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I hope that you find my journal interesting and entertaining. If, having read this, you think that I am talking rubbish then at least you have stopped and thought about it long enough to come to that conclusion which is something of a result in my book. If you would like to comment on this article or anything else relating to my website, please feel free to contact me using the adjacent form. Feedback is always greatly appreciated and very helpful when it comes to improving both my site and my angling. Thank you for looking. If this form will not work for you, please e-mail me at editor@ericweight.co.uk
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They fought hard, were great fun and all came to the one bass rod. The sandeels on the distance rods were steadily and rapidly reduced to a tangle of bones and elastic on every cast. In the whole six hours, those two rods produced one big bite which ripped a metre of line off before the bait was dropped and that was it.

By the time the fish stopped feeding, I had my plan for the second day all mapped out. Three ounce grip leads were holding bottom and the rest could stay in the car, along with the sandeels and the beach rods. I would use two bass rods, buy some more lug and maybe squid, and lay waste. For once I would know what I was doing and a mega day would be on the cards.

 

 

I can't say that I was expecting bream when we set off for a long weekend in West Sussex. Truth be told I was undecided what to fish for at all. There were options, there always are. I want to catch rays, any half-decent undulate from the shore would be good, but flounders are on my list. I wouldn't turn down a nice bass either. I've not had a plaice from the shore yet either, or a smoothhound, or... Well you get the idea.

Seasons and bait, weather and tides restrict the options but none so much as a lack of local knowledge. Distance makes the acquisition of experience and that precious knowledge a very long and drawn out process. So far I have two venues down here that I've been fishing. Neither have exactly been productive.

The river has produced bites, but none of the elusive flounders that I seek. The beach hasn't been a lot better but has at least produced. Rather bizarrely it was a flounder. My greatest success has been with bass and mullet on bread in the mouth of the river.

Even as I left home I was undecided about which to fish and so packed gear and bait for both. I really would like that ray and after much dithering I decided to fish the beach but all the same I hedged my bets, packing both my beach rods and a pair of 2-4 oz bass rods. Lack of local knowledge meant that I had to cover all eventualities consequently I was laden down with leads from three to six ounces. My box took some lifting believe me. At least with two days to fish, Sunday's experience would, should, make Monday more comfortable in that regard.

Dawn on Sunday was beautiful. I arrived right at the bottom of the tide so that I could get some idea of what the bottom would be like. It was a flat expanse of what I would call broken ground, coarse sand almost obscured by stones and small tufts of seaweed. In fact it wasn't as daunting on close inspection as it first appeared and I lost no tackle to snags at all. I could see tube/ fan? Worms and worm activity as well so it looked like good feeding ground.

My big plan was to fish 5 oz pulley rigs baited with sandeels on 2/0 hooks for bass and possibly a ray on my beach rods and as a bet hedger, one of my bass rods would work a two hook flapper rig tipped with frozen lug on size two hooks. This would start on a 3 oz watch lead and I would work my way up the weights as far as I needed to hold bottom. Maybe, just maybe a flounder might save the day.

For three hours, I conscientiously rebaited every rod, every fifteen to thirty minutes as the crab activity waxed and waned but apart from the occasional tiny indication little of any note occurred. The great thing about sea fishing is that circumstances are always changing due to the tide’s rise and fall. Generally in fresh water no fish in the first three hours means they aren't feeding and the whole day will be a real struggle. In the sea it is different. After three blank hours, there was obviously enough depth in front of me for the fish to feel safe and move within reach and I began to get a lot of really violent bites.

Every cast with the flapper rod resulted in vigorous rattling bites that I couldn't hit but I found that leaving them until the whole rod slammed over resulted in a steady trickle of beautiful black bream. They were all like peas in the pod, weighing from 12 oz to 1-2 and by the time they stopped biting three hours later, just after high tide, I had caught ten , lost four and missed an embarrassing number.

It wasn't. What more can I say? Out on the boat it was always squid for bream and maybe I persevered with it too long, but I found straight lug to be twice as effective as squid or squid/lug cocktails. It was all relative anyway, I had far fewer bites than yesterday.

The weather was predicted to be dry and overcast, so obviously it pissed down all morning and I got soaked. A commercial came out at first light and ran a set of nets right across the beach in front of me about half a mile out and generally speaking it was all a bit disappointing. I caught three of 14 oz apiece, missed maybe half a dozen but the action never started until 90 minutes before high tide and I finished with a third of the number from twice as many rods.

It was bittersweet really. An anti-climax of epic proportions, that really shouldn't be. If that had been the first day, I would have been ecstatic. My first shore caught black bream, plenty of bites, plenty of action by my usual standards, and my first proper multi fish haul, but it was the first day that goes down in my personal record book.

 

Lessons? Well size two hooks are probably a bit big for bream, they have tiny mouths. My left over eagle claw hooks are crap, the points damage too easily, Varivas versions to be ordered asap. Don't be in a hurry to strike, let them hook themselves. Above all calm down and don't be so greedy when the fish are biting, you'll catch more fish and spend less time untangling snoods. And those flapping snoods need some refinement, I have no real confidence that they are both functioning as they should on every cast, despite them clearly working.

That's what excites me about all fishing, there are always improvements to make and lessons to learn.
 

 

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