This was the month that broke me. With the Mackerel now here in large numbers, in fact the best Mackerel season in many years all we needed was some settled weather for a chance at some great fishing. The month started great and we were out on the 1st, fishing deep water and finding nice Spurdog, Haddock and various other bits and pieces like Gurnard and Whiting. Feathers tipped with Mackerel accounting for all fish. But that was it, one fine day! What followed was a week of strong westerly winds and a last minute decision to say screw our Manx summer and go on holiday.
After a week cruising around Spain, Portugal and the Channel Islands we got back to much more civilised weather conditions, sometimes it’s good to spit your dummy! Whilst 3 nice days in 12 doesn’t sound like much compared to what we had been used to it felt like paradise. Our second trip on the 24th was a bit of a steam to Jurby and rough ground close in. The Callig were plentiful if not huge but what makes us travel this far is the chance of a Cod and on the second drop the mark delivered. On top of that there were some enormous Coalfish to be caught and a 7lb-8lb Coalfish on light spinning gear really goes. Overall then a brilliant day that just about restored my confidence in spending so much money owning a boat.
I was going solo on the 25th and to mix things up a bit I decided to head south instead. The initial plan was to anchor up around Niarbyl for a Conger but with the Mackerel being more elusive than usual I decided it would be better to spend my time a little closer to home. The anchor went down, a couple of smaller static baits closely followed it and in what was mill pond conditions I sat with my feet up throwing the odd lure out when I could be bothered. Callig and Coalfish were coming up on a regular basis but I was more interested in what I could get on the Mackerel bait fished hard on the bottom. Just as I was getting ready to trip the anchor there was a definite rattling bite of something different and the reward was a glorious looking Cookoo Wrasse, one of my favourite fish. A quick photo and then it was released and shot straight down to the bottom again, one of the advantages of fishing in only 50 feet of water. Mind you it was an expensive fish, that little Wrasse cost me an anchor! It’s no fun getting an anchor stuck when you’re on your own so a full review of the anchor system was done and the new tripping gear works a lot better.
From speaking to a few people I can gather I missed nothing in the time I was away, the weather carried on as it was and only settled a few days after we got back. Summer 2016 was really turning out to be a total wash out weather wise BUT the fishing was better than ever. All around the island I was hearing stories of very good Cod being caught, large number of Tope and the Callig fishing was better than ever. It just seemed that to make the most of it you have to be based on the east coast of the island and get some shelter from the endless westerly winds. With 2 boats both based in Peel it was something to think about.
Also on my mind was my trip to Guernsey earlier in the month. Whilst we were there the wind was a constant force 6 and yet the number of Charter Boats that can be supported is amazing. The truth was that the sea rarely “cuts up” the same as what we get around the Isle of Man. We all know when conditions are unfishable and it says it all that the Isle of Man struggles to support 2-3 full time charter skippers, and we have the added bonus of so much other wild life to see! With what we have to offer recreational sea fishing has massive potential to be a huge draw for the Isle of Man it’s just how can you take advantage of it when in a good month you might get to sea 10 times? I don’t know the answer to that question but somebody is going to have to figure it out. Perhaps small scale mobile outfits that can launch where this is shelter will be a possible solution?