Since my last post I have devoted all my fishing time to floundering, sadly the catches have not been good. Despite the many hours I’ve dedicated to this pursuit the fishing for myself and others has been dire!
Over the Christmas period I fished my first ever match, “The Hangover Open” run by Steve Lawrence Expectations were high as some of Pooles top anglers were taking part and I’m not ashamed to say I felt a little out of my depth amidst such company. To cut a long story short, the match, which had nearly 40 entrants, was won by Jack Graham with a solitary flounder of just over a pound! Second place was a flounder of ten ounces and third place a rockling of just four ounces.
Needless to say the general consensus was that the quality of the fishing this year has dropped by a considerable degree. What this can be attributed to is open to question, but looking back at my posts from this time last year it’s clear that there are less fish about!
I spoke to Jack after the match and he invited me to fish with him on Saturday 31st at Holes Bay Road. He assured me that we would pick up some half decent fish there and after the terrible fishing I had been experiencing, I was eager to listen to his advice. We met up along with another friend Craig, bright and early at 6am to catch the morning flood tide. As usual the first of the spring flood tide didn’t produce any bites but after a couple of fishless hours Craig landed a small flounder.
Minutes later Craigs rod hooped over as good flounder took the bait. Weighing in at 2lb 1oz it was the first decent fish I have seen landed this season. Unfortunately that was it, three anglers,two rods each for six hours and only two fish. Further adding fuel to the fact something is very wrong with the flounder numbers this year!
With the arrival of the New Year I started hearing reports of flounders being caught on social media and the angling grapevine. With this in mind I redoubled my efforts and on the 5th of January I set out to fish a mark in Holes Bay. It was during the first real cold snap we had had, and it was bitter, really bitterly cold. At one point there was frost on the line and as I threaded a worm up the hook my fingers were so numb I threaded my finger onto the hook as well! The cold didn’t seem to bother the fish as a couple of hours into the flood my rod thumped over hard to a flounder bite. Reeling in I thought it was just a tiddler offering just a minimal fight but as it came in closer all hell broke loose as a big flounder took off scared by my head light. After landing it I discovered I had left my scales behind in my garage. I can only guess the weight at around 2lb to 3lb only one fish but a good one, not bad for a school night!
Fuelled by the success of the Thursday I fished the same mark on the flood tide on Saturday 7th January . This time I would be joined my mate Simon Bristow and his mate Mr Brown. They wouldn’t be arriving until later in the day but I fished from low water up and as usual the first flounder never showed until a few hours into the flood.
A few rattles resulted in a fish of 2lb 4oz a shot fish(spent all its roe). A greedy fish that took both the top and bottom hooks of the trace I was using. Within ten minutes I had another smaller fat fish full of roe at 1lb 9oz. No bite or indication it was on until I picked the rod up and it was nearly pulled out of my hand!
The same applied for my biggest fish of the day, a chunky flounder of 2lb 9oz. No bite no indication it was there until the rod got picked up then “bang” fish on! Simon arrived as I was packing up so I wished him well and conveyed the events of the day to him. A happy Simon contacted me the next day to report that he had caught four fish and both he and Mr Brown had flounders of 2lb 11oz.
At last it seems the flounder fishing looked like it was picking up. Better late than never!
Off the back of that cracking session last weekend. I decided to fish the same mark again on the big spring tides midweek. Last Wednesday saw me at the mark at 7pm after work. I fished until midnight without so much as a single bite not even a sniff. To be fair I fished the last of the flood so missed the mid part of the tide when fishing seems to be at its best.
Undeterred my fishing pal Martin and I fished the same mark this Saturday. This time we would start at low water and fish right through the flood we were leaving nothing to chance. Again long story short a couple of hours into the flood we hit fish. All within an hour of each other. Not just little fish but better than average flounder martin had two fish of 1lb 6oz and 2lb 6oz and I had another respectable flounder of 2lb 8oz.
Simon Bristow fished another part of the Holes Bay Road mark and had four flounders up to 2lb 10oz. Mark Symes also had a nice catch of flounders up to 2lb 9oz.
So it looks like the season has started late and unusually the average size of fish is quite big. However numbers seen to be down on a lot of marks.
Elsewhere fishing has also been good. Small eyed rays have been landed at Southbourne. Even some early plaice have been caught at Sandbanks!
I saved the best until last!
Whilst many of us have been chasing the flounder local angler Ben Edwards chose to target some other species. On Saturday on the big spring tide he fished an undisclosed Dorset beach mark. Hooking into something big he initially thought he had hooked a large ray. After a dogged fight much to his surprise he was delighted to land a perfectly conditioned 14lb 2oz bass.
Being a perfect ambassador for fishing he took a few snaps before releasing the fish. What a sportsman. What a fish!