Monday, 11 December 2017

December 2017

 21lb
 

November 2017

 If October was a rather lacklustre month's fishing then in comparison, November was pretty special.
Clive invited me out on his Orkney at the beginning of the month for a long distance trip 'out East' after turbot but the day proved to be extremely hard going with the only example of the target specie falling to my host, although it was useful to discover just when the turbot weren't there any more.
A few days later , on the 6th I headed out in my own boat to specifically target wrasse on soft plastic lures and scored 18  fish to 4lb 12oz ( and a solitary bass) in a fine afternoon's sport.
Usually Fiiish minnow lures do the business with these toothsome critters but on this occasion ,partly because they tend to trash these expensive lures very quickly, I elected to fish with imitation worms l, texas rigged, and weighted with a simple ( and cheap ) drilled bullet of a suitable size sliding on the mainline. The method worked a treat and despite trashing just as many lures, the wrasse did far less damage to my wallet .
 

 13lb 12oz 
 
Three days later and I was back out in my boat but this time, the target was definitely going to be bass as a few reports of decent fish finally turning up on our local marks had been circulating on the grapevine and, the rod and line commercials had also recently arrived on the scene- and they're not there for fun.
 My bass fishing since the spring has been something of a non-event by all accounts so I was eager to make amends and bag a few lunkers when the opportunity arose.
The day started with a visit to an inshore wreck to stock up the bait tank and this was successfully achieved with a handful of quite sizable examples of pouting and bream to around a pound before the fishing in earnest began.
I chose a deserted area of reef to drift and quickly bagged a couple of tidy fish in the 6-7lb bracket before a pair of commercial bassing Warrior 175s arrived on the mark and I elected to leave them to carry out their work in peace. I've absolutely no problem with these guys and their 'sustainable' methods and, they've always been very friendly towards me but it can be very frustrating to see them operate at close proximity because they're so damned efficient at killing bass!
My second choice location already had a couple of boats present , both working lures on the drift but, as they were mates (Neil on 'Spirit' and Martin on 'Blueprint') and neither were on the exact  line I wanted to follow , I decided to join them and set up my drift anyway.
Within a minute of starting my first run through my black bream bait was 'snaffled', the float buried deep and a good fish was 'on'. The fight, it has to be said , was less than spectacular although I could feel that it was a heavy fish but, when it broke the surface ,I knew immediately that it was going to be a new personal best.
Neil had watched the action take place and was eagerly calling me up on the radio to get a weight and, after successfully releasing my prize,I was  happy to report that it was indeed a new p.b breaking my existing record (caught last December) by six ounces, and weighing in at 13lb 12oz.
 5lb 2oz ballan
 
By then the ebbing tide was losing much of it's momentum so I decided to relocate again, and switch my attention over to wrasse on lures and finished the day with several fish up to  5lb 2oz -certainly a trip to remember.
 
My step son Matt had suggested that we have a crack at some perch on a tiny local river that we both had club memberships for and, as I was keen to try something different, especially as it had the novel attraction of fishing from 'terra firma' for a change, we decided to give it a go on the 14th.
Travelling ultra light and fishing tiny rudd baits under a loafer style float saw me catch a couple of perch to a pound, and Matt bag a jack pike along with a plump chub of about 3 pounds plus on his last cast of the session.
In the past Matt's had some tidy perch from this venue and as I enjoyed the session immensely, it'll be something I will definitely be returning to in the future when its too windy to go out to sea.
Speaking of which two days later and I was back out on the 'briny' solo again, and with those big bass on my mind.
The weather conditions weren't exactly perfect and indeed at one point on the way out I did consider turning back for home however, it was set to improve later in the day and invariably when conditions are 'marginal' like this, there is usually far less boat activity out there leaving a greater choice of marks to target.
Once again I chose to live bait and selected an inshore wreck for the bait gathering process but as I approached the mark I noticed another boat in position. Luckily it was Clive and after confirming that he didn't mind me sharing his bait 'larder', gathered half a dozen or so 'huge' pouting for the tank, before moving off to the bass mark.
Luckily, the place was completely deserted with not another boat anywhere to be seen and my confidence built as I always seem to do much better when bassing if I'm on my own(last week's p.b excepted of course)
The baits were so big that I employed a 9/0 circle on the rig and even then, it looked a bit ridiculous in the bait, but I've no problem using outsized baits and I couldn't get any tiddlers anyway.
The first drift through as the tide picked up pace produced an immediate take and a 'fish on' albeit for just a few seconds before it let go. As I reeled the pout to the surface however, three big bass flowed it right up to the boat before melting away so they were certainly about.
The same pout was sent down for the second drift and this time, it was 'nailed' properly and a another heavy fish could be felt. In direct contrast to the fight of the previous week's fish, this one knew how to pull.....and pull it did.
My live bait weapon of choice is a gorgeous lithe like 12lb class Abu Suveran , a favoured black bream and plaice stick, matched with a 6501 Abu multiplier and the fish pulled a lovely curve in the rod and properly stole line from the reel with three powerful dives. In fact, I questioned at one time whether the fish was actually a bass as the fight was so strong.
When it hit the surface I was stunned...It looked absolutely huge ......far, far bigger than my previous weeks' fish and it was then that things started to get a bit tricky. The fish seemed to stiffen and wouldn't go into the landing net at first...it was simply too long. I actually managed to scoop the fish into the mesh head first but when I tried to lift it one handed-struggled a bit with the weight......this was a biggun.
When I got her inside the cockpit the true size of the fish revealed itself and I was looking a something about a yard long. The rocking boat did not make the weighing easy but I was keen to get as accurate a weight as possible and when the 'Avons' centred I couldn't believe my eyes so checked the weight again on a second set of scales- Salters.
I settled on a minimum weight of 17lb 2oz and this is what I'm sticking to as I'm certain of this weight having since checked both sets for accuracy.
My only regret was not measuring her length accurately although I did make a rough mark on the landing net handle at the time and that's where the 'yard' estimate comes from. I was desperate to see the fish go back properly so after taking a risk on a couple of shots with the Go-pro tried to get her to recover.
I use a  'fish grip' device (rather like a pair of plastic mole grips) to tether my bass to the boat  and in this instance, this excellent tool proved invaluable. It took , what seemed like, an awful long time for the fish to gain back her strength and at one point, I thought that I was going to lose her , but eventually she began to kick powerfully so I released the tool and she dived into the depths with an obvious sense of purpose - a sight for sore eyes indeed. I was one happy bunny indeed.
 17lb 2oz
 
But the day wasn't over yet and the live baits produced a few more missed takes , probably from bass too small to get the bait into their mouths, before a 6lb was successfully boated and my bait supply  ran out. I continued to fish the remainder of the tide with lures and bagged half a dozen smaller fish before having to decide whether or not to head for home, or stay out over the low tide 'lock out', wait for the tide to flood, and head back in darkness.
 I opted for the latter and set about getting a few more live baits for the tank over the 'slack ' and returned to the mark just as the flood tide was beginning.
Once again the big pout bait was taken quite quickly and by another reasonable fish.  At 10lb 4oz it ridiculously seemed tiny compared to the previous 'monster', but of course is still a fantastic bass by anyone's standards.
After that things went very quiet on the mark with just a few smaller bass, and wrasse falling to the lure rod but no more takes on the live baits-not that I was worried.
Finally, back at the marina in the dark I was pleased to see that just Clive and brother Kim were still present on the moorings, and there really aren't two more suitable people that I could have shared my story with that evening.
 
 10lb 4oz

 It was over a week before I managed to get out to sea again because of  a combination of rough weather and work commitments, and this time , a different approach, and target, was selected as the water had coloured up considerably.
I ventured out deep trying for a cod but instead caught four bull huss (my first of the specie from Sussex waters) to 12lb 4oz (another p.b) in a highly enjoyable session at anchor. I did briefly try a spot of bassing but it proved to be completely unproductive.

 
 12lb 4oz Bull Huss
Towards the end of the month pike were back on my mind especially as I'd yet to have any notable action up to that point.
A trip on the 27th produced just one small fish on a very slow day before on the 29th, In less than favourable conditions- bright day with a biting North Westerly wind I ventured out again.
This time things were a little different and a favourite bend produced two fish in quick succession- a 12lb and a fine 17lb12oz pike at the top of the tide.
A move to another swim produced a '9' and a '6' before a final move to a sunken tree produced my third double of the day at 16lb.
Obviously the pike didn't worry too much about the weather conditions on this occasion!
 
 
 17lb 12oz
 
 16lb
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

October 2017

 
 


 Traditionally, October sees the start of my annual pike fishing campaign although I've found , In recent years , that the river rarely fishes well for the species for the first couple of months of the season. Various theories have been proposed as to why this is the case but in all honesty, I haven't got a clue as to why- they're simply not up for it or I've failed to locate them. It would seem that this season is little different from any other and , after catching a few roach to use as bait, Dave and me headed to a formerly productive
section of river and returned just the one small pike (above)

As the piking had been a bit slow (including a blank session later in the month), I turned my attention back to the roach which have really captured my imagination this year. Half a dozen short outings were carried out mostly fishing the ebbing tide with bread and feeder tactics although sweet corn combined with 'Layer's mash' in the feeder also worked well. Along with a few chub to 3lb, I had several good roach to 1lb 6oz and pretty much got a 'pounder' every time I tried, although curiously, I rarely had more than one 'decent' fish from each swim.
Most were in pristine 'scale and fin perfect' condition and a pure joy to catch despite their relatively diminutive size compared to other species that I target but, in my eyes, a one pound roach is a 'BIG' fish.

I always try to get in at least a couple of surf bass trips each autumn when the wind 'kicks up' and joined friend Simon and Jim one evening for a session in the suds on a local beach. No monsters to report but I did get a couple of  fish in the 3-4lb bracket as did my two companions.
 Usually I can only manage to stand out in the waves for a couple of hours before becoming quite uncomfortable but having recently undertaken a semi serious training campaign involving a push bike in an attempt to improve a knee injury, I'm happy to report that an additional benefit of all this hard work is that I can fish in the surf for longer without suffering.

 Martin Invited me out on a wrecking trip towards the end of the month and as usual, found some very decent fish from a variety of long distance locations. I mostly concentrated my efforts on  Pollack to well into double figures whilst my host showed me how to catch nice bass ( I did actually get a couple myself)and kindly let me learn how to take pictures of them on his phone!
My own sea boat saw a couple of trips out including a failed attempt with Alan to catch the elusive cod ( hardly anyone has seen one this year) which resulted in a good session catching a dozen plaice to a couple of pounds.
I've rather neglected the 'congering' in the past couple of years so it was high time to have a go at them on my favourite inshore wreck and who better to do it with than marina neighbour Brian. We selected a suitable evening tide and had half a dozen eels in the darkness arriving back at port before midnight.
None of them were monsters but they provided superb sport nonetheless and I made a note to make a concerted effort to target them more often in the summer evenings next season.
On the whole it was a pretty 'average' October results wise but things were set to change in the following calendar month.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

September 2017

With my own boat out of the water for anti fouling and engine service,on the 2nd I joined my good mate Alex on his Orkney Day Angler 'Samax' for a spot of plaice fishing on one of our western banks.
There were plenty of plaice about but very few of 'keeper' size but it was a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon and hopefully, as the autumn progresses, the size of the fish will improve.
Dave's been catching a few very nice carp from one of our local rivers which he's managed to secure a permit for me to fish, and one afternoon I decided to visit him during a foray. I'm glad I did because whilst I was there he landed a really nice common of 14lb from a stretch so narrow, that in places you could leap across to the opposite bank.
Rain had delayed me working on the boat so , on the 4th, I decided to have an afternoon up the river and continue my search for good roach.
The usual bread feeder tactics were employed in my 'banker' swim and early on in the session a surprise chub of 2 1/2 lb turned up- something we don't often see .
 Plenty of bites from 'tiddler's were forth coming but a 14oz roach, followed in early evening by this one at 1lb 7oz finished off an enjoyable session.
I think these bigger roach are solitary creatures as I've yet to pick up more than one of a decent size in a session but at least this swim seems to produce consistently with a 'pounder' on nearly every visit.
 Pristine roach
 Dave and me ventured out again on the 9th heading downstream to an area not previously tried but, again,selecting a slightly slower flowing swim sheltered from the main current and its associated debris issues. Dave tried mini boilies , which proved to be completely unsuccessful, whilst my bread and corn managed to produce.
We didn't quite hit the pound target but a brace of 15oz fish plus several other good sized roach made for excellent sport. We even managed to catch on the flood tide until its strength became too much to handle.
 
It took me quite a while to get the Warrior sorted although work and poor weather would have stopped me going out anyway but, in the meantime with my boat still out of the water, on the 16th, I joined Brian on his Orkney for a trip out to a deep water mark in search of an early cod.
The target specie didn't materialise but we still had an enjoyable day out catching rays, tope, smoothounds,and  the Inevitable L.S.Ds on big cuttle and squid baits, which were being constantly hammered by palm sized bream.
Highlight of the day however, was this superb bull huss for Brian of 12lb 12oz- the first local one I've ever seen.Well done mate
 Back on the roach again on the 18th and, true to form , another pounder at 1-06 turned up along with one just under the pound along with a handful of lesser fish from another new spot downstream(another slower flowing run) from the mooring. Are these decent roach spread out all along the river? I ask myself.
On the 19th With the boat now finished and back on her mooring,Dave and me ventured out to sea specifically to target something  to take home to eat...in this case -plaice.
I've been meaning to try plaice fishing from my own boat for some time and, although today's big 6m tide was not ideal, we were blessed with some rather lucky weather conditions. We caught right from the off on the last of the flood but when the ebb set in, at first, it felt like we were drifting too quickly until the wind against the tide picked up to slow our drift speed down enough for the plaice to have enough time to hit our baits.
We ended up with twenty plus fish to two pounds, along with a couple of tub gurnard for variety, with several taken for the pot in an extremely enjoyable afternoon's fishing.


The following day I had a short roach session on the river, which proved to be slightly less productive than normal producing only a couple of half pounders amongst the tiddlers continuously nibbling away the bread flake bait .
On the 22nd I headed out to sea again with just a lure rod in search of a bass, selecting an offshore bank to have a bash at. I did succeed in catching the target specie-ten of them in fact, which was pleasing but they were a little on the small side however, it was good sport.
 Martin meanwhile was persisting on the local marks with a live bait and this did eventually pay off with a tidy sized fish taken on his final drift of the day. There aren't that many about at the moment which is puzzling.
 
 
 
 



Monday, 4 September 2017

August 2017...Tiddlers To Titans

 
Why do I seem to have less time on my hands now I'm retired. How on earth does that work.Of course this is a perceived situation and far from reality but,  is indeed how it feels.
 I always have jobs in hand( the hallway still needs decorating) and never seem to catch up with anything, although it has to be said that perhaps this is a good place to be as boredom doesn't exist in my world and for that, I consider myself very lucky.
With time management very much on the agenda, I've decided to change the way I write the blog with a monthly summary of events, instead of the individual entries of the past. I seem to have enough on my plate writing material for 'Saltwater Boat Angling' so hopefully, if I'm able to keep an accurate hand written diary, this new direction should prove more efficient.
A couple of  trips early in the month involved taking complete beginners out in the boat-a neighbour, followed by my daughter Grace and her fellah Curt. The mackerel fishing proved to be immense fun with plenty taken both for the smoker, and the shark bait stock, but unfortunately a spot of bottom fishing at the end of each session proved less productive ,although they all seemed to enjoy the experience especially as they were able to eat their catch.
   Grace and Curt
This was followed by a short afternoon trip to the river in search of my current favourite freshwater quarry- pound plus roach.My bread feeder tactics scored yet again with this one that just scraped past the target weight- not a monster but a good fish for the venue where a two pounder would be a fish of a lifetime in my book .
Oddly, I can only seem to extract one sizable roach from the swim in each session although there are usually a few lesser fish about. Perhaps these bigger roach are solitary creatures...who knows.
 
Sam Wadman called me up a few days later ,asking if I'd like to make up a Turbot charter running out of Brighton and I jumped at the chance to both catch up with my mate, and hopefully sample some fishing that is just a little too far out of reach for my own boat.
'Proteus' is skippered by Steve Green, a top bloke who ,unknown to me at the time, Is also a former colleague from London Fire Brigade, so we had plenty to talk about.
The fishing was hard, with about a dozen turbot to the boat during the day, but I was pleased to get a new P.B of 6lb 7oz plus a rather nice tub gurnard, and it made a pleasant change mixing with a group of other anglers.

 
 Great photography by Sam.

 Steve Green-excellent skipper.

 New P.B Turbo
 
 
The following day I had something of a 'eureka' moment when studying  'Windguru' -my on-line wind forecast site of choice. A  settled period of weather had presented itself for the proceeding days, and this meant a very real chance, for the first this year, of getting the boat down to Cornwall for a blue shark trip.
A quick call to Clive confirmed that he'd be able to join me, and the  the boat was quickly hauled out ,and preparations were made. A day later, with camp site sorted, we were travelling down to deepest Cornwall with the prospect of at least seventy two hours of low wind speeds ahead.
 Easy Launch
 

 
 Clive's off.
Proceedings started in hectic fashion with more than enough mackerel from a favourite inshore rock mark about to stock up the bait box and, in fact, so many that i really needn't have taken any pre -prepared chum from home- something I'd not seen before.
I decided that the best policy was to head out to very deep water, almost 300ft,and  began the drift some twenty miles offshore starting at a mark where I'd finished my last drift the previous year. This  pattern continued on the following days, beginning each drift at the finish point of the previous day's, resulting in the boat covering some fifteen miles of ground in total.
Almost as soon as we'd arrived,  before the chum bucket had even touched the water, there were shark showing in the area with one spotted nearby on the surface, and before the second bait was sent out, that Clive's float disappeared and a shark was 'on'.
Sport was continuous and hectic with 17 shark to the boat for the day (a new record), most of them a very good size with  the odd 'ton plus' candidate. We rarely managed to get more than two rods out at a time, and mostly just had one bait set, taking in turns to catch the shark. Incredible fishing.

 
 

 On that first day, whilst still feeling quite fresh, I decided to bring one each on board to get some pictures, something I knew Clive was keen to carry out, and we chose a couple of mid range fish (about 70lb) for the purpose. This was achieved without any problems and all the remaining fish were released at the side of the boat.
 
 
The second and third days followed the same pattern, with sport generally being just as productive,  the total number of shark caught reaching 45 by the end of the trip,with several 100lb fish (estimated but possibly larger)in the mix.
On several occasions were treated to the spectacular sight of  big shark circling the boat often in groups of three or more and sometimes attacking the chum bucket, nibbling the prop , or showing a keen interest in hooked fish. We were able to drop baits directly to them, trying to pick out the better specimens in the process, and I was also able ,for the first time, to successfully film a shark actually taking a bait.

 
 
 Wreck ling.
Whilst returning to port on day two I made a short detour to a wreck that I'd been previously aware of and Clive sent down some baited giant Hockeye lures. When a ling came up, I had to have a go myself, as I'd yet to add one to my own species list, and two more were boated to about 10lb- a first for me and an addition to Clive's specie list for 2017.
In the limited time we had between shark takes, Clive also managed to top up the list with  haddock and grey gurnard on bottom baited feathers,  sardine on a mackerel rig, and this stunning garfish of 2lb 7oz ( a new P.B) caught on a tiny mackerel fillet float fished in the chum slick.
I'd seen, and caught big garfish in a similar way in past Cornish shark runs so was pleased to see their return, for Clive's sake, on this excursion.
 

 Common dolphin
 
We were continually blessed with visits from common dolphin pods,  and also the incredible sight of a huge minke whale which swam right under the boat giving us a terrific view but, highlight of the trip  was witnessing a massive eruption, in the otherwise flat calm sea caused by a tuna 'bust'. Truly huge fish , well into several hundreds of pounds, probably feeding on sardine shoals.
We did try a short spell of trolling some lures in a vain attempt at a hook up but, probably for the best, being less than adequately equipped to deal with such quarry, we didn't make contact although this is something I need to look into for future trips.
 One has recently been successfully boated and released by Welsh shark specialist Andy Allsop of Whitewater charters-a fish that amazingly took a shark bait in the spread and was boated on equipment not too dissimilar to my own 'blue' gear.
My fifth consecutive year fishing for Cornish blues and ,without doubt ,my most successful shark trip to date and hugely rewarding in the process.

6-7/8/17 The Wrong Moves

 



A trip out for plaice produced none of the target specie but plenty of mackerel most of which were either smoked or soused, and a second trip with Brian which threw up a few nice smoothounds including the double figure fish above.
Meanwhile , on the rocks 'Lynanader' scored some prime bass on live baits so in a way, I guess i' was targeting the wrong species.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

3/8/17 On The River

With 30 knot winds tearing up the coast there is absolutely no chance to go to sea so, I decided to spend an afternoon on the river and try for some of those pound plus roach with bread feeder tactics.
Despite being extremely blowy inland I managed to keep the boat still enough to quivertip effectively by wedging it into the bank side vegetation.
 A chublet, a few  roach (no pounders)and a couple of bream turned up including this nice conditioned specimen that I barely managed to squeeze into my totally inadequate roach landing net.
A fine display by a pair of peregrine falcons concluded a pleasant afternoon to be afloat.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

1/8/17 Plaice

Firstly, an  admission. I've rather neglected the blog now for over three months so , as it's blowing a hoolie outside, and pouring with rain, I thought I'd take the opportunity to bring it  up to date and get it back on track, as it would be a shame to let it lapse after seven years of blogging.
If the past few entries seem somewhat condensed, and patchy in places I apologise but, in the ensuing months I've not been idle on the writing front.
I've become an angling journalist of sorts, and am now writing regularly for 'Saltwater Boat Angling' magazine- a publication that has been on the shelves for over a year now, and will hopefully continue to succeed in the future. I think the title speaks for itself and if you're into this sort of fishing, it's well worth a look and I personally would be interested to hear feedback from you regarding my own content. http://www.saltwaterboatangling.co.uk/


The recent run of strong winds have meant that the boat has stayed on its mooring most of the time but, apart a bass live baiting trip last week that proved to be almost completely unproductive, yesterday I decided to seize an opportunity and venture out early for a spot of plaice fishing- something I'd been meaning to try for some time.
 A close in mark was selected but the small tide meant very slow fishing indeed which I'd expected anyway. Half a dozen plaice did show up along with a gurnard, and the tiniest spotted ray I've ever seen caught by my boat partner for the day-Alan.
To liven up proceedings , however,large shoals of mackerel regularly showed up on the sounder enabling us to fill up a cool box with 60 odd of a good size so the bait stock has been replenished, and lunch for a few days sorted, as I smoked up a batch for the freezer.
 If you've enjoyed reading this and have any questions, or indeed would like to tell me about your own fishing, either contact me on here or by email at jeffsmith9261@gmail.com.
Tight lines.

28/7/17 Crucian Carp

True crucian carp are something of a rarity nowadays and a specie that I haven't personally tangled with for several decades. As a youngster I fished a small Surrey estate lake that contained a head of crucians and also various hybrids never catching anything over about a pound in weight but, what sticks firmly in my memory is just how delicate their bites were and how tricky they were to hook.
In those days I adopted traditional (they were the norm back then ) float fishing methods and I don't recall the method feeder, nor bolt rig having been even  invented.
Nowadays it seems, that most coarse species can be caught efficiently on bolt feeder tactics of one sort or another and there is no doubting the efficiency of the method although at times, I still prefer to watch a float.
Marsh farm fishery near Godalming has a stock of genuine crucian carp and so Dave and me decided to have a go at catching them as well as some of the tench that are present in the lakes.
Dave managed to bag a couple of crucians on his swing tip outfit, whilst my feeder rigs produced just the one of about a pound along with half a dozen tench to 5lb or so making for a pleasant day's fishing.
 My first true crucian carp for nearly 40 years



19/7/17 Mullet Afloat

At last I've been able to get downstream to the mullet grounds in the river boat and experience some success.
The day started, in the usual mud flats swim, with a very frustrating bumped fish at the landing net but sightings of fish continued and eventually this nice plump thick-lip made it to the boat .
I did explore some alternative swims but struggled to find any fish showing so as the tide turned , headed back upstream to a stone retaining wall that is gradually covered as the tide floods. 
It's one of my 'banker' spots and it didn't disappoint today. A few minutes after feeding and fishing had commenced , the odd tell tale whelm appeared just feet from the boat hull, followed shortly by an enquiry at the bait  'nailing' the float in the process.
A small mullet of maybe a pound was the result and a nice way to finish the session before heading back up to the mooring.

16/7/17 Turbot Time


A long distance trip in search of turbot with Martin and , as is the norm for me at the moment, the fishing was challenging. We worked hard to find about a dozen fish in total half of which were kept for the pot but, don't be deceived by the picture- that one would have made 3lb if it was lucky.
Some truly huge mackerel ( I weighed one at home at a pound and a half) also graced the deck so there was plenty of quality food, which means grateful friends, to take home.
Baked for 20 minutes the following evening the turbot tasted out of this world.

9/7/17 Wrecking With Tony

Marina neighbours ,Tony and Mark, have recently bought a very impressive Parker 660 boat and, as the weather was set fine, invited myself and Brian on a wrecking expedition to try her out.
A very fine craft indeed, I particularly liked the 'walk around' facility to allow safe and easy anchoring and the comfort of a full cabin was certainly appreciated.
I often wonder , if I'm ever in the position to do so, what sort of boat I might eventually replace my own with and, it's only the full cabin facility that would warrant a change. For the time being I'm more than happy with what I've got and the added running costs of a larger craft make it an unrealistic proposition anyway but, it's always nice to have a look.
Tony worked very hard to put us on the fish trying several wrecks up to 25 miles offshore but the fish were slightly less than co-operative.
We caught about a dozen  in total, including pollack up to low double figures (fun on a 50g spin rod and 2500 sized reel) along with a couple of tidy codling.
Brian provided the entertainment as usual,  it made for, as always, a great day afloat, especially as I got to drive the boat back to port, and we're both hoping to get another invite out soon. Hint, hint.
No pictures I'm afraid because Tony is a better skipper, than photographer.

4/7/17 Mullet


Following my return from the United States Dave and me set out in the river boat in search of mullet but, apart from the loss of a thick lip, higher upstream incidentally, than I'd seen them before, a few roach came into the boat and that was that.
On a subsequent trip, the engine decided not to play ball so had to be removed for a spot of maintenance forcing me to explore some old bank swims later in the day.
The selected spot produced my first ever mullet seventeen years ago and didn't fail today. A brace of fish came to my trotted bread flake reminding me of the tenacity with which these critters fight and providing an entertaining, if a spot muddy, couple of hours fishing.

4-28/6/17 Florida



 I was extremely  fortunate to be invited to spend two weeks in Cape Canaveral ,Florida at the home of marina neighbours, Brian, Karen and Martin, and sample some of the fishing they have available to them . The family own two boats, both kept at a dry stack marina, a 39ft centre console with 1050HP on the back, and an equally impressive 22ft flats boat with a measly 200hp outboard to push it.
The boats are lifted in and out of the water by the biggest forklift truck I've ever seen-an impressive sight in itself.
Apparently, not that I noticed, the fishing was slow in comparison to what they're used to but we still encountered some spectacular species including cobia, red snapper, king mackerel, bonito, barracuda and a 200lb sandbar shark which kept Martin and me occupied for an hour, and had the audacity to interrupt our kingfish fishing. (shark are not rated highly as a sport fish out there).
When the weather forced our hand, we explored the inland waterways hunting snook and tarpon unfortunately with little luck, although I did get to see both species momentarily on the end of our lines.
As an aside, as a confirmed space cadet (I was 9 when Armstrong walked on the moon) I got to realise a lifelong ambition of seeing a rocket launch from the Cape, and visit the Kennedy Space Centre which I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone who has a similar interest in the space programme.
A highly enjoyable visit that I hope to repeat in the future.