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.

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