Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Hooked on Fishing

My nose before the piercing
Friday, was another sea fishing trip out of Jersey with my favourite charter skipper Tony Heart. This was the second or third attempt to make the trip this year, most of the previous ones thwarted by unseasonal weather. Fortunately while the rest of the UK was on flood alert with forecasts of a month’s worth of rain falling within a twenty four hour window, the western coast of France and the Channel Islands were spared. 

We had no sunshine to speak of but the winds were light and the visibility was excellent. It was cold, there was an uneasy swell left over from the previous high winds and the tide was wrong – but what the hell, there was a chance so we took it.

The catch wasn’t so bad, given the conditions, about 40 mackerel to share between us, a bream, a gurnard and a sand eel. There were dogfish too but the jury is out as to whether Mario caught three different ones or the same one three times. 

The high spot of the trip was when I managed to hook myself with a mackerel hook through the nose. Fortunately there was a pair of pliers on board and as the hook went clean through the nostril, it was relatively easy to cut the hook and pull it through the hole created by the barb. It’s a technique worth remembering because there is no way you’d manage to pull the hook out against the barb. In truth the main problem was that the boat was rolling like an old tub at the time so it was difficult for the skipper with the pliers to get an accurate grasp of the hook. One interesting thing however, was that throughout the whole incident I was in no pain – even when I was tugging away at the hook trying to yank it out against the barb.  So, does a fish feel pain when it’s hooked?  I don’t think so. I didn’t. And anyway, if it did it wouldn’t fight so hard.
Dogfish 3 or Dogfish 1 for the third time?
So what has gone wrong with our weather this year? Well according to the BBC, the high level 60mph winds referred to as the Jetstream which usually settle into a pattern to the north of the UK in summer, have settled much further south. As a result they are picking up a great deal of energy and humidity from the Atlantic and the warmer climes in the South of France and that energy is being dissipated as wind, thunder, lightning and torrential rain to the north (over the UK). The problem is that weather systems can settle into a pattern and can be difficult to dislodge. The current weather therefore may be as good as it is going to get this summer. Meanwhile America swelters.

So onto another more optimistic point, a reader emailed me recently with what could have been a solution to my search for an ideal boat. It seems a 16 ft fishing boat has sunk in relatively shallow seas and the US coastguard has deemed it to be a navigation hazard. The owner therefore has to refloat or move it and the estimated cost of hiring the kit and expertise is likely to be in excess of $2,500. A sum, either he has not got or is reluctant to pay. He therefore has announced that he is prepared to sign over ownership to anyone who can salvage her.

In effect, providing I am prepared to fly to Florida, and raise this hulk from the seabed, I can have the boat (and contents estimated to be worth $800) for free. All I then have to do is return the vessel to my beloved France, repair, restore and re-register her there and all my boat search problems will be over. Mmm – maybe not – but a good suggestion in any case – keep ‘em coming folks, good ideas are indiscriminate and they don’t care where they land (a bit like fish hooks really). Out there, somewhere, there is the germ of a good idea.