Five days in Ahakista and I still have not caught a mackerel. I went out in the boat first day and caught nothing and I was out again for an hour yesterday morning without even so much as a nibble on the line.
In between the wind and rain were too much to go out all.
It was still grey in the morning until it then cleared enough for us to be able to eat breakfast outside but after that another grey heavy cloud billowed up from behind the hills and it brought down a quick shower of rain. That cleared after ten minutes and as it did so the sun came out and the wind blew itself away. The sea came up a deep Caribbean blue, the tide was coming in and all looked right to out fishing.
I motored the small grey dingy out beyond the boats at anchor in Kitchen Cove but as I got out towards the point near Owen Island another grey cloud billowed up and I could see the pinprick splashes of rain in the sea. It came down heavy for ten minutes and I resolved to switch off the engine and start fishing once it had stopped. That took me another few hundred yards beyond the point. Most years this would be a prime position to drop down a line and haul it straight back in every hook weighed down with a fish. But this morning there was nothing. That didn’t matter at first. The sun was up high in the blue sky, there was light on the holes and from where I drifted I could look up and see the full sink of the Atlantic out beyond the head of the Bay.
After half an hour I still had nothing and the wind was starting up. It whipped at the water and suddenly there was a turn in the weather, the boat took on a heavier drift and there seemed even less prospect of being able to haul in a line of fish up from out of the water. I pulled in the line and made the hard beat back to the pier the small boat being pulled across the water by the wind pushing hard against the engine.
Later that afternoon we made up for the lack of mackerel excitement by volunteering for a rescue mission and being rescued ourselves.
One of the big boats that over-winter in Kitchen Cove had been out or a couple of days. Its tender had been left on a yellow buoy and in the gale like winds it had been tipped over with its engine on and so had to be rescued and taken to shore. This meant that when the big boat came back in it had no tender to make the journey back to the pier. So we volunteered to take the grey dingy out to pick up the man on board. This is all worked fine and we had ten minutes on the boat and an opportunity to take a look inside. Back on the dingy we headed back to the pier only to have the engine cut out and refuse to start. Now we were drifting with the wind and only two feeble oars row paddle us back to shore. At this point another small boat passed by. It was laden with disappointed fishermen who were happy to be handed a rope and pull us back to land.
That evening we ate fried breaded haddock with roasted potatoes and an improvised tartare sauce made from a jar of Hellman’s mayonnaise, capers, olives, garlic and a couple of spoonfuls of the French mustard I found at the back of the cupboard.
If the mackerel drought continues then I may have to pick up a catapult and have a go at the rabbit that has been spotted nibbling the green grass in the orchard.