Wednesday, 12 October 2011

A Bite Adventure!

The sea around Penzance is a species hunters paradise with a number of species that are rare in other parts of Britain. After a couple of days where we couldn't get out due to strong winds, on the Wednesday I finally boarded Bite Adventure skippered by Chippy for a species day. Chippy was confident he could add several species to my challenge total.

We sailed close to the Cornish coastline towards Lands End, where we would be drifting a range of marks. However the swell out at sea meant that some reef marks would not be fishable today.

The rig was a three foot flowing trace of twenty pound fluorocarbon to a size 2/0 hook baited with a long thin strip of mackerel.

We needed 10oz of lead on the first mark so I started with the 12lb outfit. Chippy advised that we were likely to catch haddock and and sure enough within a couple of minutes the rodtip announced the arrival of my first haddock. Another small haddock soon followed along with a cod. Despite being on virtually every fish and chip shop menu, haddock are an unusual catch in British waters.

We moved to the sand banks off Porthcurno to drift for turbot, brill and a vast range of other species. I dropped down to a 6lb outfit as only 6oz of lead was required to hold bottom. I finally managed to catch my first tub gurnard, a very pale fish compared to those I had seen off Weymouth.

A couple of greater weaver fish (a Porthcurno speciality) were caught by other anglers. I managed to add a small turbot and some mackerel, although I did miss a couple of rattly bites, possible weavers?

A short session was spent at anchor, legering sandeel in the hope of a small eyed ray. The rays were not playing, however I managed another tub gurnard and some more mackerel.

Our final mark was further offshore over a reef. I joked to Chippy that he had brought us out to a top pouting mark as that was all we could catch. The next drift I hooked into something that tested the light outfit was to its limit, as a hard fighting fish repeatedly made long runs for the bottom. Chippy suspected a pollack, but the bite was definately breamy.

The culprit turned out to be a couches bream weighing 4lb 12oz, the lad next to me landed a slightly larger couches at 5lb 1oz. This warm water visitor to the British Isles is more at home in the Mediterranean and is at the northern most extent of its range. Apart from the Channel Isles this is the only place where you have a chance of seeing this beautiful fish.

Thanks Chippy for getting me that bit closer to the 100, I will definately be back for another bite adventure.

Monday, 10 October 2011

The Buggeration Factor!

Fishing is not like Golf! Despite rain, snow, wind, heatwaves or fog you can still hit the little white ball into the hole a few hundred yards away. The hole doesn't decide to move and rarely is a golf course closed to golfers!

Fish do move in response to the weather and may decide not to feed. In the case of the silver tourists the salmon and sea trout the river may be literally devoid of your target fish. The hole is no longer there!

Indeed the following fishy saying has a lot of truth to it.

"If the wind is from the north, do not sally forth,
If the wind is from the east the fish bite least,
If the wind is from the west the fish bite best,
If the wind is from the south it blows the bait into the fishes mouth"

One thing I have discovered about sea fishing is that strong winds are to be avoided unless you are a shore bass or cod fanatic. Shore fishing suffers as fish move offshore as the shoreline colours up.

Boat fishing is even more affected. This year upwards of 50 percent of my planned boat trips have been "blown off" and cancelled, with a number of other trips being limited to inshore waters.

During this latest holiday I only managed to get out on three occasions with two Penzance trips and a sharking trip out of Milford Haven cancelled.

I did get in some shore fishing hoping for a gilthead bream and a three bearded rockling but despite my best endeavours and help from Chippy and Richard at Camborne's County Angler  I failed to catch either species. I had to settle for some ballan wrasse, pollack, shore rockling and a strap conger. Thanks guys, I am sure that your advice will result in the target species responding when I return next year.

The weather had one last surprise for me, with dense fog making it difficult to find my way off this rock mark in the dark. I spent a worrisome ten minutes trying to locate the route from the rocks up to the cliff path above. Golfers normally make their way safely to the nineteenth hole in broad daylight!

The wrong sort of weather has always been used by fishermen as an excuse for not catching. In this species challenge it has become my buggeration factor!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

RNLI Two Day Species Competition

Day 1

 I had expected to be blown off, so it was a pleasant surprise when Colin confirmed that we would be fishing, albeit with an early start as the winds were expected to build during the day. We drew for our place on the boat and had the rules explained to us before Flamer 4 sailed out to sea in the early morning light.

We started by drifting the back of the bank and experienced some superb black bream fishing with over forty between us in little over an hour. I struggled at times to get my baits down to the bottom past the mackerel.

Colin decided that we would have a few drifts across the shambles before moving inshore. The competition fanatics tried for sandeels whilst I baited with a long thin mackerel strip hoping for a brill. On each drift my rod top rattled flatty style, however the hoped for brill turned into two dogfish, mackerel and a tope (worth loads of points apparently........face, points, bothered). Dodgy Dave managed a plaice and a turbot and was pronounced a real angler by Colin.

A session drifting followed, with wrasse of all colours and sizes being boated. My male cuckoo was the prettiest, with Stephan catching the two largest ballans, both four pound plus. Rather than anchor the mud as originally planned Colin took us to a nearby reef, where bullhuss, conger and ling obliged.

A Chinese meal rounded off a very enjoyable day, however I suspect the other diners were pleased to see the rowdy party of anglers leave.

Day 2

Strong winds meant that we were restricted to Portland Harbour and the surrounding area. We started by drifting for wrasse under the cliffs before anchoring up on the muddy bit. Once again I suffered the ignominy of seeing other anglers land the dragonet and butterfly blenny I was targeting. My tiny pieces of rag worm only attracted small smooth hounds and a solitary goby.

We then anchored on the red band spot, by bouncing sabikkis around I managed to tempt three along with a raft of assorted gobies including at least black, and sand gobies.

A drifting session on the Portland entrance saw pout galore and loads of wrasse before a blast on the ships horn signalled the end of proceedings.

Richard Ferre was the winner, with Andy Collings the runner up. Other awards were given for most species, best fish and weakest link. Yours truly finished mid table.

Again to many species were caught to list on the labels as blogger has a 200 character limit for labels!