Henry Gilbey
Cape Cod - 1010.jpg


Henry Gilbey blog

Do you give yourself a kicking for making the wrong call?

Del Boy falling through the bar and Basil Fawlty giving his car a damn good thrashing with a branch - have there been two funnier moments on TV? I can take blanking, but when I think that I have simply made the wrong decision on where to go, well that is the time when I think about giving myself a damn good thrashing. I look along the coastline and think about where else we might have gone and quite possibly caught some fish. Blanking is blanking, but when you take the decision to yomp down to a spot even though the little voice in your head is saying I'm not so sure - wow it drives me loopy at myself.........

The other night Mark and I had a plan to fish a fairly local spot where we simply never see anybody else. It can be a good spot for bass, but it's a real balancing act as this location for some reason blows faster than any other bit of water I know around here. Get it right and it can fish well, but many times we have got to the top, looked down, and had to go somewhere else. Bear in mind we have not been down here since the mess that was winter. We talked about a couple of other possible spots in the car, but I made the decision to go there.

Storm loves it because it's a pretty good walk, as in it's a long way down and of course a long way up. The conditions were ok, the tides were pretty much spot on, but at the top we could see that the water wasn't quite right - it wasn't blown out, rather it looked a bit "milky". Now we could have turned around and gone somewhere else pretty easily, but it was only ever going to be a quick session, and we felt that it was fishable - or at least sections of it were.

I can't help but wonder what effects that winter is still having on parts of our coastline. We get down almost to the bottom and our usual little way onto the rocks is gone, as in washed away. Disappeared. It's ok, there is another way, but it was not until we got down there that the sheer scale of what had gone on sometime over the last few months became apparent. The sections of cliff that have come away was truly alarming, as in you just dread to think what would have happened if you had been down there fishing when it all came away.

I shot the photo of Mark above a few years ago, and the rocks on which he is standing have completely changed. I must assume that the cliff falls have gone and smashed them up, because where there was once a little rocky ridge that we had to get up and over to access the water around the corner, now we simply walk on through over some rather flatter rocks. We could not help looking at up at all the scarring on the cliffs and wondering aloud just how much rock had come down.

Remember I mentioned that the water was looking a bit "milky"? It wasn't awful, and we saw a couple of bass mooching around, but it definitely wasn't right. I was hit as I was slowly swimming that new Fiiish Shallow Head rigged on the 120mm Black Minnow body (I fancy this combination to do a bit of harm) and Mark landed a pollack, but something was off. Why was the water discoloured when all around the rest of the coastline had looked so clear?

I know squat about this sort of stuff, but I must presume that the larger tides were washing at the base of all this new cliff fall and then mixing with the smashed up rock dust (?) to give that milky looking tinge to the water. I must also presume that having all that sediment in the water ain't exactly comfortable for the fish, or perhaps I did just simply choose the wrong spot for the evening, milky water be damned. Whatever the case, I was mentally asking Basil Fawlty to give me a damn good thrashing for my mistake.

When we walked out of there and had another look from the top, you could see another spot that looked all milky - and the cliffs behind that looked all scarred from new cliff fall. It's kind of amazing what that winter has done to some places, and as much as it is starting to feel more normal out there now, I can't help but think that we are going to be feeling the after effects for a longtime yet - in some spots anyway. On the flip-side I wonder if when this spot clears up properly (all the rock dust stuff disappears over time?) that it might end up being a better location for the change? Does it work like that or is that just me the optimist angler who is trying to balance that metaphorical kicking I gave myself with the fact that I am also glad we went down there and got a proper look at what had changed. Have a good weekend and may you smash 'em. Go to the right spot!!