Wednesday 5th. With Autumn slowly tightening her grip and leaves and sycamore” helicopters” in the October breeze it seemed like time for one more day at the wrasse before they move off for the winter. Crab gathering was first on the “to do” list. In my last report I mentioned placing a few large flat stones lower down the shore to try and provide more hiding places; well my experiment in social housing for crabs worked and I soon had plenty gathered. There was about an hour of the ebb left when I set up the float rod and cast out, although the sea was quite calm there was a stiff breeze blowing from right to left causing the float to travel more than I would have liked. Instead of leaving the float bobbing around for as long as it took for a wrasse to find the bait, frequent re-casting was the order of the day. It didn't take long before the first bites started and took just a little longer before a bite translated into a fish, a ballan weighing 3lb 4oz and not a bit pleased. This was the best of the afternoon as the trend was downward with the tenth and final ballan making just half a pound. Extra strong hooks not required this time!Some of the wrasse were particularly well marked, one had blue speckled fins which reminded me of the blue-dyed guinea fowl hackles I use in fly-tying. A small corkwing nipped in to pinch a smaller crab and one or two small soft crab were devoured by the ubiquitous small coalies. With the wrasse action coming to a halt, I had time and frozen mackerel on my hands so I set up a beachcaster and two hook flapper to see what was out on the sand. First cast produced a rattle and the first of two small dabs. As dusk settled a procession of dogfish showed, about 10 in all and occasionally accompanied by small pouting. Twice I had a small pouting and a doggie on the same hook, not sure if the doggie was going for the mackerel strip or the pouting itself. An unexpected arrival was a bootlace conger which was a late addition to this year’s species list. By now, the sky was completely cloudless, the crescent moon had dipped below the horizon and a few shooting stars streaked overhead but the bait had just run out, it was getting cool so it was time for bed .....via the chipper for a burger.
Thursday 6th.The morning started off very fresh with a stronger breeze than yesterday but with the promise of strong sunshine to warm the day up. On the way to the tackle shop for a few bits and pieces, I stopped for a look at a couple of beaches to see a beautiful regular surf coming in. Good surf, wind at my back, it was very tempting but the reassuring sound of scores of crab legs scratching away at the plastic bucket made me stick with the wrasse plan; hopefully there would be plenty of opportunity to hit the sand in the coming months. The side wind was much stronger than yesterday and was blowing a huge bow of line out while the float went scudding along the surface. A change to a bigger float and a heavier weight helped a bit and allowed me to get fishing. Bites were few and far between though the size of fish was much bigger. What a difference a day makes. The next three hours produced four ballans starting off with one at 3lb 11oz (bouncing it up and down on the scales failed to produce the extra ounce for the 3 and 3/4lb mark). Two more turned in at 3-5 and 3-9 and the final fish of the day was the best at 4lb 1oz (no scale bouncing required!). It wasn’t meant to be the last but a gust of wind much stronger than usual caught my bait bucket and blew it plus contents into the water some 14-15 feet below. A lucky escape for the crabs.......or was it?
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