Thursday, November 09, 2017

Double dragonet.

On day three of my trip I headed to Mevagissey in Cornwall to try and escape the rampaging children that had taken over Ilfracombe. When I arrived just late in the morning it was a nice day and more importantly it was very quiet. Settling down to fish on the outside of the harbour's southern breakwater I was curious to see if the multitude of species that can be caught in the summer were still around. In short the answer was a resounding no! However, it was nice to enjoy some peace and quiet as I sat fishing a scaled down three hook flapper with #14 hooks baited up with small pieces of Dynabait ragworm on ultra light tackle waiting for bites. The fishing was incredibly slow and I was starting to think that in fishing terms the drive had been a complete waste of time when I finally had a bit of interest and caught something. It was a small dragonet that for some reason looked a little funny. Upon further inspection I got a pleasant surprise.

Looking at it casually it would have been easy just to assume it was a common dragonet but something about told me it was different. I think it was the slight red tinge to its head that made me take a closer look at the little chap.
Extending the first dorsal fin revealed a nice pattern and also that the fish was a male.
Extending the tall second dorsal fin revealed another set of striking markings and confirmed my suspicions. I had caught my first ever reticulated dragonet.

I was delighted and probably wouldn't have been bothered if I hadn't caught anything else but over the next few hours I caught a few common dragonets. Another angler then turned up and we had a chat about species hunting. I showed him the photographs of my reticulated dragonet so he could identify one should he catch one and he told me that he'd caught some pilchards whilst out on a charter boat a few days previously. He didn't stay long and didn't catch a reticulated dragonet but managed to catch a few common dragonets too. After he left I caught a second reticulated dragonet and then a few more common dragonets.

Here is one of the common dragonets. Note the completely different fin shape and colouration. They group of spines on the rear edge of the gill plate common dragonet is also slightly larger and stands out more prominently.

Towards the end of the session I tried fishing straight down the wall through gaps in the kelp along at the end of the pier. Using this tactic I had clingfish in mind but instead caught a few of goldsinny wrasse and a long spined sea scorpion. Before heading back to Ilfracombe I decided to get something to eat and ended up trying something new. I can now heartily recommend huss which was very tasty indeed served with some chunky chips. So my trip was going well, whilst the fishing certainly hadn't been frantic at the two venues I'd fished, it had been most productive in terms of catching new species and with three days left I was keen to try and catch some more.

Tight lines, Scott.

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