Saturday, June 30, 2012

From dusk till dawn.

I headed down to Torness Power Station midweek with my mate Jake to have a go for bass during dusk and dawn and to fish around at the inlet during darkness to see what might be around. When we arrived the tide was on its way out and there were a couple of other people fishing. There was a fair swell running and the waves were coming up over the reef. We got set up, waded out a bit onto the reef and started fishing just as light started to fade, although due to heavy cloud cover and mist it was already pretty dim anyway. I opted for a bombarda and tiny Slug-Go whilst Jake went with a baby Slug-Go on a jighead. After a few casts I had a knock and then Jake hooked a bass. We both thought that this would signal the start of a period of action but it didn't. After Jake lost some end gear in the gulley he was working which was begining to empty a bit we moved for a while to another spot on the reef. This didn't produce anything after a while so we decided to head around to the inlet area.

Upon arrival we started fishing from the helicopter platform. I set up a two hook flapper rig, put on a couple of Gulp! Sandworms and lobbed it out in the hope that something maybe be moving around on the bottom under the cover of darkness. Jake meanwhile soon caught a small pollock. We then heard splashing in the shadows directly below us and Jake was soon catching the culprits, small coalfish.

More active at night, coalfish are good fun on ultra light gear.

Whilst Jake continued having fun with the coalfish, with the odd pollock taking his green Power Isome too, I was getting a few taps on my rod and decided to reel in to check the lures. Both were bitten off up to the hook so I knew there were a few crabs around at least! I switched over to some larger red Gulp! 6" Nightcrawlers to put a bit more scent into the water and hopefully prevent the crabs from eating them so quickly. Once those were out on the bottom I decided to have a go for a coalfish with my 2' Ron Thompson Ice Fishing rod for a laugh. After a bit of perseverance I finally hooked one but it didn't really put that much of a bend into the little rod. It's obviously tougher than I thought! After a decent rattle on my rod I reeled in only to find the lures half destroyed by the crabs again so we decided to have a quick go in the rockpools where I'd caught a few long spined sea scorpions and the leopard spotted gobies earlier in the week. There was very little activity though but we did spot a few fish darting around and Jake managed to catch one sea scorpion. We then headed back around to the outflow for dawn.

With the tide almost fully out and nobody else around we were in high spirits. The sky was still overcast though and it was still pretty misty. We both started off fishing baby Slug-Gos on jigheads, casting up the current and working them back close to the bottom but neither of us had any luck. I decided to try a few hard lures and after trying a Maria Chase BW in Holo and a I decided to try a cheap lure I picked up for £5 at the North Wales bumble. I'd never used it before so was pleasantly surprised when on the third cast a small bass took it.

My first bass on a hard lure for quite some time!

I called Jake over and he quickly switched over to his favourite Yo-Zuri Pins Minnow. A few casts later and he was in too. He caught another two bass in fairly quick succession on it and I had a couple of knocks too but after that the action stopped again. By this point it was fairly light, although we didn't get to enjoy a nice sunrise due to all the clouds and mist! We fished on for another hour or so but by this point we were both pretty tired so we headed back up the road.

Tight lines, Scott.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A leopard can change its spots!

Some times it's easy to get into a routine of visiting the same marks, especially when they are producing fish. I've decided to make more effort towards my personal species hunt and try to spend more time targeting fish that I've not caught yet this year and also visiting some new marks to see what they turn up. With this in mind I popped out today to target a few species to add to my tally.

First port of call was Dunbar Harbour to try and catch a flounder. I started off fishing in the old harbour. The tide was almost fully out when I arrived and the water was very clear so I could see the bottom. Casting out and slowly retrieving a whole medium pink Isome back along the bottom I soon had a few follows from small flounders but no bites. I worked my way around the edge and decided to drop straight down the edge at "shellfish falls", a small outflow from the shellfish processing factory that occasionally flows into the harbour providing the fish below with a steady supply of tasty treats, and quickly pulled out a blenny. Usually big ones can be caught there, probably due to their rich langoustine diets, but this one was quite small compared to previous captures from the spot! I then went round to the new harbour. Again I had a few small flounders following but not biting. After a while I decided to try for viviparous blennies at a spot where I've seen them caught last year. After 30 minutes of no action at all though I decided a move was required.

I headed down to Torness Power Station to fish the inlet area. Target species here were codling, rockling and also the rather rare yarrell's blenny that a friend told me they had caught there in the past. First of all I tried the helicopter landing pad. I set up a dropshot rig and dropped it straight down the side and slowly worked it along the edge. No bites though so I cast out just in front of some kelp to the left of the platform and onto the clean sandy bottom. Working it back slowly and jerking the lure gently I had a take about half way in and the rod tip started nodding away. I angled the rod to my right and quickly reeled the fish up away from the kelp, up to the surface and hoisted it up. It was a nice little pollock that had some lovely markings.

Beautiful golden honeycomb markings.

Next I tried off the back of the walkway that crosses over the inlet. Dropping the dropshot rig down into each section and working my way along I soon had a few little taps but no takes. Then I spotted some nice looking rockpools at the east side of the walkway and scrambled down over the boulders to explore them. I took off the dropshot rig and switched to a 2.3g #8 Shirasu Fine jighead and threaded on a 1" section of Isome. First one I dropped it into was full of small blennies and sea scorpions that started attacking it aggressively. I soon started catching a steady stream of sea scorpions. Exploring the different pools I soon caught eight of them, all the long spined variety. 

Soft plastic lures aren't the only things that come in watermelon seed.

Then I spotted a nice long gully full of boulders. I dropped the lure down in between a gap in some of them and jigged it around a little. Out came what I thought were small blennies and after a few missed bites I managed to hook one. I lifted it up to discover it was in fact a leopard spotted goby. 

Not just a new species for my 2012 hunt but a new species for me! I was over the moon.

This area seemed to hold quite a few of them but they were proving hard to hook so I reduced the size of the Isome chunk on the jighead and placed it on the bend of the hook. This resulted in a second being caught.

Hard to see in the photos but they have a very thin electric blue edging to their dorsal and anal fins.

I was just about to rig up a #18 hook with a couple of split shot to increase my hook up rate when I realised it was time to go. So whilst I failed to catch any of my target species I can't complain due to the unexpected bonus catch that made the session a success! I will have to explore the area further soon to see what else it holds that's for sure!

Tight lines, Scott.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Big jack, little jack.

Not satisfied with a weekend species hunting in Plymouth, a session at Dunbar harbour on Monday and catching a new PB bass during a superb bass session with my mate Jake early yesterday morning, I visited the Forth & Clyde Canal early yesterday evening for a couple of hours with Lillian for a nice stroll along the towpath lobbing soft lures at the resident pike and perch. After only 20 min I caught a lovely 5lb 3oz pike from the large basin next to the Falkirk Wheel much to the delight of the passing tourists.

After a nice little scrap Lillian netted this for me.

As was unhooking it a few passers by asked me rather stupidly if I had caught it in the canal to which I cheekily replied "No, I brought it with me."! Most people don't realise that the canal holds any fish let alone large predators!

After releasing the fish we headed over a bridge and onto a very long pontoon, working our way along it, fishing in between all the boats that were moored there. A few small jacks had a go at my Savage Gear Soft 4Play in Dirty Roach, much to our amusement, but no bigger pike were seen by the time we reached the end of the pontoon so before walking back along I changed over to a Lake Fork Live Baby Shad in Golden Shiner to try and tempt any perch that may be around. No joy with that though although a couple of tiny jacks showed an interest and I hooked one that fell off when I was lifting it up. When we got back to the basin at the Falkirk Wheel I spent a final 15 minutes working the lure across some weed beds to try and find some perch. "Last cast." I told Lillian and asked her where I should try. She recommended a gap between two pontoons on the other side so I cast over to the spot. I asked her what kind of retrieve I should try and she told me to "jiggle it a bit"! I did exactly that, not expecting anything to happen but I felt a little tug and my rod tip started nodding. Perch on I thought! As I reeled it in though it quickly came into view and was in fact a tiny jack.

A perfect little end to a superb days fishing! Thanks to my wonderful ghillie!

I was in stitches, we couldn't believe what had just happened and we laughed all the way back to the car!

Tight lines, Scott.

Slug-Go delivers yet again!

With the conditions looking good yesterday I headed down the coast with my mate Jake for an early morning bass session. When we arrived the tide was ebbing and would turn in a few hours time. Armed with bass gear, a load of Slug-Gos and some of the new Hogy Sandeels, we started lobbing them around and it wasn't long before Jake had the bass munching his Slug-Go as he worked it through the current.

Slug-Go strikes again!
Jake soon landed a second slightly bigger fish.

Next it was my turn. I cast out across the current and worked the Slug-Go back towards a submerged rock feature and as it passed it I felt a solid take. Rod with a nice bend in it I started reeling it in. Apart from a few rather gentle head shakes the fish was guided up into a gully with the aid of a wave and landed very quickly and I was actually quite surprised by its size!

Didn't put up much of a fight but at just over 54cm and 3lb 12oz this was a new PB!
A quick kiss before returning it.

Jake continued catching a steady stream of decent sized bass but as I wasn't, I decided to switch over to a Hogy Sandeel and hooked a bass almost straight away. It put up a great fight and I thought it may be better than my first so was surprised when it turned out to be a very feisty fish of only about 2lb. Shortly afterwards I hooked another fish and thought it fought a bit differently to my first two fish so I didn't know what to expect size wise! I certainly was however expecting to see another bass and was surprised to find out it was in fact a small pollock.

My first ever pollock from this mark fell to a Hogy Sandeel.

Meanwhile Jake was on a roll and clearly has working a Slug-Go down to a fine art and soon had caught his 50th bass of 2012. I carried on practising my technique! Jake then got bored of all the bass he was catching and decided to catch something else.

The second pollock of the day.

The tide turned and it was at this point that a large shoal of bass began chasing tiny sandeels very close in and feeding on the surface right in front of us. A few other people fishing with controller floats and small white eels seemed to be catching smaller schoolies whilst Jake's Slug-Go was still sorting out the better fish. Whilst Jake continued catching several bass about the 2lb mark and I was trying to get my Slug-Go to do likewise, Jake hooked another bigger fish and after putting up a very good fight with several spirited runs he landed it with the help of a wave.

Jakes best bass of the day. 53cm and 3lb 14oz.

Sortly afterwards all my persistence with the Slug-Go finally paid off and I caught my third bass of the session. It gave a very good account of itself in the current which had me thinking it was a better fish than it actually was.

My third bass of the session. Despite being the smallest fish we caught at about 1.5lb it put up a good scrap in the current.
My Slug-Go skills are improving steadily!

The action died off considerably after this and after fishing on for a while we called it a day. An absolutely superb session with the Slug-Gos yet again sorting out the better sized fish. A new PB for me and also a fish each over 50cm that we can both enter into the Team Bass 2012 competition being run on The Lure Forum. We also saw a few mullet grazing in the weed beneath our feet and a couple of shoals of small sea trout swimming by so I dare say next trip along with more bass they'll also be in our sights on some ultra light tackle!

Tight lines, Scott.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dunbar rockhopping and mini species hunt.

I headed down to Dunbar yesterday with my mate Jake to try for wrasse and pollock at the back of the harbour. We clambered around on the rocks to the east and west of the new harbour for a couple of hours but unfortunately there was no sign of any fish despite us lobbing a Slug-Go or two around and dropping Isome down the sides.

No fish being caught but watching the boats come and go and the nice weather was quite relaxing.

We decided to spend the last hour of the session doing a spot of mini species hunting inside the harbour and the usual suspects were caught at the usual spots, some of which we have given names.

I caught this long spined sea scorpion near the mouth of the harbour.
"Blenny Corner" open for business again. This one took my Isome.
Jake avoids a blank thanks to this cheeky little chap!

Jake then spotted a long slender fish which we're sure was a fifteen spined stickleback and he had a very frustrating time trying to tempt it with a small chunk of Isome, but it soon dissapearred beneath the floating bladderwrack that was growing on the harbour wall. I then popped around to the old harbour for ten minutes to another little hot spot. 

Just before we left I quickly teased this bigger blenny out from beneath "Shellfish Falls".

Not the most productive session we've enjoyed recently and the lack of fish over the back was a bit dissapointing but the mini species saved us from blanking again and as always brought a smile to our faces!

Tight lines, Scott.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Should I stay or should I go?

Last month when I heard that the Art of Fishing Species Hunt competition that I was told was being planned in Plymouth for the end of May may not take place I headed off to Anglesey instead for the North Wales Bumble. When I heard it had been reorganised to take place on Saturday the 16th of June I was tempted to head down for it. The only real problem was that it clashed with the Shark-a-Tag three day event at the Mull of Galloway and I had planned on taking part in. With the prospect of catching a few sharks proving attractive it meant a difficult choice would have to be made! 50lb tope or 50g gobies? Decisions, decisions! After much thought and deliberation, and despite some poor weather forecasts for Plymouth leading up to the weekend of the competition, I decided midweek to head south. I'm off to the Mull of Galloway in August so the sharks can wait until then.

The day before the comp my alarm went at 5:00, I boarded the Train at 6:06 and almost nine hours later I arrived in Plymouth. It was a bit windy but overhead was mainly blue sky and no rain. I walked to my hotel which was situated near the Hoe. For the benefit of any gangster rappers or pimps, "The Hoe" is a large public space above the limestone cliffs that make up the coast of Plymouth and is not one of your female acquaintances or employees! Anyway, I dumped my suitcase of clothes in my small single room and headed off to the Art of Fishing shop down near the Barbican. Ten minutes later I was outside!

Some folk kneel and face Mecca. I normally just point my browser!

I braced myself before entering, knowing that I must be strong to avoid the mind boggling selection of goodies on offer and try to resist the overwhelming temptation to acquire bags full of them. I took a deep breath and walked in.

Tackle tart heaven. So much better than browsing online but even easier than clicking!

Inside I was like a child in a sweet shop, I looked at the endless rows of lovely lure fishing bling before I spotted Matt, the competition organiser, and went over to introduce myself. We had a quick chat and he introduced Phil, a fellow TLF member who was also in town to take part in the comp. We had a chat and browsed over all the gear again before making our escape. I managed to restrict my impulse buying to some jigheads and a packet of large pink Power Isome. Neither of which I really needed! I'm not sure how Phil fared but he left clutching a bag too so must have given in to lure lust as well!

Following some advice Matt had given us, we took a short stroll around to the north end of Sutton Harbour Marina and I started fishing. Phil went back to his hotel to get his gear.

Looks good!

Straight away I was getting lots of bites. I hooked a fish but it bolted into the weeds and came off. Judging by its shape and the way it shot off I think it was a sea scorpion. Shortly afterwards I caught my first fish of the trip, a black goby.

The nightmare scenario of a totally fishless trip quickly put to bed!

Then I spotted a large sea trout. I lobbed a lure in its direction and it did have a look at it before being spooked and bolting down into the depths. At this point Phil returned and started fishing along from me. I told him about the black goby and the trout. The little bites continued and I caught a rock goby followed by a few more.

Nice mustard coloured tip on this ones' dorsal fin.

The trout returned but unlike Phil and I managed to resist taking a lure despite having a few chucked in front of its face! Phil wasn't having any luck and told me he had a habit of blanking at new marks and was going to head off for some food and start afresh in the morning. I carried on fishing and slowly worked my way along the edge of the harbour catching a few more rock gobies as I went before I caught something slightly bigger, my first tompot blenny of the trip. I love blennies and the tompot's weird little eyebrows were awesome so I was chuffed!

I love tompot blennies!

I decided to move round to another area and found a nice little spot which I quickly discovered held a fair amount of small wrasse. Being small wrasse they did their best to infuriate me with their little taps before I hooked a particularly greedy goldsinny that swallowed half a Gulp! 1" Minnow!

Nasty set of teeth on this greedy little fish!

I then spotted a slightly bigger wrasse that I thought might be a small ballan or a corkwing and tried to catch it but it lost interest after a few taps at my lure and disappeared into it's weedy hole. At this point a young lad named Dean turned up with his ultra light gear and we got chatting. I told him what I had caught and he started fishing alongside me. Fish kept coming steadily. I caught another goldsinny wrasse, another rock goby, a common blenny and another tompot blenny. Dean caught a tompot blenny and we chatted about blenny and goby identification. After a while we decided to move round the harbour to a new spot where Dean had been told there were a few sea scorpions. When we arrived to our surprise we saw a lesser spotted dogfish swimming around near the surface between the harbour wall and the pontoon. Dean dropped a lure in front of it but it just sulked off under the pontoons out of site. We started exploring the stretch of wall and were getting lots of little bites. Dean's mate Ben arrived and we fished on for another hour. I caught another rock goby and another goldsinny wrasse. Ben got a goldsinny wrasse too. By this point it was almost 23:00 so we packed up, Dean and Ben went home and I headed back to the hotel.

Saturday morning I was up at 7:30, got ready, had a hearty breakfast and headed down to Art of Fishing to meet everyone and start fishing the competition. There was a few of the guys from TLF taking part which was nice and then we all registered for the competition, bought a few bits and bobs and headed out to start fishing. I headed to the spot where I saw all the wrasse the night before. The water was a lot lower and the wind was blowing through a bit more strongly which made things difficult but I was fishing a drop shot rig to combat this and had a few bites. A few other lads joined me and pretty soon there were five of us all along the wall side by side. The bites kept coming but mainly from wrasse which I couldn't manage to hook. A blenny appeared though and being a much more obliging fish it chomped the lure eagerly and became my first fish of the day.

Species 1. - Common Blenny.

A few of the other lads, no doubt frustrated by the small wrasse moved on but I continued working my lure along the edges of weed. Out swam a bigger blenny. This one took a couple of goes before being hooked.

Species 2 - Tompot blenny.

After a few more "close but no cigar" bites off the small wrasse I decided to go to the north end of the marina to try for gobies. It was a bit more sheltered there so I switched to a jighead and dropped a small chunk of Power Isome down the side, hit the bottom, lifted up an inch and started walking along. Few taps later I hooked a fish and lifted it up.

Species 3. - Rock goby.

I continued working my way along and caught another tompot blenny. Then the wind picked up and began making things difficult. I was about to switch back to a drop shot rig when I spotted a pontoon at the eastern end of the marina that was accessible. I headed over there and spotted a little alcove in the marina wall that looked good. Crouching down I lobbed my lure in. It was full of fish. I could see small wrasse so started targeting them by sight. Out shot a fish from underneath a submerged traffic cone and nailed lure. Another tompot blenny. Quickly unhooked and returned my attention focused on being tormented by the small wrasse. Getting rather annoyed by their pathetic nibbling I switched to a #14 hook with a couple of split shot just above it and lowered it down only for the wrasse to continue tapping away. Then another small fish came out from under a rock, muscled its way past the wrasse and was quickly hooked.

Species 4. - Black goby.

Sight fishing for the wrasse was becoming seriously frustrating now and I was about to move on when I finally hooked one. Expecting a goldsinny wrasse I was pleasantly surprised when I realised it wasn't one!

Species 5. - Corkwing wrasse.

Spurred on by this and realising that it was only 12:25 and a goldsinny wrasse in the next thirty five min would put me on six species at the half way point of the competition I continued trying to catch one. I can see them nipping away at the lure again. Very frustrating. I end up spending an hour trying to hook one, catching another tompot blenny, a rock goby and two black gobies in the process whilst generously providing the goldsinny wrasse with free lunch in the form of tiny pieces of Power Isome! Now determined to get one I decide to head back to my starting point as I know there are a few goldsinny wrasse there that are slightly less well fed. They swim out of the weed and have a look at my offerings occasionally having a shy tap at them before hiding again. I persist for thirty minutes catching another tompot blenny, a rock goby and common blenny. Thoroughly disgusted by their complete lack of compliance I decide to end my goldsinny misery and try for some pollock in the outer harbour. I spend an hour exploring and flicking out small metal lures but have no joy. With conditions outside of the inner harbour pretty horrid I decide to return to the pesky goldsinny wrasse.  On the way I cross over a bridge at the mouth of the inner harbour and pass underneath a huge metal sculpture.

Wouldn't mind catching a Barbican prawn. Bet it would put up a good fight!

I speak to a few other guys who've caught them and they point me in the direction of a spot that they tell me holds lots of them. I head over and sure enough there are a few moving around the fringes of the weed. All small though and again they spend the best part of the final hour of the competition tormenting me. The torture is broken up by two further common blennies. No one I spoke to had caught more than my tally of five species so I'm reasonably happy with my performance and head back to the shop to see how I've done. I wasn't too bothered though to be honest. Goldsinny wrasse aside, it was another enjoyable days fishing and good to meet the other participants. I end up being ranked 5th. Eight species took 1st place. Some of the lads had their kids with them and it was good to hear they all caught fish and they were all given some goodies. Adults prizes were then dished out and packs of Power Isome for all who took part. After a bit of chatting and the cash register ringing a few times everyone said their goodbyes and started heading off. Most lads had driven down for the day and had a long drive back to make. I headed off for a bite to eat and was going to go back to fish a bit more but it started raining quite heavily so I retired to my hotel with the intention of relaxing and watching the football.

After an hour or so the sun appeared though and I decided to pop down to the ferry port for a couple hours. Using Google Maps to find my way there I got a bit lost and jumped over a wall to take a short cut across some disused waste ground. I got about fifty yards when I heard a loud whistle. I turned around to find it was the police so I headed back and jumped over the wall again. After explaining myself the officer very kindly gave me a lift along to the mark I was trying to get to! First class from Devon's finest I must say. When I got along to the end of the pier there were three lads fishing already with tradition gear lobbing out baited feathers. I decided to see what was down the sides. Black gobies was the answer. I caught two in quick succession.

The three lads were curious about what I had caught and came over to look.

I tried in front of some weed at the bottom of some big concrete steps. Tap, tap. Time for some payback so I quickly tied on a #18 hook and threaded on a tiny sliver of Isome. I dropped it down and after only a couple of bites I finally managed to hook my first goldsinny of the day.

Revenge is a dish best served on small hooks!

A very satisfying feeling I can tell you! After talking to one of the local lads for a bit and him telling me the bottom was quite clean, sandy ground I fished a whole large Isome along the bottom for half an hour to try for a flounder and had one decent bite but didn't connect with the fish. With light fading I headed back to the hotel. It was a nice end to an enjoyable day.

On Sunday morning I woke up about 8:30 and sorted out my bags, had breakfast and headed out for a walk along the coast. I spotted a nice looking little harbour and headed down. Four guys were fishing bait, some ledgered and some under floats. As I started fishing I got a few funny looks but I'm used to this by now! Besides, they soon changed to curious looks when I started getting bites from the wrasse that were resident in the weeds at the base of the outer harbour wall. No hook ups so I tied on a #18 hook and soon hooked one of the culprits.

Another nice little corkwing wrasse.

I then decided to see what was inside the harbour. Working the lure in between patches of weed a few fish showed an interest but they weren't biting so I moved round a bit and cast across the mouth of the harbour. Bouncing the lure back over the top of the kelp it got about half way across when a sharp little jolt signalled a fish was on. I hoisted up my first long spined sea scorpion of the trip.

Where were you yesterday when I needed you most!

Action stopped so I started heading along the coast towards Sutton harbour. I passed a few spots that looked good but didn't have enough time to try any of them.

The old harbour I had just fished form further along the coast.

I soon arrived at Sutton harbour and headed to a spot that had been productive on Sat. Wasn't long before I spotted a few small wrasse and dropped the lure down. After a few taps I hooked one of them and hoisted it up.

 This corkwing had quite vivid markings.
Gold, blue, orange and lime green. Stunning!

The other wrasse lost interest so I moved again to find more small wrasse there as well. Couldn't hook any if them though but the rock gobies were more obliging. I caught three in quick succession.

Bright yellow tip on this one.

Next to interrupt my goldsinny pestering was a tompot blenny who grabbed the lure and charged off before being quickly cranked up from the water.

This one required a quick comb through his eyebrows before being photographed!

I then spent the next thirty minutes trying to catch sand smelt from a shoal of them I had spotted earlier. No luck though and I headed off to the train station to make the journey home.
I had a most enjoyable few days and it was well worth travelling almost a thousand miles! The weather wasn't anywhere near as bad as the forecasts had predicted either, I met up with some great lads who all love fishing and took part in my first competition. I caught thirty six fish and seven species over the duration of my trip. The only disappointment was not catching any new species for my 2012 species tally but I did catch a few species which I love so that made up for it a bit! Looking forward even more now to visiting Cornwall at the start of next month for over a week!

Tight lines, Scott.

Monday, June 11, 2012

All along the towpath.

I met up with my mate Jake yesterday afternoon for a couple of hours up the Union Canal targeting pike with our favourite soft plastic, the deadly 9.5cm Savage Gear Soft 4Play in Dirty Roach. Both of us elected to lob them with ultra light tackle and fish them using the weightless Savage Gear "Ready to Fish" rigs. 

The weather was overcast and there was the odd light shower but despite this the water was quite clear so I thought it looked promising and hopefully the pike wouldn't be as lethargic as they had been last time when the sun was shining brightly. We worked our way along the towpath and things were very slow with no signs of any activity at all until we reached a point where we had seen a few pike during our last trip. Jake had a follow but like last time the fish seemed a little lethargic, just following behind the lure then stopping and staring at it without actually striking. Jake had a few more casts to try and tempt it but it eventually swam back under the overhanging branches of the tree it had come out from. I had a couple of casts to the other side of the tree and felt what I thought was a snag but then it started to strip some line. Fish on, but it didn't feel quite right and the fight was strange. Only when the pike came into view did we realise it was foul hooked in the underside of its jaw. I played it carefully to the edge so as not to rip the hooks out and damage the fish and Jake chinned it out for me.

At last!

We fished the area for a bit longer but had no further action so we doubled back and started heading towards the car. Again there was no any sign of any fish for a while. We got about half way back to the car when I hooked a second fish at a spot where I'd hooked and lost a big fish several weeks ago. A very subtle take but the pike was hooked in the corner of the mouth this time and put up a spirited little fight before Jake chinned it out and we unhooked it over on the grass.

Slightly bigger second fish. Same happy bloke.

Savage Gear 4 Play in Dirty Roach destroyed I switched over to the Perch colour and we carried on. A bit further along Jake had a follow from a decent perch so he quickly scaled down and rigged up a Gulp! 1" Minnow on a small jighead and tried to tempt it again but unfortunately had no luck doing so. Time was soon up and we headed back to the car. Quite a contrast to all the action we had during our last session on the canal but I was still happy to catch a couple of jacks.

Tight lines, Scott.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

I can't believe it's not a long spined sea scorpion!

Suffering from withdrawal symptoms after three days without wetting a line I decided to jump on the train to Dunbar this afternoon. Low water was about 13:00 and I fancied a crack at the flounders and sand gobies in the old harbour. Recalling that the trains down there normally leave just past the hour I set off with the intention of catching the one just after 12:00 to get there for low water only to discover when I reached the station that there was no train running until after 13:00. Instead of hanging around I made the decision to jump on the 12:12 to North Berwick instead.

33 minutes later I was in North Berwick and a ten minute stroll took me down to the beach to the west of the harbour. Being low water the harbour was empty and lots of nice rocks and boulders were exposed. I decided to explore them and wait for the tide to flood into the harbour before headed there to target flounders.

Mini species paradise!

I quickly setup my Diaflash and Steez combo and as I knew I may come across some gobies or other small mouthed species I went for a Kamasan Animal #14 barbed hook to 4lb nylon with a couple of 0.8g split shot a few inches above it. On this I stuck a red Gulp! 1" Fish Fry and began plopping it into any rockpool I thought looked likely to hold a fish or two.

After a while I dropped the lure down in front of  a large rock only for a long spined sea scorpion to shoot out from some inconspicuous weed and nail it. It thrashed out of my grasp though unhooking itself in the process and falling into the water at my feet whilst I was fumbling for my camera in my pocket. Oops!

I carried on exploring what I thought were promising spots and found a nice deep pool with plenty of weed and kelp around the edges. I dropped the lure down through the kelp. Just letting it sit still and giving it the odd twitch I felt a bit of resistance and lifted the rod tip. I thought I was hooked in a piece of kelp until it started thrashing around. I quickly lifted it up to discover it was a darkly coloured butterfish. I remember finding them as a child but this was my first ever line caught one!

9" of slippery pleasure!

I continued to explore, wondering what else might turn up. A steady stream of long spined sea scorpions was my answer. I caught another three of them and saw a few more. They attack so aggressively, normally hook themselves first time and if they don't they come right back for another go! Great fun.

No two are alike.
Subtle light olive colouring on this one.

Then I found a huge deep pool with a sandy bottom. Jigging the lure about I could see a few little flounders moving around but I couldn't hook any of them so I headed over to the harbour but when I got there the water was quite dirty and had a fair amount of weed floating around in it. I decided to head over the back of the harbour and found a nice long deep gully. It wasn't long before I had caught my fifth long spined sea scorpion from it. As I turned to head over to a nice deep bit of water I spotted some graffiti on a wall that I thought was actually quite nice as far as graffiti goes!

Some are peppered with little spots.
Me too.

I headed over to the nice deep water and thought I'd have a go for wrasse as it looked like it may hold some. I quickly texas rigged an IMA Trilobite in Pro Blue on a size 8 Aberdeen hook with a 5g drilled bullet and began casting out, letting it hit the bottom and twitching it a few times before working it back towards me. I covered a fairly large area and had no bites so decided to try over by a concrete landing pier. I went down the side of this where there were some nice boulders, tied on a 2.3g #8 Shirasu Fine jighead, threaded on a section of pink Isome and dropped it in. Straight away I had a blenny attacking it and he was soon hooked. Next up was another long spined sea scorpion. The water level was fairly high now so I headed along the outer harbour wall and dropped my lure down the side. Working my way along the wall bouncing the lure along the bottom, I was soon getting bites. I missed a few of them before finally hooking another long spined sea scorpion.

My precious!

Then I went around to the inner harbour wall and began casting out across the harbour mouth to see if there were any flounders or plaice around. After a while I had a solid bite but I knew straight away what it was. Another long spined sea scorpion! Then I tried in a corner of the harbour for viviparous blennies as I caught a small one there last year. As soon as my lure hit the bottom I was getting loads of tiny bites. I thought it might be sand gobies until I hooked one. A tiny coalfish. Greedy little swine had swallowed half the lure! Burst out in fits of laughter. Easily a new PW! Quickly unhooked and put back to grow bigger!

Eyes and mouth bigger than its belly!

Finally I had a quick go down the outside of harbour wall as I hooked a couple of blennies there last time I fished here but they came off when I was lifting them up the wall. Not this time though!

One for the road.

At this point I called it a day as I had to get home to get ready to go to work. A very enjoyable afternoon spent exploring a new area and catching plenty of mini species including a rather nice surprise bonus fish!

Tight lines, Scott.