Darkness, coldness, wetness and brainless sums up the extreme stupidity I labelled myself with on my last night-fishing adventure.
My friend had been out over a few nights and had caught some nice sized cod and whiting. It’s true that early winter, when the beach is frozen and crunchy underfoot, produces some nice fish quite close in to the breaking waves.
Having checked out a few of the local beaches in daylight I knew the layout and the high tide marks. Avoiding getting down cliffs where the tide could push you back in the dark, I opted for an easy exit route should any big waves arrive or unpredictable wind and surf make life difficult.
The recent supermoon seemed to attract more night anglers than usual. The best showing was on November 14. This was the closest supermoon since January 26, 1948, and will not be bettered until November 25, 2034.
All along our Yorkshire coast night anglers could been seen as dots of light moving about the beaches. The one light shining from an LED headlight makes life that much easier when dealing with tackling up, baiting and unhooking fish in the dark. Tilley lamps running on fuel used to be the norm but one must embrace technology.
With the supermoon just waning and the tide higher than usual, I set off at dusk, leaving a wonderful red-orange, mellow yellow sunset to the west and drove to the dark east as the huge moon appeared on the horizon. Frost was forecast, but only a few degrees under.
A short walk from the car and I had my one-man tent erected above the high water mark. The tent edges were weighted down with large pebbles and milk containers filled with seawater.
Things were going smoothly, a little too smoothly I thought as the cold set in and clouds obscured the supermoon.
The sea state was calm and two rods were set up, baited - lugg tipped with squid - and cast out. Night fishing does not require a cast to the horizon as fish come quite close in to feed, following the bait fish. To my horror I saw a nasty tangle of braid line on one of my reels and as I was trying to untangle the birds nest my other rod end began to dance.
I tie small LED lights to the rod ends to help indicate bites. These last until they fly off in a cast, like a firefly flying through the air. Things were hotting up as I missed the bite and had to recast.
As I quietly cursed the line tangle, a rod end began to flash its light. I struck and landed a nice sized whiting. Two more followed as if a shoal of large whiting were passing by. They would make some tasty parsley fish cakes.
Then the wind gained to a stiff ‘in your face’ westerly with some rain drops for good measure. I hate night fishing in the cold rain and as it was approaching high tide about 1am I retired to my tent and had a warm drink. About an hour later I awoke cold and wet to the wind rattling the tent and my mind working overtime.
Sometimes I get the shivers running down my spine as deserted night beaches can be like another world, full of strange noises and unpredictability. I’ve experienced electrical storms and weird people who have talked of scary haunted seas with floating heads and arms coming out of the waves - usually apparitions of victims of old ship wrecks - I couldn’t get off the beach fast enough having thoroughly scared myself to the stage of looking over my shoulder and clutching my rod rest like a spear.
The only really scary thing for me was when a fox stole my cod on Spurn Point one dark night and it outran me as I chased it through the darkened sand dunes.
Another time, I was fishing in the rocks south of Dimlington and saw small furry creatures scurrying around my bait box. They were rats pinching my worms.