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In the meantime, we had another visit booked aboard the Spirit of Arun. An opportunity, if the weather would only let me, to try out the brand new Daiwa Kenzaki 12-20 lbs boat rod that I had bought in a burst of enthusiasm after the last successful trip. Two months ago, we had fished half mackerel on flowing traces and 8/0 hooks to catch tope and undulate rays. We hadn't set out to fish like this, but the skipper, Neil French had clearly been having some success at this mark with other crews and with less than clear water felt that we should save the lures for later in the tide. I enjoyed it enormously, but for the first time ever, my light rods were found wanting.

I had been using two of my freshwater baitcasting rods. The lighter 30gm one was fine with lead and lures up to 3oz, it still is. On this occasion however my heavier 60 gm one failed spectacularly. My two best fish, both around eight pounds or so were easily and excitingly dealt with whilst fighting, but the moment that ray gave up and hung in the tide, it all changed. My rod had nothing left and I was left trying to wind in a mattress against a heavy current. You may think that the reel would do the job once the rod was beaten out of the equation, but it doesn't work like that in practice. It was frankly embarrassing and was torturing the rod beyond reasonable limits. I landed the ray/mattress, but until it was in the net, a broken rod, line or reel were but a stressful moment away. I scoured the internet as usual and bought the kenzaki.

First chance to use it would be at the start of august, but the weather forecast shouted us down. Too windy it was still screaming late on the evening before. Neil, quite reasonably cancelled. Next morning, the weather forecast, shamefacedly announced that it wouldn't be windy after all. Another day wasted, or rather lost. We are used to this, we book more days than we ever get out on and the next one was today. Very little wind it said. We were ecstatic and I couldn't sleep the night before. No wind, new rod, bait in the cool box. What could go wrong?

We met at 5.30 am by the boat, in the dark, in the pouring rain and motored out, over the bar with inches to spare and into a very rough and turbulent sea. First mark on the corner of the reef had been producing the odd cod, big bass and potentially held conger as well. Down went the baits and immediately the tips were pulling round. It took just five minutes to christen the rod even if it was 'just' a dogfish. It was another five minutes before the wind that was not predicted was dragging the anchor hopelessly. As we moved away from the corner, the bites disappeared.

Neil knows his stuff. He moved us onto harder ground where the anchor would and did hold much better. Big mackerel baits just never produced here though and it was small strips of squid and mackerel that produced the fish. Mostly they were lovely hard fighting black bream with a few pout thrown for good measure. The weather however did not let up all day. We got soaked and being hurled randomly around the boat made the fishing difficult and frankly unpleasant. I caught four species, wrasse, pout, bream and dogfish, so I have no complaints but by the afternoon I felt like death itself and just wanted to get off the boat. I wasn't sick but I certainly felt ill.

Herein lie the lessons for today. You have to go a lot for the good days to even get close to the bad ones. Sea fishing is expensive if you can't get your own fresh bait and you lose a lot of gear. It is even dearer from a boat, so turning up with inadequate gear is in itself a waste of money. Foul weather will make or break the day depending on how you cope with it. Big fish like rough ground, so weak links and cheap leads need more investigating. Frozen bait is soft. Effective, but hard to manage both in its keeping snd transportation, and in the way it is presented. Every new piece of bait garnered instant interest, but was most often, stripped off the hooks with no fish hooked or reduced to small ball of snot masking the hook point. A tedious problem among the small fish shoals. It is also pretty revolting and both the sight and the smell of it is torture to a stomach already in turmoil.

The irony of seasickness is that it is not an illness. Two minutes on shore and it is just a memory. Hopefully my next trip out will be more pleasant. I am going to fish bread in the estuary tomorrow for mullet.
 

 

When tomorrow comes

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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