My last two fishing trips have been very different affairs, with the vivid blue of the Aegean Sea providing an exotic contrast to my local river Lea.
Unpacking our bags after arriving in the north of Rhodes for a family holiday, you can imagine my partners surprise at discovering my battered six piece Shimano travel rod, a old reel and a few other bits and bobs hidden under the beach towels…
For the first few days the sea was just too rough to even contemplate snorkelling or fishing – just getting in and out for a swim was hard work.
However the wind eventually dropped and at daybreak the next morning I went down to the sea with Tom, who had broken the unofficial code of the teenager and got out of bed to join me at least five hours before he normally surfaces.
We took it turns, trying different baits including bread, mussels and corn that I’d snaffled from the dinner table the night before. After two hours and with the sun rising rapidly, we returned home bite-less for breakfast.
Snorkelling that afternoon revealed the main reason we hadn’t had any fish earlier in the day. There were none there.
However further out on the edge of a sand bank, we found the odd cluster of rocks and sunken beach umbrella stands that had attracted a variety of fish including bream, some colourful exotic species and the occasional, good sized mullet.
They were well out of casting range so the next afternoon I devised a plan. I made up a couple of hand-lines featuring a half ounce lead as a sinker running through to a size 12 super specialist baited with corn. The plan was to just float above anywhere we found fish and drop the rigs down into the rocky areas.
After an hour of searching we found a little group of wrasse type fish that looked big enough to pursue.
I missed a bite then Tom almost had a little bream that was too quick again. And then finally I hooked one. I think it was a species called serranus cabrilla and, at five or six ounces he was not only a new pb but one of my most memorable captures of late.
During a trip to Rhodes town itself, I had a great conversation of sorts, involving lots of hand gestures and broken English with a highly animated, big bearded chap who drove a cab all summer then went spear fishing through the winter months.
He said the area was quite poor for fishing until around October time when the small fish would move into the area in numbers followed by the larger fish. His favourite catch were “four kilo octopus my fren!” and he told us on October the 1st, after all the tourists had left, he and several of his friends would go out on a boat and simply hunt and eat Octopus and drink Ouzo for a few days – sounds fun!
The river Lea was a far more familiar, but no less enjoyable place to wet a line last week.
After heavy rain hit the valley for a few hours over the afternoon, I thought the barbel would switch on.
But I spent two hours fishing for them in a swim I fancied without a proper bite ever looking like it would develop. I could have sat it out, but I fancied a change.
Firstly I went up to a reliable hole that always has a few fish shoaled up and spent an enjoyable hour or so snatching hand sized dace on maggots before a pike moved in.
As the evening approached, I reverted to attempting to extract a chub from a particularly precarious swim. It required a difficult upstream cast to an overhanging bush that had a number of dark shapes warily cruising beneath it.
After a while spent scattering the odd crushed spicy prawn boilie into the hole, the chub seemed to be in a confident enough mood to risk a cast.
However they certainly weren’t throwing themselves on the hook and it took two or so hours of careful fishing to extract a couple of the smaller fish in the shoal. Great fun nonetheless.
Last and least, I know this is a fishing blog, but – what’s going on at Ipswich? Sort it out Jewell!