Roving rods: Secret mark near Ivystone

Finally getting the all clear to go back fishing in England and I was straight away planning for some shore time but looking for another venue I opted for a secret spot I have which involves a long walk over stone and boulder but can yield great results.

After talking to a few mates about hounds I couldn’t wait to get on them so decided that hounds and huss were the order of the day.

With species and mark set I made up a few tough rigs as the mark can be a bit rough and some rotten bottoms in case the grounds had shifted at all, a mate wanted in as well so with him signed to secrecy I agreed! And Chris wanted a hound as missed out last year. With a few days past and on neap tides (which I prefer as I believe they hold fish around longer here) we had the tide times right and with them falling over sunset and into dark was perfect.

I packed the box grabbed the century sticks and we got dropped off at Porlock weir as the car parks were closed and we couldn’t leave cars anywhere.

With the box securely on my back rest and rods in hand we began our long walk to the mark, walking over the boulders and stones to get there was a bit of a mission and if you attempt it you want some good footwear half way there and the winds decide to turn to NNW and started to rough up the water... not what I wanted for the hounds but we were in it now regardless so carried on with the wind picking up to about 20mph I was cursing under my breath as the inshore was starting to get choppy after about 50 mins to an hour of hard but scenic walking we finally reach my mark and Low water was just starting so first things first we decamped our gear and set up basics and then I broke out the coffee flask a welcome sight! Just as I sat there the waves were lumping up and starting to crash on the shoreline it was nice to just sit there and have a brew whilst listening to it all with no one else about and the odd avocet flying low over the sea the sun was going a deep golden colour with pink haze over blue on the horizon... if the wind had gone it would be perfect. Anyway the armoury tonight consisted of a century WR300 Komp with a larger bait on and a century TTSM graphex which had hound baits on, both had Battle 2 fixed spools on 20lb line and 80lb leader as rocky and rough here in patches. Rigs were up & over for the hounds and pulley penneled rig for the large bait, for the hounds I was using squid as here I find they leave crab for some reason... and on the large bait it was a whole small bluey and squid wrap with the tail lopped off and scored one side to get scent in the water quicker. With both baits fired out it was time to wait and just take it all in after so long off the beaches, Chris had just put his rod out and down but then he was into his first Dogfish of the day. I had not had a sniff and was starting to wonder if it was going to happen and Chris was into his 4th dogfish (although he can keep them haha) when I finally get a bite on the hound bait i jump to attention and lift into the rod setting the hook and reeling in I knew instantly that all too familiar motion it was a lazy dogfish with a quick unhooking and a quick photo it was back you go and go see Chris please haha. A quick rebait with the squid and set the rig for casting I fired it back out not so far this time hitting a small area of current about 60-70 yards out, I put the rod back into the rest and reset the clutch just in case the hounds hit it hard, as i don’t fancy chasing my gear down the beach and into the ocean. I figured it was time for another coffee and isn’t it just typical.. as soon as I took my first sip the rod tip of the graphex arched right over and line started to peel off the reel, I had forgotten how much I love that sound! Putting the coffee down rather pronto and jumping to my feet I lifted into the rod holding the spool setting the hook, a quick tightening up of the clutch a little and I started to reel in. Hound on! I could feel the tail pumping trying to power itself away in the current but not today mate! After a relatively easy reeling in hitting no snags the first hound stated to thrash a bit as it was beached, but all was well as it was well hooked and I was there ready to collect it. A quick unhook, photo and release watching it swimming off strong was good to see, Hound...check! Now for a Huss and maybe some larger ones as well. With a quick walk back to box and a quick rebait of squid and whipped up how I like it, then fired back out to the same spot traps are re set and time to have that coffee before I was so rudely interrupted, sitting there it went quiet for a bit but was a great sunset to watch so all was good whilst Chris was getting stuck into more dogs and some small juvenile huss about dog size. It was a proper black night tonight now the sun had set and the twilight had gone and with the hills blocking out any rising moon with any light and the odd dog had come in but was pretty quiet for hounds or huss unfortunately the only constant was the wind whipping at my neck and the temperature was starting to drop a bit.

All of a sudden the WR300 tip started with some nippy tippy tugs on it I chose to leave it to develop and sure enough it started to go ballistic up and down rattling away, I leaned over as was standing up ready hand on rod and feeling the line and picked it up out the holder lifting into it and I could feel the tail pumping away another hound? If so it was a smaller one. I turned my headlamp on and piercing the darkness I could see the shoreline with the waves surfing onto the shore edge, getting nearer now and it sees the light and gives a small struggle to no avail and still underneath the water, then i see it 5 yards out the leopard spots of a Bullhuss... happy days both targets acquired for the night although not the largest of huss but it was a good 4lb and in perfect condition which I love to see on fish with the seas evolutionary perfection landed a quick unhook and photo it was time to release it back. Ok so both species hit I’m a happy guy no matter what happens now so I upped the bait size to keep the dogs off and see if something bigger wanted to come and play! With new baits on new rigs fired back out..bigger fish did want to play!

I take a look across at Chris about 30 yards away and he’s up with his Kompressor SS bent over I yell over ..Snag? A shake of the head no and I see him started to winch his 525 mag slowly but surely taking his time bringing in a decent fish which was clear by the healthy bend in the rod, making my way down to the shore line to help if needed (socially distanced of course) and Chris landed a specimen Bullhuss in fact a belter of a huss, I felt relived one because Chris got it in and two that he’s had a decent fish after being plagued by dogs and small huss, patience had paid off!

With him unhooking it I congratulate him and see a big pearly smile beaming out from his hoody and rightly so, I wish we had the scales on us this evening, but it was easily double figures and with a quick photo and a wave goodbye it was released back with a couple of swishes it vanished.

We’ll let you decide what weight you think it might be! But it was a great effort and a great fish!

The tide was pushing in and our time was limited so a couple more casts of which I lost a weight and then one more small huss of about 5lb for myself and Chris landed another dog and the smallest rockling known to man! Not just content with getting the largest fish he had to take the title of smallest fish away from me too this evening haha. We decided it was time to leave so packed down and started our long awkward walk back but both buzzing with Chris’s catch and the fact I had hit targets of hound and huss as I set out to do, all in all it had been a great evening, great sunset and great fish what more could you want and yet again the mark didn’t disappoint, although the wind could have buzzed off! Please note if travelling around Ivystone then please please please check tides and get local information first as the tide can cut you off and if its a higher tide it will back you up against the face or possibly wash you off if its rougher weather! And tides here are extremely strong and fast. So be diligent and responsible and do your home work first.

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