A few weeks back I was camping with a group of friends in Sussex, my main responsibility that weekend was to organise a little fishing trip for some of the youngsters, so I booked six of us in to a commercial day ticket water for some assured bagging action! Well we succeeded in the sense of catching some fish but my heart sank from the moment we arrived with the usual carp brigade all bivvyed and brewed up. Commercials have no place in the Tuesday swim, an antidote was needed well away from these piscatorial dogging ponds.
A trip to the sea was needed and a search for a spring bass on the prowl.
Dungeoness is a place I have know for thirty years or more since I was a teenager and each time I visit this place it greets me un-changed, a reassuring feeling that puts you at ease from the start, just like sliding on an old pair of jeans. On the way into Dungeoness via the Romney Marsh a visit to Seagull Angling for some last-minute advice, some rag worms and a few spare weights is a must. Just like Dungeoness, Seagull Angling has changed little, stuffed with plenty of terminal gear and a few rods and reels, tackle shops that deal primarily in sea tackle by nature have not been affected quite so much by the carp epidemic, the smell is not of Scopex squid more but more earthy worm and tobacco smoke, believe it or not this is my favoured smell.
After some sound advice we set off to the point named ‘Behind the boats’ just down from the Dungeoness point where Derek Jarman famously had his shack with the flotsam and jetsam garden at the front. The shack is still there along with other wooden houses that gives the impression of a Mississippi delta rather than the garden of England.
On the beach we cast out three ounce wired leads on rather under powered carp rods but just managed to get the lugworm out far enough and hold for an incoming bass on the hunt. We were fishing an hour before low tide and then planned to fish on for another three or four hours on the rising tide. Prime time would have been an hour after high at around 7.00pm as the light levels were starting to drop but we didn’t have that luxury of time.
Despite this the weather was quite favourable, a blanket haze was cast over the whole area and the wind was moderate, we now had to wait with a re-cast every 10-15 minutes to check on baits and terminal tackle.
Just on the turn of the tide my rod started to twitch in a manner that didn’t match the rhythms of the waves so I struck with the end result of a silver sea perch, enough for two fillets for our supper that night. Sea bass really are magical and now I’m thinking about a moonlit hunt for these wonderful fish.