Sunday, 23 January 2011

Dab Central

Folkestone pier is a strange place, it is a concrete pier, a breakwater really! I asked the car park attendant how to get to the pier and he responded go through the gap next to the cafe. How surreal, I went through the gap to find a disused railway station, complete with tracks and platform numbers, but with the victorian iron structure bereft of a roof. I walked along the platform and up some steps which led me out onto the pier, I settled on peg 30 which was on an elbow in the pier. Behind me were the rusted remains of the railway and other dereliction, this species hunt is taking me to some strange places.

I arrived a couple of hours before high tide and planned to fish through till after dark. My target was a three or five bearded rockling or slugs as sea anglers know them. I fished two or three hook flappers with size 6 aberdeens which would be baited with a section of black lugworm. I decided to fish both rods fairly close, one at thirty yards and the other at around fifty yards out.
 I soon discovered that the sea bed must have been carpeted with dabs as I caught most casts and occasionally two at a time. As the tide became stronger I realised that the sea bed was snaggy and proceeded to lose several sets of gear. I noticed the locals were using leads with fixed soft tail wires, whilst my breakaway lead wires were fatally ensnared the wires on the soft fixed leads would straighten and pull free (well usually). A spring tide merely exacerbated the problem and I spent a frustrating couple of hours before the tide eased off during the afternoon.
Whiting showed during the afternoon with four being keepers along with the smallest lesser spotted dogfish I have ever seen. The dab tally was growing and I lost count, I am sure I must have landed at least twenty. An angler nearby had a rockling and I maintained the attitude of a serious sea angler denigrating the fish as a slug whilst wanting one of my own.

Just on dusk a short cast of maybe ten yards saw me finally land one of my target species, a five bearded rockling. Apologies for the picture quality as light was fading fast.

The walk back to the car in the dark was a bit erie as I walked along the station platform, I thought to myself that it was the perfect place to mug someone. On the long drive back home I thought about why the station was build, was it to bring passengers to a long lost boarding point for shipping or was it Dab Central for anglers in search of a tasty dab or two for tea?