Bridport Times February 2018

Page 26

Wild Dorset

Image: Paul Newman



Neville Copperthwaite, Independent Marine Consultant and Project Coordinator

t has long been said that February is the border between winter and spring when those grey winter days no longer seem quite so endless. Sea temperatures are at their lowest in Lyme Bay, well below 10 degrees Celsius, and the incidence of biting easterly winds is higher than usual; if you are a fisherman, this is significant. Fishing folklore tells us that, ‘Wind from the east, fish bite the least; Wind from the west, the fish bite the best!’ My father used to tell me this when I was a child and my experience subsequently bears this out, although it completely baffles me how fish on the bottom of the ocean can tell which way the wind is 26 | Bridport Times | February 2018

blowing. And anyway, why should the wind direction matter? I have never been able to find a scientific explanation for this enigma but nevertheless it exists and it will continue to perplex me. Jamie Smith is one of the West Bay fishermen who braves the adverse conditions by working throughout the winter, although he says February is his least favourite month. Jamie has been fishing out of West Bay for thirty years; prior to this, his background was as a tenanted farmer for the National Trust, the family farm being located near Golden Cap overlooking the sea. The increasing financial hardship associated with tenant