Monday, September 28, 2020

Trying a new spot for a new two spot.

I think it's fair to say that over the last couple of months I've rediscovered my love for fishing. Obviously lockdown meant fishing wasn't even possible for a long time and this combined with being furloughed for a few months gave me a complete break from fishing altogether. I love my job in the Edinburgh Angling Centre but perhaps working in a tackle shop full time and fishing in my free time had eventually taken its toll and the enforced interruption has definitely been a positive thing. As they say never combine business with pleasure! Anyway, my recent gilthead hunting trips and late night scad sessions down at Torness Power Station as well as other sessions further afield have rekindled my passion and last Wednesday it was a nice day so Lillian and I went for a leisurely drive to the west coast. I got permission to try fishing at a new spot on the shore of Loch Creran, inspired by an underwater photo of a fish with two spots I've never caught before I found online that was taken there.

This is a two spotted clingfish, so named due to having, you've guessed it, two spots. These are located one on either side, to the rear of the fish's pectoral fins. A very small species, its maximum length of 6 cm will obviously make catching one tough but if you don't try...

Fishing into deep water from the end of a small pontoon using #14 hooks baited with tiny pieces of raw prawn, I quickly added a few species to my 2020 tally in the shape of dozens of pin whiting and a few small dabs.

I got comfortable for a couple of hour's fishing while Lillian read a book and took the odd photo of me.
These pin whiting made up the bulk of my catch from the deeper water out in front of the pontoon.

After a while I decided to switch from casting out as far as I could and tried dropping my rig straight down off the end of the pontoon. It's always worth remembering that a lot of the time there are usual fish right at your feet! As soon as my rig touched down on the bottom my rod tip started twitching away to rattling type bites, so I swapped to an even smaller hook to see if I could find out what the culprits were. This worked a treat and I now have a new favourite mark for targetting painted goby. Their size averaged about 4cm long and with mouths perhaps smaller than the two spotted clingfish I was hoping to catch this gave me confidence that my tactics were spot on and might work should I happen to get lucky and put my rig in the vicinity of my target species.

There were plenty of them down there and my little observation tank soon had a few in it.

After a while I decided to ignore my own advice on fishing at my feet and began firing my rig out into deeper water again, trying different distances and directions. A few more whiting, a solitary cod and a lone sand goby were all caught and released. The sand goby again a vindication that small fish at distance in deep water can be successfully caught. Before we left I tied on a small HTO shore jig fitted with a single hook at the rear and had a go for mackerel as I'd had one or two of them follow my lead in when I had been retrieving my bait rig earlier in the session. It didn't take long to catch a few and whilst most were released by shaking them off the hook a couple of slightly bigger ones were kept for my tea the following day. 

It's easy to forget how beautiful the humble mackerel is with its colourful markings and iridescent sheen. They're great sport on very light tackle as well and grilled with a generous splash of Frank's red hot original cayenne pepper sauce they're very tasty into the bargain.

So, yet again a my first ever clingfish had eluded capture but if nothing else I'm persistent, so I might return to the west coast sea lochs to try my luck again if the weather is suitable during the coming weeks. With summer well and truly over now my thoughts are also beginning to turn to my old Scottish pink,red and brown nemesis, the three bearded rockling, so a trip or two down to the Southwest of Scotland for an after dark session targetting those is on the cards too.

Tight lines, Scott.

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