Home at last … after a week’s camping in Devon, I walked through the door and took one look at the weather and tide tables and realized that there was only one thing to do – Get out there!  Rapidly unloaded the camping gear and loaded back up with fishing gear having arranged to meet up with Carl Golding, things looked perfect for Pagham chasing Rays, so that’s where we headed.

The sea state was perfect with a stiff breeze and nice chop on the water. Armed with dirty Squid, Sandeel, Bluey and Prawns from Solent Baits to be fished on Cox & Rawle SCR29 3/0 Specimen Extras (which I have to say, remain sticky sharp a lot longer than most other hooks) on a Pulley Pennell Rig made with Cox & Rawle rig components and Hi Seas Quattro camo-line.

Things started off slow, then with 2 hours before high water I had a classic pull down resulting in my first ray of the night, an Undulate of 11lb 1oz caught on dirty Squid and Sand Eel cocktail, closely followed by Carl with a 5 pounder, then a two hour wait before another take just after high water, another Undulate of 9lb 1oz caught on my dirty Squid and Prawn cocktail this time and almost straight away another 10lb 10oz to the dirty Squid and Sand Eel.  By then Carl was into the strap Conger.

I like to mix it up so but on half a Bluey and was rewarded a hard tug, clearly it was a good fish from the off with some massive head shakes, turned out to be a big conger thrashing in the surf, that sadly bit-me-off before we could get to it, so close yet so far.

The tide started to ease as did the fishing, then as I had started 2 hours after the high tide an 8lb 7oz male Undulate too the dirty Squid and Bluey. And that, as they say, was that – home from holiday and a good night on the beach and for a change little to no weed at Pagham; Result!

Tonight’s take away – though it sounds like I’m just waiting for a bite, the reality is that I am winding in and checking my rig and bait – it’s all about presentation guys. You’re unlikely to catch on a scrappy bait.