Thursday, 26 June 2008

Fishing Report: 25th June 08 - Wet Docks, Ipswich

It had been way too long since I last fished. Late May and early June sessions on the river had not lived up to expectations and the seemingly endless supply of rain had filled the estuary with freshwater, killing off the local Bass fishing for a while. Rather than making life hard for myself with the Wife for little return fish-wise I concentrated my efforts on jobs at home in the hope of earning some brownie points which could be cashed in for sessions when the fishing improved. The recent dryer, settled weather and rumours of Schoolies starting to show in the estuaries finally persuaded me to venture out onto the mud to dig a couple of pound of Ragworm for the bait tanks the previous weekend but as yet hadn't had a chance to drown any of them and with the tides not late enough for me to fish the local marks after work I decided on a spur of the moment visit to the Wet Dock at Ipswich to try for some of the "townie" Mullet with a baited spoon.

I arrived at about 6.30pm to find the dock was very busy with a RN fast patrol craft at the dockside (with visiting Air Cadets) and the Fire Brigade practising their hose drills on the dock so I wasn't expecting to do very well even though the humid, sunny conditions seemed perfect for a session with the spoon. Despite this I set to it eagerly and was pleasantly surprised when the first cast produced a good size follower. Although the fish could not tempted to take the 3 inch Ragworm on the hook, it was sign enough that I might be in with a chance of a fish and I carried on fishing the spoon at various ranges, speeds and depths until fifteen minutes later I was rewarded with the slow steady take of a Mullet (as apposed to the "smash" of a Bass take). After a 5 minute tussle, during which it went in and then out of the landing net about half a dozen times, I had my first fish on the dockside, a nice Thin-Lipped Mullet of 2lb 12oz, though it has to be said that had I not had help with the net from one of the spectators that had gathered to watch the fight I doubt I would have got it in.

As I fished on there were occasional swirls on the surface of the water and numerous followers and it wasn't too long before I had another fish on. A little bigger than the first it put up an absolutely tremendous scrap, finally slipping the hook right by the net just as I thought I had it beaten. One of the firemen that had been practising nearby came over for a chat (perhaps a bit puzzled as to why I was still so cheerful, having just lost a fish) and by now I had attracted a bit of an audience, a mixture of pedestrians, firemen and Air Cadets. As the spectators began to lose interest and filter off I hooked, played and then lost another (slightly smaller) fish, again right by the net and then, as the sun dropped behind the nearby buildings, everything went quiet on the Mullet front and the little Bass that frequent the dock came out to play, hitting the baits on pretty much every retrieve.

For an hour I had the company of a local angler who had stopped off on his way home from work to spin for the Bass and by the time he left at about 9pm I'd had four little Bass and had lost another very big Mullet that had leapt clear of the water as I hooked it and had snapped the hook-length. Just as the light started to fade and thoughts turned to home I hooked the last fish of the night, a smaller Mullet than the first, which again put up a brilliant fight and gave me lots of problems at the net before it finally came in. It nudged the scales to 2lb exactly and was the perfect finish to a brilliant evenings fishing.

The docks may not be the scenic and peaceful surroundings of the deserted upriver marks that I usually like to fish on the Colne in the summer and you won't see a Marsh Harrier soaring on the evening thermals above it, but it's one of those places that is very easy to like, even with the sound of the town centre traffic, police sirens and the comings and goings of the boats in the dock. It's the Mullet that make this venue, plain and simple, and if you like catching fish that put up a fight, then the docks (and the Mullet) won't disappoint!