Thursday, July 10, 2014

South Coast and Channel Island Fishathon Part 2 : Cornwall.

Up early on Tuesday the 24th of June we were all excited about a days species hunting on "Bite Adventures" and after breakfast off we went. I took Ed in my car and we stopped off at a supermarket to grab some lunch. Ed purchased a few ingredients to make a "manwich" and proceeded to put it together in the car park. Incredibly masculine culinary masterpiece complete we were soon at Penzance Harbour, rejoined the rest of the lads and made our way along the breakwater where we were met by Chippy, skipper of "Bite Adventures", and his young deck hand, Will. Gear aboard, off we went and were soon fishing on the drift. As is often the norm on charter trips the first few drifts were spent catching some mackerel and on this occasion launce as well to use as bait for other species. That soon done we headed to another mark to fish on the drift over a clean sandy seabed. The main target here was greater weever, a species Ross was keen to catch having never had one before. Meagrim sole was another potential catch and was the one I was hoping to get. After switching from sets of feathers and sabiki to two down rigs we soon started catching a variety of fish. I caught a couple of cod and a few different flat fish were boated before the first two greater weever were caught.

As well as dab and plaice Ross managed a double shot of turbot.
Carl with a specimen greater weever.

A third greater weever was caught and the decision was taken to keep it to eat as we were informed by Chippy that they were very tasty. It was not caught by Ross though which obviously meant he was wound up by Chippy and the lads. He took it very well. I then caught a small tub gurnard.

I tried to get a photo of its colourful pectoral fins but the tub gurnard was having none of it and started trying to "crawl" around.

Early in the afternoon we headed out to deeper water to try for Haddock. Upon arrival Ed took a break and made a start to his "manwich".

Breakfast, lunch and dinner. To make one you will need...
An entire tiger loaf.
An entire packet of garlic & jalepeno cheese slices.
A entire tub of peri peri coleslaw.
An entire packet of peri peri chicken.
An entire bag of rocket.

It wasn't long before a few haddock were caught. I caught a pouting and male cuckoo wrasse as well which I quickly returned as the depth we were fishing in meant any time out of the water would reduce their chances of going back. I then caught a lovely red gurnard.

The first haddock of the day.
A fine looking fish.
Beautiful eyes too.

Then with fingers crossed we all took turns and drew our numbers for the blue shark runs the following day. I drew number five. We then moved to another spot for a few drifts to try for ling and Mark was into one first drop. The tide was picking up however and none of the rest of us managed to get one before we headed back inshore for a quick go for greater weever again and to fish for mackerel for the next days blue shark chum and baits.

Mark gets another species for his own 2014 tally.

Mackerel were hard to come by but a few were caught and I also had a few launce taking my trip tally to eighteen species but no more greater weever were caught before it was time to head back in.

We passed a full Minac Theatre on the way back to port.

Back at our accommodation a plan was hatched to go and fish for rays in the evening. Before that however we enjoyed a selection of the fish we had caught. Haddock, ling and greater weever fillets provided a tasty meal simply grilled, seasoned and a served with some lemon wedges. I have to say that Chippy was spot on regarding the greater weever, it was superb! Hunger satisfied, we headed to Church Cove and the whilst the lads went out onto the rocks to the left of the bay to fish for rays I decided to target mini species in the exposed rockpools. Using a split shot rig and a small piece of Gulp! Sandworm I caught a few blennies straight away and then a long spined sea scorpion, taking my trip tally to twenty.

Split shot rig put to good effect again.

For some strange reason I then suddenly realised I had forgotten to bring my passport down with me to use as ID to board my flight to Alderney. Not much I could do and remembering it was a domestic flight I thought my driving license would do which I was sure was in the car so I kept fishing making my way along the coast. Climbing up and down cliffs to access some spots I thought looked good I turned around and back across the bay I spotted the lads.

The lads fish from the point.

Reaching a nice looking bay I spotted a small group of bass but they quickly spotted me and swam off. Casting Gulp! Angleworm on a drop shot rig around I caught a small pollock but with light fading I thought it best to start making my way back to the car. Rather than scramble along the shoreline again I thought it would be better to try and climb up the cliff behind me as it looked like I could reach the coastal path up above fairly easily. I got so far up and then found my path blocked by rather dense and very spiky vegetation which I had a nightmare forcing my way through. With a few splinter in my hands and a few cuts on my legs I eventually made it to the coastal path and followed it back to the car park. Checking the car for my driving license I discovered it wasn't there. A quick call to Lillian and she confirmed it was in Edinburgh with my passport. The lads soon arrived back at the car park and told me the had blanked. Back at our accommodation I emailed Ben and Jo at Art of Fishing to see if I could have my driving license sent to their shop in Wadebridge and asked Lillian to send it via special delivery in the morning. ID problem hopefully sorted I headed off to bed looking forward to targeting blue sharks the next day.

When I got up in the morning I felt quite tired. I suffer from hay fever and whilst it's normally bearable my eyes were particularly irritable and it was difficult not to itch them which makes them ten times worse. I guess my scramble through the bushes had perhaps kicked up something that had gotten into them. Despite feeling a bit crap I was still very excited about the days' fishing and we got down the breakwater to find deck hand Will preparing some strong smelling chum. Off we went, stopping to catch some more mackerel for making additional chum later in the day and to use as bait. Heading offshore and then drifting, the chum sack went over the side and four mackerel flapper baits were put out under highly visible Mountain Dew Bottle floats.

I knew Mountain Dew bottles were a hideous fluorescent colour for a reason!

Whilst waiting for floats to go and reels to start clicking the mackerel fishing continued and after a while Mark caught a whiting close to the bottom so I dropped my rig all the way down and caught one too.

Another species added to my tally.

Mid morning the first blue shark took a bait and Carl was handed the rod. Unfortunately it wasn't on long before coming off. Next up shortly afterwards was Andy. After a brief scrap the first blue shark of the day was carefully brought aboard and unhooked by Chippy.

Andy's first blue shark.

At this point skipper Chippy noticed I was not feeling too good and asked my if I was OK. My eyes were pretty bad and I was having to sit and put a damp paper towel on them to ease the discomfort. I was also feeling a bit nauseous and while the rest of the lads fished for mackerel I gradually felt worse and eventually had to add my own chum to the sea. This made me feel a bit better and I did my bit again on the mackerel catching front. It was a while before we had any more runs but when they came in the afternoon there were two in fairly quick succession again. Craig was followed by Ed and both their blue sharks were successfully boated.

Second blue shark of the day for Craig.
Another "Manwich" gave Ed the energy to get the better of his blue shark.
The biggest one so far.

With a nice chum slick going a few of the lads caught some garfish so I decided to have a go. After briefly hooking one only for it to throw the hook I hooked a second one and boated it.

My first UK garfish.

It then went quiet again for an hour or so so I went and sat in the wheel house to eat some food and have a drink of water. Chippy came in and I asked him if he thought we'd get another run as I was next in turn and he said probably not as pretty soon it would be time to reel the baits in and head back to port. Heading back out onto the deck to get some more fresh air I leaned over the side and had resigned myself to not getting a crack at a blue shark but as Chippy and Will reeled in the baits a fish took one of them and my name was called out. Feeling ill was quickly forgotten as Chippy handed me the rod, I applied pressure and steadily started gaining line. Before I knew it the shark was at the back of the boat but then decided to go off on a couple of short runs. Once back on the surface it was expertly brought on board, unhooked and handed to me for the obligatory trophy shot before I gave it a kiss and it was put back.

Catching a new species is the best sea sickness medicine there is.

On the way back to Penzance Harbour we stopped briefly to try for red seabream. We had a few drifts over the mark but all that we caught were some poor cod. Mark hooked a fish that might have been a red seabream but it came off so we'll never know if it was or not.

This poor cod took my trip species tally to twenty three.

Soon back on dry land it was incredible how quickly I felt OK again, my appetite returned and after eating the remains of my lunch I felt pretty good, eyes excluded. Back at the accommodation the lads decided to have a night off and watch a world cup match. After lying down with a damp cloth over my eyes for a while I decided to pop out and try and catch the remaining two species I needed to reach my trip goal of twenty five. I was fairy confident that I could catch a lesser weever and maybe a flounder or other flatfish from St Ives harbour so that was my first stop. I grabbed some raw prawns from a supermarket on the way and after parking the car, walked down to the west pier, quickly set up a split shot rig and caught a lesser weever on my first cast slowly twitching it along the bottom.

The amount of these hiding in St Ives Harbour is quite extraordinary.

This was soon followed by a few more before I spotted a flounder. I tried to catch it but just couldn't get through the much faster, more aggressive weever though. Just to make things interesting I tied on a metal jig and caught some more before the tide went out too far and the water levels dropped away from around the pier. It was fun watching them appear from the sand and dart up and attack it. With just one species left to catch I decided to head south to the dry dock in Penzance Harbour. My target there was a black goby and after catching a small whiting and a small pollock it didn't take me too long to catch a couple. This meant I had reached my trip species target so rather pleased I headed back to our accommodation.

A fine male black goby.

The plan for the following day was to spend the morning targeting blue shark again to try and get Carl his first one. Ross and Mark had caught them before and generously agreed to let him have the first run again. In the afternoon more species hunting was on the cards. The weather forecast didn't look great however and with my driving license to collect, the memory of being ill still fresh in my mind and feeling quite tired I decided not to go out.

In the morning I got up and wished the lads tight lines and headed back to bed for a few hours before driving up to Wadebridge to collect my driving licence. The weather on the way there was quite horrendous with heavy rain battering down and I couldn't help wonder if the lads were experiencing similar downpours. After a quick stop in Padstow to buy myself a waterproof smock I arrived at the Art of Fishing shop just after lunchtime. After profusely thanking Jo for helping me get my ID and spending a few quid on some new braid and a few other bits and pieces I headed south to spend a few hours fishing on Mevagissey Breakwater. By the time I got there the weather had improved drastically and it was so hot in fact I had to take off my hoodie and smock.

Mevagissey Breakwater is a very popular spot with anglers.
Typical. Buy a waterproof smock and the sky turns blue.

The water was coloured up slightly and bites were few and far between straight down the harbour wall with only a solitary long spined sea scorpion being caught so I started casting out and this produced a few more fish.

Usually small wrasse species can be caught down the wall but only this long spined sea scorpion could be tempted.
This sand smelt became the latest species to be caught on drop shotted Gulp! Angleworm.
A few grumpy pollock were caught.
A plump little corkwing wrasse was the last fish of the session.

Making the drive back to Hayle I arrived back at the accommodation and was keen to hear how the lads had got on. It turned out the weather had not been that bad and Carl had caught his first blue shark, the biggest of the trip. Andy had caught a cracking cod too.

All good things to those who wait.
Andy would be haing cod for tea. For a few days.

No new species for Ross unfortunately but he didn't seem too disappointed despite a couple more greater weevers being caught by Carl. It had been a brilliant few days' fishing in Cornwall. It was great that the five of us who'd never caught blue sharks before all got one. It was nice to fish with Ed again and the rest of the lads for the first time too and I told them all they'd be most welcome up in Scotland if they ever fancy it. My species goal achieved I still had four new species to try and catch whilst over on Alderney with Ross. It would be a tall order but I was confident that I'd get something new.

No comments:

Post a comment