On Sunday 9th September, the VMO team stepped aboard Minehead based charter boat Aly Kat, skippered by Dave Roberts. After a hearty breakfast, the plan was to target the smaller species that are in abundance here at this time of year and often found extremely close to the shoreline amongst the rugged terrain. The order of the day was small hooks and small baits fished on an assortment of light rods armed with compact reels filled with zero stretch braid.
It was just as well that this was the plan from the off, as had the team wanted to fish offshore in the hope of larger species, it would have been a little uncomfortable to say the least and there was more than just a small chance that someone would be seeing their breakfast again!
The steam down against the heavy swell that had been kicked up not only by the spring tides but also the ever stiffening south westerly wind, gave everyone the chance to prepare their end tackle and talk tactics. With skipper Dave full of talk of good catches in the days leading up to the trip, the guys were particularly excited, especially at the prospect of connecting with the feisty shoals of bream that are often in residence during September.
In no time at all, Aly Kat had reached its destination, well beyond Porlock Bay and somewhere close to the border of Devon and Somerset. The high sea cliffs of Exmoor offered some sanctuary from the wind and with the anchor set in the ebbing tide, it was time to go to work.
Carefully presented baits were lowered in to the depths and Harry, Andrew, Simon and Jeremy waited with keen anticipation.
It wasn’t very long at all before a sharp rattle on Harry’s rod tip indicated the first bite of the day. The bite soon developed into a full on rod-wrencher and Harry was soon enjoying a tussle from a feisty black bream that took a shining to his ragworm and squid-strip offering.
It was a promising start and one that was to set the tone for the rest of the day.
Harry’s bream was typical of the fish that seem to be in residence at the moment at around a pound or so in weight, but it gave a pleasing account of itself on light tackle.
As time went by, all four anglers started to haul bream to the surface with the fish steadily increasing in size. Andrew and Jeremy even enjoyed a double hook up. It was clear that this was going to be a stand out trip as the guys enjoyed some relentless action with more and more bream coming aboard. The majority of the fish showed a clear preference for traces armed with floating beads.
Minutes soon turned in to hours (time flies when you’re having fun) and skipper Dave decided that a change of spot was in order. The anchor was pulled and soon Aly Kat was repositioned a few hundred yards down coast, nose facing into the now flooding tide.
This time, the frantic bream action experienced earlier had been replaced by a little more variety in the form of gurnards, scad, bullhuss, mackerel and conger with a colourful array of species hitting the deck of Aly Kat within the first half hour of arriving at the new location.
It was amidst the constant action provided by the smaller species that Simon suddenly latched in to what was clearly a better fish as his rod hooped over without warning and tested his nerve. Dave appeared alongside Simon with the net, his suspicions pointing towards a bass and as the anglers looked on, they weren’t to be disappointed. Simons reward was a stunning bass, clearly a PB and only lightly hooked on the tiny Chinu hook he was using.
A comparatively quiet spell followed, before Andrew added to the variety with a small blonde ray that took a shining to a small strip of mackerel intended for gurnards.
It had certainly been a productive day so far, but the one species that had remained elusive throughout was the sub tropical trigger fish. All aboard were keen to latch into one of these special fish that have only been occasional visitors to the channel in recent times, but try as they might they failed to locate a single fish throughout the remainder of the trip.
As Aly Kat headed for port and left the sanctuary of the headland that had provided shelter from the buffeting westerly wind, it became clear just how large a sea had developed. Crossing Porlock Bay, Hurlestone point loomed and and a particularly lumpy section of water made for a rough ride.
Andrew decided this was a good time to take a tumble and fell on his back like a turtle, much to the amusement of his colleagues. Thankfully he lived to tell the tale, with just a slight bruise to his back and a dent in his ego!
It had been a brilliant days fishing and was rounded off in style with a pint back at the pub and a recollection of the fish that were landed. The team had landed over 30 bream, the largest bag of the species Dave could ever recall and with the majority of these returned to fight another day, it bodes well for the future.
VMO would like to thanks Dave Roberts for a great day’s sport.