Monday. As January drew to a close I thought I might squeeze a couple more trips out of it so armed with sandeels and some Lidl mackerel fillets and with 3 new rings fitted to my rods, I headed for the beach; still hopeful of contacting a few flounder. No sooner had I parked and lowered the window for a good look than a robin flew up and landed on the wing mirror, obviously expecting some treat. I opened a sandwich packet, took a few crumbs and offered them to the robin which flew onto my hand, picked up the biggest crumb and flew off. Hoping for a picture, I got my camera ready but Robin remained on the ground and declined to fly up for more. “Never work with children or animals” to quote W.C. Fields. At least something was feeding; turned out the robin was all that was feeding. The surf was quite gentle despite a strong gusty wind, though it was blowing off the land and not whipping up any waves until well out to sea. There was a great contrast between the light green sea and the very dark, foreboding sky on the opposite side of the bay. I fished the last hour and a half of the ebb and first hour and a half of the flood without a single bite to either rod, time to try somewhere else with a bit more depth. It was about 4p.m. and nothing happened until the light started to fade. First up was an almost inevitable small coalie but it was soon joined by a few whiting, a couple more coalies and a small pouting added to the variety. The best whiting was just over 34cm, probably the longest I’ve got from the shore but if it had a name it must have been Cassius as he had that “lean and hungry look”. It had a gill parasite on each set of gills. A whiting that length should weigh in around 12oz, this would have been lucky to make half of that. A lot of the whiting had 1 or 2 of these parasites resulting in a series of underweight fish; it was the piscatorial equivalent of the Charge of the Light Brigade. By now the wind was building up and the rain was getting worse so rather than risk a tripod collapse and a couple more broken rings I called it a night. Last retrieve produced an anorexic dab, sorry looking specimen but at least it was a flattie.
Tuesday. Where to today? The beach I fished yesterday has been disappointing recently so I tried a different beach. In stark contrast to yesterday, it was a beautiful sunny day with no wind and a building surf coming in. A small group of Brent geese were on the beach so I wouldn’t be stuck for company. The surf was a bit messy with a strong lateral pull and after 4 hours with two rods and trying a variety of weights and shapes of leads, I had 1 small turbot to show for my efforts. The surf was now getting quite vigorous so I headed back to yesterday’s deeper mark. The sky was still clear and as darkness descended, the crescent moon, Venus and Mars made for an interesting sky behind me. First cast produced a dogfish and coalfish double, a good start. Another 4-5 coalies followed along with about 10 whiting up to 30-31cm. I was fishing a 3oz rated rod with braid on the reel which allowed the whiting to give some semblance of a struggle. The swells were getting a bit on the big size by now so it was time to vacate the premises. Six trips in January with only one flounder to show, probably my worst January in a long time.
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