Sunday, 14 September 2008

Fishing Report: 13th September 08 - Bateman's Tower, Brightlingsea

Although I hadn't originally planned to go fishing again this weekend last night was one of those beautifully mild, calm evenings that I just can't resist at this time of the year. As a young lad, myself and the gang of friends I fished with would eagerly await the first run of Whiting in the river and to us (in our early teens) there was no greater adventure than to be allowed to fish a night tide on our own down the Tower. Perhaps its those childhood memories that make me a fan of the Whiting or perhaps its because they are so obliging; I don't know but I am definitely a fan of what I think is a very underrated fish.

When the Whiting are in the river (and they most certainly are at the moment) this weather gets them shoaling up tight to chase the local Brown Shrimps and some really good catches can be had. Life is also made that bit easier, so far as Whiting are concerned, because Mackerel strip is the number one bait when they have just arrived and so a couple of quids worth of fish from the Tesco fish counter will often provide for a good nights fishing without the major expense or hassle of getting a supply of fresh worm.

I arrived at the Tower at about 10pm to fish the midnight(ish) tide and had my two rods set up within about fifteen minutes; one rod to fish Ragworm out in the tide in the hope of an autumn Bass and the other, the Whiting rod, sporting a clipped-down three hook paternoster baited with Mackerel. The general idea with the three-hook rig is that it allows you to fish at a variety of distances so you can experiment to find the fish, though to be honest when the Whiting are hungry and about in good numbers you will get them whatever.

The flood tide started off very slow with not a single fish, maybe due to the Seal that put in an appearance, but on the turn of the tide the Whiting appeared in force and it was pretty much a bite a chuck on both rods, which on a couple of occasions led to a treble-shot of Whiting on the three-hook rig. The rod fished at range with large Ragworm baits didn't fare quite so well and Bass were definitely not on the menu on this occasion. I have no doubt that the Bass were there but to be honest on a night like that they just won't be able to get to the bait because of the Whiting which are quite partial to a large King Ragworm, though really catching Whiting from range is just making things hard work for yourself; why bother when there are loads of them 40 yards out?

A very pleasant nights fishing ended at about 2am when I ran out of bait just as the water was starting to get too low to fish because of the wooden breakwater in front of the Tower. I hadn't managed any Bass on the long-range rod but total for the night was nineteen Whiting, with the bulk of the fish probably between 6 - 10 oz, pretty much the average size for the Colne and I was more than happy with that. A lot of anglers knock the Whiting and turn their nose up at them but to me they are a very welcome, easy to catch fish that signal the change of the seasons and set you up for the rest of the winter.