Well, the decision to change from poor freshwater conditions to the beach fishing gave me mixed results. A long trip to Chesil Beach, with an even longer walk down the beach produced a good film, which is already up on site. Cod by Steve Perry, Gurnard by Nathan and Pollack by me made the trip worthwhile, but alas the walk back in the dark after a 12 hour session proved, shall we say….unusual? Never having been to this area before I made a mental note of how far the tide was in on the Fleet, a body of water that is behind Chesil Bank. Then, on the way back in the dark to the car I thought I was the same distance from the Fleet, but alas the tide was different!!! So I completely missed a boardwalk that crossed to where the car was parked, resulting in a ¾ mile walk too far, which with cameras and tackle was not appreciated. I knew something was wrong when I could smell garlic and hear people talking in French. Although a film came from the trip I fear I wouldn’t walk that far (about 1 ½ miles over shingle) again, but would try where everyone else seemed to be, nearer the car.
Then, with the recent storm I really fancied Dungeness, but it seemed as though there was just a bit too much breeze when they started to mark up 30 knots plus. It could have been off my back on the East side of Dungeness, but then again, a bit too much Southerly and it would be on my side and difficult to hold out. As it was a call to the tackle shop confirmed that I might need a staggering EIGHT OUNCE grip lead to hold out in the bigger seas and tides. So I scrapped that idea, and set about a session in the garage making some jumbo grip leads in readiness for when the winds do eventually die down. The Cod beach fishing in Britain can go pear shaped when the water clears under windless high pressure systems and the Cod go out deeper feeding on the shoals of Sprats and Herring. With the water all churned up from the storms there is a good chance they will have to feed on the sea bed and closer to shore. They need to be close as I can’t see my old beach rods heaving 7 ounces of lead too far. My 2600 does actually have a Dural butt that I never use as it’s for beefing up the blank’s power for pendulum casting. Now I think I will have to break it out and use it for throwing the big leads.
I did a session down at Hayling with Whiting coming thick and fast. Another popular film done, but no Cod to show for it. During daylight I never had a single bite that I saw, but as soon as it got dark the Whiting came in. I wanted to use my pressure light so I could see the rod tips all the time but just had too much gear to carry so left it. As it was, the headlamp I used on economy power lasted the entire trip, which was a surprise to me. I always thought they would burn out quickly, but maybe I am lucky with this one. The other point that was noticeable were the violent bites I got using the fixed spool reel with 40lb Sidewinder braid on. I thought they were rod-wrenching Cod, but in fact it proved to be the aggressive Whiting. I am not a lover of braid, but for bite detection it really was an eye opener. Of course I have a reel on the boat with braid which I drop down all the time, but that’s more to reduce lead weights than give bite detection. I had less Whiting swallowing the bait as well, as I tended to strike quicker with the braid bites.
With Cod still in the mind I set about rigging up a Pulley livebait rig with the “livey rig” on the leader above the swivel to the rig. Sandy Point on Hayling Island was my choice due to huge winds from the West, the fact I could drop into 50 feet of water, and also being neap tides I might at least get some water movement. Two casts resulted in enough weed to supply Japan with Kelp soup for 3 months!!….I had to handline washing line sized gobs of it. I simply had to move and brave the Westerly. I tried to the West of the sandbank, another half mile round to the west. Trudge, trudge, unload, set up again, cast out, and more weed, and a single Pout. It was unfishable. Having battled traffic for over an hour I saw no reason in getting gridlocked again so decided to stay on until dark. I moved to Eastoke, by the old Coastguard station. Generally weedless, but although I could still pick it up in the waves, those big grip leads I made up were at least proving their worth and anchoring the Rag and Squid combo baits out there. Plus with a tipping of half a Ragworm my new Pulley livebait rig was working a dream and held the small Whiting out in the churning maelstrom exactly as I had planned. In the dark I threw out a three-hook rig and soon landed them three at a time, but they were very thin and I wondered if all this wind had made food hard to get. Years ago if you got out after a blow you were pretty much guaranteed fish, and it seemed strange why they are so thin at this time of year. No Cod fell to the livebait rig, but I was really pleased with how it was working, and of course I still had the big squid and worm baits out on the Pulley rig itself. Seemed a great way to increase my chances and I will deffo be using it again. I finished the sesh with Pouting, around 20 Whiting and a Dogfish.
Due to the wind I have been in the workshop doing more D.I.Y films for Mike’s other channel “The Totally Awesome Outdoor Show”. Seems the numbers on this one are increasing, and we have been getting some good comments from viewers that just like to see something other than fishing. The way I have been cranking out the films there will soon be a world shortage of Pallet wood!!…but I feel it’s better to re-use existing timber rather than cut down even more forest. Plus it can be really satisfying to make something from nothing that may have a practical attribute as well. Lots more to come on that channel, so pop over and take a look, remember it’s all free to watch.
As for the coming week? I really can’t see much of a gap to get out on either fresh or saltwater, but if it goes back to West or North-West I might take a run down to Dungeness and anchor some Lugworm out for that elusive Cod. Could only be a few weeks left of prime shore Cod fishing down my way, or I might do a long run up to Norfolk and try the old beaches I used to winter shore fish at Trimingham or Waxham. Have to do a bit of research on that one as a thirty five year gap does tend to play tricks on the mind. Maybe there’s no fish up there now and nobody has told me. So good luck to anyone lucky to find a short weather window on whatever type of fishing they like. With the constantly changing Jetstream there has never been a more important time to watch the weather and see if you can slide out for a session.
Finally, thanks to the guys who responded to Patreon and now help support us. We enjoyed filming the first of our monthly Q&A videos on there and we look forward to filming more each month.
It’s great to now have a break from the teaching. Usually when I am teaching I am thinking of fishing on the weekend. But all too often the weather doesn’t play ball and I can’t go out fishing. So now that the holidays have arrived and I have more time for fishing I think ‘Great, now I can get out and fish’! Unfortunately it’s not necessarily the case… The weather isn’t playing ball again. Oh England, when will you ever be consistent with your weather…. I did manage to get out Pike fishing with Dad yesterday. We had originally planned to fish a Hampshire river. But when we went to check out the state of the river the conditions were less than ideal. In fact we looked at two rivers and both were coloured up and pushing. So we decided to head back home and go via a lake on the way back. We bought a day ticket and went around the lake using the trusty ‘twitched sprat’ method. We had a number of takes but the fish just didn’t seem to want to get hooked! Eventually we both landed fish but only small Jack’s. They said that a recent 20lb Pike had come out from the fishery, but we fished every bank possible and with a number of small Jack’s in the lake we weren’t convinced. However, it was nice to get out and wet a line. With the rain that we have had and the rain that is forecasted, it looks like my river dropshotting plans are out. So I may have a go at some stillwater Perch fishing. I have noticed a huge influx of people giving the dropshot a go which is great to see. Have any of you guys out there tried dropshotting? how have you found it? Let me know!
Now is a good time for me to get on top of things on the YouTube Channel and social media etc. It’s amazing how much social media soaks up your time. Even just trying to post regularly can be fairly time consuming! I am on top of things for TAFishing, with the Friday videos going up as normal, but also throwing in a few Midweek Madness episodes to keep things interesting. I have also been uploading more videos on the TAOutdoors Channel now which is growing well. I have really enjoyed making some of the Bushcraft videos. Bushcraft is such a vast topic and one that I can certainly see myself getting lost in. It’s great to go out in the outdoors and explore new techniques for fire-lighting, shelter building and general survival! We are uploading regularly now on TA Outdoors too so keep an eye out for that and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss one!
As for fishing this week, well I as soon as I finish typing this e-news myself and Graeme are off stillwater Pike fishing again, this time with lures! Hopefully we might be able to get out beach fishing at some point this week but with strong southerlies forecasted it might prove difficult for filming. On the plus side, I have recently fitted a new brushless gimbal to the quadcopter which means much more stable aerial footage coming your way 😀
Thanks to the 34 Patrons who have currently helped to support us, you’ve been a real help guys. Good luck to anyone out fishing this week, more news next week!