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That's better, much better. After the shall I go shan't I go debacle of my August boat trip, when the fishing was cancelled late on the afternoon before only to wake up to gentle breezes on the following morning, I had decided that whatever happened I would make the journey anyway. Not to do so had messed too many people about. I would fish for mullet if the boat remained tied to the wall. It was only after I had sorted myself out tackle-wise for them, that I began to develop the urge to fish from the beach. Even before I began getting the tackle for this next big adventure, I began pondering the beaches I knew about close to Littlehampton that might be worth a visit, but on this occasion I just wasn't ready and my mullet tackle was all sitting there neatly organised and begging for an outing.

Mind you yesterday's debacle where the promised calm weather turned out to be, ironically, too rough for enjoyable fishing, I was in two minds. As I get older, I do find it easier not to bother, especially as on this occasion, when it is a solo project with nobody to let down. I'm so glad I bothered, you really do have to be in it, to win it. As far as I am concerned, I was and I did.

For the first time in my life, I planned a day around the tide. In the past I have always either let somebody else do it or just made do anyway. Today, I would plan to get there with the tide flowing in and I would arrive late enough to just see what I was fishing over and early enough to begin groundbaiting whilst watching the water for signs of life. It worked perfectly. Previously when fishing here in high summer, mullet have been everywhere, but I was a bit concerned because neither Sharkey who fished this spot yesterday with lures nor I, on an evening visit to the chippy across the road, had seen any at all. There were unusually none showing around the boat yesterday either. The signs weren't good, fortunately and somewhat irritatingly given yesterday's discomfort, the weather was. In fact as the tide came in a steady stream of small fishing boats chugged past with wives and girlfriends aboard for a day sunbathing at sea. I suppose I shouldn't be so surprised to have salt rubbed into my wounds at the sea side.

Tackle for the day was light and minimal. I had bought a sturdy 15 litre fermenting bucket which would act as a waterproof tackle box and a seat. It contained a small tackle tray of floats, shot, hooks and disgorger, a towel, a foam cushion, a camera, bait and a bottle of water. Everything for a simple, unhurried morning's fishing.

A 9 ft long and very light Mitchell spinning rod with an old Shimano Exage 2500 fixed spool reel loaded with 10 lbs nylon were pressed into use. I had considered other, longer rods, but to be honest my lure fishing has taught me the value of carrying tackle that is convenient rather than conventional or even more technically ideal. This set up is comfortable, well balanced and a pleasure to use. My float rod is heavier, more unwieldy but admittedly better for mending a long line. I settled for enjoyable as one always should no matter what the experts say.

I tied a stop knot on the line, slid on a quick-change float attachment carrying a two and a half swanshot crystal waggler and tied a tiny swivel on the end. To the other side of the swivel, I knotted a foot or so of 8lbs fluorocarbon armed with a forged barbless size 12 hook.

The rig was shotted to avoid tangles and get the bait down. One BB just above the swivel would counteract the buoyancy of the bait and act as a tell-tale. The bulk, 2 SSG were set about 13" further up, an inch or so more than the distance between the hook and the tell-tale. One more BB a little further above the bulk than the float was long, should and did reduce tangling on the cast. The stop knot could be pushed up if needed a foot or so every hour as the tide deepened and would enable me to fish deeper than the rod was long if necessary. It wasn't, I just stopped moving it when the depth reached nine feet. If anything, bites were better then as fish came up in the water to take the bait and then dived back to the bottom.

I was ready, but the tide wasn't quite. An hour watching the clear margins, occasionally lobbing out a squeezed handful of liquidised bread revealed the odd passing mullet and a lot of small fish twinkling in the sunlight. Every now and then the fry would scatter as a small bass swept through the shoals. It looked good and it looked even better once the water had covered the ground right up to the wall, as a couple of mullet ghosted onto view and began mopping up the floating breadcrumbs. For groundbait, I had bought three cheap, pappy white sliced loaves. Two and a half of them I had liquidised, and the rest of the slices were kept for hookbaits. Liquidised bread is perfect for mullet. No water is needed, just grab a handful, squeeze and throw it in. Minute particles go everywhere, swirling around in a big, fish - attracting cloud. Even if the swans and the gulls turn up, there is nothing for them to take.


 

Kingsmill bass

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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artificial lite.

A small piece of flake pinched on the hook bought bites straight away. Close to the wall or the bottom, a long slow bite invariably led to a blenny chuuging around on the end. Further out, the float would plunge down seemingly forever and a swift strike would see the rod slammed down if I was lucky and yet another half pound bass was skittering and jagging round in a big arc before being unceremoniously swung to hand once it had run out of steam. One or two of them had throats full of bread crumbs when I went unhook them.

 

Just once, when I struck, the tip hooped over and stayed there. A nice mullet rolled on the top and set off again. Unusually for a mullet it only ran once taking a few feet of line, but do you think it would give up? Not on your life. Time and time again it would see the net and roar off. Back it would come, off it would go, not taking any line, just until the rod brought it to the top and back to the net. It took forever to get in, but at 3-14, as big a mullet as I have ever caught. More importantly it is the first weighed fish of the new campaign.

I fished until one hour before high water, which was exactly as I had anticipated as the water then pushes the angler back from the wall here and makes fishing very difficult. Besides I was happy at that, three blennies, seventeen small bass and a nice mullet. What more could I ask for really. Everything had gone like clockwork today, just as everything had turned to rat shit yesterday. The shore campaign is underway and next Saturday should see me throwing lead at Wales from the English side of the Bristol channel. How exciting is that?