Friday, April 29, 2016

A tad surprized.

Keen to have some fun with some of the smaller wrasse species I headed Greenock with my mate Dan on Sunday. When we arrived there were a few other anglers fishing and we got talking to one of them as we set up our rods. He told us how the venue had been fishing and mentioned that he had caught a tadpole fish a few days previously. Quite excited by this news we started fishing away and were soon catching a few small pollock, coalfish and cod on Angleworm fished on drop shot rigs at close range amongst the rocks and weed. After a while I switched to fishing small pieces of raw prawn and before too long we had both caught a few goldsinny wrasse. 

This one was particularly grumpy.

Whilst I got stinky fingers, Dan stuck to fishing Angleworm and dropping his rig down again after unhooking a fish he got a very aggressive take just as it hit the bottom. A short scrap ensued and looking down to see what would appear from the depths I was expecting to see a small cod or maybe a small ballan wrasse. I think Dan was just as surprised as I was to see the distinctive dark body and gaping white mouth of a tadpole fish! Rather excited by this odd sight Dan didn't wait for me to grab the net and instead quickly swung it up to hand. 

What a weird looking fish! Dan told me he had seen one caught before but this was the first time he'd caught one himself. It was the first time I'd seen one in the flesh though and as well as being fascinated, I was also a little bit jealous.  

Coming over to see Dan's tadpole fish and to ask what else we had been catching the angler we had talked to earlier very kindly offered us a small amount of few freshly dug ragworm to improve our catch rates which it unsurprisingly did. Wrasse love ragworm after all! To mix things up a bit I switched to float fishing for a while whilst Dan stuck to fishing close to the bottom. A string of goldsinny wrasse and then a few corkwing wrasse were caught by us both including some very beautifully coloured males.

Some of the corkwing wrasse were particularly stunning with incredibly bright blue markings. This one was possible the most colourful example I've ever seen.

By high water we had used up the ragworm and things slowed down for a while until the tide began to ebb. I switched back to a running ledger and dropped a bigger piece of raw prawn down the side. It wasn't down long when my ultra light rod slammed over and a fish, which I guessed was a small cod, started swimming off staying close to the bottom. Tightening up my drag and putting a bit of pressure on the fish I gained some line and it soon appeared from the depths. To my delight it was another tadpole fish. Being bigger than the one Dan had caught I didn't want to try and lift it up so I asked Dan to net it for me which he quickly did. 

At just over a pound my first ever tadpole fish was a specimen. 
Quite a large mouth to say the least with lots of small sharp inward facing teeth. 
They look like they are slimy but they aren't. Instead their almost black skin is just very shiny. 
To me they resemble a stumpy rockling and having one last good look before returning it I could see they share many of their features.

I was absolutely delighted to catch this fish. It was my first new U.K. species for a while and my first of 2016 too. Seeing Dan catch one was pretty awesome but I didn't expect to catch one as well. I was on a high afterwards but things went quiet again and after losing a few rigs to snags we decided to end the session. What an incredible day's fishing. Lots of fun with the small wrasse but the tadpole fish were the highlight. Not a fish many anglers will ever encounter so we were amazed that we'd both caught one in the same session. One I don't think either of us will ever forget.

Tight lines, Scott.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Better the devil you know...

This 13.5g Tazmanian Devil seems to be the lure of choice for many anglers who visit St Mullin's for the annual shad run on the River Barrow in Ireland. I'm hoping to get to know this devil when I go over to try and catch my first shad in a couple of weeks' time with my mate Martin.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Never say never.

I've not been out much this year. When I have had my days off work the weather has been poor and when I have gone fishing it has been pretty unproductive to say the least. Last week though I caught a few small flounders at Dunbar Harbour but even they were very hard work to winkle out. Encouraging though and there were a few shoals of sandeels in the harbour too, a sure sign that water temperatures are slowly creeping up. Soon the species associated with the summer months will begin to reappear and hopefully we'll get some nice weather over the coming months too.

This week the weather has been quite nice for a change. Yesterday was a lovely clear sunny day with hardly any wind blowing so I headed down the coast for a session targeting mullet. Quickly setting up and spooning in some groundbait there were soon a few fish attacking the larger chunks of bread, splashing around on the surface as they fought over it. Normally you can draw them in towards you but not yesterday, instead they stayed out a fair bit. Perhaps because it wasn't a particularly big tide and there wasn't a great depth of water covering the area I was fishing or maybe it was due to the very bright conditions. Anyway, my eyesight was put to the test as my 6lb mainline slipped through my thumb and forefinger and my float drifted out amongst the feeding fish. As usually happens, at a particular point of the tide they seemed to throw caution to what little breeze there was and I hooked and landed two in fairly rapid succession.

First out was a thick lipped grey mullet. They can show trout how to pout. 
Next up was a golden grey mullet. Their lips aren't quite so voluptuous.

That was that and despite the fish still feeding away on the surface I didn't tempt anymore with the bread flake on my #10 hook. Still it was such a lovely day it didn't really matter. In the past I've expressed my dislike of the venue and often have said to myself that I'd never return but it's hard to stay away given the fun that can be had fishing for mullet. It's not so bad when you have it to yourself and standing on the large boulders with the sun on my face reminded me of fishing off the back of a harbour breakwater abroad.

Tight lines, Scott.