Sunday, 30 May 2010

Going for gold.

The sun had been blazing all weekend so Sunday morning I headed out early for a morning chasing crucians at Snitterfield reservoir. I hadn't fished here since last Autumn, so when I arrived and was met with this sight I thought it looked perfect, and felt my chance of getting into a few were high.

crucian heaven!

I set up in a peg in the shallower weedy end of the lake and put up a fourteen foot float rod with light pole float to fish close against the weeds. The tip on the float never even settled before it shot off and a small Rudd came flipping to hand. This went on constantly for three hours as a constant stream of Roach, Rudd, perch, Hybrids and bream took the bait.
Early on I had two good crucians roll over my baited area both estimated at one to two pounds. But no matter how many different baits or rig changes I made I never got a sniff from one. Both the roach and bream seemed to get bigger as the morning went on, the best roach being around a pound and bream of three pounds. After I had been feeding maggots quite heavily to try and feed of the insatiable hoard of Rudd I noticed some big roach coming up high in the water and intercepting them as they sank. Using a slow sinking set up I bagged some nice fish up to 14oz.

By 10am the open concrete bank of this Warwickshire lake was beginning to feel very much Mediterranean
and by 12noon I was done. Pulling the net from the water and feeling resistance I felt sure I had managed a challenge point somewhere amongst this catch but sadly I was to be disappointed as the bleeding point amongst the twenty pound bag of fish was the Rudd which I had already got earlier in the week.
A couple of bramas

As an angler more inclined towards specimen fishing I often find myself making the decision to wait for one or two larger fish rather than actively trying to catch numbers of smaller fish. So spending a session doing the exact opposite from my norm at first felt a little alien but after a while I really got back into it and began to enjoy myself. 

I was chuffed with the end result of around twenty pounds spread over five species and was also impressed that after so many years ignoring these fish I could find so much enjoyment in spending a morning catching them. Here in lies part of the enjoyment of being part of the challenge for me, It has made me fish for species of fish using techniques I have not done for ages and I am finding very refreshing to revisit some of these things I have long ignored.  

The end result a 20lb mixed bag         

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Two ruddy close for comfort

Tuesday night after work I joined Keith for a short evening session on Jeff's Rudd pond. This was to be a blast from my past for me in two ways. Firstly because these ponds are situated in an area where I did a lot of my formative fishing and secondly because it's been many a year since I last fished for little Rudd using whip/maggot tactics.

To be honest I wasn't sure of which of the three ponds I was heading to or where they were as I walked across the field. So as I speak the local lingo I stopped to ask directions from a couple of young tearaways who where smashing up some fencing, who obviously taken back by my aggressive tone merely pointed over the field.

Finally I located Keith on a small featureless drainage pond. In time it took me to approach I saw him catch at least seven Rudd and when near his grin signaled it had been going pretty well. By the time I had put my new three piece cane pole together Keith was convinced he had the Rudd point in the bag. The time being around seven pm I thought that by half nine I could have my Rudd point in the bag too.

My cane pole performed well on all accounts bar one. The pond was very shallow and the better sized Rudd seemed to come from about four feet further than I could cast. So after only a pound of tiny Rudd I switched over to the only other rod I took a five foot American style rod with fixed spool reel.

Keith had by now weighed in an impressive 9.8lbs of Rudd and had joined me for a chat whilst I tried to ground out the point. At this point I must thank Keith for his advantageous help as a bait slinger whilst I snatched Rudd after tiny Rudd at three to the ounce.

I knew I had to keep at it till the light went and in the end I could no longer see the tiny float and instead began relying on The Force, as Keith called it, and striking when I suspected the bait to be in a fishes mouth, which strangely worked.

Pulling the net from the water I looked in and straight away and thought, I ain't done this. A few moments of two men crouching over a flapping mass of tiny golden fish tossing out any unwanted perch and I was ready for my result.... 4lb 12oz. Woo hoo! Two whole ounces over the 4lb 10oz Rudd record for my second point. Though we weren't sure of the exact weight and had to call Pete for confirmation (thanks Pete)

Though this is the second time I have felt the unnerving feeling of being so close to a  challenge point, I still enjoyed it and would recommend that 'Every so often put away your specimen rods, forget about giant fish, big lakes or rivers and go back to your childhood roots to try and recapture a moment or two from your youth'.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Man flu carping.

After my first foray on the canal last week I was keen to return and have another go at the carp that had been appearing nightly in my dreams. But the combination of a decent case of man flu and my still lingering hangover from Friday nights drinks with Jeff, Keith and Pete rendered me incapable of getting up any where near early enough for the canal. So I instead opted to spend a few hours at Ryton.

After coughing and sneezing the whole way there I took some time and stood on the duck platform trying to spot any signs of fish. The only other angler on the lake was Andy who was on morris's. After waving him good morning he yelled over that he had already had a few runs. A quite morning in the woods away from the busy road bank seemed like a good idea. So after getting my gear I wheezed my way round to the log swim down the bank from Andy.

Feeling a bit lazy due to my delicate condition I set up both rods with a method feeders with the idea of punching them onto the gravel bar on the centre of the lake and leaving them well alone. I had already cast one out and was in the process of making the method ball for the other when a nice carp breached a little to my left. I never look a gift horse in the mouth and cast that one within ten feet of the jumping fish. With everything set up and my rods fishing silently away for me on the indicators I wandered off to the empty swim in between me and Andy to chat to him.

Andys baits were getting regular attention from something and whilst he recast one of his rods I went back to my peg to check everything out. As I did one of my indicators began screaming and I began running. Lifting the rod It felt very solid, weedy solid that is. The line was going straight out and the fish was swirling twenty feet to my left. All I could do was hold tight and see if it fancied giving me a break, which it eventually did and kited straight into my other line! After threading my rod up and over my second rod a couple of times it was finally in open water and ready for the net. It was defiantly the same carp that jumped, a stocky common of 11lbs.

That was it for my bites for the morning. Though Andy managed to hook a suspected ghosty which weeded him up and then bagged a nice tench before we both left.

As we walked round the lake and we got near the disabled peg we began to see dark shapes just below the water. There must have been between twenty and fifty carp of all sizes cruising round in the shallow water.
We were like kids looking in a sweet shop window watching as more slowly appeared and others left. Though none of the fish we saw were monsters, the huge number of smaller carp can only mean good things for the future of this lake.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Back after canal carp.

Over the last couple of months I have had a niggling thought in the back of my mind and it has been very hard to ignore. The thing that has plagued me so much is that I should be paying my coveted and secret canal carp spot some attention, as I know they will be feeding by now. But sadly I haven't felt up to the four mile walk out into the middle of nowhere due my still lingering injury. Until now that is...

I went to bed with all the best intentions of getting up at 5am. But that didn't happen - damn you snooze button! - so I arrived a little later than planned. Before leaving I had thinned out my gear, leaving behind anything unneeded to reduce the weight I would have to carry. So I was on minimum kit. 
Walking down a wet muddy country canal towpath carrying even the smallest amount of tackle for miles in wellies is a real task but I knew the possible rewards far out way the walk.

I cannot claim to be the discoverer of the carp sanctuary I was on my way to fish, as that honor must go to my good friend Rob whom is currently on a reptile safari in St Lucia, who a few years ago whist pioneering for new fishing venues discovered this place, and I thank him for it.

The resident carp population seem to have particular territory; two stretches that they move up and down dependent on varying factors, and within that area are three specific spots that will generally hold them. This can make fishing for them a little testing, as locating them can take up valuable fishing time.

My plan has been clear in my head since the last visit at the end of last summer. As I walk past each area I stop and spend a few minutes first looking to try to spot them, if I can't I then distribute small golf ball sized balls of ground bait laced with pellets and chopped boilies onto the far ledge in known feeding areas, or spaced about four feet apart but always parallel to each other. The reason for this I will explain later.

At the first spot, which I call the spawning spot, there was no signs of movement so I baited up and moved on. At the next spot which I call snag city, there were a shoal of small bream rolling so I again baited up and headed to the top of their range to a swim I call, by chance, top swim. From here I began fishing.

I only ever bait a swim I intend to fish straight away lightly, if at all, as the fish are easily spooked. Unlike the other swims which will have a few hours to cook, I wanted a fairly instant reaction and not to have to wait for the fish to come back in after being scared off.

Once in place I first put out a chod rig with two grains of buoyant corn about six inches off the bottom, to try and intercept any patrolling carp. The second rod is where the ground bait comes in to play. I use solid PVA bags about the size of golf balls with the rig and hook bait wrapped up nice and tight inside with a good helping of ground bait and pellets. When you cast them tight under the far bank cover they never get caught up on the way in. The small pile of bait is identical to the small patches of free offerings I distribute around, so if a couple of fish are moving along under the far bank and keep finding these tasty mouthfuls of food, sooner or later they will find the one with a hook bait in it. On both rigs I use tungsten putty on the line to help it mould to the bottom as well as a small flying back lead to keep the line on the bottom of the trench. This is finished off with a  clip on back lead on my side of the canal to allow barges to pass over the lines, and thus cut out the need for disruptive recasting.

When I first went after these fish I began by using lift float tactics but although this got plenty of bites I got turned over again and again when carp went hurtling into the snags. It didn't take long to figure out that by using conventional carp tactics with back leads when a fish was hooked the line could pass under all the snags. Without pressure from a strike the fish would head into open water when the hook pricked them rather than into the snags. Using bite alarms instead of watching a float meant I could walk up the bank to try and spot fish whilst still fishing confidently.

The first couple of hours were very quiet in the top peg until I spotted a rather useful fish Rob named golden balls (a golden/white koi) tight to the far bank, so I knew they were around. After carefully moving my chod a bit closer I waited. After another forty minutes I knew it was time to move on so headed back to snag city to see if any one was around there.

Snag city

As I crept back into the swim I was met by a glorious sight. Towards the left hand side of the baited area I could see three large tails swaying just under the surface. As the owners of said tails lazily fed directly on my free bait and under the snag itself, I could see two more dark shapes moving around. There was at least five good sized carp in residence and there would surely be a few others yet unseen.

The problem now was how do you cast to a bunch of feeding carp in only 18" of water without scaring them off. The chod rig wasn't a problem as the short underarm cast would allow me to slow the lead down to a mere plop right against the snag. The other rod however was a problem as the three feeding carp were in no rush to move on which would have allowed me to put a new ball of bait out. The geography of the far bank came to my rescue when I realised there was a small patch of grass through a gap in the trees. Making up a bag with the rig safely inside I intended to cast over the canal onto the grass bank, which in theory should cushion the impact of the bag; it would roll gently onto the edge where I could quickly pull it back into position before the bag melted. Or so I thought. The reality was that, yes, the bag went onto the bank but instead of rolling in it buried deep into the grass which I instantly realized would be damp.Trying not to panic I gently pulled the line by hand and by some miracle it slowly slid into the water were I continued to pull it over the gravelly bottom into position.

The traps were set and ready to be sprung and they remained that way for the next hour and a half till the boats started. After seven boats I  began to think I had missed my chance when the water around the PVA bag rod started clouding up randomly. My heart started racing as I waited. Then two small bream rolled directly over the bait as their shoal mates mopped up my bait below. I was running out of time and had already called Jacky to say I was going to stop a bit longer an hour ago. The sight of another barge in the distance  heralded the opportunity to recast one rod so I quickly pulled out the chod rig rod and hastily made a bag for it and changed the pop up for a bottom bait therefore turning into a bastard helicopter rig. I often use the disturbance of a barge makes as it passes to mask my casting of a fresh rig.

Half an hour later I had to go so I reluctantly began packing up with my head hung low. With everything away apart from the rods and net I was faced with a choice. Which rod, left or right. I knew the bream had cleared out the one to my left, so the decision was made.

Kneeling down with my back to the canal packing away the indicator I heard a bleep! Convinced I had turned it off  I knelt shaking the indicator in hand and holding it to my ear for a moment before it clicked "it's not that indicator" turning round I could see the bobbin slowly rising. Lifting gently to one side the rod bent very little as what I thought was a small bream moved off. Once in open water I lifted the rod and got a glimpse of a golden flank "oh it's a small carp" I said to myself. Then calmly as you like it rolled onto it's side and I was met by the sight sight of a good double lying there staring up at me with absolutely no idea it was hooked. Then when it set eyes on me I got my first ever taste of tail walking carp as it exploded in a blind panic across the surface.

After trying to get back into the snag several times it duly plodded around under the rod tip for ages before I manged to net net it and bank my first canal carp of  2010.

A solid wild canal common of 16lbs 9oz

The long walk back to the car was made much easier by this capture and I happily skipped back along the towpath home.

I don't think it will take me eight months to return again, as one of the fish I saw feeding was at least a twenty....

Monday, 10 May 2010

Well timed tench.

Friday afternoon I nipped out of work early to go and have a few hours at Ryton. Walking round the pool I spotted Barry fishing in the woods and went over for a chat. I fancied fishing the windward end of the lake and as Barry took a nice tench whilst I stood chatting to him, I opted to fish the adjacent swim. The fish at Ryton have begun responding to the method feeder of late, so I fired one out into deeper water across the lake. On the other rod I stuck with a short zig rig to try and intercept any mobile carp. Though the company was good on this side of the lake the fishing proved exactly the opposite and after two hours the only thing that had turned up on the bank was Roger. When I first arrived and walked once round the lake I had debated whether to fish the road bank but the woods had tempted me away. But now after two bite free hours my gut instinct was telling me to get over there quick. Once in place I cast the method into a known feeding spot and fired the zig right over past the feeding station. The zig hadn't even settled before It slowly pulled off. Though after lifting into no resistance I suspected a unseen water bird may have been responsible. A text message informed me my session was soon to be over as I had to go and pick Jacky up from the station so I slowly packed up. As I did Barry turned up to say goodbye. We had only been talking for a couple of minutes when my method rod went from silent to full on screaming as a fish shot off. A nice tench of around four pounds was soon in the net and saved me from the dreaded blank. Barry did the honours with the camera. But I had totally forgot that I had just lit a fag hence the fag in gob hillbilly look I am sporting in the photo. Ye haa 

Thursday, 6 May 2010

New Tackle.

Whilst writing my last blog I neglected to report my latest tackle purchase. Bought whilst away on holiday, it is something I think may make the chasing of smaller species points in the challenge very interesting....

One day whilst strolling with my good lady along the rows of seaside tat shops that normally only sell useless trinkets and pan-pipe versions of classic albums I spotted something out the corner of my eye. Something of interest to a piscatorial obsessive such as myself on the hoarding of one of the afore mentioned tat shops.
Fishing tackle!
Being absolutely unable to stop myself investigating, the course of our leisurely stroll took a drastic change of direction straight into this Aladdin's cave, much to the lady's protest. Inside the shelves were filled with a variety of cheap and useless objects, but the location of the advertised tackle remained hidden until in a corner I saw a large black bin filled with what I was looking for! No not a bundle of Diawa infinity carp rods, no not hand made split cane orvis fly rods but something much, much better.

For the princely sum of one hundred English pennies I bought this!

A genuine Chinese made bamboo fishing pole.

Whilst telling a work college about this purchase he made a passing comment that I would look like some kind of gnome fishing with it and should get a hat to finish of the ensemble.

How could I possibly resist...

Not satisfied by producing just the hat I penned this rough design for a matching fishing seat to really give the look that finishing touch.

I am now thinking I should approach some of the big tackle manufacturers to see if they want to put my design into production.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

A week of something different.

Last October when on holiday I had my first attempt at sea fishing and after some small successes I was really looking forward to return to the east coast to have another crack at it this year. On my first attempts I found my lack of knowledge on the subject made it hard to fish effectively, so after a suitable amount of research and some new gear I was confident that I could now get into some serious fishing. The one thing I could not forget however was that I was actually on holiday with Jacky and not on a seven day fishing trip. So before even getting in the car to leave I had thought that I would try and fit in a few smaller sessions when the chances arose rather than just disappear for the whole day. I had also decided that rather than just flitting up and down the coast that I would concentrate on two venues, one being Lowestoft harbour, a venue I had fished before and the other being Pakefield beach, a popular venue with locals that crops up regularly on the internet on websites and sea fishing forums. Both venues were within close proximity of our holiday home.
Day 1 
Lowestoft Outer harbour wall
Flood-High tide
For my first session I returned to the last place I fished last time I was here, with the knowledge that the inner harbour generally fishes quite well all year round. The inner harbour is a very industrial landscape that is home to a busy fishing fleet whereas the opposite side of the wall is open sea. I cast two rods out, one with a two hook paternoster baited with rag worm and the second, another two hook rig with larger hooks and heavier line baited with squid/mackerel, stood back and waited....... After an hour my confidence had plummeted as both rods hadn't moved at all, so a move to the sea ward side of the wall was made over the epic distance of thirty feet. Surprisingly to me the squid/mackerel rod was the first to get rattled by a decent whiting then followed by the rag rod by a tiny pouting

Pouting #1

After this the bites came thick and fast and I added two more viscious little pouting and this small flatfish I suspect to be a dab.

After this it all went quite till my squid /mackerel rod was almost hauled down the wall by this dog fish of 11/2lb.

My only other bite came from my very first ever codling of all of two ounces. Not even  big enough to make one fish finger out of but still very pleasing.

Fish finger, anyone?

It turned out to be a good start, but I was surprised by the size of the bait even a tiny pouting was capable of eating. A six inch rag worm and a huge hook by my normal standards went easily into a mouth filled with loads of tiny needle like teeth, and considering there were only the size of a small roach they rattled the end of my broom stick like rod with ease.

Day two
Pakefield beach
low tide
With a shiny new tripod in hand I trudged over the shingle high tide line to get to the beach, but sadly even with my new found freedom to give the lead some welly without having other anglers around who's lines I could cross, this session was destined to be a dud. When the sky blacked up and I found myself sheltering under the only brolly I had bought with me. A green and blue golf umbrella from the boot of the car.
The only movement of the rod was caused by the only fish of this session another small codling albeit bigger than the last.

The weather didn't look like it was about to clear up any time so I made the decision to head up the road to the harbour wall where I could park the car on the wall and get some needed shelter whilst still fishing. The wall was packed with locals who all seem to arrive just after work and fish until midnight.
It went well and I added a small whiting,eight more pouting a plaice and two more dabs to my tally for the day and went home a happy man.

Day 3
Pakefield beach
low tide

Returning to the beach determined to get into a few fish I opted to fish near a groin with some buoys at the end of it. My thinking was that the structure might hold some fish. I was right as I got bites from the off but the buoys turned out to be a marker of some rather rough ground and every time I struck the lead caught up on the way in and it wasn't long before I got terminally caught up and a rig got lost. It didn't take long for the second rod to snag up and lose another rig. So with time ticking away rather than move I cast out a couple of new rigs much closer in not far off the breaking waves and discovered something I stupidly never knew was there; when the tide is at it's lowest point the waves still pound the beach and scour out a trench which turned out to be full of fish. In two hours fishing in this low tide trench I added three pouting, a whiting , two more codling and two very aggressive bass all on rag worm. The bites came one after another and it didn't take long for me to run out of bait.

Angry bass

Cod hand Luke

This short afternoon jaunt filled me with confidence for the beach, especially when I was reeling in one of the small pouting and the rod took a sudden bang as a much larger fish snatched it on the way in.

Day 4
Pakefield beach
flood tide
I couldn't wait to get back to the beach the next evening for a few hours, but unbeknownst to me something had changed. I set up further up the beach to avoid the snaggy area and knowing there were some bigger fish around I put out a rod baited with squid on a running rig and one with a whiting rig on baited with rag worm to get some instant bites.  After ten minutes my squid rod thumped over and in a major flap I struck into some resistance. At first I thought it was an eel but soon realised I had bagged my first starry smooth hound of about one pound which was quickly followed by two more. By now I was thinking that a night of this would be great fun, but as soon as they started biting they moved on and my friends, the east coast pouting association, turned up again as I bagged three more of these hungry buggers.
The Lone Gunman on day trip to the beach catches small shark

Does anyone know any good grassy knolls round here?

Pouting #?

About half way through this session a local sea fishing club turned up down the beach for their mid week evening match. The last bloke along, a rather weather beaten old fella came over and had a chat with me before the match started and explained about the rough ground down the beach "argh ye wee call thaat death alley. it's where a uld chuurch fell into the sea yars ago. thars raacks the suize ave fraadge freezurs in thar" which went some way to explaining my lost gear the previous night and amused me all the way home.

Day 5
Lowestoft harbour wall
low/flood tide
I dragged my lazy ass out of bed at 5.30am with a very muzzy head from consumption of the local vino to get down the harbor for an early one. The day before I had purchased a fresh batch of bait as the old stuff was beginning to stink. This proved to be a good move as there were plenty of fish in residence.
My first positive bite produced a small smooth hound which was followed by a micro dog fish. After this it turned into a very busy session with bites coming on both rods. A shoal of smooth hounds passed through and I added two more in quick succession as well as another codling and a whiting.

Giant man attacks young pup!

Mr Whiting

The best was still to come when my squid rod lurched forward and the butt lifted clean off the ground. For the first time there was some weight to the fish, which combined with the six ounce lead and a swelling sea made for an interesting fight. After winching it twenty plus feet up the wall I finally got my hands on the biggest fish I have caught in the sea yet a 4lb dog fish. After this the only other fish to nibble were my old friends the pouting.

Not exactly jaws but the biggest of the week

Day 5
Pakefield beach
flood tide
We had intended to spend the afternoon in the pub sampling the local brews. But upon arriving we city folk were shocked to find that in the off season the pub closed from two until seven like pubs used to before twenty four hour drinking came in. I will say at this point that I offered Jacky the opportunity to do many of the wonderful pastimes a UK holiday offers such as shopping at Asda or visiting a local attraction. But when the words "why don't you go fishing for a few hours" were uttered from her mouth I suddenly got rather excited. Though before running off whooping I did double check if she was of sound mind, which duly confirmed she wasn't by saying "I will come along. It will be nice to have a few hours on the beach whilst you fish". Five minutes later I was standing by the car hopping from one foot to the other, rods in hand begging her to hurry up. It was nice having Jacky with me and for her comfort whilst I stood facing the sea in a trance she erected the two brolly's from the car boot under my beach rest and sat chuckling away reading Warwick Davis's autobiography like a mad beach pixie. Pakefields resident fish population was nowhere to be seen and out of three trembles a single dab saved me from the dreaded blank.

Local Dab saves midlander from blank

Day 6
Lowestoft harbour
flood tide
I hadn't planned to fish today as the weather forecast was not good and being totally unprepared for any bad weather I didn't fancy get my nuts frozen clean off. But by dinner time the predicted bad weather had not appeared apart from a stiff on shore breeze, With a few valuable rag worm left over and half a box of squid I headed out under the guise of not wanting to waste any expensive bait.
All week the weather had been very kind to me, probably due to mother nature taking pity on this poor midlander who thought it would be fun to go sea fishing. But when I arrived at the harbour the slight ripple of previous days was now 3ft high waves. The locals were out in hordes. After chatting to a few I found out that these conditions often bring the larger fish closer on shore hence the abundance of local sea fishermen. The bites that followed where viscous and one chap landed a nice bass of around four pounds near the beach end of the wall. I missed two savage bites on whole squid then converted my third into smooth hound of two pounds (sorry no pic) before the sea calmed and the bites stopped. Whilst eeking out my bait I caught two pin whiting and two more pouting.

My second attempt at sea fishing as far as I am concerned went very well. The new knowledge learnt from both my own experiences and from local anglers/tackle shops as the week passed proved invaluable to my success.
Though I now know sea anglers really don't have it easy! When we have those windy days that we all moan about they have force ten gales, which after a few years of regular sea fishing can make a young man look very old, something I found to be true whilst chatting to a local angler who for some reason during a conversation confirmed he was the same age as me, 32 when he looked to be close to fifty two!
We all complain when we can't get a swim feeder to hold in a flooded river, whereas they get tides travelling in all directions all the time with the force of entire oceans and planets causing it.
Spending even a few hours hurling out 4-8oz leads using a rod as thick as broom stick with 20lb line and a 60lb stock leader plus bait into the wind is knackering, and reeling them back with a mass of seaweed whilst the tide is intent on pulling out to sea is a job in itself.
Up until know I thought that some of the baits I normally use are a bit pongy, but the baits used in sea fishing have a stink all of there own that is still lingering on my hands now, a fact Jacky and our car will both vouch for.
Rag worms are the single meanest mothers I have ever tried to impale on a hook and they cost a fortune at £4-£5 per hundred grams which is not  loads either. Squid though cheap is basically useless once it starts to hum, and crabs which though weren't around in any numbers can strip a carefully prepared bait in minutes, leaving you staring at a motionless rod tip thinking why aren't I getting any bites.

   This huge specimen was the angriest bar far and nipped me twice before he was finally hurled into the brine.......

But the one thing I can say with some certainty is that I love it and can't wait to return to the ever moving sea to have another go some time later this year!