It’s always good to get out to the waters edge after the Christmas festivities and the clubs Xmas match was a perfect excuse. As I was fishing with Rob Scoines and my son James my first priority was a safe mark where we were not going to lose lots of gear. I have no issue with having to re-tackle myself but assisting James as he lost my gear was not an option I welcomed.
The competition started at 4.00pm and I was determined to get to our mark well before time to insure that no one got there before us and also to allow plenty of time to set up before darkness and sort baits and rigs etc.
Before parking up we checked the mark from a vantage point high above and ascertained that no one else was present. It’s frustrating to trudge down a cliff path to find someone else already in sit u. The old path was very slippery following recent rainfall and had undoubtedly been visited on a regular basis judging by the well-trodden route.
Arriving at the rock mark as planned well before time it was a pleasure to sort out the tackle tie on the rigs and take some bait out of the cool bag. The hour before cast off seemed to drag unlike the following five hours that would evaporate quickly as always.
At 4.00pm out went the baits and the anticipation began. After fifteen minutes my rod tip nodded couple of times and I picked up the rod. Whatever had the bait moved the lead towards me and I made a few turns of the reel handle? A few more positive knocks followed and I decided to set the hook. The rod bent pleasingly as something weighty plunged to and fro on the end of the line. Minutes later a decent huss appeared on the surface. Rob grabbed the net and secured the prize. After weighing at 9lb I posed for a quick photo. The huss is a surprisingly photogenic fish with its vivid leopard like markings and snarling demeanor.
As darkness fell Rob had a decent rattle on his rod tip and responded. The fish was brought quickly to the waters edge before giving a few indications that it had some fight in it. I grabbed the net and swept a silvery looking fish from the water. At first glance I assumed it was a small bass, then a codling or whiting. On closer inspection as the net was unfolded it became apparent that Rob had hooked something rather special. Its massive eyes were the first thing that grabbed our attention and its distinctive underscored mouth. I immediately pronounced the fish to be a haddock only slightly mystified by the lack of a prominent black spot on its flank. I suggested that Rob keep the fish for verification back at the weigh in as it would be good eating anyway. At 1lb 14oz it was a pleasing weight and even more so when I checked the club specimen rating at 1lb!
This surely one of the joys of sea angling the occasional catching of something so unusual; to the best of my knowledge it is the first haddock landed from the shore by a club member in over fifty years.
As is often the case after a promising start the rest of the session settled into normality with a few dogfish and small conger rattling the rods and keeping us alert. The meet up was on the pier at just after 10.00pm and it was a cheerful bunch that assembled to compare catches. The haddock proved a comfortable winner as expected with Michael Taylor undoubtedly feeling a trifle miffed to come second with a 28lb 3oz conger.