfit.

Darkness fell and bites started almost immediately, unfortunately, there was nothing decent on the end of the line and the long procession of whiting started. It mattered not a jot where the bait was put, as soon as it was settled, the bait was pounced on by these greedy, toothy little critters. Even the close in, squid bait wasn’t safe! To most small fish, a bait of this size would be a daunting task but not for the whiting, which unable to swallow a bait of this size, tore it to shreds more efficiently than a chain saw.

We were soon joined by Arkam, a guy who came down from London to fish with us after reading on Facebook about recent exploits at Seaford. He set up to the West of me and soon had his baits in the water, before coming over for a chat. He told me that he usually fishes at Dungeness but had wanted to try somewhere different to get away from the whiting – bad move my friend, bad move.

All three of us were catching at all ranges but it was just whiting, with nothing else getting a look in. Phil called it a night not long after midnight, while Arkam and I stayed on for a while longer but by about 3am, I’d had enough of the bloody whiting and decided on home time as well.

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 at West View

By , 10 August, 2011 18:25

Yet again, I hit Seaford beach yesterday, more out of a need to get on the beach than out of any great expectation, owing to the tides at the moment. Arrived during daylight to catch the 8.30pm high water, with the intention of fishing the ebb and over low water.

First snag I saw when I went over the beach, was the amount of weed in the water – tons of the stuff being held against the shoreline by the brisk South Westerly blowing but at least there was a half decent surf up. Not to be defeated, I set up a scratching rod with a size 4, two hook flapper, baited with some over-ripe lugworm and ragworm and chucked it out over the weed. Within what seemed like seconds, the weed collected on the line, dragging down into the breakers, where it collected even more. On bringing it in, I had to clear the leader knot before I could get the gear back in, where I saw there was masses of the horrible, slimy ‘spaghetti’ type weed clogging everything up. Another two casts and I admitted defeat and didn’t bother again.

Instead, I set up the bass rod with a long link running ledger, 6/0 pennel and whole squid and cast that out and tried  to get it into an area that wasn’t overly clogged up. I still had to retrieve and re-cast every few minutes and hope a fish found it before there was an excessive build up on the line and I had to drag it back in to clear it – but at least I had a bait in the water.

While participating in this fruitless exercise,  I got chatting to a guy visiting from Tonbridge, who was checking the beach out as a prelude to him returning to sea fishing after many years trouting (is that a real term)?  Turns out he is also a member of WSF and one of his associates, ‘Geordie Si’ is also known to me. It was good to meet you Keith and hope to see you down here at some time with your ugly side-kick, Si.

There was no activity what so ever and I was becoming even more disheartened (how can you become disheartened when you weren’t expecting much anyway)? Not wishing to be beaten, I continued to fish into darkness and thankfully, as the tide receded, the weed became more manageable, even though it was still a right royal pain in the ‘arris. The other fly in my rather depressed ointment was that the wind was also decreasing as the tide ebbed, which squashed the surf that had been there to start with, leaving a flat sea, with just the most feeble of wavelets at the waters edge. Now I know this is beginning to sound like a catalogue of fisherman’s excuses but there was also a very bright moon out was well – I think you can see where this is all heading, result-wise.

I stuck it out until just on low water, had packed up most of my stuff, getting ready to leave, when I went over to bring the bass rod in and saw a quick pull down – I lifted into… yeah, you guessed it, a fish.. and some weed. It didn’t feel big but at least it was a fish. I brought it out to find it was a bloody whiting that had managed to scoff a whole smallish squid. SO..blanked saved but in the manner I was hoping for.

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