Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A break from the wind and rain

It has been a poor year for fishing hence my lack of updates. I did very little fishing over the Summer and Autumn and was hoping for a good cod season. However, the 2015 is proving to be my worst cod season since I started fishing. In early November before all the wet weather I did fish a favourite cod mark in the Youghal area. I fished from low to high tide without a single bite, normally at that time of year I would expect to get a minimum of 10 cod.

There was almost incessant rain for over a month following that session.  As a result there has been a torrent of fresh water flowing down the Blackwater which has most likely flushed the few cod that were about well out into Youghal Bay.

With the strong winds/gales and rain I didn't fancy a beach session until last Sunday when the winds finally eased and the skies cleared, coinciding with a change to cooler fresher conditions. I decided on a beach mark which is well away from a river/estuary and one which which commonly produces cod at this time of the year.

I got to the beach just at dusk about 2.5 hours before low tide, checked it for weed. It seems clean apart from a few clumps of kelp attached to bounders strewn high on the gravel at the back of the beach. With fresh peeler crab been extremely scarce this winter I just had some razor and frozen crab, although I brought a fork with me so I could dig a few lug at low tide.

I set up two rods, one with a two hook flapper with 2/0 circle hooks baited with razor, the second with a three hook flapper with size 1 and 2 hooks with razor and crab. I don't normally use such small hooks but it has been so long since I caught a fish that I was determined to catch something, size didn't matter.

It was a nice night, a bright half moon illuminated the beach with a moderate southwesterly wind which was not too cold.

About half an hour after casting out I had a a strong tug on the two hook flapper, as I retrieved it was fighting strongly then surged in with the surf so I had to rapidly reel in the slack. It was behaving more like a bass than a cod and sure enough after a few minutes I could see the glint of silver in the moonlight as I landed a plump 3.25 lb bass on the beach.

About half an hour later I had another good knock this time on the other rod. Again it gave a good fight and I has very happy to see a second bass, slightly smaller at 3 lbs. It had taken the middle hook which was baited with a small frozen crab.

Close to low tide there was another strong knock on the first rod. I was convinced I had a third bass until I landed an angry seagull on the beach. It had got a leg and wing tangled in my line, but I managed to free it without too much damage and it flew off after giving a loud angry sounding squak.

I had hoped some cod might show up with the rising tide but my baits remained untouched. The only other fish was a good size coalfish about 2.5 hours into the rising tide.

The lack of cod suggests that they have probably moved well out of the bay and I would not be too hopeful of them making a return for a late run in the New Year. I packed up shortly before high tide, happy enough with the night's fishing after a long period of blanks.