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Cornwall 2017

Mr. X

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September already and nobody created a "Cornwall 2017" thread yet! (Anybody can create new threads ;)). Fear not, there has been a lot of spearing activity in Cornwall lately - I know because I've seen it and taken part in it. Spearfishing has visibly grown from an unusual, exotic pastime for eccentrics to being surprisingly main-stream. The weather and conditions last week were glorious. Tell us what you've been up to :)

More on my adventures later.
 
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Mr. X

Mr. X

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I was in S. Cornwall last week. For the most part, the sun shone hotly, the water lay flat and gin clear and there was much less surface weed and bloom than on previous visits - conditions were as close to ideal as they are likely ever to be in the UK :D I saw a wider variety of fish and fish activity than I have ever seen in one place before.

Lots of Wrasse of course, of various sizes, patterns and hues. Mackerel - tiny tiny bait fish size only though. Where have all the big mackerel gone? On board the new 4-ton net capacity trawlers perhaps :( . Gar fish (small & medium only), sandeels (greater & lesser), flat fish (a tiny Turbot and Plaice greater than handsize). The back end of an eel (small conger perhaps?). Grey mullet (medium and large size) and one that was mainly white with patches of silver (many of the local fish - including Wrasse & weaver fish, have white-ish varieties which provide camouflage over the local sand) - I assumed it was a Wrasse at first. A few Bass, mainly very small schoolies (small even by schoolie standards) but a few of reasonable size, and at least two big ones in quieter, more remote areas of coast. My best one of the week 64cm, as measured by a third party - enough to feed 6 or 7 hungry adults.

In these unusually favourable conditions, in general, the spearos enjoyed greater success than the shore and kayak based anglers. One poor chap speared a decent mullet but dropped it close to shore. I know this because I found it while snorkeling in my shortie wetsuit without a speargun, etc. - quite a laugh to get such a nice fish without any gear!. Alas the spearos had all gone home, so that one is my freezer now.
 
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Woohoo

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Can I ask you whereabouts you dove? I'm surprised to read there were many other spearos in the same place as you. Unless of course you were all together, but I didn't get the impression you were.
 
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Mr. X

Mr. X

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No, we were all independent of each other. In recent years I have generally avoided mentioning specific locations because they can become "honey pots" and unnecessarily clutter places I like to dive and deter exploration. This forum is also visible to commercial fishermen. Fish swim all around our coast, specific locations are less important than general conditions/environment*. Despite the excellent conditions and fishing this time (past visits there were not as good), I don't plan to return anytime soon - it was overcrowded. *I will say it was south Cornwall, which means it is potentially exposed to prevailing winds but is generally far calmer and more sheltered than the north coast.
 
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Woohoo

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In recent years I have generally avoided mentioning specific locations because they can become "honey pots" and unnecessarily clutter places I like to dive and deter exploration.
Fair enough mate, makes sense. I just found it strange because I've never come across one single spearo when I've been out. I go to both relatively out the way places only frequented by the occasional dog walker, and quite busy tourist beaches, but I've never seen anyone.
 
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Mr. X

Mr. X

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That is usually my experience too. I think the early August bank holiday this year, combined with excellent weather probably contributed to the crowds.
 

shiny1

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I dived a couple of times recently on the Cornish southeast coast. Seen plenty of bass when not looking for them. Plaice is normally my target fish. One spot is a known spot which i dive a lot. I had a 4 plaice 1 dover 1 bass and a lobster.
The other spot was a new place i found while studying some charts in the winter. Its about a 2 kilometre swim or paddle (if you have a kayak) from the shore. I used my kayak for the first time. It came with a small fishfinder. I had no gps just a rough guide in my head from the charts. After a long paddle with nothing but flat ground on the f/f a bit of structure started to show. I drop the anchor over the side got kitted up then got in. The f/f said 10m, the charts said 8m. 10 m it was and nothing i could do other than get down and have a look. Nice ground just what i thought it would be and it wasnt long before i had my first plaice. I ended up with 10 plaice 1 bass 1 mullet before i was fecked. There was plenty of brown crabs buried in the muddy silty sand and a few cuttle fish but i didnt want any of that. I only did a small part of the ground and it was a neap tide. It will probably fish better on a spring tide and not so deep. I could take the boat next time but im a commercial fisherman and the last thing i want to do is go back out in the boat on a day offWP_20170829_20_09_13_Pro.jpg WP_001628.jpg
 
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Mr. X

Mr. X

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Feeding the family Shiny :)

One of the things I forgot to mention was that the amazingly favourable conditions in Cornwall allowed me dive comfortably for much longer than usual. I made two 5-hour dives in Cornwall this year and could easily have stayed in the water for another hour or more - I returned to do other things with my family and because I had completed my "dive plans". In the past, I don't think I have dived more 4 hours continuously, with 2-3 hours or so being normal.There were no strong currents this time to fight & tire, very little bloom and no swell to cause sickness. It was pleasantly warm, so I didn't get cold, even in my old wetsuit with 2mm gloves nor did I get too hot (less common in the UK but it can happen).

When I changed to my old wetsuit (I didn't need the warmth of the new suit and I found my old custom-made suit reassuringly familiar) I found myself overweighted, which helped diving & "stalking" but hindered ascending so next day, for safety's sake, I removed one of my backweights to improve the situation, as I was diving in mainly in fairly deep water. Tuning buoyancy can make a huge difference but this gave a fairly subtle but discernible improvement; had I been diving another week I would likely have reduced my ballast again.
 
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Mr. X

Mr. X

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I had low expectations for the weather so late in the Summer. Our week in Cornwall felt like a week on the Riviera with only a couple of heavy showers mid-week to remind us that we were in Britain. The following week, back at work, felt like winter by comparison, cold and grey. I lit my woodburner one night to fend off the chill!

It has been a strange Summer weatherwise. I think - because of school/college holidays - that we really don't make enough of the June and July in Britain. This year especially, we had something of a heatwave in July (when the squid are around) for several weeks followed by a disappointingly grey, wet August except the unusually fine weather of the last week, which we were fortunate to experience.
 
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Mr. X

Mr. X

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BTW It is not unusual for women and children to show interest in the fish we catch but this year I chatted to a couple of young women who were interested in spearfishing (speara) themselves. I think one of them had a reputation for being a particularly keen, accomplished snorkeler/freediver and fancied the idea of bringing home a fresh fish or two for the family's evening meal. And why not. Their husbands/partners joined us but it was the women who were interested in spearing :)

My wife pointed out an article recently that observed that women's hobbies usually tend to revolve around providing for the family in some way, while men's hobbies typically do not. Spearfishing it seems has the ability to appeal to both. Perhaps we are seeing the start of something, increasing female participation (the Japanese pearl divers are mostly/all women after all) - I hope so.
 
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