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Remembering why

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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With rods already assembled, it was the work of minutes to clip on the rigs, wind on some bait and chuck them both out. Mackerel on the left hand rod, a squid and frozen lug cocktail on the right. Sit down, a cup of coffee, and watch the sun rise gloriously across the marsh land. Small groups of shelduck flew across from the mud, lit golden by the light of dawn and trees protruded in ghostly form through the remaining mists. In the distance, a mushroom cloud of steam rose straight up from the industrial side of Bristol before breathing gently inland. Even when it turned and was blown back out into the channel later on, the waves still never grew to more than a few inches in height. It was a glorious Remembrance day. A day of true peace and tranquility on which to remember the turmoil, horror and suffering of unimaginably hideous times.

 

 

This was my third visit to this mark, both previous times it had produced a couple of bites and one or two fish. Today for two hours on the falling tide and one full hour up the flood, one or other of the rods was rattling away as my hooks were methodically stripped. Can crabs really pull the tip down three or four inches? I doubt it. They had to be fish, but do you think I could hook one. Not a hope. If I left them the bites just petered out as the bait disappeared. If I struck there was nothing there. It was immensely frustrating.

I had pulley pennels armed with 4/0 kamasan 940s on both rods, sticking out for the better fish, in theory, but in the end I resorted to a two hook flapper with smaller baits on one of them. I never had a touch on it. I lowered the rods to get the bait more definitely on the bottom, I cast short, I cast long. Nothing made any difference and I blanked. Unless, that is, you count the single crab that hung on until it hit the beach whereupon it let go and legged it back into the water. Can crabs really pull the tip down three or four inches? I only ask again because I am beginning to wonder.

Three down, three up, six hours gone in frustrating instant with nothing to show for it and yet as I looked back down from the top of the cliff at the seagulls clearing up my surplus bait, across the channel at a gloriously sunlit Cardiff and up channel to a gleaming Severn crossing I was already looking forward to my next visit.

I was very happy today. So many tackle refinements worked well. I had no casting issues now that I have thirty pound braid loaded on both distinctly under-filled spools. It was a great improvement if you don't count my senior moment when I somehow contrived to power out a six ounce lead with the bail arm closed and the anti reverse off! I really thought that I might have broken a couple of fingers for a while and they are truly stiff and painful this morning.

Making the snoods replaceable was neat, effective and far more tackle-efficient although I shall try smaller fittings in future. A deep plastic tray carrying all my baiting up bits and pieces meant that I could follow the tide down and up the beach much more easily than I could with knives, scissors and elastic scattered all around. It might even mean that I don’t lose a baiting needle every time I go as well.

I might have blanked, but today was another beautiful, fascinating day on the Bristol channel. I am well aware that being able to gloriously fritter my life away trying to catch a few fish is a luxury that I haven’t earned myself and that makes me eternally grateful to those who did at such a terrible cost.

To most people a day like this would be a day wasted, but I don't see it that way. The tides were less convenient for sure. Low water was at ten in the morning, three hours fishing before and three hours to get there, plus thirty minutes to crawl from duvet to steering wheel, meant a three thirty am start. I am no great fan of driving in the dark, but on empty roads it wasn't too bad. As I crested the final hill on the motorway, a thick sea mist was lying at the bottom of the valley below. Weaving my way through tiny lanes, in and out of the mist was pretty eerie but in the car park, as dawn dawned, the daylight lit the landscape around most beautifully. Trees and hedges emerged through the fog and a cold, clear sky promised a glorious autumn day ahead. It was a promise kept.

At this happy stage in my shore angling adventure, I am still refining and improving everything from technique to tackle and today I made some more progress. Even before I started fishing, things were noticeably better. A cheap old kneeling mat cable-tied across the bottom of the carrying frame completely eliminated the pain of the box digging into my back. I could have comfortably walked miles carrying it today, especially as I had lightened the load considerably by reducing the contents. Gone was the tackle tray containing every clip and hook I owned. Instead I had just built enough rigs and snoods to last the session. More importantly I had drastically reduced the contents of my box of leads. It really doesn't take many 6 oz leads to break the camel’s back but until you have fished somewhere new at least a couple of times there is no way of knowing how many you might lose or which ones will hold bottom.

As I scrambled down the cliff, it was obvious that I would already be able to fish comfortably. When I first came here I’d had to wait another hour into the fall before I could see where the rocks ended. Another one of the benefits of having even the slightest experience of a new mark.

 

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