Anyway, the time came on the Wednesday to make my 6 hour journey from North Wales down to the South Coast and unfortunately the forecast was not looking to friendly. The Thursday predicted 25mph E's and the Friday predicting 30mph NE's. After spending the Weds night gaining my bearings around Weymouth the morning of Day 1 came round, I was well prepared having made up around 50 different rigs to cater for any form of fishing we would be doing. The rigs I had made up were a variety that I had been advised to make by one of the skippers down in Weymouth, Lyle Stantiford and also by England International Colin Searles, both of whom I'd been put onto by Gethyn. I should also mention that Gethyn had very kindly allowed me to borrow a few of his rods for the comp for which I am very grateful.
Day 2 : The morning was a lot colder than the previous day and the sea was a lot rougher as well. This time round I had been drawn on charter boat Flamer IV skippered by Colin Penny, a boat that I had been looking at online before I made the trip down. It was set to be another tough days fishing but with the tips I'd been given by Ray and the other on day 1, I was feeling a lot more confident. This time we started at anchor fishing for rays, dogs and smoothies. The dogfish were out in force and a lot of the anglers on the boat were bagging up to reach there limit. I was really struggling having been drawn at the cabin end again but finally got my first fish of the day in the form of a small thornback ray, a handy fish to tick off. I then after a good hour of trying managed to get my first doggie and in honesty it was a little bit of a relief. The others were getting the odd different species as well with a few small smoothies and a couple of whiting coming up. My next fish however was again far more substantial. The skipper once again moved me to the front of the boat where I could get a good spot to pull it in. It surfaced after a good fight and revealed itself as a lovely undulate ray. The leader was touched so it counted in the comp but unfortunately as the skipper was pulling the remaining few feet of line to the net, the snood gave way, so once again I couldn't get a photo :( The skippers estimate was around 14lb+, smashing my PB of 8lb 3oz and finally giving me a ray of double figures, very happy indeed. The call then came in to say we were allowed to fish in Portland harbour, a species meccah. This was my time to shine. Almost instantly we were all into pout, poor cod and wrasse but occasionally something interesting would come up. Firstly a baillions wrasse, shortly follwed by a butterfly blenny and then one of the guys had a fish I'm dying to catch, a red band fish. (Here are a few pics of what they look like) Really stunning fish and bit gutted I didn't get one myself but thats the way it goes sometimes. As day 2 came to an end, I had a much better total score, beating my day 1 total by nearly 30 points. Just goes to show the difference a few small differences in the rigs can make. All that was left was the raffle and presentations. I new I hadn't won anything but I did have a good chat with Colin which was very useful. 3 way beads are the way forward for my new rigs ;)
So at the end of the 2 days, I'd managed to smash two of my PB's, catch 1 new species and pick up tips from some of the best boat anglers in the country. I'd say that it was a well worthwhile trip.
Thanks for reading,