Thursday, March 01, 2018

When the boat comes in.

Last month I visited Dunbar to have a fun session targeting coalfish after dark. As well as shoals of coalfish there were a few velvet swimmer crabs paddling around near the surface and also some oddly shaped small fish. I recalled spotting one of these distinctive looking fish a few years ago and I had an idea then what they were. After seeing a few I set about trying to catch one to see if I was right but had no luck. Everytime I put a jighead near one it swam down out of sight and besides the 2.3g #10 jigheads I was using were probably too big! Since that session I've been back a few times armed with a 3g controller float, some tanago hooks and a couple of raw prawns to bait them up with to try to catch one. Last week during a session there were a few of these small fish around again and with a bit of patience I successfully moved my rig into position without spooking the largest of them. With a bit of very gentle twitching I had the fish showing a little interest and then it took one of the miniscule baits on my three hook rig. Worried about it coming off it was very quickly wound in and swung up to my hand before being unhooked and popped into a small clear plastic tub for some photographs.

My suspicions were correct. The fish was a hooknose, also known as a pogge or an armed bullhead.
It's an odd little fish that has a hard bony body and the underside of its head is covered in small barbules which it uses to search for food on the seafloor.

Looking at the fish I was a little puzzled as to what a bottom dwelling species was doing swimming around near the surface and I suspect these are being brought into the harbour on shrimp boats along with their haul before being thrown over the side as they sort out their catch. Pure speculation of course and really I wasn't too fussy about how they had found their way into Dunbar Harbour, it was just nice to catch my first new species of the year.  

Tight lines, Scott.

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