The pub-singer opened his act with the cheery words, “Are you drunk yet? I am!” The Hope Inn’s PA system blared out across the sunny pub garden to the channel forming the entrance to Newhaven Port. I’ve found this spot to be an easy fishing venue which has seating and drinking to placate non-anglers. Today, the bonus of live musical entertainment, added a soundtrack to my fishing experience.
Several varieties of small fish can be caught here; a recent competition caught over a dozen species. On my previous brief visit, I caught three different species and I was keen to better that.
I arrived just before high-tide. A little later than I wanted to be honest as I believe the flood tide is more productive. In common with the fishing from most man-made structures, the bulk of fish can be caught by fishing straight down in front of you. Using ragworm as bait I set up a 3-hook flapper rig (size 6 hooks) and lobbed the rig a metre or so out. Small bites started registering on the rod tip before I’d even set up my other rod. On this second rod I decided upon a drop-shot arrangement, also using ragworm, and dangled the line just in front of the channel wall.
The pub-singer crooned an Elvis number as I reeled in my first fish. A chunky Tompot Blenny; one of several I caught through the day.
There’s a rich population of fish here; bites were instant and frequent. I spent my time moving from rod to rod, reeling, unhooking, photographing and returning in an almost continuous process. My double-pack of ragworm was quickly diminishing. Pouting were plentiful.
A couple of small bass were captured close in.
A couple of groups were fishing either side of me. They seemed to be catching similar species, plus an eel; a species which I didn’t encounter. One fisherman, after packing-up for the day, kindly handed over his unused black lugworm – a welcome addition to my almost exhausted stock of bait.
I was delighted with a small Shanny (or Common Blenny). An unremarkable fish, but one I haven’t caught for a few years.
As expected, as the tide began to ebb, the bite-rate dropped off, but there was still enough action to keep me interested. The largest fish of the day, a Ballan Wrasse, took a tiny piece of ragworm on a size-10 hook. I lined it up for a photograph, but the camera-shy fish wriggled free, snapped the fine nylon and returned to the murky water.
In an attempt to land a bigger bass, I set up a 3/0-pennel arrangement using all the remaining lugworm and ragworm. After fifteen minutes, I checked the bait. Stripped clean. Presumably by crabs.
The final fish of the day were a pouting, and a similar-looking but anorexic fish, which I’m convinced was a tiny whiting. Six species in all today. Nothing large, but a good result.
- 7 Tompot Blenny
- 9 Pouting
- 2 Bass
- 1 Shanny
- 1 Ballan Wrasse
- 1 Whiting