Saturday, June 08, 2013

Sandeels and jellyfish.

Finishing work on Thursday at 1pm I fancied an evening low water session down the East Lothian coast so I sent Jake a text to see if he was up for this as well. Unfortunately he was only free until 6pm and by the time I got home, got ready and factored in travelling time it really wasn't worth it for me so Jake headed off down there on his own in the afternoon. I got in touch with our friend Richie who lives down there to see if he fancied meeting up with me and he said he would be free from 6pm and was up for it. Glad I'd have some company and looking forward to a trip to a mark Richie fishes regularly I grabbed my ultra light gear, left Edinburgh a couple of hours early and popped into Dunbar harbour on the way down the coast to have a quick fish. The first thing I noticed when I arrived was that there were plenty of sandeels swimming around and lots of tiny fishes hiding amongst the seaweed on the harbour walls so I was sure the visit would be worthwhile. Setting up a 7g drop shot rig and using half a white Gulp! Sandworm on a #10 Owner Offset hook I cast out across "Flattie Corner. I began slowly working the rig back towards me, pausing and allowing the lure to fall to the bottom, giving it a few twitches before working it back again and repeating this. About half way back I felt a few plucks and then the weight of a small fish trying to swim off. The culprit was soon reeled in and hoisted up into my hand.

First cast into Dunbar Harbour produced this palm sized flounder, my first of 2013.

Happy to start the visit by adding another species to this years tally I text Jake to give him the news that Dunbar was producing fish again before I carried on fishing. A couple of kids came along and started asking questions, as they do. When they asked me what lure I was using I pointed down to the water as it was just visible. As I did this a large dark shape suddenly appeared from the bottom and grabbed it. Perfect timing! Lifting my rod tip I could feel the weight of the fish and realising I wouldn't be able to lift this one up the harbour wall I started gently playing the fish around the corner of the harbour to some nearby steps. Not putting much pressure on the fish meant it didn't start motoring off and whilst it did try and slowly swim back down to the bottom a few times I soon had manoeuvred it to the bottom of the steps to land it, even managing to work it round a small boat that was tied up at the edge on the way. My second flounder of the day was gently lifted out and I headed up the steps again to show off my prize to the kids and three passers by who had stopped to see what I had caught.

A much larger, plumper specimen.
"Flattie Corner" produces a nice fish.

Just before I left I decided to catch a few of the smaller fish just to make sure they weren't fully grown gobies! Six nano coalfish later I was fairly confident I wasn't missing out on a new goby species and quite pleased with the fruits of my short visit I left and headed down the coast to meet up with Richie. After a short walk, a little bit of climbing and some rock hopping we were soon fishing together from the rocks not too far from St Abbs Harbour onto a fairly clean sandy patch just past the kelp below us in search of more flounders. As we fished I noticed that there were lots of small nicely coloured jellyfish in the water, normally a good sign that summer species will soon be arriving. Richie was fishing small soft plastics on a jighead whilst I stuck with my drop shot rig. He was first to hook a fish, however it was only hooked briefly before coming off but he wasn't waiting long before hooking a second. He landed this one, a small flounder, but it flapped out of his grasp and back into the sea just as I was about to take a photo. On a roll he hooked a third fish and out came a lovely deep red long spined sea scorpion that was a fair size for the species.

A happy angler.
A grumpy fish.

We carried on fishing but the bites were pretty much non existent for a while. It wasn't until just after the sun started to dip over the cliffs opposite us that Richie moved along the rocks a short distance to try for coalfish.

Richie gets out onto the point.

I joined him and put on a 15lb leader just in case there were any decent pollock or cod about and tied on a 7g silver IMA Gun metal. Flicking it out I was into a fish almost straight away which prompted Richie to switch to a 7g silver/red Hansen Pilgrim spoon. This had immediate effect and saw Richie into a fish straight away as well. The following hour or so would see us having a lot of fun on our ultra light gear catching over seventy small coalfish on a variety of lures including some small soft plastics towards the end of the session.

The typical size of the coalfish we were catching.
Three of the metals used. From top to bottom, Hansen Pilgrim, Halco Twisty and IMA Gun.

Having enjoyed the coalfish fest, with darkness falling, Richies stomach rumbling and a drive up the road for me to do we ended the session and made our way back up to our cars. A most enjoyable evenings fishing and the arrival of the sandeels and jellyfish means that hopefully soon I'll be down in the area again exploring more St Abbs Head rock marks in search of some summer saltwater species as well as some of the other more unusual species the area is known to hold.

Tight lines, Scott.

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