You know the story, you’ve been sat on your hands for weeks waiting for any sign of a break in the weather. In the mean time your pride and joy has been sat tied up against the harbour wall turning itself into one hugely expensive harbour ornament. Then it happens, by sheer luck the weather abates and the tides just fall right so that you can finally have a couple of hours at sea. You’re burning your expensive fuel on the short run to your first mark of the day, battling the sea which hasn’t quite flattened as much as the forecast “promised” then you arrive, your much prized but so far under used fishfinder greets you with this:-
And that’s when it goes down hill!
With the promise of good Pollack, Coalfish and even the chance of a Rock Cod on the menu we’d brought everything but the kitchen sink to throw at them on this shallow reef mark. When the first drop down on the test drift with Pink Hockai lures resulted in a huge bend in the rod we both thought we were on to a winner for the day, after a 5 minute battle the fish was gone again but not to worry. There was a large patch of good sized fish chasing amongst bait fish and we were going to fill our boots. Or so we thought.
For 2 hours we repeated this drift, going over large amounts of fish and we didn’t get another single take. From black/red powerbait worms, every variety/size of Hockai to the much fabled Sidewinder lures. We even tried various Mackerel baits all without so much a a single take. I couldn’t believe it. The fish were there, I have abosolutely no doubt about that, they just weren’t interested in what we had to offer them.
This isn’t an isolated story, people think that boat fishing is just a case of heading out to sea, dropping your line and pulling up fish. I was even speaking to a very experienced shore match angler last week or pretty much dismissed all boat angling as such. He didn’t see any challenge? But there is a real art to pulling in big fish on a boat and it’s as much about the your water craft as anything else.
In the cold light of day 2 days later (and with the full benefit of my current charts) I can see exactly where we went wrong. When we first arrived at that mark we had the tide and force 4 wind in the same direction. However no sooner had we fished our first drift (2 hours before high water) when there was a shift in the current. this left us being pushed with the wind (my boat is influenced much more by the wind) at a funny angle across the tide. And by funny I mean not an angle the fish see as natural.
I have no doubt whatsoever that we could fish that same spot again with either the wind with a bit of north in it or even a bit less strength and be in to double figure Pollack and Coalfish. That is boat fishing.