LOCOMOTION SEA ANGLING CLUB
BOAT TRIP REPORTS 2003
Gale force winds on the day before gave sea conditions that resulted in this, our last trip of 2003, being called off.
Unfortunately this trip (and a replacement arranged for a week later) had to be called off because of bad weather.
After the disappointment of 31 August, everyone was delighted to have a window of fine and fairly calm weather between two wet and windy days. We were picked up from South Shields at about 7:30am by Sarah JFK and within a few minutes we left the Tyne and headed for our first mark.
Our first wreck was not far off the mouth of the Tyne so, thanks to the speed of Sarah JFK, we were fishing a few minutes later. That's when the fun began! Almost everyone on board hit fish on their first drop of the day; mainly mackerel. Since mackerel make excellent bait, this start was really good news.
Our second surprise was when we began to catch coley (coalfish). Last year, only one coley was caught and, being a fine fish, became our specimen for the year. On this trip they were really plentiful and were the mainstay of our catches.
Pollack, another rarity in our recent North-East experience, also featured amongst the fish boated. For John, Reg and Tim it was good the see these fish again after their happy memories of the trip to Ireland in 2002.
Graham caught a catfish and was quickly warned not to get his fingers anywhere near its mouth. It has fearsome teeth which are more than capable of removing a finger! This too was something of a rarity and many of us had not seen one before.
We visited many wrecks and almost all were productive. By the time we returned to the Tyne we had been out for about 11 hours and we were very tired but also delighted with our catches. Few cod were seen and only one sizeable fish was boated.
Our final total was 71 fish (excluding mackerel); 58 coley, 8 ling, 1 cod, 1 catfish, and 3 pollack. Although no count was made, mackerel catches probably exceeded 150. Sadly, this was our last trip on Sarah JFK until June 2004.
Strong northerly winds put paid to our hopes when Gerry, the Skipper of Gordon Cubbin, called off this trip.
A day of astounding contrasts - from hot and still to gales and torrential rain - from more mackerel than seen all year to a serious shortage of cod.
It started so well; hazy, still and warm. As the morning progressed the high haze cleared and we were glad to have sun-block ready. Since there was so little wind and the sea was so smooth, the Skipper of Sarah JFK decided to head for the 'Graveyard' - an extensive group of wrecks about 30 miles East of Tynemouth.
We stopped at some other wrecks on the way, but they yielded little more than a few mackerel.
By late morning we had reached the 'Graveyard'. Not long after, clouds in the distance began to build and darken. It soon became clear that we were in for a storm, this was reinforced by rumbles of thunder. Mayday calls on the radio made us feel somewhat apprehensive. When the storm hit, it was one of the worst club members have ever experienced. Torrential rain, driven horizontally by powerful winds and illuminated by almost continual lightning.
The worst of the storm didn't last too long but showers continued for an hour or two. We felt quite sorry for ourselves until messages relayed on the radio told of the terrible events off Teesmouth and Hartlepool. Our thoughts go to those caught up in the storms there, to the family of the man who died, and to the courage of the lifeboat crew who saved and supported those in difficulties.
Despite trying a range of techniques and baits we were unable to catch more than a handful of fish. Several members managed a 'duck' although Tim caught a fulmar which inflicted several cuts and plenty of pain before he managed to free its leg from his line.
Mackerel and whiting were caught in reasonable numbers, most of the former being used for bait. Only 2 cod and 1 ling were caught by our Club party of eight. Graham (guest of Peter) caught the ling and this was the heaviest fish of the day. It was filleted on board and no weight was recorded.
The Skipper had found three other anglers and they managed to boat several sizeable ling towards the end of the afternoon
Blue sky from horizon to horizon greeted us as we arrived at Hartlepool Marina for our Competition Day trip. There was almost no wind although the forecast suggested it would be quite breezy later.
Few mackerel had been caught, from boats or the shore, during the preceeding week. Most of the anglers were keen to get some, since there are few better baits than fresh mackerel. Although two were caught within minutes of starting a 'macky-bash', the reports proved accurate and only three were caught during the whole day.
Despite trying a range of baits and large hooks, whiting proved to be the mainstay of most catches. Cod were scarce although ling were quite plentiful but most were only about 4lb in weight.
We had roasting sunshine throughout the day but the wind, as forecast, had risen significantly by lunch time and we had a rather rough afternoon. Keeping ones feet became something of a challenge and most decided to remain seated rather than risk a fall.
For the first time in several years a cod took the honours for the heaviest fish.
The top prize of the day went to Reg for a 6lb 8oz cod and John boated the second heaviest fish; a 5lb 10z ling.
Peter had the heaviest total catch of 18lb 8oz and Reg got the second heaviest total of 11lb 12oz (excluding his winning cod above).
Few fish were caught during the morning and most members lost several weights and sets of tackle. The skipper tried quite a few wrecks, both inshore and some miles out, without much success. A few pouting, some small ling and an occassional small cod provided a little activity. Tim caught what felt like a lump of Northumberland, but turned out to be an octopus.
We returned inshore, well north of Blyth, and suddenly hit a patch of feeding cod. Everyone who had their tackle on the bottom, was into fish. This luck lasted for a few minutes, then the slow sport returned. Despite retracing our drift, we were unable to repeat those few frantic minutes.During our return south, the skipper gave us a drift near to the wind-powered generators at Blyth. We had no luck there but we did catch a thunder-storm. From then, until we were driving home, the heavens opened and even our waterproofs or floatation suits were unable to keep it all out.
Mick had the heaviest fish; a ling of 8lb.
The total for the day was quite repectable with 38 cod, 9 ling, 13 pouting, 1 coalfish (coley) and one octopus.
A brief attempt to drift with the wind and tide was quickly abandoned and Gerry, skipper of the Gordon Cubbin, dropped the anchor. Despite a very wet forecast, we also kept faily dry, suffering only a few squally showers.
Sport was slow to begin with but picked up as the day continued. The morning produced mainly whiting and pouting. During the afternoon, cod began to show. By late afternoon the whole boat of anglers was fairly happy but tired and ready for home.
The total for the day was 18 cod, 14 whiting and 7 pouting. Peter took the pot for the heaviest fish with a 2lb 3oz cod.
This quite rare phenomena, usually seen above the rising or setting sun, is caused by the reflection of sunlight from ice crystals in the atmosphere.
The sea was quite calm as we passed the Headland and the Heugh breakwater
Unfortunately, the fishing was nowhere near as good as the weather. Our morning could have been better used getting a suntan, than trying to catch fish. Not until lunchtime was the first fish, a whiting, boated.
During the afternoon, sport did improve but only marginally. The final total was 7 small cod and 6 whiting. Reg took the honour, and cash, with the heaviest fish.
The wind was quite strong and the sea rather 'lumpy' when we left Hartlepool Fish Quay on the Evelyn Jane. It was also bitterly cold and stayed that way throughout the day. Paul, our Skipper, tried several marks but either we couldn't find the fish or they were not feeding on the ebbing tide.
It was not until 5 minutes before 12 that the first whiting was boated. It was a rather lame and tired cheer, from the 9 anglers on board, that greeted it. Slowly, as the tide began to flood, our catches improved. The last hour was particularly busy with Reg, Eddie and Tim catching small cod (codling) and competing for the 'pot' for the heaviest fish.
As Paul sounded the hooter for the end of the fishing, Reg took the honour and the cash, with a cod of 1 lb 12 oz (after gutting).
A reasonable total for a winter trip, of 30 whiting and 5 cod, was achieved.
It rained for most of the morning and sport was thin - plenty of tugging from tiny whiting but no serious bites. By midday the only fish boated was a whiting for Peter. He was so ashamed, that he refused to be photographed with it. A mystery man had to hold what looked like it might be the best (and only) fish of the day.
About an hour later, Peter's fish was topped by a fine pouting of about 2 lb caught by John.
For the next hour or so the sport improved and several fish were caught including a few cod. Later in the afternoon, everything went very quiet again but at least we saw a little sunshine before returning to port at dusk.
The total for the day was 7 cod, 1 pouting and 8 whiting (only sizeable fish kept for eating were counted - quite a few more whiting were returned as soon as they were unhooked).