I’ve been dreading catching up on this. In technical terms I suppose what you would call 2017 is a cluster fuck!!! To recap in shorthand goes a little like this.
May – The weather was crap, we got 4 trips out in the boat in total. The fishing was slow to medium, lots of Callig but whenever we tried ANYTHING other than lure fishing we were plagued by Spurdogs. I mean PLAGUE!!! Catching 1 and having a dozen more follow it to the surface. Continuously. To be honest there was some very good fish in among them, 20lb+ but it is not my idea of fun and spoilt what I do consider fun. One kayaking trip on the east coast playing in untested waters provided more entertainment than 4 boat trips on the west. Are we spoiled on the Isle of Man? Probably.
June & July – Not a single trip in June. The wind up until the 10th was far more November than June. Then we were away and over those 3 weeks the plan was for the boat to come out and be serviced. I’d planned this a couple of months in advance and given a window of 3 weeks for the work to be done (for what is a couple of hour job), I’m good like that. Unfortunately Manx service standards were as per usual and I came back to nothing having happened and no signs of anything happening despite a lot of phone calls and chasing in person. In the end I gave up and put the boat back in the water on the 10th of July. The couple of weeks that followed where we got out 8 times was actually by far and away our best spell of the summer. Unfortunately the fish never got the memo and the action was pretty poor. Inshore the usual Callig and Wrasse were plentiful but offshore there really was very little of worth about. Our trips to the Targets were terrible compared to last year. I really wish I would have brought the GoPro mount and had a look at what the bottom was like. I just can’t help feeling that he dredgers had wiped us out again.
August – One trip in the boat and a couple in the kayak. Now this is where things went really wrong. Our boat trip on the 8th we had visitors with us and managed to catch our best Codling of the year. But I had a nagging earache and didn’t feel right with my balance the whole trip. This was followed up by a couple of trips on the kayak where again I was way out of sorts in terms of balance. The rest of the month was basically spent between the chemist, doctors, dentists and finally hospital. Whilst there was the odd day I could get out, none were anything like calm and feeling “off” I was relying on other people to be available. What starting of as an annoying ear has resulted in nearly 4 months and counting of abject misery. At this point they are fairly certain I have TMJD and some sort of sinus problem. There are a lot of things they haven’t ruled out yet, from Meniere’s to other unmentionables. The next 2 months should tell. The end result for me at the moment is a permanent deafening ear ache in one ear, permanent migraines and dizziness. My only break comes when I wear an earplug. This is a new one on me and what pisses me off is how much it impacts on the thing I enjoy most….getting away from it on the boat for a few hours fishing. Kayaking is an absolute no-no when you feel sick just walking down a beach as well.
September To Date – Two very woozy trips, one ruined by Spurdogs the other we managed an OK Codling and loads of Callig. And that’s yer lot. As mentioned first, a cluster fuck. No wreck fishing, no new species, no full days out, no days where we even thought a surprise might show up. Nothing.
The only consolation from the health side of things is that the weather from August has been as bad as it gets. The weather people at Ronaldsway have reported all sorts of records for wind and rain for the summer of 2017. It’s not an impression, it is getting wetter and more windy on the rock. As for the rest of the Manx “fleet” I’ve been checking in every now and then and to be honest nobody has been doing a lot. In general terms 2017 was a bumper year for Tope (when you could get through the Spurdogs) and Bass. Some of the stories of Bass I’ve heard have been fantastic, although mostly from the shore. Our Cod season has been poor but again that could be because of limited opportunities during the prime time with such poor weather. Basically to a person nobody can remember a year where the weather has limited their fishing so much. A lot of very expensive harbour ornaments have not moved at all!
As for next year I’d quite like to see some sort of quota brought back for Spurdogs, they used to fish for the commercially from the island and it honestly is getting to that stage. They are running rampant over all the ground that usually holds Whiting, Gurnard, Haddock, Codling etc and if nothing is done then in a few years time what is already not brilliant mixed ground fishing will be non existent. And on a personal level I’d like for the doctors to figure out what the hell is going on in my head….but won’t hold my breath.