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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Jersey: The final chapter

Well it's been a while since I returned from Jersey and it's only just come to my attention that I forgot to finish my write up.... my bad! Anyway, for those interested here is the final part, enjoy :)

Trigger Fish : Species 57
With only a few days left and Ed's birthday fast approaching, we took a vote to book a boat trip out with Tony Heart on the Anna II for our final day. Before that happened though, we had a free day to do as we pleased. After a phonecall to Dan and a visit to MrFish, we decided to try in St Helier harbour to see what we could winkle out. The main target was a silver eel although we knew that there were plenty of mini's in the margins we could boost our species tally with. After hammering through 20 or so pouting and sand smelt on either unbaited sabikis or home made 1up 1down rigs with small bits of mackerel and size 6 hooks, I decided to have a move and placed myself in a darkened corner behind one of the trawler boats. My hopes were that the discard from the boat was thrown in this area and would attract a better stamp of fish, maybe even that eel I was after. Again, I had a few pouting first but then I had a much stranger and more positive bite, a slow but powerful pull. I let off a few inches of slack and waited for it to tighten. As it did I lifted into the fish and felt a good weight, my initial instinct thinking wrasse. As I played it up from the depths, I suddenly noticed that it was not a wrasse but a rather large trigger fish so as you do, I quickly lightened the drag...... this was not a fish I wanted to lose. It took this opportunity to take a number of rather fast and powerful lunges back down out of view. When it finally hit the surface I started to panic a little and thinking to myself, will I be able to pull this onto the pontoon with my 6lb snood :s In the end I had no option but to reach down the rig as far as I could and pulled it up as quickly as possible. Much to my delight, the fish remained hooked and was safely landed on the pontoon
A quick shout to the others and they were soon over to have a look and take a photo for me. At a guess I would say it was around the 2lb mark and maybe a tad bigger but it certainly put a wide smile on my face and  more importantly raised my species tally to 57 for the year. Jon was soon pinching my spot though and before darkness fell he managed to get his first ever black bream from the shore. Here he is on the right showing off his catch. Sam and Ed were also catching plenty of small fish as well landing a number of black and rock gobies, loads of sand smelt pouting and a single herring.

Silver Eel : Species 58
As the evening drew in and light turned to dark, we decided to have a quick hour at a different spot. I tied up a new rig armed with a pair of size 8 wide gape hooks and chunks of mackerel and chucked it out into the darkness. After 20 minutes of nothing, the baits were changed and back out went the rigs. My rod had as good solid knock so I picked it up and felt for another tap. Almost instantly the fish arched my rod round and I was now playing it. Straight from the off I knew exactly what it was going to be, the line grating against the fish was a huge giveaway and into the headtorch light came my prize, a silver/common eel. Mission accomplished. We stuck it out for another cast but apart from a hanful of crabs there was no further action.

So came our final day and as we waved fairwell to the campsite, it was with great anticipation we headed back to St Helier harbout to find the charter boat we had booked onto. After meeting our skipper Tony and the others that were coming with us we set off steaming out out to the mark. 50 minutes after leaving the harbour we were at our first mark where we'd be drifting for bream. Action was instant and almost everyone on the boat landed a couple within the first hour.... except Ed (Captain Calamity) who somehow failed to get off the mark. Jon took this opportunity to brag a little but this would come back to haunt him later in the day. After catching a couple of bream, myself, Jon and another bloke on the boat decided we would try for something bigger. The deckhand sorted us out with some heavier duty gear and out we went with a bream fillet in the search for a tope or conger eel. This proved useless for each of us though and after 90 minutes or so with no bites, the skipper moved us over to a mark where we'd be targeting flatties and rays. Whilst Jon was know struggling to get a take, Ed managed to get himself his first decent fish of the day and his first ever ray, a small eyed of around 5lb (up right). Sam, my younger brother soon followed
Species 59 : Small Eyed Ray
suite and bagged his first ever ray which for the time being gave him bragging rights over me. The other people on the boat had also managed to land a few rays and also a nice brill, the first one I have ever seen, what a cool fish. I was not about to let Sam beat me though and after a re-bait, I was soon back down on the bottom and had my first decent bite. Leaving plenty of slack, I waited until the fish tightened up to me and struck, fish on. This fish was giving an extremely good account for itself but after a while it started to come up a little easier. Up through the water came another new species for my 2012 species hunt, a small eyed ray. At 6lb 11oz it was no monster but it was species 59 leaving me with just one more to reach my yearly target. Ed was the last to catch with his second ray of the day which suddenly silenced the once cocky Jon and turned the bragging rights right around. The time had come though to steam back to port. A fully enjoyable day out and thanks to Tony and crew for some good fishing to end our 2012 Jersey raid. With another 5 day trip planned in November though, I'll soon be back with a new crowd to have another Bash at the fishing on offer in Jersey...... I can't wait!

Thanks for reading,
Tight Lines,