The baking hot concrete offered no shade. I sat amongst the filth of discarded bait, fishing line and rig packets and wondered if I should have bothered. The falling tide was unfavourable (low tide at 6pm), a blazing sun, and worst of all the Tackle Box had just about run out of bait. I had bought the last wrap of black (lugworm) and a packet of sandeels.  The two baits in which I have the least confidence.

Due to the sea wall’s maintenance, I hadn’t fished the marina since the end of 2015. Reports of Black Bream captures tempted me back. I hadn’t caught this species since starting my blog. Using two rods, I baited up 3-hook, size 6, flappers with worm and sandeel and cast out. One rod close in; one as far as I could cast.

The first two hours passed without a bite. The only sounds were the slap of leads hitting the water and tinny mobile-phone music drifting along the wall. I drained my water bottle and reapplied the factor-50 sunscreen. The new Rampion Wind Farm shimmered on the horizon across the flat sea. My eyes flicked between the two rods propped against the wall. Not a twitch from either.

Brighton Marina East Wall

The wall was not as busy as I expected on a hot sunny day. The heat must have driven away the casual mackerel featherers. None of the fishermen that I could see were catching anything at all. The high temperature wasn’t putting me in a good mood. I boiled over at the neighbour to my left casting his line right across my bay. He left shortly after.

Unexpectedly, right on low tide things started to change. My neighbour to the right started to catch a few hand-sized black bream. His baits were at an intermediate distance from the wall. I re-baited and re-positioned my rigs at a similar distance.

My lighter lure rod started jumping. I reeled in a double-shot of black bream. Whilst I unhooked these two, the other rod registered a bite. Another bream. This was the pattern for the rest of the afternoon: quiet spells interspersed with frantic bream-action.

Black Bream, Spondyliosoma cantharus
Black Bream, Spondyliosoma cantharus

I took a dozen in all. The largest – at just over a pound in weight – fell to a strip of sandeel. This modest fish put quite a bend in my light lure rod, and not having a drop-net, I had to hand-haul the fish up and over the railings. The chap to my right congratulated me on the larger fish.

By seven o’clock the sun had moved around and the wall cast some welcome shade. My wrap of black lugworm had been almost used up. The fish definitely preferred worm to sandeel. I re-baited one last time, and cast the lead out as far as I could, to get beyond the shoals of hungry bream. A palm-sized plaice was the result.

Plaice, Pleuronectes platessa
Plaice, Pleuronectes platessa

At sunset, with the bait all gone, I used feathers to try to catch mackerel or horse mackerel. The incoming tide was still well short of maximum height, so I wasn’t too hopeful. No fish troubled my lures.

At ten o’clock, I packed up in darkness, leaving the wall to the night-time bass fishermen just setting up.

Total Catch:

  • 12 Black Bream
  • 1 Plaice