Sunday, September 13, 2015

Punching and kicking.

On Thursday night I popped down to Dunbar Harbour to use up the small amount of ragworm that I had left over from my boat trip the Sunday before. Rockling were the target species and I fished half a ragworm baited on a #6 hook on a running ledger incorporating a rotten bottom. I'd never fished my chosen spot before, off the back of the old harbours upper walkway, but turning up just before sunset and at low water I quickly sussed out where there were gaps in the kelp and started fishing into them, casting my bait in close to where rocks gave way to broken ground. It is an area that I've always thought would produce rockling but for some reason I'd just never tried there for them. After a while as light faded I got my first bite of the session and caught a long spined sea scorpion. Once it had been dark for a while I got a second bite and caught my first rockling of the year which was of the five bearded variety.

I was over the moon to catch this little chap. My forty sixth species from Scottish saltwater this year.
Five bearded rockling have a nice golden hue to their flanks and on their gill plates. They also have, as their name suggests, five barbules or beards on their short stubby faces.

I had intended to only fish for two hours but when my rod tip rattled again just before I was about to pack up. I missed the bite but I decided to fish on for a bit. I was glad I did as shortly afterwards my rod tip went again and this time I was quicker to lift my rod and hooked the fish. Winding it up the wall another rockling appeared in the beam of my headtorch and was quickly swung to hand. This time it was a larger specimen and a different species to boot.

This fine example of a shore rockling. They are generally larger than their five bearded cousin and only possess three "beards". Not to be confused with the three bearded rockling, a variety I have never caught but hope to do so later in the year.

Returning the fish I punched the air in celebration, packed up and headed home a very happy angler. What a brilliant little session that really couldn't have gone any better although despite being on a high in the back of my mind I was kicking myself a little for not following my instincts and fishing there for them previously. I have only three species left to catch now and I have three months to catch them. To be honest I'd rather hit my target sooner rather than later but as I've just arrived on the south coast of England and will be fishing in Cornwall and Dorset for the next week my challenge is on hold until I return. 

Tight lines, Scott.

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