Sea fishing: Trying out a new rod for spring

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Prolonged easterly winds have made boat and beach fishing rather difficult to say nothing of my recent nithering Bank Holiday seaside visits. Better weather is forecast with hopefully some of the wet stuff for the rivers and farmers.

Seizing a day when the wind did drop and the sea becalmed however and I embarked on a eventful beach fishing trip south of Hornsea. Boat fishing for such a delicate coward in Easterly winds shouts loudly of swell and sea sickness so I decided to try out my new beach rod. It is a shorter version of my 16ft rods, by a whopping 12ins, but is far lighter and allows me to cast an extra 50 yards.

Full of expectation I drove through the ‘darling buds of May’ lining the route to the coast. The Yorkshire spring had well and truly sprung. There were lots of pretty villages, fresh with green leaves and colourful blossom falling like confetti.

Contrast this idyll with the unfortunate bees depositing their yellow pollen on my windscreen as I propelled one tonne of car through the still air.

On reaching the sun baked cliffs, I stumbled down hard-as-rock winter mud that would have engulfed the unwary angler a few months back. With a lazy buzzard hovering and noisy oyster catchers mocking my clumsy decent, I landed on the sandy beach in a heap, clutching bag, rod and tripod.

The high tide was around midday, there was little or no wind and no sign of weed in the high water debris. Carefully assembling my new rod I baited up with peeler crab and squid. This was launched towards the seaward horizon at 45 degrees and sailed away showing a distant ‘plop’ into the sea. Very pleased with the cast I followed suit with my old 16ft rod and only achieved two-thirds of the distance.

Bites came thick and fast after that. First a lesser spotted dogfish, second a small cod and third another dogfish. The squid was finished so I cast again with my new rod using neat crab.

Another bite and a new species for me, a small but beautifully formed, what I think is a spotted ray (Raja montagui). I took great care unhooking the beast as it had some cruel looking spines down each side of its head as can be seen on the photo.

This was the second spotted ray I had seen during the last month even though they are quite rare on our beaches.

More ‘doggies’ followed, all caught at distance with only an eel-like rockling on the close-in rod. All were returned and alas, I had no fish for tea.

Refusing to be beaten, on the way back I called in at a supermarket for some sardines and two fillets of plaice, all caught sustainably in the North East Atlantic Sea. My fishy meal with locally sourced vegetables was delicious.