On the 23rd June, 9 L.I.C. members (Adrian Stevens, Andrew Tasker, Clive Thomas, Frederic Damance, Kivas Waters, Nick McColgan, Paul Maxwell, Poalo De Michelis, Trevor Leak) headed down to meet L.I.C member Dave Thomasson in Plymouth for a weekends spearfishing on the Eddystone Rocks 10 miles South off the coast.
The week prior had been really bad with gales and rain so there was much sceptism in the air regarding the sea conditions.
Saturday morning (Nick’s Birthday as it was known)
We met the boat and each other at 7am on Queen Annes Battery pier. It was the 1st time all of us had met Clive Thomas from Weymouth after 4 months or regular reports from him. The boat was a magnificent approx. 30ft sail / diesel vessel with sun cover and pulling a 14ft inflatable.
Leaving harbour we picked up another Plymouth Spearo from the Cawsands shore area. An hour and a halfs steam out to sea in pretty unsettled seas saw us at the lighthouse. The 1st boat out, we achieved our aim of beating the rumoured herds of scuba boats.
1st in was Dave keen as ever. The surge was bad on the windward side of the Lighthouse but on the lee side it was acceptable so most of us tucked in there. Viz was about 20ft. My 3rd dive down, doing a Karteri, 4 Mullet of around 1 ½ – 2 kgs zoomed in and I hit one high resulting in it tearing off. A little while later a shoal of school SeaBass wandered in while I was on the top, letting the air out of my lungs I dropped to within shooting distance and shot one through the head. All this was in about 20ft of water hanging in the weed which covers everthing down there. One day we will find reef in this country without weed. The action seemed to peter out there so I drifted back in the current to deeper water to look for those elusive big Pollock we always see in the fishing Mags. Passing Clive I see that he has 2 or 3 nice 2 kg plus Pollock hanging from his buoy. I do a few drops onto the flat weed beds at around 50ft and see 2 separate big Pollock but neither presents itself properly so I do not get a shot in.
Returning to the boat for a rest there are lots of tales of being approached by big basking sharks and Fred Damance is spluttering, tousands and tousands, tousands and tousands, tousands and tousands in his French accent. We finally calm him down and it comes out that he is talking about a massive shoal of SeaBass that he was lucky to have had around him for a while. He has a nice one to prove it.
While having the hot lunch made by the Skipper the basking sharks appear again closeby and we drop Poala in nearby and Kivas already in the water joins up with him. After a bit of chasing Poala manages to grab a fin and hitch a ride which makes the day for him. We see the massive tail thrashing around as it dives with Poala on tow.
After the action we pick Kivas up as the skipper wants to start heading back in. Kivas is on a spot and has a few nice Polock so is a bit hesitant about leaving but we drag him in as the skipper is getting anxious. We head back in and dive one of the coastal points producing very little. I saw a few Bass and string a Mullet. We then head back for a solid Italian meal and an attempt at a few beers but the guys are fading fast so we head back to the B&B’s.
Sunday Morning (Not Nick’s Birthday as it was known)
Not a drop of wind and clear skies. A lot more together after a good rest we meet at the same place and head back out again. With us is another Plymouth guy who has dived the Eddystone many years back. He was a British Team Member in the 60’s with Clive Thomas’ father, Terry. He keeps us intrigued with tales of early UK spearing. An education for us.
Today the ride out is more pleasant and we are able to get some sun. When we get there the boat anchors up as the current is far less today and the sea flat. I wander around the shallows again briefly but all is quiet bar the odd SeaBass and small Mullet.
I swim over to Kivas who is looking for his spot that he left the day before. We eventually find it but all is quiet just the odd glimpse of big Pollock. The depth is about 40-50ft and while viz is about 25ft on the surface it dwindles to 15ft on the bottom. I am keen to get one of these Pollock so we persevere for some time. Eventually one appears and I take a flier at it. My 90cm Sporasub is double strung with 20mm short rubbers and it just makes it into the fish hitting it a bit low. It’s on for a while and then drops off. Bugger. I head back to the boat for lunch.
There has not been a lot of action and the fish box is looking a bit bleak but everyone seems happy just to be out there sunning themselves.We feed up and Clive and I drop in the water to check out what Trevor and Adrian are up to. On the way we drop down on the outer sections of the Eddystone. It gets DEEEP there. We pass the guys, see that they are crabbing and have a bunch of tasty looking spider crabs.
Still keen for a crack at the Pollock in the deeper water we check it out diving in tandem, one down one up, covering the area. Andrew is ahead of us. We suspect he is filling his stringer up with the ones that we are not seeing. We see very little except discover the odd Bass and Mullet that are hiding down there.
The time comes to head back and the inflatable comes up to us taking Clive on board and heading off without taking me on board for some reason. Never unhappy about having more time in the water I swim tight up against the rocks and dig myself. I see a mullet and miss it. I can see the guys packing up and the inflatable preparing to pick me up. I drop down in about 15ft of water and cannot believe it, a big Pollock. He bolts around the corner and I slide arouind finger on the trigger. He’s there, bang , he’s on . I drop the gun so as not to put any pressure on the spear,swimming after him I see he has holed up and I reach in and slip my hands in his gills. YESSSS now I am happy. I look at him and see that he has already been gut shot with a lack of scales on the opposite side where a spear tried to exit the skin. He’s my fish I hit 4 hours earlier on, 200m away. He weights in over 4kg’s. Anyway we head back on a sea of glass. A perfect finish to a good days diving.
Back on shore we head back to Dave’s place to pick up yesterday’s fish and then head back to another weeks work in London.
We’ll be back.