A very belated and happy new year to diary readers. I made the strategic decision, in view of my lack of licence due to the little yellow boxes, of having a prolonged stay out with the inlaws and friends in the Czech republic. We left a little later than expected, thanks to the amazing snow falls both here on the south coast and especially around the port of Calais in the week before Christmas, but made a swift, and incident free journey across to Prague, a friend of ours having come to collect us. And there we stayed, not returning to the UK until early February. My daughter Leaha came and joined us for ten days over Christmas, which was an excellent experience all round. I must admit, its very easy to adapt to the czech lifestlyle, and even after six weeks or so it was still very sad to come back. Snow every day from just after new year, it was a winter wonderland. I even went sledging for the first time in about 24 years!! The dog especially enjoyed the snow, and I think she was a bit in shock to return to Englands green, pleasant, and particularly wet and muddy lands. And for the first time that I can remember, I didnt cast a line at all in January. In Czech, the -8 celcius daytime averages were a little offputting for even a river session!!
Brutally, I also saw the demise of my trusty Olympus camera, so until I can resolve it with a second hand DSLR, I'm afraid the photo content is likely to be a mix of mickey mouse pocket camera and Phone camera!!
This year is going to be a very interesting year. The cod that were on the beaches in the autumn were mostly fish carrying roe, and the big question this year will be "Will they come back inshore after spawning?" To which, I personally think the answer will be no. These are big fish now, which need large volumes of food. I suspect they will stay offshore, feeding on baitfish, rather than come inshore looking for crustecea and worms. Smaller fish will venture inshore, as they are beggining to do up the East coast, but there arent the big numbers that there were 2-3 years ago. All very different in the South West of the UK where the Bristol Channel is teeming with small codling. Its looking like they might well have the best of the cod fishing this coming autumn. Locally, in the autumn, I feel that the chances of a 20lb shore caught fish will be the best they have been for many decades, but numbers will be very low when compared to the excellent cod fishing of the last three years.
Bass are once more likely to be targetted very hard by commercial fisherman who have used up their quota for whatever they normally fish for. But despite this enormous pressure, the beaches in Sussex had excellent numbers of middle sized bass last year. Will this be the case for 2010? I certainly hope so, and if the Mayweed and other weeds that made 2009 so difficult to fish keep away, maybe we will see even better results this year. Last year the bassing began properly in mid March. This year, with sea temperatures low, it will be interesting to see when the first few arrive.
Smoothounds. Year on year, the hound fishing seems to get better and better. The big fish didnt come as far West as Brighton in 2009, the Eastward migration of double figure fish not getting past Worthing. But, if there is a good peel of spider crabs, we might be lucky this year and not have to travel so far west in July.
The extremely cold winter is bound to have a knock on effect on the arrival of the first of the summer species. Last year it all kicked off in the first week of April on the marina, with squid, Garfish and mackerel arriving then. Fingers crossed for some good warm long sunny days between now and then to lift the sea temperatures and encourage an early migration.