Roving Rods – Return to the Beaches by Martin Wood
With the recent weather turning nice, sunny and hot after a long horrible damp and wet spell, and with the shoulder injury stopping all fishing for 6-8 weeks, my rotator cuff muscle finally felt like it may play ball although my style of fishing at present has to change.
Finally after a lot of rest and taking my boy fishing with some light sessions myself I decided it just odd chucks no power it was time to hit the West Somerset shingles again and start pulling in some fish.
The plan was to also film for The snag youtube channel.
Looking at the tides available for when I would be able to fish it was all on smaller spring tides, so I chose one that went into dusk and darkness fishing the flood tide of the Bristol channel and due to a lot of beaches being packed with tourists at the present I wanted somewhere a bit more quiet and out the way so ended up on my local beach Bossington as my selection.
With the box loaded, the multiplier loaded with 20lb Asso SHT and new shock leader and all my camera gear as well it was quite a load! 72kg to be precise! (It needs slimming down and half of the tackle shop in my box to be left at home!)
Monday evening arrived and I loaded all my gear and bait up into the truck and trundled down the road to Bossington.
Arriving at the car park I wondered if I had made the right decision as it was heaving with cars and people were everywhere but I managed to find a spot and then decamped leaving them all to their antics with a few looking at me like I’m bonkers, whilst I just smiled and trundled down the path with all of my gear going down was great to see the fields and some locals with a few polite hellos to those being sociable.
The heat was still baking down on me brilliant sunshine highlighting everything and making the greenery and colours vivid and with not a cloud in the sky surrounded by lush green hills either side and stunning scenery everywhere it still gives me the wow! Factor that other venues just cant produce and makes me appreciate where I live.
After the ten minute walk down I arrived on the beach and walked up the stone ridge to see just how packed it was.
To my surprise it was just a few walkers on top, a couple of people fishing and one group at the very end by Hurlestone point.
Excellent! Although baked and my fat starting to cry I started a brisk walk over the large stones or Somerset shingle as it’s known here for about 300 yards to a mark I like to fish that throws up all kinds of fish all year around.
Finally arriving I get my gear off my back which was a massive relief with older people looking at me like I’m on drugs carrying all, so I smile and wave like Forrest Gump would as I’m not one to worry what people think and start to set up the tripod taking in the stunning bright blues of the sky and sea the sun wasn’t the only one beaming!
It was so great to be back out and I realised just how much I have missed the fishing… The Mojo is back!
With rods and tripod all set up my casting is still suffering due to the shoulder and at present can’t cast miles or give much power into the cast.
So tonight the game was a little different I decided I would use one rod and just get it as far as I can do with a smaller squid bait for a hound and then on the other stick I would cast out as far as I can and use a rig slider with a large dead bait on for larger fish maybe a Conger or a decent Bullhuss.
Cutting the squid in half and whipping it up and threading it onto a 4/0 Koike hook on a pulley rig which I make, I cast it out as far as I could without pushing my luck and started baiting up the large bait.
I was using a whole herring with the tail chopped off and scored on the side with a bait knife.
All rigged up and on 8/0 hooks penneled for a better presentation on the bottom I cast out the 8oz Gemini lead and the 535 whirred into life running smooth and allowing me to hit around 80 yards.
I was quite happy with that with how things are at present.
So attaching the rig slider to the line the weight had settled down so I made the line taught lifted up the rod tip and let the bait slide down to the surf edge it started to go in and I started the large rod lifting motions or pumping the rod to walk the bait out there using the rip of the tide to aid me as well after about 50 pumps I left it and put the rod in the rest.
I sat down grateful for the rest now and broke out a cherry cola can, opened it and then the squid bait stared to rattle away!
Not even ten minutes in and we have a fish. Great!
I never mind what the first fish is… It’s the “it’s not a blank fish” it pulled the tip over a bit and could feel it pump only a little on the end which threw me as I thought maybe it isn’t a dog, but it was it was just curled up and was obviously using the strong rip to help it, but a couple of minutes saw it up and in the surf line.
A quick unhooking and it went back swimming away strongly, I changed the bait for the same again which I had premade when I baited up the first one.
I sent it back out as far as I could and then sat down and finally enjoyed my drink taking it all in watching the boats far out at sea and the stunning clarity for a change you could taste the earthy arid dryness of the heat in the air and seeing the mirage coming up off the stones down the ends of the beach, it reminded me of being abroad.
With that another stabbing bite arrived on the rod tip only not so vicious this time and I didn’t even have to strike as it had hooked itself it was another two minute pull in job, release, rebait, fire back out.
I got the camera to take a few snaps of the views some for my reference files I keep on beaches and some for the video etc.
Just putting the camera down to re attach to the tripod and the squid bait is doing its thing again and the rod tip is dancing away, I lift into the rod and reel up again, it’s clearly another dogfish and playing in the tide but a quick wind in and he is in my hands ready to be unhooked, holding him still I remove the hook and then he managed to get the tail free and give my wrist the lovely dogfish graze, not impressed I take him to the water’s edge and release him to go an rob some other anglers bait at a later date.
I decided I didn’t want a dog fest like last time with my boy and that has been happening to lots of local anglers around here at the minute so I whipped up a whole squid nipped off the tail and had the hook coming out half way up this time to try and keep the dogs from getting on the hook.
I cast the squid to the horizon as best I could, released the drag a bit and sat back, the sun was dipping low in the sky and starting to sink and be eaten by the sea.
By this time with golden yellow rays, iridescent red and orange shades of light everywhere with a golden and red track leading up to the sun on the seas surface I literally had my own African sunset in good ol’ blighty.
Tucking into my pasty dinner I was filming the sun going down and watching it sink into the sea just as the last tip of the sun disappeared out of view the rod tip lurched over and the clutch kicked off and started to pay out line.
With the camera put down rather sharpish and jumping off my box getting my arse into gear I got on the rod and lifted into it whilst holding the spool to set the hook, then tightening up the clutch I started to wind down and felt that great familiar feeing of the hounds pumping tail transferring through the rod to myself with the rod tip being pulled down and feeling it pumping its tail to try and get away, the hound found a sweet current and pulled off some more line I knew it wasn’t a large one but it wasn’t making life easy as I was pulling it up to the surface it decided it wasn’t having none of it and made use of every bit of current the hound found it was fighting hard.
As I got it towards the surf line it done the typical hound last ditch move and careered off to the right towards my other line but a turn of the rod and pulling the hound back around it came back towards myself and the shore and then the final pull and reel in I managed to beach it to reveal a perfect small hound around 6lbs quickly collecting it and the old classic grab the leader and pull up the beach a little to secure it, I picked it up whilst supporting the stomach of the hound and holding against my body whilst carrying my rod in the other hand, getting back up by the tripod I talk to the camera and then realise I have missed all footage of the hound capture as it has turned off with a storage issue.
So a few curses under my breath I quickly unhook the hound put it in the sling grab the scales and it weighed in at 6lb 2 oz.
Then booting up the other camera to take a quick piece of footage and a still photo, it was straight back to the ocean lowering the hound into the sea gently, it didn’t need any encouragement and had plenty of energy when it belted away out of my hands into a wave and through it coasting off on the surface watching it jink away and watching the dorsal fin ‘V ‘mark it was making in the water gradually disappear.
Getting back to the box I’m super happy one it wasn’t another blasted dogfish and secondly it was one target fish I came out for.
With the same again a whole Riot squid bait from Mikey Webber at Speedbait in Minehead I sent it back out to the horizon.
I cracked another can of drink open and thought about all the sugar that was in it and what a fatty I am and then ignored my own advice and drank it regardless and it was lovely haha
I decided to reel in the large bait and then send out a baited two hook rig for the slider I use one being a live crab and one being a large dead mackerel bait.
Again the rod was bent and I sent the 8oz weight a good distance I popped on the rig slider and then let the bait slide down into the water, the current I could see took it well and so I started the pumping motion to get the bait walking down the mono line to full distance.
With not much going on I continue to try and sort the camera out but the tech doesn’t want to play.
So with faulty camera in hand I’m trying to figure out what was wrong ten minutes in its starting to get quite dark and a there is a crisp but refreshing chill in the air although you can still feel the heat coming off the stones around you.
I turn my Head torch on the dim setting and I can’t figure out the problem is with the camera so I stored it away for later to sort at home.
Just turning back around and the rod starts going for it with the rod tip lunging over and staying over I get the rod and lift into it and can feel a pump on the end.
Is it hound number two of the evening?
And I though all the way it was playing in the tide and the pumping it was until I manage to pull the fish clear from currents and then I feel a constant banging and realised it isn’t a hound at all its a conger.
A minute later and the conger is on the beach shoreline.
I weighed it and it came out at 3lb14oz.
I tend to weigh the eels a lot as I find the differing sizes can be really misleading as some are skinny, some are short and fat they all have their quirks but can be hard to gauge at times with some good eels not looking that special at times.
Using the T-bar I unhook the snot monster which was neatly hooked through the bottom of the jaw with its own body weight and carried it back to the edge of the sea and released it a quick wash of the hands in the sea and then rub the wet and remaining snot off on the stones around me.
Ten minutes later the rod starts to ping on the large bait rod, but I soon realise it was just dogs trying it on and punching well above their weight so I leave it alone and sure enough it stops as quickly as it started.
The chill in the air now is quite strong but with how baked I’d been earlier on it was refreshing on the skin, but the action had slowed down and it was approaching high tide which arrived with no more bites at all.
I packed everything down and loaded it all back up into the box and the Sherpa and loaded it up onto my back with the rods all packed down and strapped together it was time to get to back to the truck.
Trudging back I rang home and let the better half know I was leaving the beach and to get the kettle on in twenty minutes.
All in all it was a good night with three species although I didn’t get the larger fish I was planning on but then I guess that is fishing and how it goes, but I’m happy at least one target which was to see a hound was achieved.
Tight lines until next month and look out for the youtube videos !