January 2006. Another quite start to the
year, only 2 trips, both out to the inshore wrecks. Managed
a few reasonable Pollack but nothing of any real note. The
Codling are conspicuous by their absence again, even fewer
than we had last year. Still finding the odd Mackerel!,
in January! its getting to be a funny old world. February.
Had 4 trips booked this Month so far, and
have cancelled them all through bad weather. Today Saturday
25th. It is Easterly force 6-7 gusting Gale 8. The crew
we should have fished with today are making the most of
it propping up the bar in the Yacht Club. March.
Lost the last 4 trips to bad weather again, I hope we are
not going to have the same weather as we had this time last
year, we lost all the early Spring Plaice fishing to high
winds. We'll just have to wait and see. March
should have been out again today but are sat in harbour
with force 6-8 SW gales, at least the winds have shifted
from the East. So, nothing to report again. I was talking
to a local crabber yesterday and he told me he had got out
to his pots twice in February and only once so far in March!
If them guys don't go, you know its rough. April
8th. One of our regular crews
arrived to fish with us all week, a decent weekends forecast
at last, out to the Skerries with some nice bait and into
our first drift of the season, 5 minutes in and bang, the
first plaice is flapping in the net. Working down and across
the banks we fished for the rest of the day, result just
the 1 Plaice, 1 Doggie, and a dozen Launce to feathers.
Sunday, we anchored a wreck and caught a bin full of Pout
and a few Doggies. Usually at this time of year we are well
into the Plaice and don't have to look for anything else,
at the moment the banks seem almost devoid of life. The
water is still very cold with a temperature of only 8.5
degrees c, normal temp for this time of year would be nearer
11.c. Lets hope this is the reason why and the fish are
only late. Time will tell. A pic of Hanna with a Pout she
caught, at least she was happy.
12th April 18 nice Plaice in fairly windy
conditions, the fish took some finding and were only feeding
for half of the tide, still, not bad with only the 3 fishing.
See pic on left. 14th April
The best days weather so
far this year, bright, warm and another 18 Plaice, this
time between 6 anglers. It is quite obvious from the individual
bags of fish that we see caught, that the best anglers will
always catch more fish. These Plaice, especially on the
bigger tides, have to be 'fished for' in a certain way,
if you chuck down a bait and drag it along, hoping a Plaice
is going to 'hang on' you are going to be very disappointed
with the number of fish you land. We are very happy to spend
time with you, and instruct you on the finer points of angling
if you are not very experienced. 16th
April Only a few Plaice, but we were fishing
with inexperienced anglers, saw the first of the Mackerel,
loads of Herring and other bits and pieces.
22nd. Easterly winds again, very uncomfortable
day at sea. Managed 10 Plaice, some Mackerel and a few Doggies.
Sunday 23rd. Much
kinder conditions, it was almost warm at one stage, lighter
winds. 17 Plaice with a few nice ones among them, see the
photo of a nice brace for Tony. Wed.
27th. Half day trip with holidaymaker's,
2 lovely Dutch Children, out with their Mum and Dad, plus
a few others. Every one caught Plaice, loads of Mackerel
for anyone who wanted to catch them and to cap a lovely
day, we had constant sunshine and a flat sea. A pleasure
to be out, what a shame it wasn't an all day trip. When
the fish are biting I just don't want to come in. We ended
up with 12 Plaice, a box of Mackerel, with a lone Doggie
and a Herring. See a pic of Chris and his 2 girls with a
nice couple of fish. Sat.
29th. 21 Plaice to 3lb. Bags of Mackerel,
Herring and a few bits & pieces, including our first
Gurnard of the year. Sunday
and Sajeda's Wedding. We were asked to take
the Bride and 3 Bridesmaids up the River to Dart Marina
for their Wedding Day. Monday
May 1st. Went out with some
of the wedding guests and caught 17 Plaice, the Mackerel
were nowhere to be found today. Friday
5th. Fished with a local group, Plaice were
very hard to find, so we opted to fish a local inshore wreck
where we took around 30 Pollack to 9lb. Sat
6th. Local group, Plaice were hard to find
again but managed 8 and then went out to play around the
wrecks where we found some quality Pollack and a few other
bits and pieces. 9th. Out
with 4 anglers who are regular visitors, up from Plymouth,
again the Plaice were hard work but ended up with 10 including
a few nice fish. They caught plenty of Mackerel and Launce
to keep them busy through the day. Saturday
and Sunday 13/14th. Had our regular annual
fishing group from Wales to stay for the weekend. It is
people like these that give us so much pleasure in our job.
A thoroughly decent bunch of blokes who only get together
once a year for their trip to Dartmouth. This years trip
coincided with the Dartmouth
music festival, so their evening drinking was
even more pleasurable. Last trip down they had 76 Plaice
over the weekend, shared between the 10 of them. This year
they only managed 36, I guess this is a sign of the times.
There is less fish to be had year on year, all over the
country. Some of the story's we hear make the mind boggle,
a 2 day trip to fish around the Needles during last Winter
for Cod resulting with just 2 Pout caught between the 10
anglers. Another group who fish out of Poole normally, told
us that the 8 Charter Boat trips they had been out on this
Winter, with some of the best South coast Skippers had seen
them with only 1 Cod, a nice fish of 18lb. How many more
blank trips will they endure before they don't bother going
at all anymore ? At least we can normally find something
of quality, not all the time, but certainly most of the
time we can. Anyway back to the Lads trip, 36 Plaice only,
over the 2 Days, but half a dozen really nice fish up to
3lb. Kelvin had the best brace of the day on the Saturday,
with 2 fish over 2 1/2lb. We caught 14 on Saturday and 22
on Sunday, in the last hour of Sunday they bagged up with
fresh Mackerel to take home. See photos on the left.
28th.May First trip out for 2 weeks, we
have had winds up to force 9, not a very productive day,
but we did catch fish. Mackerel, Herring, Pollack, some
good Whiting and just 3 Plaice. 29th.May-1st
June Half term holidays for the kids. At
this time of the year we get into a succession of half day
trips with family groups on holiday, its very easy to find
them good fishing as the Bay is full of Mackerel and Herring
at this time of year. On Wednesday we found a shoal of feeding
Bass and ended up with 11 of them. The kids love it because
its easy fishing, the parents love it because the kids are
happy, and we love it because we can pay a few bills and
the pressure is off of us to keep trying to find something
of quality for our anglers to catch. A
task that just
gets harder every year. Sat.3rd.
Small tides and the Plaice are not playing
ball at the moment, so we anchored a wreck to try for a
Conger, result- 7 Conger to 47lb with 5 big Eels lost, and
a bonus 16lb Bull Huss. Our anglers returned all their fish,
including the Bull Huss. Well done Lads. The Bull Huss will
be entered for the Shimano catch and release competition
they run via the Total Sea Fishing magazine. I hope it wins
a prize. Piccys of their day on the left and below.
day, nothing exceptional, lots of fish with nothing of quality.
Catch included Plaice, Whiting, Pollack, Mackerel and all
the bits we normally pick up fishing the Skerries and the
Bay. The week or so up to the 17th.
was a lot of half day trips (when we could
get out between the winds), with visitors to Dartmouth,
inexperienced for the most part but keen and eager. Mackerel,
small Bass etc. etc. Another Blue Whiting, caught from off
a wreck we fish, very rare in these waters and a long way
from their normal home. We had one last year that caused
a bit of a stir. Out on Saturday 17th with one of our regular
groups, 9 Plaice to 2 3/4lb slow fishing but some good quality
fish. Week to 23rd. Windy
again for the most part but managed a couple of trips out.
Highlights of the week are a couple of reasonable Pollack,
and a nice Bass of 6 1/2lb, which was returned to the water.
Well done Daniel, we applaud you! Why kill a lovely fish
like that when you can watch it swim away and hopefully
keep away from the thousand other hooks and all the nets
out there that only want to turn it into money. Worth about
£30.00 to a commercial fisherman (and the same to
a dishonest 'angler' who thinks its o.k. to take their catch
to the back door of the restaurant for cash!) Lets hope
it manages to spawn. A fish of that size is probably 15-18
years old. See pics. 28th.
Half day trip, tried for a Bass but again
the Mackerel were everywhere and the bigger ones (2lb plus)
would grab anything that was intended for the Bass. One
way to combat this is to use a large live bait that only
big fish will tackle, the problem with this method is that
if the larger fish are not around you have a very lean time
with the bites and the anglers get frustrated. We only took
one respectable fish which was a 5 1/2lb Pollack. Caught
by Cindy on her first fishing trip, well done Cindy, one
up for the Girls. 29th. Frustrating
days fishing, light winds but with a touch of east again.
Always seems to spoil our fishing. Only one highlight, a
cracking Plaice just 1oz. short of 4lb. We also had a Flounder
on the Banks which is a rarity these days. Lots of bits
and bobs again but the Plaice proved hard to come by. We
know they are there because the trawlers are getting them,
they just don't want to take our hooks at the moment. Sat/Sun
1st.- 2nd July Winds still continuing in
the east, but we can still get out. We have been having
a go at lots of different things without a lot of success.
The Bass we are catching are generally undersize, and a
lot of the other fish we do manage to catch are proving
very hard to tempt, but we are catching fish, and interestingly,
when they are gutted, they are all empty, not really eating.
This is a consequence as I have said many times, of the
east winds. Why, we just don't know. See pic of Christopher
with a nice Ling he caught, out with his Dad for a day.
4th. July Corporate
day, 7 guys, only 1 who had fished before. It showed, he
consistently caught fish right from the off. The others
struggled, offering a take-away service to the fish. At
the end of the day , a lot of fish were taken, with not
much of quality save one reasonable Pollack. If they fish
again, all the Guys will benefit from this their first experience,
which I think from their comments they all enjoyed. 5th-9th.
All trips cancelled, East winds finally kicked off and stopped
us going to sea. Monday 10th.
Ships Race Took a group round to Torbay to
see the Big Ships off. A bumpy ride with a big swell remaining
from the weekends gales. Calmer in Torbay where we got a
good look at some of the Ships at anchor. When the start
was due at 3pm just offshore, the visibility was down to
a couple of hundred yards, which meant we could not see
the Ships going through the start line under full sail.
(the start line was a mile wide) to top it all the wind
freshened from the S.W. which meant a bumpy ride home as
well. Oh, the joys of charter boating. 14th.-21st.
Strong winds again, curtailed our trips.
Lots of visitors to Dartmouth who want to fish with us.
Oh for some sheltered water close to home. Saturday
out a regular crew and anchored a small local wreck to try
for a Conger, result 13 Conger to 57lb with 4 big Eels lost.
Our anglers returned all their fish, 23rd.-28th.
Busy all week, lots of Mackerel
trips, we always go to areas where our customers are likely
to pick up a Bass or something other than just Mackerel
on the feathers. Some will choose to fish a bait on the
bottom instead and are generally not disappointed. Saturday
29th. July, The African Queens 60th. Birthday,
She was launched by the British Powerboat Co. on this day
July 1946. We had arranged a waterborne picnic with friends
and colleagues for this evening but the weather Gods conspired
again to stop us. Wet and windy weather means we will have
to re- schedule this outing.
our busy time, 7 days a week, often 2 trips a day. This
is when we can pay some bills, as always, weather permitting.
Day after day of holiday makers and very demanding kids.
We get sick of the sight of Mackerel, and look forward to
the odd weekend when we can get some respite from some more
serious fishing with our more experienced anglers. Some
good wrecking trips with some quality Ling and Conger. Lots
of Bass around but with the average size of the fish small.
We had 25 Bass one day with only 4 over the 36cm limit.
Next year this will be 41cm. 24th.-27th.
Regatta, Committee Boat again,
4 days of offshore racing. Fantastic racing, good wind,
the only time that we don't mind if the wind blows a bit,
is over these 4 days. The stronger the wind, the better
bookings we have ever had for this month,
all the weekends have been booked for ages. We managed to
get out for a day on the 3rd, caught a few late Plaice,
plenty of Mackerel and some bits and pieces, an enjoyable
day with nothing much to note. All the other trips were
cancelled because of the winds. Very frustrating as this
is when we should be earning our Winter money.
29th. Managed to get out
at last, this is a day we give to The
Devon Air Ambulance auction. It is normally
purchased by a generous North Devon farmer who comes along
with a group of his friends, a good day was had by all,
with a lot of South Devon fish going back over Dartmoor
to North Devon. November 12th.
Brisk Westerly winds didn't stop our group from enjoying
a fantastic day on the Skerries. Our first plan to go wrecking
was changed because of the weather, so we decided to spend
the day drifting the Banks instead. We were straight into
loads of large Channel whiting to 3 1/2 lbs, which we continued
to catch throughout the day. Our first of this Autumns Codling
to about 5lbs was very pleasing, as the water temperature
is still about 15deg C. Lots of large Mackerel still about
and a steady run of bits and bobs along with the Whiting
to keep things interesting, including a nice bonus Bass
at 5lbs to keep everyone busy on a cold day. 11 tired but
happy anglers went back to Bristol at the end of the day.
with a regular group, the weather forecast was half reasonable,
but the strong Westerly's came in earlier than predicted
and ended with us having an early return to Port. A fair
few smallish Whiting, Mackerel and the normal bits and bobs
meant the day was not entirely wasted. December
2/3rd Hurricane force winds in Dartmouth,
overnight on Saturday/Sunday the winds in the River reached
74 knots (82mph) countless Dinghies were sunk and a 30 foot
fishing boat. The winds have been strong all the week and
are forecast to reach storm force 10 again tonight Wednesday
6th. Global warming or just an unlucky weather
pattern? We are booked on Saturday and next Monday, we won't
be out on either of them. Sat/Sun
6/7th. The best weather of the Winter so
far, flat calm and sunny. Where are our anglers who have
been desperate to get out these last couple of months? Christmas
bloody shopping. You couldn't make it up. Anyway, Happy
Christmas to anyone who is reading this, and we look forward
to seeing you in the new year. Unfortunately I will have
to end this year's diary with another bit of bad news just
in, it looks like a hammer blow is about to fall on our
already over regulated and struggling industry. Read about
the Governments proposal to take away from us our use of