Saturday, January 03, 2015

2014. My fishiest year yet!

Well another year has come to an end and as always I like to have a quick look back on it before I start fishing again. I had a truely wonderful time, probably my best year's angling so far. I caught 125 different species including 35 new ones. Here's a summary of what they were. New species are asterisked. 

From freshwater I caught...
  1. Bitterling x 1 *
  2. Bleak x 18 *
  3. Blue Trout x 2 *
  4. Bream x 49
  5. Bream/Roach Hybrid x 5
  6. Brown Trout x 2
  7. Chub x 8
  8. Common Carp x 5
  9. Crucian x 1 *
  10. Dace x 27
  11. F1 Carp x 10
  12. Gudgeon x 134
  13. Minnow x 67
  14. Motherless Minnow/Sunbleak x 2 *
  15. Mirror Carp x 1
  16. Perch x 32
  17. Pike x 6
  18. Powan x 2 *
  19. Pumpkinseed x 12
  20. Rainbow Trout x 4
  21. Roach x 382
  22. Roach/Rudd Hybrid x 2
  23. Rudd x 2
  24. Ruffe x 2 *
  25. Silver Bream x 78 *
  26. Tench x 1
  27. Zander x 1
From saltwater I caught...
  1. Annular Seabream x 15
  2. Atlantic Chub Mackerel x 1 *
  3. Atlantic Horse Mackerel x 1
  4. Atlantic Lizardfish x 41
  5. Axillary Seabream x 1 *
  6. Axillary Wrasse x 1 *
  7. Azores Damsefish x 13 *
  8. Ballan Wrasse x 106
  9. Bass x 1
  10. Black Goby x 26
  11. Black Scorpionfish x 3
  12. Black Seabream x 20
  13. Blue Shark x 1 *
  14. Bogue x 7
  15. Canary Damselfish x 25 *
  16. Cardinalfish x 4 *
  17. Coalfish x 382
  18. Cod x 39
  19. Comber x 6
  20. Common Blenny x 90
  21. Common Dragonet x 6
  22. Common Goby x 14
  23. Common Pandora x 9
  24. Common Two Banded Seabream x 36
  25. Corkwing Wrasse x 167
  26. Cuckoo Wrasse x 12
  27. Dab x 10
  28. Damselfish x 4
  29. Derbio x 1
  30. Diamond Lizardfish x 7 *
  31. Dusky Grouper x 2
  32. Dusky Rabbitfish x 1
  33. East Atlantic Peacock Wrasse x 6 *
  34. European Smelt/Sparling x 1 *
  35. Five Bearded Rockling x 2
  36. Five Spotted Wrasse x 4 *
  37. Flounder x 39
  38. Garfish x 1
  39. Giant Goby x 4
  40. Gilthead Seabream x 1 *
  41. Goldblotch Grouper x 2
  42. Golden Grey Mullet x 2
  43. Goldsinny Wrasse x 33
  44. Greater Amberjack x 1 *
  45. Greater Sandeel (Launce) x 4
  46. Greater Weever x 8
  47. Grey Gurnard x 2
  48. Guinean Puffer x 2 *
  49. Haddock x 2
  50. Leopard Spotted Goby x 5
  51. Lesser Sandeel x 2 *
  52. Lesser Spotted Dogfish x 21
  53. Lesser Weever x 12
  54. Ling x 1
  55. Long Spined Sea Scorpion x 32
  56. Mackerel x 47
  57. Macronesian Sharpnose Puffer x 8 *
  58. Madeira Goby x 10 *
  59. Madeira Rockfish x 15 *
  60. Mediterranean Horse Mackerel x 3 *
  61. Mediterranean Rainbow Wrasse x 64
  62. Montagu's Blenny x 1 *
  63. Ornate Wrasse x 86
  64. Painted Comber x 40
  65. Parrotfish x 3
  66. Peacock Blenny x 3 *
  67. Plaice x 3
  68. Plainhead Filefish x 1 *
  69. Pollock x 99
  70. Poor Cod x 24
  71. Pouting x 19
  72. Red Gurnard x 1
  73. Red Porgy x 2
  74. Ringneck Blenny x 3 *
  75. Rock Cook Wrasse x 2
  76. Rock Goby x 8
  77. Rockpool Blenny x 10 *
  78. Rusty Blenny x 5
  79. Saddled Seabream x 19
  80. Sand Goby x 20
  81. Sand Smelt x 13
  82. Sea Trout x 1
  83. Shore Rockling x 4
  84. Short Spined Sea Scorpion x 2
  85. Slender Goby x 9
  86. Spotted Bass x 1 *
  87. Spurdog x 7
  88. Striped Red Mullet x 6 *
  89. Striped Seabream x 1
  90. Thick Lipped Mullet x 7
  91. Thornback Ray x 5
  92. Three Spined Stickleback x 1
  93. Tompot Blenny x 15
  94. Tub Gurnard x 1
  95. Two Spotted Goby x 1
  96. Viviparous Blenny (Eelpout) x 2
  97. White Seabream x 14
  98. Whiting x 5
  99. Wide Eyed Flounder x 4 *
  100. Yarrell's Blenny x 1 *

Fishing all over the UK, in the Mediterranean and the Eastern Atlantic I had many wonderful adventures and was luck to share many of them with my friends as well which is always great. Reminiscing it's difficult to single out my favourite moments but here goes.

Ruffe and Powan from Loch Lomond.

Early in the year I enjoyed a few sessions at Balmaha Pier on the Eastern shore of Loch Lomond feeder fishing maggots in search of these little cheeky chaps. It was a beautiful day when I finally managed to catch a couple of ruffe.
These sessions also produced some pristine roach, a few perch and a couple of powan. A nice surprise to catch such a rare and beautiful fish.

European Smelt from the Tay Estuary.

My expectations when I visited Dundee of catching a smelt were not very high but I had a great days fishing catching lots of flounders and it was topped off when I caught a single smelt. Another fairly rare fish that I felt quite privileged to catch.

Trips down South.

In July and August I made a few visits to England and also popped over to Alderney for a few days. These trips produced some memorable fish including this beautiful blue shark.
Over on Alderney my mate and fellow species hunter Ross helped me catch my first Montagu's Blenny.
A visit to Swanage Pier with my mate Lee produced a lot of wrasse as it always does as well as a few other species. In amongst them I caught my first ever striped red mullet.
We also visited Berry Head near Brixham where this massive "seal in the bay" made us both laugh.
A short tour of a few coarse fisheries in August saw me catch a few new freshwater species too including this pretty little bitterling.
Marsh Farm is famous for crucians and a morning there saw me catch this lovely example, adding another new species to my 2014 tally.

Species Hunting on Lanzarote, Zante and Menorca.

A fortnight on the Greek island of Crete in 2013 really got me excited about fishing abroad. 2014 saw me visiting three more islands and having a great time. Puffers were great at destroying my soft lures on Lanzarote but I managed to catch a few as well. This Guinean puffer performed its party piece.
A surprise capture, this Plainhead Filefish was a very odd looking fish indeed.
In August I had a great time on Zante with my girlfriend Lillian. She's incredibly tolerant of my fishing obsession, at times encouraging it! Again I caught lots of fish but it was a peacock blenny that was perhaps my favourite of the trip. It was caught in brackish water and had stunning bright blue markings that unfortunately aren't captured very well in this photo.
In October I enjoyed a superb week of fishing on Menorca with my mate Lee. Rainbow wrasse were by far the most common fish around the island but this one was a particularly colourful specimen. 
These common pandora, with their light pink colouration and light blue spots, were very pretty fish too. 
Towards the end of our trip Lee had a real red letter day catching a greater amberjack, a leerfish and a thick lipped mullet all on very light tackle. I was pleased for him if a little jealous but later the same day I caught this greater amberjack after thrashing the water for quite some time with a small metal. We both also hooked and lost European barracuda as well during the trip. Next time we're abroad we'll hopefully land some!

Tampot Blenny and Yarrell's Blenny.

I make no secret of my love for blennies. During a session down at Isle of Whithorn targeting wrasse with my mate Martin we both caught our first Scottish "Tampot blennies".
After my mate Col caught a Yarrell's blenny in Burntisland Harbour I had to try and get one too. Two trips later I managed to do just that. A funky little blenny indeed. 

Five to go.

When I returned from Menorca I realised that I was only five species away form catching one hundred from saltwater in 2014. A shortlist of species was drawn up that I could target and I set about trying to carch them. First to be caught was this tiny two spotted goby.
Next up was this thick lipped grey mullet.
I had two sessions trying to catch a viviparous blenny from Dunbar Harbour. It's very hard to get through the coalfish there but on the second night after a few hours and several dozen coalfish I managed to catch one.
My goal in sight a trip to Anstruther White Pier saw me catch a couple of five bearded rockling fairly quickly leaving me only one species left to catch and four weeks to do it.
After several visits to Torness Power Station outflow area to try and catch a golden grey mullet I read something online that made me suspect that lots of the smaller mullet I had seen might in fact be the species I was struggling to catch. Scaling down my hook and hooklength breaking strain saw me catch two of these mullet and they were indeed the golden grey variety, my 100th species from saltwater of 2014.

As with previous years I had a lot of fun species hunting and that's not going to change in 2015. In the UK I already have a few trips in the pipeline, my mate Martin and I have been discussing a trip to Ireland for the shad run in May. In July a trip to the south coast is being discussed and in September I'll be joining my mate Ross aboard the Penzance charter boat "Bite Adventures" for some species hunting. No doubt I'll squeeze in a few short trips to various other places around the UK as well. I also want to spend time fishing around new areas in Scotland and with that in mind I'll be trying to set myself some goals to make sure I do. 

That being said, catching new species in the UK is becoming harder ever year so to keep things interesting my thoughts are turning to travelling abroad more and more and in fact three trips have already been booked. I'm off to the Portuguese island of Madeira at the start of March for a week with my mate Lee. In June I'll be visiting Nessebar in Bulgaria with Lillian where I'll no doubt squeeze in a short fishing session or two, wetting a line in the Black Sea for the first time. In August I'm visiting the River Ebro with my mate Martin for a weeks guided fishing targeting perch, zander and largemouth bass on lures. It would be rude not to have a go at the huge carp and catfish so we may do that as well and I think we'll squeeze in a session on the coast too if possible. Lots of fun in the sun to look forward to and I'll probably book another holiday, perhaps in the Canary Islands, for Lillian and I later in the year as well. 

So, 2014 was absolutely amazing but I'm sure 2015 will be a great year too. If my fishing comes even close to the level that I've enjoyed over the last twelve months then I'll be a very happy angler indeed!

Tight lines, Scott.


  1. What a great year you've had Scott. Your blog has really influenced the way I fished the second half of this year and I've recommended it in my own end of year review. Love the powan and bitterling especially. Tight lines

    1. Thanks very much Russell. When I'm next down your way I shall be in touch. I'm looking at 28th June - 1st of July or 12th - 15th of July for a south coast jolly. ;-)

  2. You had a wonderful year, congratulations! I hope 2015 brings you just as much fun. One of my favorite things to do in the States is to icefish. The most fun thing about ice fishing for panfish is that, given the confines of a lake and what lives there, you really don't know what you'll catch from one drop (cast) to the next. That said, I have an underwater camera that I use when conditions are right and a lot of active fish are present, so sometimes I know what is there before I hook them.

    I fish often for predators over here and am just getting into the species thing and have started a photo life list. There is a great website and organization over here, NANFA, that has a really good forum and microfishing is one of the popular subjects and an inspiration of mine, along with this blog, for me to continue the species hunt. My user name there is Chasmodes if you decide to pay a visit. The people on that site are a mix of aquarists, conservationists, and anglers, of which I consider myself all three. One of my fish tank builds, and I've mentioned before, is slowly progressing, involves an oyster reef and the main feature is the striped blenny, Chasmodes bosquianus.

    Anyway, sorry for babbling...still love your blog and I'll be popping in and following often. Keep up the good work and here's to a great 2015! Thanks for sharing!!!!

    1. Thanks for your kind words. It's nice to know that others enjoy reading the blog. 2015 should be epic and I now have four week long holidays booked as well as three days charter boat fishing out of Penzance. I'm 40 in 2017 and so is a friend of mine. We intend celebrating with a trip to Florida Keys so I might get the chance to catch a few striped blennies. Will have a look at the forum, thanks for suggesting it. Tight lines to you too for 2015!

  3. Thanks Scott. On your 2017 trip, might get the striped blenny, Chasmodes bosquianus, or it's close cousin, the Florida blenny, Chasmodes saburrae. There are quite a few more blenny species to choose from! Sounds like 2015 has a lot of cool opportunities! It's interesting to me because I've only been across the Atlantic once, a couple years ago to a vacation in Spain. I had a blast, but didn't have any fishing stuff. The highlight of my trip was a visit to a tackle store in Barcelona, where I didn't speak Spanish or Catalan, and the shop owner didn't speak English. We did speak one common language though, fishing, and fishing pictures from my phone came in real handy that day. He certainly was familiar with the Largemouth Bass that we catch over here!

    1. I do love my blennies! :-D

      Off to Spain in August to fish the Ebro for a week and largemouth bass is one of the main target species. Hoping to hit the coast there too for a few hours the day we arrive. Should be an awesome trip.