EDITOR’S NOTE - Plastictaff Lewis is a popular and well-known local angler who has been shore fishing for over forty years. Based in Eastbourne, his preferred hunting grounds range along the south coast from Pevensey Bay to the borders of Hampshire.
The weather didn’t look particularly inviting as my friend Mirek and I loaded our gear into the van and set off in driving rain for our Saturday session. After a brief visit to Anglers Den in Pevensey Bay to pick up the pre-ordered rag and lugworm, we headed west to our proposed destination – Shoreham Arm. Within half an hour the traffic was at a standstill and daylight was fast slipping away.
I got on the Taffphone to my good friend and fishing buddy Clive and asked for help. True to form he came to the rescue and jumping in his car got over to Hove in time to collect the crabs we wanted before the shop closed.
By the time we arrived in Shoreham and met Clive (who unfortunately could not fish that evening) the wind had increased and the rain was now a constant drizzle, with the temperature dropping quickly.
Our tactics were simple - catch fish.
Our tactics were simple - catch fish. I was targeting garfish and bream with my Polish friend intent on snagging a smoothound. Despite the weather and fuelled by drinks and my wife’s freshly baked cakes we set up on the structure and got stuck in.
Things were slow to start with but as darkness fell, an angler positioned a few yards away suddenly brought in a lovely bass of about 4lbs. The rain and wind had strengthened and we were both still without a bite so I gave up on the target species and started fishing for rays. Mirek stuck to his plan and suddenly without warning got into a smoothound – after a brief scrap he landed it successfully to find it was a Personal Best. He was grinning from ear to ear – Mission accomplished.
Smiling through gritted teeth, I congratulated him and turned back toward my rods and all hell broke loose. I suddenly had a slack line and felt the weight of a large fish (or carrier bag) pulling hard. Being careful not to overbalance in the gusts of wind that were screaming down the Arm, I reeled in. With the help of yet another friend, Simon, coming to my rescue, who appeared out of the gloom holding his drop net, we landed a bass. Not any old bass though.
I could see I had just got our second Personal Best of the evening but on grabbing my scales was amazed when it came in at a whopping 15lb 12oz. A stunning fish which made the wind and the rain melt away. I nearly smiled for the camera.
I am not one for drama but this was truly a fish of a lifetime.
No rest for the wicked Welshman though as my other rod came to life almost immediately and a few moments later I had a lovely undulate ray at 10lb 8oz. Over 25lbs of fish in two casts.
Beat that Mirek.
A great night fishing with great company and thank you to my three friends, Mirek, Clive and Simon for making it so memorable.
Catching such a fish gives you pause for thought though.
After the initial buzz, the photos (including one published in Sea Angler) and the feeling of accomplishment comes the realisation that I will never, in all probability, catch a fish like that again – or at least not a bass.
I felt quite down about this until a few days later when it suddenly occurred to me the truth of the old saying – there are plenty more fish in the sea.
Like cod for instance.
Catching that bass did not make me a bass fisherman - just a very lucky Welshman…