At just after 5.30pm on Saturday afternoon I arrived at the Marina Car Park in Brighton. I quickly made my way to The Tackle Box to pick up my bait and then head to the corner of the car park where people were signing in and drawing their peg numbers for the Bass Match For The RNLI.
Andrew Bennett and Craig Gosling the organisers of the event gave a warm welcome and then offered up a dustbin bag full of envelopes in order for me to draw my peg number, it was to be No.42 E. I had hopped for a peg on the West wall as I just felt under the conditions it may fish better, but it would also cost me more terminal tackle as there are rocks and snags. Also Dave from The Tackle Box told me that was probably the better location and to fish Joeys and Squid close in to the wall.
The wind increased and I could see funnels of water from the Marina West walls, so maybe I would be better off on the East arm after all, I didn’t need a drenching early on with seven hours of fishing ahead of me. As the sun started to drop I made my way over to peg No.42, it’s a long way.
I arrived at my peg to find both bays either side of me empty but soon enough Sam a ‘old salt’ weathered by the sun and exposure to the sea and all of his 63 years. He was a gentleman with a kind heart and openly offered his advice in order to help me. He came equipped with bucket loads of bait, fresh prawns, lugworm and a mix of cheese and bread, that’s right, cheese and bread. Recently the bass have been taking cheese when offered within a few yards of the shore near the Palace Pier.
As 7pm approached it was time to cast out and see if we could catch a bass or two, two being a optomistic view and in reality as the hours passed highly unlikely.
Sam soon was into a fish, a small Sole but none the less a fish. Hour after hour passed and with the sun now long gone the Marina East Arm was illuminated with head torches and a multitude of coloured bite indicators fixed to the top of the rods. The night sky was clear and the wind had dropped away as the tide came in. Sam was into another fish this time a small thorneback ray, small but beautifully formed and returned to continue to grow into something larger.
Just before 11.30pm Sam offered up some worms for me to use, sure enough the tip of the rod started to rattles but clearly not a bass, ‘leave it’ Sam shouted across over the sound of the waves crashing against the wall. I did as I was told, Sam came over and looked as the tip still continued to twitch, ‘pick up the rod and have a look’, as I lifted the rod I realised that I had been teased by either a whiting or maybe a flattie but nothing more. For me this was the only knock I would have all night.
Craig came round to report that little had been caught and that the competition was likely to be won by a 2lb 12oz bass that was caught on the West arm…and that was to be the case.
The key objective of the event was to raise money for the RNLI, the 76 competitors raised £1140 for entry fees and raffle tickets and I’m sure that total will increase.
Prizes for the event were given out at The Master Mariner 6pm on Sunday, unfortunately I couldn’t attend as I had to do the return 84 mile trip back to Buckinghamshire at just after 2.30am so I could pick up my son who had a sleep over with his grandparents. With only three hours sleep it was back on the road again to head back to London for a Surrey League under 8’s football match that I was manager of and my son was playing in, a 7-4 win against Spelthorne Sports FC was a good reward after blanking out fishing.
I’ll report in more detail on the event in an upcoming blog.