Monday, February 03, 2014

Diamonds in the ruffe.

Thinking of cheesy post titles for my ruffe hunting catch reports will soon be getting almost as difficult as catching the little brown spiky buggers! I headed to Balmaha Pier again on Wednesday with my mate Jake to have another go at catching one. When we got there just after daybreak we found a camper van parked at the pier. There was a landing net outside it so I quickly got my gear onto the pier and secured the spot I wanted before the angler inside emerged. When he did appear it turned out to be someone who had been in touch with me at the end of last year to chat about lures for perch after reading a report I posted on a forum, he recognised me and introduced himself. It's a small world. After a short while one of his mates arrived and the four of us started fishing. 

Whilst the other lads opted to spend the majority of the day fishing lures for perch and lobbing out a couple of deadbaits for pike I had decided to fish a feeder rod for my small elusive target. For the first time I had spooled my feeder reel up with some Berkley Fireline Crystal to aid bite detection at range and after my last visit I decided to try experimenting with multiple hook rigs too, starting off fishing a swim feeder at the bottom of a three #18 hook paternoster. Hemp and maggots were loaded into the feeder, single maggot on the hooks produced a roach on the first and second cast and this set the tone for the first hour or two with a few more roach being caught.

A lovely Loch Lomond roach in wonderful condition. Bright orange eyes and scales gleaming in shades of blue and silver in the sun.

After a few more roach I switched to chopped worm on the hooks but this just resulted in hardly any bites. As the day went on it was soon becoming apparent that most of my fish were coming on the bottom hook of my rig. I reasoned that perhaps this was due to the depth of water I was fishing in resulting in the other two baits being presented up off the bottom when I tightened down to the feeder so I switched to a one up one down rig to try and present two baits on the deck.

As the day progressed I continued to catch roach with a single bream/roach hybrid breaking the pattern. By early afternoon none of the others had managed to tempt any of the resident fish until Jake's persistance finally paid off when he hooked a fish fairly close to the end of the pier. It turned out to be a small pike instead of a perch though.

A nice looking fish.

After a bit of a lull I then had a quite small indication on my rod tip which I struck into only to feel the weight of a decent fish. Obviously it wasn't a ruffe and as the fight progressed I suspected it was either a perch or maybe a powan as it gave a few thumping headshakes. It turned out to be the latter and my second rare and beautiful powan was soon landed before being quickly unhooked, photographed and returned.

I admire my second silvery powan from Loch Lomond in two trips. Lovely.
Powan are a really stunning species with lots of subtle colours becoming visible as you view them from different angles. Hard to capture in a photograph.  Beautiful indeed.

After carefully popping it back and watching it swim off strongly we all laughed about the fact I'd caught possibly the rarest fish in the loch twice in two trips but couldn't catch what is allegedly the most common! Things then slowed down for a while but I managed to catch a few more roach. I fished into darkness to see if what I'd read about the nocturnal feeding habits of ruffe had any truth in it but alas a single roach was the only reward for my speculative effort. None of the others managed to catch anything further either. 

So despite enjoying a decent days fishing it was yet another failure on the ruffe front! I'm sure the method I'm using is fine and I know that they have been caught recently at the pier too but repeated trips without success has me questioning things. Perhaps I should use even smaller hooks? Order some pinkies or squats? Maybe a change of ground bait might attract them into my swim? Perhaps a lighter or faster tip for my rod would show up bites I'm missing? Perhaps another mark at Loch Lomond or perhaps elsewhere holds more of them and an attempt there would see me land my target? I think I shall have a little break from them, target other things and ponder some of these questions and make a few decisions before I have another go for that will hopefully make the difference. I know one thing for sure, when I finally catch one it'll be "ruffe justice"!

Tight lines, Scott.


  1. A pretty damn good account of the day there Scott. It was great to meet you and Jake in the flesh and while the fishing could have been a bit better the company most certainly could not. We enjoyed fishing with like minded anglers and having seen the effort you two put into the session I have no doubt that you'll get your Ruffe sometime soon. I've just picked up a boat so keep your eyes peeled for us over the west. If you or Jake spot us or the 'Silver Bullet' on your travels be sure to pop in for a brew.

    Tight lines

    1. Thanks Jim! I've been told to try fish baits for ruffe. Makes sense I suppose as they eat other fishes eggs and fry. :-)

      I've been trying to get in touch with you over on WSF but I can't send you a PM. If you read this can you send me an email using the link in the "About Me" section to the left. Would be good to meet up again.

    2. Yeah, No problem bud. Stopped using WSF but sent you contact details as per your post. Also sent to Jake via your joint Blog. Looking forward to fishing with you guys again soon.
      Tight Lines