I cursed my decision not to make a detour to pick up some herring as bait. Garfish were coming out of the water all around me. The east wall of Brighton Marina was packed out in the surprisingly hot weather of early November.

My bait was ragworm and lugworm. One rod with a beaded flatfish rig cast fifty metres out; the other close to the wall. No fish were interested in either, so mimicking the successful float-fishermen seemed the best course of action. If I could get some fish bait. Switching my short-range rod over to my favourite white feathers, I cast out. There wasn’t much room for casting; the venue was as packed as a summer’s day. My fishing neighbours had a very different idea of personal space to me. Nevertheless, within a dozen casts I had a mackerel on my line and onto the bait-chopping board. From the fish’s silver belly I cut one-inch strips, and set them up to fish about nine feet deep on a float.

Mackerel, Scomber scombrus

Distracted, I missed the first garfish bite, confusing the nodding of the rod-tip with the wind and tide taking the float the end of the line. The garfish snaked at the surface before diving. After a hour, the second garfish took  the bait deep into its many-toothed beak and was well hooked. A brief struggle and the fish was up and over the wire railing, shedding green scales across the concrete.

Garfish, Belone belone

It was a respectable specimen of about 60cm. I’m really glad to have caught one as I’d failed on my previous visit to the marina.

Still nothing on the distance rod. Changing the mackerel, lugworm or ragworm bait every 20 minutes still couldn’t interest a single fish. Apart from mackerel and garfish, I didn’t see many other species caught in my neighbouring bays. A flounder, sea scorpion and shouts about a mullet were all I heard about.

I replaced the beaded rig with a simpler one and cast closer to the wall. This attracted a couple of tompot blennies and probably the largest corkwing wrasse I’ve ever caught.

Corkwing Wrasse, Crenilabrus melops
Tompot Blenny, Parablennius gattorugine
Tompot Blenny, Parablennius gattorugine

As expected at sunset, the walls were invaded by small pouting. I caught three and called it a day.

Mackerel, garfish and a slightly sunburned face were not what I expected from November.

Total Catch:

  • 1 Mackerel
  • 1 Garfish
  • 2 Tompot Blenny
  • 1 Corkwing Wrasse
  • 3 Pouting