October out on the Bristol Channel and it’s all beginning to feel considerably more autumnal now. Sunshine or not, the stiff north easterly breezy today was pretty chilly.
Mike and myself fished our usual brace of uptide rods each, and with a smallish tide we were able to head out to deeper water from the off without having to hang around inshore waiting for the tide to ease.
Mike picked up a good smoothhound on the first cast, whilst true to form I pulled in a dogfish. We had steady action throughout the day, with conger eels being around in significant numbers.
I had 8+ congers, some of them a decent size too, along with another 3 or 4 that I lost (usually as the result of being bitten off – despite the 80lb mono traces). I also landed a small tope although only about dogfish size, along with a few proper doggies and a couple of Bull Huss – the biggest being a pleasing 12lb.
Mike had congers and dogfish before finished off the trip with his 2nd smoothhound of the day weighing in at just shy of 14lb. Quite a fun day all in all. Most of my fish came to whole calamari, whereas Mike’s hounds were all needless to say on crab.
Only one more trip left now for this year then it’s our winter break from the boat fishing before recommencing in the spring. Maybe November’s trip will see a cod or two, you never know!
For this months boat fishing trip out of Minehead, and we were treated to fantastic weather – flat calm, hot and overcast. A small tide meant we’d be able to get out and fish the deeper water as well.
When we boarded the boat the skipper, Marcus suggested that maybe we should try a drift or two over the sandbanks for bass. He’d been meaning to give it a go for a while and with the tide and weather being right, we thought it was worth a shot. Mike and myself lowered our baited hooks over the side for the first drift, and we watched the sandeels flutter down out of sight. moments later and the bait hits bottom – a few seconds after that and I’ve hooked the first fish. We were all stunned to see a lovely 3.5lb bass come to the net. What a start to the trip! Not sure if Marcus genuinely expected us to catch a bass or whether it was the most outrageous fluke. Either way, it was an auspicious start to the trip.
We finished the drift and encouraged by the early success had another drift but to no avail. Mike had a couple of bites but we didn’t connect with anymore fish, so headed out to try for the smoothhounds in deeper water.
Mike was straight onto fishing crab on both rods whilst I opted for crab on one and herring on the other. We both started to catch the occasional smoothhound along with the odd dogfish, whilst I landed a really fat Bull Huss on a fillet of herring.
The rest of the day was a leisurely and relaxing affair, with a steady procession of smoothhounds and the occasional dogfish. We finished the day with just short of 20 hounds between us. It turned out to be a good day’s fishing – nice and easy fishing in the calm conditions – it’s amazing how much more enjoyable everything is when you’re not being thrown around in the boat by waves.
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!