Monday, August 05, 2013

From Ukraine with lures.

After receiving an email from chap called Valentyn a while back asking for advice for fishing around East Lothian whilst he was on holiday in the area I suggested we could maybe meet up instead and I could take him fishing and hopefully help him catch a few UK species. Valentyn is originally from from Odessa in Ukraine but now lives and works in Enschede in Holland where he mainly fishes for predators. He likes spinning with spoons and fishing with hard lures and was surprised that spinning isn't permitted on many Scottish waters. Jake was going to come too but a few days beforehand was offered work so unfortunately couldn't make it but my mate Naz was keen to come along so last Wednesday I picked him up at 8:00 and we headed down to East Lothian to meet up with Valentyn. Being on holiday with his family he only had a five hour pass to go fishing so we headed down to St Abbs harbour as I thought given the neap tide and conditions it would provide a bit of variety and the best chance to catch some fish in a short period of time. When we arrived it was a lovely day and we were soon fishing off the back of the harbour over the kelp beds for pollock. Apart from a few small coalfish attacking our lures though we had no luck and were just about to switch to our ultra light setups when Naz, who had ventured along to fish from the rocks, called over to us. He'd spotted a few huge and very dense shoals of sandeels taking cover from the open sea and the predators that would no doubt be chasing them out there in around the outside of the harbour mouth amongst the rocks there.

Goodness gracious great balls of bait!

Easily the most concentrated shoals of sandeels I've ever seen we watched as the water erupted every now and then as small coalfish attacked them from below breaching the surface in the process. Next Valentyn and I went to mouth of the harbour whilst Naz stayed on the rocks at the end of the outer harbour wall. Fishing Isome sections on drop shot rigs Valentyn and I soon caught some small coalfish and some tiny codling too. 

Valentyn was quite pleased to catch possible the smallest codling ever taken on rod and line.
How cool is this micro codling.

After a while we moved along to outer harbour wall and rocks and joined Naz. Targeting the small coalfish, I set Naz up with an ultra light jighead and a piece of Isome and we caught dozens of them which was good fun. I tried for wrasse briefly but had no joy so we headed around towards the life boat station to target long spined sea scorpions. It didn't take long to locate some and after I had caught one I spotted a second which I pointed out to Valentyn that he promptly caught. 

A quite grumpy Scottish fish.
A quite happy Ukrainian angler.

We then headed to the small inner harbour to try for flounders. After a while when I cast out a seagull flew into my line getting itself tangled up and falling into the water. I carefully guided it towards a boat and climbed down. Getting a hold of it was quite tricky but it didn't take too long to carefully cut away my line and free the bird, not before it gave me a few peck though! Time was now starting to run out so we headed around to a very shallow area where I thought we could sight fish for flounders. This move couldn't have worked out any better with Valentyn managing to catch a flounder with his very first cast, again on drop shotted Isome.

Another "chocolate and orange" St Abbs flounder.

I had a nice flounder follow my lure a few times but it soon lost interest and it was then time for Valentyn to head off so we headed back to the cars and said goodbye. It was just after 13:00 and Naz and I were keen to do some more fishing so we headed up to St Abbs Head for a couple of hours. Fishing various paddletail lures we managed to catch three nice pollock which we kept to eat, one each and one for a mate. As a catch and release angler I don't take that many fish but I must say the pollock was very tasty indeed. I fried it in a spicy tempura batter and Lillian and I really enjoyed it with a nice cool dip accompanying it.

A Black Fiish Minnow worked deep took this lovely pollock.
Another cracking shore pollock taken by Naz on a Sidewinder Shad.

Whilst down at the bottom of the cliffs I noted that there were hardly any birds around, which is quite unusual as there are normally hundreds of them perched on the cliffs, flying around or sitting in the water, so with the chances of accidentally catching another bird greatly reduced I had a go for mackerel on my ultra light gear before we left but there obviously weren't many of those around either. A large seal swam by just before we called it a day which may have explained that though. The climb back up to the top was a killer as usual but we were soon back at the car and heading home.

Very few birds on the cliffs which was unusual.

All in all it was a very enjoyable days fishing in good company and it was a real pleasure meeting Valentyn too for the first time. Later in the week he was heading up north for the rest of his holiday and planned to do some fishing whilst there so I look forward to hearing how he gets on and may even meet up with him again. He's fished on Crete whilst on holiday there and has promised to give me some advice for when I go in October which will be gratefully received. He also said that should I want to go over to Holland to target predators we can meet up over there which I must say is a very tempting offer indeed and may very well be a potential future fishing adventure.

Tight lines, Scott.

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