Having been away in the sun for 3 weeks we only got back on the island half way through March although by all accounts “we hadn’t missed much” weather wise. Fortunately things did settle down towards the end of the month and we managed to get a couple of sighter trips in to see what was going on out there.
The 25th of March was our first boat trip of the year and a very pleasant one it was too. Whilst the early tide (half nine) meant a cool start with a decent ground frost when the sun did get up it was soon warm enough for t-shirts. Being the first trip out and with still a few bits of maintenance to do on the boat I didn’t want to go too far so we stuck to heading south behind Peel hill on to some rough ground that is usually among the first marks to show fish. Over a 3 hour session we caught loads of Callig (Pollack) but nothing of any notable size, big enough for a fillet but nothing spectacular. As we slowly worked our way back to Peel trying various spots it was soon apparent that they were all showing fish, a little earlier than usual but again nothing heavier than 4-5lb. One notable absence was the Coalfish we had enjoyed over the previous few years, no sign this time so far which is disappointing, they are probably pound for pound the hardest fishing fish we get and the resurgence over recent years was very welcome. Hopefully it’s just a blip. Besides the Callig a camera down did show plenty of Wrasse on all the usual rough ground areas so if that’s your thing the season is very much go.
The next day on what was supposed to be an even better forecast (and with fuel lines swapped over) we decided to head out in to deep water to similar ground to where we had such an amazing end to last year. As it turned out the wind was much stronger than forecast and we had to cut short the initial plan, instead the actual spot we fished was a mark I took from one of the AIS websites where all the scallop trawlers had been hammering. The fishing was crap, I mean really crap as in not a single bite in 3 and half hours of fishing crap. I think our main problem was that we couldn’t feather up any bait even though Mackerel are still being caught from the breakwaters but even so if you read the report from last year you’ll see we killed it with nothing other than feathers not 6 months previously. I’m not one to prejudge and wouldn’t say anything until we can fish it like for like at the same time as last year but I was expecting to catch something…but it turned out to be our first complete blank in a long long time. A lot of fuel for no fish but that’s fishing. Besides I broke my golden rule of not going north this time of year so I’ll blame that as much as anything else. Head south this time of year people.
As far as what else is happening around the island I haven’t heard much from the usual suspects (if you want to let me know about a boat, kayak or short fishing trip then please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org , feel free to include as much or as little info as you want, I don’t expect anybody to be giving away any exact spots here!) but I do know that there are still Mackerel around the breakwaters, Port St Mary is fishing well and there are shit loads of Dogfish about. Other than that I think most people are waiting for some slightly warmer weather!