Saturday just gone I had a couple of guests, Dan and Chris, who had booked in a session a few weeks ago. In an effort to give them as much preparation time as possible I was keeping close watch on the weather forecast which would likely have the deciding factor where we would fish. Unfortunately due to the storm activity in the Atlantic, the weekend forecast was changing pretty much by the hour. There were several possibilities but in the end I opted for Cymyran, as the building wind and waves would possibly bring us a few schoolies and an early ray. Both guys were experienced all round fishermen, however with sea fishing they had fished mostly the same places and caught mostly the same species. The plan here being to take them to a new mark, and try for a different species.
We met at the beach late afternoon. I was still unsure about fishing here until popping my head over the top I could see a decent area of breaking waves, but not so far out that they would have trouble casting. As an added bonus the wind was coming straight onto the beach and was definitely not as bad as expected. Once suited and booted we headed off down the beach.
Both were well prepared for the session, having tied up plenty of pulley and up and over rigs which are my preference to use when fishing for rays. To start with they fished one each for rays, and I recommended having one flapper out to try and tempt any schoolies or flatties which given the surf should have been running close inshore. As darkness came on we would swap to fishing big sandeel or crab baits for rays, bass and occasional smoothound that run the beach.
It wasn’t long after first casts were made and Chris was scrambling back to his rod. Waiting a few seconds before striking it was clear that the fish had made good its escape with a chunk of squid. A few minutes into the next cast and he had another obvious bite that we all saw. It was slightly tense on reeling in, the fish didn’t appear to be on again, the only sensation being the grip lead bouncing along the sand ripples. As his leader knot appeared it was a relief to see small splashing in the shallows, and he lifted up a little schoolie bass. With neither of the guys having caught a bass before I was chuffed that was the first fish of the evening.
With that I thought there would have been a few more schoolies out there, so keep the guys using flapper rigs a bit longer but no more fish obliged. As night fell, if we were going to get a ray this would be the window, so both Dan and Chris swapped both rods back onto pulley and up and over rigs using mostly double sandeel, and using the occasional softie crab to maximise our chances.
Sadly no more fish showed. The wind increased and started coming across us which might have hampered casting distance and we simply weren’t able to reach the fish, or they simply weren’t there. I think it was a case of the latter, as with the range of baits and rigs cast out they had covered almost all bases, and wading out certainly helped gain valuable yards on the cast. With no obvious signs of movement and the weather now uncomfortable the guys made the decision of making last casts before the long drive back for them. They had a great time, the aim was always to take them to a new mark and try a different way of fishing but I couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed that no more fish turned up. However they can take the knowledge away, and if they fish the same mark the same way in a couple of weeks they might bag up on rays.
The evening conditions were a complete contrast to the morning, I finished a night shift at 8am and with the lures already in the car I set off to explore a new area of the coast. While chucking the lures around I spotted a decent wrasse swimming around the boulders almost at my feet. The only option I had was to freeline a couple of limpets into a hole and it didn’t take long before the line tightened. It was a good fish, and clearly the water was a reasonable depth under the boulder but after 3 or 4 dives it was under control and posing for a photo.
Next up is another guest tomorrow for some lure fishing this time, so plenty of exploring today and tomorrow morning, the weather again making things tricky