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.
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.