John Locker – Falmouth, Cornwall
With the poor weather we’ve been experiencing over the past weeks I was very glad of settled conditions matching up with a good neap tide. The plan was to get out to some offshore wrecks and see what they were fishing like; None of the smaller inshore vessels had managed to get out, so there could well be nothing? But anglers are optimists as well we know . . . .
Setting sail at daybreak into a very calm Falmouth Bay, I headed out to sea and soon spotted a group of birds working the water and then a group of dolphins and porpoise causing a stir. A brilliant sign for any angler. I made my way over and used some small sabiki-style feathers to catch some fresh mackerel, a great start. I always prefer to have fresh bait - fishing up and down through the water column and took several small Pollack (between 1 and 3-pounds) and a beautifully coloured Ballan Wrasse that all went back. Time to head to the wrecks, I had planned my day allowing 2 hours to reach the mark before low water and to fish all of the flood. The forecast was for a windy afternoon so I wanted to try and make the most ofthe mornings stable wind direction.
On your Mark
I reached my mark and ran a couple of quick drifts over the wreck to check how the boat would lay and put the anchor down setting me just uptide of the wreck. Fishing two rods: one, a live mackerelusing a 10/0 SCR32 Chinu Ultra suspended just above the wreck and the other with a Wreck Rig baited with mackerel fillets on 10/0 SCR25 Meat Hooks the traps were set . . . the bites came fast but sharp and erratic suggesting that just Pouting or Whiting that had found the baits. Shortly after there was a good lunge on the live bait rod but sadly whatever had taken the bait had found the wreck and slipped the hook. I rebaited with a long strip of fresh mackerel and was quickly rewarded with a big fat Pouting just in time for the wind to change and swing me away from where I wanted to be. The days anchoring saga was starting. So I re-anchored.
Switching over to a running ledger rig I registered a good bite on the rod tip and allowed a moment for the fish to commit to the bait, using big baits and big hooks it pays to make sure the fish has the bait fully in its mouth. I lift into the fish hard and get a couple of really strong head shakes and nods before everything goes solid - the fish had managed to find some structure to wrap around. In this situation you have two real options: You can hold on, apply pressure and hope to pull the fish from the snag – which often results in a break: or you can slacken right off and wait in the hope the fish will come out of its snag. On holding pressure I could feel the occasional head nod so I knew the fish was still hooked so I slowly released pressure and waited for some movement. On feeling the fish move I quickly lifted the rod and pulled hard to get the fish moving. Luck was on my side. It isn’t always that successful. Ha! Ha! After a good fight I had a very stocky 20 to 25-pound Eel on deck. It had well and truly rasped up the trace but the 200-pound Triple Fish Mono had done its job and held up well to the fish’s teeth. I always carry half-a-dozen traces and keep them in the bag so that rig changes can be made in seconds.
Wind change – re-anchor
Just five minutes after settling at anchor and getting the bait down the Wreck Rig Rod slowly started to hoop over and I lifted into a good weight of fish, unfortunately today was a day with the wind from all quarters and I was being swung around again. One of the issues with fishing multiple rods on a swinging boat is tangles and the fish on the way up managed to pick up one of the other lines. Another well conditioned 20-pound Eel on the deck and a massive tangle! Annoying but nothing that a good pair of scissors couldn’t solve ;-). No time to waste with a second good bite on the running ledger rod quickly gave me another fighting fish and a lovely looking 10-pound Ling was lifted aboard. Great stuff!!
I took another 2 smaller Eels of 10 to 12-pounds on the running ledger before the wind changed and pushed me away from the wreck again. Time for another re-anchor. With only another hour left on the flood I sent down fresh baits and was immediately set upon my hordes of small pecking bites, strike and miss strike and miss until I finally managed to foul hook a small whiting and the culprits were identified. Last good baits sent out and in the dying moments of the tide I managed to hook a lone dogfish. No session would be complete without one showing itself. A hard days work. 4 re-anchors is no small fete single handed in 180 foot of water but I had found some great fish and enjoyed some lovely spring fishing. Home time.