April 2014 was the best April we’ve had for as long as I can remember, whilst there wasn’t a single flat calm day there were plenty of chances to get out fishing and with the sea temperatures above average the fishing was pretty good as well.
Our fishing in April started on the very first of the month when a trip down to one of our usual reef marks ended up being very productive, fishing can be hit and miss this time of year around the island but we managed 40+ fish in 2 and a bit hours, a mixture of small/medium Callig (Pollack) and a decent number of small Coalfish as well. Every fish was taken on a lure as well which again seems a bit unusual, my own experiences of the early fish have them normally taking bait – but lures are easier and work out cheaper so I’m happy enough. A lot of the Pollack looked like they were still spawning so everything went back.
The other half a dozen or so boat trips in the month were a mix of targetting flatfish, spinning over rough ground and species hunting in deeper water. It’s the trips further out that I’m starting to enjoy more and more, just a bit of a shame we’re being plagued by small Whiting. It’s strange because Whiting aren’t really a fish you associate with the Isle of Man, sure they are caught at certain times in the shore matches but it’s not something we really go after. Last year there were plenty of them about but in amongst them you were getting Grey Gurnard, Red Gurnard, Spurdogs, Codling and of course Dogfish. It made it interesting not knowing what was coming up next. So far this year fishing out deep has been 99% pin Whiting, baits are only down for seconds before they are either stripped clean or you are bringing up another small Whiting. Saying that when we have managed to drift off them for half an hour we’ve also caught the boat’s biggest Haddock and a nice Codling. It’s just getting away from the Whiting that seems to be the trick. The next drip out I’m going to drop the camera down and try and get some idea of what is going on down there and more importantly what type of bottom we are fishing over. It seems very clean, we’ve lost no tackle but I’d still like to know if it’s mostly mud or sand.
As far as the other fishing goes we blanked on the flatties but have been catching more Pollack and Coalfish this time of year than we ever have. I also think that we’ve got a good excuse for not pulling up a Dab or Plaice, the Herring I bought as bait is rubbish! Considering I bought it from a proper fishmonger for human consumption we couldn’t even get the Doggies to take it on a day when they wouldn’t leave us alone with Mackerel baits down. We’ve tried that Herring on 4 seperate occasions and not caught a single fish on it. The next flatty session will be a mixture of fresh lugworm and the various artificial worms I’ve got hanging around, lure fishing for Plaice seems to be all the rage so we’ll give it a proper go.
On top of the boat fishing I’ve also managed a couple of HRF sessions from the shore primarily looking for Wrasse. Whilse I’ve caught a few Callig I’m still missing that Wrasse. If truth be known I’ve been trying out new spots close to home in the hope of not having to travel too far (the idea being to be able to get a quick hour or 2 in on a summer evening) and they are places where I’ve not fished or caught before. Sometime soon I’m going to have to bring the HRF gear for a trip down to the Sound for a go and try and build up my confidence in what I’m doing.
That’s been about it really, like I said can’t fault the weather or the fishing for so early in the year. I like a lot of people are just hoping that everything continues to be early and we get a good Bass season out of it.