Thursday, June 25, 2015

Back on track.

After talking about it a few times last year but failing to actually organise it, my mate Martin and I headed down to Drummore on Sunday armed with some crab to spend a day out in local skipper Spike's boat "Go West" targeting starry smoothhounds. As well as fishing with Martin again, which I always enjoy, it was a great opportunity for me to add a few species to my fifty saltwater species from around Scotland challenge tally.

I think Spike's boat should be called "Go South West".  It's all relative though I suppose. 

Gear loaded aboard we were soon drifting over a drop off not far from the shore to catch some fresh mackerel for bait. There were plenty of small ones around a small bait box soon had enough in it to keep us going for most of the day and off we went to drop anchor. Both of us fished two rods, one with a ledgered half mackerel bait for larger sharks like tope, bull huss and thornback rays and a second for smoothhounds and other smaller species. Martin's half mackerel bait must have landed right next to a thornback ray as it took the bait almost as soon as it hit the bottom. After putting that back and casting out a fresh bait he fished a one up one down rig on his second rod with both hooks baited with crab to try and tempt a starry smoothhound. I went with a three up rig and baited my hooks with mackerel strips to try and catch some gurnards. Inevitably we both caught a few lesser spotted dogfish before we eventually caught what we were targeting.

My first dogfish of the year gets a kiss. 
A nice smoothhound eventually beat the dogfish to Martin's crab baits. 
I added a second species to this year's tally with a grey gurnard in nice condition. 

We both caught a few more dogfish and after a few more grey gurnard I switched to a crab bait on a running ledger which eventually saw me catch my first ever starry smoothhound.

My first new species of the trip. 

A few more dogfish later Martin and I both landed a couple of nice sharks at the same time.

A nice thornback ray for me, a fourth species added to this year's tally and yet another smoothhound for Martin. 

Shortly afterwards I caught a smaller ray. When it came into view though I could tell from its markings that it wasn't a thornback and got a bit excited. Quickly lifting it into the boat my suspicions were confirmed and I had struck lucky with a spotted ray. 

Quite a rare capture. Spike told us he'd only ever seen two or three boated. I was extremely happy to catch my second new species of the trip and add a fifth to this year's tally. 

With no tope or bull huss showing interest in our bigger baits we upped anchor and tried a few drifts fishing with smaller hooks to see what else might turn up. This saw us catching some whiting and a few more mackerel. Dropping anchor at a second mark didn't  see anything else being caught except a succession of whiting and dogfish. Slightly disappointed not to catch any tope or bull huss it had still been a good day and when we got back< to Drummore we discovered that none of the other boats had caught any tope either. After loading up our cars and saying goodbye to Martin he headed up the road but I headed north to Stranraer where I'd be staying the next two nights. I had Monday and Tuesday off of work and my species hunting in Dumfries & Galloway wasn't over just yet.

Tight lines, Scott.

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