It seems a strange title for my first article in a fishing magazine, as the reader may be falsely drawn in by hope of a visit from a U.F.O. hovering above a raging sea or a vision of Jesus walking on water whilst casting to the horizon.
Sadly, no, it’s nothing half a good as that.
For many years now, both as a boy from the Midlands and now a man I’ve read many fishing books and magazine articles on great fishing moments. I’ve marvelled at what it must be like to experience the great fishing the south west has to offer and the expression ‘you should have been here yesterday’ was definitely a phrase that seemed fitting for me.
Reading Mike Millman’s book, Sea Angling Supreme, filled my thoughts of how fishing was back in the day, a real record breaking era and one that with depleted fish stocks may never be bettered, or at least not on any consistent basis.
As we come up to date, Facebook comes with its own anglers success stories and some fantastic fish caught. The volume of anglers posting so many great reports could have one believing the halcyon days had returned, alas, it’s a matter of rod hours, a portal to more anglers than we’ve ever had before and the modification of reality that sees everyone filter out the less successful days on social media.
How I wished I could have my own success moment and be the other side instead of being just the reader for a change.
This is my own brief account of my own modest fishing success story, and like most marvellous moments in life it wasn’t planned it just kind of happened.
After moving to Looe in Cornwall last autumn, I’d hoped that I could tick off more sea species from my angling bucket list than I ever could have living up country in the Midlands.
One evening, I received a text message from one of Looe’s top sharking skippers Pete Davies, A.K.A. Sharky Pete, asking if I was free to join him with taking the boat out for a run out to warm up the engine a little, as the boat Warrior 11 was tied up in harbour most the winter.
Of course I agreed and asked if we could do a spot of fishing. So Friday morning was set fair and we met on Looe harbour at 10am ready for a day on the reefs.
I’d brought along my 7gr LRF rod and light spinning reel loaded with 8lb mono and I asked skipper Pete and first mate Dave if they minded if I gave it a go, knowing full well it wasn’t the most suitable outfit for a day’s pollock fishing.
To my surprise they both agreed.
During the journey out to the reef I tackled up with a 4” pink sidewinder lure and clipped on a 4oz lead, the heaviest I’d dare go with such ridiculously light gear.
As the little pink lure fluttered in the wind I smiled to myself at something my wife Wendy had said the evening before, “those pink lures look like Flamingo Legs”.
I hoped the pollack liked eating flamingo legs as they were the only colour I’d got.
As we arrived at the mark, down went the little pink flamingos and the first couple of drifts produced nothing. Then, it happened! I felt my lure being inhaled by an unknown adversary and within seconds the little LRF rod was bent double and line was screaming from the reel. “Pollack” Shouted Sharky Pete and he wasn’t wrong.
Wow, what an experience on such light tackle.
I took several pollack around the 5/6lb mark before the pouting decided they too like a bit of pink. Two tiny poor cod about the same size as the imitation sandeel also joined the party before I hooked into something that definitely felt ‘different’.
There were no runs or taking line, just a head shake or two and a dead weight. The opinion on board was that I’d probably hooked a ling but, slowly and surely, with gentle pressure from the creaking 7gr rod, up popped a fish that only other people catch, never me.
Was I really connected to a john dory 10 miles out to sea, on a pink rubber lure that looked like a flamingo leg, hanging onto a tiny LRF rod? Yes I was!
One expert swoop from the skipper’s net and she really was mine.
I couldn’t stop looking at her, the strangest looking fish I’d ever caught. She was amazing. At 3lb10oz she wasn’t going to break any records but I genuinely didn’t care, I’d actually caught a john dory. Wow!
The last half hour of the day went by in a flash and I couldn’t stop thinking about my dory, then on the last drift I hooked something else that once again felt ‘different’. Suddenly, up popped what looked like a giant goldfish, ‘red gurnard’ the skipper exclaimed.
I really couldn’t believe my luck, species number 5 for me, all on my LRF rod and flamingo lures.
Perhaps nothing too special for most, but it was so good to finally experience ‘that angling moment’ and have my own story to tell after years of reading others.