Trip #104 – Cogden Calamity
Friday night I was quite excited to be heading out, I’d made a load of new rigs, had a pretty good selection of bait and aimed to fish another new venue. This time it was Cogden beach. Personally I would class the beach as a transitional beach. It’s not as shallow as the Hive (Burton Bradstock), but at the same time it’s not as deep as West Bexington which is only up the coast a few miles east.
Arriving a few hours before high tide I was relieved to find the South West coast path providing a flat, solid walking surface. This made a nice change from what can often be a painful trudge along the gravel that is Chesil beach. Walking down the path towards the beach I had a few conversations with passing anglers. One said he had been there all day and managed 8 mackerel. The other said they had fished the tide over low and most of the way up and not even had a bite. He also told me “There are a lot of people down there, someone caught a Hound Wednesday now everyone’s here…” That just made my walk one heck of a lot longer. Still at least it was on grass not gravel. Heading left through the fields I walked and walked until I found a natural break in foliage that allowed access to the beach. After 20 minutes of walking I found an opening and made my way down to the beach, a quick Google showed that I was half way to West Bexington! No wonder I was shattered.
The hot weather on the days previous meant that I was in search of a few Plaice and Sole. But I’d also switch it up every few casts with the occasional big bait out there for a stray lump. Baiting one loop rig with ragworm and another with black lug I pinged them out seaward. After 10 minutes I saw my left rod starting to slowly nod away – “Here we go!”. I struck and could feel a lot of weight, in the back of my mind all I could think was “Bloody dogfish”. However on reeling in I was surprised to see no fish and enormous clumps of weed attached to every hook, connector and the lead. The weed was thick, to describe it I would say imagine casting into freshly mown long grass. It was stringy and everywhere. I swapped rigs and cast back out. Swapping my other rig for a pulley Pennell dropper with a few hermit crab, and I fired that out too.
After rebaiting my other rigs and attaching them to the tripod, I settled down with a cuppa, and began to watch my rods start to nod away again. To cut 4 hours of this repetitive game very short, if I didn’t wind in weed I wound in bare hooks. Apart from the penultimate retrieve where I wound in 2 hookless snoods. The final cast saved me from the blank though, winding in a spider crab latched on to my double sandeel. To be honest this was by far my best cast of the evening I did wonder if my fortunes may have been slightly different had I achieved this distance all night. I would like to say it went out to around 100+yards and using a softer rod seemed to assist me in finding more distance, so will remember this for future sessions.
This crab was laden with eggs, and once ashore made a quick getaway towards the waterline. I’ll still be classing this trip as a blank, crabs, especially spiders don’t count! I wonder if the guys fishing next to me caught some fish, as occasionally I would see a camera flash go off. But maybe they were trying to emulate a 90’s disco beach rave? Either way, it was hard, hard going. This seems to be a recurring theme as far as Chesil is concerned. I may lay off the out and out beach fishing for a few weeks and target more specific species, particularly mullet and micro species, until I hear of more definite catch reports. At the moment fishing along the south coast seems so utterly hit and miss for a lot of beach species, that some time off may be required just to find some more enthusiasm for it.
I say that, I’ll change my mind in a day or 2 and be back out there before you know it!