While I won't remember the 2016 Cornish Lure Festival as one of my finest angling achievements, the event once again demonstrated why it is a must-do competition on the lure fishing calendar. I still don't understand how you can burn the candle at both ends, fishing 48 hours with very little sleep, and still want to do it all again the very next day. It's addictive, I swear! I really enjoy the format. And I really enjoy being reminded that Mother Nature rules over best laid plans.
I'll try not to repeat what Dan has already written about our CLF exploits. You can gain a little insight into our plan by reading his most excellent blog > HERE
This year was planned to be more relaxed and that part of the plan worked out. 2016 was the first year we actually planned in sleep, rather than waiting for exhaustion induced slumber. I think (hope) it showed. I felt slightly more with-it at the closing presentation and hopefully managed to raise a smile or two... maybe even a conversation.
To achieve the extra sleep we had to cut down on our marks a bit, and actually on day one, we had a bit of a bonus finding a new spot for Dragonet. Meaning we could skip Meva once we had all caught one. I was the last up to the oche with both Dan and Chris already slaying dragons. The jubilation and subsequent release of pressure when I landed mine was incredible and a lasting memory of CLF16. #HighFives
We all had a pretty good first day. Although we hadn't picked up any bonus species, we were fishing well as a team and ticking fish off. I remember leaving one mark being the only one without a T-pot, but at our next mark heading straight for a specific 1 metre section of harbour wall and nailing one first drop. That really buoyed my confidence.
By the end of a (planned) shorter day one we'd only really missed the pelagics. This year's tides, or rather timings of tides had reduced our confidence even before the match, but even with that consideration, this year was poor for Mackerel, Garfish, Scad and Bass. In the normal places anyhow. However, it's clear that experience with tides and timings offers valuable insight when fishing a new mark. Even a previously unvisited one. I don't often get the time to plan my fishing these days, but with 48 hours to play with, there's little excuse. It was good to be reminded of this. The quality of fishing at a mark can vary hugely depending on the state of the tide. It's not as simple as just having water there. I just wanted to share that as it might not be obvious to our freshwater compadres swelling the species hunt ranks. I feel this is a large part of why common marks fish differently from one year to the next. While tides literally wait for no man, us humans are pretty habitual. We're effectively waiting for the right set of tides to come to us. Anyway, I digress.
I finished day one, 12 hours in, on eight species.
'The longest day' started in familiar surroundings. The game plan clear. Repeat performance for the 4th year running. However, most likely because of the tides, this year didn't go to plan. Well, it kind of did. We had a small window of tide. Actually way smaller than we had imagined. In short, Chris and I chose Mackerel and successfully secured two of the biggest specimens I can remember seeing in years. Dan chose Rock Cook. In hindsight, considering the high points score for Rock Cook, I made a tactical error. But that's the benefit of hindsight and we were never in any doubt that we would secure both species.
The next 8 hours are a hazy blur, but after tearing a single rock mark apart and catching multiple species, I was rock-cook-less. It was time to move on. Chris and I had already eaten heavily into Dan's fishing time. I didn't say it, but at that single moment, I knew my comp was over.
At the halfway point I now had 9 species. But I wasn't in a good place. Predictably given my mood, I ended day 2 with only one more addition, at 10.
30-odd hours in and we hit a bit of a wall. Hate to agree with the missus, but I make terrible decisions when I'm tired. Like that hemp shirt purchase in Ibiza...
Despite the fact we'd had the result with the Dragonet and freed up Meva-time, we didn't really know what to do with it. Right this second, with my wits back about me I can clearly see how close we were to making some great decisions. Like, REALLY close. But we just couldn't see! Next time.
Broken down into 12 hour sections, read my pain: 8 - 1 - 1 - 1
I fear this blog may have taken a dark turn. The highlights... Of which there were many...
Chris. An absolute pleasure sharing CLF with great mate, Chris once again. Really felt like a tight team this year. Although Chris had his own demons chasing a certain species, he breezed past his goal of double figures, matching me with 11. Good angling sir. And I never tire of you catching all the Scorpos :0)
Catching more fish on unflavoured plastics. Isome really is a drug. When our confidence is high, we can kick the habit. On day one, when we were in the groove, we were all freestyling. Mixing it up. I had three wrasse species on Knight Worms alone. I can remember Dan catching a Ballan on a micro metal and then the icing on the cake was a Tompot that absolutely destroyed Dan's small creature bait. Life feels better on the hard setting.
We had more sleep.
We drank more tea.
We learned some more about our Cornwall fishing marks and I'm absolutely itching to try to improve next year. Like you can't imagine.
And Dan. Dan's win in the Visitor Species category was a bit of a surprise to be frank. That's not to take anything away from Dan's performance. As always, Dan fished 'dantastically' all weekend long and made things happen. Well done mate. The results don't lie.
Fishing with mates.