Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Each to their own.

Looking at my list of possible remaining saltwater target species last Monday night I decided to head west again last Tuesday. With last Wednesday off work as well however I opted to have an evening session at Greenock, fishing the Victoria Marina, followed by an overnight stay in Glasgow before heading up to Loch Fyne early on Wednesday morning. I knew my mate Dimitrios who lives in Glasgow was free on the Wednesday and is still without a car so I sent him a message to see if he wanted to ride shotgun which he did. My plans complete I put them into motion early in Tuesday afternoon. Really I choose Victoria Marina with shore rocking and common eels in mind as I have read reports online of them both being caught there recently. Common dragonets are also known to turn up there too from time to time. Given these facts I felt there was a good chance of adding a species to this year's tally.  There were a few other angler fishing when I arrived but one leaving as I got organised to start my own session told me that not many fish were being caught but looking along the marina I could see most anglers were fishing heavier gear and no doubt large baits for larger fish. Fishing a scaled down three hook flapper and various small baits on #10 hooks I quickly caught a couple of small cod at fairly close range and when I cast out a bit further I caught a few tiny haddock.

A pleasant little surprise and my first of the year. Even juveniles bear the "devil's thumbprint".

As the session carried on I caught a few more fish and when the tide turned and began to flood, submerging the weed covered rocks at the bottom of the marina wall, I caught a few goldsinny wrasse.

There are a few of these little chaps who feed in the weedy rocks at close range.

I fished away quite happily catching mainly juvenile haddock, dab and cod. As the evening progressed the other anglers, who still didn't seem to be catching much, slowly started to pack up and head off and before too long I had the place all to myself. 

A nice little early evening codling.

It was quite a nice night and as the sun set I changed end gear and was hopefully that maybe a shore rockling or common eel would become active and take my ledgered fish bait and my #6 hook with it.

Red sky at night. Lines will be tight?

As darkness fell however all activity ceased apart from the resident shore crabs which had my rod tip rhythmically nodding ever so slightly, a few of them holding on for dear life, munching away, as I reeled in to rebait periodically. At about 01:00 I called it a night and drove east to Glasgow where I stayed the night in a budget hostel. 

In the morning it was a lovely day. I picked up Dimitrios and after making the nice drive through some lovely scenery we were soon on the bladderwrack covered shore of Loch Fyne. I was hoping for a common dragonet again and fished small chunks of raw prawn on a three hook flapper using very light tackle. Dimitrios fished small metals and before I had finished setting up my gear he had caught a launce and a tiny whiting. The area I planned to fish was fairly weedy and quite shallow until it reached a drop off though so he soon headed south to fish some deeper water. 

Dimitrios heads off to do his own thing.

I was soon fishing and catching the usual suspects. A black goby was first to be caught and was followed by a few tiny cod, a mackerel and a string of dabs. 

Even at range holding my rod meant I could feel the fish attacking my little baits. 
I've been catching a lot of dab recently. 
I have a strange fixation with the big eyes of the dab. They are just plain weird and freak me out a bit if I'm honest.
Rather than swimming off this one just went straight to the bottom and with a quick shake buried itself. I held my cheap sunglasses close in front of my phone to take this photo without the surface glare. Who needs an expensive camera and a polarising lens filter? 

After a while Dimitrios came back along to get his ultra light rod. He had with him a few mackerel which he'd had fun catching but he wanted to up the ante and catch a few more on even lighter gear. After a while doing just that he returned again and decided to have a bit of a nap in the sun. I carried on fishing away and as the tide dropped away revealing more of the shoreline I was able to get my three hook flapper out further and further. After catching a few more black gobies I was getting a few bites that I couldn't connect with so I switched from #10 to #14 hooks. I was hoping the culprits were common dragonets but after missing a few more of the tiny little knocks I was beginning to wonder if it was crabs when I eventually hooked something and landing it added another species to this year's tally. 

Feeling the bite of this tiny sand goby at a fair distance in deep water is testament to the incredible sensitivity of the tackle I was using. Still very lucky to hook it on a #14 hook though.

Quite pleased I carried on fishing hopeful that the receding tide would allow me to reach an area that held my target. Dimitrios feeling refreshed from his afternoon snooze headed back along to enjoy some more sport with the mackerel. Most of them had moved off but he did have some fun when he hooked a sea trout. As they often do however it eventually managed to throw his hook. I didn't manage to locate any common dragonets in the end but I caught a few more dabs, cod, mackerel, a solitary juvenile haddock and a couple of short spined sea scorpions before it was time to pack up and head home. 

These are much more prevalent in sea lochs than their long spined cousins.

It had been an enjoyable little two day trip and with the addition of another two species taking my 2015 saltwater tally to thirty four it had been worth putting a few more miles on the car's clock again too. It was good to meet up with Dimitrios again even if we both spent most of the day doing our own thing. Nothing wrong with anglers enjoying different styles of fishing but as Dimitrios fishes exclusively with lures I think next time we meet up I'll join him fishing with them too, if not for the entire session then for the majority of it at least. Personally I think Dimitrios is one of the most talented light game anglers in the country and I think I could learn a lot from him, particularly when it comes to fishing metals. We're thinking about a trip to fish Loch Linnhe with ling and cuckoo wrasse being the main target species. I think between now and the end of the year I'll be spending a lot of my time fishing over on the western half of the country so no doubt Loch Linnhe won't be the only venue that Dimitrios and I visit.

Tight lines, Scott.

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