Monday 24 June 2024

Another week, another tide

Another week, another tide.  Where do we go?  What do we fish for?  Just another normal mid week email conversation.  With high tide due around 0100 and a convenient weather forecast we decided to head for a shallow beach and hopefully find some Thornbacks.  We timed our arrival so we hit the shore at low water and planned to fish the flood tide up, for as long as our energy and enthusiasm lasted.  The weather was as promised, the afternoon showers had cleared leaving a mostly cloudless sky with a gentle westerly cross breeze.  The sea was flat, just small waves rolling in but even so the volume on these had been turned up.
I began by putting a whole squid on a pulley rig and launching it eastward on the heavy rod.  On the lighter rod I fished strips of mackerel on a running leger rig hoping some kind of flatfish might find it appetising.  To my right Giles set up with his own twist on similar methods.  After a few weeks targeting Bass we’d not bothered with ragworm this time and the plan was to go all out for bigger fish, Rays or maybe even a Hound once the tide started to climb back up the beach.  The first few casts saw the mackerel strips disappear but the squid mostly in tact despite signs of crab attention.  Hopefully there’d be something out there feeding on the crabs.

Ninety minutes into the session, at around 2010 there was a subtle but definite bite on the heavy rod, I thought ‘Ray’ but you can never be sure.  There was a bit of weight on the end but ‘lift and wind’ kept the fish moving and I soon pulled a Ray of a couple of pounds onto the beach, happy days.  Once this rod was back out I wound in the lighter set up, took off the running leger and switched to another pulley rig.  This was baited with a hermit crab wrapped in squid and given a good chuck into an inviting sea.  Ten minutes later this rod tip was yanked permanently downwards without any kind of subtlety and I found myself attached to something that felt big.  As I slowly pumped this weight back towards me it seemed like a good sized Ray but it was hard to be sure on the lighter tackle.  After a couple of minutes of push and pull I managed to drag a cracking Thornback onto the shore, this was more than twice the size of the first and my best this year so far.

With two nice fish under my belt I got another fresh bait out as soon as I could and sat back feeling confident of more.  With a rising tide and darkness approaching surely the best time was yet to come, would this become one of those mad trips when the Rays are on all night?  In short no.  Despite fishing the tide up all the way with everything feeling spot on, I didn’t get another bite and Giles had just one rattle which produced a good sized Doggie.  The most notable event of the evening was watching the ‘strawberry moon’ rise above the watery horizon and to be fair it was a lovely night to be sitting on a deserted beach doing nothing.

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