Last Thursday we all piled into the Pajero and drove down to Looe. The men and I were intent on going mackerel fishing from the Cornish fishing village and indeed that is exactly what we did. On arrival the tide was out and our first enquiries about a trip were fruitless (or perhaps, more correctly, fishless) as yet another shop assistant was incredibly rude to Daddy. Needless to say, we didn’t return the next day as demanded of us.
Instead, we wandered into Looe and happily our initial irritation at bad manners dissipated when we found a board on the riverside advertising a mackerel trip for three o’clock that afternoon. There were four spaces left and we didn’t even have to deal with any obnoxious customer disservice as we just had to sign our names against the schedule and turn up at 3. Sorted.
To kill time we then negotiated all the families crabbing from the walls and ambled further along the quay to the beach and did a lot of people watching. The beach was swarming with holiday makers and seemed alive. We stood entranced for a while watching children bounce, leap and somersault high into the air attached to some sort of bungee, pulley contraption combined with trampolines.
With hungry tummies we then sought out supposedly the best fish and chip shop in the West Country. I’m not convinced. I guess the food was pretty decent, and sitting on the quayside to eat them was a pleasure, but once more the service was atrocious. The girl serving needed a sharp jab up the bottom with a hot poker.
Of course, as soon as I got my portion of chips and sat down to enjoy them Sam decided that he was hungry once more. I fed him while in front of me Daddy, Sy, Mel and Bill with Sam, made a lovely picture dangling their legs over the walls and munching their lunch. I wanted a photo but as soon as I had my hands free again they all moved. Bah humbug.
At three we raced to the little fishing boat and joined the two man crew and the four others who were to be our shop mates for the next two hours. Leaving Sam in Mum’s capable hands we turned our backs to Looe and headed out to sea as the incoming tide lifted the boat and we could set sail.
The trip out to deeper waters was beautiful. Dad told us tales of his walks with Molly along the rugged coastline and we could see clear beaches beneath the cliffs with narry a soul enjoying them. Okay, I know some of them are hard to get onto, but I never understand why more people don’t make the effort and instead are content to overpopulate crowded beaches. Of course, I’m also thankful that people are so lazy because else when we go seek out isolated beaches we’d have to put up with them spoiling our view and we don’t want that!
As our tiny little fishing boat headed out a cormorant flew up to our vessel. The captain exclaimed “ooh I’ve got a mackerel for him!” and pulled a fish from a box. He enticed the bird closer by waggling the fish in the air and then fed it to the greedy bird who snapped it from his hand.
Fishing itself was pretty disappointing though. Sy being the jammy sod he is caught the first fish of the afternoon, but it wasn’t the mackerel we were seeking. Instead he caught a Wrasse which got thrown out to feed another hungry bird. Then followed a whole lot of no interest from the fish at all.
We changed location a few times, all the while the skipper exclaimed that the fish had been practically leaping onto the hooks here on a previous fishing trip and that they’d returned laden with mackerel.
We diligently lowered our lines to the appropriate depth (letting it out for ten seconds) and waggled and jiggled our rods ’til our arms wanted to fall off (worse even than toteing Sam around for hours) but to no avail. No dramatic catch at all. We did get a few bites and eventually I think we had all managed to catch one paltry mackerel each, and a couple of pollack, before it was time to chug off back to shore. Not a terribly impressive haul with which to dazzle the waiting Mum and Mel. Still, we did have a marvellous time.
And a marvellous time is what is sounds like Mum and Sam had too. She took Sam onto the beach and introduced him to the sea. She said she took him paddling and he was terribly excited by the wet sand beneath his feet and the water sloshing around his toes.
Mum, Dad and Bill enjoyed the mackerel we caught for their supper the next evening.