22/04/2019 - When in Rome.......

Sunday saw us down at friends in Exmouth yet again having driven the boy part of the way back to University. Work on Tuesday meant we had only planned a short stop, but there was more than enough time to factor in a quick fishing session, particularly as the conditions on Monday morning - warm, sunny weather and an early morning high tide - looked spot on. 

Unfortunately things didn't go quite to plan, as a late night and more than a few drinks meant our early start went out the window and we didn't get down to the marina until just before slack water. At least the brisk walk served to clear our heads a bit! Setting up on the "compass", my friend Simon and I started off dropping our baited rigs down amongst the rocks to see what was about. About half an hour later and with just two, fat shannies to show for our efforts, we were ready for a move onto the dock. The tide had already started ebbing and running along the dock wall, but I spotted a small, sheltered area of slack water and duly dropped my rig down to the bottom. Literally 10 seconds later the tip wrenched over and after a short, but intense, scrap I scooped a beautifully marked ballan wrasse into the landing net. 

Next cast resulted in another, slightly smaller specimen, so I encouraged Simon to drop his rig into the same spot while I sorted the fish out in the net. I just about had time to unhook it and drop it back in before he announced that he was also into a fish! 

We carried on in this vein for about the next 20 minutes, taking turns in the "wrasse hole" and catching several more ballans in a range of colours and sizes, including a double hook-up to Simon that looked like peas in a pod. Eventually, as the ebb picked up, our little patch of slack water disappeared along with the fish, so we moved on to the next spot at the boat ramp hoping for some pollack. It took a few casts to find them, but they were soon throwing themselves at our artificial baits. 

Our dear lady wives turned up at this point and with thoughts turning to a much-needed cup of coffee and some food, we had a last couple of casts each. I hadn't bothered to change my two hook mini-flapper rig I'd been using for the wrasse and consequently managed to end on a high with two double hook ups, consisting of three pollack and a coalfish, dispelling our wives' theory that we were just catching the same single fish over and over again! Walked back along the front looking for some low water spots to try next time, stopping at Abi's for a quick brunch. Five hours later, after multiple delays on the M5, we were back in Nottingham and getting ready for work! 

13/04/2019 - Time for reflection and a bit of fishing

This week we had a family gathering down in Pembrokeshire to coincide with what would have been my dad's 80th birthday and to re-visit a place that held many happy memories for us - Bosherston Lily Ponds. 

Fishing of some description was always going to be on the agenda while we were here, so early on Monday morning I dragged my lad out of bed to catch slack water at Hobbs Point, stopping off at Tesco at Pembroke Dock to grab some raw prawns for bait. Dropping a mini-two hook flapper down the side of the wall he had a small pollack before I'd tackled up the second rod. Our fishing window was only short due to the tides, but when it started to ebb less than an hour later, we'd had a couple more pollack and several greedy rock gobies between us. 

The following day the family all headed down to the "grassy bridge" at Bosherston, the scene of many autumn pike fishing expeditions during the late 70's and 80's, when a small part of Pembrokeshire would be temporarily annexed by a load of Brummies!

Despite our initial ineptitude and crude tackle, we always caught lots of pike up to mid-doubles, together with the occasional big eel that ended up in the frying pan (different times). There were bigger specimens there without doubt, including a high twenty that went home with it's captor in a black bin bag after he'd come and scabbed some roach off us for livebaits. However, they managed to elude us despite our tackle and methods becoming more refined over the years. 

As I've mentioned before in a previous post, I don't remember dad actually doing much fishing himself. Instead he'd be tackling and baiting everybody else up, dealing with the inevitable tangles, brewing tea, making bacon butties and then packing and tidying up. However, that was him all over - as happy helping as doing.

Bosherston nowadays is probably better known for the photogenic qualities of its resident population of otters than its fishing, but it was a fitting place to pause, reflect and remember. 

The next morning my brother, my lad and I headed up to the North coast to Fishguard for a boys' fishing trip. Set up at the end of the inner breakwater to fish the two hours up to high tide. Had taken a variety of kit, including the LRF rods but, as it was quite windy and very weedy close in, we settled on taking turns with the bait rods. Choice of bait at the local garage had been limited to frozen squid or mackerel, so a pulley pennel rig was baited up with a squid/mackerel wrap and a two hook flapper baited with squid and mackerel strips. 

The rod with the pennel rig on had only been out a couple of minutes when there was good pull down and a slack line bite, resulting in a small dogfish for the lad. Before I'd had chance to re-bait, the other rod started nodding away and was eagerly jumped on by my brother. Unfortunately for him, this turned out to be a small whiting instead! Luckily there were a few more fish about, so I was kept busy re-baiting for my "clients". By the time it got to slack water, we'd all had a couple of doggies each, with a few whiting thrown in for good measure. 

Main thing was that we'd spent some quality time together and had a few laughs. Hopefully there'll be many more to come.