Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Supernova to the Rescue

The mussel beds and shambles bank off Weymouth are nationally famous for the quality of the flatty fishing they offer. I had two days fishing on Supernova with Lyle Stantiford, Weymouth's youngest skipper. The crew on the first day included a great bunch of lads with whom I had spent an unsuccessful wrecking trip a couple of weeks earlier on another boat. We headed west to feather up some fresh mackerel for bait and the Simon landed a herring and a launce as well as mackerel.

I rigged up a 6lb class rod and attached a delta spoon two feet away from the lead slider with a short 18 inch hooklength below the spoon. A dozen green and black beads added the bling, apparently the plaice mistake them for pea mussels. Taking advice I added a swanshot to keep the hooklength pinned to the deck, in future I would replace one the the beads with a black drilled bullet lead. It is important to present a big bait in a long line, so I threaded a black lug up the line and added three or four ragworm with a thin strip of squid hanging down from the hook point.

The skipper sets up the drift and the baits are dragged along the bottom, the lead and spoon kicking up sand which attracts the inquisitive plaice. Bites are a sharp rattle which can be difficult to identify as the rod tip is constantly rattling from the lead going over the mussels. On feeling a bite line is paid to the fish for ten seconds before winding down and lifting, not striking into the fish.

When the tide increased we moved onto the shambles where we drifted unsuccessfully for turbot. As the tide slackened we returned to the mussel beds for plaice. At the end of the day the crew had accounted for 21 plaice with 7 to my rod.

The fishing followed a similar pattern the following day with a couple of larger fish thrown in, I had four to my best to date at 2lb 12oz and another angler managed a beauty of 3lb 12oz. Most of the plaice were returned. The shambles produced three small turbot, unfortunately not to my rod.
We had some free entertainment on the return trip as Supernova went to the aid of a boat that was struggling to keep itself from being thrown against the rocky breakwater inside Portland Harbour, the lifeboat RIB arrived in the nick of time and towed the craft to safety.

In a separate incident we returned to Portland Harbour where we towed a speedboat back into Weymouth Harbour. The coastguard were waiting ready to question the speedboat skipper.

Portland Coastguard is one of 10 stations that is due to close as part of the Government's cuts. How bonkers is that!