So I haven’t blogged in a couple of months, partly because of a lack of time, partly because there hasn’t been much to write about. In those months we’ve had the beast from the east, which seemed to kill the fishing at the usual marks for this time of year. Post beast I was looking forward to a bonanza but the water temperatures have been slow to pick up, but there has been some excellent ray fishing for those that have been able to time it right and get on the marks when the wind and swell have allowed.
I managed 1 thornback in that time, but most of my sessions recently have been geared towards bagging an early spotted ray, bass on the lures or finding suitable conger marks. Needless to say those missions have been pretty fruitless though I feel I have learnt a great deal about marks I thought I already knew.
I took a couple of weeks off to tie rigs and prepare for a client session at the weekend just gone. Kyle and Ben were after bass and I was confident I would be able to get them amongst the fish, the question was whether they would be the size I was hoping for. The week before I spent several tides out looking for precious peeler, eventually getting around 20, though most were softies that I froze down to keep them in the best condition. We arrived at the mark in good time, the plan to target flatfish for the first hour and a half before going hard for the bass on the flood. Surprisingly Kyle had a decent bite on his second cast and a schoolie was soon on the beach. Things went pretty quiet for the next couple of hours so I covered a few marks near to where the guys stay on the island. Frustratingly the time I thought we would get the bigger bass came and went
with no interest but as the tide pushed the smaller schoolies came back on the feed. While nothing was over 1/2 lb the guys had plenty of bites for the last hour and by which point were used to baiting up crab, the key bait as we move towards summer.
Tuesday just gone there was a little break in the wind so it was time to make the most of it and get back on the rays. I was sceptical how many would be around but it was a case of get out, catch and get home again, size and number didn’t really matter. It was a long day, covering two marks. the first of which bites were hard to come by but changing up the rigs, baits and distance I managed to tempt a few whiting before a dab and a bonus plaice added variety.
Onto mark number two! I got there early enough to secure a decent ledge but I took it steady to begin with, fishing just one rod in an effort to conserve my limited sandeel bait supply. The flapper rigs were bringing in double and trebles of whiting and doggies, and after having a whiting savaged on the hook it went straight back out, resulting in a decent bull huss. As night fell I switched up a gear going two rods out for rays at the best time of the tide. Two guys came and set up above me and just as they did I had a good slack liner. I could feel the “kite like” resistance of a ray and sure enough with not too much fuss a small thornback popped out of the swell.
The doggies were causing a nuisance by this point, and I though it was another one, only staying deep. As it turned out it was a bonus spotted ray. I though I might get one at my first mark but to get it on the species count early was a big plus. I missed a couple of decent slack liners which it unusual for me but happy with getting my targets and kicking off the species hunt competition I packed in. The forecast wind had started to increase and while the swell was manageable white caps on the waves were beginning to form. Not a manic days fishing but good variety and happy to be back amongst the fish!