What started off as a really poor month both in terms of the fishing and weather actually turned out to be one of our best in a long time. The main goal for July was to connect with the big Tope that we have caught in previous years around the same time. To do that we’d need fresh bait and this is where the problems earlier in the month began!
The first trip on the 4th of July was a total washout. I couldn’t catch a Mackerel to save my life so was relying on the couple I had in the freezer when I lucked upon a few in June. I pretty much knew how this was going to turn out and it was no surprise to be pulling up endless Dogfish. The session got pulled short as out came the lure rod and I enjoyed some decent sized Callig. The next trip on the 7th started with a search for fresh Mackerel, after an hour of the 3-4 hour window we get due to the marina and not a Mackerel in sight it was time to give up and again throw down some frozen baits, guess what I caught? No prizes.
Then things changed on the 14th of July. Me and my mate Matt decided to make a full day of it, something I hadn’t done on the boat in a few years. This meant leaving the marina at about 8am and not being able to get back in till close to 9pm, that’s a bloody long day at sea in a small boat for anybody but even more so when you are heading out in to a northerly force 4-5 sea. But, and there was a big but here, the Mackerel were here in abundance. In a few minutes we’d half filled a bucked and were heading (very slowly) to the first Tope mark, the anchor went down, the huge swell moved us, the anchor went down again, the huge swell moved us again. I could not get the anchor to hold no matter what so we resorted to a very slow long drift with the anchor down. This turned up my first Tope of the year, only a very small one at 5-10lb but it was a Tope. On the other side of the boat Matt was specialising in Dogfish! Another mate was out at the same time and he gave the shout that he was catching Bass in a different area, so with the forecast giving the wind to switch to light easterly (off the land for us) we decided to steam the 10 miles, a very good decision! We enjoyed a couple of hours catching Bass and Callig on the lures and then with conditions perfect I decided to anchor a small rock mark close by. What followed was one of the best Tope sessions I’ve ever had on the boat, not too much detail needed, just watch the video below. This was followed by some big Spurdogs further out and for the last 2-3 hours of our day anchoring another rock mark to try and get Matt a Conger or Ling, no joy but we will try again as soon as the right day weather/tide arrives.
For the rest of July the weather was poor. I did get out for another 2 sessions but it was in horrible seas with big swells and it was limited to within a mile or 2 of port either catching Mackerel (for fun, video below) or Callig. By the end of the month the Mackerel were just starting to be somewhat reliable although again every year appears to get worse for them. Writing this heading towards mid August I can at least find decent sized fish but it is requiring a lot of petrol to get there.
With everything else going on in life and quite a bit of boat maintenance to do I didn’t get any chance to fish from the shore and the kayak hasn’t seen water yet this year so I’m relying on others for that news. From what I can gather the shore fishing has now kicked off. Plenty of Tope on the north west beaches but you have to be there on the right days and the right tides. Whilst we were killing it on the boat on the 14th a gang from the north east of England were doing the same form the shore. Bass have been turning up at random around the island, even Douglas! And the Callig are now at a size where they are worth making a meal off from the rocks, the south of the island still produces the best fish. Either around the sound or Fleshwick. The breakwaters are very busy and I’m seeing lots of fish getting thrown back which is nice to see. As for the competition anglers, they are mostly still catching Doggies 🙂