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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
It's at this time of year that bream start to show on the south coast and usually a little after they show on the Sussex shores they appear on Dorset's rocky coastline. Steve Harder & I had decided to have our first go at catching some from rough ground this year and jumped at the first break in the weather to get out. It had been some time since either of us had attempted this spot which is notoriously difficult to get to and very hard on limbs during the descent & ascent. It wasn't just the getting there either it was more the tricky job to get down to the fish and the walk to a decent position to cast after each bait up. The heavy rain in the days leading up to the session meant we both slipped on the way down but managed to correct our falls after hitting the deck which was relatively comical for the two of us watching each other. Rock with water running down it is far from ideal and I would recommend anybody who is trying this to take a strong rope and tether it securely, boots with decent studs in the sole are also a very good idea for this sort of thing.

Upon arriving we had a quick scout around to see if others had fished it and there was no sign of the usual line clippings. I drank half a bottle of squash to offset the dehydrating walk and climb down in these muggy conditions. I began spinning while Steve started wrasse fishing with ragworm and was quickly into 4 or 5 of them of which a couple had striking colours. At a spot where plenty of bait fish can be caught I was really struggling as was Steve when he switched to spinning a frozen sandeel.

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A bloke appeared out of nowhere to our right and began spinning also with a dexter wedge sabiki combination and quickly found a double shot of garfish and after a brief chat he kindly let me have one for bait as he knew we would be bottom fishing later on. Garfish being a wonderfully oily fish and a great shape to cast I was very happy to receive the gift.

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Light started to fade and the mist became thicker just before I sent my bream rigs out baited with squid strips on a 1/0 hook. Some of you maybe thinking that's a pretty big hook but it's not for the size of bream we were after. Now sods law just as I turned to grab my head torch, a savage take happened on my left hand rod. Steve shouted bream at me but by the time I got to the rod it was motionless. I left it for 2 or 3 more minutes and thought I had better check the bait situation but when I leant into it the line was snagged. After a few maneuvers it came free and low and behold there was something on which was gradually coming in in the region of 2lb which made my eyes light up thinking it was a bream and how wrong I was. What had happened was a pollock of 2lb had savagely hit the bait and done it's usual defence mechanism of burying its head in the weed and rocks which deceived me but I was pretty grateful as it was a nice looking fish and a start. Steve also had a couple of pollock while spinning at last light which was encouraging.

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By the time it was completely dark we'd lost hope on the bream front as it just seemed they weren't there so we both put big baits out, mine and fresh section of garfish on both rods and Steve a mix of cuttlefish and mackerel. It wasn't long at all before the first bites started with resulted in me losing a dogfish on the surface just yards from the base of the cliff. The dog had fought much harder than I would have expected a sub 2lb fish to and I wondered if the sensation was something to do with the tide or these mill pond type conditions that were shaping up.

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While I was re-baiting my rod pulled right over and this meant action stations for me as I snatched the rod lowering the tip and winding down on the slack until I was in contact with the fish and after a quick double thump I was in. Heaving away the fish felt like a ray and was made up to discover it wasn't another dogfish. The ray was a good size undulate and it broke the surface about 30 yards out (I was sure to keep it away from obstructions on the bottom). I was surprised how relatively easy it was to manipulate the fish in these calm seas while I guided it to Steve who had climbed down to land it and did a cracking job without the use of a net.

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The fish weighed 14lb 4oz and despite having no bream the undulate was more than welcome, it was quickly photographed and released. We both marveled at it gliding away gracefully into the night and I thought I must try to video the next one being put back if we get the chance.

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15 minutes later I had just put the same mono pulley rig back out with a garfish mackerel combination and it literally must have landed on the nose of another fish. The rod began tapping away almost as soon as the slack was tightened up on the Saltiga fixed spool. The great thing about using a T900 is the glass tip and especially with braid every bite registers clearly and this tapping looked exactly like a dogfish, in fact I would have bet on it but how wrong I was as I struck it. The fish went mad kiting in the tide and trying to stick to the bottom as I retrieved with it being momentarily stuck solid and before my eyes there was another undulate breaking the surface, this time a male and also curiously hooked on the top hook of the pennel just like the first. Steve went down again and safely plucked the fish from the water which looked lesser in circumference than the female but had fought much harder. This ray went 11lb 1oz and we did capture it on video as it slipped into the dark abyss.

Two doubles up I was pretty happy and really fancying a 3rd fish with plenty of the tide to go but my fortunes would change with a succession of dogfish finding my baits no matter where I cast, I think this was due to the mackerel I was using being less than fresh. It was Steve's turn to be in after having a really quiet few hours of darkness so far, in fact he was in despair a bit because both of my fish had come from directly between his two rods. He called out "that's a better bite" and wound into a decent looking fish on his T1000 with the whole squid on and began to retrieve steadily as I climbed down into position. There was an issue; the fish was only lightly hooked and could come off at any time so I basically had my wellies in the water as he guided it into my hands and I gently lifted her onto a ledge about chest high. Like the second ray this one also had fabulous markings and looked beautiful. We weighed her at 13lb on the button and videoed the release with this one seeming a bit disoriented by the torch lights but she was soon undulating into the depths.

Steve felt better, we both baited up for another hour or so but after he had a dog it went deadly quiet and the rain began to get heavier with the wind picking up. We both called it a night and began the epic journey back. Steve fell ahead of me, ending up waist deep in water and either badly sprained or fractured his wrist, it wasn't a good end to the night especially as the arduous climb was still ahead of us. I'd done 3 gym sessions in two days trying to get fit for summer but that wasn't the reason my legs felt 85 years old, it was the climbing up this cliff and all of the awkward angles my ankles had experienced during the night, you just use ranges of motion and muscles you wouldn't ordinarily. I was so relieved to get to the top and the rain felt wonderful on my face as we hiked back along the coastal path toward the car, I had a stitch but the worst was behind me and there was nothing better than the orange and mango squash I had saved for the end.

Here is a video of the fish released on youtube:
 

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Another great report and session. Always nice to get the target species but can't complain when double figure fish steal the bait. Good luck to Steve , hope he has not damaged his hand too badly. Had 4 bream last year take a 4/0 with double crab bait while hound fishing. But that's my luck, I fish for doubles and catch bream and you've got the opposite problem.
 

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Great sesh Chris! Hope Steve's ok and it hasn't hindered our chances of winning the species comp :)

Another great report and session. Always nice to get the target species but can't complain when double figure fish steal the bait. Good luck to Steve , hope he has not damaged his hand too badly. Had 4 bream last year take a 4/0 with double crab bait while hound fishing. But that's my luck, I fish for doubles and catch bream and you've got the opposite problem.
Good problem to have! My problem atm is that I can't catch anything over a couple of lb...
 

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Fantastic report, and photos, as always Chris .......... the colouration on one of those rays is absolutely stunning.

Hope Steve's wrist is ok.

Cheers,
Dave
 

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Always a sense of anticipation before starting to read one of your reports Chris - great stuff!
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Enjoyable read again Chris,funnily enough i justed putting together my bream rigs as i started read this,i think the temp needs to rise another degree yet on my side but gonna try next week:D......Alan (Coys)
 

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Great report mate wicked pics. Some of those fish had great colours and markings. Hope Steve's wrist don't stop him from fishing for to long.
 

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Well done and great report as always Chris..... Glad to see your enthusiasm has returned and you probably won't feel the need to be fishing abroad as much now ??
 
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Discussion Starter #15
Awesome report as always :)
Cheers mate.

great report and pics nice undulate
Thanks a lot ;)

Another great report and session. Always nice to get the target species but can't complain when double figure fish steal the bait. Good luck to Steve , hope he has not damaged his hand too badly. Had 4 bream last year take a 4/0 with double crab bait while hound fishing. But that's my luck, I fish for doubles and catch bream and you've got the opposite problem.
After the pollock false alarm I did feel a bit deflated. I was actually on a bit of a downer at the end of the session, after the two undulates I had I felt certain there was time for 1 or 2 more but the dogs got at me. Cheers Colin.

Great report
Cheers

Great sesh Chris! Hope Steve's ok and it hasn't hindered our chances of winning the species comp :)


Good problem to have! My problem atm is that I can't catch anything over a couple of lb...
Cheers Dave, I reckon he'll need 2 weeks resting the wrist.

Fantastic report, and photos, as always Chris .......... the colouration on one of those rays is absolutely stunning.

Hope Steve's wrist is ok.

Cheers,
Dave
My second and Steves were beautifully marked, amazing how camouflaged they are. Stinger time next week....

Always a sense of anticipation before starting to read one of your reports Chris - great stuff!
Cheers Kev, I am thinking it maybe better to hide the pics in the blog as I am sure most just scan through pics. I guess the writing style isn't for everyone.

As always...... A top effort with top results. Hope the wrist isn't as bad as first feared
I spoke with him today, sounds slightly better than yesterday, I suspect a bad sprain.

Enjoyable read again Chris,funnily enough i justed putting together my bream rigs as i started read this,i think the temp needs to rise another degree yet on my side but gonna try next week:D......Alan (Coys)
They are in Kimmeridge bay and the boats and kayaks are catching them around that mark. Rob (pairofdanglers) had a 3lb 2oz in Swanage bay from the yak. COYS - Podgey is staying....

Great report mate wicked pics. Some of those fish had great colours and markings. Hope Steve's wrist don't stop him from fishing for to long.
Cheers Mudsta. gotta get after something else now or the blog will be called notsoevocativeundulates.com

Well done and great report as always Chris..... Glad to see your enthusiasm has returned and you probably won't feel the need to be fishing abroad as much now ??
I am more excited by the Porbeagle sighting 80 yards off Chesil 2 days ago.... That's got me thinking, traces are made up! Cheers

As always class
Always too kind mate. Thanks
 
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Discussion Starter #17
Just one f those Rays would be the stuff of dreams for me. Hats off to you both for a great season.
You're in a good place for them but a few years ago they were almost mythical from the shore, a rare catch, now there are tons. I am glad that they were protected in 2009 and the way they have recovered so fast. I am sure someone will catch one over the record size this year. It's nice to have something that pulls back when fishing.
 

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You're in a good place for them but a few years ago they were almost mythical from the shore, a rare catch, now there are tons. I am glad that they were protected in 2009 and the way they have recovered so fast. I am sure someone will catch one over the record size this year. It's nice to have something that pulls back when fishing.
Definitely. When I first really started shore fishing 4 years ago small Undulates regularly started showing on the Shoreham beaches in the Autumn, now they seem to be creeping up in size and present almost all year round. Long may it continue!
 
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Definitely. When I first really started shore fishing 4 years ago small Undulates regularly started showing on the Shoreham beaches in the Autumn, now they seem to be creeping up in size and present almost all year round. Long may it continue!
I wish we had more blonde rays in Dorset & Hampshire.
 

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I wish we had more blonde rays in Dorset & Hampshire.
There was an 18lber caught from Brighton Marina West arm 3 or 4 years ago, and the odd one seems to pop up along the Brighton/Shoreham shores now and then. Strange how it's always the very rare odd fish. This rock fishing malarkey does look exciting, I think you might be receiving a PM in the near future ;)
 
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