I'd forgotten how organised you need to be when beach fishing in the dark. I figured I could rock up with two rods, a bucketful of bait and a rig or two somewhere in the box and just catch fish. It had not entered my mind that it might be dark on a beach at 4.30 in the morning without reading glasses to see with or how difficult threading lug worm onto a baiting needle can be in those circumstances.
It was my birthday - a big one - so I decided to get up very early to catch the seven o'clock low tide and start the day off watching the sun rise and feel that glow of early morning sun to offset the iridescence of smugness one attains for crawling out of bed that early.
I'd had a bit of a panic in the preceding days, as my Conoflex rod wouldn't fit together and after a mad week or so using wire wool on the ferrule, rubbing like a mad Aladdin trying to summon a recalcitrant Genie, I switched to fine emery paper and sorted it in less than five minutes. It slipped together with ease after that.
Then I realised that after 20 or so years without use, my rod tip lights and headlights would probably be unfit for purpose and I was right, so I needed to buy new tip lights and new batteries for everything. My fishing clothes were OK so I assumed I was ready.....
Tuesday was calm and clear so with a fresh coffee and some healthy, sustaining, rich tea biscuits I grabbed the gear and walked the 100 yards or so to the water's edge. I set up the Zziplex, struggled like mad to bait the hooks ( no glasses you see) and cast out the first rig. The Conoflex slipped together easily but the reel was a bit loose and the coasters were rusted up but I eventually managed to bait those hooks and cast out.
I sat back to relax but the Zziplex was bouncing around so I picked it up, struck and reeled in. A small whiting was wriggling for freedom and within a minute or two (no glasses) I returned it and eventually baited the hooks again (!)
Time to bring in the Conoflex - difficult because the reel had fallen off completely now. But I struggled on after the appliance of gaffer tape - not easy in the dark without glasses - well, you know...
|The sun appears...|
I was grateful for the dawn - my smug iridescence had long since dissipated - and eventually I just fished with the one rod, but at least the Conoflex came apart easily...! I had 7 or so small whiting and a big reminder about fishing in the dark, but I have to say, minor issues apart it was a good start to the day and my smug glow returned eventually.
I realise I have a lot to learn all over again, especially seeing the professional looking anglers around me on the beach; sorting my gear will help, but all the time I still get excited about catching fish, any fish - and while my enthusiasm still carries me along - I shall carrying on.....