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Fish ‘n Chippy - Part 3: Species Fishing

It is the beginning of October. Fabian Frenzel, Oliver Krage, Frank Adam, Florian Hühnken and I are staying in Penzance, a town in the most westerly part of Cornwall, Southwest of England.  The bay to the entrance of the British Channel is a paradise for sea anglers: We were able to catch 20 species of fish in only four days. We will share our experiences in a series of three articles. Follow us into breathtaking moments, surrounded by a beautiful landscape.

Part 3: Species Fishing
The heavy rods and reels stay home on our second date with Chippy. Today a whole bunch of different species is waiting to be caught. We use the light 6-12 lbs Fin-Nor Lethal Variados, combined with the small and super-light Fin-Nor Primal reel. Our skipper knows his fishing area like the back of his hand. Once again, just behind the harbour we catch enough mackeral, which we will use as bait later on. Chippy had bought ragworms and squid from the fishing shop to vary the bait offer. A few miles further, we hook finger-length pieces of fish and drop the rigs down to the sandy ocean bed. A heavy lead weighing approximately 200g is attached to a running boom to keep the rig at the bottom. Fabian really wants to catch a John Dory. Chippy says the season is not ideal, but he might be lucky. Fabian however is determined to catch his “darling”, who looks like a punk with funny spikes on his back. Everyone else on board just wants to fish regardless of what is coming. Even Chippy picks up a rod and starts to fish in the back of the catamaran. Oliver tries to catch different species with “Q paddlers”. However, the fishing technique is completely irrelevant. Our first catch was the whiting followed by gurnad.

At the next spot Chippy warns us about the rough sea bed. Larger stones could be catastrophic if we are not careful. We can successfully add Conger to our fast-growing fishing list. Frank catches the baby version, while Chippy once again proves his talent and pulls a giant out of the water. Instead of a John Dory, Fabian catches a large and beautiful ballan wrasse. Oliver is also able to add a colorful cuckoo wrasse to the list. Suddenly something is pulling heavily at the end of Frank's rig: "This thing feels weird” he shouts! Is it sea grass? No, he has hooked an octopus! It is hard for me to put the camera away. Everyone has caught a new species of fish. Frank is on a roll: he has also hooked a ling. For South English conditions a really big, fat ling.
After a while, Chippy decides that it is time for pollack, cod and poor cod. We change the fishing spot. It is an absolute honour for me to have caught the only cod on the entire tour. Cod was the very first fish I hooked and twelve years later I experience the same feeling every time I hook a cod. I am as delighted when the guys show off their pollack, poor cod and scad in front of my camera. In the meantime we catch more and more whitings.

At a new spot, Fabian catches a special species: A small spider crab, which looks really scary.
The current has increased significantly, so we change spots and drop the anchor. The advantage of this is that our bait will once again be well presented on the ground. We celebrate our next catch: Dog fish! It’s skin is like sandpaper making it easy to grip. Our last spot is a sandy bay at the foot of the Minack Theater, which is literally built into the rocks. We try to catch flat fishes to no avail. However, we manage to catch another beauty: Tub Gurnad! It looks like a colourful butterfly with it’s red body and fins in bright emerald green with dark blue stripes. Awesome! Love at first sight. It becomes strangely quiet on boat. We have never seen such a beautiful fish in real life. Chippy interrupts our daydream as he catches a dab. We can tick off the last open item on our fishing list.

Our impressions and experiences in and around Penzance remain deeply entrenched in our hearts. I firmly believe that Fabian will catch his John Dory when we visit this beautiful place again.