Saturday, 21 July 2012

Fish a plenty

Gloom at Turnberry Lighthouse
Gloom at Turnberry Lighthouse (Photo credit: overgraeme)
Cornish mackerel on sale at Borough Market, Lo...
Cornish mackerel on sale at Borough Market, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mackerel, caught close to the western edge of ...
Mackerel, caught close to the western edge of the Belgian part of the North Sea, Belgium. Français : Un Maquereau commun, pris en mer du nord près de la limite ouest des eaux territoriales belges. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have been out twice since I last published a blog, but I wasn't sure whether to write about them or not as nothing much happened that was very different than before.
The mackerel are still surrendering easily but most of them are getting thrown back as they are too small.
I keep enough of the good sized ones to give me a feed but by the time I have caught enough good sized ones my arm is sore throwing the smaller ones back, so last time I thought I would try for some white fish in nearer the rocks after I had enough mackerel for my supper and before my arm got too sore.
I moved directly towards the rocks under Turnberry Lighthouse and watch as the echo sounder bleeped off the readings until I had only three feet of water under the boat.
I cast my line and before I knew it, it had hit the bottom, and when I looked over the side I could SEE the bottom, but no fish.
Ten minutes later with nothing doing I moved north and off slightly until the bottom was out of view and although I could not see it I was still in very shallow water.
Hook down again and it wasn't long until I felt a bite, but then, on reeling my catch in quickly I was disappointed to find only an undersized lithe, or pollock as they are sometimes known wriggling at the end of my line.
A quick release let him live to fight another day, and no sooner was my line back in the water until the same again.
When the fish came up I wondered if it was the same fish being suicidal but on examination it was much darker in colour, so it too was put back to fight another day, hopefully a day when they are big enough to eat.
The next cast made my heart jump when I saw the strain on the line as I hauled it in with what I thought was a good sized tug, but with each turn of the reel and with the rod bending to breaking point, I realized that my hooks were caught hard fast on the rocks below.
After many attempts to free them I finally had to give in and cut them loose, making them the first of what will probably be many more loss of hooks, but it is part and parcel of what you have to sacrifice if you want to catch different species of fish.
It is a small price to pay when the big ones start biting.
An easier way to get your supper is to get a few crabs from one of the other boats who are grateful for some mackerel to bait their creels, which is what I did that day and ended up with an unexpected delicious meal of freshly cooked crab rather than the mackerel which will keep for another day.
All in all its great to be back among the sources of good fresh fish, and with a bit of luck I will be able to report on catching some good sized white fish instead of boring you with mackerel all the time.
On saying that, its good to experience a bit of sea time again which might be boring for you to read about but not boring for me to be doing again.
Each time you go out, has its own bits of excitement, and just being back out there is excitement for an old timer like me.

 Maidens harbour, where Chasca is moored, is tucked away in a well sheltered, and picturesque part of the coast about half a mile north of Turnberry Lighthouse, shown in the photo above.
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