Sea fishing: Day of toil sees Stewart get coiled

Stewart Calligan holds aloft a lesser spotted dogfish and a cod during a wet day at the beach.
Stewart Calligan holds aloft a lesser spotted dogfish and a cod during a wet day at the beach.
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The good, old English summer weather and easterly winds have combined to further delay my first boat fishing trip of the year. Plus, a double whammy of possible neuralgia - a pain in the cheek - and a painful back has handicapped my beach fishing escapades.

Nevertheless, I found myself stood on the sands south of Hornsea on a mixed day of sun, a stiff westerly and showers. Lo and behold, I also had my fishing tackle. A variety of fish had been caught in this area ranging from bass, ray, hounds, lesser spotted dog fish, cod and whiting.

I was a bit short of bait only finding a few frozen crabs and lugg worms in my freezer. Using some bait elastic - the fine, easily broken type that readily pulls off the hooks at the next ‘bait-up’ - a half crab and a black lugg was bound to the hook. I did this on two rods and cast out the best I could being hampered by the painful back. The westerly wind blowing out to sea helped launch the bait and weight about 75 metres.

Sitting on the tackle box I had a bacon, tomato, mushroom and egg sandwich with a hot milk coffee from my mini stainless steel flask. The waiting game went on and on. I took in the dynamic beach scene with water birds coming and going, a lady bird landing on my knee and a cabbage white heading out to sea on the wind and thought, if only we humans could fly.

About one hour before high tide my new shorter rod tip began to dance. The rod tip never stopped pulling and as I dragged my stiff aching limbs over to the rods, I struck and felt a fish fighting away at the business end, a slow, ponderous fighter, so I retrieved the line onto the large drum fixed spool reel carefully and was rewarded with a nice cod flapping about in the surf. That was tomorrow’s dinner sorted and I rebaited and cast in again.

At 30 minutes from the top of the tide the same rod tip began to dip and although it didn’t pull like the cod this felt a younger, fitter, frisky fellow. As it glided through the surf I saw the shark-like dorsal fin breaking the surface. Sure enough it was like a small shark, silver with black markings, wearing the coat of a lesser spotted dog fish.

As soon as I picked it up, it coiled itself around my wrist in the manner of an eel but without that horrible eel slime. I gently unhooked it and after the obligatory photograph, sent it on its way back to scour the seabed. I fished for another two hours which took me to one-and-a-half hours after high tide, but didn’t get another bite.

I’ve forgot to mention the heavy swirling showers that paid me a visit about every hour. I was rather wet, bedraggled and cold but overall it was an enjoyable day with the promise of Hornsea fish and chips, steaming with salt and vinegar and a thickly buttered soft white teacake.