The brash yellow of the ”Malibu” bushes has receded from the countryside to be replaced with a light dusting of early summer snow; or is that just the hawthorn in full blossom? A short break seemed necessary from the, at times, frustrating trout fishing so the heavy gear was loaded into the car. The day started off quite windy and I was concerned about being blown off my 1st choice mark but the wind eased away to nothing and the sun blazed down relentlessly. There would be no waiting for the frozen bait to thaw today. As I was setting up, I spotted a shoal of fry dimpling the surface a comfortable cast off the shore and occasionally displaying signs of panic, perhaps I would get my first mackerel of 2017. No such luck, they were just responding to the odd breaking wave or gull flying over. Out went the 3 hook flapper baited with mackerel strip, prawn and frozen lug with squid while the clipped up and over rig was baited with a whole sandeel and launched out. There was just over 30 mins of the ebb left and it was dead on low water that the first fish showed; a 46cm pollack which attacked the flapper rig on the retrieve. Not much happened for a couple of hours though the hooks were being picked clean; the crabs were all out on picnics, well it was a lovely day. On some retrieves, the dead weight of a crab could be felt until at some point it would let go. A couple of small dabs did show up along with their relative, a small flounder, but things were slow. “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which when taken at the flood, leads on to fortune” wrote Shakespeare (while taking a break from making fishing tackle) and so it proved for me. Right on high water, a tentative bite on the whole sandeel developed into a solid weight and this was no crab. A spotted ray came into sight and after a few last gasp darts for cover, I eased it ashore. It was a new PB for me at 4lb 11oz, fortune indeed. After that it was small beer, another couple of dabs for a tally of four and the first of 4 dogfish. A few clouds were gathering and a couple of rumbles of thunder reverberated around the sky, perhaps next cast would throw up an electric ray, but no, just an almighty downpour which thankfully soon passed. I noticed that the scraps of old bait I was throwing in were attracting some blennies and I couldn’t resist baiting a size 6 with a scrap to get my first blenny of 2017; one more species for the night and the annual list. I wonder was it related to Chuckaroo’s hand fed pets from a nearby rock pool? Darkness was coming, the signal for the first of 2 small, 45-50cm, conger to rattle the rod tips. The balmy night (still 18 Celsius at midnight) was encouraging the midges whose bites increased in frequency as those of the fish decreased. I conceded and headed for home, but with 7 species and a new PB I wasn’t complaining.
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