Yay!!…I actually got “Hi Sea Drifter” out on the ocean. In fairness it was the wife who kept pushing me to make the effort as I was engrossed in property maintenance after a tenant decided to take flight at short notice, stuffing me for £800, plus leaving a horrific, totally fetid flat, with food in a fridge and freezer that had been switched off for two weeks. Oh…I see…that’s how cheese is made. And of course penicillin was discovered as well. So having put a full week of work in and with the weather people telling me it was definitely do-able, I hitched up and dragged down to Northney Marina where they only charge a few pence short of £25 for a day slip fee !! Wow, what a bargain. Boscastle is a fiver and Mylor not much more. But there you have it. I am a captive audience as the saying goes, and if that’s what 24/7 slip access costs then I have to bite my lip and pay it.
I also had little in the way of bait, as I am not paying something like £19 for a 5lb box of squid, which apparently are in short supply. The cheaper option is Cuttlefish, but all I could get were some sardines out of the supermarket, and handful of thrice frozen Sandeels, some sprats, 3 mackerel and some chopped up sections of Bluey leftover from a summer Catfish trip. It would just have to do. I was going to try an inshore mark north of the Nab Tower but there were already 3 boats right on the numbers. Not being a social creature I parked 400 yards away, reasoning the smell from my chum bag of mashed fish and bran would draw any fish up from nearer the mark. The chum was about a month old, unfrozen, and left over from a potential shark trip. I have kept it like this for one and a half years and to be honest the smell doesn’t get much worse when it has rotted down.
Over the side went various rods all carrying different weights as I thought there might be the outside chance of a Cod. This species has definitely been having a queer early season. One boat catches, dozens blank on them. And I heard hardly any Whiting were being caught. This was in early November, the main month of the south coast for Cod fishing, either from boat or beach. Yet the rattle of the radio and its “channel 10 chatter” was largely about the lack of Cod but with Dogfish being the main bait taker. I for one got instant action on the Dogfish and they were a fairly good size. I got them uptiding, downtiding; even Longtiding. That’s my method of taking the grip lead off a downtide rod and casting the bait (on a short running leger) as far downtide as I could. Still, the day was pleasant enough, a flat calm on starting, then a 2 South-Easterly that was cool but bearable. When I started it must have been slack water as after an hour the ebb tide kicked in and really pushed in volume despite being well short of a full spring tide. I had to go up to 1lb plus leads to stay in contact with the sea bed, the exception being the longtide rods which were still catching Doggies far downtide. I finished the session with about 30 Dogfish, due no doubt to my having mostly fish-based baits which draw them like a magnet. Then, just while I was filming a closeout link for a film I became conscious of a slight bend in the starboard longtide rod. It couldn’t be the boat swinging, so I took a gamble, wound down and set the hook. On a light uptider it gave me a good scrap, turning into a very acceptable double figure Undulate Ray. It was my only “real” fish of the trip, but great camera fodder so I was grateful to accept it. The clocks have gone back so it means less fishing time in the evening and I loaded up in the dark back at the marina.
Talking with one of the locals there he was telling me about a commercial guy who netted a load of fish in Hayling Bay, but couldn’t find a buyer for rakes of Dogfish and “in pup” double figure Smoothhounds. So he just dumped them in the estuary. Now that really is a terrible waste, especially the Hounds. If there was no market for them why not return them at sea so they at least have a chance. I thought I should check out the Dungeness area as they always get a good run of Cod down that way. A call to Seagull Tackle told me the beach action was good, with plenty of different species and the occasional 9lb Cod. In the boats the Cod were also coming out on Cuttlefish, and the Cod were good sizes, plenty of doubles up to a few ounces short of 20lbs. Hopefully I can get down that neck of the woods in the next few weeks, as when I used to write articles it was almost the entire month of November and early December that I travelled down that area for shore fishing features. So maybe the Cod are just late coming into the Isle of Wight area. I heard on the radio that some anglers were still catching Mackerel and the water clarity for the area was amazing. Maybe the Cod are all there but just feeding higher up in the water column, not down on the bottom where they would intercept the angler’s baits. What we need is a good storm with South-Westerly airflow to put some colour in the sea. The Cod then can’t see the baitfish, so they have to grub around on the bottom. Or, you could use a livebait in these clear conditions. Either way, it would be nice to nail a few Cod before the worst of the winter comes.
With the property workload pretty much flat out from flooring to tiling I had a race against the clock to try and grab a few hours at Bury Hill Fishery in Dorking. Target species was a Zander, but the nights had been cold so I had no idea if the drive there was even going to be worth it. I am not a lover of cold weather so was geared up wearing my Helly Hansen yachting jacket which I have never been cold in. Eventually, despite horrendous traffic I turned up on the bankside and tried a swim with a large overhanging Willow tree that I had seen others catch by. Baits were half sections of Roach, single barbless hook, wire trace and light Avon rods. With 12lb line on some ancient bait runner reels there would be some sport with bent rods, but no fear of a loss as the line is so strong. The bites were said to be finicky and indeed they were. It took me over an hour to get the first sign of activity and I missed that one completely!! The temperature fell away, but I had catapulted in lots of cut up Sprats, and some balls of 4mm pellets laced with my “secret” Rapta oil. I did get my Zander, in fact I got 3 of them which after a tough day at work made it really satisfying, but I must have been nearing hypothermia at the end as I was sitting there shivering. The Carpers were all tucked inside their bivvies, but I was just sitting under the stars in a chair….old school style!
I feel the urge to go beach fishing but it seems the Cod are still not really in too strong yet, and here we are looking at the better tides for shore fishing with the benefit of early darkness to help us. Maybe I will sneak out for a day, but with about 2 week’s solid work on a flat refurb, it will have to be spot on conditions and weather to get me to leave the work. As for the Awesome Show, we passed something of a milestone with over 500 films completed. I don’t know if any other fishing sites have done that in the same time span, and I see the YouTube numbers are approaching 25 Million views, and we have close to 111,000 subscribers. Mike’s TAOutdoors Show is also growing well so you may want to check that out. We put up a film recently on the fun of Clay shooting with shotguns at the Bisley Range. It’s brand new and you get to see inside the workings of the trap machines. Plus Mike has a Bushcraft Camp update as well. I checked our whiteboard in the office where we list all our jobs and was pleased to count SEVENTY films in the listings for both channels, which will take us well into the New Year when the winter really bites hard. Hopefully we can keep the THREE FILMS A WEEK going!! But with workloads flat out for me it’s just as well I stockpiled when I did. Also a vlog type film to go up called “A day in the life of G.P. Mike suggested I do it, as there must be people out there who think I just sit on the beach or riverbank all my life. Far from it, as I have to work like the rest of the country trying to make enough spare time after a job to go fishing. I can’t imagine being some sponsored angler just hanging around all the best swims all my life. It would certainly take the edge off my fishing hunger and in honesty I can’t find anything more satisfying than being really whacked out after a hard day’s work. Somehow it makes the fishing sessions that much more valuable, and something to look forward to. I like to be my own boss and do what I want, when I want. So keep watching the T/A channel. Loads more to come, and loads more planned.
Have a good one…. Graeme.