Thursday, June 19, 2014

A swell time.

Hoping to get another fix of powerful pollock action I went down to St Abbs Head on Sunday with workmates Stewart and Adil. It was overcast but dry and we arrived to find a light swell running. Not ideal conditions for catching pollock but we were still keen to try. With Stewart and Adil sharing a rod and taking turns to fish we starting off fishing Savage Gear Sandeels, one of my favourite lures for pollock. Searching the water we had no luck locating fish and lost a couple of lures to the kelpy bottom before I switched to an HTO Shore Jig, replacing the assist hook with a treble.

Adil and I fish whilst Stewart watches for rogue waves.

Casting out, a few Guillemots near where the lure entered the water disappeared. Reeling quickly to get it away from them I felt a few of them attacking it before the inevitable happened and one of them got itself  hooked. It would have been a real struggle to land it but with my line wrapped around its wing I eventually got it close enough for Adil to try and scoop it up with my telescopic landing net. However when we eventually got the bird into it and Adil tried to lift the net up from the water there was an almighty crack as the handle snapped. The two pieces still barely joined together Adil managed to grab the top section and handed it to me. A towel was then used to keep the bird calm and under control whilst I quickly untangled it and set it free. My 4m landing net now down to under 1m I knew we might struggle to land a big pollock but we'd just have to worry about that if it happened.

The tide now flooding and taking care not to cast too close to any more guillemots I caught a few coalfish when I changed from a straight retrieve to a bit of jigging, ripping the lure up before lowering my rod tip slowly to feel for bites as it dropped back down again. Adil switched to a metal too and soon hooked a coalfish. His celebrations were premature however as when he got it to the surface it managed to throw the lure and the tension in his rod tip propelled it up into him narrowly avoiding his "tackle". Quite lucky not to be injured Stewart and I found this near miss quite hilarious. Once he stopped laughing Stewart then had a turn fishing and soon caught a few coalfish. After I had caught a dozen or so I decided to try using the assist hooks but this resulted in hardly any hookups so I put the treble back on.

Coalfish will attack lures "on the drop". Jigging metals is therefore an effective way to catch them.

Adil taking the second rod again finally hooked and landed his first coalfish of the session and then I hooked a fish at range that put up a fairly good fight. I thought it was a small pollock at first but it turned out to be a big mackerel that was quickly dispatched so Adil could have it for his dinner. By now it was early afternoon and still keen to find some pollock we decided to climb back up and go and try another spot.

Adil and Stewart take their time climbing back up the rocks.

Soon back up on the cliff tops a short walk along past the lighthouse and we were soon making our way down to the second mark. A walk down a fairly gently sloping grass bank followed by a short climb down the rocks took us to it and we were soon perched on a rocky ledge above the water. We tried a few different lures but there seemed to be even less fish here with only a few coalfish being caught and the loss of the only two metals I had with me that were fitted with treble hooks meant that catching them became more difficult.

Fishing away it was soon Adil's turn to get a laugh at our expense when, despite being fairly high up above the water, Stewart and I managed to get a bit of a soaking when waves broke on the rocks below us and the spray from them came up and caught us both out.

Drying out and with soft plastics on jigheads being fished on both rods it had gone quiet for a while when my pearl white Reins Rockvibe Shad was taken by a big pollock fairly close in. It immediately headed for the kelp below, stripping line from my almost locked up drag two times and managing to get into the thick weed beneath me. Applying pressure it had just started to come up through the weed when it thrashed violently and everything went slack. I reeled in to find the fish had thrown the hook leaving a torn and mangled lure hanging from my jighead. Pretty gutted to have lost a nice fish at my feet but hopeful that more might start biting we soldiered on but that was the last action of the session and as early evening arrived we called it a day.

The view to the east from our rocky ledge. More ground begging to be explored.
On the way back up we passed this rock covered in Guillemots. Casting metals near them whilst they are on the water is asking for trouble!

It had been a good days' fishing and we'd all had a right good laugh too. The lack of pollock and losing the only one biting was disappointing but the swell and cloud cover meant conditions weren't ideal so it was good that we all caught something. None of us work on a Sunday so I'm sure we'll be back over the coming months to try again for some hard fighting pollock.

Tight lines, Scott.