Afloat at last, with the boat and gear all checked and ready, I finally made it to a slipway! 8th August
. Boat loaded and launched, car and trailer parked, turn the key, the engine fires up instantly……..but no cooling water flowing. Honest, it worked at home. Difficulty in passing water, surely outboard engines don’t have problems with prostate glands? (Especially as we refer to them as “she”!). I switched the engine off, started up again but still no flow so I gave the engine a quick blast of revs and that did the trick, a nice jet of water and “all systems go”.
First drop of the feathers produced a mackerel and pollack double, a promising start. However the next 20 mins produced about 20 pollack in the 1-2lb range but no more mackerel. I headed off to another spot and was soon into a shoal from which I extracted a dozen mackerel which would be plenty for bait. Arming two rods with boom and flowing traces and using long thin strips of bait, I started drifting over the sand hoping for a few thornies. First drift yielded two, the second taking while I was still unhooking the first so I got a nice shot of two in hand. As I got closer to shore, the shallower water produced a few small tub gurnard with a very small grey for variety. I also had a 25cm dab, I didn’t see the bite so I don’t know how long it was towed along until I reeled in prior to heading out again. A couple more thornies came to the boat and 1-2 spat the hooks before something a bit livelier than a ray put in an appearance, very lively at the net in fact, but in came a small tope, just shy of 6.5lbs. I’ve had a few small tope from this mark in the last few years, I wonder would it be worth targeting a bigger one? The breeze, which had picked up for a couple of hours, had died away, it was turning into a beautiful settled evening and large numbers of By-the-Wind Sailors had gathered in the slicks of calm water; reminded me of the spent mayfly concentrated in the slicks on Lough Erne a couple of months ago. A couple more thornies, none very big, came to the boat before something else a bit livelier took a bait. Again something sleek and grey came racing through the murky water but this time it was all gums and no teeth, a smooth hound. Not a monster at 5lbs but still very welcome. Mackerel wouldn’t be the bait of choice for smoothies, I wonder how I would do if I could get some peeler crab? I had brought my Waterwolf underwater camera today but because the water was so murky and brown I didn’t use it. This was a pity as the tope and smooth hound both came to the rod to which I would have attached the camera.
I ended up with 9 thornies between 1.5lb and 4.5lb, the small tope and smooth hound along with the “lesser” stuff, all-in-all a very satisfying return for the first trip of 2023.9th August
. What a difference a day makes! This morning was dull, grey, misty, borderline foggy and drizzle was trying to become rain. Still, I had the waterproofs packed so I had no excuse not to go. Unfortunately, the fishing was as exciting as the weather. First drop of the feathers produced a pin whiting with nothing further to report until almost 2 hours later when a grey gurnard took a feather. After another while I had a small red gurnard and later a small and very dull-coloured male cuckoo wrasse. I tried lots of different spots, deep and shallow, small feathers, large feathers, I even tried some mini-sabikis to try for launce but to no avail. Four hours and a lot of ground covered but no mackerel for bait. The only positive was that the weather had cleared a bit and it was now dry. I saw a few other boats out, they seemed to do a fair bit of moving around, perhaps they were struggling too. It was time to make a tactical decision, do I give up and head in while there was still sufficient water at the slip or do I stay out for almost another six hours? Fishing can be like playing poker, you gotta know when to fold; my spirits were ebbing with the tide so I chickened out and came in. This probably was a good move in the long term view as I got talking to a couple of charter boat skippers that I have met before and got a good tip on marks from each of them. So many marks, so little time!
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