Back On It by Alan Brown

After a long-settled spell of weather here in sunny old Sussex the fishing has been hard at times, however it looked like things might be on the change. I was keeping an eye on ‘Hector’ that was going to be short and sweet on Thursday morning, with his strong South Westerly winds dropping off that evening that should leave plenty of movement and colour along here. So, I kept an eye it and had a plan for that evening, with High Tide around 00.45 am.

I raided my fridge for a couple dozen or so prime peelers and freezer for couple of packs of Joeys. Target was Hounds and may be another early Tope, Hound rig was a simple Pulley but this time I was going to try the Cox & Rawle 4/0 SCR24 Crab Hooks this time and a wire trace with 8/0 SCR29 Specimen Extras on an Up and Over rig. After a 15-minute walk along the shingle at Bracklesham Bay I was greeted with a heavy surf running and plenty of colour and the wind was just starting to drop, by the time I was set up the surf had dropped right off and the wind as good as nothing, perfect.

I was only going to fish one rod to start with till around an hour before high when I would put a Joey bait out. First cast with the Crab rod was deployed and to my surprise with in minutes the rod went over and dropped of slack, shortly after a small Hound about 6lbs and after a quick photo and re-cast I was all most straight in to another about 8lbs, this is how it went on for the next hour. As the tide flooded in the smaller fish seem to vanish as they either moved off or moved closer in, with bites getting further and further apart. Around 11pm I got bored and put out a whole Joey out for a Tope, 20 minutes later the ratchet done a few clicks, followed by a slack liner. As you can imagine I was straight on it only to think I missed what I thought it might be till I took up the slack and I could feel a fish, but not what I wanted as a 7lb Thornie popped out on a whole Joey and 8/0 hooks!!!

At this point must point out that I had seen as good as no weed so was nice as normally after a good blow there is loads along there. Right on high water I had the first real take on the Hound rod and could feel this might be a better Hound and after a spirited fight at the water’s edge I had the first double of 12lbs lay in front of me. Twenty minutes later the Crab rod went off again, this time it felt very different and I soon found out that it was a plump 6lb 6oz Bass, quick photo and it was returned to fight another day. Re-casting, as soon is I felt it hit the bottom it took off, this time with a 10lb Hound, followed almost straight away by another, then another Bass of 3lb 10ozs. Then things just dried up - sat there for an hour without a bite, strange?

Around 1.30 am and by now I was thinking that was it, when the Tope rod went straight over and went slack, this time I left it for a minute or so, started to take the slack line up thinking I missed it, when the line went tight, and the rod was nearly pulled out my hand and with whatever it was, was gone. I gave it another hour to no avail so packed up with a tally of 14 x Hounds between 6lbs and 12lbs, 2 x Bass and a Thornie, so busy compared to previous trips – let’s hope with the unsettled weather due over next week or so we might see some proper big girls.

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