Two tides – four bass

In the last week of September, I watched the weather closely. Decent tide times (towards the start and the end of the day) were coinciding with some lovely low air pressures. The bass were certain to be feeding and I had the bait to oblige them.

Frozen or fresh mackerel chunk on a circle hook was doing the business. I had some earlier success with squid at this mark but found that the squid attracted lots of smaller fishes attention.

The first high tide was on Wednesday afternoon around 430pm. You can fish the last hour of the flood and the first two hours of the ebb. After that the current is too strong to hold bottom mid-channel and your tackle usually gets washed into snags. The sea was quite rough and turbulent and things were looking promising.

I set two rods up baited as per the picture above on running ledger rigs with 4oz weights. Its a waiting and guessing game once the baits hit the water on how long to leave the baits out. This depends on if the crabs find them and if they also get ripped apart by smaller fish. I found that 30-40 mins usually is the max. Its usually a clean hook after that amount of time. About an hour into the ebb, my rod tip twitched and at first it looked like a small nuisance fish was attacking the bait. Then the tip bent over and line was pulled from the spool, fish on! With circle hooks, the fish almost always hook themselves. I reeled in the slack and began a tussle with what felt like a decent fish. It ran a bit so I gave it line, then applied the pressure and got it into the net. A lovely six and half pounder. My biggest this year and the biggest from this mark. Very happy indeed!

No more fish on that day and I packed up, ready to hit the mark again tomorrow.

The next day high water was around 530pm. The air pressure had dropped some more and rain showers came and went. The sea wasn’t quite as rough but it still had some nice movement to it. I set up exactly as the day before and sent the baits out and waited for the action. Around high water I had a terrific pull down on one of the rods, fish certainly on! As I was reeling this one in, I noticed my other rod bend also and line was being pulled from the spool. Checking there was no danger of the rod being pulled in, I got the first fish ashore.

A nice four pounder.

With that dealt with, I reeled in the line that had paid out and made contact with the second fish. This put up a spirited fight as it made it’s way into the net.

A nice 3 pounder.

There must have been a shoal swimming by. Things went quiet for a bit then I got a lively take. Once I started reeling in I could feel it was a smaller fish, but welcome nonetheless.

About 30cm and it looked like the bait would be a bit of a mouthful for this chap!

It was a great fishing session. Especially as it would be the last one for a few weeks due to work commitments. I’m hoping there will still be some fish around when I get back.

Back on the biting bass

Early in the morning I took a trip to Chesil beach.  This was to check it out in advance of a proper fishing session. I chose Abbotsbury for my recce and fished sun-up until 10am.

IMG_0343

Some good lessons learned (distance casting & streamlining baits practice required) and a couple of fish caught including a small codling.  The weather was calm but getting windier as the day wore on.

IMG_20200827_074238453~2

Late afternoon back home, the wind increased and there was a perceptible drop in air pressure.  I immediately gathered my gear and some bait from the freezer then headed down to Old Portsmouth.  High water coincided with dusk and it just felt like now was the time to fish.

I set up two rods, one with a running ledger and the other a pulley rig, both armed with 5/0 circle hooks.  4oz weights were enough to hold the baits in place, with a little rolling around to cover some ground.  The last of the flood was when most action occurred.

First fish was the biggest,  58cm, falling to a mackerel chunk.

IMG_0358

Next was an 80cm conger eel quickly followed by a 30cm bass, again on mackerel chunk. It seemed as soon as I cast out a bait, a fish found it pretty soon after. No long periods of inactivity that has become the norm lately.  Next was another spritely 30cm fish this time on squid. Then a 40cm fish to finish, again on squid.

IMG_0384

It was a hectic, short and highly enjoyable session.  The  weather made all the difference.

Bass on live bait – catch and cook

With mackerel in abundance off Portsmouth and Hayling Island these past few days, I went for a dawn high water session down in Portsmouth. First order of business was to catch some mackerel. After lots of fruitless trips to Hayling Island in June, catching the odd one, this was a real treat. At times it was fish a cast as soon as the feathers hit the water. I caught enough for the bait freezer and then set about seeing if there were any bass about.

IMG_0239

Using a pulley rig and a 5/0 circle hook, I used smaller sized mackerel as live bait, catching to order really, whenever I needed to change the bait. About an hour into the ebb, the rod sat there, the rod tip motionless. I continued feathering to get a few more for the freezer and a couple I promised to the neighbours. Suddenly the rod tip bent over and line started being taken from the reel, fish on! Quite a savage take.

I grabbed the rod, tightened the drag and reeled into the fish. It thumped away and felt not massive, but decent enough. A lad near me offered to help with the net and I gingerly got the fish ashore. Into the net he went.

bass 4lb

My first bass on a live bait, it weighed 4lbs.  Once I got home I knocked on my neighbour’s door and gave them a couple of fresh mackerel.  Kevin’s face said it all, very happy.  I got a couple of nice fillets off the bass.

bass fillets

Then decided on how to cook it.  I’ve tried baking, frying, steaming etc.  This time I went for something quick and very tasty. I cut the fish into chunks and fried them in batter.  I added some potatoes from my garden to compliment. Very nice and thanks to the fish gods for providing.

bass goujons

The quest for the double figure bass continues…..

Haslar Wall, Gosport – Smooth hound takes the bait

We arrived one hour into the flood. 500m offshore, a vast shoal of mackerel kept the sea gulls entertained, whilst staying annoyingly out of casting range. I willed them to come closer but they would not oblige.

I started with a 3 hook flapper armed with small hooks on one rod, using squid strips as bait. It was a bit of a scratching rig. On the other rod I cast out a bigger bait, alternating between mackerel and bluey. Something was nibbling at the squid strips but not getting hooked. So I changed up the rig for one with bigger hooks and added bigger squid chunks.. The bluey/mackerel baits were coming back unmolested.

We both settled into an uneventful, though pleasant fishing session as the sun went down, with a nice view of the eastern Solent in front of us. Eventually the mackerel shoals dispersed and the wind dropped off. Haslar wall is a comfortable mark to fish from, even though the days of fishing out of your car are no longer possible.

I’d just poured some tea from my flask when I noticed the flapper rod twitch suddenly and then bend right over, fish on! I reeled up the slack and something thumped back on the end. It felt quite decent. I called for Nige to get the net then walked down the wall, reeling up as I went. It felt heavy and thumped a bit, so I initially thought it was a bass. It went on a couple of short runs as I bought it into the wall. The fish came into view and it was a smooth hound tangled up in my trace. No wonder it didn’t go off on any scorching runs. Nige prematurely announced that I had foul hooked it, but I could see it had taken the top hook and then wrapped itself in the remaining two. The tide hadn’t quite reached the top of the ledge at the bottom of the wall, so I timed a wave when the water breached the ledge and got the fish over it. As it was flapping about, my braid parted so I quickly grabbed it and got it away from the water.

smoothie haslar wall

After being untangled it swam off strongly. Later as the darkness enveloped us, we both had some bites but no more fish. Something chomped on a mackerel chunk, but this time the circle hook didn’t do its job. You win some, you lose some.

 

Early social distancer catches the bass

This morning high water slack coincided with sunrise, so it was a good reason to get up early. I rummaged around my freezer at 4am and fished out a ropey frozen mackerel I caught a year ago and also grabbed a couple of small blueys and made the drive into Portsmouth.

I’ve found that if the fish are there, they aren’t too fussy on bait quality and presentation. I cut a chunk out of the mackerel, fitted it to a 5/0 circle hook on a running ledger rig and cast it out about 40 yards. Whilst it settled on the seabed and started defrosting, I set up another rod with some feathers to see if there were any mackerel or scad about and on the second cast, the bait rod tip nodded twice then started being pulled seawards.

Quickly placing down the now cast out feathers rod, I grabbed the bait rod and wound into the fish. It kicked back nicely and a modest fight began. As the fish approached me I saw that it was barely hooked and gingerly got it ashore. a nice flash of silver and white confirmed it was a chunky looking bass and a big smile broke on my face. Not a big fish by any means, 3lbs but on the first cast and with the old mackerel chunk, the gods were smiling on me.

IMG_0028

I carried on fishing for another hour and caught a bonus dog fish, they never disappoint, and then drove home. I am happy that the end of lock down fishing opportunities have gotten off to a good start.

First session since the lock down!

First session since the lock down saw me dusting off my rods and heading down to Hayling for a quick session. I decided to have a go with feathers in the channel between Hayling and Eastney, as a few days earlier I saw a lot of birds diving and small fish activity on the surface mid channel.

Nothing showing today but I managed to avoid the inaugural blank by foul hooking a small mullet! Hardly sporting but it fought well for its size and I thought I had a mackerel or two on for a second!

foul hooked mullet

Nice to get things started!

Home fishing trip – Langstone Harbour

It’s been a while since I had any time or enthusiasm for fishing. After the trip to Norway in May, coming back to the UK and reading about the huge commercial trawlers hoovering up the fish stocks made me question what was the point anymore? But I always kept the spark alive, seeing others getting out and having good catches or simply reporting blanks but still having a go, motivated me.

So last week I hit a Langstone Harbour mark and went back to basics. Starting from low water I fished the slowly flooding weed laced mud flats with big bunches of ragworm on a 4/0 hook. At times this tactic can work for decent bass in the 3 to 6lb range if the smaller schoolies aren’t around and stripping the baits. They were none to be seen this time and it seemed even the crabs were having a day off. Things were looking promising. About an hour into the flood my line went slack. I slowly reeled in and could feel something thumping on the other end. As I reeled in it fought back then dropped the bait. I wasn’t too disappointed, it was early days and there were some decent fish about.

1

The tide forced me to move to another spot and I waited again for a passing fish. This particular mark has opportunities for the first 3 hours of the flood then it is unlikely to catch anything as the fish have moved on somewhere else in the harbour. At the two and a half hour point my rod tip bent right over and was almost pulled out of its rest. I wound into the fish and it was hooked alright. It didn’t feel massive and I carefully played it in. It was a nice plump 3 pounder.

2

All those doom and gloom feelings and the memories of disappointing blanks simply vanished and it brought a huge smile to my face. I needed that. Now to get out more, make more of an effort, those fish aren’t going to catch themselves!

Bodo shore fishing trip May 2019 – catch report

We departed Gatwick full of optimism for the week’s fishing ahead in Bodo.  The group before us had caught 18 halibut, double figure coalfish and cod and the odd wolf fish. The situation was looking promising.  But on the last day with two hours left to fish, we had still to get a decent halibut and time was running out fast.

Day 1 we travelled to Eidet and fished the head of the fjord. This is not a hugely productive mark halibut wise but its where I caught my first and you always get one or two with persistence.  It was calm with sporadic rain showers. Some nice cod showed, guzzling baits set for halibut and I had one halibut run that quickly spat out the bait.  Fun was had using lures catching coal fish and pollack but as the day wore on and the tide ebbed to low, it was obvious that the halibut had failed to make an appearance or simply weren’t hungry.

 

M21A1151

M21A1159

M21A1167

M21A1172

M21A1257

Day 2 we tried a southern mark near Bertnes.  This is a rocky perch above some deep water.  Again the cod got to our baits first and having fished the full ebb, the heavy rain drove us off the mark and back to the apartment to dry out.  We planned an evening trip down near the pier in Bodo but the wind strengthened which prevented any more fishing that day.

M21A1190

M21A1186

M21A1200

M21A1176

On the morning of day 3 the wind was gusting from the west and the only sheltered mark available was back at Eidet.  On arrival the water was boiling with thousands of small coal fish being predated upon by their larger brothers. A dolphin swam nearby and joined in the feast.  Some unwanted cod took our baits and by early afternoon we’d had enough.

M21A1210

M21A1212

M21A1228

5am start on day 4 and the pressure was mounting.  We opted for the pier mark whilst the wind temporarily abated.  Nige hooked a large cod that spat the bait as he wound into it. As he is reeled in, the greedy cod followed it to the surface. It looked big, at least a 30 pounder. It took the bait in its mouth again in full view of us but spat it out and disappeared back into the depths. The wind started getting up and we packed up and moved to another mark. At this mark it was a little bit more sheltered at first but as the wind swung round we bore the brunt as it swept across us from left to right. We caught cod and coalfish on both lures and bait. When it got too rough we hastily beat a retreat back to the apartment.  Everything to play for tomorrow.

M21A1243

M21A1245

M21A1251

Final day, we got up early and took the ferry one last time and headed back to Eidet. It was our only option, everywhere else was being smashed by the wind. It was sheltered and calm there but persistent rain squalls swept through.  I got a run on a whole bluey cast close in. It felt like a halibut and as I gained line, the braid pinged on a rock and the fish was free.  We sat and waited, both of us knowing time was running out but still hopeful. We’d fish until the last minute. I was very reluctant to leave and would stay late, whatever it took.  My rod tip twitched a few times and some line spooled from the reel.  Instantly alert I stood by, watching things unfold and hoping that a big fish was about to rip line off my reel. Gradually my rod tip bent over as a fish took the bait and swam off a little. It must have stopped when it felt some resistance. I took up my rod, reeled in the slack. I couldn’t really feel anything on the end of my line and quickly became dejected. Not again, the fish had spat out the bait!  Suddenly line started tearing off and the drag sang its wonderful tune, fish on!  I carefully loosened the drag further and the fish swam off in short bursts. I gained some line and it was taken again. With 80lb power pro as the mainline there was no way this line was giving way, it was like a tow rope!  After 5 minutes of give and take the fish got jammed solid in some rocks.  I calmly waited and the fish obliged by swimming out of the snag and freeing the line once more. Another 3 minutes of carefully playing the fish he surfaced, a chunky halibut!  Nige carefully gaffed him and we got him ashore up the rocky slope. I silently mouthed a prayer of thanks, took a quick photo and then dispatched the beast. 28 pounds and fat with it!  My personal best. We’d done it!  We carried on fishing for a spell in the hope Nige would get one too but with the tide almost at the bottom of its range, the fish were long gone.

M21A1259

M21A1264

M21A1269.jpeg

M21A1272

It was a good week as all weeks in Norway are. We both had head colds so we didn’t really have a burning desire to fish super long sessions. Something that is often required when halibut is your foe. They don’t tend to hang around in one place and their run through can be brief and violent. With no way of knowing when this will be , you have to patiently wait through the whole tide range.  Next time.

M21A1273

Bodo shore fishing trip with the boys – catch report

We had roosted at this rock mark on day 3 for over 6 hours now. Whilst I was happy to wait another 6 hours for a halibut to come and take my bait, my children were most certainly not. Jack and Owen, twins aged 11, had started their impatient whining in earnest. At first they asked nicely to leave, then they tried bribes and finally fell back on constant irritating moans. Their pleas mostly fell on deaf ears but it was starting to wear me down. I threatened to add another hour for every moan that passed their lips but it didn’t deter them and they called my bluff. I wanted to make up for the first day which was cut short due to a late start in the morning and then watching England in the world cup in the afternoon. I had caught a halibut on day 2, though this was only a 13 pounder and I wanted a bigger one.

M21A1573

Now as the minutes ticked by and rod tips remained motionless at 4:40pm I finally decided to call a halt to their tiresome vigil. “ok boys at 5pm we call it quits”. This was met with cheers and happy smiles all round except for me. It was a small price to pay but with children in tow, marathon fishing sessions were off the cards.

M21A1607

I settled back onto my rocky perch and stared at my rod tips willing something to happen. Then I watched the boys playing in a rock pool and then suddenly in my peripheral vision one of my rod tips slowly started to bend downwards. “Fish on!”.

I called out to the boys “Action stations”. They immediately assumed their positions. We had previously rehearsed the drill. Jack would go and activate the camera on a tripod we would film on. Owen would fetch the gaff and then stand next to me ready to render assistance when required.

The fish went on a blistering first run, as the halibut is wont to. I had a loose drag setting and let it take line. I had lost a couple of fish during my last trip so I was being ultra-cautious this time. I could not accept the same failures, it would poison me from inside. I gained back some line and then a slow tug of war ensued. I gained quite a lot of line back and then the fish swam off again down tide and we were back to square one. I heard an ominous bleep from my Go pro camera. It stopped filming, some sort of error. I quickly dismissed the intense irritation and concentrated on the fish, Jack was filming with the back up so it should be ok. After the long run, the fish started inching towards me and fighting back in short powerful bursts, gradually weakening as I gained ground. Finally it surfaced, it looked decent but not massive. I passed my rod to Owen, took the gaff from him and crept carefully down a rock ledge to the water’s edge. Luckily for me the fish remained calm and didn’t go on a final run so gaffing it was fairly straight forward. It was tangled up somewhat in the line from the other rod and after some untangling I lifted the fish safely ashore. I quickly dispatched it humanely and then weighed it. 25lb. 1lb short of my personal best but I was very happy nonetheless. The boys did very well in their supporting role and it was a great fishing moment. By the time I had taken the fillets off and committed its body back into the deeps from whence it came, packed away all the gear it was nearly 6pm. The boys didn’t mind and it was a good example of ‘good things come to those who wait’. Unfortunately when jack moved position with the camera he also stopped filming, so we only had the initial take in the can.

M21A1635

We had booked a week at Northern Norway Shore Fishing run by Simon Smith. My two previous trips were made in December when day light only lasted for 4 hours and it was cold, icy and generally unpleasant. I vowed to return in the summer and benefit from the warmer weather and 24hour daylight. What a difference it made! The scenery was breath taking and the fishing is just as good. During the week we hit a number of different marks, explored a little and also tried a completely new mark. We saw dolphins on two occasions and at one of the marks a big shoal of cod swam past our feet. I remember arriving at one mark, placing my rods down and looked at the water and saw a four pound cod nonchalantly swimming close by near the surface without a care in the world.

After the second halibut on day 3 my cool box was full so it would be catch and release from that point on as far as halibut were concerned. Jack caught a 6lb wolf fish, a first for all of us and Owen caught the only pollack, a respectable 7 pounder on a small metal lure. I also caught another 6lb-ish halibut on a mark where they had not been caught before. It was a lovely surprise. Small coalfish were in abundance everywhere and codling showed everywhere on lures and bait. I also caught a mackerel. They hadn’t really shown yet so maybe that marked their arrival.

M21A1584

M21A1729

M21A1757

M21A1785

M21A1800

It was a wonderful trip. I wanted to return in the summer but I was concerned it wouldn’t be suitable for kids. But with a little forethought, and the availability of marks that they could easily fish from, both Jack and Owen had a great time and really enjoyed catching plenty of fish. They both remarked it was the best fishing place they had been to. I certainly now prefer the summer months and won’t be in a rush to return during winter. As usual I can’t wait to go back again, the sooner the better.

 

The Moray strikes back – A Japanese Eel Story

Last March I traveled to Tokyo to visit my brother Al for the first time since he moved there.  Midway through my trip we hired a car and booked a rental house in Kawana, near Ito.  This is on the Izu Peninsula, a 3 hour drive from Tokyo.  The plan was to see some of the local tourist attractions, walk up a grass covered volcano and do whatever else took our fancy during our stay including a spot of fishing. This area has a very diverse coast line with beaches, rock marks and lots of various concrete piers and jetties.  As we drove around there seemed to be locals fishing at every available spot.  Not wanting to join the masses on the piers we decided to do some reconnaissance of a couple of good looking areas found on Google earth. The first was the Jogasaki coast. This is a popular hiking area and has various rock platforms that looked good to fish from. When we visited there was a bit of a swell running and we weren’t equipped to go clambering over the rocks and had no way of retrieving a large fish if we were to hook one.  The locals weren’t deterred and a lot of good spots were occupied.

M21A0038

Due to the swell and the wind we thought it would be a good idea to try the opposite side of the peninsula so we hopped in the car and sped off.  Here the waters were a lot calmer and it seemed a little less crowded. We came upon a large bay with a relatively narrow entrance. This looked a likely spot if any.

M21A0042

The small concrete pier looked the best spot but as usual this was occupied so we stood on the rocky shoreline at the entrance to the bay and cast some lures into the channel. I kept a beady eye on the pier and as soon as the anglers left we occupied it.  Off the end, the water was pretty deep.  Who knew what fish might be lurking about down there? I didn’t do any research on what fish we were likely to catch at all.  About 60m away the water started boiling in a similar fashion to a mackerel shoal passing by and some decent fish jumped into the air. I quickly clipped on some sabiki feathers and cast into the boil and on the third cast hooked or rather snagged a fish of about 3lbs in weight.  Just before I beached it, the hook snood snapped and it swam away to freedom.

We packed up and decided to come back the next day, leaving super early to get the prime spot on the pier.  The lure fishing wasn’t that successful when boiling shoals were absent so we would try bait fishing also. The supermarkets had plenty of fresh bluey in the fridges.

Reveille at 4am, breakfast and on the road by 430am.  Al navigated us along the most direct route using Google maps on his phone. The journey took us up and down a very enjoyable forested mountain road and first light broke around 530pm. We arrived back at the pier just before 6am and to our dismay there were two anglers already on it! Damn it, we should have left at 3am, but it was obvious even that was no guarantee.  I decided it wouldn’t hurt to share the pier so we set up half way along.  They left after about 20 minutes leaving it all to us.  I set Al up with a paddle tail on a 20 gram jig head and set my rod up on a running ledger with a circle hook, 3 ounce weight and nice chunk of bluey. A short cast of about 40 yards put me in a least 5-10m of water at a guess. Al got busy working the lure.

M21A0049

There were 4 of 5 very decent looking fish swimming about in full view at the end of the pier at about 2m depth. They paid zero attention to our lures or bait waived in front of their nose, similar to the fussy eating mullet back in the UK.  After about 10 minutes my rod bent over and line started peeling of the spool. I took up the rod, tightened the drag somewhat and bent into the fish. It felt quite heavy and I gingerly started playing it in towards the pier, allowing it to take line when it was disagreeable and then reeling in when it was more obliging. Halfway through the fight it got hung up or snagged in something. I released the tension in the line and waited for it to swim out of whatever was impeding its journey towards me.  I gingerly applied more tension and the fish started coming my way again. Eventually it surfaced near the end of the pier and I couldn’t believe it, a moray eel!  I never ever expected to hook one of these. I guess if I done my home work it was probably a prolific fish in these parts.  It was tangled in weed and was foul hooked in the body. I estimated its length of 80cm and weight about 4-5lb. Mindful of the very recent snap off and fish escape yesterday I played it carefully up and onto the beach.  As I set about untangling the mess of weed and line and removing the hook, the eel suddenly lunged and viciously bit my left hand.

Immediately my thumb no longer extended and blood started pouring from the wound. I quickly applied the nearest thing, my fishing tea towel, to the wound to apply direct pressure. I still had the fish to deal with, which was now unhooked and writhing about in the sand. With no hard feelings on my part I roughly kicked it back into the water and then looked around thinking, oh no, what do I do now?  I needed urgent medical attention. My thumb no longer worked, the bleeding was heavy and who knew what infections I could now get? The tea towel plugging the wound wasn’t exactly something you’d want to dry your dishes with. My brother couldn’t drive, I couldn’t now either. We had no idea where the nearest hospital was. I didn’t bring my first aid kit with me on this trip because I didn’t think I would need it. Very amateurish mistake, in that kit was blood clotting gauze sponges, antiseptic wound wash and plenty of dressings and bandages, exactly what I needed right now.

I quickly got a grip of myself and instructed Alan to start packing up all the gear and we would move back to the car. A kayaker came past so Al beckoned him over to assist, Al spoke some basic Japanese and the kayaker rang an ambulance for us. It took a while to explain the situation and also for the kayaker to explain to the emergency services where we were exactly. A hiker saw the commotion and came over and gave me a water bottle which I poured over the wound and he also gave me a towel which I replaced the filthy one with.  We walked back to the car, loaded up the gear and then waited for the ambulance which came about 5 minutes later.

2 medics jumped out and ushered me into the back of the ambulance. They plugged me into the ECG monitor, took my blood pressure and then replaced the towel with some proper dressings.  Al jumped in the back and after what seemed like a very long and complicated phone call between the ambulance driver and his base (though was probably not very long at all) we set off towards the hospital. The wound was starting to sting a bit and because it was in a crease in my hand direct pressure wasn’t being applied and the blood quickly soaked right through the bandages. As we bumped along the county roads the medic replaced the bandages a couple of times and in the end I resorted to applying direct pressure with my right hand and stemmed the flow.  On arrival at the hospital I was wheeled into an emergency treatment bay and the doctors got to work right away. First order of business was cutting my beloved Snugpak jacket off, a garment I have treasured since 2004. Seeing that sliced off my arm was almost as painful as the wound itself!  I consoled myself in that I could always buy another one.  I looked away as they went to work on the wound, firstly with injecting anaesthesia and cauterising the bleeding vein with some sort of electronic machine. It was quite painful at this stage but eventually my hand went numb. The doctor explained that my two extensor tendons had been cut. He couldn’t repair them because of the risk of infection to the wound which would need to stabilise prior to reconstructive surgery. They aggressively cleaned the wound and then loosely stitched it up.  I recovered for about 20 minutes in a cubicle and then went to pay for the treatment with my visa card and get some antibiotics and painkillers from the pharmacy.  What to do now?

revenge of the moray

Al had already called his wife Emmy and she was en-route to us from Tokyo by train with an ETA of about 40 minutes.  We needed her to drive the car.  I felt a little drained so we went to the hospital cafeteria and I bought a bottle of coke and some noodles in a salty soup which made me feel a lot better.  Then we located the train station on Google maps and walked towards it to meet Emmy. She arrived just as we approached and then we jumped in a taxi and headed back to the car park at the fishing mark.  I took the co-pilots seat and the old taxi driver and I had a laugh when I explained, through Emmy, what had happened. He wished me well.  Back at the car, the filthy blood soaked tea towel was sat underneath the car, a grim reminder of what had happened earlier. I was still wearing my blood stained shirt and trousers.  We packed this and the shirt away in a bag and then drove back to the digs, collected our gear and lit out back to Tokyo.

in the ER

When I got back to my Tokyo digs I called the travel insurance company and they arranged for me to have the tendon surgery in Japan.  I was admitted to the Tokyo Takanawa hospital for this just over a week later. The aggressive cleaning and antibiotics back in the ER had prevented an infection taking hold.

In the theatre they applied a nerve block which made my arm go completely dead.  The surgeon reopened the wound and repaired the tendons and also a nerve that was severed.  The Japanese hospital staff were fantastic. All of them were very attentive and friendly. They assigned an interpreter to me during the surgery who chatted with me to distract me from the ghastly business that was going on.  The food was also very nice and I have to say I was almost sad to leave!

after surgery copy

I flew back home a couple of days later and now four weeks later, the tendons are slowly healing and getting stronger again daily. It’s going to be a battle to regain full range of movement but I’m sure I will get there in the end.  I learned some good lessons. It is very easy to get caught up in the moment when on holiday and enjoying yourself. It has taught me to apply a more critical eye of safety and potential hazards and to have a plan if things go wrong. It won’t stop me fishing though I’ll make damn sure I don’t get bitten by a fish again!

The fish finally got their revenge on me as an angler. I’ll take this one with grace and move on.