Monday 13 September 2021

End of summer

Bank holiday Monday, hopefully all the weekenders will be heading home by now and leave the coast fairly quiet?  I fished the steep beach and found a few anglers in residence though not as many as I feared.  Due to a mixed forecast I’d packed my oval brolly which gave me welcome respite from the Northerly breeze.  This thing is pretty stable on the beach, at least when I remember not to try and set it up on a slope.  I got set up and was fishing a couple of hours before high tide, expecting a busy afternoon but the brightest moment was siting a Porpoise breaching the waves.  The wind was a cool one and it was noticeable how much the sound of wind and waves was muffled by the oval and a small ridge of shingle.  When I stood up it was a much louder day.

High tide came and went, my baits – mostly squid, remained untouched and I feared a blank might be on the cards.  But my fortunes changed when the sky grew dark, the close range rod started to signal the odd rattle and at last I managed to hit a bite, the result a Whiting.  A few minutes later I doubled my tally with another before the brief spell of activity finished.  A while later the close rod rapped round again and this time it wasn’t a Whiting, instead a lovely Smoothound but probably the smallest I’ve caught all year.

By 2130 I’d had enough, the bites had dried up and if I’m honest there’s something a bit spooky about being alone on the beach after dark, even when there are other anglers about.  The white tops of waves rolling southward catch my eye and deceive me into thinking it’s some ghostly animal bounding away from me.  There’s a weird foreboding vibe that keeps me on my guard.  It’s certainly an environment to be respected and not one you’d want to get in trouble in.

A few days later I was back at the same beach brimming with confidence, high tide was due at 2245 which meant I’d be fishing the flood in darkness, this had to be good, surely?  There were Swallows lined up on a wire in the car park, maybe getting ready to fly south?  A trudge across the pebbles saw me facing a sea that looked angrier than I’d expected and today I’d left the brolly at home.  I got myself settled and found my rhythm fairly quickly, against all expectations I had a fish first chuck on the close rod.  I say fish, it was a tiny Pouting and probably the smallest sea creature I’ve caught this year.  So small I briefly considered using it for bait but ended up sending it seaward without out any attachments.  The evening was clear with hazy light and a moderate north easterly causing sizeable waves.  The forecast promised the wind should ease at dusk.

I fished my usual methods, one close and one hurled, with various sized pieces of squid for bait.  Before next spring I need to research some other rigs and ways of doing things but at the moment I’m comfortable with the way I fish.  And today it seemed to be working, a decent rattle produced a small Bass which was followed on the next chuck by another tiny Pout.  Three fish already and it wasn’t even dark yet!

But it was all downhill from there… To start with I managed a spectacular crack off with the long range rod.  I tackled up again in fading light only to have another crack off on the next cast.  For some reason the bail arm was closing itself on the cast, by now I had the head torch on so I decided it needed further investigation during daylight and resolved to fish both rods close in.  Also the wind hadn’t eased at all, if anything it was increasing as were the waves crashing into the beach.  I tried fishing with a two hook flapper rig, kind of a paternoster with short hooklengths, but I didn’t like it so after half an hour switched this to a running leger as well.  Two sizable chunks of squid were fished about thirty yards from the beach in a boiling sea, I told myself I was fishing to my strengths or sticking to what I know?  I convinced myself I was after a big Bass…

Time passes quickly when you’re on the beach, high tide came with the waves coming close to the top of the shingle ridge but the expected fishy feeding spell didn’t materialise.  I fished on for another hour but in truth I was well beaten today and it was no wrench to pack up and crunch across the pebbles towards the car.

This sums up sea fishing for me at the moment, two trips to the same bit of beach; on the first I caught after dark on an ebbing tide then a few days later I catch on a flooding tide in daylight.  I haven’t got a Scooby do what’s going on most of the time but this only adds to the enjoyment.  However now the days are noticeably shorter, summer is coming to an end and my fishy thoughts are going in another direction…