Tuesday, November 07, 2017

...three bearded by nature.

I headed down North Devon at the end of last month to spend six days fishing from Ilfracombe Pier. That was the plan anyway but upon arrival early in the afternoon I discovered that the town was really busy. I hadn't realised that it was the English schools' half term holidays. I spent a few hours dodging crabbing net wielding children trying to catch a clingfish down the side of the lower section of the pier but had no luck. I did catch a few fish the majority being juvenile pollock and sand smelt. After checking into my accommodation I headed back down to the pier to fish into darkness for three bearded rockling. The ground close in that I decided to fish was pretty rough so I fished a one hook paternoster rig with a rotten bottom to try and minimise tackle losses. A strip of mackerel was the bait of choice and I tossed a few small pieces down the side of the pier to help attract my target. Having spoken to a few local anglers before arriving and a few more on the pier earlier in the day who all told me there were plenty three bearded rockling around I was confident about catching one but I didn't expect to catch one after only half an hour.

Success! My first ever three bearded rockling.

As the lower deck of the pier where I was fishing was soon to be covered by the rising tide, having caught my target and feeling pretty tired having left Edinburgh at 04:00 to make the drive down, I headed back to my accommodation to get some well earned sleep. The next day I headed back down to the pier and waited on the tide to drop so I could get onto the lower section again to try for clingfish once more. Whilst I waited I fished straight down the walls of the upper platform and caught loads of blennies. The pier is home to a huge bronze sculpture by artist Damien Hirst so I took some time out to have a look at it.

"Verity". A rather large and equally strange piece of art.

As soon as the tide dropped far enough I started fishing on the lower section for clingfish but before too long the hordes of noisy kids had arrived and started throwing their crab nets in. Later in the day the navy also arrived and started training divers around the pier too forcing all the anglers who were there to move over to where I was, making it a little cramped. The fishing over the next few hours was pretty dire and eventually I decided to retreat to the B&B to rethink my plans for the next few days' fishing.

Tight lines, Scott.