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I took the boat out for an early trip this morning, just me and the dog. Weather was beautiful - sunny skies and little wind. In fact it was almost millpond smooth as I left the slip and motored downriver just after 8am.

Body of water Water resources Water Nature Sky

Body of water Water resources Water Nature Lake

Before long I began to see bass chasing fry on the surface, and every now and then I'd hear a splash and see ripples and swirls. Resisting the temptation to cast a lure in their direction (the river Dart is a bass nursery, so no fishing for bass from a boat) I headed on downstream, knowing that there would be plenty of time for fishing once at sea.

Passing through Dartmouth itself I was surprised that there was so little boat activity the water - it was nearly 9 o'clock and usually the river is busy with traffic, especially with such good weather. As I reached the river mouth I could see that the sea conditions were about as calm as I've ever seen.

Body of water Water Water resources Sea Sky

Sky Horizon Sea Yacht Ocean

Heading out round the headland the breeze picked up a little and so did the swell. The first mark was a reef which offered up a couple of strings of mackerel - good to see them about finally. The swell was just the wrong side of comfortable in my little boat, so it was on to a small inshore wreck mark which was more sheltered but which didn't produce anything whatsoever, despite my best efforts with a pink shad.

A change of plan and the dog and I retraced our steps and moved to a reef near the river mouth itself - the boat traffic was picking up at this point so I kept a sharp look out for the Hoorays in their gin palaces - sometimes it seems as if the more money they have to spend on their boats, the less water-sense they have...

We set up a slow drift across the reef - this time using a black firetail worm to attract a brown and white wrasse from the kelp. Another couple of drifts failed to produce and by this time the dog had gone to sleep curled up round my tackle box - clearly she had high expectations for the rest of the trip...

We motored on to another reef mark further past the river mouth which had a greater range of depths to explore with a series of steep mounts rising from 25m up to almost 5m in places. I switched to a pearl Redgill Evo and on the very first drift I felt a pluck, followed by the rod tip hooping over. Fish on! It gave a seriously good account of itself on the 6-12lb class rod, head-shaking and diving, taking line against the drag. I found myself talking to the dog, telling her this felt like a better fish and that I mustn't lose it. She didn't bat an eye-lid - she knows that a fish isn't caught until it's in the boat. As it rose from the depths I finally saw it was a bass! Result! I promptly took the worst possible picture but you get the idea.

Automotive exterior Net Fish Fish Carbon

Then it was over the side as I watched it scoot back down below. Another few drifts saw me snag and lose the redgill and the boom, so we called it a day. All in all a very enjoyable few hours out in the boat.
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