Thursday, December 04, 2014

I caught ninety nine species now I just need one.

With adding to my 2014 species from saltwater tally in mind, I got up early on Sunday and headed down to Torness Power Station outflow with my mate Nick for another session float fishing bread for mullet. We were expecting a slight swell but unfortunately when we arrived the conditions were far worse than we had anticipated forcing us to head to Dunbar instead for a couple of hours. The harbour is normally full of coalfish but incredibly we both blanked. I had planned to drive over to Anstruther in the evening to try and catch a five bearded rockling but feeling slightly dejected by how things had gone in the morning I decided not to in case I went all that way only to discover the sea state there was also unsuitable.

Yesterday I had a similar itinerary planned, a golden grey mullet session in the morning and a five bearded rockling session in the evening but checking the weather forecast on Monday night I changed my mind and decided to head to Anstruther late in the afternoon arriving just before low water to fish the tide up in darkness.

I arrived on the harbour's "White Pier" just after light started to fade and quickly set up two rods.

The ground outside the harbour where I decided to fish is mixed with some rocky areas and some sandy patches. I went with simple running ledgers incorporating a rotten bottom, #4 circle hooks snelled onto short six inch 15lb snoods with black lug and squid cocktails for bait. Preparing the cocktails I laid a strip of squid alongside the worms and bound it up into a little sausage using bait elastic. I nicked the top end of a one inch section onto the hook leaving the bait dangling and it free to do its job when a fish took the bait and either moved off or I saw the bite and lifted the rod.

The pier is a very comfortable venue to fish and is also very well lit. No rod rest is required either.

Things were very slow until the tide turned and began to flood again, a small codling being first to get hooked after a few little rattles failed to produce hookups. After a while and a few more bites not being converted I was beginning to consider altering my presentation slightly by changing my hooks from circles to Nordic bends to try and improve my hook up rate. Just as I was about to get them out of my box though one of my rod tips registered the interest of a fish so I picked it up. Feeling another tug I gently started winding in and felt a little extra weight. Soon winching my catch up the wall I lifted it up into sight and was very pleased to see a five bearded rockling nicely hooked. Quickly unhooking my ninety ninth species from saltwater in 2014 I took a photo of the handsome chap before putting him back.

As well as having five beards, five bearded rockling have a golden tinge to their gill plates and flanks which makes them fairly easy to distinguish from shore rockling.

Over the moon to be one species closer to my goal I carried on fishing. Shortly afterwards I caught a second five bearded rockling and then a small coalfish before things went quiet again. Having caught what I had came for I decided to end the session early and made the drive home. I now have four weeks to add one more species to my tally to take it to the one hundred mark. Further sessions down at Torness Power Station outflow should eventually produce a golden grey mullet but the conditions will play a big part in that too as Sunday showed. Indeed over the next week or so the wind is forecast to pick up a bit so I may have to try for something else. Luckily there are a few other species I could target that I haven't caught this year so I do have a few options open to me and overall I'm still fairly confident I'm going to achieve my goal. I can't see me catching anything I've not caught before but a three bearded rockling is one potential new species I'd love to catch. Anyway, it's good to have something to aim for at this time of year.

Tight lines, Scott.


  1. Well done scott, one to go, good luck!

    1. Thanks Col. Back for another go tomorrow for a golden grey mullet before the wind picks up. Fingers crossed.

  2. Great work Scott, I've always liked the look of rockling but from what I read sea anglers seem to dislike them. I'm sure a crabber caught one at that west bay in the summer.

    1. Thanks Russell. Indeed, they are viewed as a pest by most a bit like dogfish. It's a shame because I think they are quite interesting fish. Three bearded rockling are next on my radar. Not many locally though I don't think so a little jolly will be required. South West Scotland or West Wales probably.