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September 2013 - A time and a plaice

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From the water’s edge

 

 

I can’t believe our luck this year. Two trips booked and we got to sea on both of them and despite the bass being notable by their absence relative to our first visits a couple of years back, we caught plenty of fish.

It was an early start due to the tides and 7am saw us heading out to the rocks where Neil had located and caught plenty of bass on recent outings. Sadly today despite seeing plenty on the sounder they just weren’t playing ball. With the tide fading Neil suggested we would be better employed over the mussel beds where plaice abound, before returning to this mark once the tide was racing back in. As always it was the right decision and after a shaky start, the fish began coming aboard thick and fast.

Neil’s immeasurably better half, Mick, (that doesn’t look quite so good on paper does it?) was out with us today and started catching quality plaice immediately on the dreaded black snot.

One of the hardest things for a lure angler (me) who lives half a mile from the geographical dead centre of England is that there is never enough time to come to any solid conclusions about which lures are likely to be effective and ways to make less effective ones work better.

Anyone who is not a fanatical lure angler can never understand why when we are struggling, we don’t just resort to bait, but that misses the whole point of the exercise for me. Fishing is fundamentally dead easy. You hide your hook in their food and when they eat it you wind them in, which is fine. But once you have started catching plenty of fish like this, where is the challenge? What is there to discover? If numbers are the only object of the venture, then we might as well trawl nets for them or put out some long-lines and come back tomorrow to collect the results.

I guess we all have an innate fear of being outwitted by a fish. Trust me, you get used to it.

Now I have my excuses out of the way, I shall admit that Sharkey and I who fished lures all day were the numpties of the day.

Even so, I had 7 nice plaice on strawberry flavoured plastic ragworm. No idea why, but I struggled to get them to take anything else. Tim and Wadey split their day rather astutely by using bait on the point and lures on the dropper. I guess that is swinging both ways for you. They both caught on both so it was effective. Tim was top dog as usual with a load of really good quality plaice and gurnard. He is becoming a gurnard specialist it seems having caught a couple last time. These three were caught 2 on bait, and one on a yellow plastic ragworm on the dropper. Wadey has turned his attentions to catching pouting on lures and had three on dropshot /fluke type baits.  

If there is one bit of kit that no lure angler should go to sea without, I reckon it is clips. I had them all over my rigs today. I hate re tackling every time I want top try something different, so I had a standard nylon leader tied directly to my braid with a genie clip on the end to which I just clipped my jigs and stingers as usual. Then I had some dropshot rigs to hand to replace the lure with when I wanted to fish small lures that couldn’t carry enough weight. By having another clip at the end of that I could change weights or add a stinger to the end so that I was fishing with a point lure and dropper. And when we hit the plaice grounds, I lazily clipped two hookless stingers ( as weight) on the end along with a short trace carrying the plastic ragworms. Sounds complicated but I could chop and change between three methods in a second and did so to some effect all day long. It was a fairly heavy sea today and I can’t say that I find re tying clips all that easy when I can’t stand up without thinking about it. That’s a man problem of course not being able to do two things at once.

 

As the tide started moving faster, we were all keen to get back to the bass and our baits and leads were all replaced with stingers and more mobile lures. We had hardly started the second drift when Neil came over all excitable. “Get your lures down back down there quickly, I can see them chasing them up on the finder”. Bang - Tim was in and suddenly it was manic. Tim hooked a second on the dropper so he was playing two, Mick was in, Wadey was in and even I had one on. Fish were bouncing around in the bucket and baits were back over the side in short order, but as quickly as it started, it stopped and despite fishing for another hour or more it never happened again.

In that frantic, two minute window of opportunity we had seven nice bass around two to three pounds. It rounded the day off quite nicely and was as pretty a demonstration of a predatorial frenzy as you could hope for.

We need to book more dates. I love fishing on Neil’s boat, The banter is good and we have a skipper that will work his socks off all day for us finding and showing us loads of fish. He even lets us put back what we don’t want. It is most often us that lets him down by not doing what he suggests, but thanks to his intimate knowledge of the marks around Littlehampton, we always have something new to try which is what drives us all on. Time to throw all those dead lures out now and put some new ones in to play with.

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