Sunday, July 06, 2014

South Coast and Channel Island Fishathon Part 1 : Dorset.

When my mate Ross, a species hunting addict like myself, told me that he had booked the charter boat "Bite Adventures" out of Penzance for three days I immediately reserved myself a place on it. Ross is currently living on the channel island of Alderney and would be flying over for the boat trips so I thought it would be good to go back over with him after our three days afloat for a few days on Alderney. With the makings of a  bit of a "fishathon" shaping up I decided to head down a couple of days before the boat trips making my little jolly eleven days long so I set myself a species hunting target of twenty five including five new ones.

On Sunday the 22nd of June I set off at 6:00 and headed to Weymouth. I was supposed to be picking up Ross and his boss Mark from Southampton Airport late on Monday afternoon but as it turned out Mark shipped his car over so I would just meet them and the other four lads who were going out on the boat along in Cornwall. Anyway, I arrived early in the afternoon and after parking the car walked through town to the promenade and checked into my hotel, passing the charter boat "Flamer IV" and a few large thick lipped mullet on the way.

I have fond memories of my time aboard Colin Penny's excellent charter boat last year.
Mullet are great fighters. If you can hook one!

Not wasting any time I got my ultra light gear out of my suitcase and headed straight down to the pleasure pier. As it was Armed Forces Day the promenade and beach was very busy, with a brass band playing and a variety of old American military vehicles on display, their owners dressed in period costumes.

A packed seafront.
One of several old military vehicles on display.

Heading through the crowds I found a quiet spot and got my fishing off to a nice start by catching a small pollock on drop shotted Gulp! Angleworm.

My first fish of the trip.

After a few more pollock I decided to head to another spot and was pleased I had as this quickly produced a small black seabream and a corkwing wrasse. Some kids arrived however and started jumping from the pier into the water though so I moved again to another spot further away from them.

My first black seabream from the UK mainland.
My first corkwing wrasse of 2014.

Working my way to the end of the pier I was surprised to find no other anglers there and after ten minutes or so without a bite I spotted a few over on the Stone Pier. I headed back into town and crossed over Town Bridge before making my way along to it.

The Stone Pier had a few anglers on it. Usually a good sign.

On the outside of the pier there were a few weedy areas and boulders. A few casts into the gaps produced another corkwing wrasse and then I made my way along to the end of the pier. Dropping my Angleworm down the side I was surprised when it was taken by a rather big launce. I continued exploring down the wall and this produced a couple more small pollock and a corkwing wrasse.

I normally catch these using small metals or sabikis. Good old Gulp! Angleworm on a drop shot rig tempted this one.
A female corkwing. Note the abscess. More on that later.

I then decided to change methods and tried a small paddletail on a jighead. Casting this out and slowly retrieving it resulted in lots of missed bites so I switched to a small metal jig. The tail nipping culprits were soon hooked and turned out to be sand smelt. After catching half a dozen of them I switched back to the drop shot rig. A small shoal of juvenile black seabream arrived and I quickly caught a few before they moved off again. It went fairly quiet after that with the odd pollock taking my lure before local angler Andy Mytton, who I'd arranged to meet up with, arrived and we headed back into town to try for some gobies. Andy was using a simple split shot rig, something that I've not used for quite some time. I'm not sure why really but Andy gave my some shot, I set myself up a split shot rig too and off we went. Twitching Isome on his rig along the bottom slowly Andy soon caught a few black gobies and then I caught a rock goby. Keen to add a black goby to my tally we kept exploring and then I caught a leopard spotted goby.

A shade of pink with brown spots, the leopard spotted goby is a very pretty goby indeed.

I was having no luck tempting a black goby and a try at one last spot produced a few more gobies for Andy and two more leopard spotted gobies for me. By now it was getting dark however and it had been quite a long day so I thanked Andy for meeting up with me and headed back to my hotel. It was good to meet up with Andy and I was grateful that he had reminded me that sometimes keeping things simple is best especially for very small species like gobies.

On Monday morning I got up, had breakfast and checked out of the hotel. With the whole day free to fish I headed along the coast to Swanage Pier, one of my favourite places to wet a line. I've been there a few times now and it never fails to deliver tons of mini species.

Swanage Pier. I love it!

Armed with my ultra light gear, half a pound of ragworm and a scaled down two up one down rig tied with #10 wormer hooks I had a fantastic fun days' fishing. If you get your tackle right you can catch a lot of fish and in that respect I'd liken it to fishing at a freshwater commercial fishery. The usual suspects were all caught.

Colourful corkwing wrasse.
Cheeky tompot blennies.
Little ballan wrasse.
Weird common dragonets.
Ragworm munching rock gobies.

I also usually catch a few Baillon's wrasse but sadly none seemed to be present. They are a very pretty wrasse. Black faced blennies are another unusual species that have been spotted under the pier by divers but as with my previous visits to the pier none were caught. Not one to give up I hope to go back there with my mate Lee at some point later this year to try again to catch one of those. Quite satisfied nevertheless with catching over a hundred fish by the time the pier closed I made the drive along to our accommodation near Hayle in Cornwall and met the rest of the lads who were going out in the boat. I'd met Ed before when he came up to Scotland and caught a 208lb skate. I was introduced to Carl, Craig, Andy and Mark for the first time and I told them about the very enjoyable sessions that I'd had to start my trip with which had resulted in ten species being caught. We chatted about our hopes for the boat trips too and with the first day out on "Bite Adventures" the following day being a species hunting trip the prospect of racking up a few more species and possibly catching some new ones was a very exciting one that we were all looking forward too.

1 comment:

  1. Hey scott still catching firsts I see, I just had my biggest thames bream 10.5lb 4am on Friday 5th sept
    up at old Windsor well chuffed x hope ure all well and look forward to talking to/seeing you
    tight lines Lee (swanage pier)