Roving Rods: Chesil Beach February 2020

With Christmas done, feeling fat and itching to get back on the beaches and with my father Keith over for a week due to living abroad we always hit the beaches together for the week to differing venues but as the fishing had been so bad locally at a lot of marks we decided to go to another venue to see if the fishing was any better so we both agreed after some debate on Abbotsbury then the party grew to three as a good friend wanted to fish Chesil for the first time. New Year ’s Day and an early tide it made for an early start, so we were up at 4 am and off by 5 am.

The journey started well but soon hit the fog which was pretty horrendous slowing us down a lot, but when we eventually got there.

With Darren being well keen he was already there and waiting in the car park it's worth noting that you pay for the car park here in the cafe and there are toilets available and bins for your rubbish in the car park also.

It's still pitch black but the first rays of light are breaking by the time we have unpacked and changed into our gear, I was hoping that with it being new year’s day a lot of anglers would be too hung over to turn up to fish today so we should be good for getting a spot relatively easily, We went up and over the wooden ramp and there was two anglers on the beach about 100 yards to the left.. Great result!

As we didn't know the beach so well other than what we could see from an online app and Google Earth we figured we would set up right in front, so we spaced out and set up our gear, by now colours were coming through in the sky and it was overcast and grey with a light breeze from behind and a couple of hours away from high tide. Fishing as I always do at most venues, I had a large bait out on one rod which was a bluey squid wrap and a smaller bait on the other rod which today was frozen blacks with a squid tipped bait. The fishing for myself started slow with no bites whilst Darren and my father were bringing in some smaller Whiting and pouting.

Eventually on the smaller Bait at distance at 100+ meters I got my first bite a single pull on the end of the rod which pinged back up and started to go slack so lifted up the rod and wound down into it until I could feel tension on the end, I couldn’t make out what it was but it was making a bigger bend than normal in the rod due to wanting to stay in the undertow current, It came up to the surface and it was a conger strap eel of about 3lb a quick unhook and picture and the conger slithered back eagerly by himself no help required and disappeared into the surf, good start it's not going to be a blank!

A bit of chatting and a couple of coffees later again there was nothing going for myself even with changing baits regularly and trying different ranges but nothing at all to show for it whilst the old boy had pulled in a dog fish which was so small it should have counted as half a fish and the odd pouting with Darren doing the same.

We all had a flat spot for a while so decided I would brew a coffee up, as soon as it was poured and I sat down the rod tip started rattling away so back up like a runner out the blocks and lifting into the rod I started to reel in, as I saw it come out of the surf it was a small pouting but that’s all good another species and the fish are starting to bite, unhooked and another quick picture and then released back to fight another day, just trudging back up the steep shingle and Keith was pulling out another half a dogfish I look over to Darren and we have a little smirk and snigger.

Reloading the bait with a spare baited rig a fixed paternoster I fired it out to around 50 yards. No sooner was that done then the rod with a large bait starts tapping on the end, so I lift into it and sure enough something was on the end I could tell it wasn't a big fish right away but still to get that bait in its mouth with the 8/0 hooks on the side then it must be a good size whiting or something with an equally large mouth on it. Sure enough as it comes through the surf it's a decent whiting laying there on the shingle to collect, after just coming back with it and taking a photo after dispatching it the fish weighed in at 1lb 2oz when out the corner of my eye the other rod tip was shaking good and proper so doing the hot step I put the rod down and started to lift into my other rod and reeled it in, It killed the excitement to see it was just a dogfish so a quick unhook and back he went to bother others somewhere else.

Back to it and change of rig and new baits on each they got cast back out again the big bait around 40-50 yards and the other at 100+ again.

Just as the day is going well and just happy to be catching the beach has filled up quite a bit now when someone decided to camp right on the lap of Darren ( I did wonder if he was going to camp in his shelter with him) amid protests from himself and the angler to the left of him he instead of walking 40 yards further on decides to be rude and abusive instead and sets up regardless... Unbelievable! If he was any closer he would have needed some Durex! Whilst we had a few more bites I missed a slack liner then saw Darren having round two with our new visitor as he had crossed Darrens lines and tangled rigs with him on first cast.

Whilst that's all going on and them having a "discussion" the big bait rod starts to go again so I jumped up and on to the rod, I lifted into it and started to reel it in, when it went flat with no resistance I thought it had come off but then on the surface emerged another good sized whiting, once I had unhooked it and again dispatching the fish quickly to come home with me I weighed it and this time it was 1lb 7oz.

With everything cooling down next door Darren jumped to his rod as it was again rattling away, an easy land but it was a better sized pouting for him.

Chesil had gone flat again and nothing was biting after another hour it was approaching the end of the time we had so we packed down and made our way back to the cars, when we got there we arrived to some coffee and cake from the cafe bought by Keith we all had a little chat about the day and all in all everyone was in good spirits, Darren had enjoyed his day at a new venue and caught a new species which was great, my father and myself were just happy to see some fish after our dreadful week in the Bristol channel local marks! Not a bad day Darren & Keith had 7 fish a piece and 8 for myself of which two were whiting to fillet and cook up, no monsters unfortunately today but that’s fishing! If it was that easy every time everyone would be doing it!

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