I had planned to go cod fishing today, I had bought the bait, sorted out the gear and re-spooled my multipliers, tide looked good and the local fishing has been brilliant, with lots of cod in the 5-8lb range coming out, game on.
But with the first break in the weather and an easing wind for what feels like weeks, at the last minuite I decided I couldn't resist the opportunity for some clean water and a spot of winter plugging, so the bait stayed in the freezer and I headed to Dorset instead.
The water temperature is still at 10 degrees and I'd seen reports of quite a few fish recently, so I was quietly optimistic. On the downside I was heading to a mark that fished better on the ebb and I was going to arrive around low water.
Anyway, onto the mark and conditions looked good, the water had just a hint of colour and a little movement. Confidence wains quickly in January though and after 20 minutes or so I was just starting to think about those cod when bang...fish on. A short fight and this one safely landed, taken on a Daiwa Shoreline in Chart/rainbow (a great little lure this, runs really shallow like a feed shallow but casts a little better).
Now I've fished this area a lot in summer, and over the low water period there is normally a lot of weed around which limits the areas you can effectively fish, but whether it was the recent storms or just a winter thing I don't know but most of the kelp had gone which really opened up where you could cast here and about an hour after low I was working the lure across a boulder reef that would previously been "out of bounds" when this fish hit, taken on a mullet feed shallow.
Confidence was sky high now and two more fish followed, both really wanting the feed shallow, the last one putting up a really good fight for it's size.
So I packed up around 3pm, all in all a great session, firstly because any lure caught bass in January is to be welcomed but also because it was nice to catch 4 fish on the flood on a mark I had previously put down as an ebb tide only venue.
The only downside was the presence of a small boat gillnetting, I watched it set one about 50 yards uptide from me and another further down and on the walk back to my car I watched checking another couple. A couple of weeks of this sort of activity could have a real negative effect on the local stocks :-(