Out on the ocean wave — SIB Fishing — well not really, being a bit on the cautious side of things I waited for a nice calm day and there was hardly a wave worth talking about.
There was however plenty of fishing and other goings on that are worth talking about.
I’ve taken a little inspiration recently and a shot of new enthusiasm for my fishing by having a read of this great blog by Scott Huchison called Something Fishy Going On
Scott first contacted me back in 2012 when I was doing my first species hunt, as I had caught Bitterling and Pumpkinseeds and he was keen to find out where he could catch them and what methods worked best. Scott has carried on his species hunting now has a really impressive tally from both UK and overseas…. well worth having a read through his blog …. you will never go on holiday without a rod again i promise you.
Anyway back to recent events … As I’ve said before I’m livening up my fishing by restarting my fishing list and starting again from scratch. This means I get the great fun of catching new and old species again, and scratching them off a list (ahhh…. simple pleasures)… Here is a link to my latest up to date list which shows the species I am targeting and when and where I’ve caught them. The list is for UK waters only.. I might start up a new list for “holiday fish” when I get round to it.
So, now my target species include both freshwater and salt species I have the great excuse to get out on the briny again.
I’ve had a small SIB for quite a few years. A SIB is a soft Inflatable Boat that can be rolled up and stored in a bag when not in use – as opposed to RIB – rigid inflatable boat – which has a rigid hull and can’t be easily transported or stored.
I bought the SIB to use for maintenance work on club ponds. I’ve only ever taken it out on salt water once before, and that experience put me off a bit, as my boat partner for the day discovered he suffered from sea sickness about 10 minutes into the trip which then had to be aborted. The boat is also quite heavy to handle, and carrying the boat and engine across a soft sand and shingle beach proved to be very hard work, knackering actually.
So after a gap of 12 months of not using the boat on sea I decided to have another try with a different fishing partner last weekend. And after a bit of “Facebook research” I discovered that by adding detachable wheels to the back of the boat I could move it from car boot to sea much more easily, and also discovered a number of easily accessible free to use slipways which put an end to trudging across soft shingle and sand dunes to access the sea.
Anyway – we set off at 4pm and with a high tide expected at 7.15pm we agreed to fish until 9pm so that the tide would still be close to the slipway and save us dragging the boat up across the flat soft sands.
As this was a second attempt at a first fishing trip, we set our sights quite low, going no more than 1km off shore before dropping anchor.
We had all the appropriate safety kit, life jackets, hand-held VHF radio, and a mate who was fishing on the beach who could keep us in sight all the time just in case something bad happened.
As it happened, we heard on the radio whilst driving to Cleveleys that a fishing boat had sunk earlier that morning with two angler rescued and another lost presumed drowned. As these tragic events had only taken place a few hours earlier less than 5 miles away it didn’t take long before we had an overhead visit from the coastguard rescue helicopter and an RNLI fast boat just checking that we were OK. A quick chat on the VHF radio, the sight of our anchor, life jackets etc they soon left us in peace to continue our day. Very sad that someone has lost their life in pursuit of a few fish, my heart goes out to the mans family.
Anyway – about 4.15pm we dropped anchor and our lines went over the side.
Andy my fishing partner for the day dropped a string of feathers over the back of the boat whilst I was fiddling about baiting up a simple two hook flapper rig with black lugworm. He had a couple of rattles but they came to nothing.
I dropped my line down and was immediately aware that there was quite a strong tidal flow from right to left, and that i needed to increase the weight of lead I was using from 2 to 4oz in order to hold bottom. Weights changed I immediately hooked into a double of dabs. A species I’ve caught many times before but not in the last few months so they were of course very much welcomed as a new tick on my list. As was the inevitable dog fish that followed.
By now I was catching a fish a dab or a dog a chuck on the two hook flapper rig, but Andy had got bored of the small stuff and had baited up another rod with big raw freshwater prawns. It didn’t take more than 10 minutes before he had a solid take, and he hooked into something that started to take plenty of line off his reel. After a short sharp hard scrap a lovely Smooth Hound was boated, and I started to think about trying out a different technique to see if I could catch something bigger too.
So I set up another rod with a running ledger, a 5oz weight and a whole squid pennel rigged – maybe catch a ray, a bass or a hound.
Just like Andy a short time earlier, I cast down tide and to one side of the boat, and I could feel the lead bouncing across the hard sandy sea bed. Then tap tap bang, my rod tip slammed over and I hooked into a fish that set off like an express train. Thankfully, hooks, knots, line all held together and I soon boated this lovely Smooth Hound. My first ever hound – so a totally new fish species for me and I was thrilled.
We both fished big baits on Pennel Rigs until the bites started to dry up at high tide. Andy lost count of how many he caught between 5lb and 9lb. I had 4 of them to about 6lb on squid. Most of Andys fish were larger than mine and fell to whole raw large freshwater prawn or peeler crab baits.
I’m a bit mean when it comes to sea fishing baits, I think bait prices are extortionate especially peeler crabs which go for £1 each. So it really made me laugh when Andy said he was going to go for a double figure fish and lashed 3 crabs to a big hook, only to get a bite and then reel in a Dab on the end …. £3 for a Dab? It certainly made me chuckle.
As all this was going on…. I hooked into what I thought was at first a big dog fish – however as I got it closer to the side of the boat I realised I’d caught my first ever Tope. Not the biggest of Tope by any stretch of the imagination at only 2ft long, but a Tope is a Tope and it was a shark with teeth!
Wow — what a great day we were having… catching far more fish than if we had been standing on the beach with our beach casters (Phil who had remained ashore had only caught a single solitary Plaice – and no other bites)
However once the tide turned at 7pm, and the tidal flow from right to left slowed down, so did the bites from the larger fish. Andy persisted and had a couple more dog fish and hounds, but I switched back to the lugworm and two hook flapper rig and immediately started to catch Dabs, Whiting and Dogfish again
It was great fun, but with as the sun started to set, and the tide uncovered the base of the slipway we headed back home Happy, smelly and exhausted.
What a great afternoons fishing…. I’m getting to quite like sea fishing.
I’ve had a look at the tide times and heights for next weekend – and there are going to be a few really high and low tides on Friday and Saturday — I think I will come back with the kids and fishing nets to see what we can find at very low water.
Am now up to 9 species on my new list – I wonder how many is a reasonable target for 2020 ? I’m thinking 50 is possible with not too much effort.