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Floundering about

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

beach bum.

artificial lite.




It  very frustrating when you become enthusiastic about something and circumstances prevent you from doing it. It is doubly frustrating when you have a day like this one. All those hopes and expectations banished within an hour or two of getting to the water’s edge, but there is nothing to be done except take the positives, slight as they may be, that offer themselves in passing.

I had in mind, given that my favourite spot is scheduled to be a building site for a short while, to go elsewhere and try something a bit different. I became all enthusiastic about catching flounders and settled down with my computer to come up with a plan.

Remember, I live as far from the sea as it is possible to get in England, so the first requirement was obviously to find somewhere close enough to warrant the diesel. Flounders to me, means one thing - estuaries. That was a good place to start. The Severn estuary reaches back towards home, indeed, I usually drive alongside it on the M5 to get to the Bristol Channel, so it ought to be possible to find somewhere to fish.

Aust and Severn beach were a first consideration but the river is tidal as far upstream as Tewkesbury, so I looked closer to home and found Lydney harbour. It looked perfect on Google Earth and the very few mentions of the fishing that I found there mentioned flounders. I had my first location on the list.

How about north wales though. I really liked the look of Rhyl harbour and I really was in two minds almost until I fired up the engine, nevertheless, I went with my first choice after all it was closer and worthwhile fishing there, would be ideal all round.

What a cock up. First the M6 was shut, no problem, nip round Coventry out past Warwick and onto the M40, my favourite route anyway. Guess what? The M40 was shut. I don’t believe that, so I follow the diversion signs like an idiot and end up going all the way back to Coventry and across to Birmingham to get on the M42. Why I didn’t just go down the A46 I’ll never know, but once I had set off on the official route I was committed. I should have been committed. An hour after setting off, Lydney was now five miles closer and I had used an extra gallon of increasingly precious oil.

Breathe, breathe, breathe. Plenty of time and the world is my oyster. I left in good time, all would be well.

And it was too. Lydney looked interesting. A landscape at low tide of vast sandbanks and deep channels. True the banks looked inconvenient at best, but I found a spot to fish from, not the best one I could see, but the best I could get to. I had some things to try and this would be a good opportunity.

I worry, perhaps through a lack of experience, that with pulley riges and flapper rigs, indeed any paternoster rig, the hooks may be off bottom if the angle from rod tip to lead is too steep. I still catch on them but surely it would work better with the line closer to the sea bed. Whenever possible I keep the rod tips low, that’s a start, I let some line out too so that it can sag if the current will let it and maybe that helps, but I wanted to try a back lead. I have used flying backleads with plenty of success when carping. A simple bullet or torpedo lead threaded onto the line will fly back up the line on the cast causing a bigger sag in the line holding it closer to the bottom.

In the sea, I figure it needs to be fixed at the top of the rig body and I had a rig set up that way with me. I had the lead fixed further above the top snood than the snood was long so it couldn’t reach out and tangle with it on the cast. It worked perfectly in that it didn’t tangle. Whether it would have caught me any more fish I’ll never know because I never had a worthwhile bite on either rig. Previously I had been having problems with the snoods twisting and wrapping themselves around the rig body. Today I had two inches of silicon tubing on each snood swivel and that cured that problem completely. Another positive at least.

Despite the strong winds and my high position above the water, everything was going fine with just three ounces of lead, or it was at low tide anyway. Within an hour of it turning, the current was wound up to six ounces of lead and then the weed, even though very little, made the whole thing untenable. I packed after barely an hour’s unsuccessful fishing. It was just a bloody nightmare, but I found two rig mods that will or at least may prove useful and ticked one potential venue off my short list. I guess I shall try the other next so I shall give the M5 a rest and start wearing out the M6 soon. Someone ought to make a film and call it ‘the loneliness of the long-distance sea angler’. I know somebody whose life story it could be based on.

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