Wow – what a day’s fishing! Sunday’s trip out of Minehead on the “Edwin John” with skipper, Dave James couldn’t have been much better. The weather was faultless and the fishing pretty damn good too!
Mike and I fished our usual 2 uptide rods apiece and had numerous good fish in amongst the hordes of dogfish that snaffled our baits. It’s amazing how easy the fishing is when you don’t have to struggle to stay upright whilst fishing – the flat calm conditions really were a very welcome change from some of our recent trips.
We had an early start and an 8 hour trip, so plenty of time to get into the swing of things. We started off on the sand banks not far offshore, fishing pretty shallow water in search of rays. I fished sandeel, the ever favourite ray bait, on one rod and switched between whole herring fillet or whole squid on the other rod. All fish baits were eagerly greeted by the dogfish, but in amongst them came some good rays. My first two were both double figure small-eyed rays – one on herring and the other squid, by which time the tide had dropped sufficiently to allow us to move further along to another area of sandbank not fishable in the full tide flow.
At this new location we would again primarily be targeting rays but the sandbanks here could also through up the potential of smoothhounds as we were reliably informed by the skipper. So it was that the first decent fish I connected with here was a lively starry smoothhound which showed no hesitation in devouring the hardback crab used as bait. We both added further hounds to our tallies; me using hardback crab and Mike using fresh peeler crab; before the rays came back on the feed again.
Mike had a couple of nice Thornback rays on sandeel, whilst I had a couple of thornbacks too, and 3 more small-eyed ray, including another double figure fish. Again, my rays all with the exception of one which took a sandeel, were taken on herring or squid. After the tide had turned and picked up enough to make winding in even a small dogfish a strenuous activity, Dave called for a move. We headed back closer to the shoreline, to fish a patch of rougher ground where the skipper again announced we might expect rays, conger or hounds…. exciting!
Mike persevered with crab in the hope of further hounds, or he would no doubt have had more rays, whilst I only dabbled with the crab bait on one rod every now and again. It seemed to pay off when, I had another cracking bite on the rod fishing crab bait, only for the unmistakable feel of a conger to be felt as I wound up and tightened into the fish. Still, shouldn’t be ungrateful as it was another different species to brighten the day yet further.. Following this, I was fortunate enough to round off the day by adding to my tally of different ray species by landing a blonde ray.
Can’t complain about a day’s fishing like that – perfect weather, a smattering of smoothhounds, conger, dogfish, and 3 different species of ray. If only every trip could be half as productive and with weather to match…