Some fishing trips are by necessity booked months in advance and the outcome is often disappointing due to the variable British weather. I had been looking forward to a day aboard ‘Bite Adventures’ off Penzance in search of blue shark with my son James. A few days before our planned trip pictures appeared on Facebook with smiling anglers holding splendid shark; thirty-two had been boated in one day! I studied the weather forecast apprehensively watching low pressure building in the Atlantic. The trip swung from on to off as the day approached then on the Sunday afternoon it was cancelled with force 7 winds forecast.
This was a repeat of the previous year when we had been due to target the sharks. As last year we had plan B to fall back on that involved shore fishing.
Monday morning dawned grey and misty. The tide was ebbing and we decided that a trip to Mousehole would be enjoyable. We arrived at the granite harbour that was being swept by a moderate breeze and heavy drizzle. James opted for float fishing whilst I assembled the LRF rod. First cast brought a pleasing fight on the LRF gear from a Pollock of around 12oz. Minutes later James float disappeared as a small Pollock grabbed a strip of mackerel. A few casts later an olive flanked wrasse grabbed my Isome ragworm and put an impressive bend in the light rod as it sought refuge within the kelp. Early success faded however and bites dwindled.
We headed off to St Ives with its narrow streets packed with tourists. The sun broke through and for a few hours we enjoyed the touristy experience savoring a hot coffee as car drivers negotiated the streets, seagulls swooped on unwary trippers. There is a certain atmosphere of fun that pervades Cornish seaside towns even if the weather try’s to dampen the spirit.
We had arranged to meet up with my good friend Ian Tyldesley of Ammo baits. It was good to catch up and James enjoyed a quick tour of the factory and its vast freezers full of prime quality bait. Plans were set to target gilthead bream at a mark on the Fal estuary where days before large numbers to specimen proportions had been tempted.
We arrived at Newlyn Harbour as the tide began to flood and sent out a steady stream of ground bait consisting of mashed bread and mackerel guts. Last year we had enjoyed some success with grey mullet; James landing a golden grey.
As we set up I saw a few mullet swimming near the surface. The sun was now shining illuminating the colors of the many boats that populate the busy harbour. A fellow angler appeared to target the mullet; coincidentally we had met and chatted with him last summer when we had once again been kept away from the offshore shark.
We had a few bites over the next four hours but neither of us connected. A little disheartened we headed back to or accommodation and after a shower headed off to a pub for a welcome meal and a cold pint of Cornish Rattler.
Next morning headed off to meet Ian on the wooded banks of the river Fal where eventually discovered the mark. Ian had provided a case full of prime bait, frozen black lug, razor fish and peeler crab. James was skeptical about what we would catch he had heard the tales of plentiful fish and marks full of promise before many times. The tide was high when we arrived and we expected our chances to improve as the tide dropped and the fish dropped back down river.
We sat back and relished the location. Boats sailed past, the sun shone down. I am sure we could all think of worse places to be. As is often the case our confidence ebbed with the tide and it became apparent that it was not going to happen.
Shortly before leaving an artist arrived and started to sketch the scene and a large yacht that was moored at anchor. It was fascinating to watch the artist at work and talk to him about his work. The conversation prompted us to look and see what was around us appreciating the beauty of the landscape even more than we often do whilst fishing.