Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Out of nowhere.

I headed through to Loch Etive on Sunday to have a go at catching a fifteen spined stickleback. I thought I would try a new approach and wearing waders I got into the water and started looking for my target amongst the bladderwrack. I fished a tiny piece of ragworm under on a tanago hook under a tanago float. As I slowly moved around I spotted a couple of fairly big ones but as I got within range they swam off into the weed. Trying to tempt them out again didn't work but I caught lots of common and two spotted gobies which were in a typically kamikaze mood. After a few hours I had all but given up hope when I dropped my bait down into another gap in the weed and was quite surprised when a fifteen spined stickleback shot out from its hiding place and stopped right in front of my bait. It paused for a second or two before taking the bait into its mouth and I quickly struck setting the hook's tiny point. The fish was very quickly swung to hand and I made my way back to the shore where I popped it in a small tub of water.

My twelfth new species of 2016! What a funky little fish.
The large eye of an ambush predator.

Having seen them in the past sitting almost motionless, pretending to be weed or swimming along very slowly I never really though of them as an aggressive species but this little chap's attack has forced me to think again. Before I left I visited a second mark to see if I could catch any more and whilst I did spot quite a lot of them they were all much smaller than the one I'd caught and there were lots of poor cod present which quickly hit my bait as soon as it entered the water. Mission accomplished I hit the road and headed home.

Tight lines, Scott.

Friday, October 07, 2016

What a load of bull!

I popped out for a couple of hours tonight to see if the bullheads were more active after dark. I went to a new spot so I'm not sure if they are more active after dark or if the new spot just has dozens of them in it because arriving at the river's edge I immediately spotted lots of them sitting on the bottom in a shallow rocky area. Most were only a couple of centimetres long so out came the tanago hooks and split shot. I had some worms with me but I put a tiny piece of Gulp! Angeworm on and lowered it down in front of one. In true goby fashion it wasn't shy, quickly munched it and was swung up into my hand. I had my wellies on so after catching a few more of the tiny ones I went into the water and using my headtorch started searching for bigger ones. Slowly making my way upstream I eventually found some larger specimens which were just as obliging when my hook was wafted in front of their faces.

I didn't need the tanago hook for the bigger ones really but they work just as well.

I also caught some minnows too and it was good fun sight fishing with the headtorch in the dark. I also had a bat flying through its beam too which was was pretty cool. Quite chuffed to have caught a new species I headed back to the car, chucked my gear in the boot and drove home. I now need one more new species to hit this year's goal of twelve. The tanago hooks will certainly be required again on Sunday when I head west to try and catch my first fifteen spined stickleback from amongst the bladderwrack on the shores of Loch Etive.

Tight lines, Scott.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

And Bully's special prize!

I've been out spending time on small rivers and streams of late trying to catch my first bullhead. I've not managed to catch one but I think I spotted one which is slightly encouraging. My sessions have been quite enjoyable and have produced some nice bonus fish. I visited Lochore Meadows Country Park in Fife with my new workmate Brett before a bullhead session on a nearby river. We had fun targeting perch on assorted soft plastics using ultra light tackle and caught a few of them as well as a few tiny pike. I also got lucky and caught a rainbow trout which was a bit of an ugly brute so I didn't bother to photograph it.

One of my perch.  Caught on a Lake Fork Live Baby Shad, one of my all time favourite drop shot lures. Not that perch are very fussy mind.
These tiny little pike would follow our lures and attack them right at our feet. One that Brett put back attacked his rod tip which was lying in the water. Very funny. 

In the afternoon Brett had a driving lesson so after we parted company I visited a nearby river. Another workmate of mine Robert has caught bullheads from it this year and had kindly shown me a couple of the spots where he caught them. I've had a few sessions on it since and there is one particularly nice pool that has produced some really nice bonus fish on float fished maggot trotted down the swim. On the way to this pool I've also seen a few large red dragonflies which was pretty cool. 

Dragonflies are strange yet beautiful insects. 
As well as some pristine roach and small perch I've caught some nice brown trout from the small river.
I was quite surprised to catch this bigger brownie from such a small river. A rather lovely reward for my efforts. 

I've also had a couple of sessions on the Water of Leith ledgering small pieces of worm which again produced some nice bonus brown trout and also a very plump little minnow. I've also had the privilege of seeing the electric blue streak of kingfishers as they fly up and down the Water of Leith during both trips which is always a real treat.

A nice Water of Leith brown trout.
I thought I had caught a bullhead when I hooked this little bloater.

Given that bullheads are gobies I'm pretty sure that if I put a chunk of worm anywhere near one it wouldn't be hard to catch. Having had another quick read of my copy of the excellent "The Little Book of Little Fishes" I note that bullheads breed in springtime so I suspect that I may be better off waiting until next year to try and catch one when they might be more active before spawning. However, I've enjoyed my bullheadless bullhead trips of late with lots of nice bonus catches and colourful insects and birds to keep me interested in targeting them so I might have a few more attempts and maybe I'll try after dark a few times.

Tight lines, Scott.