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Over the last fifty years, I've tried and become moderately proficient at every kind of angling available to the UK angler with just two exceptions, salmon and sea fishing. Salmon fishing appears pointless to me. Perhaps unfathomable might be a fairer definition, but they don't feed in freshwater and that gives somebody of my limited intellectual abilities no chance of working out the problems associated with catching them. I am getting on a bit now and trying to foul hook, albeit in the mouth, a fish that is scrabbling desperately to climb back up the ever-steepening greasy slope of extinction is just too sad and unpredictable for me. I've met and known a very few salmon anglers in my time, and only one of those demonstrated enough knowledge or understanding of the fish and their behaviour, or even of fishing in general to change my opinion. Salmon fishing seems to attract a lot of people whose only ambition is to be able to tell everybody that they are going salmon fishing.

 


 

 

 

Why on earth?

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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I am a lure angler these days. I love it, and week in and week out, Pete and I set out to bamboozle Warwickshire's perch and zander with our tiny plastic and metal baits. I flatter myself that we have become pretty good at it, but lately, I have begun to feel that we have solved too many of the problems. Obviously we don't have all the answers, just most of them. Enough at any rate to restrict ourselves to two or three blanks a year at most. It is undeniably a happy state of affairs and we will continue to get out there and enjoy it as long as we can still operate a rod and line. But, and it is a big but, I am only human and human's cannot stop wanting. They want something else to buy (which is due to societal conditioning), but more importantly, they are genetically engineered to seek challenges and solutions. They, we, I, am never happy treading water for very long.
 

Ironically, given that it is going to involve the dirtiest, slimiest, and smelliest of baits, it is lure fishing that has set me off on this next leg of my lifetime's angling odyssey. A few years back, Sharkey suggested we book a charter boat out of Littlehampton. We could both blag free lodgings in the area and better still there were plenty of bass around there as well. We would and did take our canal gear to sea, lure fishing over the kingmere reef. And with some success I have to say. In those early days, my bass PB sailed serenely up from zero, through three, five and seven pounds coming to rest at an honourable nine, happy days.

All was not quite as comfortable as that boast makes it seem however. Given that pretty much all sea fish are predatory, lures were less effective than we had expected. With Tim Kelly and Steve Wade making up our regular team we were a happy crew and the species count for artificials has mounted over the intervening few years. Pout, whiting, bass, dab, plaice, pollack, gurnard, mackerel, bream, all succumbed but sport was slower than expected. On really tough days, Neil French would press us to use bait. We would and caught more fish. Cod, dogfish and tope were added to the list, but it was my first undulate ray that upset the apple cart.

On our last trip out, we deliberately targeted rays and tope using half mackerel on unsophisticated running leger rigs. I managed to catch both to around the eight pound mark, but while my 60 gram pike spinning rod coped well enough with both fish fighting up in the water, my tackle fell short in one department. The rod ran completely out of steam once the ray was beaten and hanging in the tide. It took forever to tease it up against the very strong currents once it hit the surface and for the first time in my life I really struggling just to wind a beaten fish in.
 

Truth be told, lure fishing in the sea is great fun when the fish are taking, and for short sessions when the fishing is harder, but it can turn into a chore when things are dead slow. I find it very frustrating that what we try to salvage a difficult day is out of my hands. Relying on a skipper who doesn't share your attitude and approach to move the boat to a fresh mark leaves one helpless when things aren't working. This combination of bait fishing for big fish when the tide is less suitable and shorter drifts with lures when conditions are right was most pleasant and I wobbled back onto shore determined to get a proper boat rod and tackle up for the job.

Of course having spent the money, the next trip was blown off by strong winds that as they so often do sprang up for just the one day, the next trip was cancelled. The ensuing grief involved in letting people know whether or not I would be making the four hour drive South was unfair on all involved, but my blood was up now and a solution was needed to eliminate the dithering and disappointment. I resolved that in future I would travel regardless of weather. If we never left port, I would fish the harbour with bread for mullet or maybe buy a beach rod and try for a flounder or two.

Back onto youtube then and this time check out flounder fishing. The Totally Awesome Fishing show was the one channel that kept popping to the top whatever I typed in. Thank you Graham Pullen for an entertaining mix of honesty, lunacy and practical help that has inspired the total meltdown of both wallet and reason. In future if the wind was keeping me onshore, I would fish for mullet or from the beach, even if it was for dabs and whiting. Thanks for giving me something new for me to obsess about. Oh and my partner says you're a ****ing nuisance and you owe the family budget several hundred pounds already. And, I haven't even wet a line yet.