New ground, new marks, new inspiration
If you fish a fair bit I'm sure you have a number of marks that you visit fairly regularly, and as a result of the time spend on them, you then know them pretty well. I love the familiarity of fishing certain places again and again, but then I am also one of those people who can't help thinking about what might be around the corner, or what else is out there to go and explore and have a look at, and then quite possibly end up fishing..........
Around where I live is one special part of the world, but at the moment we have a problem in that the big expanse of Whitsand Bay seems to be just so "fragile" after the winter we were subjected to. I can't think of a better word than "fragile" - just as it starts to feel look and feel normal again, then the merest suggestion of some lively weather and the whole place is essentially coloured up again. There must be so much sediment and other stuff around that has not had the chance to either settle or evacuate after the sustained brutality of that winter, and livelier weather simply blows it all up. So what do you do? Do you keep on thrashing the same bits of water in the hope that it is suddenly going to come right, or do you go looking?
Whilst I am forever grateful that a number of remarkably kind Plymouth anglers were so generous to us uni students with their time and knowledge, I found a lot of spots we used to fish by none other than good old leg power. Get out on that coastline, go looking for good looking marks, and then start fishing them and working them out. Nowadays we don't half have have some powerful tools on the internet to help us with our searches, indeed I would argue that never has the coastline been more accessible - that is if you are into the idea of walking and scrambling, and I suppose that our coastline is mostly so special simply because most human beings are inherently bone idle and don't do walking or exploring.
There is a pretty big stretch of coastline around me that I just haven't really explored yet, but the current situation we have in Whitsand is almost forcing my hand if you like. And wow does this sort of stuff excite me. It inspires me. I love fishing "new" marks, as in ground that I have not personally walked, explored or fished before. I have a good feeling about it in that it looks to have some fantastic potential for bass, wrasse, pollack etc., but to fish new ground you need to have the mindset that it's one big learning process and you might well catch less than you might hope to when fishing locations that you know pretty intimately. Personally I love the whole "learning new marks" process simply because I love the thrill of fishing areas I haven't fished before.
Which in a smaller way is the whole spirit of adventure thing I suppose. I have to pinch myself that my work in fishing has given me so many opportunities to see, photograph and fish some of truly out of the way places on this earth, but I suppose that thrill is fed by my desire to see what might be around the next headland. I love trying to find more out of the way places where as a family we can head for the coast/beach, partly because of course I want to try and help implant a bit of adventure spirit in my two girls, and majorly because I don't like it when you've got too many other people around to spoil the peace and quiet. My fishing is along these lines as well - but then fishing to us is life is it not?
Now of course I could end up pulling away from this particular stretch of coastline if over a length of time it simply doesn't produce the sort of fish I think it might. But it just looks so good, so "fishy" if you like, and lots of it requires a bit of walking. Andy and I met a mad-keen lure angler in an out of the way little car park the other day - he reads this blog (thank you!!) and of course we got yapping as you do. I love meeting anglers and believe it or not, I love talking fishing!! Anyway, we met this guy by pure chance, and he essentially confirmed to me that it's worth persisting with this bit of coastline.
We actually ended up fishing together last Sunday and he had the most awesome lure rod that he very kindly let me have a few chucks with (you surely know about my issues with lure fishing tackle!!) - a custom built 9'6'' BXL T-Russell 8-28g from Dorset Fishing Rods. Holy frigging cow I had almost forgotten what an awesome job Richard Cake does with his blanks, but I pretty quickly handed the rod back to this rather nice angler as I simply can't trust my headspace around lure rods that feel so nice. Anyway, how in the hell did I get onto my addiction? I was on about how inspiring and exciting I find it to fish new locations. Time will tell of course, but the thrill of discovery is surely something that some of you feel I hope. We might well be "discovering" locations that other anglers already fish, but if they are new to us and they "breathe" fish, well it's that extra jolt of "I haven't fished here before" inspiration that does it for me.