Thursday 1 May 2014

A life on the ocean waves?

Looking back at the Jurassic Coast
We all may be very dedicated trout fishermen, but sometimes it is nice to have a bit of a change. Burrator members Tony Vallack, Mike Duckett and Peter Macconnell have, in recent years, been regulars aboard the Blue Lady, an old wooden fishing boat operating out of Beer in south-east Devon. Blue Lady is skippered by the redoubtable Cyril Newton and days out with him always bring a few fish and some good ‘craic’ (or whatever is the Devon equivalent of that Irish term). The trips are organised by Keith Steward a well known local angler, though not a fly fisher (yet). A few months ago Keith was looking for a couple of extra anglers to make up the six who are needed to charter the boat; he asked if any other Burrator members might be interested.  Mark Clark and Kelvin Nikulin volunteered for a trip out on Tuesday 29th April 2014.

The original plan for the day had been to fish for plaice in the morning and whiting in the afternoon, but all did not go as hoped for. Once the boat with us all aboard had slid down Beer’s lovely and very steep shingle beach, we set off in gray and overcast weather for the sandbanks where many plaice were reported to have been boated. However, it was not to be; another case of ‘you should have been here yesterday’ I guess. Only one small plaice was caught, by Mark, in over two hours of concerted fishing. We had all the baits; lovely big ragworms, squid, and mackerel, but plaice were not to be had.  We decided to move early to the ‘whiting grounds’ where numerous whiting were caught though most were quite small. Again Mark appeared to be the lucky one in catching fish of a better stamp. Peter had perhaps a dozen but none weighed more than half a pound and all went back alive. Others had similar luck except for Keith and Kelvin who boated several unwanted dogfish. During this period the weather was pretty mixed; full waterproof gear was needed and we got a fair soaking. A least the wind was slight and at times the sea quite calm.

In the afternoon both the weather and the fishing looked up. The sun came out, we could strip down to our shirtsleeves and, at the skippers suggestion, we moved again  to fish for pollack over an inshore reef. At last we saw some action and got decent bends in our rods. Kelvin and Cyril the skipper had the best fish though we all managed to hook up a time or two. Generally the pollack seemed to be in the range of three to seven pounds.

So in the end a good day out was had by all except Mike who, at the last minute, had to drop out because his wife Mary had been taken ill the day before. We missed you Mike and we hope Mary is feeling a bit better.

Blue skies and calm water for Tony
Kelvin with a good pollack
Not quite so big - for Mark
Peter & Cyril with fish typical of those caught on the day
Cyril & Keith waiting for that bite

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