Monday, April 23, 2012

A load of pollocks.

I headed up to the beautiful Scottish Highlands on Sat for a two day fishing trip. Destination Applecross. I go up there in Aug every year for a week with two friends, Alan and Mark, but we fancied meeting up for a spot of fishing and a weekend up there seemed the natural choice as Alan lives up in Aberdeen. Also we thought it would be interesting to see how it fishes at this time of year. Mark picked me up at 6am and we reached Inverness just after 9am, met Alan, grabbed a "big breakfast" at Woody's Truck Stop Cafe, then made the final leg of the trip including the breathtaking drive over "The Pass".

Over "The Pass" we go once more.
Looking back from the halfway point towards Loch Carron.

We arrived at the campsite at just after midday, quickly set up our tents, loaded all our gear into Alan's car and drove twenty miles north to Fearnmore to fish Loch Torridon from a rock peninsula surrounded by deep water.

Fearnmore rocks await.
 Deep water and kelp screams pollock.
Lovely view to the west up Loch Torridon.

We all set up our bait rods and then started fishing with lures. I had two lure setups with me, my Daiwa Powermesh 902MS and Exceler X3000 spooled with 20lb Power Pro for lobbing soft plastics and metals and my Nories Rockfish Bottom Ultra Light and Daiwa Steez 2500 spooled with 6lb Sunline Rickfish for a spot of ultra light fun. I started with the ultra light setup and a Tiny Slug-Go in Arkansas Shiner on a 3.5g #6 AGM finesse jighead. Working the lure across the kelp beds from the rocks above I was standing on. After a while I heard Mark shouting "I'm in!" and headed over the rocks to see what he had caught. A coalfish just short of 1lb was the answer.

Mark is first off the mark at this mark.

He was a very happy man as he had caught the fish on a silver spoon that he would later tell me was one of his many home made lures. I don't have a photo of this lure as unfortunately he lent it to Alan who lost it a bit later before I could take a photo of it. I continued fishing ultra light but after a while with no sign of any fish I decided to switch to my other setup so I could cast a heavier lure out a bit further and work it a bit deeper. I tied on a 23g Savage Gear Sandeel in Sandeel and began working the area, letting it drop to the bottom and then retrieving it steadily but very slowly. After a few casts I felt the tell tale pluck of a pollock and kept winding. Another pluck. Bang! Fish on! My elevated position made it relatively easy to bully the fish up away from any snags and it was quickly landed with the assistance of Alan with a net. Quickly photographed and weighed it was returned. Over the next hour I caught another three. All of them were 2.5-3lb.

1st pollock of the day.
Savage Gear Sandeel claims it's second victim.
Another pollock.
White bodies took a couple of the fish.

Then the action stopped so I decided to switch back to my ultra light gear again and try a Lake Fork Live Baby Shad in Magic Shad on a 3.5g #2 AGM finesse jighead to see if there were any wrasse around. Jigging vertically above the kelp to imitate a dying fish I suddenly saw the large silver flash of a pollock as it took my lure from below and my rod bent over as the fish dived back down to its kelpy lair. It managed to take some line but I quickly tightened up the drag whilst raising the rod up preventing it getting there. The rod was bent double but I felt in total control at all times. I got him up to the surface and I could see he was my biggest pollock of the day. I'd say he was about 4lb. At this point I was quite high up above the water so I started to make my way along to a point where it could be netted but when I got about half way there he thrashed violently on the surface and threw the hook. Gutted as I would have liked a photo of it next to the Nories. Still, I was pleased that the rod had been subjected to a good test and had passed with flying colours. No more action for anyone so we headed back to Applecross to get a shower and head down to the Inn for dinner and a few drinks.

Early start yesterday saw us return to Fearnmore again and the weather was lovely. The drive north presented us with stunning views to the west of Raasay and Skye.

Breathtaking! Some lucky bugger sees it everyday from that house!

Fishing was very slow with no interest in the bait rods again and only one fish being caught in the morning. My Savage Gear Sandeel claiming another pollock.

Lovely clean fish.
Why the sad face? You'll be going back soon.

After a few hours with no action in the afternoon we decided to call it a day. We packed up all the gear and set up the camera for a group shot. From left to right are Alan, Mark and myself.

Two fisherman and Bobby Bald. (Sorry Alan!)

We made the walk back up to the cars and drove off just as the weather deteriorated and it started raining heavily. We headed back to Inverness and Mark and I said goodbye to Alan who had failed to catch anything and was planning to buy a few packs of Savage Gear Sandeels to hopefully ensure he doesn't suffer the same fate come August!

Tight lines, Scott.

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