17th September 2009 – Port Logan

Weather: Dry, cloudy/sunny spells, light S-SW wind/calm
Sea Conditions: Calm
Time Spent: 0900-1730 – 8.5 hours
Tides: 10:12 GMT 3.8m

Tope fishing off Port Logan
Off Port Logan
View of Port Logan harbour
Port Logan

Had a “use it or lose it” day so bit the bullet, set the alarm for 4.30, and headed off to Port Logan to take advantage of the fine weather. Launched no bother, but half way across the bay the GPS/Sonar just cut out. I assumed it was just a loose connection, checked them and it came back on again. However the same thing happened again a few minutes later, and the problem became a little clearer – the voltage reading on the GPS was climbing as I increased engine revs, and the unit cut out when it hit 13.8v. Swapped to the second battery, but the same problem persisted, so I assumed the engine output was the source – a bit of a bugger as the threshold seemed to be about 2200 revs.

I’d planned on a few drifts at the entrance to the bay anyway, so I set up a mackerel trace on one rod and a bottom rig on the other and carried on. 40 minutes just inside the bay produced next to nothing – 1 mackerel, 1 cuckoo and 1 ballan wrasse, so I shifted out about half a mile and carried on. The fishing wasn’t great, but there was a steady flow of gurnard (including some beautiful red gurnard), numbers of codling to 3.5lbs, a few pollack, a couple of small haddock and a handful more mackerel.

After about half an hour fishing the two rods, I was fiddling around with the mackerel rod and turned round just in time to see the bottom rod vanish overboard. Aargh! I could see it sink slowly out of sight, but couldn’t grab it in time, as the boat was moving at a decent pace in the tide. I still had the mackerel gear in the water, so started jigging it to see if I could catch the li.ne, but without any great expectation of success. Much to my surprise, after about 20 seconds I felt a steady pressure on the rod, and gradually and very carefully managed to winch in all the lost gear. Lucky or what! – but it was down to one rod after that.

I drifted on for a couple of miles but the fishing gradually dwindled as the tide ran faster, so I ran back downtide to retrace my steps. This time the engine seemed to behave itself properly and it certainly speeded things up being on the plane. However the fishing remained slow, so I decided to have a two or three hours anchored on one of the banks a little way offshore.

The tide was running fairly strongly, and it took 1.5lbs of lead to hold bottom properly, although the light rod was bouncing down the tide with 8oz, picking up a good number of gurnard and a few whiting and mackerel every time it hit bottom for a dew seconds. The main rod produced only dogfish until the tide slackened off a bit, when it suddenly hooped right over as a decent fish hit. This was pretty obviously a tope and it gave a good account of itself despite the lead it was hauling about. At 30lbs it’s my biggest for the year, so I was quite happy to finish the day on a high note.

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