In the bright crisp winter sun young Tales and I took off to the South Coast in hope of rounding off the year with one last notable catch. The run down to the East Sussex town of Brighton took no time at all, we arrived late morning and took time to visit Dave and the team in The Brighton Tackle Box and wish them seasonal greetings for a happy New Year.
The walk to the East Arm of the Marina complex always seems to be a daunting task when you look across from the walk way that connects the car park to the restaurants and bars that line the top end of the harbour, especially when laden with rods, backpacks, bait and flasks of hot chocolate. Every time we make the journey I always try and cut down the amount of tackle to a minimum but somehow we still double up on most things and today was no exception, I guess we pack extra for the ‘just in case’ moment.
After a 20 minute walk we arrived at bay 16, tackled up and with the first cast snagged the terminal tackle. After a brief fight with the rocks beneath the trace came free and I reeled in and changed the set up to a floating rig. We were aware that bass were still about as the previous day a 4lb fish was taken and during the week up near Hove a couple of big bass were taken off the beach. Bass were without question top of young Tales species list, he has been desperate to catch one from this location but on each visit we’ve drawn a blank, well as far as catching a bass.
We moved a few bays further round the East wall until we found a spot that was void of rocks and when casting allowed the weight to rest on the sandy bottom. With the trace baited with black lug and tipped with slithers of squid we waited and watch the rod tips but nothing, not a knock, absolutely nothing for hour upon hour as we watch the ships sail by. However the silence of the afternoon was broken by the music being played on a fishing trawler that was coming into port, resembling a scene from Apocalypse or Skyfall where the music was being played from speakers suspended below helicopters this was being blasted out on the deck of a small trawler, also the song at the time was most apt and in many ways funny to hear, this being the 1979 hit ‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor.
Not long after watching the boat pass by we did notice a Virgin Boeing 747 circling above and banking heavily with its undercarriage down which seemed rather odd especially at the hight the plane was. Time and time again it circled banking heavily as if stacking to land at Gatwick yet its altitude indicated there was a problem as it undercarriage shouldn’t have been down at this stage, it seemed to be dumping fuel over the sea as it headed away from us towards Eastbourne. After a good 30 minutes it climbed then turned towards Gatwick, guess we’ll hear on the news later if something was wrong, for sure something told us things were not as they should be.
As the afternoon progressed there was little change in our fishing success other than young Tales managed to catch a very small star fish, it reminded me of a book I read to him as a toddler about a young boy how found a star fish on the beach. It did seem that the tales from today’s adventure wouldn’t stack up to much, but then as the sun started to set things started to change. Every now and then the rod tips would rattle and on each retrieve nothing except to note that something was eating the squid but not hook king itself. With the horizon turning to a golden hue with a faints highlight of Naples Yellow seconds before the sun set we were rewarded with a whiting.
Cast after cast the whiting were taking the baited hooks but only those tipped with squid. We kept the best four fish returning any that we deemed too small. It was now too dark to see so we decided we’d had a fair day, met some new faces and witnessed some strange events in the sky and at sea,
we now look forward to the New Year.
As we walked back to the car I couldn’t help thinking of another verse of Kipling’s River Tale,
“I walk my beat before London Town,
Five hours up and seven down.
Up I go till I end my run
At Tide-end-town, which is Teddington.
Down I come with the mud in my hands
And plaster it over the Maplin Sands.
But I’d have you know that these waters of mine
Were once a branch of the River Rhine,
When hundreds of miles to the East I went
And England was joined to the Continent.