The whiting's on the wall...29/09/2011

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snapper
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The whiting's on the wall...29/09/2011

Post by snapper » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:04 pm

Three weeks without going on the water, three weeks of deliveries interspersed with the boat show and with another show coming up. I was getting twitchy. More so with the beautifully settled weather and random heatwave. I had to fish.

Izzetafox, who I’ve known for years via the net but never met, had asked for some pointers in regards to paddling locally following one anti-AT squabble and I duly sent a few ideas across along with an invite if I could make it. Of course things went awry and his shoulder played up so instead I got an invite for a pint after work instead – this is most unlike my life and my wife was agreeable so I drove straight past for a quick one by the beach a couple of miles south. That’s when I persuaded Terry that the doctor didn’t know just what the doctor ordered and that I did.

That’s why he joined me at Hopton the next day, a day I’d taken off as holiday.

Devoid of some of the right gear I sorted him out with anchor, rods, reels and traces plus a bit of bait. My towline was onboard in case of need but with a short range paddle with the tide it was hopefully going to be unnecessary. Tim was delayed so we went and launched without him. Now, the sea in front of our yaks – Terry’s Prowler 13 and my trusty old Prowler 15 that’s been unused for months – was clear.

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This is most unusual and I wondered if I might have been advised to try some feathers or sling some lures over the wreck of the White Swan but it was too late now and we launched through the breaking ripples and headed north to the usual spot, GPS guiding me in and showing me to be within a few yards once I’d settled. Terry was downtide, thrown by an unfamiliar anchor set-up but elected to stay put.

I cast the first rod in, a running leger 2/0 Viking wishbone baited with pieces of bluey. The tide was just coming off the full strength and so I was surprised to get a hit before the second rod went down, this terminating in a 4/0 Viking pennel on a running leger baited with black lug tipped with a squid head. Both rigs had beads above the hooks; luminous small ones on the wishbone and yellow/black on the pennel with attractor blades as well. The rod now in my hand felt quite heavy with the big lump of lead and the strong current and I swung in my first whiting of the day.

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Well, it wasn’t long before the pennel went and this felt rather more interesting; a good scrap. Quite how it managed to take the squid head and impale itself on a 4/0 I don’t know but this was the first eel I’ve had on the yak in five years and the first I’ve ever had from the sea – I was well chuffed!

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I would have eaten it for old time’s sake (I used to fry them in butter but would have smoked this one) but I was buggered if I could grab hold of it let alone whack it on the head so I flipped it over the side and nursed the multiple bruises on my legs…lucky I did as it would seem that I would have been a very naughty boy if I’d kept it and eels need all the help they can get nowadays.

Anyway, the other rod was going so I chucked this one out and picked it up…

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Doggie – great! Three species in three casts and the other rods were both going! Oh yeah, I had three rods on the go. I only needed one to be honest but I was trying for codling on one, dabs on the other and had my KP Scarborough out on the cane rod with a whole squid in the hope of a decent smoothie. I knew whiting would be the main feature though whatever I tried. They were too and they were coming in left, right and centre on all baits and within moments of the bait settling at times. Double headers were regular too and not bothering to rebait the manky remnants while the other rod was brought in brought yet more fish…they were feeding hard. Then I got a better pull…again on the pennel with lug and squid. A smoothie pup ;D I so adore starry smut pups!

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It was just lovely out here. Even a seal had popped up six feet off my bow at one point (scaring the crap out of me as usual!).

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Eventually Tim arrived and was soon into the swing of things.

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The fish carried on…the tide was slowing and the sun was going down.

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It got to dusk. The tide was nearing slack and I shouted across to Tim that it was smoothie time and put a whole squid tube over the worms on my hook, topped off with a squid head and recast.

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I got a good bite straight away, immovable. Either it was bounced into the rough or a fish had ran into it. I recast. A couple of minutes passed and then I watched as my tightened ram tub showed me what gravity is like and the rod started to drop down towards the water…I grabbed it and watched the tip head towards the bottom. The tide was negligible now, as low as it gets and we were in twenty feet. That’s perhaps why this fish gave such a good account of itself and I was pulled left and right. If I’d slipped my anchor I could have gone for a sleigh ride ;D I fought her up to the surface…

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What a night! She took her time to chill out and with a quick unhooking and kissing session I popped her back to swim away. Maybe 5lb but the strongest smut I’ve fought this year so I was well happy, especially as they’re no longer considered my target species so a very pleasant surprise indeed.

Now, I was onto one last scrap of squid. I still had some worm but my squid and bluey supply had been used up. It had been great and I decided enough was enough so had one last cast before heading back in. The wind was picking up now (though nor greatly) and the tide was about to be so slack as to bore me so with a final whiting I headed in with Terry, Tim following on a few minutes later. We’d been out three hours tops. I’d kept a count of my returns (dog, eel and both smuts plus twenty three whiting that were fit to go) and counted up what I’d kept; apart from the biggies, of which there were a dozen or so, I’d kept all the sizeable deep hooked smaller ones and had forty five of them to take home and deal with before driving south the next day. A dozen were given away and more would have gone to the girls at work had I been in the office all day so instead the freezer got loaded after I grilled three with chargrilled artichokes, pistachio, lemon, olive oil and sea salt. Tasty fish, whiting. Lucky really, with this little lot to get through:

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Nb last night saw five consumed battered and served with a Thai chilli sauce – delicious – and three more were eaten tonight grill-roasted on a huge bed of parsley and chives with olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper, capers and gherkins finished with a squeeze of lemon juice. Haven’t decided what to do with tomorrow’s but I’m determined to have whiting every night this week.
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Re: The whiting's on the wall...29/09/2011

Post by snapper » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:10 pm

Roasted on capers, parsley and tomatoes:

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Indian spiced battered goujons.

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Cor now this wasn't half a lovely curry to make with my whiting...I wish I'd kept them all now!

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sweet and sour breaded whiting ;D

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NB these pics were taken in the days after the original post which in turn was made a few weeks back elsewhere but am starting the ball rolling in the new section.
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Re: The whiting's on the wall...29/09/2011

Post by soundoftheseagull » Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:21 am

Wow and cookery snaps looked blooming delicious
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Re: The whiting's on the wall...29/09/2011

Post by andreadawn » Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:38 pm

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That looks really good! I really must try fishing again. Last time was about 35 years ago when my dad used to take us out in his fishing boat.

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Re: The whiting's on the wall...29/09/2011

Post by TechnoEngineer » Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:05 am

Great to see the fish being cooked! Is that battle damage I see on the 5th photo, on your left wrist?
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Re: The whiting's on the wall...29/09/2011

Post by snapper » Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:27 am

It is indeed! Dogfish writhe around a lot and their skin is like sandpaper going tail to head (smooth the other way) and so doggie rash is a common occurrence as they kind of curl around your wrist. The 'correct' way to hold them is to grab the tail and behind the head so they're in a sort of circle and unhook like that (not as cruel as it sounds) but I don't tend to do that. They're such beautiful fish though - most fishermen hate them as they get overrrun and they take the baits put out for other target species but up here they're not a regular capture and we all tend to appreciate them for what they are - a small, beautifully marked fish with wonderful green eyes that gives a reasonable tussle. I think the best I caught was a 5-inch one a few years ago - maybe a week or two old and a perfect miniarture specimen...I'll look for the pic.
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Re: The whiting's on the wall...29/09/2011

Post by Strad » Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:11 am

those indian goujons look lovely! Yum!
Old School?? I miss my AQII..
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Re: The whiting's on the wall...29/09/2011

Post by Izzetafox » Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:42 pm

Snaps???? A doggie beautiful???? Nooo.... A starry smoothhound...yes, a red gurnard...yes...a fresh mackeral yes but a doggie...mmmnnn not quite in agreement on this one.

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Re: The whiting's on the wall...29/09/2011

Post by snapper » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:52 pm

Like a streamlined pancake Terry. Lovely things.
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Re: The whiting's on the wall...29/09/2011

Post by Lindisfarne » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:02 pm

Great recipes Mark but then again you do rub shoulders with those that can cook............ Maybe you forgot to tell us that you were a special guest on Valentine Warner's "Coast to coast " on TV recently.....

Great post...

Neil.

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Re: The whiting's on the wall...29/09/2011

Post by snapper » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:28 pm

Haha, yeah I made his breakfast!
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Re: The whiting's on the wall...29/09/2011

Post by Lindisfarne » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:58 pm

Oh sorry, I didn't realise you had slept with him as well....

Neil.

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Re: The whiting's on the wall...29/09/2011

Post by snapper » Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:40 am

Sssshhhhhh! he can't afford the scandal... ;-)
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