Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A leopard can change its spots!

Some times it's easy to get into a routine of visiting the same marks, especially when they are producing fish. I've decided to make more effort towards my personal species hunt and try to spend more time targeting fish that I've not caught yet this year and also visiting some new marks to see what they turn up. With this in mind I popped out today to target a few species to add to my tally.

First port of call was Dunbar Harbour to try and catch a flounder. I started off fishing in the old harbour. The tide was almost fully out when I arrived and the water was very clear so I could see the bottom. Casting out and slowly retrieving a whole medium pink Isome back along the bottom I soon had a few follows from small flounders but no bites. I worked my way around the edge and decided to drop straight down the edge at "shellfish falls", a small outflow from the shellfish processing factory that occasionally flows into the harbour providing the fish below with a steady supply of tasty treats, and quickly pulled out a blenny. Usually big ones can be caught there, probably due to their rich langoustine diets, but this one was quite small compared to previous captures from the spot! I then went round to the new harbour. Again I had a few small flounders following but not biting. After a while I decided to try for viviparous blennies at a spot where I've seen them caught last year. After 30 minutes of no action at all though I decided a move was required.

I headed down to Torness Power Station to fish the inlet area. Target species here were codling, rockling and also the rather rare yarrell's blenny that a friend told me they had caught there in the past. First of all I tried the helicopter landing pad. I set up a dropshot rig and dropped it straight down the side and slowly worked it along the edge. No bites though so I cast out just in front of some kelp to the left of the platform and onto the clean sandy bottom. Working it back slowly and jerking the lure gently I had a take about half way in and the rod tip started nodding away. I angled the rod to my right and quickly reeled the fish up away from the kelp, up to the surface and hoisted it up. It was a nice little pollock that had some lovely markings.

Beautiful golden honeycomb markings.

Next I tried off the back of the walkway that crosses over the inlet. Dropping the dropshot rig down into each section and working my way along I soon had a few little taps but no takes. Then I spotted some nice looking rockpools at the east side of the walkway and scrambled down over the boulders to explore them. I took off the dropshot rig and switched to a 2.3g #8 Shirasu Fine jighead and threaded on a 1" section of Isome. First one I dropped it into was full of small blennies and sea scorpions that started attacking it aggressively. I soon started catching a steady stream of sea scorpions. Exploring the different pools I soon caught eight of them, all the long spined variety. 

Soft plastic lures aren't the only things that come in watermelon seed.

Then I spotted a nice long gully full of boulders. I dropped the lure down in between a gap in some of them and jigged it around a little. Out came what I thought were small blennies and after a few missed bites I managed to hook one. I lifted it up to discover it was in fact a leopard spotted goby. 

Not just a new species for my 2012 hunt but a new species for me! I was over the moon.

This area seemed to hold quite a few of them but they were proving hard to hook so I reduced the size of the Isome chunk on the jighead and placed it on the bend of the hook. This resulted in a second being caught.

Hard to see in the photos but they have a very thin electric blue edging to their dorsal and anal fins.

I was just about to rig up a #18 hook with a couple of split shot to increase my hook up rate when I realised it was time to go. So whilst I failed to catch any of my target species I can't complain due to the unexpected bonus catch that made the session a success! I will have to explore the area further soon to see what else it holds that's for sure!

Tight lines, Scott.

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