Last Friday I misread the weather forecast. And boy am I happy I did!
When I left the house, it felt a little windier than I expected already and when I arrived at the seafront it was clear: the planned wade on the reef in the east was not going to happen.
While trying to figure out, where I went wrong with my prediction, I simultaneously searched for options and realised, that the state of the tide would open up a lovely window on a river spot, which wasn't too far and I hadn't fished in a couple of seasons. Challenge accepted!
Expecting to fish a shallow reef, my box was filled with all sorts of lovely top waters, weightless softies and sub-surface hard baits, but was seriously lacking in lures I would need for the new plan, so I decided to jump off the bus a few stations early and pay a visit to Rob at Lagoon Tackle & Bait, who quickly supplied me with some Savage Gear Minnows, which were perfect for the job.
When I arrived at the spot, I remembered straight away why I used to love and fish this area almost weekly. A turquoise flow of water was pushing hard through mussel beds on its way to the English Channel, while Oyster Catchers, Herons and Seagulls were peacefully feeding in this little ecosystem, tugged into an urban surrounding.
I lost a couple meters of the braid to make sure and tied a new fluorocarbon leader (6-8ft), fishing around sharp mussels and stones, I trust the Seaguar Blue Label in 15lb, which I connected to the 18lb eight-strand braid, using an FG knot featuring a Rizzuto finish.
A strong SFL #1 Egg Snap finished off the uncompromising setup and only minutes after sliding into my waders the weedless soft plastic was knocking on the far bank bottom, before being swung around slowly in the current, on the search for some strong Sussex silver.
Working my way downstream, I presented the lure precisely in the deeper channels of the river bed, making sure to keep contact with the stoney deck and after about half an hour, my lure got slammed just before swinging out of the main current towards the bank I was fishing from. After the strike, the line moved to the surface quickly, indicating a slightly smaller fish and after a few surprisingly skilful jumps, I was able to land a very well conditioned, mid fourty Bass, quick pic and seee ya later!
At this moment, I was incredibly chuffed; the river was still healthy, fish were running into it and my techniques still worked. With a big smile on my face, I did the next cast into the same area and BANG: the scenario from a couple of minutes ago repeated itself with yet another stunning fish in the same size range, possibly a couple of centimetres shorter.
Being completely fired up now, I continued downstream and only a few meters from the double fish spot, I noticed a really nice, deep channel, close to the far bank and started presenting my bait into it over and over again.
The channel was fishing perfectly, my lure was hopping over the bottom exactly how I like it and whilst I was thinking just that, an absolute giant of a bite (OTD!!!!) made the blank of my rod explode! I answered with the heartiest of strikes and the fish made way upstream so quickly, I struggled to keep up on my Stradic 3000FL, but I managed to keep the tension and quickly found myself standing on the bank, playing tug of war with a solid fish, which knew exactly how to use the strong current to make the drag scream not only once!
After a few minutes of give and take, I managed to get the fish into a shallow, flooded area which gave me the advantage and from then it was only a few seconds until game over!
First time back in two years, two lovely chunkies and now this super-wide sitxty-up, I could not have been happier. Quick few shots, leaning the phone against my backpack and back it went. What a stunning experience!
I know it sounds absolutely insane, the truth needs to be told! After checking my braid and knots, still buzzing from the fight and beautiful sight of a real slab of silver, my next cast went into the exact same spot....and as if someone had pressed reeeewind, another hefty bite struck my rod and after an almost identical fight, i was blessed enough to hold an even longer fish into the lens of my Samsung. Insanity.
My reel had been dunked and sanded during the last minutes, I did not want to work the dirt deeper into the gears, so I decided to make my way home, still in disbelief of what just happened.
While getting the sand out of my reel, I made the decision to hit the spot again the next day, meaning i found myself chucking the very same Savage Gear Minnow into spots it had scraped only 24 hours before.
This time, Rob joined the action on a lovely and sunny evening and without boring you all with repeats please see below the lovely mid fifty bar of silver which decided to nail a paddle tail on the drop and fought hard, even though it had a big, ancient injury on its back, possibly from a net?
I even managed a lovely mid fourty just after, which made friends with some roasted fennel and Italian Riesling the next evening, the long weekend really couldn't have been better.
Thanks for reading, please feel free to pop any questions into the comments below!
Tight lines and all the best,