Norfolk Groyne fishing session

24 08 2009

Went fishing from the Norfolk Groyne in Hove on Saturday night. High tide was at 2am, but I was very wary of getting to the groyne quite early in order to secure space for a few rods. As it was a 7m tide, I was particularly looking forward to float fishing down the side of the groyne – it was using this technique, albeit with Red Rag, which I didn’t have on this occasion, that I caught a 4lb 4oz Mullet from the groyne in August 1996.

However, somehow, I broke the drag mechanism on my Okuma fixed spool reel on my last fishing outing (luckily after catching my baby bass, which prevented blanking!), and needed a new one.

So I’d taken a trip to Lagoon Bait and Tackle in the morning, and purchased a new, cheap fixed spool reel, some 2/0 and 3/0 hooks, to give the flexibility to fish with large Mackerel baits if required, three packs of King Rag, two of Black Lug, and a pack of three small frozen Mackerel.

Sole, 22nd Aug 2009

Sole, 22nd Aug 2009

Duncs and I got to the venue at about 10:00, four hours before the tide, which allowed plenty of time to set up and achieved our goal of securing the venue. It didn’t take long to realise that I’d forgotten my coasters, having left them in the reel bag containing my Abu 6500 CS Rocket and 6500 GR. I’ve yet to cast these reels yet, so’d left them in a reel bag, and assuming they’d be taken on any fishing sessions to have a few practise casts, left the coasters in there too. I’d then left the reels at home, thinking that I wouldn’t have time to practise casting with the reels. Doh.

This stopped me from using my Daiwa Procaster rod, but I still had my faithful second rod with me, which uses a screw winch, so used that for the session instead.

I knew it was a big tide, but I was amazed at how fast it flooded – it must have come 20-25 metres up the beach within an hour of the session starting. It continued to flood at a similar pace until high.

Conditions started off relatively OK, with the sea running fast, but not too rough, and a slight breeze. No weed made an appearance for the first few 1.5 hours roughly, which was a bonus.

Pouting, 22nd August 2009

Pouting, 22nd August 2009

I caught the first fish, which was a small Sole – this was one of my predicted species for the night, and one of the species on my hitlist for the Summer. Not sure what bait it was caught on, as Duncs unhooked it before I got a chance to check. We were using Black Lug on one hook and King on the other. I’d guess it was the Black, as in my experience this is most likely to hook Sole. As it was so small, it may have taken the Rag though.

Next fish fell to Duncs, and was a small Thornback Ray, on King Rag worm. This is a great species to catch, and Duncs did well to make it only the 5th different species he’s caught.

About an hour before high tide, the weed started making an appearance, and it was a *big* appearance – huge clumps of it were floating all around the groyne, so even on casts where we hadn’t fallen prey to large amounts of it clogging round the line and creating false bites, we often caught some on the retrieve.

Although the weed situation was pretty bad, it was not the stubborn, spaghetti like weed we’ve suffered from on the last few sessions, and was much easier to clear from the line.

Along with the weed came deteriorating weather conditions – the wind really started howling, and caused rougher than ideal sea conditions. I’d set up my spinning rod, with new fixed spool, and a float rig, baited, rather bravely, with Mackerel head. I released the drag right off so that we had an audible indication of bites on the rod, for any times when we weren’t watching the float.

At one point, the drag started absolutely howling, the rod tip bucking up and down like it was possessed. I took up the rod and tightened the drag, and struck against the bite, but alas, I missed it. I think the relatively small, size 3/0 hook was slightly buried in the Mackerel head, masking the point. Next time it’ll be a size 6/0! I changed the float rod bait to Mackerel strip, again on the size 3/0 hook – I was after *big* fish here, but didn’t have any further bites. I varied tactics, even casting it about 20 yards in to the surf on the other side of the groyne to that we were fishing on, and also reverting to Mackerel head on a Pennel Rig using size 3/0 hooks, but didn’t have any joy.

Towards the later half of the session, I stuck on a size 3/0 hook on my main rod, alongside the smaller size 1 that I normally use, and baited it with some juicy mackerel strip. I ws concerned that the fast flow of the tide was washing the scents out of the baits quickly, destroying the chances of fish following the scent trail. This tactic also proved unsuccessful, but it something I’ll definitely be trying again.

The only other fish was a Pouting, caught by me, on King Rag. All fish went back.

All in all, a slightly disappointing session, but was glad to catch what we did.. plus I have another species I can check off my wishlist! I apologise for the rubbish quality of these pictures – from now on my digital camera will be accompanying me on fishing trips, rather than using the shoddy camera on my mobile!