Moan moan moan, that’s all I ever seem to do on here so just to make a change lets start with some positive news. On the 31st of October we had our best days fishing ever. Not ever this year, or ever on this boat, but ever. No fewer than six personal bests, and by personal I mean both me and the old man, in the space of 3 hours fishing. Whiting, Haddock, Tub Gurnard, Red Gurnard, Spurdog and Bull Huss.
But lets start at the beginning. The month actually started OK, we got out on the 2nd in to what was a gentle south east (so sheltered) breeze, had no problem catching Mackerel and then carrying on from last month found some rough ground to anchor up on. The fishing was brisk if not spectacular, Callig up to 8lb, Coalfish up to 2-3lb. Mixed in was the occasional Dogfish and even a small Ling. For anybody who still thinks all fishing is best done on the drift you really should trying throwing the anchor down on some of your usual spots. Sure it won’t work everywhere, for example we’ve always found that Craigs Rock is best fished on the drift but if you don’t try you don’t know? The majority of the times we’ve anchored it has definitely turned up better fish. Unfortunately for us on this day the wind started to build as soon as we got settled and by the time we’d called it a day we were now heading home with breaking waves up our ass. Pretty much standard 2016.
What followed was an 18 day break as dog shit weather meant no fishing. Then on the 20th it started to settle down, north east and south east winds mean that we’re either heading straight in to it or have it straight behind us so with a forecast of a decent North East wind to slowly drop we headed out to the same spot we fished earlier in the month. The fishing this time was much better. Lots of big Callig, several touching double figures and a couple of nice Ling all in the space of a few hours. Unfortunately the wind didn’t start to drop as forecast and with us knowing we were heading straight in to it we called it a day perhaps an hour earlier than we normally would. No sooner were we back home when the wind did drop to nothing, bloody sods law, but at least we could plan something proper for tomorrow.
So on the 21st in mill pond conditions we headed for Jurby and our rough ground spot up there where we’d had Bream and Cod last time expecting great things. Honestly the fishing this year had been very good and from what I was hearing from other people it was only getting better as October rolled on, we were expecting to kill it. Fishing never works out like that though! IT happened to be Dogfish and just about nothing else, the place was dead, not even a Callig for the pot. After a couple of hours of nothingness the decision was made to head offshore, one of my better decisions this year. After a 3-4 mile trip accompanied by dolphins we started a very long drift out in deeper water. We only had an hour but with the tide pushing us along nicely, Cod, Gurnard, Spurdogs all came up and I even managed to drop 2 Tope runs. It was this session that set us up for what happened on the 31st.
Following another week of piss poor weather we got a break on the last day of October and so headed straight offshore, the Mackerel were now getting harder to find and without any luck on the way up we decided to fish with plain feathers first until we came across some. It took an hour but we did eventually get some bait. However in the mean time a whole variety of Gurnard, Whiting, Cod and Haddock were coming up on just plain feathers. Tipping them with Mackerel made things go nuts altogether, if a line was down more than 10 seconds without a bite we thought there was something wrong (and their usually was, bait stripped by Mackerel on the way down). Like I said at the beginning 6 personal bests. Proper pan sized Whiting, 3lb Haddock, huge Tub Gurnard, Red Gurnard the likes of which we’ve never seen, at first I was sure it was a Tub just because of the size. Then just to top it off a Spurdog that tipped the scales at just over 20lb followed by a Bull Huss at just under 15lb on the last drop of the day. Three hours fishing, no idea how many fish but it was awesome.
Then that was it, summer over, as I write this now in January the boat has been tied up for a couple of months., the kayak is up against the wall waiting for some warmer weather. The very next day after that trip the scallop season opened and an armada of scallop boats from the UK and Ireland descended on the grounds we’d fished on the 31st. At one point I think somebody counted 80 dredges all within the space of a mile or 2. With relatively settled weather in fishing boat terms they got a good few weeks to absolutely hammer those grounds and duly did, there was talk of small fortunes being made before the Isle of Man government woke up to what was happening and started to put further restrictions in place. Don’t want to prejudge anything and it’s only fair for people to be able to make a living but I’ll be absolutely gutted if that one day is as good as we ever get it. I suppose only next year will tell what damage if any has been done.