So due to a few reasons I haven’t been able to fish or indeed write as much as I would like but I have had a couple of trips out.
Towards the end of September I hit the beach I took Dan and Chris to, hoping again for rays. Conditions weren’t ideal but at least they were fishable. An easterly wind had knocked the swell right down and the water was looking very clear. I didn’t expect much action with the flat sea, not least from any small eyed rays, and if there were any around it was unlikely they would find the bait with the presence of doggies.
However when its calm there’s always a chance of a thornback so I stuck it out a bit longer than usual. As the tide was dropping fast I was wading as far as I could, and sticking to single sandeel to maximise casting distance. I noticed a small rattle which after 10 minutes or so developed into a slack liner. On reeling in though everything went light, and I found I had caught a whiting which had a couple of ‘chew’ marks on its side. One more cast it was, again at maximum range. The same thing happened, this time a good pull down and I could feel a bit of weight this time. It felt like ages reeling in due to the distance, I don’t know how people can fish at 150+ metres every cast in a session – spend more time reeling in than anything else! – but eventually the eyes appeared in the torch light and a reasonable thorny was flapping in the shallows.
Nearly two weeks ago now I returned to the same beach. I was very time limited, planning on 3 hours fishing max over what should be the most productive time. Despite being busy the lull in wind between the two storms was too good an opportunity to miss. On arriving to the beach I found a familiar face set up, it was Richard Butcher who I had seen here a few times over the last couple of years. After a catch up he said the weed had been especially bad, and that he was only casting occasionally to see if it had passed. Not the news I was hoping for but it was great to see him again and having made the effort I set up and got cast out.
Fortunately the weed had eased up by now, though the side currents and undertow made holding bottom a little tricky, even with 7oz weights. With the surf raging I thought there would be a chance of a bass before the rays came on the feed, but everything for the first couple of hours came back untouched. I carried on unfazed as “the window” was fast approaching and sure enough I saw what looked to be a bite, a stronger pull down followed by slack line. Striking in I felt the weight pull out of the sand and that horrible light feeling when there is no fish on the end. I cursed my luck before getting another bait out. Same again, only this time the line is lying virtually on the sand in front of me. I thought it could be the waves pulling the lead out but that would be a much more gradual easing of tension on the line.
I had just cast out a massive sandeel and squid wrap, that soon attracted another slack liner. I wound in as much slack as possible before ripping the rod back as hard as I dared so as not to miss another opportunity. It seemed to work, I could feel a good weight heading off to my right, using the undertow to take a few yards of line. Without rushing I soon had what I had gone for, a decent small eyed ray was on the beach. As my camera had ran out of battery Richard kindly took the photo and sent it over. I had hoped for more, but after two more casts the weed came back with a vengeance. On his last cast Richard also managed a ray. Both of us were happy to catch but given the timing of the session just after the first storm we thought we might have been in for a much more productive evening.
Since then I’ve had a couple of short lure session but nothing producing. I committed the sin of keeping my head torch on, looking out for signs of bass in the clear water but despite loads of bait fish, and some distant splashes there was nothing going nearby to raise the adrenaline. Thanks for reading, won’t be long till I can get out regularly again!