Roving Rods: Fishing White Mark near Minehead

The view from White Mark out across the Bristol Channel

Well this month’s fishing for myself has been limited due to several issues going on but in the end I managed to squeeze out two sessions on a local mark. My father is over from abroad where he lives and thought I would do the roving rods sessions with him in tow. So we didn’t have to travel far as its been rough for us both we decided to take the boat out and fish off the White mark area well just before actually, so we popped over to west coast angling and saw Steve to get some bait and some last minute supplies we needed then back to sort the gear out and finalise s a few bits on the boat as she had been re-launched a few days previously.

the day had arrived and we were ready gear loaded on the boat a Shetland 18ft just the right size for two people to comfortably fish from, With my father Keith playing captain for the day or Jeeves in my eyes we left Minehead harbour with the 50hp four stroke on tick over until we were clear to then give her some speed we set off and the engine roared into life and we were on our way going out only about 400 yards from shore we stopped at our chosen destination just 1km away from the harbour. Climbing over the front I dropped anchor and tied it off.

Right time to get in to action a little banter between us about who’s going to catch first the old man geared up with Icon uptider and a lighter rod with smaller 1/0 hooks and squid bait on one and mackerel strips on the other, myself I opted for an uptider pro by AFAW with a large bait on which a whole small Joey mackerel with the tail chopped off for any large bass or tope passing that may like to take my hooks, and I wanted some light rod sporting fun even if I hooked a dogfish which is inevitable here in the Bristol channel so was using the savage gear bushwhacker XLNT2 20-60 gram and had a running ledger leading to a 3/0 and sand eel bait we casted our baits out and I set the alarm for going back in as we had limited tide available to get back into Minehead harbour.

It was going slow for about 15 minutes until the light rod of mine started some very delicate taps before heaving the light tip right over! Still sat comfortably in my chair I lifted into the rod and could feel a fighter on the end looks like first blood today would be the youth! Reeling in a few feet it decided it wasn’t ready to come up yet and made a charge back down letting the rod and drag do its thing i admired the healthy bend in the rod whilst the old boy could only watch and get the landing net, a few minutes later and a lot of bang bang bang on the rod I finally managed to get a Conger up to the surface with Keith sliding the net underneath first blood was mine and we had a small strap conger eel of about 6 lbs after unhooking it was shy and didn’t want to be photographed and was playing up so I gave up and put him back overboard after a photo in the transom well in the net.

OK good start lets hope it continues a quick rebait with another sand eel and gently casted the bait about 15 yards out from the back got comfy again in my seat and put my feet up. Next up was Keith with his first fish of the day with a cracking bite proper rattling the tip of the uptide rod he struck into the bite and fish was on bringing it up relatively easily we realised it was a dogfish and sure enough a few yards out there he was spinning in the tide flashing his white belly in that little spin they do as they come in.

Dog on board and unhooked I got a bit cocky and asked if he wanted a photo ha ha with a smirk and a straight no it was a throw back over board, Keith rebaited and cast a few yards of the back letting the tide take it away. We were getting a lot of bites dog after dog for a bit and level pegging fish for fish, Keith had joked about getting at least 10 dogfish and we were well on our way just a couple shy, the tide was turning and a small bit of win got up but nothing much as the boat turned with the small waves gently slapping the sides the fishing died off for about 30 minutes.

the Shetty was now facing the other way and we repositioned and changed baits again with baits back out we just kicked back opened a sandwich and enjoyed the sun and surroundings with that keiths dog rod was off again rattling away again doing the business he brought it up no problems rebaited and cast back out, as Keith was casting out I was watching my rod tip on my light rod shy little plucks at the end then a stronger one so I struck and its fish on! Only it’s not a dogfish I can feel instantly that its bigger and then when it knows its hooked it decides to take some line out and swimming strongly pumping its tail which was coming up through the rod, I claim some line back and start to bring the fish up through the water reeling on the line bit by bit the bend n the rod is healthy and nice to see, I stand up and keep winching on the fathom2 with the fish taking some back again near the surface but it’s too late I get the fish up to the surface and it’s a lovely starry smooth hound which I’m happy about another species and not a dogfish again with Keith on landing net duty again he scoops it out the water with ease and get it safely onboard. I take the hook out and have a quick photo with the smut before gently placing it back in the water and watching it swim off strongly.

A quick swig of drink some more sand eel and a tinker with the rig and I was looking for a ray now if possible, we didn’t have long left now of our 3 hour session but it has certainly been a busy 3 hours so far!

I cast back out and the current really starts to pick up speed it’s amazing to watch the current here steam past you like a fast flowing river and the power it has and just gives you that reminder not to mess with Mother Nature as you could be in a lot of trouble if you do! The alarm went off on my phone time to head back in as its small tide and the water empties quickly at the back of the harbour, we safely stow the leads and hooks and start to motor back in mooring up and tackling down by the time we were packed away and ready the tide was gone and boat hull was on the sand closing down the remaining bits and putting the deck cover back on we head up the launch ramp saying about what a good day it was for 3 hours action the totally tally was 12 dogfish and a boot lace eel for the old one and 11 dogs a 6lb strap conger and a 7lb smooth hound to the youth! Youth wins the day today but we shall see who gets the win tomorrow!

PART 2: With plans the next day having to change we couldn’t get out on the boat for part two so we decided to fish from the shore instead on the same mark, again we only had three hours but would fish it down to low tide going into dusk we turned up and started walking down to the water edge over large boulders which I absolutely hate fishing off which is why i don’t often visit the mark and Keith’s opinion of them sounded the same as he was climbing over the ankle breakers.

Down at the water edge we set up a single tripod and are fishing one rod each I was using the tip tornado graphex super match with a battle 2 reel and Keith had the WR300 with battle 2 reel Keith was on mono and myself was on braid.

Rigging up and sun was low in the sky making lots of bright blue sky and low down dusky deep pink and grey clouds coupled with a millpond sea reflecting the sky it was looking good. All rigged up Keith had chosen a two hook flapper with 1/0 hooks and one sand eel bait and the other squid, I chose a pulley rig and a up and over rig for when I change baits. Keith cast out first and decided he was going to fish in close so was about 50 yards out, as he was in close I baited up with sand eel and figured I would see what happening at range and if he does well in close ill reassess later on!

Time went past with a few bait changes a lot of wildlife watching and some fishing chitchat and willing the fish to bite!

More time passed some drink was taken in and finally a bite I scramble to my feet leave it a second and it goes again so lift into the rod and bite missed, gutted! Reeling it in I change the bait optimistically and fire it out again 100+ meters.

Its just approaching low tide and the old boy was about to pull it in and I said let’s just do the last 15 mins we may as well see it out and it can happen all to often in those minutes, we were talking away when i saw his rod tip go not massive but a definite bite I point it out and he’s ready by the rod its off again and Keith strikes into it starts reeling in and can’t feel anything he keeps reeling in and it kicks back its up on the surface pretty quickly and it’s a fish! A small spotty ray!

As Keith holds the ray I unhook him and then take a quick photo. The ray swims off strongly and that was a first spotty for the old boy so a PB We get back and pack down and the day is taken by the old blood one session apiece but all in all a most enjoyable time and quality father son time too even if he was annoying and won the second leg!

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