Sat. 8th October. With a few settled days forecast it was essential to make the most of the opportunity so the boat was hitched up. I was hoping to give the rays a go so with a few frozen mackerel in the box, I tried jigging for mackerel for a while but got only one plus a few small pollack for fresh bait. Off to my first mark and after barely 5 mins I hooked the first thornback; a 6lber to start. This was followed fairly quickly by two more including a nicely marked 7lb fish, the best of the day. Things slowed down but a steady trickle of bites resulted in a total of 8 thornies and 4 dogfish. I headed off to another mark in the hope of a painted ray but this mark threw up 3 doggies, a solitary dab and a small whiting. A brief stop at a deepwater mark on the way back provided a couple of small pollack and a male cuckoo wrasse. The sounder was showing plenty of fish close to the bottom but they didn’t seem to be interested. The evenings are really drawing in and by now it was time to return to the slip.
Sun. 9th October. Somewhere different beckoned today. First stop produced a mackerel early on to mackerel strip fished on the bottom. Baiting up a set of feathers, a few more drifts over the area produced a couple more mackerel and surprisingly, a dab which didn’t take the bottom hook but the one above. I headed off to try another mark but out of shelter there was quite a big swell rolling in; fortunately there was little or no wind. First drop down produced a small spotted ray almost immediately followed by a few bigger dabs and the first of about 10 dogfish. To add a bit of variety, a small red gurnard decided to visit the boat and then came the surprise of the day, an octopus. In fact it was the first of 4 octopuses/octopi, anyway a total of 32 tentacles. I know it’s OCTOber but 4 in one day just about doubles my total haul of them in the last 40 years that I’ve been fishing from boats. One particularly irate specimen emptied his inkwell with two squirts but fortunately it all ended up in the water. I captured one taking a bait on video as I was using my Waterwolf underwater camera. Back to the fish and a second spotty at 2lb 10oz beat the doggies to a bait as did a bigger red gurnard at 1lb 5oz. At one point, a shoal of fish registered on the sounder and a quick drop or two with the feathers produced 4-5 more mackerel for the freezer. Possibly the last fish of the day was a rather sorry codling who wasn’t having a good week, something had given him a severe mauling before he encountered my baited hook. With the bites easing off and a long drive home, I called it a day.
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