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The Poole Bay Plaice Chase is in its second year in the UK. This is a fun competition with no prizes but gets everyone together and raises some much needed cash for the UK Heroes on the Water Charity.

Plaice fishing has never been my forte. I have caught them and sometimes when I have actually being targeting them but mostly they have been an accidental catch. Thursday was spent creating some of the most elaborate rigs I have ever used, spoons, sequins, beads and spinners. It looked like the Christmas decorations had been taken out early.

I decided to make a weekend of it and early Friday morning met Martin on the beach for a practise session. There were a couple of other kayaks getting ready as well and the word was that plenty of plaice had been caught the week before. It was with high hopes that we launched into a flat sea and started drifting around.

The fish were soon hitting the baits but unfortunately they weren’t plaice. In fact we had everything but. We drifted for nearly two miles picking up gobies, dogfish, pouting, whiting, smooth hounds, and pouting. In the end we anchored up near some net buoys to try a change of tactics but with the same results.

That evening over a few beers it became obvious that a new plan was needed. New tactics were discussed and new rigs were designed.

It was with a renewed confidence and hope that we arrived at the meeting point on Saturday morning. Soon the regular faces began to appear along with several new ones and by 8am most people were launching into a fairly hefty shore dump. This is always a nervous time with a beach full of people holding video cameras just waiting for you to get tipped, but I timed it perfectly getting through the surf. A couple of others weren’t so lucky !

I had decided to stay closer to the beach today and anchored in a gulley just a few hundred meters out. For the first hour I hardly had a bite but saw Keith Ward land a plaice and Martin had one close by as well so I knew the fish were around this area. A quick move just 20 meters away and I was soon getting bites. In fact I was catching fish all day, including flat fish but just could not find a plaice no matter what I tried. I did add five species to my tally for the year which was a bonus.
By just after mid-day the wind was bitterly cold and the bait was running low so I called it a day and headed back to the beach.

Many people were already back and there was plenty of banter as people started to bring back their fish back for measuring. The fishing had turned out to be hard and of the 30 plus anglers only seven managed to catch a plaice.

The eventual winner was Jason Stanbridge from Portsmouth who gets the trophy for the year and the HOW commemorative tankard.

Many thanks to Lofty for organising the event and to the Poole Bay Small Boat Anglers for supplying a support boat. They actually did a hot food and drink delivery service delivered to your yak via a gaff which had to be seen to be believed. Despite my lack of plaice this year I already have a cunning plan for 2015.