Saturday, December 10, 2016

Lots of lovely ladies.

Maybe it was one of the slight changes I made to my end tackle, the larger float, the swivel between my mainline and hooklength, the new fluorocarbon hooklength or maybe the new hook pattern I went with? Maybe the stretch of the Cylde I decided to try for the first time just happened to hold a shoal of my target species on the day? Maybe the ladies simply couldn't resist me any longer? Who knows? To be honest I didn't really care. Stood in the river up to my waist slowly trotting my float down a nice pool with my centrepin last Sunday was a relaxing way to spend a few hours. I enjoyed a wonderful day's fishing, catching and releasing my first ladies of the stream of the year.

The grayling really is a stunning fish. Perhaps the most beautiful of all UK freshwater fish?

I really hope the coming months provide good conditions for me to do more trotting for grayling as I'm really enjoying it. I plan on heading out to target them again tomorrow and I might have a go for them locally on the North Esk. On a related note I'm also toying with the idea of getting a tenkara rod and using it to give fishing nymphs for grayling a go as well. Maybe another special lady in my life will treat me for Christmas?

Tight lines, Scott.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Not very lady like?

Two sessions trotting maggots for grayling on the River Annan last Sunday and the River Clyde today have sadly only produced a blank and a couple of out of season brown trout respectively. The lady of the stream is proving elusive.
On the way back to the car today I had to pass this lump. I was glad there was a fence to separate me from perhaps the biggest highland cow I've ever seen with an impressive set of horns to match. Males and females both have horns so I'm not sure if the hairy beast was a lady or a gent. Anyway, my search for lovely ladies will continue over the coming months.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Playing the numbers game.

Last weekend I had a message from my mate Nick about an interesting talk he had attended about Scottish freshwater fish species. He mentioned that the person giving the talk had covered nine spined sticklebacks and this sparked my interest in the species and potential locations that may hold populations. After a bit of Googling and sending off some emails I received a reply from wildlife photographer Jack Perks who very kindly pointed me in the direction of a small pond in the East Midlands that he assured me contained a lot of them. It was a long way to go to catch a tiny fish but I decided to head down there and went early last Monday morning to see if I could catch one. Five and a half hour's driving later I arrived at the venue, a lovely little pond full of lilies, reeds and weedy areas. Keen to start catching little spiky fish I quickly set up my micro fishing tackle.

Stuffed with sticklebacks according to Jack.
 I used a super sensitive pole float and shotted it right down.
A tiny section of pinky maggot on a tanago hook. Ideal for tiny mouths.

Dropping my micro fishing rig down in to a gap in some lily pads in the margin the tip of my chianti pole float soon registered the interest of a little fish and after a few more tiny dips it went right under. The culprit was quickly lifted out and swung to hand but whilst it was a stickleback it wasn't the one I was after being six spines short. This set the tone for the next hour or so with my float barely having a chance to settle before being pulled under by a succession of my target's hungry cousins.

These three spined sticklebacks weren't shy and the pond was full of them.

I slowly moved around the edge of the pond trying different spots but after catching several dozen three spined sticklebacks and nothing else I began to wonder if Jack had been mistaken about the presence of the nine spined sticklebacks or if I was fishng in the wrong pond. I was still having fun though and eventually I caught a tiny fish that had a completely different profile and colouration to all the others I caught so far. As soon as the fish raised its spines it revealed its identity and confirmed that I'd hit the jackpot.

Eventually my persistence paid off and I'd caught a new species as well as the smallest freshwater fish in the UK.
One of each in my observation tank. Very different in appearance.

I carried on fishing for another couple of hours before headed back up the road, having had lots of fun catching the diminutive fish. In amongst a few more dozen three spined sticklebacks I managed to catch a few more nine spine sticklebacks as well. Micro fishing is good fun and with doing more of it in mind I've treated myself to a 6" tanago rod that will be perfect for targeting a whole host of little fish so I'm looking forward to getting out and using it in the not too distant future. 

Tight lines, Scott.