13/2/18

So the weather is doing its best lately to clobber most of my fishing plans, and when its not the weather, its the forecasts making conditions out to be a lot worse than they actually are!

Previous to Tuesday I headed out with the intention of trying for codling on the north coast. The forecast was for the wind to veer round to north easterly, therefore making the west coast fishable, but still with a reasonable surf. At least its more comfortable with the wind on your back than in your face. However after driving between two marks and managing a single cast it was obvious that the change in wind had knocked the surf right off, definitely not what I hoped for! I decided to go back to my original plan and headed up north as at least I would still get a couple of hours over high tide. With the wind and the surf coming onto the beach it wasn’t the easiest of sessions but at least I could get a line out and I felt more optimistic about catching. The codling didn’t show but the rods were kept busy with whiting, regularly coming in as doubles. After all the driving I was more than happy just to be out and catching something!

Onto Tuesday! Again the weather was causing havoc with the planning! Eventually I settled on having a flattie bash around the Straits, before moving to the east coast out of the forecast wind to try for conger. I dug a decent amount of lugworm the day before but unfortunately I didn’t get hold of any ragworm before my session. I prefer to have both, incase the fish aren’t interested in one on the day.

I wasn’t going to let that stop me though, so I made my way to the mark. The wind dropped for the 2 or 3 hours I was in the Straits and the water in front of me was like a mill pond. With sporadic sunshine it finally felt like spring was just around the corner. As I got set up I noticed an empty crab shell and a quick rummage around the seaweed I managed to find two peeler crab. They are like gold dust this time of year so they went in the bucket and all of a sudden my optimism lifted. In the end I threw all manner of baits and rigs in various combinations out and had just a single pull down on a piece of fresh crab.

With no sign of any flatties as the tide increased I stuck on a single big piece of crab as a last throw of the dice. It didn’t take long to attract interest but it took a couple of minutes of small knocks before I got the solid thump I was waiting for. A tentative fight began, the fish pretty sluggish in the cold water combined with me being very gentle so not to lose it, but I had the upper had with it soon on the surface. It was safely on dry land now, the first proper bass of the year. Not a monster by any stretch but at about 2 and a 1/2 pounds it was bigger than any bass I’ve caught this early in the years previous. A couple of photos and it was away again. I had a second last cast with just lugworm and as I thought there was not interest in it, some marks only crab will do and this is one of them.

The East coast was beckoning, so after a quick stop at the takeaway I rolled up to the second mark of the day, where hopefully I would be free of lobster pots unlike last time. Despite looking promising there was very little happening, baits were being ravaged every cast and as the tide run picked up I discovered the culprits were pin whiting. Big or small baits, long or short casts nothing more toothy could be tempted out for dinner. Again I feel the forecasts did me out of going to a more productive mark, with the scheduled 20mph or so winds not feeling anything like that while I was out on the rocks. Still, it gives me a feel of what it would be like, and should those winds be forecast again, I  can make a better judgement of where to fish.

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