Skip­per’s Log­book

A time when lin­ger­ing win­ter fish fea­ture along­side a new sea­son’s spe­cial­i­ties…

Sea Angler (UK) - - Con­tents - Words and pho­tog­ra­phy by Dave Roberts

Take ad­van­tage of win­ter and spring species.

T he re­al­ity of cli­mate change is a hotly de­bated topic, but sea an­glers can’t fail to no­tice some strange things are hap­pen­ing with our weather ev­ery year. My patch, in the Bris­tol Chan­nel, is no ex­cep­tion, with seem­ingly stronger winds, heav­ier rain­fall and tem­per­a­tures reach­ing wider lim­its. This, in turn, could well be the rea­son for our ap­par­ent change of sea­sonal ac­tiv­i­ties, as far as sea angling is con­cerned.

These days, no one can guess what even the next day’s weather will bring, whereas years ago, we could ex­pect our sum­mers to be long and hot, and weather fore­casts were fairly pre­dictable; tope, smooth­hounds, pol­lack, mack­erel and bass would fea­ture in ev­ery­day angling char­ter trips, with their ar­rival al­most set by the clock.

Au­tumn would her­ald the start of the frosts, when cold, set­tled days would pro­vide angling par­ties with boxes of whit­ing and the start of the an­nual cod run. As win­ter ap­proached, an­glers would buzz with ex­cite­ment at the pos­si­bil­ity of land­ing a dream lunker that, in by­gone days, could only be re­alised in the dead of win­ter in these parts.

Nowa­days how­ever, things have changed dra­mat­i­cally. As we ap­proach the spring, an­glers are be­ing treated to ever-chang­ing catch sta­tis­tics. UP FOR ANY­THING With the win­ter out of the way me­te­o­ro­log­i­cally, our home wa­ters are now play­ing host to a whole new range of tar­get species. The cod, which his­tor­i­cally would be long gone by this stage, are still present and in some de­cent num­bers. A large squid or cut­tle­fish bait pre­sented on a flow­ing trace with a size 6/0 Pennell rig will give you a real chance of a mon­ster cod.

In the past, be­fore the end of the year these fish would be pre­oc­cu­pied with feed­ing on the pe­lagic mid-wa­ter swim­ming food fish, such as her­ring and sprats, but now their bi­o­log­i­cal clock has forced them into a di­etary change and they are vir­tu­ally up for any­thing.

Along with the pos­si­bil­ity of that per­sonal best cod, there is also a run of smaller fish, once termed the spring run. These fish con­tinue to

The peace and tran­quil­ity of fish­ing at dusk

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