Saturday, October 17, 2015

I love it when a plan comes together.

On Tuesday I headed down to Port Logan again to have another day out fishing with local skipper Spike along with two of my mates, Stewart and Mikey. It was a lovely day especially for mid October and I had two main targets in mind, red gurnard and ling, but with a few skate being caught down there this year Spike suggested it was worth trying for one over slack water. Before we targeted anything however we had to catch some fresh bait. This proved difficult but after a bit of perseverance we got a couple of dozen mackerel and headed out to the first mark. Whilst the lads relaxed and waited for runs I fished a second rod to see what else I could pick up. As I've already said I was hoping to pick up a red gurnard or a ling but really we weren't on a mark that produces them so I wasn't surprised when all I caught were whiting and dogfish. When Stewart wound in his big bait to change it for a fresh one he discovered a small bull huss had snaffled it. This was a new species for him and whilst he's still not entirely comfortable handling sharks there was no way he wasn't getting his photo taken with his first bull huss. 

Just a baby but it left Stewart wondering how strong a bigger one would be. 

After a while our bait supply began to dwindle so we headed inshore to find some more mackerel. This proved to be incredibly difficult at the first spot we tried so we moved to a second. This is where I got a big slice of luck. Working my unbaited mackerel feathers at different depths to try and locate the fish I hooked one close to the bottom and was pleasantly surprised to see a red gurnard come up which was rapidly swung into the boat. 

The difficult task of bait box replenishment had produced one of my two targets and Scottish saltwater species number fifty five.  

This bonus capture had me on a bit of a high especially as the fish had taken the dressed hook with no bait on it. After a while jigging away on the drift we eventually caught a few mackerel and anchored up at another mark to try for tope. Again I fished a second rod and after a few cod, dogfish and a haddock I caught a small ling, adding a second species to my 2015 Scottish saltwater tally.

Mission accomplished! 

Over the moon I carried on scratching around but we were all hopeful one of our tope baits would get picked up. After a while Mikey's rod started nodding but it looked like a dogfish bite to begin with. Allowing it to develop though the tip movements got a bit bigger and lifting his rod Mikey wound in to find a bit of weight on the end. A nice bull huss was soon on the surface at the side which I leaned over and lifted into the boat for him.

Mikey's first ever bull huss was a good size and as ever didn't want to cooperate while being photographed.

With no interest being shown towards our baits by tope we headed back nearer to port and anchored fairly close in over some rougher ground. Stewart float fished mackerel strips and sandeel for pollock whilst Mikey fished Sidewinder paddletails for them. I meanwhile added a weak link to a three up rig and fished the rocky bottom with mackerel strips. We all caught a few fish including a cracking pollock for Stewart that had his rod nicely bent and his drag doing some work. Mikey caught a few pollock too and I caught a few smaller pollock and some cuckoo wrasse including one beautifully marked male.

We didn't weight it but this pollock was a new personal best for Stewart. 
My nicest cuckoo wrasse. For most this would have been a lovely fish to end the day on but I couldn't resist trying something else just before we hit dry land again. 

On the way back in I clipped on a two down rig with Nordic bend hooks on it. Once we entered Port Logan I had a few casts to see if I could tempt a small turbot. Spike had told us earlier in the day that he had seen them swimming away on the clean sandy bottom whilst launching and retrieving his boat. I knew I was pushing my luck and as it turned out I had used it all up earlier in the day.  A turbot would have been the icing on the cake but adding two species to this year's tally had made the trip a massive success in my eyes anyway and seeing the lads getting their first bull huss was great too. The red gurnard and ling had left me with only four species remaining to catch to reach sixty in my Scottish saltwater species challenge. I think the boat fishing out of Port Logan might start to taper off now as winter sets in so the next time I visit the area I'll be shore fishing for conger eels and three bearded rockling. Something to keep me busy after dark over the coming months. I better dig out my thermals and stock up on headtorch batteries.

Tight lines, Scott.

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