Today saw the last boat trip of 2015 out of Minehead. In the days leading up to the trip the weather forecast was looking pretty dire, with strong wind and rain forecast. I was therefore somewhat surprised when the night before the call came from Mike that we were going.. On the basis I had been convinced that the trip would be cancelled, I hadn’t bothered buying any bait or preparing any tackle so it was a bit of a rush on Saturday night to get ready for the following day’s fishing, not least because the boat would be leaving harbour at 6:30am..
Our arrival at Minehead in the morning was greeted by strong wind and rain as predicted. We steamed out in the pitch dark and had half an hour fishing in darkness before sunrise.
The skipper as always provided a bucket of squid and locally caught herring, and it wasn’t long before the first dogfish were coming aboard. Mike and I both fished 2 upside rods as usual and whilst sport was steady we weren’t rushed off our feet which was probably for the best as I really wasn’t feeling that enthusiastic. We fishing just of ‘White Mark’ to start with which is generally rough, coral ground. I caught a lovely Bull Huss of 12b on a whole squid along with a couple of smallish conger. We then moved offshore slightly onto the sand banks as the tide slackened off in order to try for the ray.
I switched to using sandeel on one rod and squid on the other to give a bit of variety. Mike did likewise. Between us we had a blonde ray, 3 small-eyed ray and a thornback ray – the real surprise being that whilst a couple of the ray came on the sandal as expected, the rest were caught on whole squid.
The dogfish stayed with us for the rest of the day until the building tide later on forced a move back inshore to avoid the worst of the current at which point even the dogfish were hard to come by for the last hours fishing. After 8 hours of battling the wind, the return to harbour and dry land was not lamented.
Having seen out the last of this years trips, we have 3 months of no boat fishing over the winter. Time to clean the gear, load the reels with new line and generally service and clean everything over the winter in preparation for next years fishing. Role on March! In the meantime, winter means an opportunity to concentrate on other aspect of fishing.. Fly fishing for pike being foremost in my mind at present… So many fish to catch and so little time!