Rebel Runner is out of the water for annual antifouling and service. I thought there would be no fishing for a couple of weekends then a dream opportunity suddenly appeared. Dave and Caroline (yes, THE Dave and Caroline of these report pages) invited me out for a day mid-Channel! Dave is launching a new and rather special charter business soon and this trip was to be their “shake-down” trip to iron out any wrinkles.
I met Dave and Caroline at the marina for a 6am start, and we were joined by Barry and Graham. The morning light as we left the harbour was stunning.
As we headed out, Dave told me his philosophy for his charter business. “I want this to be special,” he explained. “This is not going to be your regular charter. The trips will be for discerning anglers who want quality fishing. If we target bass, we will pick the best tides and location and have some great fishing. If conditions are not ideal, we won’t spend the day in the Solent – we won’t go. ” Dave and Caroline are top anglers and highly experienced. Going out with them won’t necessarily guarantee you fish but they will put you in the right place and demonstrate (probably by catching fish themselves) the techniques that work on that spot. They have put in hundreds of hours researching the areas first-hand before launching the business. The result is first-class knowledge of what will work. You may have to travel to the marks, and the trip won’t be cheap, but it will be worth it.
We eventually arrived at the mark and Dave set us up for the drift. The boat is well laid out and there is plenty of room so the five of us were able to fish very comfortably. Dave explained what rigs worked best and checked our gear. Caroline then demonstrated the technique and very soon was into a fish. That set the heart going! Dave called out whenever we drifted over a shoal, and Caroline kept pulling up cod and pollack.
Barry started catching too, and I realised that the technique had to be just right. It took a while to adjust but after a few more drifts I was finally into a cod. The day had started with gentle winds but by early afternoon it was decidedly lumpy. The boat handled the conditions perfectly but it was pushing us off the critical drift line and the fishing became progressively less productive. Dave wisely called it a day and we headed back. Dave is a perfectionist and will do everything in his powers to give anglers a brilliant day out. Caroline is an amazing angler as well as a very capable crew. She easily out-fished us all and it was clearly technique alone – she was using the same lures and gear as us and even fished in the same positions. I was very impressed!
Back in the marina, Barry showed off the quality of the fish caught. Between us we had filled a large Icy-Tek with cod, pollack and a huge mackerel, although I have to admit the majority of the fish were caught by the demonstration team not the guests. Fish were there to be caught, they could be caught, but who said fishing was easy!