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  1. It was a rather painful 4.30am alarm today, and on a Sunday too! πŸ˜– The plan was for Thomas and I to join @Saintly Fish and Leo on Tarlach Too to head south of the Needles after tope. After leaving the marina just after 6am we headed out of the Hamble, pausing briefly to prospect for fresh bait, where we achieved our first blank of the day! No mackerel at all, so we headed out into the Solent and on to Yarmouth where we stood a better chance of finding some bait. Yarmouth generously provided us with our second blank of the day... still no mackerel 😭. So we motored round past the Needles and headed south for a few miles. We were expecting a a bit of a chop but not the swell that we encountered beam on as we began our first top drift with the frozen mackerel we brought with us. We hadn't been drifting long when the swell claimed its first victim, Thomas, who tasted his breakfast for the second time that morning. This would be the first of several visits Thomas made to the gunnels, poor lad. The swell really got to him, but he soldiered on and didn't make a fuss, nor did he ask to go back in. Much. It wasn't long after he had boosted our chum trail that we got our first tope run, which came to my rod. Tightening down on the fish it felt good to feel a decent weight on the rod, until all of a sudden there wasn't... 😭😭 Oh the shame of bumping off what felt like a good fish. Neil's rod then gave a rattle and he wound down excitedly to bring aboard a.... rock and sponge combo πŸ€¦β€β™‚οΈ Whilst waiting for another run I rigged up some feathers and prospected on the sea floor to see what was present, which turned out to be a PB Gurnard! Neil's rod was hit next, and he had clearly learned from watching me, as he did exactly the same, bumping off what looked like another good tope! 🀣 So after neatly letting off our tope we welcomed blank number three, as before long we decided to seek relative shelter back behind the Needles and switch to scratching rigs to see what we could find in a mark that was new to both of us. The answer came in the form of a strap conger and a baby bull huss for me and a pair of nice bream for Neil and Leo plus the Megalodon for Neil, which put a huge bend in his 20-30lb Ugly Stik! Unfortunately we never did find out what he hooked into because it snapped him up! 😭😭😭 We decided on another move, this time further into the Solent. As Neil recovered the anchor, amazingly he bagged a PB! I'll leave him to post the picture πŸ˜‰ On mark number three we settled into stronger tides and weed, but also prolific bream fishing, including another PB for Neil and a brace for the table amongst plenty of undersized fish that went back. There may even have been a dogfish too! 🐢🐟 Finally we headed for home to catch slack water in the marina, and as we made passage back up the Solent we caught the outline of the Golden Horizon in the distance off Cowes, amongst more modern shipping. All in all an excellent day on the water, well skippered by Neil, and with more than a few disappointments and surprises! πŸ‘
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