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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Jersey adventures part 2 with the LRF guys

First of all, the LRF guys team shot


Awake at 3.30am after around 90 minutes sleep, we were finally boarding and things were looking up. The predicted swell soon became apparent and the boat was moving around quite a lot. Whilst I tried to get my head down Lee disappeared to the toilet, I wouldn't see him again until 3 hours later. It's fair to say that he hadn't enjoyed his ferry ride along with 85% of the passengers on the boat. Fortunately, I am very good on boats so retained the contents of my stomach for the duration. It was a relief for everyone though when we arrived in Jersey for part 2 of my Jersey adventures.



As is customary now on my visits to the island, first stop was MrFish to see Mick and Bob who were also joined by Lee Birch and Mike Hayes this time around. We had a good chat about all things fishy and were also joined by Steve Mullins who kindly offered to help me on my hunt for a red mullet. After a good hour, myself and Lee decided to go and meet up with Scott at the hostel. The 3 amigos now together we thought up a game plan for the remaining hours of the day and got the rods ready for action. I had told Lee about the abundance of Giant gobies found in the rock pools all over the island so the first thing on our list was to get him one. I took them to a mark on the North coast I'd caught tonnes of them at on my previous trip including the beast and it wasn't to long before I found the first giant of the day. Scott was soon getting a few as well whilst I switched my attentions to the tiddlers in the pools hoping some of them would be two spot gobies. Switching to one of Scott's size 26 hooks I soon found out that they were in fact a mix of tiny rock and giant gobies. Lee then called Scott over to have a gander at one he'd landed and it was confirmed that he had his first giant goby and already his 4th new species of the trip. (The other fellas will add some photos)

Mission accomplished, the next effort saw us fishing for the rays which both Scott and Lee had never caught before. I'd made up a load of rigs in anticipation and chucking out sandeel and squid wraps (my favourite ray bait) we were soon getting bites from the doggie population which seem to plague everywhere nowadays. Scott however did get our target landing an Undulate ray of around 3lb. Even better was to come though for Scott all be it through some good luck. Whilst he had been reeling in his ray he'd caught his other line, pulling it right into the rocks. After photographing the ray he noticed his other rod knocking away and proceeded to bring in his first ever topknot and his 2nd new species of the night. Myself and Lee had to make do with dogfish and Pout though, I hate dogfish!

Our second day saw us hit St Helier harbour where we had hoped for another hoard of species. We did have plenty of fish throughout the session, the main culprits being the mass of black and rock gobies. In between the hoards of gobies though we did winkle out a few corkwings and a single ballan wrasse but it failed to produced anything exciting. At around 12ish, we headed over to MrFish once again to meet up with another LRF nut, Andy Marquis who had made the trip over from Guernsey to have a fish with us as well as to pick up his rather nice new red rod. Lee was suffering from the previous days boat trip and decided to give the next session a miss so whilst he got some kip, I went off to dig some lug leaving Scott and Andy to have a session on the rocks nearby. An hour later I went over to see how the guys were doing and still fishless, Scott tempted me to get out my LRF gear once more by showing me a pool with a few 2-spot gobies in, a species I'm yet to catch. 30 stressful mins later, defeat was admitted and even the size 26 hooks seemed to big lol Scott did get a single sand goby, but that was it. The evening saw us part ways, myself heading off with my smelly stuff in hope of a red mullet whilst Andy, Scott and the now recovered Lee headed out in search of a Scad. I'll leave the lads to tell there part of it but I failed to get a red mullet, catching a number of rockling and pout instead. My highlight was this double header of rockling, one a 3-beard, the other a shore rockling.

Day 3 : After the disappointing previous day, the Sunday was a day I was looking forward to, mostly due to the fact we'd be having an afternoon session with Steve Mullins. During the morning we headed to the North West coast to get out of the wind and hopefully hit into some wrasse and bass. It was very hard work again with Lee managing a single wrasse on a stick bait and myself hitting into a few small bass on my newly acquired mad shads mounted on a Xorus jighead. As is usually the case though after calling Scott and Lee over, the fish had disappeared. Then the time came to meet Steve on the beach to get some lug and try once again for the reds. We were also joined by Roger Mortimore, who I thoroughly enjoyed chatting to and listening to all his fishing stories, including his recent Oman adventure, very jealous. After digging plenty of worm we headed off to a few of Steve's marks, where despite our best efforts it wasn't to be on the red mullet front. The second mark he put us on did produce a steady flow of doggies and pout though which Lee and Scott were all to happy to catch. A huge thankyou to Steve though for his time and effort, sometimes it's just not to be and when the fish aren't playing nice there's not a lot you can do. With Roj keen to join us again the following morning though, it left me with one final chance to get my target.

Day 4 (the final one) - I have to say, with just the one day left and still no new species on my list, I was starting to get a little frustrated, but I was going to put in all my effort to this one last attempt. We all met with Roj at 8.30am and after a quick coffee and breakfast bap we headed off to a deep rock mark. Scott and Lee fished lure only whilst myself and Roj targeted the reds with some of the left over lug. The weather was awful, raining for the majority of the morning and hailing as well. Roj was first in with a small bream and then we both had dogfish to add to the mix. With all hopes of a red gone, I saw a small tap on my rod tip and immediately thought bream. I let it develop and eventually hit it connecting to something small. On the way in I picked up some weed but when I finally saw the fish surface and I had it on the rocks, I realised I'd got something a little special. It was my first ever Baillons Wrasse, a cracking looking fish and this one I believe is a specimen. My 64th species of the year, very happy chappy! At this point we departed from Roj, who had to shoot to work and decided to have another bash in St Helier harbour. Apart from a small dragonette I had on a huge bait it was yet again a 
goby fest with Scott getting loads of the little blighters on his LRF gear. I did try my best again to tempt a few 2 spot gobies I'd seen but once again, they were just to small for my hooks. 

With only a few hours remaining we decided to have one last bash at a North coast breakwater. Lee tried his best to bag a topknot whilst Scott and I raided the rock pools with the LRF tactics whilst Dan Ferguson who had come to join us watched on in disgust. When we got a few unfamiliar lookng gobies though we got excited. They may have only been a few cm's in length but were fairly confident that we both ticked of another new species. This time it was a painted goby. The blue tinge to the first dorsal was a giveaway feature as well as the clear markings on its flank and the number of rays in both its dorsal fins. Here are a few pictures I took. From these you can clearly see the distinctive markings and colours on the fish. 
 Both myself and Scott tempted these little stunners on a size 26 hook and a slither of Power Isome. So another species ticked off, 65 and counting. With that done we had to leave for the ferry, saying our goodbye's to Scott and leaving him in the very useful hands of Dan who was gonna take him to one of his marks in the search of a ray or conger. Read Scott's report for the details.

Thanks alot for reading and thanks once again to all those who helped us in any way, it's always a pleasure to come to Jersey and I'm planning another trip before the year is out. Jersey adventure part 2 is over, but part 3 is soon to come.

Tight Lines,
Ross