Wednesday, 27 June 2012


The weatherman forecast a break in the weather, a phone call to Chippy confirmed that Wednesday's planned charter trip aboard Bite Adventure out of Penzance was on. However the wind was due to pick up again and unfortunately with 20mph winds forecast Thursdays planned shark trip was not going to happen.

I was joined on this trip by three members of the Looe Sea Angling Club and a couple of sea angling novices. As the tides were not favourable for drifting the sandbanks the plan was to anchor a reef in search of a couches bream and perhaps do some drifting later in the day when if wind and tide permitted.

The sail along the coastline towards Lands End took us past some of the South-West's most picturesque coastal scenery, not that you would have known as the sky was overcast and sea mist filled the skies threatening rain. Within sight of Lands End Chippy cut the engine and we started to feather up mackerel for bait.

 I fished mini sabikkis just in case any pilchards were swimming with the mackerel. As usual I used a shiny pirk as my weight as I am convinced that the flash attracts baitfish. Within minutes the crew had feathered up enough mackerel for bait, a shoal was located near the surface. It was noticeable that these were small joeys, a sign of commercial overfishing perhaps!

Chippy anchored the boat so that our baits would be fishing down the edge of the reef in 160 foot of water. If truth be told the fishing was slow, but gradually the species tally grew with pouting, pollack, haddock, dogfish, cod, red, grey and tub gurnards. Bob, one of the Looe members lost a decent fish that bit through his hooklength. Chippy and I then landed fish that had fresh wounds, my male cuckoo wrasse had a deep gash in one of its flanks. We speculated whether a tope or even a blue shark might be responsible. One of the anglers put down a mackerel flapper searching for an answer to the mystery, however the resulting conger was a "red herring"!
After lunch we moved off the reef, as the tide was strengthening and started to drift the sand banks. This is interesting fishing, a thin strip of mackerel on a running ledger is dragged along the bottom as the boat drifts. The reel is kept in free spool with a thumb on the spool ready to feed line when a fish takes to enable it to take the bait properly. As the boat drifts the angler can feel every undulation on the sand bank and bites can be difficult to detect but usually consist of a sharp rattle on the rodtip.

I missed my first bite and Bob landed a megrim, a rare flatfish marketed as Cornish Sole by Waitrose. A frustrating few drifts followed where I only managed a grey gurnard, whilst Bob managed a couple more megrim and an angler on the other side of the boat also managed a brace of megrim. A brill to one of the holidaying anglers added insult to injury.

Was today just one of those days?

Next drift the tip rattled and I let off some line before winding into a fish. Chippy stood by with the net as a flatty came into view. Was it a turbot? When Chippy said it was a brill my legs went to jelly. "Please stay on", I thought and it seemed an age before the fish slid over the net. After 30 months I had finally achieved my goal of 100 species from British waters.

But there was more to come. Next drift I landed a megrim, the sixth to the crew and another new species for me. I was now brimming with confidence and half expected a greater weaver, a common catch off Porthcurno but it was not to be. With the fog closing in, Chippy called it a day and we set sail for Penzance.

Thanks Chippy for a brill day about Bite Adventure!