As threatened in my last shore report, the next good day would see me attempt to “Float my Boat” and so I headed for the slip. I had the place to myself to get prepared, launched and the trailer parked easily; no need to “cause the vehicle and trailer to face in the opposite direction by use of forward and reverse gears”, just drive on and a quick U-turn.
I headed out to seek a few mackerel for bait and after about an hour, was still seeking. The water was very dirty, the Hokkais disappearing from view about 6 feet down. I headed for a rock mark to try for pollack, not prime bait but it does catch fish, certainly more than bare hooks do. Soon enough I had 5-6 small pollack in the 1-1.5lb range, enough to get started, so I headed off for a sandy mark to try for a ray or whatever else might show e.g. turbot or dab. First drop down and as I started to assemble a second rod, a few nods out of synch with the lead dragging along the bottom. I lifted into a small but very game little spotted ray. Seemed like a good start but how often have I got an instant result to be followed by little or nothing? An hour later a welcome dogfish took a fancy to pollack strip and the next two hours produced not even a bite. The drift was a bit slow but even so 2 fish in three hours suggested a change of scene. I headed out to a rougher and deeper spot and changed rig from a boom and flowing trace to a simple 1 hook paternoster. As the boat drifted slowly, the fishfinder showed a thick carpet of fish just off the bottom so down went the bait in anticipation. No mad rush but after a short while came the first bite, pouting. A few more pouting punctuated by a couple of small male cuckoo wrasse (1 for the species list) came aboard. The sounder showed lots of fish but they weren’t exactly going crazy for the bait and hauling up pouting and wrasse from deep water even slowly only for quite a few to suffer bladder problems isn’t my idea of fun so I tried another mark. This was another shallow sandy mark but no bites came here either. I starting dismantling 1 rod and noticed a few “fish” echoes showing so I attached the feathers and dropped them into about 20 feet of water. The unmistakeable quivering of mackerel hitting the feathers was followed by a string of small joeys. I wish I’d had a few earlier, it might have made some difference but as it was getting close to last water at the slip, it was time to head in.
The weather had drawn out the crowds and when a boat already at the slip eventually moved and I tied up alongside, I found my car and trailer boxed in by a double parked van. God forbid that somebody would have to walk a few yards. The only option was to unhitch the trailer and manhandle it through the narrow gap and 2 guys gave me a hand. I could have managed alone but never turn down help! One of them told me he had spoken to somebody previously who had parked at the head of the slip and took great exception to having to move, I suppose he hadn't seen the boat come into the slipway or the yellow painted lines or the sign forbidding parking on that part of the pier. Anyway, having unhitched the trailer, another car double parks behind the van blocking the gap.”Excuse me....”They move the car.....to the no parking area at the head of the slip. Every day fishing is a new adventure, it’s as well that fishing requires a certain measure of patience.
So the fishing was less than spectacular but it was fishing. The drive home was a pleasure, the setting sun at my back threw a lovely red hue on the hills and a silvery full moon was rising to guide me home. When I pulled into the drive, “Herself” was still up, sitting in the back garden with hordes of little nightlights twinkling in the bushes and the pondside spotlights on highlighting the trunks of the silver birches. I felt a glass of Shiraz coming on.
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