Roving Rods: A day out with Heritage Charters

With the shore fishing around the south west being not so fantastic in March where it’s hit and miss and with some pretty horrendous and miserable weather I figured I would take the rods onto the sea and see what could be pulled out and what better captain locally than Tom Wright or Tommo locally with the new fantastic boat of his Lorna Doone which is a great black and white beast! With two 300HP power plants driving this large swift cat across the sea with ease which makes travelling to and from marks effortless and a lot quicker as well. With booking on with Tommo online through his Facebook Heritage charters page all booked on and with the code to the marina it was on.

Darren a friend had also booked on this day so we agreed we would go there together. To save wasting any time in morning or rushing around, the night before I travelled to watchet to pick up a pound of live rag from Steve at west coast angling so we had half a pound and some frozen baits each.

At last the day is here and we get to the marina early so we can go down catch up with Tommo and set up for the day.

We get aboard after myself slipping on the pontoon and almost taking a nosedive into the water! We get the gear down and all of a sudden I realise whilst packing the frozen bait I’ve left the live bait on the side, after some swearing under the breath and Darren probably thinking it, we had just enough time to shoot back with a heavy foot and collect the worm.

Finally we get back at the marina with the rag worm and just in time ten minutes until we leave, we make our way down and get aboard and start to rig up.

With the day not going so well for me so far it always happens in threes and so the third happened whilst sat on my box just putting my waterproofs on, Tommo is reversing the swift cat out of the pontoon and all the water that had settled up on top of the roof came off and all over myself. At least it got a few laughs and ok wasn’t very wet and gear on we started to make our way out of the harbour.

The wind was up and the sea was a bit lumpy but that’s all good with me it’s normally good for a fish or two if the movement is good, we were limited to what spots we could choose due to the wind but we anchored up just off the golf links course which has seen a lot of codling running this year a few other boat captains we’re also here in the same area.

Choice of weapons today was the AFAW uptide match pro paired with a fathom 2 15FS and I had my boys Leeda icon rod paired with a Penn Rival multiplier normally would have had the Abu out but that was on loan today to Darren.

With bites thin on the ground I eventually saw some tiny nibbles on the end of the icon with that I lifted into the rod and felt some resistance on the end it was fish on! Although it was nothing to write home about but none the less first fish of the day!

It eventually came to the surface and it was a small thornback ray ... that’ll be why the bites were small on such a large bait, Tommo was there on hand and unhooked the ray, I didn’t bother photographing the Thornie as I didn’t want to get the macro lens out! And with some luck there should be plenty more coming along in a bit but with that all of a sudden there was nothing going it went blank with no activity, it stayed this way for a while and with Tommo getting on the blower to a few other captains they had similar experiences except they hadn’t even landed any fish.

It stayed quiet and Tommo gave the shout we were all waiting for right on time... “Tea or coffee?”

With a brew in hand we all had a renewed sense of being about ourselves and the chatter was flowing. Then a bit of action at the front of the boat a dog fish ok maybe they will bite result! I was just talking to Tommo about the specs of the boat and the start of up costs and all of a sudden there is a shout from the back only this time from Darren!

He had pulled it in and it was a small codling about a pound and a half and asking me who was the daddy.... challenge on! Put your fish finger away mate!

The next bite was a good while later on, maybe a couple of hours had passed which ended up being a small strap conger, just as Tommo released it by unhookingit over the side of the boat someone was in on the other side of the boat with a nice blonde ray of around 8-9 lb a quick photo by Tommo and the ray was back in the water to disappear into the murky chocolate brown sea.

The next few hours passed without a lot happening and with the wind picking up moving the boat around crossing a few lines in the process, the coffees were coming and the banter and chat was good although not many of us knew each other.

Darkness was approaching and the odd dog, eel and whiting had been caught it was a day of reasonably hard fishing, Tommo decided to move onto Watchet reef system to see if maybe we could change our luck at all, again fishing was flat and not much was taking baits, but sticking to my game I loaded another 5 blacks up the line putting a decent meal out there with some stink and tipped it off with a touch of squid casting it back out and then rebating the other rod with a whole squid and doing the same we’re into the last moments of play now and then the rod goes with a lovely big thump with the tip going over twice jumping to attention i was lifting into the rod like a fat kid on cake and winding in, I feel the tension on the end and a nice bend in the Icons tip feeling some nods and shakes on the end we know straight away it’s a cod, Tommo came over with the landing net and as it gets nearerand scoops it to safety and pulls it onboard, I’m happy to see a half decent fish! I’m even happier it’s a codling and I’m elated that it’s a lot bigger than Darren’s fish finger haha We certainly saved the best till last! We had a good laugh about it. With the last casts done and time now out it was time to pull the rods in, pack up and clean the boat down and make our way back to Watchet marina.

With the day not being a very productive day as that’s how fishing goes at times I decided I would come out again unfortunately work times were not great and I didn’t get the tides I would choose to fish (i prefer neaps i believe they fish better and hold the fish) and wasn’t the best day again but a lot of congers were pulled up along with a couple of small rays a spotted for myself and a few dogs and an eel it was a slow day until last light where we fished again on Watchet reefs again sticking to my game it was time to fire out the last casts again with worm and squid being the baits of choice the icon started rattling away so lifted into the rod and reeled the fish in when it first breached the water a little way out I thought it was a small codling in the dark until closer I realised it was actually a really good whiting! With it now on board and dispatched humanely and quickly I packed that rod down and cleaned up my gear and started wiping down my station of the boat.

With the last few minutes of the evening starting again it was broken with a nice thump on the AFAW and the line went slack, picking up the rod and winding in the slack I found the tension I was looking for and it was fish on! Even more pleasing was feeling the nods that told me it was cod... at last target acquired!

Running through my mind was I’ve managed to pull it out the bag at the last moment again only this day it was the only cod we would see on the boat but that being said it made for a great end to my day.

It was that time again and we all started packing down and cleaning down.

I managed to get two days that we’re not so great overall but that is fishing if it was always easy it would be called catching but got to take three fish for the table and you can’t beat fresh fish!

Tommo is a great captain with a lovely boat which has plenty of comfort an room and most importantly Tommo knows what he is talking about and will do his absolute best to get you on the fish and catching as you may have seen on Totally Awesome fishing show with Graeme Pullen if you haven’t seen it’s well worth a watch!

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