Saturday, July 19, 2014

Totally cuckoo.

Recent wrasse captures have reminded me how much I enjoy catching them so last Wednesday I headed up to Lochaline to try and do the grand slam of the five main UK species again. The drive up there is something else and makes travelling so far quite pleasurable. Arriving at the pier just after 11:30 I quickly set up an ultralight rod and tried drop shotting Gulp! Angleworm at the right hand side of the pier. There was a stiff breeze blowing however and a slight chop on the water as a result but I was still surprised by the total lack of bites. Switching to a mini two up one down rig and baiting my #10 wormer hooks with raw prawn didn't produce the desired result either so I decided to fish the very deep water out in front of the pier. Switching to a heavier rod and swapping my 7g lead for a 60g bomb I cast it out a few meters past the ledge. It took a long time to hit the bottom but when it did the bites came straight away and my first fish of the day was slowly wound up from the depths.

A beautiful male cuckoo wrasse resplendent in bright orange and blue colours.

This was followed over the next couple of hours by a few female cuckoo wrasse and some poor cod.

Female cuckoo wrasse are plain by comparison but are still pleasing to the eye. 
In the looks department poor cod are very ordinary. 

A few other anglers arrived to try and catch some mackerel but weren't having much luck. I then hooked a fish that put up a decent scrap and turned out to be what they other anglers were after, a mackerel. I told the other anglers to try fishing deeper but they didn't seem to realise just how deep I meant and didn't have any joy. Reeling up fish from such a depth was causing my 6lb snoods to twist up so I changed them for 15lb ones. This resulted in less action though so I switched back and the bites started coming again. I caught a few more poor cod, a single leopard spotted goby and more female cuckoo wrasse. I also caught a cuckoo wrasse whose sex was questionable.

Colours not so bold as the first male I caught. Perhaps this is a sex change in progress?

By mid afternoon the wind was really picking up making fishing uncomfortable so I decided to abandon my grand slam attempt and head off.

Windy weather saw a few sailing boats take advantage.

With no plan B in place on the drive back to Ardgour I decided that if I was able to board the ferry straight away then I would do so and visit Loch Lubnaig on the way home to fish for perch. If there was a queue I'd drive out the long way and stop off at Fort William, a place I'd never fished before. Arriving in Ardgour there was a queue so I carried on driving up Loch Linnhe, drove around Loch Eil before doubling back to Fort William. Parking in the long stay car park there I was able to fish right next to the car. There were a few other anglers feathering for mackerel but I decided to fish the bottom with small hooks to see what I could catch. This quickly produced lots of bites as soon as my rig hit the bottom and I caught a steady procession of small fish.

This tiny grey gurnard was the smallest I've caught and was very cute.
I also caught a whiting.
I'm a real dab hand at the fishing lark.
This small cod also found my raw prawn chunk to tasty to refuse. 

After the sun set behind the hills opposite me I packed up and made the three hour drive home enjoying the scenery again and feeling quite pleased with the days' efforts even if I only managed one wrasse species. Some people might think I'm mad doing almost nine hours of driving to catch a few dozen fish. I think you'd be mad not to enjoy driving through such beautiful surroundings and catching a nice selection of fish and in particular the stunning cuckoo wrasse. 

Tight lines, Scott.

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