Saturday, 10 November 2012

Under the weather in Jersey.

Myself and Ross finally set sail for Jersey at 05:30 2nd November and were both relieved the ferry was good to cross. Now I have never had issues with boats before (well except for one fishing trip when I was much younger), this trip however saw me being as sick as a dog. Three hours of sickness and Costa Coffee coming out of my nose, saw me absolutely beat when I arrived at Jersey.

Upon arrival myself and Ross had a "quick" stop at Micks, aka Mr Fish Jersey. We received a warm welcome and a hot drink. It was great to finally meet Mick, Bob, Mike Hayes and Lee Birch. We also stocked up on Jigheads and a few other bits when Steve Mullins walked in, our quick stop turned into a two hour chat. After tips and advice from the knowledgable people at Mr Fish, we finally headed to Gorey to meet up with Scott and check in at the Hostel.
There was one target I just had to make whilst in Jersey, a Giant Goby was on my mind. I am not really into Goby fishing as such, but this fish is non existent to my knowledge in Wales, so it just had to be done. 
After a shower and quick catch up, Ross took myself and Scott to a place he knew that was full of Giant Gobies and we went off searching the Rock pools. Ross was first to get one, Scott got two before I eventually tempted one to my lure, mission accomplished.

Usually they are dead aggressive, but for some reason they were a little reticent this day and we could only speculate it was the weather or water temperature this time of year.
After our Goby bashing session we all headed down to Micks again for another coffee and long chat. We had a good time chatting and inspecting Micks awesome range of rods, my favourite being the Armageddon one piece rods and the Tenryu Injection Long Cast and NO! I didn't buy either.
After an enjoyable chat we  picked up some bait for our planned Ray fishing session that night.

Again relying on Ross's previous knowledge of the Island, we headed off to a mark that produces Undulate Ray. I have been wanting to catch a Ray for some time and after setup, we baited up our pulley pennel rigs with Sandeel Squid wraps, as advised by Ross.
Now at this point I guess it seems strange talking about bait on a lure fishing blog, but its fishing and I don't do enough of it to warrant a separate blog or change of name.

Anyway, after Ross gave us a low down of the terrain, where to and where not to cast we got on with the fishing. The bites were pretty instantaneous, but the fish were not the target species.

Dogfish! I hadn't caught one for years, so this one wasn't that unwelcome but soon they became a pain in the arse. Scott on the other hand quite likes them.

Unfortunately, myself and Ross would only have Dogfish and Pout that night however Scott landed a beautiful Undulate Ray, leaving me a little jealous yet very pleased for him.

Very striking markings and a really nice fish!

Stunning fish and well deserved.
When reeling in the Ray, Scott had managed to pull the line and bait from his second rod against a rock. Noticing bites quickly after releasing the Ray, Scott reeled in a really nice bonus catch. To our   amazement it had swallowed the whole Sandeel Squid wrap!

A nice sized Topknot, the jammy sod! It was another new species for Scott and he was well congratulated.

Saturday Morning, we headed into St Helier for a short lrf session on the Victoria Pier, before meeting up with Andy Marquis.
If I am brutally honest, I did not enjoy this session because while Scott and Ross were managing a few species, I kept hooking up on Sand Gobies. I do not mind catching a Goby or two a session, but it really isn't my thing and find it quite tedious catching tiny fish. With the depth of the water I had hoped for something to put a bend in my rod, but that didn't happen. I amused Scott with my tantrums, but fear I annoyed Ross. Still, the guys enjoyed their fishing. I was still really feeling under the weather and very tired, so I was noticeably grumpy.
After the guys bagged up on Gobies and the occasional Wrasse, we headed off to meet Andy at Mr Fish. Coffee, cake and free hoodies were received and we enjoyed good company once more. I was super chuffed with my Mr Fish Jersey hoody and it will be staple fishing wear for some time!

The four of us then decided on a lrf session in Gorey harbour, as well as digging some bait for a Red Mullet hunt. Unfortunately on the way back I came down with the mother of all migraines and retreated back to the hostel for a sleep, leaving the others to their fishing. I was disappointed to be missing out on time with the lads, but knew I would be in a better condition after a load of pain killers and a bit of shut eye.
I was slightly pleased to hear upon their return, that they had only caught a Sand Goby between them (mean I know!).

Saturday night we decided to split up. Ross went solo on his Red Mullet hunt and myself, Scott and Andy went on a lrf mission. 
We started off in St Helier, but the conditions rendered it unfishable with the light gear, we saw a huge shoal of fish like I have never seen, but it was in a private part of the marina. I did consider a break and enter, but my fellow, wiser anglers talked sense into me and we headed off for the shelter of Bouley Bay. The air was cold but we soldiered on and I scored a small Pollock pretty quickly, next I had some really good bites and a hookup. A fairly good scrap ensued, I had thought it was a better Pollock but upon getting it to the surface I realised I had a Topknot on. What happened next I still an't get over, the moment I got it to the surface, the fish got free, I was instantly pissed and so was my Topknot!
I tried in vain to get it to take again, but in the end kept myself busy with small Pollock.

Scott demonstrated his species hunting dedication and skill by scaling down to size 26 hooks and tiny segments of Isome, bagging up on tiny Sand Smelt and scoring himself another species.

Maybe I should have done the same, as a Sand Smelt would have been a new species for me also, but I have an aversion to such small fish and can maybe get a larger one locally.
Another session done in quite tough weather conditions.

Sunday and we had a bit of a lay in, Andy unfortunately had to depart home early to Guernsey and myself, Scott and Ross headed of on a Wrasse and Bass hunt at White Rock. Again the weather conditions were tough, there was quite a wind blowing, a reasonable swell and coloured seas. Again we soldiered on.
We started off Wrasse fishing but was only getting shy bites off what felt like small fish, Ross changed to Bass tactics and after a wander he landed two Bass in quick succession. Ross asked us to join him, but on doing so we soon realised the Bass had buggered off. The only other fish landed was a small Ballan caught by myself, before we headed back to Gorey to dig bait. Even though there were few fish, I still enjoyed the session, there is something so nice about wrasse fishing and using your gear to feel out the bottom structure.

At Gorey, I briefly met Dan ferguson who I know is a very talented angler, We was also joined by Roger Mortimer and Steve Mullins. I felt a little out of my depth amongst such accomplished fishermen and quite humbled. After digging some Lugworm, Steve took us to some marks and we fished in the hope of Red Mullet, it was great to get some tips off of the guys before they left us to our fishing. Once again  the Red Mullet were not to be and we caught a lot of Dogfish and Pout.

Monday was mine and Ross's last day on the Island and it started with meeting with Roj for breakfast baps, coffee and fishing tales. I would give my eye teeth for some of Roj's experience and he amazed me with how he had memorised catches and trips over many years. Roj's complete lack of ego and willingness to share was inspiring, he was very enjoyable company.
We went to a nice rock mark and myself and Scott opted for lure gear, whilst Ross and Roj were on the bait. Roj landed a nice little Bream as well as the obligatory Dogfish, a little later Ross had his day and quite possibly his trip made up with a small but rare catch.

A Bailons Wrasse and a very nice capture indeed! I was so chuffed for him and still can't believe he was considering leaving his bait gear behind. Apart from a missed bite from myself and a few small Pollock for Scott, the lure gear did little damage. In fact bait did more damage over the whole trip, but most of that was down to the horrendous weather conditions and clouded seas. Even this day saw us standing in hail and rain trying to make the best of it. During one clear spell Roj photographed us in our Mr Fish hoodies.

Team Mr Fish.
Before departing Jersey, we had another lrf session in St Helier and another session at Bouley Bay where we met with Dan again. Dan is a cracking bloke and he made an instant impression, he is my sort of person I think, being self confessed mischievous! I think we could have some fun next time we meet.
I tried for another Topknot and also for some Scad, but it was not meant to be. The other guys caught Doggies, Pout and painted Gobies before we said our farewells, when Ross and I departed for the mainland. A much easier crossing this time and some much needed sleep on the overnight ferry.

Last but not least, on the way home we stopped at Portishead to meet with Steve Richardson, another fellow Lure Forum Member. Though we tried for Goldsinney and Flounder our session was to be another Goby filled one, but it was nice to meet up and fish together.

Bloody Gobies!
From my perspective, I was somewhat disappointed with the fishing in Jersey, but I have to remind myself that the weather conditions were really against us. It was however really great to meet with such good, helpful and welcoming people. For me that really was the highlight of the trip and is worth a return trip alone. Next time I am in Jersey though, I am going to smash it up and achieve some of my  unaccomplished targets! It won't be for a good while yet but am looking forward to it.

Tight lines all and thanks for reading.