Thursday 17 August 2023

A couple of weeks when not much happened

At the beginning of the month we had a lot of rain over several days so I figured with a bit of extra water in it the river might be worth a go.  I acquired some maggots then the following morning I got up early with good intentions and went out into a grey, drizzly morning.  My grand plan was to walk the stretch I explored last winter, dropping a float in here and there to maybe learn a bit more, I should have known better.  I walked a mile downstream without making a cast, mostly because either the river was choked or the banks were. 

After retracing my steps I walked upstream and soon found a short stretch of clear water with a bit of flow.  First run through her I had a bite which of course I missed but soon after I managed to swing a Dace to hand.  A few minutes and a couple of casts later another smaller dace before the bites dried up.  I knew a short walk upstream would bring me to another run I would probably be able to fish and so it proved.  I had bites from the start but missed a few before hooking a tiny Dace.  A gave it a while here but only had another slightly bigger dace and a chublet.  I debated exploring further upstream but the already damp morning was getting gloomier so for once did the sensible thing and cleared off before I got a soaking.

The weekend came and with an early afternoon tide it made sense to get up fairly early and fish through the morning for a change but I couldn’t decide where.  All my usual favourites weren’t inspiring me, for all of them I had some kind of doubt and the weather conditions, wet and blustery, had to be taken into account as well.  In the end, after a bit of google earthing I decided to head for a beach I hadn’t yet fished, something I haven’t done enough of lately.

So this very damp morning I steered the car through puddles on a different and at times unfamiliar cross country route, three quarters of an hour later I pulled into a car park which I might have stopped at sometime in the nineties?  I walked south where cliffs would shelter me from the weather a bit, passed a line of anglers who were just as daft as me and kept going to give both me and them a bit of space.  With drizzle in the wind I popped the shelter up first then quickly chucked a squid out on a pulley rig and a strip of mackerel on a running leger on the lighter rod.

It felt good to be on unfamiliar territory, looking out at different views but nowhere looks great peering through clouds of drizzle; when the sky cleared a little, in the distance to the north I could see Poshlondon on sea and it occurred to me that my favourite brewery was named after the body of water in front of me.  With no previous knowledge I dodged showers and recast regularly, varying distances and switching baits but as these were coming back seemingly untouched and the rain became heavier and more frequent so I spent more time sheltering and peering out.

High tide came around 1400 by which time the wind had switched to the south and was getting increasingly stronger.  It became one of those days when between the wind and waves the tips were never still, spotting a bite would be a challenge but judging by the baits I was retrieving there didn’t seem to be many fish about, I didn’t see anyone else catch either.  Around 1500 s squall blew over leaving lighter, dryer skies, I took this opportunity to pack up, cut and run.  No fish today but definitely a nice spot to spend time in on a more pleasant day.

The days drifted by, my next scheduled fishing trip was curtailed by a stuck car that proved frustratingly easy to fix in the end.  Then a day or so later another window of opportunity opened on a warm, calm day, what’s more the Princess was off work too so she came along to see what this sea fishing lark was all about.  We arrived at Radar and were fishing by 1830, high tide due just after midnight, we wouldn’t be staying that late but there’s always a chance here on a rising tide.

Here by the sea there was a bit of breeze, far more than at home but otherwise it was a nice summer evening, a little bit of cloud obscured the sun from time to time but it was lovely just being there.  This was just as well as there was no sign of any fish, in fact the baits were coming back virtually intact, never a good sign.  The biggest distraction of the first couple of hours was the antics of a man who had drunk so much he literally couldn’t stand and was navigating the beach on all fours although most of the time he just sat slumped in a pile.  It one point it became apparent he was crawling in our direction, I met him half way and having once been fluent in the language of the boozer I managed to light his crumpled roll up.  He gave me the thumbs up then crawled back to his belongings.

We had a nice night sipping tea and snacking and enjoying all the sights and sounds of what has become my favourite summer pastime?  By 2100 it was head torch time but the drop in light levels didn’t bring the hoped for surge in fishy activity although I did drag a one clawed Crab onto dry land.  So we sat chatting when around 2130, out of nowhere the heavy rod hooped over, at last I seem to be getting the hang of these unmissable bites!  There was a good bit of weight on the end which didn’t want to get any closer but didn’t really have a choice.  I expected to see a Ray and so it proved, not a monster but I enjoy them all.  With the whole squid launched once more we sat back and resumed the seaside meditation, it had been a nice evening already but actually catching a fish was a bonus.  Ten minutes later the heavy rod started banging again and I wound into another solid weight and after a bit of push and pull dragged another Ray onto the beach, a bit bigger than the first, happy days.

A fresh squid was soon soaking and it looked good for another bite although we both had work in the morning so couldn’t stay too late.  The ambience was broken by a strange crunching sound, I turned and the torch beam picked up the bizarre sight of our pissed pal crawling towards us with a badly rolled fag stuck to his lips.  With this successfully lit, he babbled and slurred then crawled/staggered/crawled back to his bottle.  What he did next I have no idea.  He wasn’t ill, didn’t appear to have any kind of disability other than being literally pissed legless and after a few minutes of consideration I decided he wasn’t my problem.  With that I decided I’d had enough and the princess agreed so what we did next was pack up and go home.