Saturday, September 08, 2012

A deal is a deal.

I headed down to Dunbar yesterday to fulfil my end of the deal I made with Keith, I got a spot of fly fishing with him in exchange for me guiding him to a blenny! I jumped on the train and twenty minutes later I was in Dunbar and soon arrived at the harbour at about 9:30. My mate Jake would be joining us in the early afternoon. At this point I got a text from Keith to say he wouldn't be down until the afternoon either. It was a bit windy so I headed to the most sheltered part of the harbour which is a spot where I've seen viviparous blennies caught before. I clipped on a 1.8g #10 Decoy Rocket jighead, threaded on half a large pink Power Isome, cast out over an area where the bottom of the harbour is littered with discarded prawn shells and slowly worked it back with lots of pauses and the odd twitch. I was soon getting the odd little bite and after a while hooked one of the culprits which came off as I lifted it up, but a few casts later I hooked another which made it all the way up the harbour wall.

A coalfish. Not the fish I was looking for.

As it was apparent that getting through the coalfish may be a problem I decided to visit a few other spots around the harbour. I switched to a simple split shot and #14 hook setup and tried for flatfish first but despite getting a few follows I couldn't get a positive take and the wind was making things a nightmare so I headed down the back of the harbour onto the rocks to fish in the gullies and rockpools. It was a bit more sheltered there and I was soon catching a few long spined sea scorpions.

Sea Scorpions have wonderful variety in their colouration and are full of character.

I love catching them and watching them charge out and grab your Isome chunk in such an aggressive manner is quite amusing. At this point Jake arrived so I went and met him. We headed to the sheltered corner of the harbour where I had started the day. Jake fished with his new method of choice, the drop shot rig. He went down a set of stairs to get out of the wind. At this point Keith arrived and I gave him one of my ultra light setups to use for the day. Things were pretty slow and apart from a coalfish for Jake and I the bites were pretty non existent. I also had to get Keith a blenny and with the tide out that ruled out "blenny corner" and "shellfish falls" and the rockpools at the back of the harbour are dominated by sea scorpions. After a quick discussion we decided to head down the coast to the inlet area at Torness Power station. Jake wanted to continue his quest for a Scottish record corkwing wrasse and I thought that the gullies and rockpools nearby would give Keith a great chance of getting his first ever blenny. After a bit of guidance from me about likely hiding places, off Keith went exploring and it didn't take him long at all to get a fish.

Keith gets his first ever long spined sea scorpion.

He very quickly caught a few more before I got one and just when it seemed the blennies were going to prove elusive we spotted a few in a big rockpool. After persisting for a while I managed to catch one. A particularly aggressive little fish who refused to stop biting my fingers despite the fact they barely fit in his mouth!

With my fingers out of range this nasty little fish started attacking the rocks!

At this point Jake popped over briefly to see how we were doing. The tide was not quite far enough in for him to fish the spot he wanted to and the wind was making things difficult for him so he had a little break and explored the rockpools with us before returning to target corkwings. Keith continued trying to catch the blennies and rather than get in the way I started fishing the gaps in some boulders nearby in search of leopard spotted gobies. No sign of them to start with but a few did appear before hiding again without being tempted by my jiggling lure unlike the long spined sea scorpions also lurking down there and I caught three of them in quick succession.

Two slightly bigger fish.

I could now see that Keith was getting a little frustrated so I returned to see how he was getting on. The blennies were biting at his lure but he was struggling to hook them as they were quite small so I changed over to a split shot rig and soon caught one of them. I handed my rod to him so he could have a go with the smaller hook and after dropping a couple of them whilst lifting them up he finally got one. Mission accomplished!

Keith's first and much anticipated blenny!

We then headed over to where Jake was to find that he'd had no luck. Just after we got there though he hooked a decent fish but it came off as he reeled it in. He thought it may have been a decent wrasse. Keith and I both decided to try for a mackerel and I gave him a 7g Toby whilst I clipped on a small hard plastic lure. After a few casts I felt a bump or two before hooking a fish but it came off after about ten seconds. No further action and I had to get back up the road so Keith and I left and Jake stayed on for a bit hoping the flooding tide would produce a corkwing or two but unfortunately it didn't.

Another fun LRF session and Keith's first one. Not ideal conditions but he still managed six fish and two new species as his exploration of saltwater fishing continues. Next time Keith is choosing the venue and I'm looking forward to perhaps doing a spot of coarse angling and it'll be his turn to get me a new species or two!

Tight lines, Scott.

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