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Going the distance.

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  at;
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Many things conspire to make shore fishing difficult for a shore angler who lives a long way from the coast. This trip was a good example. For a start it looked like I would only get the chance to go once more before Christmas, so where to go and what to fish for.

I am happy whatever I catch. Whiting, pouting and dogfish do not disappoint me. Cod and bass do not entice me especially. But, conger and rays are my favourite. If I had to choose one of those it would be the eels. So, I had a choice, high tide this weekend or low tide next? A mixed ray and, thus far, small conger mark, or the less pressured, surprise spot that produced my best strap yet at just under ten pounds?

The latter, I have only ever fished once, so either I was very lucky to catch that fish, or just maybe it holds some better eels. At the moment I have to hope for the latter. The high tide it is then, especially as it coincides with a neap tide of just under ten metres which would allow me to fish right through and not have to wait out high water with no lines out, in order to avoid being cut off. It was all lining up, nicely until I checked the weather forecast.

Heavy rain , high winds and snow on Saturday, or light winds, dry sunny and bitterly cold on Friday. It had to be Friday and its associated traffic problems, which would turn a three hour journey down there into a four or five hour journey back. I took it anyway.

Imagine how I felt when I made the last turn of the trip into the lane to the car park after beating my way for three hours in the dark, through endless roadworks and innumerable lorries, to be greeted by a large sign declaring 'car park and footpath closed' sign. Access to my mark, it suggested, by way of compensation, could be secured by parking two miles away and walking back.

I was stunned, absolutely floored. 'My ' conger mark is in a creek and necessitates no more than 3oz of lead and a couple of bass rods. I was not equipped to fish the main Bristol channel which invariably requires at least 6 oz. I had no maps, directions to, or experience of, any other marks down here and I was already causing a queue of concrete lorries to form just by trying to turn round without putting the car in a dyke.

What a shit start that was, and it was one not destined to get better any time soon either. I remembered seeing a sign back down the road to another well known area, so I headed off back there, eventually finding myself in a national trust car park demanding £3.50 which I just managed to scratch together out of ten pence pieces found in the glove box. Maybe I could drop a bait in the edge and avoid the worst of the channel maelstrom or swing out a rig carrying two 3 oz leads.

 

 

To watch full screen on You Tube, click on the video title

Maybe, I could if I could just get to the ruddy water. I climbed the hill and trekked the length of the point looking for a spot. Time after time, I would set off down a promising path only for it to peter out and for my gear to become ensnared in a web of ruthless brambles tearing at my brand new waterproofs. Then I would have to crawl my way back up with a mountain of gear on my back. I was absolutely knackered and almost in tears of frustration by the time I'd found somewhere to fish from.

It was a sheltered corner which gave me hope, but I had wasted two hours and it was now one hour to high water. I had no idea what the ground was like, I could only try. I would be casting back alongside the point, so I put my main, mackerel-baited, conger rig on my left, closest to the cliffs, while the other rod, loaded with squid could guard the edge of the small bay, which I was hoping would keep the worst of the current farther out. This rod was baited with squid on a 2/0 pennel arrangement, and was an optimistic, thornback bet-hedger.

Almost unbelievably, it soon looked like I might be in for a good day. After just twenty minutes my half mackerel was being attacked by a fish that kept pulling the tip over but took no line. I picked the rod up and fed it some line which it took up almost immediately, so I wound down until I felt it kicking and struck into .... nothing. Missed it completely. A small eel or a dogfish I would guess.

That bite had come so soon after starting that I was frankly surprised and disappointed that nothing else happened for a full hour. I was preparing some fresh bait further back up the beach when I thought I saw the same rod pull down.
I stopped what I was doing and watched it closely for fifteen minutes, but it remained motionless, so I decided to wind in only to find myself well and truly stuck in the weed.

I got my gear back after some determined pulling and tugging, but it was another chance missed. Later on, after watching the video footage at home, I realised that the tip had been going for a while, but I am pretty sure these were both small eels, and that the second one had made cover with my bait.

So that was my lot. I packed, two hours down and I hit the road, rueing what might have been, disappointed to find my favourite mark out of bounds until February, but happy to have tested the sweat levels of my new waterproofs and to have found and fished a new mark with no tackle losses. For somebody who has to travel so far, it is also useful to know another '3oz' mark. It means I don't have to carry rods for everything just in case.

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