15/05/2016 - Light fun and game(s), Ilfracombe

Down in Saunton this weekend, supposedly for a lad's surfing weekend but, whilst the weather was fantastic, the surf conditions were poor. Luckily, I had thrown in some fishing tackle to cope with this eventuality, so Sunday saw us making the short trip up to Ilfracombe. Arrived early and on mid-tide. Wandered down under the gaze of Verity onto the pier. A quick chat with a couple of other anglers revealed nothing much had been caught and that we'd have about an hour and a half before the tide covered the lower level that we were stood on. Everybody else fishing seemed to blasting out bottom baits into the bay or float fishing, but again some distance from the pier. Nobody was fishing down the side as I had planned to do. Set the first rod up with a "one up, one down" scratching rig baited with scraps of ragworm from Purrfect Pets in Braunton and handed it to Rob. I'd not even set up the second rod before he announced that he'd got a fish on, promptly swinging in a little ballan wrasse. The appearance of a fish resulted in a sudden interest from the rest of the lads and, instead of fishing myself as planned, I found myself setting up and handing out the rods, sorting out snags and tangles and re-baiting for Rob as he caught a succession of small wrasse. It was worse than fishing with kids!

The sea was just starting to flood over the top of the deck when I managed to get hold of a rod for any length of time. Had a determined rattle on the rod top and lifted into a fish that, after a quick check on Google images, turned out to be a pretty, female corkwing wrasse, which was a first for me. We were risking wet feet now, so moved up onto the upper level at the back of the Lundy Island ferry.

Rob was back on one of the rods now and carried on winkling out little wrasse. However, it was Adam who, despite living in Cornwall most of his adult life, had never picked up a rod before that soon had something a bit more interesting in the shape of an LRF angler's favourite - a little, fat long-spined sea scorpion.   

                                                                                                                    This was soon followed by a slightly larger one, both of which generated some interest with not only passing holidaymakers, but also with our fishing neighbours, who were quick to change tactics and drop a rig down the side. However, it was approaching high tide now and bites seemed to be slowing down. To be honest, whilst we had caught a few fish between us, I had been expecting it to be a bit more prolific than it was. I was also a bit surprised that we'd not seen more fish in the clear water of the harbour apart from a small shoal of bait fish swimming around under the bow of the ferry and the only other successful angler was a chap and his son returning from a reef trip with a carrier bag full of pollock. While Rob went off and found a toilet I had a drop right down close to the wall, which resulted in the last fish of the day and another first for me -  a common blenny, or shanny.

Handed the rod back to Rob upon his return, but there was no more interest in the baits and a snagged and lost rig brought the session to a natural end. Packed up and headed for ice creams like the big kids we are!

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