Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Subtle tweaks.

With sea trout in mind I headed down the A1 again yesterday. This time my destination was Eyemouth where the River Eye runs into the harbour. At the top of it a sluice gate diverts the flow into a channel that runs down the eastern side of the harbour. This means that lots of sea trout make their way into the harbour and can't find the channel, instead heading up the main harbour towards the sluice gate where they get stuck providing a nice opportunity for a species hunter like me to turn up and, in theory, easily catch a few of them. Trout being trout though I expected that should they be around I'd have a few of them throw my hook.

The view down the harbour from the sluice gate next to the slipway. The channel that the sluice gate diverts the river into is over to the right and it runs parallel to the harbour but not all the sea trout that enter the harbour can find it. 

I rigged up an 1.3" Aquawave Shad on a 1.3g #10 Decoy Rocket jighead and fished my way up from the car park to the top of the harbour. A few small coalfish were tempted by its nice action as I cast it out, let it sink and then slowly retrieved it steadily.

Small plump coalfish. 

Once at the top of the harbour I soon had a few small sea trout coming from the bottom attacking my lure, their silver flanks flashing as they swam up, had a swipe, turned and quickly shot off. They were tail nipping though so I switched to a smaller lure. This saw me hook a few but I failed to land any of them. Trout have a reputation as being "soft mouthed" but if you ask me the exact opposite is true, the structure of their mouths is very bony and lacks the soft membranes that other species have or other soft places for a hook to easily penetrate. I really could have used a jighead with a fine wire hook to get a better hook set in their tough little mouths and I often think that when a trout thrashes the weight of a jighead allows them to easily throw a poorly set hook. A bit frustrated I decided to try something different. I removed the jighead and slid a 1g bullet lead onto my leader, tied on a #14 hook and inserted it into my lure placing it a little further back than the jighead hook had been.

The lure is the same, a Cultiva Pin Worm, a little lure I've used to catch small brown trout before. The two presentations at first glance looks the same but I would discover the bottom presentation had a few benefits.

Top: 1.3g #10 Decoy Rocket jighead.
Bottom: Free running 1g drilled bullet. #14 Owner Pin Hook.

Almost straight away I hooked a small sea trout on this new presentation. As I landed it and the little silver fish thrashed wildly and the bullet lead shot up my leader. My mate Martin swears by inline metals for sea trout and I can see why as they cannot use the weight to throw the hook. It was also nicely hooked in the bottom jaw. 

Got you!

This little change to the way I was fishing the tiny lure drastically increased my catch rate, I then proceeded to hook a few more and landed most of them. Every single fish was hooked in a similar place, in the gap between its tongue and bottom lip.

Well hooked. 

The weight of the hook and the fact the lure was free to rotate meant the hook was facing down as I retrieved the lure and obviously I had accidentally stumbled upon a great way for my little hook to find a chink in the armour of a trout's mouth. I ended up catching seven of the little trout before deciding to move to another spot further down the harbour to see what else was lurking in it.

The biggest little sea trout of the seven landed. A very nice looking little fish indeed. Cleanly hooked in the bottom jaw again.

Heading around the harbour the wind was howling so I sought shelter down on a floating pontoon and started fishing an Angleworm on a drop shot rig to see if there were any flounder or mini species near the bottom. I caught a few small coalfish but nothing else seemed to be present or interested.

Nothing fishy going on. Apart from the every present East Coast coalfish. I shall try again in the summer and who knows what might be down amongst all those pilings. Hundreds of coalfish in all likelihood but you never know.

After a while I decided to head back up the road but I took a detour on the way to visit Gullane Bents to try for flatfish. I had a quick walk down but the wind made fishing virtually impossibly with the ultra light tackle I had with me so after a dozen casts I went back to the car and headed back up the A1.

Another lovely golden East Lothian beach. I'll be back.

On the way home I made one final stop, visiting Mike's Tackle Shop in Portobello to pick up a permit for the Water of Leith. As per usual I somehow managed to spend a few quid on tackle that I didn't even realise I needed before I went in as well. You can never have too many lures I suppose right?

In the past I've fished this water with soft plastics on jigheads which was a bit naughty as it clearly states bait or fly fishing only.  This year I'm going to try chucking some grey dusters I tie around.

Trout can be frustrating fish at the best of times but at least with a fly their is no weight for them to use to throw the hook and as it faces down it should in theory find the sweet spot on their bottom jaw. Come to think of it perhaps my little soft plastic rigging revelation is something that most fly fisherman have been taking advantage of for decades? Oh well! 

Tight lines, Scott.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Getting jiggy with it.

As is often the case the weather forecast for the weekend changed completely by the time it arrived. This presented a sun filled and dry window of opportunity on Sunday to head down to the borders and visit St Abbs Head for a few hours. My mate Nick was free and keen to join me so I picked him up in Dunbar just after 9:00 and off we went. I had four different marks in mind, numbered them all and asked Nick to pick a number from one to four. His selection corresponded to a mark I call "the rock". It is down beneath the lighthouse and is, as the name suggests, a large rock separated from the rest of the cliff by a narrow, water filled gully which you have to step over to get onto it.

St Abbs lighthouse and fog horn.
"The Rock".

My plan for the day was to mess about with some metal jigs rigged with the assists hooks I have been beavering away on my fly tying vice making. I had two setups with me, one light and one  ultra light but having caught some decent pollock in the area before I started fishing with the light setup. I forgot to pack some suitable lure clips in my bag for the heavier jigs however so I improvised and slipped the metal up my leader and then tied my assist hook on. This worked a treat and jigging the metal up and then letting it fall through the water it was being attacked by coalfish on the drop.

The jig was a bit big for the size of fish that were attacking it but was still reasonably effective. 

Nick meanwhile was after bigger fish and was patiently going through a few different soft lures to try and find one.

Nick wasn't interested in the coalfish. He wanted a rod buckling pollock.

I was quite happy catching coalfish and also tried free spooling, fishing on the drop by casting out, leaving the bail arm open and letting the braid go out through my forefinger and thumb. The object of this is to allow the lure to sink as close to vertically as you can to give a more natural fall. I kept my little finger on the bail arm ready to quickly close it over and strike at bites. This method was quite difficult to do and maintain contact to feel for bites so will require more practice but I still had some success and managed to catch a few more coalfish. To be honest though shoals of coalfish seem to be pretty aggressive and will hit most lures on the drop so it's hard to assess if using different techniques makes a great deal of difference where they are concerned. After a while and with the size of the coalfish caught being fairly consistent I decided to switch to a paddletail on a Cheburashka lead and joined Nick in his search for a pollock.  Fishing this using a slow steady retrieve didn't produce any bites though so after a while casting around from various spots I switched to my ultra light setup and searched the sea bed with a Gulp! sandworm on a drop shot rig. This produced another coalfish and a small pollock which both took the ragworm imitation on the drop before it hit the bottom.

This pollock didn't do any dives so I thought I had hooked another coalfish until it came to the surface.

Nick meanwhile was still searching out a bigger fish and hadn't caught anything by the time I switched back to fishing metals. Dropping from a 25g to a 8g metal which was better matched to the size of the fish present saw me catching a couple more coalfish on consecutive casts.

Tide approaching low water I climbed down onto a nice little ledge to be able to land fish more easily.

Nick then caught his first fish of the day but unfortunately not the big pollock he was after, instead catching a coalfish on a metal jig.

Nick's rod finally gets bend. 

Dark clouds then came rolling over the cliffs behind us, the forecast rain on its way we though. But it didn't rain. Instead we were treated to a light shower of hailstones. Not wanting to be down the cliff on soaking wet slippery rocks if the sky really opened up we quickly packed up and climbed back over the gully and up to the top of the cliffs.

When the sky turned from blue to grey and dropped a few hail stones on us we figured it was time to go.

I didn't think I would get out at the weekend so it was nice to be able to visit St Abbs Head for the first time this year. I really like fishing there as it's a stunning stretch of coastline. It reminds me of Cornwall and to have that kind of terrain and fishing an hour from Edinburgh is great. Catching coalfish on isn't particularly difficult but they do provide an obliging target to practice fishing metal jigs using different on the drop styles which is an area of my fishing I'm keen to explore and improve so I'll be doing more of it in the future so in that respect it was a fun and productive session. We didn't come into contact with any big pollock but when there are a few more sandeels around  Nick and I will be back to St Abbs Head to target them and explore the area more hopefully.

Tight lines, Scott.

Friday, April 24, 2015

All about that bass, 'bout that bass, no mullet.

With another sunny calm day forecast on Wednesday I decided to get some bread and sardines and have a go for the golden and thick lipped grey mullet that frequent the outflow at Torness Power Station. Arriving just before low water I decided to have a go for a bass while I waited for the tide to turn. This turned out to be a good idea. After a few dozen casts a small fiesty fish took my 6g cheburashka mounted 3" Daiwa D-Fin and put a nice bend in my ultra light setup. After a short but exciting scrap, with a couple of nervous moments involving a submerged rock, the fish was played out and in my net.

A rather angry little bass. Even after I quickly unhooked it the spiky fish repeatedly flared its gill plates at me. Not a happy fish. 
I was quite happy though. Another species added to my 2015 tally and a nice fish on very light tackle. Another angler kindly took this photo for me. Not the most picturesque backdrop perhaps but I've never been one for hiding where I fish.

The angler who took the photo was also fishing for bass using soft and hard plastic lures. After chatting to him for a bit I then set about making up my groundbait for the mullet. Spooning it into the bay just next to the outflow as well as tossing in a few bits of crust, a few small mullet soon appeared giving away their presence as they nosed the floating freebies. The water had a fair amount of weed suspended in it though and this seemed to get worse as the tide flooded in. It soon became a real pain to remove it from my line between casts and after an hour or so of frustration I admitted defeat and decided to head down the coast. As I got my gear together and walked back up the rocks I found the angler whom I had chatted to earlier trying to catch blennies in a large rockpool. He told me he was struggling to hook them because his hook was a bit too big so I lent him a #10 jighead and delayed my departure for a bit to join him fishing in the rockpool. We caught a few blennies and chatted away again for half an hour or so. I introduced myself properly, told him I was going to head down the coast to St Abbs and asked him if he fancied joining me which he did, so off we went back to our cars and drove south down the A1.

Soon at the harbour and fishing in the crystal clear water around its mouth it wasn't long before a couple of flounder were spotted meandering their way along the bottom into the harbour and then a sea trout slowly cruised in. A promising start indeed. We both had a go at tempting the trout and it did carefully inspect both of our jighead mounted lures before turning its nose up at them and swimming out of the harbour again. I then switched to a drop shot rig and a piece of Angleworm to cover a larger area and hopefully find some flatfish. This eventually worked and I caught a plaice and a couple of flounder. Keen to get a flatfish himself my fishing partner tried a piece of my Isome on his jighead. A good choice indeed as he caught a nice flounder on his next cast slowly retrieving it along the bottom.

One of my flounders had a nice honeycomb colouration.
This nice chunky flounder was caught by the other angler and was a much darker shade.

Shortly afterwards my fishing companion had to leave to get back to Edinburgh for 17:00. I had enjoyed fishing with him even if it was only for a short period and I also enjoyed chatting too so I told him about my blog and invited him to get in touch via email if he wanted to meet up again. I carried on fishing for another hour or so and worked my way around the harbour trying a few different spots. This saw me hook and lose another flounder and a small cod before I landed a rather beautifully marked little pollock.

Some juvenile pollock have lovely copper markings on them.

I then headed out onto the rocks at the end of the outer harbour to see if any larger pollock were around in the deeper kelpy water there. Tying on the 6g Cheburashka, Sakuma Manta hook and Daiwa D-Fin combo that my bass had fallen for in the morning I cast it out between two rocks further out and started working it back towards me. Using a very slow steady retrieve I had a few taps every other cast before one of the culprits eventually took a bigger mouthful and was soon being bullied away from the kelp. The fish didn't do any strong dives that are the trademark of a pollock though so I suspected it wasn't one and this was soon confirmed as the fish came to the surface and was drawn over my net.

It was the pollock's close cousin a coalfish that had put a little bend in my rod. Not as good a scrap as the bass had offered me but the bass was probably twice the size and had a current to use against me. Still fun on balanced ultra light tackle though.

I have to say that I'm really enjoying the versatility of the cheburashka leads. You're free to combine any size of lead with any hook to suit different lures and applications. I also think my undressed assist hook concept has big potential as well in that respect and also means that short shank hooks can be located where you want and leave the soft plastic free to move more. They are a lot cheaper than jigheads too. On this occasion however I felt a hook placed further back would have resulted in more hook ups but as I didn't have a larger hooks with me so I instead changed to a smaller lure. This did the trick and I started converting more bites into fish landed.

Another super tough little AquaWave lure. This one is a small clear ribbed shad with silver glitter.

As high water arrived and the tide slackened right off the action ceased so I ended the session and headed home. It had been another great day out in lovely sunny weather. I love catching mini species but fish like the bass and the coalfish are great fun on ultra light tackle too. I also added another two species to my 2015 tally as well. Only thirty six left to catch to reach fifty! It was also nice to meet another angler who likes fishing in rockpools! Hopefully he'll get in touch and we can meet up again. You can never have too many fishing friends!

Tight lines, Scott.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Feeling good.

The virus I had recently really was pretty nasty and it's taken a few weeks for me to get over it properly. Finally feeling almost a hundred percent again I set off yesterday to mess about in some rockpools. I decided to try and tick a tiny species off my target list for my Scottish saltwater species hunt, the two spotted goby. This little fish can reach a maximum length of a whopping 6cm and most that can be seen in rockpools are much smaller. My trusty #26 hooks to 1lb nylon packed off I went to try and locate some trapped in the rockpools at the end of Ravensheugh Beach where I have caught them previously. Unfortunately after peering into several dozen rockpools I hadn't found any two spotted gobies and they are fairly easy to pick out as unlike their cousins they tend to sit up above the bottom and move around constantly. They also have a deep red back with four cream coloured saddle markings on it that means they stand out like a sore thumb. I had intended to head west along the beach to try for flatfish but as it was a nice big spring tide I decided to explore more rockpools to the east instead.

Lovely day to be out ambling about on the rocks hunting tiny fish. This is the view from St Baldred's Cradle, a rocky peninsula that sits to the west of the mouth of the River Tyne. Berwick Law and the Bass Rock are on the horizon. The beautiful golden sands of Ravensheugh Beach stretch off towards Seacliff.

The new ground I was working my way along had some absolutely cracking deep rockpools but alas they didn't seem to hold any fish. I had a tiny piece of Isome on my hook but even tiny pieces normally draw out any fish. I thought my day's fishing was going to turn into a pleasant ramble when a tiny long spined sea scorpion appeared and first of all tried to eat the split shot placed a few centimetres above my hook. Raising the micro lure up in front of it, the little fish obligingly gobbled it up and the first fish of the session was quickly hoisted up into my hand.

A tiny reward for my efforts. Note the little white barbule on the corner of its mouth. Short spined sea scorpions don't have this. Useful little identification tip that. 

I carried on working my way along the rocks searching for the elusive little gobies, dangling my piece of isome in front of weeds around the edges and dropping it in front of gaps under submerged rocks. If possible I flicked the rig in under rocks or used a slope on the bottom to let it find its way under them. Not all fish are as bold as the long spined sea scorpion and I find getting the rig under rocks this way encourages more cautious fish that might be hiding under them to bite. When I do this I let the line go a little slack and watch for it tightening up to indicate a bite. Doing this in a fairly shallow rockpool under a large flat rock my line twitched a little then slowly began to tighten. Pulling the rod tip out away from the rock I felt a small fish on and it was thrashing around a fair bit. Pulling it out from under the rock and lifting it up I realised it was a butterfish, only my second ever. I was very excited to say the least and come the end of the year this type of capture may prove crucial in determining whether or not I reach my goal of fifty species from Scottish saltwater.

Eleven spots are better than two!

On a bit of a high I carried on exploring but failed to locate any two spotted gobies or any other fish for that matter so I headed off to Dunbar to grab lunch and spend the afternoon harassing flatfish in the harbour there hoping to catch some flounder. A sandwich and some mango slices quickly devoured I headed to "flattie corner" which I am now renaming "plaice place" as they seem to have taken it over, outnumbering the flounder by a ratio of 6:1. Over a couple of hours I caught a dozen small plaice and two flounders. All taken on a 3g cheburashka rigged with a #10 undressed assist baited with a Gulp! Angleworm slowly twitched back near the bottom with lots of pauses. After the first hour I did try and experiment and tried to tempt them with a small 3g metal fitted with an assist hook for ten minutes but as I knew the fish were there and didn't get a single bite on it I soon switched back to the angleworm on the cheburashka lead and started catching fish again.

Much nicer than last weeks blustery conditions. Fishing was much easier and the fish were more obliging too. There were lots of small sandeels in the water as well which is a good sign.
"Plaice place". THE place to catch plaice.
My first flounder of the year didn't mess about and swallowed the angleworm whole. That's the 20lb braid of the undressed assist hanging out of its mouth. Don't be fooled by the orange spots. It has no nodules on its head and a row of small raised dots either side of its lateral line.

I then headed around to the old part of the harbour to do some drop shotting, although I gave the angleworm a break and fished a few other lures. Much to my delight the flounders proved not to be that fussy and happily attacked most things I put on my hook, providing good sport over the next hour or so.

Mid tide in the old harbour, a good time to target flounder. Mainly because my 2.3m net handle can reach the water. Handy for scooping out larger flounders.
This one found a pearl EcoGearAqua Katsu Mebaru Shirasu irresistible. Tongue twister material.
I really like the Aquawave range of lures. This flounder liked the 2.8 inch Straight.
These lures are super stretchy and supple. A tiny twitch on the rod tip makes them wriggle like a ragworm.
Next up I tried some Marukyu Isome. I recently found a pack while sorting out my gear. Hidden away in the bottom of a box they were still effective after over a year in an opened resealable packet.

Just before 17:00 my mate Nick came down for an hour to fish with me. This coincided with high water and also the bites drying up. Typical! We persisted though and as we chatted we moved around until Nick found the fish, landing a couple of flounder in quick succession.

Nick gets in on the action with a small flounder. His faithful dog Jen often goes fishing with him. She even barks when his float goes under.

Soon it was time to head off and end what had turned out to be a great day's fishing. A slow morning had only produced two fish but I was over the moon about catching the butterfish. A pretty rare capture and I've now caught two of them but I guess if you spend as much time as I do mucking about in rockpools occasionally you'll get lucky and catch something unusual. Fishing #26 hooks to 1lb nylon baited with tiny pieces of Isome helps too no doubt. The afternoon was great too and twenty flatfish was my final tally, not bad at all and the flounders took my 2015 Scottish saltwater species tally up to twelve. The amount of sandeels in the harbour was also a pleasant surprise. Like leaves appearing on the trees, sea lettuce growing in the rockpools and bugs getting splattered on my windscreen as I drive up and down the A1 they are a sure signs that summer is approaching and that more saltwater opportunities will be opening up soon.

Tight lines, Scott.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

F1 Sunday.

The conditions on Sunday meant that I decided to head away from the coast for a few hours for my fishy fix. I perhaps would have preferred to visit one of west Scotland's sea lochs but to be honest as I didn't have company I decided to stay closer to home and made the one hour drive to Magiscroft to drown maggots instead. Not being too fussy about what I would catch when I was told that lots of F1 carp had been stocked into the Woodside Pond I decided to head to that and was soon setting up. There were lots of other anglers fishing already but not many fish were being caught and I also found things quite slow to start but fishing the bottom with single maggot on a #22 hook to 2lb nylon I eventually caught a few small roach before a slightly bigger fish took my bait. It was no match for my 13ft waggler rod but it put up a spirited little fight. 

I really like these little hybrids. They scrap quite well for their size.

The small roach kept coming along with a few more of the bullish little fish. I really wished that I had taken a much lighter rod though to get the best out of their little charges. I then caught my first perch of the year. 

Perfection in miniature. 

For the last hour of my session I moved over to the Birch Ponds to try and catch some gudgeon, another diminutive favourite of mine, but instead managed a steady procession of small roach. I think they dump all the silvers caught in the main pond matches into it as it is rather full of them. All in all a pretty chilled out day and the little perch has got me thinking about catching some more freshwater predators soon. I might have to go down south so I can have a crack at Zander as well.  I really like Zander and I know someone who is also fond of them too.

Tight lines, Scott.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Double figure fish.

Finally feeling a bit better after being off work sick I popped down to Dunbar Harbour midweek for a short session to see if there were any fish around inside it. I decided to try fishing a different presentation and went with a small Cheburashka lead weighing 3g. I rigged this up with a #10 undressed assist hook and threaded on a Gulp Angleworm to begin with but half way through the session changed to an EcoGearAqua Katsu Mebaru Shirasu (bit of a tasty mouthful that and not just for fish!). I went with this as it meant the hook was placed about three quarters of the way down and I could slowly retrieve it along the bottom to catch the attention of any bottom dwellers. To be honest though I don't find that presentation method matters too much with these "hybrid" type products, the heavily "scented" nature of them normally means putting them anywhere near a fish will invariably draw their interest. When I say "hybrid" and "scented" I mean soft plastics that are saturated with chemicals that fish recognise as belonging to an edible item, hence they are a sort of cross between a lure and a bait. Anyway, I find hook placement is the important aspect of whatever presentation you choose as this can improve hook up rates particularly where small mouthed fish are concerned. There weren't many fish around but a few small flatfish gave themselves away over the course of a couple of hours, emerging from the sand and lazily swimming over to have a chew on my pungent offering when I stopped moving it and gave them the chance to catch it. Three of the little fish ended up getting hooked and all of them were juvenile plaice. 

My Scottish saltwater species hunt moves into double figures. 

I also managed a single long spined sea scorpion before the wind picked up and became too annoying to persist when there weren't many fish biting. My short visit had served its purpose anyway and I think it'll be a few more weeks before things start really picking up along the East Lothian coast. I did plan on trying the open sea today to target pollock in the deep water around Eyemouth with some 100% lures, namely unscented soft plastic paddletails and metal jigs, but the onshore winds, accompanying swell and overcast sky made me change my plans and I ended up fishing the other end of the lure-bait spectrum, maggots under a waggler. It comes in handy not being fussy about what you put on your hook at times.

Tight lines, Scott.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Great expectations.

I've been trying to sort out a day afloat on Loch Etive with my mate Martin since the start of the year. The weather when we were both free has made this pretty impossible however. At the start of last week the weather at the weekend looked great though so the boat was booked and my mate Nick was free too so two became three and I was looking forward to the trip. The day after booking the boat I developed the initial symptoms of "man flu" and by midweek I had been sent home from work to get in bed and rid myself of it. It soon turned into the worst dose of man flu I've ever had but by Saturday evening I thought I was over the worst of it and I wasn't going to pull out of the trip.

Nick and I met Martin in Dumbarton and off we went in Martin's car. I didn't feel great at all and while Martin and Nick chatted away about kayaks I just sat there quietly until I had to ask Martin to pull over so I could be sick. Not a great start to the day and a few more pit stops were required before we finally arrived at Loch Etive. Luckily by that point I felt a little bit better and as the water was flat calm I didn't think I'd be adding any man flu groundbait to it. Gear loaded into the boat off we went to tie up on one of the many large buoys found around the loch.

Loch Etive has a strange draw. It's well known that it can produce large spurdogs and thornback rays and holds an impressive amount of other species too. It's also surrounded by stunning scenery and on a nice day this makes being afloat on it a real pleasure. Those anglers who have fished it regularly will also know that it can also be a very hard place to fish at times. Every time I fish it though I still have high expectations and if I'm honest they are rarely met. Last Sunday would turn out to be one such day with the fishing proving very slow at times. After a few small members of the cod family were boated at the first spot followed by a lull in activity we decided to head further up the loch to tie up next to a fish farm.

My first whiting of the year adding to my 2015 Scottish species hunt tally.
Fish cages can be a good place to try when things are tough. Feed that makes it all the way down through the trout filled pens attracts small fish which in turn should attract bigger fish and sharks. That's the theory anyway.
Nick baits up while I hold my rod hoping for a bite.

One of the downsides of fishing near these large floating fish factories are the many ropes down below which often end up snagging your tackle when you wind it up from the bottom. Not really much of an issue unless you are getting bites but when Martin eventually hooked a nice spurdog and got it almost to the surface that is exactly what happened so we started the engine and I slowly moved the boat away from the offending rope. This did the trick and Martin was able to free his shark and soon had it in the boat.

A nice spurdog and we were all hopeful that more would follow as they normally move around in packs.

Unfortunately this was the only action at the fish cages however so after a while longer we decided to move again. Trying a third area sadly didn't see a huge improvement in our fortunes either. A few tiny knocks resulted in me boating a poor cod and a switch to some Sabiki then saw Martin catching a succession of little grey gurnards. Nick then caught one too.

Small but perfectly formed.

I tried in vain to catch one as well but had no luck, instead thinking I had one only for a small coalfish to appear from the depths. It had been a slow day on the fishing front and heading back to shore we had one last drift close in. This saw me hook a fish which came off and Nick almost immediately afterwards hooked one as well, boating his biggest fish of the day, a cod weighing a couple of pounds.

So the fishing wasn't very good but there's just something about Loch Etive that keeps me going back. I'm not sure what it is exactly because more often that not the fishing disappoints. Never mind it was a nice day to be afloat in good company and the fresh air probably did me good too.

Tight lines, Scott.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Most Wanted : Freshwater Blenny.

Whilst it's still quite a while away and my mate Martin and I are visiting the River Ebro primarily to target freshwater predators I was curious about what other fish live in the massive Spanish river. All you ever really hear about from an angling perspective is that the Ebro holds huge carp and catfish. When conditions recently have been a bit too miserable to go fishing I've been doing some research into what other freshwater species are found in the river and it turns out that there are lots! Whilst putting together a list of the forty plus species that are found in it I got a pleasant surprise when I discovered that one of them is the freshwater blenny!

Blennies are one of my favourite fish families so I just had to add this one to my "Most Wanted" list.

To be honest I wasn't aware that there were any blenny species that lived exclusively in freshwater but this one does, hence its name! It has a fairly wide distribution too being found throughout southern Europe and northern Africa. It is also a popular fish that is kept in aquariums too. Normally found in fairly shallow water I'll be packing a few floats to fish maggots for them. I was already looking forward to the trip immensely but now I'm even more excited!

Tight lines, Scott.

PS: This isn't an April Fools.