11th March 2014, As most of our customers will be aware, the Old African Queen suffered a catastrophic fire in March of 2014. The fire destroyed this beautiful old classic vessel which had been our home and business for the last 15 years. It has taken us a long time to recover from the trauma of this eventbut I am happy to report that we have purchased a new boat, which we have decided for the practicalities of business to also call African Queen, She was built as a Trawler and worked the Bristol Channel, I purchased her in Minehead and had her lifted out at Watchet Harbour for an extensive refit. She was finished and ready to go to work by May of this year although the legalities of surveys and licensing have taken a bit longer but are now all in place. We are now taking bookings for the 2015 season and hope to welcome back our old customers and continue to meet new ones. We would both like to once again thank everyone who has supported us through this difficult last year, we could not have done it alone.
Some pictures of the new boat out of the water in watchet Harbour. A £360 refurbishment of the propeller has it looking like new. Another of the boat on the lorry ready to come home. Lower pics, being lifted into the water from Darthaven Marina and on her new mooring. Half term trip with family groups. Good fun for the kids and adults alike.
May/June 2015 Fishing has got off to a really good start on the Skerries Banks with the Plaice showing in abundance, our first trip out with decent anglers saw our first 'ton up' with over 100 Plaice boated between them. The wrecks are fishing really well for Cod up to 12.5 lbs with a few decent Pollack showing with them when we can find good enough weather and a crew to get out to them.
More family fun for Dad and his Girls, they fished really well and caught some nice Plaice.
16th June, Fishing continuing to be excellent, 40 Plaice today with 3 varieties of Gurnard , Whiting, Mackerel and other bits on just a half day trip (4hrs) with visitors of mostly limited fishing experience. We also saw our first Sun fish of the season, a bonus to get that sort of treat when out fishing. I think we have a few converts to the gentle art here today, they had a great time.
24th June, Yet another fantastic days fishing which saw us break our record for numbers of Plaice caught. we had a good crew of anglers on board as is always the case when we bag this many fish. As is normally the case when we pick up good numbers of Plaice there are an awful lot of smallish fish to make up the bulk, but as always, enough decent fish to satisfy the hungry. A lot of fish were returned for next year but good sport just the same. Mackerel a plenty.
25th June, Out with visitors again on a half day where everyone caught decent Plaice and all the normal other species. Normal to us that is but fascinating to people out for sometimes the first time fishing. A Tub Gurnard is a magical thing to see when you have not seen one before, a Mackerel, a Sand eel, all the different jelly fish, and then a pod of 20-30 Dolphins came up to the boat as we were drifting along and played around the boat for a while, a real buzz for everyone on board and I am sure a day that will be remembered and talked about for a long while. I hope I shall have some video to share with you soon when the lady who took it gets home and can find time to send it to me.
Thursday 2nd July. Another good day on the Skerries with a small group. The morning was a challenge with thick fog and heavy rain but the afternoon cheered up with plenty of sunshine and light winds. 9 different species and a lot of Plaice, again nothing huge but plenty of them and a few good takers.
July, fishing continues to be excellent, good numbers of Plaice, Mackerel plentiful and lots of other species about. Bass starting to show.
End July. The weather still continues to be a problem, we don't seem to be able to have more than two trips before having to cancel because of the winds, certainly not what we expect at this time of year. When we do get out the fishing is very good with the wrecks still producing plenty of Cod and a few Pollack. The Banks fishing well for Plaice with the average size now at a decent level from all the small stuff we have had through the early part of the season. Some nice Ray coming to the baits we are fishing for Turbot, good fun on the lighter tackle.
Friday 24th. July. I've tried to resist having a whinge but I can't stand it any more! This graph picture is from the data that is recorded from our wind buoy in Start Bay, just offshore from Slapton Sands, 3.5 meters! from a horrible Easterly gale. Another trip lost. It's nearly August, not January for goodness sake, what's going on? Whinge over.
30th July, Winds finally abated and allowed us to get out for a days fishing. I could only muster a small crew for the day which included John who was over from Holland on holiday with his family, and who had been waiting on the weather all week for an opportunity to have a days fishing for what in my experience seems to be the Dutch's favourite quarry, the humble Plaice. I believe they are prolific in Dutch waters but are generally quite small so when a Dutch person hooks one of the Skerries 'normal' Plaice they are well chuffed with it's size. If the size of John's smile is anything to go by he was indeed well chuffed and had a great day out with us. Here are some pictures of Johns best 3. Thanks for your company today John, it was a pleasure.
31st.July. The Whiting have finally showed up on the Banks, very late but very welcome. We found plenty of fish of a good average size today so we have something else to go after in our quest to have a good 'mixed' days fishing which most of our anglers seem to enjoy.
August, We are getting into the second week of August now and are still suffering from unseasonal winds, every day this week apart from Tuesday 11th we are forecast to have winds up to or maybe above 30 mph. When we do get out as you can see from the above photos we can still manage to find a few decent fish, even the holiday makers can get in on the act,including the wee ones.
3rd.week of August and we are still being battered by strong winds most days. We are not getting out to sea any more than a couple of days at a time then stuck in harbour for 2 or 3 days because it is too rough to take out our customers. When we do get out, we are finding plenty of flatties with some decent sized ones showing now the season is coming up to Autumn when the big uns should show. A few nice Ray landed but its mainly small ones in the shallow water where we fish for the flats but great fun on Plaice gear, unfortunatly we lose a fair few of the bigger ones as we are only using 1/0 fine wire hooks for the Plaice. Must get a proper Ray trip organized with good anglers with strong gear.
Well, we managed to get out just 4 times in the last 2 weeks of August because of the constantly strong winds, an absolute disaster. We would normally be working 7 days a week and 12 hours a day during the school holidays and putting a few bob away for the winter bills. So there we are, school holidays over, most of the holiday makers gone home and the sun comes out. Got a few spaces on trips this week, click the link below to see whats available.