Article from January the 24th 2015

Only mad dogs and anglers seem to go out in the mid-winter weather, but when you are having fun I don't think the weather will put any creature off. I am sure it was Billy Connelly that once said, “There is no such thing as bad weather – just inappropriate clothing!”. Well some of our local die-hard anglers have been out this week and really have been coming up with some great catches from various spots around the island.

Over the last few weeks Steve Mullins has been clocking up some great catches, with his new British record white bream a couple of weeks ago he only went out at the weekend and caught three cracking flounder with an hour and a half. Steve told me “preparation is everything”, and he had spent a few hours before he went fishing digging worms in the freezing wind. It paid off for him though, with three flounder weighing 2lb 2oz, 2lb 6oz and 2lb 8oz, all great sizes for locally caught flounder. They are a species we struggle with here in the Channel Islands mainly due to the fact they like river mouths and fresh water outlets. Local plumber Brian Williams managed a flounder on Wednesday too, and to fill his day he also winkled out a bass and a bass and a pollack in the same trip! Young Robert Dingle has had one of the biggest flounder so far this winter with a beauty of 2lb 2oz, not quite as big as Mr Mullins but still a great fish. Rob also had a small eyed ray on that evening of 9lb 12oz so it just goes to show we still have some great fishing out there if you can brave the elements.

It's hard to keep a good man down, and this week Steve Mullins went to try for a winter cod, and the old man of the sea only went and did it again with a lovely codling of 2lb 10oz that he enjoyed for dinner that evening. This is only Steve second ever cod from the shore in Jersey, which just goes to show how rare this species is over here especially when you realise he has been fishing the shore here for forty years or more. With Steve letting everyone know about his success recently he has given others the drive to go out and try. This week I have heard of more cod coming up than I ever have in all the years I have been fishing in Jersey. Bus driver Carl Larkin had a nice codling of 3lb 2oz on Tuesday evening, and Anthony Laidler also managed one just after Carl had left him his bait that he had left over. The prize bait for these seems to be worms, especially lugworm but any worm will do if you don't have lug.

Finally, just a reminder that it is the Sinkers sea fishing clubs annual meal and prize giving evening at the Shakespeare hotel on February the 28th. If any members or friends would like to attend please pop into my tackle shop at First Tower or contact me to let me know. It is a great evening, reminiscing on the last years amazing catches and stories. We look forward to seeing you all there.

Bon temps,

Mick

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Article from January the 31st

There were some lovely big tides last weekend, and the weather was good enough to see plenty of locals making the most of it and getting down to do some low water fishing and bait collecting. I was chatting to nice old boy in my shop during the week and he informed me he had six ormers and three lobsters on Sunday, all from his secret lobster holes that his father had shown him years ago. These old traditions are all part of Jersey life, but not completely unique to us. Low water fishing and foraging the coast is also popular in Brittany, and strangely, Canada. I think it must be to do with the tidal ranges and coastline, and the fact that many French and Jerseymen emigrated to Canada all those years ago. Another thing we have in common with the Canadians is they use sandeel rakes at low tide, and I have only ever seen them used here and in France. That's nice isn't it? Just the thought that old traditions like this have travelled from here and are still practised and the techniques are still passed down for youngsters to enjoy.

The dedicated are still getting out there and wetting a line, with cod still coming up from the north coast piers, and I have heard of a few bass coming off the beaches this week. The bass were not big, but still legal size, which is a nice bonus this time of year. Barrie Aubert and Rob Dingle were fishing together last weekend and both managed a flounder each, which was exactly what they were trying to achieve for their club points in the Sinker league. I do think this years points table in the club is going to be a good fight between the top few guys, as the start to this season has been so great with some bonus fish coming up. Barrie is actually organising some boat competition for this season, and some of the younger members have put together a lure league to encourage anglers to target more species on the lures. Both these competitions will be run with the option to return the fish if you do not want to kill it, which is fantastic for promoting responsible angling.

The Dutch dangler Willy Nieuwberg informs me he is still pulling out a few squid from the shore, with the north coast piers, St Caths and the town harbour still producing every time he goes. In fact he had five on Tuesday night which is incredible and does prove the squid hang around a lot longer than most people think. Generally it is thought the squid fishing season over here is October until December, but I am sure they are here for most of the year if you put some time in. I will have the green lantern out very soon, just one evening with the mighty lamp and I should have enough squid in my freezer to last me a year......what can possibly go wrong this time?

I was invited out on Tony Hearts charter boat Anna II last Sunday, but I couldn’t make it due to being lazy. Anyway I kept texting the boys to see how they were getting on, and bit by bit they were picking up a few fish but it is still a bit slow. I think the plan was to try for some big winter pollack, and to be fair it is always worth a go this time of year but generally the best pollack fishing is mid to late February and if the sea is calm enough I just might have to venture out as it really is great fun. Sam Chapon had the best fish of the day with a lovely specimen bullhuss of 10lb 4oz. These beautiful mini sharks are the greater spotted dogfish, whereas the normal dogfish we all catch by the ton from the shore is the lesser spotted dogfish. Daniel Ferguson managed a strap conger for his efforts, so with a few other small species the trip wasn’t a complete waste of time and like I often say, you will never know, if you don t go!

Bon temps,

Mick