With weather around the Bristol being nothing short of horrendous when I have managed to get time to go fishing I’m not averse to rough conditions but with all the fresh water run off around here locally it certainly hasn’t helped with fishing at all. Myself and Chris Wells decided we wanted to go fishing even though it was a terrible tide and worse weather for the venues we wanted to fish!
With many marks out that we wanted to fish due to safety because of the heavy NE winds at 40- 45 MPH constant and gusting a whole lot more! It was bitter and biting and making the sea very rough as it was onshore and in the face for us add the rain as well and the scene was set.
We chose a mark of mine I haven't fished for a while and I don't think anyone else knows as I've never seen anyone or any lost gear there!
With heavy rains flooding the local area and saturating the land the fresh water runoff was a worry and we knew chances were it would be hard fishing especially with the venue not being deep water but obviously Bass are a bit more tolerant of it and we know that bass run through here so we thought that with that we can try and score a few bass and anything else that shows would be good and a bonus, but we knew that with such a small amount of water on a shallow venue even on a large tide it was against us!
We fished it mid tide up for three hours and it was very slow hard going as expected but we were kept busy pulling in large branches and debris with heavy amounts of weed now and then with weed also giving one or two false bites and making s wonder if it was actually worth the effort. The wind was driving the rain in hearing the slapping of the rain drops on the waterproof suits and it was pitch black with lamps only penetrating about 30 yards into the rain and blackness the only other visible land mark was the steel works on the welsh coast giving off a large orange and red apocalyptic glow.
After a while around my rod stand it looked like I was taking up landscaping with all the clumps of weed and trees branches I was pulling out and untangling from the rigs how we didn’t get any tackle losses I don’t know!
At the top of the tide though I was just chatting to Chris with a small break in the rain when the rod tip of the Graphex super match started to rattle away nicely and then gave a sharp stabby motion following.
Jumping too and a quick scramble to the rod I lifted into the rod and started winding in feeling tension on the end I could feel it fighting away head-shakes and trying to do small runs darting around eventually it came through the surf but it was so foggy and rainy I couldn't even see the fish on the beach at first eventually it came into view and I was very pleased to see it was as it felt... a nice little silver bar in perfect condition it was hooked perfectly on the Mustad 3/0 uptide Viking with some sand eel left hanging out its mouth where it had smashed the bait!
It measured 38CM laid out on my box and with a quick photo taken by Chris it was time to let it go a small throw back behind a surfy wave into the flat undertow and back out he went and was swimming off strongly.
At the top of the tide we called it time as it was nearly 02:00 and bites didn't look forthcoming unfortunately Chris ended up with a blank so I was more than happy with a nice little perfect silver bar.
Blue Anchor & Lilstock: With the fishing so bad last time out I wanted to get out again after news of tier 4 coming in it killed me travelling further afield and so formed a battle plan of two venues with Chris again I wanted to fish Lilstock for a decent cod which it can throw up but with north winds coming in a cast to clear it at high tide wasn’t likely as you need a cast of at least 120 to be on sand from the pipeline where I have had good results before in the past. With that we decided I would pick up Chris and run to Blue anchor set up for an hour up to high water and then fish it down two then head to Lilstock of which the sand should be within easy reach as it would be two hours down. We would then fish Lilstock down to low water and back in a couple of hours before calling it a night or early morning. A mile hop down the road all loaded up and I collected Chris ready for a good night he loaded up the Touran and we were off bit of AC/DC whilst on our way and obviously a lot of talk about fishing. Ten minutes or so later we were at Blue anchor our first venue for the evening its and easy fishing venue and clean underfoot and where your casting snagging here is very unlucky. This place is great for anyone with a disability that hinders them physically. The spot I wanted was taken and so decided that we would fish from a place I just call 30 as there is a speed sign there just down from the Driftwood cafe which I might add do a great breakfast and nice staff if you’re visiting. I pulled up and we got the gear out and strode a massive 3 yards and set up. The baits tonight specifically going for a large ray/ bass on one rod and a cod on the other not the best venue for a large cod but there are decent fish that come out here of all sorts at times and its easy fishing as well. On one I had a pulley dropper with a squid and black bait on 5/0 penneled and on the other it was a pulley rig loaded with long thin strips of herring and squid mixed and alternating a double sand eel bait. To start with as the tide isn’t huge and depth here is gradual and with water runoff I opted for a maximum blast out to max range the wind was low a simple of the ground cast with a 6oz lead on each saw them all sail out and easily hit 140 -150 yards. Chris was also set up with a pulley dropper rig which I think in my opinion is one of the best rigs to use in the Bristol Channel holding it harder on the bottom and allowing for the tide to pull it in any direction which aids with a better presentation when it matters. Time was passing and bait changes came went with nothing happening for us or anyone else either side of us it was just after high tide when all of a sudden Chris had a cracking slack line bite seeing the old boy move so quick to get on the rod was a sight haha lifting up his 30 year old faithful held together with blue tack and threads proper blue peter style the Diawa whisker bent over healthily with Chris still winding like a man possessed playing catch up on the Penn 525 with the fish now on it was taking line and wasn’t happy with its nods showing in the rod I was excited as well due to not having a single wiggle or wobble on either rod not even crab pulls. Gaining line again Chris was easing it then I said about landing he had a nice 130 yard walk to some steps where it could landed as I hadn’t loaded the drop net ha ha D’oh! But too late now and time to deal with it Chris was walking it along with it staying just behind the surf with Chris keeping it away from anything it could wrap itself around. Slow and steady won the day and he managed to get it in on the steps, unfortunately I was still with the other rods to keep guard and eye on them should they get another fish on. A few fisherman gave Chris a congratulation and one weighed it and it came in at 27lb on the scales but in Chris’s own words “ It wasn’t that much! I think his scales are knackered” But it was 5 ft long and a fat torpedo of an eel it’s mouth was able to take a whole human fist no issues I would put at between 18-20lb caught on Mustad Viking 6/0 with a 4icnch strip of fish and a whole squid whipped up but either way not the target but a nice fish after a slow start. Slack water was now over and we were fishing the ebb which can be quite good here now I’m trying different ranges with casts and still not so much as a wiggle on the rod tips at the end of an hour of nothing we both decided to bin it and head off to Lilstock early and see where the water was at there. Driving out the temperature started to drop and was registering 1.5 degrees and the ice warning popping up on the dashboard taking it easy on the back roads we eventually got to Lilstock. We kitted up and walked the couple of minutes to the beach. As per normal no one was here that we could see and moon was super big and bright which I hate when fishing as I never catch well, I normally avoid fishing a full moon! Either way we looked at the water and a slight NNW wind was blowing Hinkley point was all lit up to our right with white cranes towering into the night skyline with its jetty going out into the murky milk chocolate brown channel, the sky was clear and you could see all the stars and constellations clearly with the odd shooting star passing over. As I was setting up you could see Wales all lit up and twinkling away in the distance a cracking clear evening but certainly nipping at the cheeks and nose. With the only change on the rig situation I was now using both as pulley dropper rigs and not changing anything else I baited up with squid and black on one and then fish and squid to see if I could tempt a nice thornback that can come along here in good size with a specimen mark just up the way for them also. It was still a good cast to the sand but we both agreed it was possible so with that a max power Hatteras off my rods and 6 ounces were being sent the distance to clean clear ground with the line peeling off in loops. The hours went by and we didn’t have any bites at all but watching the foxes scavenge over the boulders and getting quite brave and getting reasonably close to us, time past and more baits were drowned with no result. Nearly low tide and I’ve lost the will to live and looking at fossils of large ammonites and thinking about how they used to roam the sea millions of years ago and also looking at oysters growing around boulders and generally looking around finding the odd lead and cleaning up lost line from some unlucky angler. Low water past and we fished it back up two and it was end of session with nothing to show and giving me a Les Dawson special all night with a Blankety blank and leaving Chris with his nice conger only but a fish none the less. Walking back to the ice encrusted motor we talked about how dire it has been but chris came away rich with 4 leads found in good condition and as for my hunt for a larger Cod it will have to continue into the new year but there is time yet! Lets hope 2021 will be a bit friendlier to us all but at least we can all still fish with all the current issues going on. So happy new year forget the bad and remember the good and plan lots of fishy goals for the coming year! Tight lines for 2021