Frost glistening on the lawn, white clouds drifting across a blue sky, for once we had struck lucky and all was set fair for a day afloat. Steve Webbers boat “Osprey” was waiting when we arrived at Minehead Harbour. Fortified by a full fry up in spoons; the prospects good for day in search of cod and ray.
After a short steam down channel it was baits out and big ones all around. Whole squid, mackerel fillets, herrings, blueys and black lug lashed to 7/0 and 6/0 hooks.
Jason was first into a fish; and a bitten through 100lb trace gave a clue as to its identity. A step up to 150lb b.s still proved ineffective against those razor sharp teeth as next drop brought the same result. I followed suit losing a decent feeling fish a few yards from the boat.
Jason landed a couple of spurs, and then I also managed to bring one aboard having swapped to a wire trace. A steady stream of spurs and doggies follows. Then suddenly my rod indicated a better fish and after an enjoyable tussle a blonde ray breaks surface and pulls the scales to around 13lb.
As the light fades and the tide turns sport slows so its time for move up channel. We anchor somewhere off Dunster and all is quiet for while. Then my rod suddenly lurches over and I connect with a heavy fish that puts up an epic struggle. We hope it’s a big cod but the line cutting high in the water tells a different story. It turns out to be a conger of around 15lb.
A few dogfish and small thornback are brought on board along with a pleasing codling for John Shapland.
It turns out to be my lucky trip. A call from skipper Steve whilst I am at bows answering nature’s call bring me scurrying to my nodding down tide rod. This time the line stays indicates that the fish is staying deep sure sign of a cod. The fish makes a pleasing sight as it emerges from the dark water into the beams of searching headlights. It’s a fish of 11lb 8oz, the target fish a double figure cod.
Its a surreal feeling anchored out here surrounded by dark water the lights of towns and villages illuminating the Welsh and English coasts. The rest of the world is racing by whilst we bob about on tranquil waters, comrades at sea in search of piscatorial success.